New Moon in Taurus

New Moon in Taurus

The darkness of the Moon in Taurus has a richness like none other, its subterranean soil serving as a gestating matrix within which desires may take root and receive the inner nourishment needed to emerge vibrantly into the world. The New Moon in Taurus on May 11 holds a pulsating potency underneath the pleasing astrological aspects it is forming, including a creative sextile with Neptune in Pisces, an empowering trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and a catalyzing square with Jupiter in Aquarius. As the lunation is happening within the exaltation of the Moon, the slow and steady processes favored by the living image of Taurus can cultivate and nurture new growth that can endure with resiliency and long lasting effects. The atmosphere of the New Moon in Taurus does not foster rushing forth like a charging Bull, but rather slowing down to sink and deepen into what’s emerging within and being present to listen to new developments within our myriad relationships. 

Although a New Moon in Taurus can be helpful for finding greater stability, the upcoming astrology will in fact be quite volatile. The lunar cycle beginning with the Taurus New Moon will wax into a total Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius that will reflect its blood red light on May 25, signaling endings and beginnings in storylines.  Mercury will then facilitate further twists and turns in stories by stationing retrograde on May 29, followed by a Solar Eclipse in Gemini on June 10 and then the second exact square aspect of the year between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius on June 14. Knowing that numerous astrological events are coming that can deeply reshape and alter structures and relationships, the Taurus New Moon is an ideal time for inner reflection and examination of how your desires and priorities have been changing so you may better navigate the approaching astrological volatility in better alignment with what you wish to create and cultivate. 

At the center of the disruptive and change inducing astrological transits that will be occurring in the next month is the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that will be increasingly swelling with intensity. Previously we experienced the first exact square aspect between Saturn and Uranus on February 17, a period in which the influence of Saturn in Aquarius was being amplified due to it being engaged in numerous astrological aspects. In contrast, during the past month there has been an intensification of the influence of Uranus in Taurus, with Mercury, Venus, and the Sun all forming conjunctions with Uranus. While you may already be aware of numerous elements of your life that have completely changed since February 17, the recent stoking of Uranus suggests that an even deeper level of change is presently taking shape. The impact of Uranus will unleash feelings and visions beyond the present boundaries and borders of circumstances, bringing inspiration that can help guide the way forward as long as we do not neglect the reality of Saturn that will require patience and building things one step at a time. 

Yet being mindful of Saturn does not mean limiting your sense of what will be possible to create, change, and bring together, for the square between Saturn and Uranus means that we must necessarily come to terms with ways we perceive unnecessary limitations as we simultaneously open to a more enlivening and expansive sense of reality. It may not be clear yet how you will go about creating, establishing, or developing the new desires that have been stirred into stable forms, but not knowing how it will happen is less important at the moment than gaining a deeper sense for what you do want to have happen, which directions you want to move in, which relationships you wish to further develop, and which interests and skills you wish to cultivate and pursue. As we transition in the coming lunar cycle from the fertile solidity of Taurus into the diverse multiplicity of Gemini, remember to make space and time to continually come back to center, sifting through the parts of your inner multiplicity ready to emerge so you may better integrate and embody the authentic new desires you want to reshape your life with. 

The New Moon in Taurus is ruled by Venus in Gemini as the star of Aphrodite is finally re-emerging into visible light as an Evening Star following sunset. Venus has been veiled from view under the beams of the Sun since the beginning of February, and after being reanimated by the noetic potency of the Sun on March 25 she will now be bringing her dazzling presence to the shifting hues of twilight every sunset. There are different gods and goddesses syncretized with Venus in different cultures, but no matter your cultural background the divine being of Venus will have an intensified presence in our lives during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle as the star of Aphrodite is reborn into the world again. As the waxing Moon in Gemini will unite with Venus on May 12, we may become more deeply attuned with the desires that have been forming within hidden recesses of our senses within the past month and a half. 

Although Venus is not at home in Gemini, she will be benefitting from Mercury also being present in its airy home of the Twins. As a result, Venus will have access to the full resources of Mercury and we may discover greater capacity to give voice to and communicate the new ideas and desires that have been taking shape within during the past month. Venus combined with Mercury in Gemini can blend aesthetic sense and design with intellectual analysis and flowing fluency in communication, making it a powerful period for any form of creativity especially in the realms of writing, music, art, and crafts. Due to Mercury stationing retrograde on May 29, we will be able to enjoy the social and creative atmosphere fostered by Venus and Mercury being together in Gemini from now until June 2 when Venus enters Cancer. It will be a potent time for making connections with those who share our interests, as well as for sustaining dialogue and listening to those who have different viewpoints and perspectives from our own. 

Just like Mercury and Venus can be fruitful for aesthetically arranging colors, words, and sounds, so can they also help us explore what aspects of our changing desires to pursue as we experience many collective and personal shifts during the coming season of eclipses. Significantly, Mercury is forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon during the time of the Taurus New Moon, followed by Venus forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon a week later on May 18. With Mercury in Gemini ruling the North Node of the Moon as we approach a Lunar Eclipse on May 25 and a Solar Eclipse on June 10, the presence of Venus in Gemini can help us hold the tension of opposing desires until giving birth to something that transcends the polarity, not unlike the Hermaphrodite Rebis (res bina) found in alchemical text that reconciles the spiritual and material (1).

Venus being under the influence of Mercury in Gemini for an extended period of time will create a more fluid and adaptable atmosphere for Venus that can lead to dispersing energy in multiple directions while multitasking between numerous projects and goals.  Mercury and Venus together in Gemini will also draw us into a deeper search for meaning and connections, curiously questioning and synthesizing meaning within the myriad relationships that interconnect us within reality. Moreover, the living image of the Twins conjures the relationship between our mortal and immortal sides, the illuminated spark of vision and the darkness of the shadow it casts, our felt sense of soulfulness we may idealize as a soul mate yet ultimately returns us to a stronger awareness of our own deep material we need to integrate and embody. 

The New Moon in Taurus is applying to a jolting square aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius that it will complete on May 12, a day before Jupiter enters Pisces on May 13.  The return of Jupiter to its own sign adds an additional vivifying influence to the beginning of the lunar cycle, further amplifying potential for deepening into desires and coalescing ideas and inspiration in the process. Jupiter entering Pisces will bring a boost toward new desires because the sovereignty Jupiter possesses in Pisces allows it to express its significations for prosperity, growth, and fertile creativity with fullness and directness. While Jupiter has been sharing the sign of Aquarius with Saturn we may have found ways of being more expansive within present life structures or renovated systems to allow for greater vision and progress, but with Jupiter occupying its own sign we may experience leaps of imagination that stretch and elevate our sense of what will be possible to create with our life. With regard to the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, it is further significant that Jupiter will no longer be in the home of Saturn and will instead be out of aspect to Saturn and instead forming a creative sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. 

In contrast to Sagittarius, the fiery and diurnal home of Jupiter where it accelerates the speed of events and reaches outward to new vistas beckoning over the horizon, Pisces is the watery, nocturnal home of Jupiter that facilitates descent into the boundless, oceanic realm of desires within our bodily senses and unconscious. Jupiter in Pisces will support slowing down to sink into fuller sensations regarding our circumstances, letting the waves of Pisces wash over the parts of ourselves that have become fragmented or disconnected, dissolving places that have become stuck or hardened. Jupiter in Pisces is magnetically receptive, drawing new sources of inspiration to itself and synthesizing insight through assembling and unifying separate influences into new forms of vital meaning. Like soaking in a hot spring overlooking a sweeping view of breathtaking nature, Jupiter in Pisces can allow for a release of stress and tension so we may immerse ourselves in whatever brings a stronger sense of soulfulness and passion. By taking our time and letting the intuitive strength of Jupiter in Pisces guide us in the direction of inner promptings, we can ultimately discover a more productive and flowing path forward than if we try to rush ahead and force things to happen. 

It’s further important that as soon as Jupiter enters Pisces it will be present within the same sign as Neptune. Although Jupiter will not form its conjunction with Neptune in Pisces until April 12, 2022 we will begin to gain a foreshadowing sense of the meaning that Jupiter and Neptune will be bringing into our lives. Jupiter and Neptune have one of the most important cycles to consider within astrology, forming a conjunction roughly every thirteen years in typically a successive sign of the zodiac. Due to there being two straight conjunctions of Jupiter and Neptune in Capricorn in 1984 and 1997 followed by a conjunction in Aquarius in 2009, we have lived through three straight cycles of Jupiter and Neptune being initiated in a domicile of Saturn. Their conjunction in Pisces in 2022 will be the first conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in a domicile of Jupiter since the three conjunctions they formed in Sagittarius in 1971, and we can therefore expect to catch a powerful wave of imaginal force in the year ahead. 

Jupiter and Neptune in many ways have a meaning that is diametrically opposed and in stark contrast to the meaning of Saturn and Pluto that held significant influence over the events of 2020. While mundane astrologers such as Andre Barbault have recognized it as a combination that incites waves of liberal and progressive movements within global politics, other astrologers such as Dane Rudhyar have found it to be a disorienting yet extremely powerful impetus for letting go of desires to conform to societal expectations of success in favor of following an unorthodox and untrodden path illuminated by the inner light of imaginal, unconscious sources. Due to the illusory impact of Neptune, however, we will also need to be mindful of how we are navigating the way forward so that we are not swept out to sea.  Since Jupiter is only going to be occupying the first three degrees of Pisces from now until July 28, however, we will only be gaining an initial taste of the otherworldly fruit that will be offered to us by Jupiter and Neptune. For now, let your mind open to new stories, mythos, muses, and founts of inspiration that can disintegrate the ways you have kept yourself controlled or bound to old storylines that no longer serve your best interests and highest good. 

Within the darkness of the Taurus New Moon is another aspect that deserves attention: Mars in Cancer receiving Chiron in Aries through a square aspect. We may notice that some of the new desires forming within and beginning to emerge not only feel exciting and inspired but also make us feel vulnerable due to them testing the ground of past wounds and insecurities. Indeed, the tension between Mars and Chiron is also playing a role in the ways our conception of past forms of stability have been disrupted by the square between Saturn and Uranus, as Mars is additionally forming a sextile aspect with Uranus and Chiron is forming a sextile aspect with Saturn. Since Chiron has a primal role in astrology of mediating and bridging the realms of Saturn with Uranus, the square between Mars and Chiron is leading us to encounter emotional material and relational issues that necessarily must be confronted if we wish to step into more of the liberating impact of Saturn and Uranus. 

It’s often the case that as we prepare to cross the threshold of breakthrough experiences or significant alterations of old patterns we with to reshape, for one reason or another we get pulled back to face old issues connected to the old stories we have emerged from. Chiron in Aries can help instill the sense of agency we need to make empowering choices that align with our core purpose and desires, while Mars in Cancer can propel us to take action toward cultivating the relationships and experiences that will fulfill our emotional needs, courageously protecting whatever is most important for us to nurture. Be tender with yourself if you need to create space to process, release, or come into deeper relationship with old emotional material that  has caused pain in the past. The more we can release and empty of what needs to be let go, the better we will be able to move through the accelerated pace of change that will be coming with the eclipses at the end of May and beginning of June.

7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 3 Decan

The New Moon in Taurus is arising in the third decan of Taurus associated with the Seven of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of a farmer or gardener carefully watching over the growth of green foliage he hopes will ultimately ripen into a bountiful harvest, it is a card of delayed gratification that necessitates patiently cultivating the process at work so that a savory climax of fulfilling ripeness can later be enjoyed. Fittingly, Saturn rules the third face of Taurus as it is zodiacal terrain where the calm, prudent, and attentive countenance of the farmer in the image of the Seven of Pentacles is needed to make sure all of the necessary planning and responsibilities will be completed even when facing adversity. Similarly, we will need to integrate the new desires being formed within the darkness of the New Moon into a long range perspective that will be capable of carefully tending to and nurturing the needs of our relationships and endeavors so that they may ultimately bloom in healthy wholeness.  

The fact that the New Moon in the third face of Taurus is leading us into the destabilizing storms of an eclipse season aligns well with the meaning that Austin Coppock gave to the third face of Taurus in his book 36 Faces. Coppock ascribed the image of “A String of Prayer Beads” to this face, stating that it “represents a confrontation with destructive factors which impede completion,” as well as the need to enact remediation and “make plans to accommodate the unforeseen.”  While Coppock acknowledged that we must face toil and difficulty at times in this decan due to everything that can go wrong in between the germination of a seed and its ultimate flowering and fruiting, he also listed virtues such as “wisdom, patience, humility, and foresight” as being “the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face.” Indeed, Coppock concluded that while this face may make us confront potential disaster, it is also a place from which we can call for support from higher powers and worthy allies while developing the remedies needed to overcome threats. 

T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets made the astute observation that it is important to “consider the nature of boundaries” in all of the decans ruled by Saturn, as “freedom depends on its limits.” Chang also noted that the image of the farmer staring into space in the Seven of Pentacles image suggests “a sort of timelessness” inherent in the card’s meaning, not unlike the role Saturn plays in astrology as the threshold guardian between time and timelessness. To Chang there is a lesson in this face found within the relationship between our finite perception of time and the truly infinite nature of time. Indeed, by patiently attending to what needs to be completed or cared for in accordance with the finiteness of time, we may also gain wisdom from and find strength within the infiniteness of time in ways that can help us withstand hardship and toil. 

As the lunar cycle initiated by the New Moon in Taurus will culminate with a total Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius, we have forewarning that unexpected changes will be coming that may involve difficulty as well as exciting inspiration. The wisdom of the third decan of Taurus suggests we may prepare through patient attention to whatever needs attending to, as well as by reaching out for support from those who will be able to assist us through whatever transitions we will be moving through in the next couple of months. Since Jupiter in Pisces will be ruling the Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse, we can also have faith that support will be available from the unseen realm of spirit. While we may need to temporarily navigate through a period of volatility in the month ahead, the New Moon in Taurus points us toward the enduring new forms and relationships we will be able to cultivate and develop that will continue to support us for a long time beyond the present. 

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References

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

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

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

 

NORWAC 2021

Norwac blog graphic

NORWAC 2021

I will be speaking as part of an exemplary gathering of astrologers at the 2021 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) that will take place from May 27 – 31, 2021. It will be a virtual conference and so there are no travel costs associated and you will be able to watch recordings of all the lectures following the live event.

If you have not yet bought a ticket now is the time, for the early registration discount ends on April 30. Go to the NORWAC site to register.

My talk is entitled “Oracular Light: Heliacal Rising and Setting Planets” and is scheduled for Friday, May 28 at 4:30 pm.  It’s a topic that has fascinated me for years and continues to show up as an important aspect of my consultations.

Anyone with a heliacal rising or setting planet has a more intensified experience with that planetary deity. At these important planetary phases, the divine being of the planet makes its presence strongly felt in the world. It can be oracular in terms of the planet strongly speaking and acting through the life of the person. In mundane events there are important messages to decipher.

Description: This talk will explore the meaning of planets arising in light after being invisible (heliacal rising) and planets making their final appearance before descending into darkness (heliacal setting). We’ll examine the importance and nuances of their interpretation in natal astrology, including how they make a crucial statement regarding one’s purpose and calling in life. We’ll also discover how to utilize secondary progressions to determine pivotal time periods in the life of those born with a heliacal rising or setting planet.

Above image by Michelle Doucette aka @thedreamingcanvas on Instagram

Full Moon in Scorpio

Scorpion Scarab (about 1550–1186 BCE)

Full Moon in Scorpio

The Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26 will uproot and open emotions, sinking senses down into contact with the ceaseless stream of circulating desires within subconscious sources. Since Scorpio penetrates into the roots of desires like no other sign in the zodiac, the Scorpio Full Moon will dig underneath the surface of our motivations to the primal forces that fuel our resiliency in persevering with participation in life despite the suffering we experience. There is an eruptive quality to the lunation, as the Scorpio Moon is separating from a flowing trine with Mars in Cancer and applying to a volatilizing opposition with Uranus in Taurus and a disruptive square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that can engender breakthroughs and dramatic shifts in storylines.  Although the feelings unleashed by the Full Moon in Scorpio may involve difficult emotional material to process, the cathartic and purgative pulse of the lunation will also draw us into deeper relationship with our inner vitality so that we may intuitively coalesce a more strongly felt sense of the direction forward and what we want to create within our relationships.

In the northern hemisphere the Full Moon in Scorpio will arrive at the height of spring, whereas in the southern hemisphere it will illuminate descent into the season of fall. Taurus and Scorpio are a fixed polarity that anchor our seasons as well as our consciousness, not only rooting us into the ground we stand upon but also pulling us under the earth into the fecund source of the blooming life around us. While the Sun in Taurus centers purpose within our senses, patiently cultivating sources of security from our inner values, the Full Moon in Scorpio will probe into the shadows cast by our yearnings, unearthing the deeper source of  our desires and how they interface with our needs for security. Being fixed signs, the immense capacity of Taurus and Scorpio for stabilizing can also lead us to become stuck through fixating upon controlling dynamics so as to avoid the grief of loss when things end and change.  Due to the Full Moon activating the clash between Uranus and Saturn, however, change will be unavoidable and so we can allow the piercing night vision of Scorpio to open our bodily senses into a more visceral sense for how our inner desires are changing so that we may come into greater alignment with the essential transmutations emerging.

Indeed, while the activation of Uranus by the Full Moon may incite desire for rapidly rushing in an exciting new direction or bursting free from constraining influences, the harsh square between the lunation with Saturn in Aquarius will make us acutely aware of the limitations and restrictions present within our current circumstances. Ideally the emotive impact of the Scorpio Full Moon can help us find a balance between the tension constellating between Saturn and Uranus rather than becoming excessively frustrated by their friction. Due to the Sun applying to a conjunction with Uranus and Mercury and Venus also being present in Taurus, there will be more emphasis on the liberating side of Uranus that seeks to force open the walls of Saturn to let in more inspiring sources of creativity and far reaching vision. Yet we must also relate to the hard reality of Saturn if we wish to be effective, and so we will need to apply steady effort and discipline while keeping in mind the longview of what we will be capable of building over time rather than insisting on rushing forward too fast.

It’s important to consider the mutual reception between the Full Moon and its domicile ruler Mars, as the Full Moon is in the watery home of Mars and is separating from a trine aspect with Mars in the watery home of the Moon. Since both the Full Moon and Mars are in the signs of their fall, the lunation will call for a descent into boggy terrain that will necessitate coming to terms with the feelings we have been harboring within our inner darkness as well as within the shadows cast by the work we have been projecting into the world. Due to being in signs of their fall, the Moon in Scorpio and Mars in Cancer are in zodiacal terrain where they are not exalted by the dominant culture and therefore can be overlooked until demanding attention. Constructively, Mars and the Moon in their fall can draw us into material that is undervalued by the dominant culture and the manner in which we have been conditioned to pursue whatever is considered to be successful within our culture. As a result, the passionate potency of their watery convergence can instill greater fortitude in following an unorthodox path that is aligned more so with our inner authenticity than the external expectations of society. 

Mars in Cancer can be a fierce protector, and so we also need to be aware that the emotional material dislodged by the Full Moon may feel so overwhelming that the defense mechanisms of Mars will be standing ever ready at guard. Rather than shutting down, lashing out at others, or closing oneself off from feelings, see if the slow, steady, and stabilizing presence of the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Taurus can help modulate emotions to a level that can be more securely felt and integrated.  Due to Mars being more strongly influenced by the polarized force of the Full Moon than normal, keep in mind that feelings will be especially sensitized including triggers to our anger that can lead us into conflict. In some cases we may need to get in stronger contact with our anger and use it to make change or separate from a problematic situation, but in other cases there will be greater potential than normal to overreact before fully understanding the larger context of the issue.

The Moon in the Marsh by Earl Reed

Pulsating underneath the tension of the Full Moon will be the primal potency of Pluto. Pluto will be saturating the astrological atmosphere with its influence due to stationing retrograde less than twenty-four hours after the lunation on April 27 at 26°48′ Capricorn. The howl from Pluto in the underworld will amplify the deep potency of Mars in the sign of its fall ruling the Full Moon in the sign of its fall, as Pluto can intensify whatever needs to be released with a volcanic force. Feelings may overflow from places and inner parts that have been denied or controlled, as suppressed memories and passions arise to surface awareness. The powerful presence of Pluto can therefore accentuate our capacity for peering into the emotional sources at the root of our interpersonal dynamics with others.

After stationing retrograde on April 27 at 26°48’ Capricorn, Pluto will slowly creep backwards through Capricorn until eventually stationing direct on October 6, 2021 at 24°19′ Capricorn. Since this will be the second time that we will experience Pluto traversing twenty-seven to twenty-four degrees of our natal charts, over the course of the next five months the retrograde movement of Pluto will catalyze reorientation to the deep-seated shifts that have been taking shape within that we may have previously been resisting. However, the necessity of coming to terms with any feelings we have been denying or resisting will be more pronounced in the week following the Scorpio Full Moon as Pluto stands still, as unconscious material that has been simmering under the surface may arise into awareness for the first time. Over the course of the retrograde movement of Pluto, however, we will have an extended period of time to surrender to whatever process of breakdown and purification needs to happen.

After the Full Moon forms an opposition with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn, it will form a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces on April 27 followed by a galvanizing sextile aspect with Pluto and a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius on April 28. While the square aspect between the Full Moon with Saturn may bring realization that some of the desires being stirred up by Pluto and the lunation are presently out of reach, we can utilize our felt sense for what we want versus what we do not want to begin taking steps and setting plans in motion to reach our desired end. The stern glare from Saturn demands taking accountability and claiming the inner authority we possess to do what we can to restructure and realign in our desired direction. Look for ways to bring the inspired vision and excitement stoked by Uranus, Neptune, and Jupiter into relationship with the patient endurance of Saturn in Aquarius that will slowly build something solid with long lasting benefits. 

Fairy Land (1881) by Gustave Dore

The abundance of fertile desires that can be activated by the Scorpio Full Moon is resonant with the fact that it is taking place during the time of Beltane in the northern hemisphere, when the veil into the otherworld of fairies, daimons, and spirits of the land is lifted to allow for more direct relationships. Fittingly for one of the most magical times of the year, the Full Moon involves a conjunction between Mercury with Venus in Taurus. Venus is luxuriating within her earthy home of Taurus where she can directly access her gifts for harmonizing and finding delight within our body and the recesses of our sensory, sensual natures. In contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, Mercury can destabilize, contest, and move with volatility and so the star of Hermes can connect the emancipatory and breakthrough impulses of Uranus with the stabilizing inclinations of Venus in Taurus. Since Mercury is the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our material realm, the union of Mercury with Venus in the instinctual sign of Taurus can allow for our diverse inner senses to bring guidance into how to move with the changes in storylines being incited by the overarching influence of Uranus and Saturn. With the Full Moon applying to an opposition with Mercury and Venus, there can be a propulsive impact creatively that can be channeled into any sort of art, writing, music, design or other realms that draw upon the combined skills of Mercury and Venus. 

Mercury and Venus will continue moving through Taurus in close proximity with one another during the waning half of the lunar cycle, with Mercury returning to its home of Gemini on May 3 and Venus entering Gemini on May 8. As they journey through Taurus together they will form harmonious aspects with Neptune and Pluto followed by a square aspect with Jupiter that will deepen our sense for how to adjust to surrounding changes while being creatively active with our new desires that are forming. While Mercury and Venus are both secluded from view under the beams of the Sun during the Scorpio Full Moon, Mercury will burst into visibility as an evening star with significant messages for us to receive on May 2 as it is moving from a trine with Pluto into a square aspect with Jupiter. At the same time, Venus will be continuing to gestate the meaning of her new solar cycle until finally beautifying the western horizon at sunset as an evening star following the upcoming New Moon in Taurus. For now, listen for the new sense of meaning that Mercury and Venus are shaping together within inner senses.

fairy tree

The Fairy Tree at Colinton (1846) by David Hill and Robert Adamson

Fittingly for the season of Beltane during which diverse fairies and daimons are more readily present, there are a number of asteroids playing significant roles within the astrology surrounding the Full Moon. Vesta recently stationed direct at 6º41′ Virgo on April 21 and is mediating the polarity of the lunation through forming a sextile with the Full Moon in Scorpio and a trine with the Sun in Taurus. Vesta is the goddess of the hearth and the keeper of the sacred flame who has primal significations around centeredness and dedicated devotion. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses described Vesta as having a role of centering the psyche within its coordination of our inner multiplicity to allow for one pointed focus and unobstructed commitment to our purpose in the world. Demetra George also noted that Vesta will retreat from the outer world in order to purify, replenish, and reintegrate following periods of being depleted of resources from excessive external involvement, and so we can imagine that while retrograde that Vesta had been bathing in a sacred spring in order to regenerate a sense of wholeness. As Vesta emerges from her time in retreat she will be in position to help us generate momentum sourced from our essential nature and authentic values. During the waning half of the lunar cycle, Mars in Cancer will be applying toward a sextile with Vesta that it will complete on May 5, an initiatory encounter in which Vesta can instill Mars with firmer resolve to persist in leading us forward while rooted in our inner purpose.

In contrast to Vesta recently stationing direct, the asteroid Juno stationed retrograde following the recent New Moon in Aries and is now mutually applying to a disintegrating square aspect with Neptune in Pisces. The square between Juno with Neptune may stir up the influence of our ideals and fantasies concerning relationships upon the actual circumstances of our present relational dynamics. We may become aware of ways in which we may be projecting our ideals on a partner or relationship, giving us the opportunity to pull back the projection and find ways to relate better with the actual presence of our primary relationships. On the other hand, if we have been resistant to opening ourselves to forming more intimate relationships we may experience a dissolution of inner blocks that will allow us to deepen into new relational dynamics with others. 

Further revealing desires presently underlying relational dynamics are the asteroids Psyche and Eros. Eros is at 9º43′ Capricorn and forming a sextile with the Full Moon and a trine aspect with the Sun and Uranus in Taurus, adding another layer to the intensifying desires unleashed by the lunation. In contrast, the Psyche asteroid has been traveling close to Mars by zodiacal degree recently, forming a conjunction with Mars on April 20 at 28°15′ Gemini. Psyche is occupying the first degree of Cancer during the Full Moon, less than two degrees away from Mars. The continued presence of Psyche with Mars points to the importance of following internal desires and devoting oneself to one’s eros and undergoing whatever processes ensue. Fittingly for the placement of Mars within its fall of Cancer, Psyche’s journey toward uniting with Eros necessitated repeated falls that took her not only to the depths of her being but all the way to the underworld and back. Due to the Eros asteroid beginning to slow down to station retrograde (it will station retrograde at ten degrees of Capricorn on May 3), Psyche is heading toward an opposition with Eros that will be building with tension until becoming exact on May 18. It appears that the Psyche and Eros asteroids are illuminating the point of Psyche’s journey in which Eros is out of reach yet begins to be called back to her through her resilient devotion and capacity for completing each impossible task given to her by Aphrodite. 

5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the first decan of Scorpio associated with the Five of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is full of desire and despair, as a figure cloaked in black stares with fixation upon three spilled chalices. Yet the remaining two upright chalices suggest the possibility of quenching the thirst of desire elsewhere, regenerating the cycle of desirous pursuit and sudden loss all over again. There is also a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, evoking the flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice due to the river as well as the person always changing. It is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with the loss of what we desire most of all. As T. Susan Chang has written, “by facing the 5 of Cups, we learn what matters most in life and resolve to fight for it.” Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the first face of Scorpio. 

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Jawbone” to the first decan of Scorpio, declaring hunger as its chief concern. Coppock synthesized the ancient textual images of this face around the constantly circulating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, satiation, the loss of what one desires, and the competitive violence that can be constellated when pursuing desires. Coppock concluded that within the first decan of Scorpio “we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being,” yet by coming into relationship with it “we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.”  

Fascinatingly, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed a different representation of desire to this face: the Numphai (Nymphs), feminine nature spirits who reside in sacred streams, springs, groves, and grottoes. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces speculated that the attribution of the nymphs to this face relates to them being shown as objects of desires for mortals and immortals in mythology. Combined with the desirous nature of this face, the presence of the nymphs also brings to mind the ecstatic Dionysus who often ran freely with wild nymphs and whose all consuming desires incited dismemberment and rebirth. 

Returning to the image of the Five of Cups, the flowing river in the background can also be viewed as a habitat of nymphs that contains the medicine we need for coming to terms with the endless cycle of desires present in the first face of Scorpio. Like Psyche who repeatedly leapt into rivers during her quest to unite with Eros, we must follow desires through their mysterious initiations and reckonings of soul in order to have a fully lived life. In commentaries in the appendix of Liber Novus, Carl Jung described Eros as a force of “dissolution and movement” that runs counter to the “ordering and insistence” of Logos. Jung declared Eros to be “a principle that contains a commingling of all the fundamental activities of the soul,” stating that it “is not form-giving but form-fulfilling . . . it is not the bed and direction of the stream but the impetuous water flowing in it.” May the light of the Scorpio Full Moon plunge you into contact with the gushing stream of desires within and the the enlivening currents of its magical potency and strength. 

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References

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

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

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

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

 

New Moon in Aries

Winged Goddess figurine, possibly Artemis Orthia (late 7th to 6th Century BC)

New Moon in Aries

Like the primordial Eros who emerges from dark-winged Night in Orphic cosmology, the potent light of celestial fire that erupts out of the abyss of darkness, the New Moon in Aries on April 11 is bursting with propulsive force. The New Moon in Aries is loaded: it is applying closely to creatively activating sextile aspects with Mars in Gemini and Jupiter in Aquarius as well as intensifying aspects with Venus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  Whether you are experiencing the excitement of new beginnings or the grief of having to let go through loss, the sweep of the New Moon can penetrate into the passion that has been laying dormant within, awaiting revival and vivification. Just like the absolute boldness of Artemis and the directness of her aim, there is an enlivening spirit within the New Moon that can guide the way forward like the purity of a flame piercing through mists of obsfucation. 

The New Moon in Aries is the second lunation in a row to amplify the new cycle of Venus that began on March 25, as the recent Full Moon in Libra formed an opposition with Venus. Since the New Moon is applying to a conjunction with Venus at the same time that Venus is applying to an exact square aspect with Pluto, it will be necessary to express and relate with whatever emotional material has been stirred up in the past month. Venus combined with the New Moon is catalyzing growth out of the fecund soil and dark depths of Pluto, the place of so much decomposition in the past couple of years when Pluto was joined by Saturn, Jupiter, and the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Part of the strife and shattering of what has been stable in the past couple of years has also been associated with the square aspect between the dwarf planet Eris in Aries with Pluto; whatever influence Eris has been wielding will also be energized as the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with Eris, further amplifying the activating thrust of the lunation to make change and break out of old patterns. 

Venus is galloping like a wild horse across the final decan of Aries where she has greater agency to influence and make an impact (due to being the decanic ruler of the final ten degrees of Aries), yet she is still not at full strength due to being invisible under the beams of the exalted Sun in Aries. Venus is full of the enlivening spirt and life force she has received from her recent embrace with the Sun, excitedly rushing toward her stable, fertile home of Taurus which she will reach on April 14. Once Venus is home again in Taurus she will be able to better ground and harmonize with the inner promptings of passion, new desires and creative inspiration she has received during her recent time of racing across the fiery sign of Aries. Yet there is a strangely eccentric, inventive guest full of revolutionary ideas awaiting Venus in her domicile: Uranus.

Once Venus reaches Taurus it also means she will begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, bringing her into the heart of the square between Uranus and Saturn that has been impelling breakthroughs, breakdowns, and a release of the way things have been. Unlike in February when Venus was on the side of Saturn, her upcoming union with Uranus will be more animating and electrifying with regards to the new directions and desires Venus is presently incubating. Venus will form a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus on April 22, followed by forming a tense square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on April 24 only two days before the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26. The Scorpio Full Moon promises to be an especially emotional and cathartic lunation, and so we will be well served by coming to terms with how our emotions and underlying values become reshaped by Venus entering into the volatility of the square between Uranus and Saturn. 

As the Moon waxes toward fullness, it will be important to remember the sequence of aspects Venus will make: Venus will first be incited by the emancipatory influence of Uranus to create change sourced from the burgeoning new desires of Venus, followed by immediately meeting the boundaries, restrictions, and harsh reality of Saturn which will limit the full extent of what may be felt within. Compromises will be necessary so that the inspiration emanating from Venus and Uranus can be grounded and integrated into the reality of one’s present circumstances. Through relating with Saturn and taking responsibility for wherever we need to claim our authority and be accountable, we will be more effective in creating the change we wish to have happen as well as facilitate shedding, molting,  and growth within the systems and structures governed by Saturn. 

Artemis holding a cornucopia and phiale (3rd Century BC)

Mars in Gemini is receiving the New Moon into its fiery home through a harmonizing sextile aspect while also applying to a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius.  Mars has spent recent weeks engaging in aspects bringing about confusion at the same time they have opened new avenues for desires and drive: first Mars passed through a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the end of March around the Full Moon in Libra, followed by Mars applying toward a disorienting square aspect with Neptune that it finally completed on April 9. Considering that Mars has also been out of bounds during this period, there may have been new sources of inspiration to pursue entering your awareness making you ready to leap before having a place to land. With Jupiter overcoming Mars through a trine aspect, we will have opportunities for greater coherence and meaning-making with whatever new passions and creative stimulation has been felt within.

Mars will complete its exact trine aspect with Jupiter on April 16 and will remain under the beneficial influence of the star of Zeus until Mars enters Cancer on April 23. Mars in Gemini can shoot off in many directions at once, getting numerous projects and relationships in motion simultaneously. While Mars in Gemini is mentally active, intellectually curious, and capable of discovering and pioneering inventive pathways that have been overlooked by others, it’s driving force can become dissipated and dispersed by having its attention spread too thin across too many interests. The stabilizing trine aspect from Jupiter in Aquarius can be a great aid in bringing a centered focus to projects while remaining open to being flexible and experimental. It can be an opportune period for conducting thought provoking and groundbreaking research that can be deftly integrated into any medium of communication or creative expression.

Venus Wounded in the Hand Conducted by Iris to Mars (1805) engraved by Tommaso Piroli after John Flaxman

Providing a searing boost to the interplay between Mars and Jupiter will be the blazing motion of Mercury in Aries. Mercury is moving at its fastest speed heading toward a conjunction with the Sun it will complete on April 18 at 29º14′ Aries; while it has swift motion capable of making myriad connections and gathering many ideas, Mercury is also in a solar phase in which it is burning off dross and excess to get to the heart of the matter. As Mercury ends and begins a new cycle with the Sun on April 18, there will be opportunities to gain clarity and glean insight from anything we have been researching, developing, or experimenting with. 

In the week following the New Moon there will be a potent mutual reception taking place between Mercury in Aries with Mars in Gemini that will become exact on April 17 through a harmonizing sextile aspect. In addition, Mercury will be forming a collaborative sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius that will become exact on the same day. Altogether these aspects are ideal for writing projects but can also be effective in any realm of work involving design, craftwork, and vision. Due to Mercury moving fast under the beams of the Sun, however, it may be necessary to find ways to ground so that your mind does not become excessively heated and stimulated. 

While Venus is presently moving fast, Mercury is moving even faster. Mercury will catch up to Venus as the Moon is waxing toward fullness, entering Taurus on April 19 and forming a conjunction with Venus on April 25 a day before the Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26. This also means that Mercury will be moving through its aspects with Mars, Jupiter, and the Sun into the catalytic cacophony of the square aspect between Uranus and Saturn. Mercury will form a conjunction with Uranus on April 23 followed by a square aspect with Saturn on April 25, the same day that Mercury will later form a conjunction with Venus.

Mercury uniting with Venus and Uranus may increase the volatility occurring from the tension with Saturn, yet at the same time can create the impetus needed to set the next stage of storylines in motion. It can also be a creatively fertile time within personal projects, collaborations with others, and stimulating conversations that lead to important new ideas. If you have been feeling disoriented by recent shifts in circumstances and old forms of security slipping away, this can also be a good time to get a better sense for how Uranus is disrupting previously stable aspects of your life so that you can access more authentic passion and creative expression.  

4 of Wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The New Moon in Aries is in the third decan of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. It’s not clear who the figures in the center of the image are, if they are performers being celebrated or celebrants participating in communal festivities. What is clear is the lovingly decorated garland filled with vivacious blossoms and the combined symbolism of a bridge and large castle in the background: the figures are in a centering and protective place from which to express their creativity and charisma. T Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets on tarot and the decans described the Four of Wands as a “temporary refuge” and “safe haven” similar to Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a moment to take comfort and refuge from whatever ordeals you have been enduring. Although Aries is the domicile of malefic Mars, the third decan of Aries is ruled by the two benefics, Venus and Jupiter. With Venus transiting through the third face of Aries and the New Moon applying to Venus, the meaning of the third decan of Aries will be amplified.

While Venus is not naturally comfortable in Aries, she is capable of manifesting success and achievement in the third face of Aries despite it being an environment suited for the fiery assertiveness of Mars and the radiant grandeur of the Sun. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to the third face of Aries, attributing to it “the power of art to overcome hostility,” and “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions.” Coppock further noted this decan requires “the martial heat of the battlefield,” as it is the battle-ready ferocity of Aries turned toward artistic performance and charismatic presentation that gives this decan its power “to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.” Yet Coppock also pointed out that the bonds formed within this face require its burning intensity to endure, whereas less intense passions are needed within longterm relationships. Thus it’s a face of “peak experiences” and “inspiring unions amidst life’s greatest struggles,” a place where “bonds are forged and spirits raised,” a decan which “grants the charisma to motivate and attract.”

Aries 3 Decan by Francesco Del Cossa

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

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

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

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

Another version of Eros is found in Plato’s Symposium, where Eros is portrayed as a great daimon and described by Socrates as the child born from the union of the divine forms of Poverty and Resource. To Socrates, Eros is always poor, always in a state of need, but is also always resourceful in being able to gain what it needs. Within the polarity between Poverty and Resource, the daimonic force of Eros weaves together awareness of the wisdom to be found through our earthly desires that lead us to experience Beauty and Love. If you have been experiencing loss or lack recently, allow the necessity of your circumstances to guide you into relationship with the eros and passionate purpose harbored by Venus and the New Moon uniting within darkness. 

“And yet life is transformation: all that is good is transformation and all that is bad as well. For this reason he is in the right who encounters everything as something that will not return. It does not matter whether he then forgets or remembers, as long as he had been fully present only for its duration and been the site, the atmosphere, the world for what happened, as long as it happened within him, in his center, whatever is good and what is bad – then he really has nothing else to fear because something else of renewed significance is always about to happen next. The possibility of intensifying things so that they reveal their essence depends so much on our participation. When things sense our avid interest, they pull themselves together without delay and are all that they can be, and in everything new the old is then whole, only different and vastly heightened.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters on Life (p. 21-22)

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

References

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

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

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

 

Full Moon in Libra

Aphrodite Anadyomene (ca. 1st–2nd century) Bronze, gold, with Emerald beads

Full Moon in Libra

Once every nineteen months or so, Venus will race into the sacred heart of the Sun with speed. Called a superior conjunction of Venus, this rhythmically regular renewal of Venus occurs when Venus is moving direct on the far side from the Sun from us in orbit. It’s more of a celestial conjunction of Venus with the Sun than an earthy one, as Venus is more removed from earthly matters than when she forms a conjunction with the Sun when retrograde and at her closest point in orbit to the Earth. As the Sun in its exaltation of Aries rises, culminates, and sets so will Venus as she undergoes a process of being reanimated and reseeded with the creative potency of the Sun. As Venus is laying to rest one cycle and being purified to be reborn into a new cycle, so may we experience a catharsis of past relational patterns and desires as new desires become kindled within. The superior conjunction of Venus occurred on March 25, only three days before the Full Moon in Libra on March 28. As the Libra lunation is within the domain of Venus, the reflective light of the Libra Full Moon will fully illuminate an inner process of renewal and regeneration regarding relationships, desires, and our creativity.

The full arc of the cycle Venus is closing now can be traced back to the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus on August 13, 2019 at 21º11′ Leo: you may notice cyclic patterns and storylines from then being regenerated. Venus has two main phases within her total cycle, one sharing her light as a Morning Star before sunrise and the other sharing her light as an Evening Star following sunset. The superior conjunction we are experiencing now demarcates a liminal transition in which Venus is invisibly shifting away from her Morning Star phase into her Evening Star phase. Venus will eventually return to visibility as an Evening Star by the middle of May and will then become increasingly visible rising higher and higher each evening. The Morning Star phase of Venus that has now ended began last June when Venus emerged into visibility before sunrise during her retrograde phase in Gemini after forming her inferior conjunction with the Sun on June 3.  Thus there may also be important internal shifts forming that go back to the last time Venus underwent renewal last June.

However, if you wish to dig deeper into the quality of time governed by Venus, you may consider the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus in Aries eight years ago on March 28, 2013 at 8º10′ Aries for patterns that could relate to now.  Every eight years, the Sun reanimates Venus around the same time near the same place within the zodiac. Although one full cycle of Venus with the Sun lasts for about nineteen months (584 days), there are five different Venus phase cycles within an eight year period that repeat. If you trace the points of the five unions of Venus with the Sun across every eight years, it forms a five pointed star within the circle of the zodiac. In addition to superior conjunctions of Venus occurring very eight years around the same time and zodiac degree, we also experience an inferior conjunction of Venus retrograde uniting with the Sun in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time on an alternating eight year cycle. There was an inferior conjunction between Venus retrograde in Aries with the Sun in Aries four years ago on March 25, 2017 at 4º57′ Aries, so although it was a different phase of the Venus cycle you may also realize there are important developments regarding storylines from that time emerging now.

Venus burning up with an exalted Sun can vivify passions that had become dormant, clearing space within for new desires to take root and grow within its cycle to come. Venus in Aries is fast and direct just like the present solar phase of Venus, wanting and making things to happen faster than can be comfortable for Venus. The fast moving desires of Venus are further being enhanced by its domicile ruler Mars forming a sextile with Venus in Gemini while also forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon. Venus in Aries is ardent and direct in its affections and desires, and will courageously go after what it wants to create and form relationship with. With Venus so close to the Sun, however, there is much that is hidden to the eye of the observer as well as concealed within our own churning unconscious. The Full Moon opposing Venus while also forming a flowing trine aspect with Mars in Gemini is complex due to unleashing the influence of Mars while bringing up contrary, polarized perspectives and reflections regarding the new sense of meaning Venus is beginning to form.

The Libra Full Moon is in the exaltation of Saturn, while also applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. As a result, the Full Moon is creating an air triangle between the Libra Moon, Saturn in Aquarius, and the combination of Mars with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini.  Regarding our creativity and work, whatever projects and visions we have been developing can benefit greatly through these airy aspects enabling both contemplation regarding the direction forward as well as burning drive to complete the tasks at hand. If there is work to be done and ideas in need of cultivation and expression, the Libra Full Moon is ideal for making significant progress on work that can be inventive as well as in depth.

After the Libra Moon moves through its trine aspects with Saturn and Mars, it will move on to complete another flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius and then form a catalyzing square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn just after moving fifteen degrees beyond the opposition with the Sun. We need to hold the tension of opposing polarities constellating between Venus with the Sun and the Full Moon, letting the illumination of the lunation deepen our awareness of what is taking shape within and how we wish to express our desires moving forward. Although Venus has recently been regenerated, we still have a couple of months of her continuing to gestate her revivified desires until they become more visible with her light in mid to late May. For now we need to incubate the tension of the pulsating potency driving the tidal force of the lunation. Fortunately, the quality of time governed by Venus with the golden mean found within the five petaled form of her solar cycle brings the magical intersection of Eros and Necessity front and center for us to face and reflect within.

Ankh amulet

Ankh Amulet (1070–332 BCE)

Venus and the Sun are also forming a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and are also in process of moving from a union with Chiron into conjunctions with Ceres in Aries that will occur later in the week. Chiron is the Wise Mentor while Ceres is the Great Mother and together they reveal the intrinsic relationship between grief and loss with the courage needed to cultivate productive growth and abundance. The lunation is especially focalized upon Chiron, however, with Chiron forming a conjunction with the Sun at the same time the Full Moon is happening. The union of Chiron with Venus and the Sun will take us to the depths of whatever internal blocks or wounds are presently in the way of us more fully actualizing our creative potential. At the same time, Chiron will be speaking to the importance of tending to the mystery of internal spaces that source our external expression, rather than insisting we know what is best while focusing completely on external achievement. Chiron advises to listen and relate to the vibrant meaning found within the vast realm of visible and invisible nature surrounding us.

During the past year of the global pandemic, longstanding issues of societal oppression and social injustice were forced into the awareness of greater numbers of people who for whatever reason had previously not been paying as much attention to them. At the same time, the same attention given to issues of societal oppression also provoked polarized conflict with groups of people who do not wish to see a radical reshaping of reforms brought to societal institutions on behalf of reparation. The present and forthcoming astrology does not suggest any end to polarized conflict, but the connection of the Full Moon to Chiron as well as Ceres in Aries does highlight the importance of deep contemplation and conversation regarding the intersection between our own identities with the wider network of oppression found within societal hierarchies of power. The work of Dr. Bayo Akomolafe is resonate with the placement of Chiron here, as he has said that decolonial emancipation is not the work of struggling with what is, but a place of occupying what we are becoming. As Dr. Akomolafe has taught, there is an importance of contemplating our circumstances so we do not react in ways that reinforce the very systems of societal oppression we wish to change. 

Chiron bridges the realms of Saturn and Uranus within its orbit, and when it is in Aries it is in the part of its orbit when it travels to the outer reaches of Uranus away from Saturn. The presence of Chiron with the Full Moon is essential for mediating whatever events and experiences have been happening in correspondence with the waning square aspect between Saturn and Uranus. The last quarter square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus is the dominant astrological theme of the year, and the Libra Full Moon is in a flowing trine to Saturn in its exaltation while also in an uncomfortable quincunx aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Yet both the Full Moon as well as Uranus are in the domicile of Venus who is forming a conjunction with both the Sun and Chiron. The clash between Saturn and Uranus can dislodge us from wherever we have felt secure and stable in the past, while simultaneously opening spectacles of increased authenticity and freedom beyond the present confines of our circumstances. The presence of Chiron with the Full Moon can help in sitting with whatever has been stirred up and discerning the path forward. 

Evocation, from the series Brahmsphantasie, Opus XII, no, 2 (1894) by Max Klinger

The Full Moon is also in the bounds of Mercury, with Mercury applying closely to a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces where Venus is exalted. This marks the second lunation in a row featuring a major activation of Neptune: while the New Moon in Pisces that began the present lunar cycle involved Venus applying closely to a conjunction with Neptune and the New Moon barely separating from Neptune, the Full Moon that now illuminates the meaning of the current cycle involves Neptune being activated by Mercury. While Neptune may dissolve the usual boundaries and focusing instruments of Mercury within its oceanic expanse, Mercury brings its gifts with language, divination, and analysis to the mysterious realm of Neptune.

The union of Mercury with Neptune under the light of the Full Moon can be potent when using any form of divination to illuminate the meaning of the present relational and creative story cycles beginning and ending under the auspices of Venus beginning a new solar cycle. Immersion in nature through exploration of one’s local or surrounding habitat can also provide opportunities for finding meaning through noticing the multiplicitous relationships amongst the surrounding beings within nature. Mercury combined with Neptune can also be powerful for receiving significant messages through dreams as well as deciphering them more creatively with active imagination rather than dry analysis. Mercury with Neptune wants us to utilize our imagination for inspired research and creative output that transcends the limits of materialist perspectives that do not recognize we are embedded within living universes.

At the same time, the fact that the present lunar cycle began with a conjunction between Venus and Neptune and now has a Full Moon featuring a conjunction between Mercury and Neptune also means discernment will be important to apply to whatever dreams and visions have been emerging. Some may be available and some unavailable within present circumstances, so we will need to draw from the inspiration of the unavailable to bring greater inspiration and imagination to what we can do with what is available within our current circumstances. 

2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

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

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

It is further notable that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra. As the Erinyes are chthonic goddesses who serve natural law and punish transgressors, the first face of Libra is a place of becoming aware of previously hidden evidence that reveals inequities.  While it is possible that those who have been extremely out of balance will  be facing a karmic reckoning, all of us will need to come to terms with the hidden unconscious material being stirred and awakened by the Full Moon opposing the union of Venus with the Sun. If you are feeling the festering of the Furies within, the fiery union of Venus with the Sun can help purify and release their toxic components while facilitating a coming to terms with the deeper meaning found within our own shadow. May the light of the Full Moon illuminate whatever has come out of balance we need to bring into balance, helping us create the stillness of space needed to contemplate matters deeply.

References

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

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

New Moon in Pisces

New Moon in Pisces

The New Moon in Pisces on March 13 will serve as an expansive container for imaginal activation and revisioning the way forward. Pisces is a boundless sign of nocturnal water, providing the lunation a moist environment ideal for sinking into embodiment of whatever sense of soulfulness has been stirred up recently. The underwater zodiacal terrain of Pisces can blur and erode the places we have been fixated with certainty, nurturing intuitive flexibility in how to adapt in alignment with the flow of changing dynamics. Yet the capacity of Pisces for bending boundaries and remaining open to new influences is not about fickleness, for Pisces can sustain faith in its vision against all odds and challenges that arise with surprising strength and determination. The undulating rhythm of the New Moon in Pisces favors slowing things down to fully absorb surrounding influences and feel into what aspects of plans and perspectives need to be washed away, realizing the essential pearl of meaning to continue forming and shaping within.

The New Moon in Pisces is separating from a conjunction with Venus and Neptune in Pisces and applying to a harmonious sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. The astrological movements surrounding the Pisces New Moon in mid March are less volatile and overwhelming than they were a month ago, creating an opportune time for contemplating all of the deep seated material that has been stirred up, collected and gathered in our mind and body over the past year of a global pandemic that has affected all of us in one way or another. The New Moon at 23º03′ Pisces is not only forming a constructive sextile aspect with the present placement of Pluto in Capricorn, it is also forming a sextile to the degree of the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto that formed last year on January 12, 2020. At the bottom of the oceanic expanse of the New Moon are buried gems of purposeful vision that the subterranean senses of Pluto may detect. Sink down into what the Moon, Venus, and Neptune may discover and retrieve under the waves of the fertile lunation.

2021 began with the thrust and chaotic volatility of a new era of Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions in tropical air signs spiraling outwards. Whatever new ideas, plans, and projects have been incubating since then will be able to be more readily developed and creatively expressed during the course of the lunar cycle ahead. Indeed, the Full Moon in Libra that will occur on March 28 will provide a catalytic impetus to push forward with significant development on the ideas and plans we have been formulating. In contrast, the New Moon in Pisces is less suited for action and more in accord with deep dreaming akin to taking a long luxurious bath wrapped up in our own thoughts, fantasies, and ruminations.

by Gustave Le Gray (1856/57)

Neptune in Pisces is at center stage of the lunation. The New Moon is separating from Neptune within three degrees, with Venus applying within one degree of an exact conjunction with Neptune during the moment that the Moon unites with the Sun. The influence of Neptune can lull us into a trance, and while in some cases this can lead to confusion and ungrounded decisions, the billowing bliss of Neptune can also sensitize perception to the divine life force pulsating through our material circumstances. Neptune can open a portal to other-worlds, like a diversion into a faerie realm where we become absorbed with the non ordinary rather than the routine. From the outside being seized by Neptune may seem unproductive, like a procrastinating paralysis, yet the imaginal insight that can be revealed under the waves of Neptune can become incomparable treasure once brought back to dry land.

With Venus closely applying to Neptune as the New Moon forms, we will encounter the strange solutions and numinous notes of Neptune within our relationships and creative expression. The conjunction between Venus and Neptune in Pisces on March 13 will be the ninth time they have united in the exaltation of Venus since their first conjunction in Pisces on February 28, 2013. Neptune dissolves the boundaries of Venus in her exaltation of Pisces, functioning like an oceanic chariot pulled by brilliant dolphins and seabirds carrying the star of Aphrodite blissfully high above the turbulent waves below. Venus is in fact soaring toward a union with the Sun that will come at the end of the month, with the fiery rays of the Sun burning off what needs to be purged and shed from her past cycle. The influence of Neptune upon Venus can help bridge what previously felt like an uncrossable impasse, dissolving the complexity of problems so that the essential issue in need of addressing reveals itself.

Venus is wrapped up in dreams and mystery within the darkness of the New Moon in Pisces, undergoing a secretive metamorphosis away from the light of day. From the New Moon on March 13 until Venus forms its superior conjunction with the Sun on March 25 at 5º50′ Aries, Venus will be in the process of ending a cycle and so we may need to focus on laying to rest and resolving older issues rather than initiating something new. Yet the storylines ready to burst open with the new cycle of Venus may already be building and deeply felt, and so we may simultaneously find ourselves beginning to embark on exciting new creative directions at the same time we may experience a cathartic release of old patterns. With the Moon increasing in light, waxing into the blossoming of the Full Moon on March 28 at the same time Venus is ending and beginning a cycle, it will be an especially illuminating period for deep patterns related to Venus in your life.

The Morning Star phase of Venus ending now began last June when Venus emerged into visibility before sunrise during her retrograde phase in Gemini after forming her inferior conjunction with the Sun on June 3. The full arc of the cycle Venus is closing now can be traced back to the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus on August 13, 2019 at 21º11′ Leo. However, if you wish to dig into the five pointed star timing of the synodic cycle of Venus, you may also wish to consider the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus in Aries eight years ago on March 28, 2013 at 8º10′ Aries for patterns of your story beginning and ending then that could relate to now. There was also a conjunction between Venus with the Sun in Aries four years ago on March 25, 2017 at 4º57′ Aries, but Venus was retrograde then and so it was a different phase of her cycle than now.

Horus

Jupiter in Aquarius rules the New Moon in Pisces, but is in the twelfth place from the lunation and not forming any aspect with the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter’s lack of a major aspect to the lunation will craft a liminal atmosphere that amplifies the influence of Venus uniting with Neptune. It’s as if Jupiter in Aquarius is away on pilgrimage or sabbatical, removed in contemplative isolation or immersive travel from the fantastical festivities taking place in its home of Pisces. Once the Moon is waxing in light in Aries it will form a sextile with Jupiter on March 15, making the first aspect between the Moon and Jupiter within the new lunar cycle.

Jupiter is at the beginning of its solar cycle, freshly emerging into the sky each day before dawn, heralding sunrise along with Saturn and Mercury. The triple alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury in the sky before sunrise recently has been a stunning visual symbol for the renewal and creative potency available as Jupiter and Saturn bring forth the new movements emanating from their union on the Capricorn solstice. The forthcoming lunar cycle is ideal for making strident effort to develop and move forward with whatever ideas have been gestating, as the Full Moon in Libra on March 28 will be applying closely to a flowing trine with Saturn in Aquarius as well as a trine with Jupiter in Aquarius.

Mercury in Aquarius is moving fast in its explorative Morning Star phase, carrying forward the insight and information it gathered from an extended period of time it spent in proximity with Jupiter in Aquarius. Mercury has been in Aquarius since January 8 and formed its first conjunction with Jupiter on January 11, its second conjunction with Jupiter while retrograde on February 14, and its third and final conjunction with Jupiter on March 4. Mercury will speed through the final degrees of Aquarius in the days following the New Moon, not forming any major aspects with other planets until entering Pisces on March 15, at which point it will begin applying toward a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus.

Mercury in Aquarius combines the fluid volatility of air with a fixated focus that inventively cultivates enduring forms and covers the ground needed to bring work to completion. Though the massive pileup of planets in Aquarius in February could have felt overwhelming in whatever aspect of life they impacted for you, the capacity of Mercury for mediating polarity and holding tension means that ultimately it was a gift for Mercury to spend so long digging into the complexity of issues stirred up by the gathering of planets in Aquarius. Mercury reached maximum elongation as a Morning Star on March 6 and is now in a phase in which we can implement whatever realizations and revelations we gathered during its period of being retrograde in February.

In addition to forming a collaborative sextile aspect with Uranus on March 21, upon entering Pisces Mercury will also begin applying toward a catalytic square aspect with Mars in Gemini that will become exact on March 23. This means that Mercury will now begin investigating the disruptive influences that Mars and Uranus have been playing this year in relation to the new narratives initiated by Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. The sextile between Mercury and Uranus can feel like an emancipatory breakthrough in projects and plans that experienced delay or needed repair during February. Mars is in the airy home of Mercury, and so the fact that Mercury will be receiving Mars will bring more opportunities for constructively applying the fiery and frenzied force of Mars in Gemini to the imaginal visions gathered by Mercury in Pisces.

Complicating matters will be the additional factor of Mars applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and Mercury applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes at the same time they form their exact square aspect with one another. Information warfare within global politics as well as extreme verbal combat within social media platforms could be one manifestation, but there will be an especially important emphasis placed upon the relationship all of us have with technology and the flooding of information and viewpoints through the technological screens it is commonplace to now carry everywhere. We will be well served by prioritizing our use of time so we are not needlessly distracted and can instead utilize the blazing speed and insatiable curiosity of Mars in Gemini to make significant progress on plans and projects. Yet we will have to navigate extreme tidal forces and tumultuous air currents as Mars approaches its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in the days surrounding March 26 through March 28.

Fishing Boats at Choshi in Shimosa from “One Thousand Pictures of the Ocean” (1833:34) by Katsushika Hokusai

Around the same time that Mercury completes its sextile with Uranus and square with Mars, the red planet will soar out of bounds in northern declination to an extreme height in the sky. Mars out of bounds in Gemini truly knows no bounds in its pursuit of information and desire to communicate its discoveries. While we will need to find ways to bring balance and grounding into our daily routines, the wild nature of Mars out of bounds in Gemini can lead to the kind of inventive solutions and unorthodox creativity that may be exactly what we need. Mars will remain out of bounds in Gemini until April 23, and then will continue being out of bounds in Cancer until May 24; as a result, the propulsive force of Mars out of bounds will be something we will need to get used to.

Fortunately, Mars in Gemini will also be applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius it will complete on March 21 followed by an empowering trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius it will engage for an extended period of time and not complete until April 16. Previously in January, Mars in Taurus united with Uranus while causing problems and forcing movement and reactions from the issues related to Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. In contrast, Mars is now out of aspect with Uranus and forming aspects with Saturn and Jupiter that can be utilized constructively and productively. While the massive breakdowns and breakthroughs constellated by the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus will continue to be an underlying theme during the rest of the year, Mars in Gemini in the weeks ahead will be in position to make rapid responses to address issues stirred up by Saturn and Uranus. If we can maintain our own sense of balance with Mars in Gemini, it can also play a liberating role in catalyzing development of the larger inspirations and visions we have been forming within our minds in recent months.

It’s also worth considering that Mars is receiving the conjunction forming between Ceres and Chiron in Aries on March 13 through a harmonious sextile aspect. Mars will then form an exact sextile with Chiron on March 17 and an exact sextile with Ceres on March 25. Ceres and Chiron will form their exact conjunction at 7°56′ Aries, close to the degree in Aries where Venus will form its superior conjunction with the Sun on March 25. Within the darkness of the Pisces New Moon, Ceres and Chiron will be ritually preparing and purifying the space where Venus will be reanimated by the Sun. The receptive sextile between Mars with Ceres and Chiron can spark courageous action in protecting and tending to those in need in our community and environment, with Mars in Gemini supporting those willing to speak out and take a stand for justice when necessary. Ceres and Chiron can utilize the unorthodox inventiveness of Mars in Gemini and its capacity for multi-tasking to find ways of bringing resources that can help nurture and activate the agency of those who have felt marginalized or on the outskirts of dominant cultural networks.

With Ceres and Chiron also forming a constructive sextile aspect with Saturn in Aquarius in addition to the sextile they will form with Mars in Gemini, the New Moon in Pisces can also be potent for those healing ancestral wounds as well as ways their own experience of growing up in family and cultural systems have created issues in their ability to form healthy attachments and connections with others. After Ceres begins to separate from Chiron, Venus will renew her cycle with the Sun on March 25 within three degrees of Chiron. Three days later there will be a Full Moon in Libra on March 28 that will form an opposition with Venus, Chiron, and the Sun in Aries. Chiron in Aries is the wise mentor focused on clearing the issues getting in the way of us claiming our authority to live authentically even if it means departing from working and serving within established power structures. As the Moon waxes toward fullness in the forthcoming lunar cycle, we will shift away from the deep visioning of Pisces into the creative actualization of Aries. Whatever internal or external issues we need to tend that are getting in the way of following our essential path and embodying our purpose will be revealed by the strong activation of Chiron in the coming lunar cycle.

Pisces 3 Decan

10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

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

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

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

The  burning desire pulsating through the third decan of Pisces, its grandiose dreams of ecstatic bliss as well as the agony of loss that comes from the failure to materialize dreams all fit well with the fact that Mars is the ruler of this decan. Along these lines its further compelling that the New Moon’s proximity with Neptune is demarcating the establishment of Neptune in the final decan of Pisces for the rest of Neptune’s journey through Pisces that will last until 2025. While Neptune spent part of 2020 in the very beginning of the third face of Pisces, Neptune will spend the entirety of the next four years within this face. As a result, the New Moon in Pisces is ideal for putting you in contact with the inner visions and desires driving your conscious action from unconscious sources. May the darkness of the New Moon in Pisces aid in deepening your relationship with the inner images, patterns, and desires that have been shaping your external goals in the greater world.

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References

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

Full Moon in Virgo

Beatrice (1897) by Odilon Redon

Full Moon in Virgo

The Full Moon in Virgo on February 27 serves as a lighthouse guiding us from a period of great volatility and tumultuous rupturing toward a restorative shore. The light of the Sun reflected from the Moon in Virgo will accentuate a sensual attuning to the deep changes underway and emerging processes at work. No matter what trouble or difficulties you have had to endure recently, it will be essential to stay with the processes underway to see where they lead, altering navigation and changing the ways you are participating within dynamics as needed. The polarity between Virgo and Pisces serves transitions and liminal passages, possessing facility for mixing together insight from our past with discerning guidance into where our path is heading into the future. Make whatever space is available for deepening into the changes of the past month, sifting through shifting feelings and the nostalgia of what is passing away as you turn toward what is entering your life and arising anew.

The Full Moon is separating from a trine with Uranus in Taurus and applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces. The Virgo Moon is also applying toward a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes at their northern bending, placing the lunation at the midpoint between the eclipses of December and the ones that will be coming in May and June.  With Uranus forming a flowing trine with the Virgo Moon and a harmonizing sextile aspect with the Sun in Pisces, there can be an exciting reception of inspiring vision regarding future potential as well as insightful revelations regarding how to deal with present challenges. Yet we need to also take account of our dreams with grounded awareness that will enable our imagination to discover creative solutions and innovations that will make a practical, tangible impact within our current circumstances. There can be an experience of forward momentum unleashed that can create meaningful progress and results in the month ahead as long as we do not become unrealistic about available resources and relational dynamics.

Before the Moon forms its opposition with Neptune it will unite with Vesta retrograde in Virgo. Vesta is separating from an extended opposition with Neptune that has been in effect for months, as Vesta formed its first opposition with Neptune while direct on December 20 and its second while retrograde on February 9. The meeting between Vesta with the Moon on February 27 can help in focusing with devotion on the work and interpersonal relationships we wish to prioritize. Since we are in the middle of so many large scale collective changes as well as dramatic personal shifts, it can feel overwhelming to orient within it all especially with so much accumulated grief from the lingering pandemic impacting us. The Full Moon with Vesta can help in centering as much as possible within a period of time full of immense decentering and deconstruction. For some it may be necessary to get extra rest and relaxation for restorative recovery, while for others it may be necessary to become more active in bringing certain tasks to completion. Let Vesta guide you toward whatever needs to be prioritized so that you do not waste time and effort on inessential and unnecessary distractions.

And Another Angel Came Out of the Temple Which is in Heaven, and He Also Having a Sharp Sickle (1899) by Odilon Redon

Mercury in Aquarius rules the Full Moon as a Morning Star visible before sunrise along with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Mercury stationed direct a week before the Full Moon on February 20 and is presently generating forward momentum as it applies toward a conjunction with Jupiter that will become exact on March 4. As Mercury moves forward for the third time through Aquarius (it first entered the degree it is occupying at the Full Moon on January 16) we will be in position to craft inventive solutions to issues we have been confronting for the past month and a half. Mercury traveling with Jupiter through Aquarius can envision longterm plans and facilitate important decisions that will have enduring consequences. While the groundbreaking changes brought by 2021 are far from over, the week following the Full Moon is an especially fruitful time for reorienting and revisioning the direction forward.

Mercury is at 13°01′ Aquarius during the lunation, and so is not forming a traditional aspect with the degree of the Full Moon at 8°57′ Virgo. However, the Virgo Moon is in an otherworldly seventh harmonic with Mercury and later in the day the Moon will form a quincunx aspect with Mercury. Moreover, the Full Moon is forming a close quincunx aspect with Saturn at 8°17′ Aquarius. There is no common ground between Aquarius (diurnal, fixed, air) and Virgo (nocturnal, mutable, earth) and so the strange connections between the Full Moon with Mercury and Saturn is illuminating material out of the direct line of sight of the planets in Aquarius. Since the lunation is forming a propulsive trine aspect with Uranus, we may receive far reaching visions of potential that feel beyond our present scope to manifest and materialize. Although we may realize certain inspiring dreams are currently beyond our capacity to create, we can continue to incubate ideas in our imagination while finding ways to experiment with bringing smaller aspects of larger visions into reality.

With Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn visible in pre-dawn skies and increasing in light, we will have opportunities during the waning half of the lunar cycle to make productive steps in developing whatever new ideas have been germinating since the seeds of the great conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter were planted a couple of months ago.  You may notice greater clarity emerging regarding the visions that have been swirling within without taking definite shape. The astrology of the month ahead is not as volatile as it has been since Saturn and Jupiter formed their conjunction, and so it will be an ideal time for making forward progress while continuing to deepen in imaginal engagement with larger goals we can develop that can have far reaching impact within our own lives as well as in the wider community.

Fisher King by Leonora Carrington

Fisher King by Leonora Carrington

Within the light of the Full Moon, Venus in Pisces is applying towards a conjunction with the Sun that will eventually occur on March 26. Venus will spend the next month traveling close behind the Sun, rising and setting under the beams of solar radiance as it remains invisible from view.  Although combust under the burning rays of the Sun, Venus presently has protection due to not only being in its exaltation and triplicity, but also its own bounds. Venus will remain in its bounds until March 3, lending extra potency to Venus during the same time that Mercury is applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter. With Venus possessing a lot of essential dignity while traversing the underworld, there will be deep reservoirs of imaginal resources to access and explore creatively in the week following the Virgo Full Moon.

Vitally, Venus and the Sun will be applying toward conjunctions with Neptune in Pisces during the waning half of the lunar cycle. The Sun will form a conjunction with Neptune on March 10 followed by Venus uniting with Neptune on March 13, the same day as the upcoming New Moon in Pisces. Venus and the Sun ending and beginning new cycles with Neptune within days of one another will create a quality of time vastly different than the recent period in which Venus and the Sun passed through conjunctions with Saturn in Aquarius. The combination of the Sun, Venus, and Neptune within the oceanic realm of Pisces may dissolve and wash any anxiety or emotional overwhelm constellated by the large gathering of planets in Aquarius during February. During the first two weeks of March we can sink into the soulfulness of our senses, finding ways to nourish emotional needs and nurture the imaginative ideas we have been gathering and gestating.

Running Horned Woman, (6,000-4,000 B.C.E.) Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria

Ceres recently entered Aries on February 20 and will be applying toward a conjunction with Chiron in Aries during the waning half of the lunar cycle. Ceres will form a conjunction with Chiron at 7°56′ Aries on March 13, the same day as the New Moon in Pisces. The mythology of both Chiron and Ceres involves sacrifice, with the sacrifice of Chiron resulting in the liberation of Prometheus and the sacrifice of Ceres resulting in her daughter Persephone claiming rulership in the underworld as well as bringing the mystery initiations to the upperworld of humanity. Ceres and Chiron in astrology also can relate to both core wounds and grief we carry, abandonment and attachment issues we must work through to form healthy relationships, as well as profound capacity for being creatively productive in ways that can bring vital resources to others. Ceres and Chiron together in Aries can foster resilience in following an unorthodox path even when we fear it could lead to us being rejected or misunderstood by others.

In the fiery, cardinal sign of Aries both Ceres and Chiron will be empowered to take action and will be pleased when we go after what we want and determinedly makes things happen. Ceres in Aries has a mothering style focused upon fostering interdependence rather than dependence, tending to needs in ways that will animate a sense of sovereignty and nurture capacity for creatively self-actualizing one’s purpose. If we have been feeling wounded or angry due recent changes that have been occurring, find ways to regenerate just like Ceres in myth did in river currents so that you may regain your ability to productively make change happen in your surroundings. If you feel you are lacking agency in certain areas of your life, make an effort to actively seek the support you need through resources within your relationships or wider community.

While the last time Ceres entered Aries was on 14 April 2016, the last time Ceres and Chiron were together in Aries was in 1975 when they formed a conjunction on April 20, 1975. The last time that Ceres formed a conjunction with Chiron in any sign was on March 24, 2016 at 21°50′ Pisces; there was also a Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8, 2016 that was separating from Ceres closely and applying closely to Chiron. It will be revealing to reflect upon what parts of yourself Ceres and Chiron have nurtured into development over the course of their past cycle.

8 of Pentacles

8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

The Full Moon in Virgo arises in the first decan of Virgo associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Eight of Pentacles a craftsman is fully engrossed with his art, concentrating with full attention and focus in the moment. This image evokes the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts. Coppock noted the significance of the “humility” present in the Eight of Pentacles image, writing that “the old apprentice represents a willingness to put away pride and submit instead to the demands of the craft itself.”

The Sun and Mercury are the rulers of the first face of Virgo, pointing toward a potent animistic capacity for relating to the spirit of the land within this face. Indeed, Austin Coppock described the first decan of Virgo as essentially being connected with watching, listening, and tending to the creative processes of Nature rather than imposing or forcing one’s will “rashly.” Both the Picatrix as well as Three Books of Occult Philosophy give agricultural images to this face involving sowing, plowing, and gathering a harvest and wealth. The chthonic nature of this face is further shown in the image found within Liber Hermetis of “a serpent put together awry” whose “head is the likeness of the Moon.” Coppock wrote that the first face of Virgo invites us “into the mysteries of incarnation . . . the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe.” While Coppock noted the first decan of Virgo involves “humility” at a core level, “it results in works of surprising glory.”

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the Titaness Themis, the divine embodiment of order and natural law, to the first face of Virgo.  To Coppock, the presence of Themis in the first decan of Virgo is significant in relation to “mindfulness” and “observance of divine law,” as Themis spoke with the voice of the Earth from her seat at the Oracle of Delphi. In some stories Themis built the Oracle of Delphi, whereas in others she received it from Gaia before passing it on to Apollo. The divine order of Themis found within the first face of Virgo carries the gravitas of oracles and weighs matters on her scales in accordance with divine, natural law rather than the regulations constructed by humans. In the ancient Greek play Prometheus Bound, Themis is none other than the mother of Prometheus and the one who gave him his gift of foreknowledge. Approach the insights received during the Virgo Full Moon with the humility you would bring to deciphering an omen. Under the radiant light of the Moon, let the sword of Themis cut through confusion so that you may come into deeper relationship with the creative process you need to tend and nurture in the month ahead.

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

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

Light in Heavy (1929) by Wassily Kandinsky

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

Every person is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.

— from “The Half-Finished Heaven” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

Mercury is a friend to humanity, albeit a tricky guide who enjoys sleight of hand and cunning words that catch us off guard. In astrology, when Mercury pauses in motion to change direction it’s necessary to be mindful with focused curiosity that can intuit the emerging issues that need our attention. The airy terrain of Aquarius will provide contrasting wind currents for Mercury to ride, sometimes forcing us in certain directions out of necessity, at other times opening an expansive vision that simultaneously draws from our well of memory while seeing new pathways to follow into the future.

Mercury is the most changeable planet, and when stationing retrograde shifts from its fleet footed pace when direct into intensifying stillness that calls for introspection. As Mercury begins its slow, churning backward motion it pulls us into a quality of time aligned with dissolution, purification, and regeneration. Rather than insisting on controlling outcomes to push forward, we need to surrender to the changes in storylines and meaning delivered by Mercury when retrograde. Although we may at times become disoriented by destabilizing dynamics, if we listen closely we will hear the guidance we need from Hermes and discover a gleaming gem of realization left where only we may find it.

Following the stationing of Mercury on January 30 at 26°29’ Aquarius, the star of Hermes will spend twenty-two days backtracking through the sign of the Water Bearer until stationing direct at 11°01’ Aquarius on February 20. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from eleven to twenty-seven degrees of Aquarius, it will excavate material that we need to deepen our engagement with, returning our perception to issues we need to release, rework, or reintegrate. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification, we may gain a rejuvenated presence and felt sense of renewal on the other side. Mercury first crossed 11°01’ Aquarius on January 15 and will not move beyond 26°29’ Aquarius until March 12, creating two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

In addition to changing speed and direction while retrograde, Mercury also transitions from being visible as an evening star in twilight into an invisible phase during which it comes closest to us in orbit and amplifies its impact in our life. In between the descent of Mercury into darkness and its eventual re-emergence into light as a morning star heralding sunrise, Mercury’s underworld journey demarcates a threshold we must cross into our own liminal passage of descent and internal processing. While we always need to attune and adjust to changes emerging from internal and external sources during the three weeks Mercury is retrograde, the period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius in 2021 will be taking place during a collective time of immeasurably immense transition and liminality in global events.

During Mercury’s retrograde movement the Sun, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will all be gathered together with Mercury in Aquarius like a grouping of clouds whose shaping and reshaping brings new realizations of our past and new inspiration for our way forward. We are still coming to terms collectively with the systemic shifts emanating from the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, with disruption and volatility continuing to increase in correlation with the first exact square aspect formed between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus on February 17. Since Aquarius is a zodiacal sign that connects the known with the unknown, as Mercury moves back to reconnect with Jupiter and Saturn we will be given the opportunity to realign and recalibrate with the rapidly developing movements, accelerated growth, and sudden collapses within societal systems that have been taking place. 

Explorador Piloto (1960) by Remedios Varo

Through a backdoor in the landscape
the magpie arrives,
black and white, bird of the death-goddess.
A blackbird flies back and forth
until the whole scene becomes a charcoal drawing,
except for the white clothes on the line:
a Palestrina choir.

The whole universe is full!

— from “Morning Bird Songs” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

The significance of Mercury, Venus, the Sun, and Jupiter all joining Saturn in its home of Aquarius cannot be overstated. Since this great gathering of wandering stars in Aquarius will also be forming a sign-based square aspect with Mars and Uranus in Taurus, we can expect it to be an especially disruptive and unstable period of Mercury retrograde. Especially during the first two weeks when Mars and Mercury will be more intensely engaged in a square aspect, we will need to navigate the stereotypical breakdowns in technology and communication emphasized in popular astrology. Yet due to Saturn being rooted in its airy home of Aquarius the entire time,  we will be able to lean on the endurance, slowly pondering analysis, and special skills in deconstruction and reconstruction possessed by the ringed star of Cronus. 

It’s further notable that Mercury is the nocturnal ruler of air signs and shares an affinity with the air element in being mobile, flexible, versatile, and facile in communication. The slow, intensified nature of Mercury when retrograde can be excellent for in-depth research, and so it can be a fruitful time for poring over reading material or penetrating deeper into learning within fields of interest. The flexibility of consciousness that Mercury brings to the potent contemplation of Saturn in Aquarius will also be beneficial in critically examining media sources as well as separating true revelation from false conspiracy on social media and elsewhere. In particular, it will be a powerful time for shedding outdated mental frameworks and thought patterns that no longer align with the changing wind of the time.

The fixed nature of Aquarius means that the changes brought into our life through the deluge of planets in Aquarius may slowly take shape in some cases but will create long lasting impact. Since Aquarius is a human sign connected with the relationship between humans with one another in our vast network of intersecting societal constructions, humanitarian concerns will take precedence. The numerous crises impacting people around the world in relation to the global pandemic as well as the collapse of formerly reliable structures means that it’s simply going to take a long time to find the needed solutions and work through the difficulties involved in reform and repair. Bring patience and willingness to persist in problem solving into the passage of Mercury retrograde, and by the end of it you will likely find new insights to apply to issues and new pathways to follow forward. 

As we continue to orient with the new era of air initiated by the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, we can utilize the three weeks of Mercury retrograde to notice synchronicities and discover revelations in connection with all forms of air symbolism. One realm will be in the use of language itself, rethinking how we use language to communicate. With the tension from Mars and Uranus to the gathering of Aquarius planets there will continue to be cultural battles over the use of language and the ways we tell our collective stories of humanity, with escalating conflict swirling like whirlwinds. In verbal conflicts of any sort, the mediation offered by Mercury retrograde is to pause, slow down, and rethink your perspective, finding ways to de-escalate discord so that a bridge between view points can be made.

Within our personal relationships, we will also have opportunities for uncovering ways to more directly express the heart of the matter through our choice in words. As the living symbolism of Aquarius involves how humans draw from sources of spirit within earthly matters, one constant intersection is in how we express the flight of our thoughts through language. As Dr. Mervat Nasser wrote in Hermopolis, “the Egyptian alphabet took the shape of birds that were seen as capable of flying high into the sky to mediate between the knowledge of heaven and earth, between god and humanity.” 

We may also gain insight through the appearance of airy omens and signs, whether they appear through images soaring through our mind when asleep or through the flight patterns of birds within our waking time in nature. Just like Owen Barfield emphasized in Saving the Appearances, rather than forming an “I-it” relationship with nature in which we desire to observe the beautiful flight of birds separate from ourselves, we can instead seek to learn what we can understand about ourselves from the sudden appearance of a Blue Heron or Peregrine Falcon along our path. There is a depth of symbolic insight accessible when Mercury is retrograde that can be more nonlinear and intuitive than linearly logical.

When possible it will be worthwhile to spend time with the muses of your creativity while Mercury is retrograde, as the gathering of planets in Aquarius making creative tension with Mars and Uranus can lead to breakthrough ideas and important brainstorms that dislodge you from a formerly stuck position. In myth the Muses were known as the daughters of Mnemosyne (memory) and Zeus (creative divine mind), and so with Jupiter and Venus both present in Aquarius with Mercury we may draw from streams of memories in the creation of new expressions and thought forms. According to Tim Addey, who drew upon the work of Plato in his book The Seven Myths of the Soul, engaging in arts and sciences requires both creative thought and “the memory of our pre-terrestial vision of the celestial realm.” To Addey, this creative process can put us in touch with a sense of morality drawn down from the spirit of stars above, a rather Aquarian process as ethics are an important ideal for Aquarius:

“The theory of reminiscence is Plato’s explanation of why we as human beings are able to recognize abstract, universal and spiritual truths, such as justice, beauty, and goodness: it is because the soul once possessed this knowledge..but forgotten when she descended into the world of matter; the soul’s activities in arts and sciences helps her remember it.”  – Tim Addey, The Seven Myths of the Soul

odilon redon pilgrim from a sublunar world

Pilgrim from a Sublunar World (1891) by Odilon Redon

. . . Oh, but just beyond that,
behind the last of the billboards, plastered with signs for “Deathless,”
that bitter beer which tastes sweet to those drinking it
as long as they have fresh distractions to chew . . . ,
just beyond those boards, just on the other side: things are real.
Children play, lovers hold each other, off in the shadows,
pensive, on the meager grass, while dogs obey nature.
The youth is drawn farther on; perhaps he’s fallen in love
with a young Lament . . . . . He pursues her, enters meadowland. She says:
“It’s a long way. We live out there . . .”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Venus and Mercury will both be entering the underworld together within the first few days of Mercury being retrograde, meaning that both the Mercury and Venus aspects of our life will begin to enter a phase of putrefaction and decomposition. However, while Mercury will be stationing retrograde to descend from visibility as an evening star in the west at sunset, Venus will be disappearing from view as a morning star in the east at sunrise; while Mercury will be moving slowly through the zodiac backwards in between our orbit with the Sun, Venus will be moving fast and direct on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit.

Soon after disappearing under the beams of the Sun, Venus will run straight into the unsettling square aspect being formed between Saturn and Uranus. On February 5 there will be a conjunction of Venus with Saturn in Aquarius followed by square between Venus and Uranus in Taurus on February 6. As a result, the increasingly purgative phase of Mercury being retrograde that leads up to its union with the Sun on February 8 will also involve a cathartic process of Venus setting off the friction building between Saturn and Uranus. Just as Mercury will be increasingly burning off material built up from its last union with the Sun on December 19, so will Mercury also help us shed and release aspects of the issues being volatilized by Venus engaging with Saturn and Uranus. 

To dig deeper into the meaning of the aspects we need to remember that Venus will be in the home of Saturn when they unite on February 5, followed by Venus having a catalyzing encounter with Uranus who will be in the earthy home of Venus. While potentially disruptive there is also more potential for integration due to astrological reception being involved in the aspect sequence. The union of Saturn with Venus can bring a sobering view of reality, coming into contact with the confines of our circumstantial context. Yet the airy nature of Aquarius can help move with the emancipatory impulse from Uranus that can push desires to break free from present restrictions.

Fundamentally, the sequence of Venus moving from Saturn into Uranus combined with Mercury undergoing its own regenerative process of purification will create opportunities to deepen into the ways in which our values are being reshaped and reforged during a period of great collective transition. If we have been unconsciously letting go of old ideals and desires, as Mercury approaches its union with the Sun on February 8 we can begin discovering ways to embody the ways in which our values are undergoing a process of renewal and rejuvenation. Yet before full embodiment will be possible, we will need to come into greater clarity and realization of the ways in which our known understanding is transfiguring into unknown, emerging potential.

Across time the myth of Prometheus has been increasingly connected to the meaning of Uranus in astrology, perhaps most notably by Rick Tarnas. Within the Uranian themes of emancipation, innovation, invention, and rebellious individuality in the story of Prometheus, there are also lessons centered around the hubris of humanity. When we are struck by Uranus in astrology, we may ask ourselves what we have been creating with the divine gift of fire, what we most wish to bring to civilization, and what we most wish to awaken in ourselves and others. Just as Prometheus knowingly sacrificed his boundless nature to be chained to an earthly rock as punishment for delivering the gift of fire to humanity, so do we need to find ways to ground the searing visions of Uranus into our material forms with awareness of its repercussions across our world.  As Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul wrote, “The mystic’s initiation into the mysteries of Prometheus is the voluntary acceptance of the limitations of matter, not its rejection.”

Whatever innovative ideas, clarifying insights, and new desires are gathered by Venus moving across Saturn and Uranus will be brought into the conjunction that will form between Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius on February 11, the same day as the New Moon in Aquarius. While this will be a period in which to come into deeper contact with the new visions gestating within, we will first experience the reanimation of Mercury with the Sun on February 8.

Vision by Odilon Redon

Vision (1895/97) by Odilon Redon

Task: to be where I am.
Even when I’m in this solemn and absurd
role: I am still the place
where creation works on itself.

Dawn comes, the sparse tree trunks
take on color now, the frostbitten
forest flowers form a silent search party
after something that has disappeared in the dark.

But to be where I am . . . and to wait.
I am full of anxiety, obstinate, confused.
Things not yet happened are already here!
I feel that. They’re just out there:

a murmuring mass outside the barrier.
They can only slip in one by one.
They want to slip in. Why? They do
one by one. I am the turnstile.

— from “Guard Duty” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

Chthonic Cazimi

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on February 8 at 20°01′ Aquarius. The reseeding of Mercury in solar light occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

Guarding the entrance of Mercury into the heart of the Sun will be Pallas Athene, whose asteroid will unite with Mercury on February 7 and will be at 20°51′ Aquarius when Mercury unites with the Sun at 20°01′ Aquarius on February 8. The union of Pallas Athene with Mercury is the second in a three part sequence: Mercury formed its first conjunction with Pallas Athene on January 16 at 13°05′ Aquarius, and will form its third and final conjunction with Pallas Athene on March 18 at 3°25′ Pisces. With her glaring gray-eyes that penetrate with far reaching vision, Pallas Athene will be present with her sharpened spear, slithering snake, and protective aegis to foster the courage of a burning heart that can pierce through previous blockages to enliven a fuller sense of our potential.

A goddess of arts and crafts, prophecy, and warfare, Walter Burkett noted in Greek Religion that what unites Pallas Athene’s “divergent spheres of competence is not an elemental force, but the force of civilization: the just division of roles” among the populace as well as “the organizational wisdom which achieves this.” Burkert further noted that “more than any other deity Athena is always near her protégés,” declaring that “wherever difficulties disappear and the impossible becomes possible, Athena is at hand.”  In astrology, Demetra George has described Pallas Athene in Aquarius as representing “futuristic perception ” that creates “forms that will benefit generations to come,” as well as artists and others “on the forefront of the future, translating the tone of what is coming  in for the masses.” While the issues in need of addressing across society seem impossibly large, the presence of Pallas Athene with the inferior conjunction of Mercury is a sign of significant progress being possible in terms of reorganizing structures, roles, and responsibilities within societal and personal systems of all sorts.

The union of Pallas Athene with Mercury will precede the movement of Mercury from the heart of the Sun into a discordant square aspect with Mars in Taurus. Mercury will form its exact square aspect with Mars on February 10 during a dark Moon in Aquarius that will be moving through a sequence of conjunctions with Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury as it draws its lunar cycle to a close, intensifying our feelings of transitioning in between what has been and what will be. The disruptive influence of Mars in Taurus upon the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be modulated by Pallas Athene, amplifying the penetrative visioning available as well as the inspiration for activism on behalf of social justice concerns from groups who have been marginalized in one way or another by the cultures in power.

If you experience any significant breakdowns, conflicts, or obstacles as Mars and Mercury clash, keep in mind that as soon as Mercury begins to separate from Mars it will begin applying toward a beneficial and restorative conjunction between Jupiter and Venus in Aquarius. There may be a need to come to stark terms with what isn’t working in the middle of February, but there will be celestial support available to diagnose solutions and ultimately begin moving forward again from a more solid foundation. 

The Buddha (1895) by Odilon Redon

The airy sky has taken its place leaning against the wall.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us
and whispers
“I am not empty, I am open.”

— from “Vermeer” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

A few days after the inferior conjunction of Mercury, there will be an extremely potent New Moon in Aquarius on February 11 at 23°17’ Aquarius that will involve a conjunction between Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius as well as all of the seven traditional planets and lights occupying Aquarius except for Mars. Following the New Moon in Aquarius, Mercury will form a conjunction with Venus in Aquarius on February 13 followed by a conjunction with Jupiter in Aquarius on February 14. These days following the Aquarius New Moon can be extremely fertile for creativity and coalescing greater clarity regarding the path we need to follow into the year ahead. The more we can strip away the inessential and what is ready to be shed from our life in the period leading up to these days, the more space we will have to welcome exciting new developments. 

As Mercury begins slowing down to station direct on February 20, it will become visible again in the darkness before dawn around February 16. There will be a burst of new movements and ideas for future plans at this time, as the reappearance of Mercury as a morning star to deliver a vital message will be combined with the fact that both Saturn and Jupiter will have also renewed their own visible cycles as morning stars in the days before Mercury. Yet we will have to navigate an extremely turbulent atmosphere while integrating new visions due to the first exact square aspect between Saturn and Uranus taking place on February 17. There will be rupturing in collective events creating division while sudden shifts and movements continue to reorder and rearrange systemic structures and alliances between societal structures and groups.

Some of the ways Mercury may assist in ferrying us across the volatile middle of February involves Mercury being within its own decan of ten to twenty degrees of Aquarius. Mercury will possess both decan as well as triplicity dignity as it slows down to station, giving it added potency in helping us forge links of support with relationships and resources that can help us handle being at a threshold in-between the way it’s been and the way of what’s to come. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to the second face of Aquarius, noting that the “principled but fierce wisdom” found in this face “stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth” while also allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown,” as well as “the ideal and the practical.” 

Further adding to the instability and creative tension of the days surrounding Mercury stationing direct, Venus in Aquarius will form a catalyzing square aspect with Mars in Taurus on February 19. The waning square between Venus with Mars will necessitate adjustment and reorientation within our relational dynamics in accordance with whatever larger collective changes are taking place as well as whatever kind of internal shifting in values and needs we have been experiencing. As Mercury will be stationing direct at the same time, make the time and space needed to gather a deeper sense of how your life and desires have been reshaped. After Venus forms its square with Mars it will form a conjunction with Pallas Athene in Aquarius on February 21, helping us formulate strategies to handle any difficulties that were set off by Mars as well as gain a stronger sense of  ways we need to alter plans and goals for the future in light of however our inner values have been shifting. 

As a result of numerous destabilizing astrological aspects occurring simultaneously, it will be important to be as mindful as possible in the days surrounding the stationing direct of Mercury on February 20 at 11°01’ Aquarius. Mercury will station close to the midpoint between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, giving us an opportunity to deepen in our understanding of how our life has been altered in correspondence with the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that arrived at the end of 2020. Mercury will next slowly begin moving forward again as it applies toward a conjunction with Jupiter that it will not complete until March 4. As a result, we will have a couple of weeks following the stationing direct of Mercury to benefit from the star of Hermes applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Aquarius. Utilize this period for pushing forward with goals and generating forward momentum toward whatever ways your purpose in life has undergone a metamorphosis.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a morning star and begin speeding up on March 6. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates the point in which Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its morning star phase. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

In all, the period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius promises to be full of ups and downs as we move through an unstable stretch of time. Although the collective changes that will be developing may feel unsettling, we could not ask for a better guide through the volatility than Hermes. Give praise to Mercury and welcome his wild wisdom into your life, as you need to allow for all of his tricks in order to receive all of his gifts. Be on the constant lookout for the windfalls of fruitful fortune that Mercury may deliver unexpectedly, while making the time to formulate long-term strategies to achieve the goals and larger visions that have been consolidating in your mind. By the time Mercury is heading direct again at the end of February, you may feel renewed with a rejuvenated excitement about what you can create and bring into form in the year ahead.

Mercury Riding Pegasus, Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

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References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

Barfield, Owen. (1988). Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry. Second Edition. Wesleyan University Press.

Burkert, Walter. (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press. 

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

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

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

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

Nasser, Mervat. (2019). The Path to the New Hermopolis: The History, Philosophy, & Future of the City of Hermes. Rubedo Press. 

Full Moon in Leo

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future 1955 by Joseph Beuys

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future (1955) by Joseph Beuys

Full Moon in Leo

Cast the emptiness from your arms
into the space we breathe: perhaps the birds
will sense the increase of air with more passionate flying.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the First Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

The fiery Full Moon in Leo on January 28 will set events in motion that have been building in tension, enflaming the underlying astrological aspects that have correlated with volatile events as well as major changes in storylines during the past month. The Full Moon is separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying to an opposition with Jupiter in Aquarius as well as a disruptive square aspect with Mars in Taurus. With the Moon fully illuminated in the zodiacal home of the Sun, find your center within the immense changes taking shape around and within you. Like a calyx protecting and nurturing the flaming colors of the bloom ready to open, within heart space you may deepen into the glowing meaning that is emerging from whatever difficulties you have been through recently.

There is stunning timing at play between the peak radiance of the Leo Full Moon with the synodic cycle of Jupiter, as Jupiter is at the very end of its solar cycle when the Moon forms its exact opposition with the Sun. Jupiter in Aquarius is in the underworld, experiencing both the putrefaction of its past cycle as well as the purifying regeneration of being reseeded by the Sun. Jupiter will be reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun about six and a half hours after the Moon forms its opposition with the Sun, giving an amplified charge to the inner illumination we may experience with Jupiter being reborn.

As Jupiter signifies hope, prosperity, and optimism, we may experience a renewal of faith regarding the path we are following into the unknown as Jupiter is revivified by the Sun. Jupiter will continue to be gestating the new meaning of its cycle while invisible until re-emerging into the visible light of its Morning Star phase in mid February. As Jupiter helps with creation of new growth and life, synthesizing meaning and wisdom from our experiences, so may we gain greater understanding of the shifting structures within personal and collective movements during the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

We are also at the beginning of a new Saturn cycle with the Sun, as the Sun formed a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on January 23. Thus the Leo Full Moon is also illuminating how the new solar seeds of Saturn are beginning to gestate, as Saturn continues to make its way through its invisible underworld phase. We are only at the beginning of Saturn’s journey through Aquarius that will stretch into March 2023, and so the Leo Full Moon is also shining a spotlight on the tests and challenges that Saturn will be bringing to our attention.  The solutions to larger problems may not be ready to emerge, but the dazzling light of the lunation can help us realize what areas of life need our focus in the month ahead.

Moreover, since the Sun formed a square with Uranus in Taurus on January 26, the Full Moon will heighten awareness of whatever breaking points or innovative changes are emerging with the discordant square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that will be intensifying in the next few weeks. Since the Full Moon is separating from Saturn and Uranus and applying to Jupiter and Mars, the lunation is setting off all of the dynamics between Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars that have correlated with numerous protests and cacophonous volatility in global events during the past month.


Dawn Moon and Tumbling Snow (1889) by Kobayashi Heihachirō, from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

The catalyzing square between the Leo Full Moon with Mars in Taurus may bring stressful events or conflicts to mediate, but on a constructive level can also provide the impetus to make a needed change happen. If it’s necessary to create separation from a troubling source or inject motivated passion into making a certain movement happen, the triggering of Mars by the lunation can supply an amplified boost in the desired direction. It will also be important to pay attention to whatever symptoms of difficulty we experience, as they may indicate deeper issues below the surface of events that we will need to focus on to repair and heal in the month ahead.

While the Leo Full Moon will enflame the friction between Uranus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, it also demarcates the beginning of Mars and Jupiter slowly moving away from the shattering square aspect taking shape between Saturn and Uranus. The first exact square between Saturn and Uranus will take place on February 17, and so from now until then the rupturing emanating from their clashing dynamic will continue to intensify. However, since Mars and Jupiter have recently set off the volatility building between Saturn and Uranus, we are already gaining a sense of what sorts of collective and personal disruptions are developing in correlation.

When the slow contractions of Saturn come into conflict with insistence from Uranus on rapid innovation, we need to come to terms with the elements of life we previously relied upon for security that need to be released to make space for the new forms emerging. We also need to keep in mind the longview that the radical shifts and breaking apart in personal foundations and systemic structures that will correlate with the tension between Saturn and Uranus will be taking place over the next two years. We are only at the beginning of the story, and since we know that Saturn and Uranus will be bringing irrevocable change we can begin to deepen into the internal shifts we are experiencing and make space to sort through the visions of expansive growth we receive. In the short term, there will be a need for rapid responses to address immediate concerns and cultivate the stability needed to navigate the liminal passage ahead.

Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau

Although not in an exact aspect with the Leo Full Moon, Mercury in Aquarius is a major underlying influence of the lunation due to it stationing retrograde two days later on January 30. As a result, the intensification of all things related to Mercury in the days following the Full Moon will necessitate being as mindful as possible and paying attention to whatever early signs are emerging regarding the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Mercury will be retrograde from January 30 until February 20, backtracking from 26°29’ Aquarius to 11°01 Aquarius. Mercury while retrograde will pull us back into the volatile tension between Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus and so there will be opportunities to continue to address whatever issues are emerging with the Leo Full Moon in the month ahead.

When Mercury stations to begin shifting retrograde it can be especially helpful to pay close attention to your dreams and any omens or synchronicities you experience in daily life that can help you better understand the message that Mercury will be delivering during its retrograde. This is especially the case now due to Neptune in Pisces also forming an exact square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  The disorienting square between Neptune with the transiting lunar nodes can be confusing and make crisp clarity difficult to grasp, but can be powerful in terms of imaginal activation. While the conspiracy theories running rampant in collective events is one side of Neptune forming a square with the lunar nodes, at the same time in our personal life we may receive otherworldly insight that can unveil illusions we had been holding as well as important new perspectives to consider. With Mercury shifting into retrograde movement for the rest of the waning lunar cycle, the psychopomp nature of Mercury when retrograde can facilitate descent into inner mysteries to gather important understanding that will ultimately help us in navigating external events.

profile of shadow by Odilon Redon

Profile of Shadow (1895) by Odilon Redon

The other major astrological aspect embedded within the Leo Full Moon is the conjunction between Venus with Pluto in Capricorn. When Venus is uniting with Pluto during a Full Moon, there is a greater intensity of depth within relationships, with volcanic and volatilizing feelings breaking through awareness. The potency of Pluto’s influence on Venus penetrates under the surface of relational dynamics, bringing the potential for honest communication and the cultivation of greater intimacy or mutual empowerment if both sides are able to listen and share. Since Pluto dramatically amplifies compulsive and obsessive feelings, it will help to sift through the feelings being stirred up to contemplate what truly needs to be communicated versus what does not.

In addition to Venus catalyzing descent into the underworld desires of Pluto, in the week following the Full Moon we will also experience the heliacal setting of Venus as the star of Aphrodites shares its final light as a Morning Star before disappearing into the shadows of its invisible, underworld phase. Venus will continue to be visible as she makes her way through the rest of the sign of Capricorn, but will begin disappearing from view once she enters Aquarius on February 1. This amplifies the importance of whatever messages you are receiving from the union of Venus and Pluto, as Venus may awaken important desires that will need to be tended and nurtured as she makes her way through her underworld phase in the months ahead. Venus will eventually re-emerge into visible light as an Evening Star in early May.

5 of Wands

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the first decan of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature.

Saturn and the Sun are the rulers of the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and radiate meaning to a receptive audience. The meaning of the lunation in this decan is especially notable for those who were born with Saturn in the first decan of Leo, as they are not only experiencing their Saturn opposition but it also being illuminated by a Full Moon in square with Mars and Uranus. Whether you are dealing with a Saturn opposition or not, it will nonetheless be wise to use the slow and steady contemplation of Saturn to consider the ways in which your engagement with the world has felt inauthentic. As Saturn in Aquarius was recently regenerated by the Sun, allow whatever aspects of your old identity and ambitions need to be shed to make space for a more authentic presence to emerge.

It’s further compelling that the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down old structures that can be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results as we transition from a volatile month of January into a month of February that will be dominated by Mercury being retrograde in Aquarius with Venus, the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn also occupying Aquarius. Let the light of the Leo Full Moon guide your creative process so it may align with the changes of nature taking shape within internal and external realms. As the Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos sings:

Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:  /  Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:  /  All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow’r, ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:  Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.  /  To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffus’d thro’ mortal bodies bright and strong.  /  Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:  /  Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

Mercury air triplicity

Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

I recently joined astrologer Stormie Grace on her astrology show to talk about the significance of the three Mercury retrograde periods in 2021. Mercury will be retrograde in air signs in 2021 and as a result will help facilitate our transition into the new era of air signified by the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. In addition, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius in February and Mercury retrograde in June will also be happening during the first two exact square aspects formed between Saturn and Uranus. As a result, the Mercury retrograde periods will also be directly involved in our adjustment to the sudden changes and rupturing that will correlate with Saturn in square with Uranus during 2021. We talk about the meaning of Mercury and Mercury retrograde in general, and then get into the details regarding each of the three periods of Mercury retrograde next year.

Here is a link to watch the recording:

Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius: Age of Air

Jupiter Saturn Aquarius Bradley

Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius by Bradley Naragon

Grand Conjunction

The world has lifted its gaze to the heavens to drink in the union of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Fittingly, Aquarius bears ample symbolism involving the relationship between humans and the divine. Saturn as the ruler of Aquarius tends the boundary between the incarnate and the numinous, as Saturn is the most distant visible planet guarding the threshold between the wandering planets with the celestial fire of the fixed stars. Perhaps the most common constellational myth associated with Aquarius is Ganymedes, the princely shepherd who was snatched away from earth by the eagle of Zeus to serve the nectar of immortality to the deities above. Other ancient attributions include Cecrops, an earthly king who poured watery libations to the gods and was said to have taught literary and burial arts; as well as Aristaios, who was similarly shown making libations to Zeus and was known for not only introducing a multitude of arts and crafts to humanity, but also rites summoning winds that would temper the heat brought by the rising of Sirius. As the sign of the new cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, Aquarius points towards the importance of tending to your relationship with sources of spirit, gathering useful arts and innovative ideas to mediate the myriad issues in need of addressing between humans within the world they are part of.

The great conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 has announced a new chapter in the story of our world. Befitting its dazzling visual appearance following sunset on the solstice, the astrological implications of Jupiter and Saturn uniting at 00°29′ Aquarius are extraordinary. The tight unity between Jupiter and Saturn in the sky reflects how in astrology it is binding us to an era of air.  The synodic cycle between Jupiter and Saturn lasts for twenty years, yet sits within larger triplicity cycles of forming conjunctions in the same element (fire, earth, air, water) that last for over two centuries each. After their 2020 solstice union, there will only be conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in tropical air signs until December 21, 2159 when they will unite in Scorpio, followed by two more grand conjunctions in tropical air signs in 2179 and 2199 (resulting in 2219 marking full entrance into the next era of water).

Astrologers from the eighth/ninth century such as Masha’allah and Abu Ma’shar made famous the theory that while each twenty year cycle between Jupiter and Saturn signified important changes in political rulership, larger shifts in dynasties and other cultural orders such as religious movements occurred during the transmutation between triplicity elements. Just like the war between Zeus and the Olympians against Cronus and the Titans in myth tells the story of a new order overcoming an old order, so have the conjunctions between the star of Zeus and the star of Cronus signaled the toppling of old ruling orders by the ascension of new powers. Since the world today is no longer arranged into the same kind of royal dynasties as it was in the courts of empire that ancient astrologers served, the changes wrought by Jupiter and Saturn initiating us into an era of air needs to be applied to our current cultures and power dynamics. 

The brilliant union of Jupiter and Saturn upon the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, the darkest night of the year that kindles the return of the Sun, and on the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere when the Sun reaches the zenith of its light, could not have had a more dramatic setting. As it also came at the end of a year that brought a global pandemic and shutdowns of economies and travel around the world, the striking solstice star of Jupiter and Saturn has served as a sign of hope for many. Yet it doesn’t mean that everything will be changing overnight, nor that everything is going to get much better nor much worse. It does mean that traversing a period known as a “great mutation” will be taking us into an extended period of collective volatility and reshaping. It also means the strategies sourced in understanding from the previous era of earth will no longer be as effective, that things will not be returning to the way they were before, and that we must reorient and adjust in alignment with the radical reordering brought by the era of air. 

Jupiter Saturn by Bradley Naragon

When Saturn and Jupiter meet, we experience a mixing of the darkness, death, and decomposition of Saturn with the fertile growth, generous abundance, and expansive visioning of Jupiter. We can feel our skin ready to shed as we move into molting a new identity from our inner multiplicity. There can be a great release of our past, grieving what can no longer be and welcoming what is ready to emerge. On the larger and slower scale of cyclical time governed by Saturn, there will also be a need to let go of the old era of earth that is passing away. The first conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in the past cycle of earth was in 1802 in Virgo, and after a final conjunction in a fire sign in 1821, the Saturn and Jupiter cycle fully moved into the era of earth during three conjunctions in Taurus that stretched from August 1840 until February 1841. 

During the past era of earth, colonizing empires fueled by the industrial revolution created vast economic systems that brought stability for some and oppression for others. Immense technological achievements were made out of resources from the earth, and monstrous wars were fought over land that brought the world to the brink of destruction. Nuclear weaponry was developed that could wipe humanity off the face of the earth. We have much to grieve related to losses on our earth today, from the extinction of animal species to the eradication of forests and wilderness. As we have been ending the earth era and transitioning toward the air era, the impact of air pollution on troubling climatic changes on earth has gained increasing amounts of attention. 

In astrology the earth element is the most dense, the most stable, and the most resistant to change. For those fortunate to live in places where they could develop into their full potential, the past earth era contained the possibility of achieving stable lifestyles and legacies that could be passed on to future generations. In contrast, the element of air in astrology brings volatile change, dispersal and redistribution of resources, and accelerated exchanges of communication. Flexibility rather than stability is essential to air as it is always changing, spreading and elevating. The winds of change brought by the air era are only beginning to blow, as Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius signifies a gathering of clouds on the horizon whose storms will reshape our cultural landscape in ways we can hardly imagine. The winds of the air era will erode the structures built up across the earth era, transporting seeds of new ideas across vast distances to take root in new locations.

During the past era of earth the meaning of  “horse power” shifted from being purely about the ancient skills of horsemanship that helped cultivate human civilization, to referring to the speed of motorized inventions fueled by earthy resources. In the era of air, the gravity of earth will be exchanged for the boundless nature of air that connects all of us within the encircling atmosphere we breathe, opening awareness to vaster realms of inner and outer space to explore. While human skills like horsemanship have been utilized in the past for ploughing fields, in the new era of airy terrain we will be cultivating the realm of thought and lightning quick communication. New relational skills will be needed as wings spring from the sides of our earthbound horses like the divine Pegasus, who in myth created springs of watery inspiration wherever it struck its hoof upon earth. As Aquarius is the living image of the Water Bearer, by tending our relationship with revelatory muses and the diverse sources of inspiration within the interconnected fields of nature, we may gather ideas to cultivate and share from flowing springs of imagination.

Yet as we deepen into relationship with the winged horses we may ride into flights of soaring thought and ingenuity, the material concerns of living upon earth, the crises of people lacking food and shelter, and the need to collectively change our relationships within Nature will not be disappearing into thin air. Aquarius and the other signs of air are the human signs of the zodiac, and so humanitarian concerns and the impacts of human civilizations will take precedence as Jupiter and Saturn continue to unite within them during the next two centuries.

Fragment of a terracotta volute-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water), mid-4th century B.C.

Our conception of four elemental roots goes back to the ancient writing of Empedocles, commonly believed to have lived from 494 BC to 434 BC. Interestingly, the span of Empedocles’ lifetime involved a previous transition of an earth era slowly shifting into an era of air over time, as the first apparent conjunction in a tropical air sign was in 462 BC, breaking up a sequence of conjunctions in earth signs that began in 581 BC (following the 462 BC conjunction in Libra there were two more conjunctions in earth, followed by two more air conjunctions in 402 BC and 383 BC, followed by a final earth conjunction in 363 BC).

In the famous fragment that introduced the elements as personified divinities, Empedocles wrote:

Hear first the four roots of all things:
Dazzling Zeus, life-bearing Hera, Aidoneus, and
Nestis who moistens the springs of mortals with her tears.

If unfamiliar, Aidoneus is another name for Hades while Nestis is another name for Persephone. While there have been arguments for ages over which deity should be connected with which element, Peter Kingsley in Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic declared Zeus to be connected with the element called aither by Empedocles, Hera with earth, Hades with fire, and Persephone with water. While there have also been debates over possible differences between aither and the Greek aer we connect with air in English, Kingsley also emphatically argued that aither was used by 6th and 5th century BC writers to describe both the upper and lower regions of air, “a continuum extending from the earth’s surface to the stars or beyond.” In contrast, Kingsley revealed that aer was used to describe an aspect of aither through the forms of clouds or obscure mists. In fact, Kingsley noted the significance of the Homeric epithet for Zeus: cloud-gatherer.

The way our perception can become clouded, obscured by the mists of our illusions about reality is a key aspect of the era of air that needs our awareness. The union of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius is especially important due to it being the airy home of Saturn, lending reception to their conjunction and giving it the direct expression of Saturn. Saturn has long been known as a guardian at the border between time and the timeless, the most distant visible planet from earth at the boundary between the wandering planets and the realm of fixed stars and the heavenly divine. In Aquarius, Saturn’s role of defining boundaries will be applied to matters of thought, highlighting the importance of how we utilize our perception and cultivate critical thinking skills. There is great personal potential available through the use of the Internet and other technological innovations, yet the control tactics of Saturn can also be utilized to manipulate information and persuasively influence the mindsets of people through control of the information presented to them. As information and messages circulate freely, it will be up to each of us to discern the differences between conspiracy theories, false propaganda, and true insight.

There are significant differences in meaning between Jupiter and Saturn but they do find common ground when seeking higher status in society, claiming greater authority and power, and accumulating greater wealth.  While the era of earth could be said to be more suited for hierarchical power structures, and a conjunction in Aquarius could correlate with formations of communities that are rooted in interdependent alliances between members, the shift in triplicity eras will not bring an immediate downfall of present power structures nor resolve the myriad issues of societal oppression that gained increased exposure during the past year. Some power structures ill suited for the collective changes will collapse, but others will be seeking to accumulate even greater amounts of power and control especially through airy technological innovations. As a result, there will be an increasing need to find and create alternative platforms and communal spaces to mutually support one another outside the parameters of the power structures that have been stockpiling personal information from social media and search engines for profit and persuasion.

Gaining clarity for what you do not value, and forming community centered around what you do identify with are processes associated with Aquarius as it involves both the rejection and limits of Saturn as well as the design of new forms that can harbor community. Yet when forming alternative communities set against mainstream doctrine, the fixed nature of Aquarius can lead to the crystallization of new dogma that becomes righteously projected on others. The same groups forming as a counter to consensus culture can then insist on conformity to group codes amongst members, threatening to outcast those who refuse to conform to the conditioning of the group. Aquarius involves fragmentation and fracturing amongst other significations, and so as many people continue to splinter off into groups engaged in polarized conflicts with other groups, it will be up to each of us as individuals to hold the tension of differing perspectives with a willingness to question as well as listen to others. Conversations can involve debate while respecting the dignity of the other, and in fact fixated opinions obscured by bias are more likely to shift within spaces that continue to circulate communication rather than shut it down with self righteousness.

Aquarius has strong associations with not only those who become exiled due to nonconformity with consensus values, but also those who willingly separate themselves from the conditioning of dominant cultures so that they can live more freely on their own terms, cultivating ideas and creative expressions in spaces removed from the contamination of groupthink and cultural bias. Saturn’s rulership of Aquarius places it in opposition to the Sun’s rulership of Leo, pointing toward increased attention being given to those on the margins or outskirts from centers of ruling power. Decentralization of power will be an important Aquarian theme during the new cycle, as well as shedding and decomposing ways you have been conditioned to think that are out of alignment with your essential self. The perspective and insight of the outsider will be necessary, with important figures likely emerging from seclusion or exile at important times to deliver pivotal messages.

Air is expansive and has a sense of freedom. It delights in curiosity and storytelling, finding pleasure when listening to revelatory new perspectives and the latest gossip. It can feel coldly rational and objective sometimes, at other times playful and jovial. It’s abstract and uplifts when blowing through our world with ideals and inspiration. Yet the circulating quality of air that tends towards instability must be reconciled with the fixed nature of Aquarius that endures with obstinacy and creates change that has a long lasting impact. With Saturn in its home of Aquarius from now until 7 March 2023, we need to work with the side of Saturn that draws from its deep powers of contemplation as we will need to be continually adapting to foundational reshaping taking place around the world. Fortunately, the co-presence of Jupiter in Aquarius for much of 2021 can help in envisioning strategies to stabilize our course as we navigate through the collective volatility that will be rippling through the year. 

by CG Jung from Liber Novus

Jupiter in Aquarius

The movement of Jupiter from its fall in Capricorn into Aquarius pleases the star of Zeus, yet it’s co-presence with Saturn means it will need to remain in dialogue with Saturn. Due to the great conjunction occurring within the airy home of Saturn, Jupiter will be lending its cohering support to all things signified by Saturn. Jupiter in Aquarius will add its expansive vision to the construction, deconstruction, and maintenance of boundaries and structures governed by Saturn. The legendary 15th century philosopher, priest, and astrologer Marsilio Ficino noted that Jupiter can be utilized in remediating the melancholic impact of Saturn, writing in Three Books on Life that when ancient sages “feared that Saturn would oppress them on account of their sedulous zeal for philosophizing,” they would make daily use of Jovial sounds, songs of Jupiter, while living in the open air. Jupiter will temper the austere side of Saturn and amplify our potential for finding inventive solutions and embracing expansive visions in the face of the tumultuous collective change we will experience in 2021.

Jupiter will move all the way through Aquarius by the middle of May 2021, entering its sea faring home of Pisces on May 13. After Jupiter stations retrograde in Pisces on June 20, it will return to Aquarius on July 28, 2021. Jupiter will make its final trek through Aquarius from the end of July until returning to Pisces on December 28, 2021. The airy climate of Aquarius thus serves as a transitional space wherein Jupiter moves away from its fall in Capricorn, where it experiences challenging zodiacal terrain, en route to returning to its empowered home of Pisces. We can envision Jupiter as gathering clouds of concepts and insights while in Aquarius that will bring forth an outpouring of imaginative results once in Pisces, where the star of Zeus expresses itself with its full strength. With the slow and steady support of Saturn in Aquarius, we may discover that the ideas and work we develop while Jupiter is in Aquarius will deepen in growth once Jupiter enters Pisces.

Jupiter is comfortable in Aquarius as both Jupiter and Aquarius are diurnal in nature and Jupiter also has triplicity dignity in all of the air signs. As a participating ruler of the air triplicity, Jupiter will have the wind at its back as it sets sail through Aquarius. Air signs in astrology are further associated with the jovial sanguine temperament which is harmonious with the nature of Jupiter.  The warming and moistening nature of air in astrology is in accord with the fertile and uplifting nature of Jupiter, giving Jupiter in Aquarius support when seeking cohesion in social connections and synthesizing insight. The flexible, unifying, and mobile qualities of air will amplify Jupiter’s potential for gathering information and developing lines of thought; since Jupiter will be in Aquarius along with Saturn, it’s co-presence with Saturn will accentuate our capacity for concentrated focus, reflecting upon and redefining our mental frameworks, and conceiving ideas and forms that will have longterm consequences. Fitting for the innumerable aspects of global societies in need of repair in 2021, the combination of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius will be helpful for diagnosing the emerging issues and finding solutions.

The first century Roman poet Marcus Manilius in Astronomica described Aquarius with images evoking the ancient Mesopotamian divinity Enki or Ea, the divine artisan and lord of freshwaters within the earth who helped cultivate the growth of human civilization through teaching irrigation that controls rivers through the formation of canals. Manilius described a Waterman pouring forth streams from his urn, bestowing skills such as “how to divine springs under the ground and conduct them above, to transform the flow of water so as to spray the very stars, to mock the sea with man-made shores at the bidding of luxury, to construct different types of artificial lakes and rivers, and to support aloft for domestic use streams that come from afar . . .” With Jupiter in Aquarius, nourishment and expansive growth will come through irrigating channels of communication to allow for refreshened perspectives from unorthodox sources on the periphery of the usual cultural authorities. Across global societies, the combination of Jupiter with Saturn in Aquarius can be helpful in restructuring information systems and designing innovations across disciplines so that resources can be disseminated more widely, bringing benevolent attention to communities that have been marginalized by dominant cultures.

Yet we must be cautious that the channels of communication we construct and maintain with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius do not keep us rigidly stuck in one perspective and cut off from diverse viewpoints. Joy Usher in Tiny Universe wrote that “Saturn’s ownership of Aquarius [indoctrinates] by repeatedly telling someone that something is true (creating its own reality), whilst at the same time blocking out or preventing any ‘counter truth’ which might destabilize the original information.” By sustaining an open mind and holding the tension of multiple perspectives, we can utilize the capacity Jupiter possesses in Aquarius for taking in a broad perspective with the objectivity needed to see issues from multiple sides. Other times we will need to draw upon the skill of Jupiter in Aquarius for going it alone, detaching or exiting from the influence of those with viewpoints clearly misaligned with what we need to create and develop. With Jupiter in Aquarius we can help pierce through the obscuring mists of misinformation through dialectic dialogue and scrutinizing questions that expose false beliefs and allow for new questions to emerge that will deepen inquiry.

Like an eagle of Zeus, Jupiter in Aquarius can encircle targets of focus from far above in a realm of contemplation removed from the turbulence of overly subjective emotions. With a degree of detachment its eagle eye can penetrate into the underlying dynamics of issues, clarifying what needs support, alteration, or generating. It’s not that Jupiter in Aquarius is cut off from emotional involvement, however. In fact, Jupiter in Aquarius can become deeply emotional and passionate when engaged with the people, community, issues, and concepts it cares about, so much so it will make sacrifices for causes it believes in. The fixed nature of Aquarius provides Jupiter with ample supplies of persistence that will allow Jupiter to persevere through challenges and sustain its capacity for fostering stability and visioning next steps over long periods of time. As a result, not only is Jupiter in Aquarius well suited for helping us endure the extended period of dealing with the repercussions from the global pandemic that will be coming, it can also support us in cultivating mutually supportive communities that will help us navigate through the unknown difficulties on the horizon.

Due to the pleasure Jupiter in Aquarius finds when breaking free from the status quo, we will be able to utilize the transit of Jupiter through Aquarius for discovering inspiration and resolution from unusual sources and philosophies existing beyond the boundaries of mainstream thought and belief. As a bridge between the known and the unknown, Jupiter in Aquarius will facilitate deep dives into the unexplored aspects of your interests. The nonlinear side of Jupiter in Aquarius can attune to resonant frequencies across barriers of time and space, synthesizing insight together from diverse time periods and cultures.  Jupiter in Aquarius will support movements within the arts and humanities that appear leading-edge yet also have roots in lineages from the past, supplying a solid foundation from which groundbreaking inventions may spring. We can expect an invigorating influx of innovative ideas and trends across the diverse fields of the humanities, arts and sciences as Jupiter makes its passage through Aquarius.

A small sampling of well known figures born with Jupiter in Aquarius includes Malala Yousafzai, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Immanuel Kant, Alan Watts, Allen Ginsburg, Jean Jacque Rousseau, Michel Foucault, Thomas Paine, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, William Burroughs, Walt Whitman, Richard Tarnas, Gustave Dore, Wassily Kandinsky, Madame Blavatsky, Marie Curie, Agatha Christie, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Jeremy Corbin, Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Ted Turner, Rachel Maddow, Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Meryl Streep, Marilyn Monroe, Bill Murray, Ricky Gervais, Jerry Lewis, Groucho Marx, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy, Mel Brooks, Martin Short, John Steinbeck, David Foster Wallace, HP Lovecraft, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Tom Verlaine, and Tom Waits. 

by CG Jung from Liber Novus

Lightning in the Mist

The meaning of the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius needs to also take account of the fact that Jupiter and Saturn are applying toward a waning square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Although Jupiter will only form one exact square aspect with Uranus on January 17, there will be a drawn out sequence of three square aspects between Saturn and Uranus that will be exact on February 17 at 7º14′ Aquarius and Taurus, for a second time at 13º07′ on June 14, and for a final time on December 24, 2021 at 11º06′ Aquarius and Taurus. The last quarter square aspects between Saturn and Jupiter with Uranus means that both Saturn and Jupiter have made it three-fourths of the way through their synodic cycles with Uranus (Saturn and Uranus have a cycle that lasts about forty five and a half years, while Jupiter and Uranus have a cycle that lasts between thirteen and fourteen years). The tension between them will demand reorientation through questioning the direction we have been following on personal and societal levels. While the implications of these catalyzing aspects are massive on a global scale and will involve conflicts between those seeking world power, they will also be decisively important in our individual lives.

As I previously wrote in March 2020 in my article on Saturn in Aquarius, although I had long wondered what the depth of discord signified by Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto coming together during 2020 would be like, the aspect that gave me the most pause was that we would be transitioning from a conjunction of Saturn and Pluto into a waning square between Saturn and Uranus, with Jupiter moving through conjunctions with Pluto and Saturn into a waning square with Uranus. This tumultuous sequence suggests that the exposure of societal toxicity and shadowy material during the alignments between Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto could lead to explosive conflicts and the shattering collapses of societal structures once the alignment between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus becomes activated. Like any period of breakdown involving Uranus, however, the increased volatility also means that important breakthroughs will also be possible.

I’ve long found meaning in the way Dane Rudhyar described the relationships between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. Rudhyar viewed Jupiter as the soulful function of our purpose within the form of our Saturn structure, as Jupiter receives, manages, and initiates within the boundaries of Saturn. Rudhyar described Jupiter as helping us to integrate what the external world has to offer that will contribute to our inner structure, just as Jupiter needs the protective structure of Saturn in order to operate from within. As a result, while Jupiter expands us, the contraction of Saturn in response tends to keep our growth confined to the current framework that for most has been heavily conditioned by surrounding culture.

In Uranus – Master of Transformations Dane Rudhyar described how Uranus can radically change the structures of Saturn, unlike Jupiter which modifies within the structures of Saturn. Rudhyar wrote that Uranus “pierces through” the walls of Saturn, allowing our consciousness within the shells of Saturn to “behold vistas of the beyond,” creating “channels through which the ‘flashes of intuition,’ the ‘inspiration of genius,’ may suddenly reveal themselves.” As a result, the shattering impact of Uranus can give Jupiter space to expand our sense of meaning and vision beyond the former constraints of Saturn. As Rudhyar imagined, “where the walls of consciousness are strong, the Jupiterian urge opens the gates, that caravans loaded with Uranian gifts from the farther lands may enter.” Yet the influence of Saturn is still needed to structure and manifest these far-flung insights into forms that can be understood and utilized by those surrounding us in our collective cultures.

Thus the sudden leaps of illumination and inspiration that Jupiter and Uranus constellate can break us free from the conditioning of culture that have repressed or limited our capacity to embody our essential purpose and potential. Yet the breakthroughs of Jupiter and Uranus can be extremely disruptive to the ways we have formed our security and identity around the attachments that their lightning strikes dislodge. There can be potential to dissociate or split off our awakened potential rather than find ways to begin integrating it into our life, risking the volatility to present forms of stability that integration will incite. If we choose to accept the awakening, we must realize and embrace a more expansive whole that holds within it our radically shifting perceptions, experimenting with how to live from our fresh emergence rather than remain in the old status quo. Rather than live from the side of Saturn that conforms to group dynamics for security, we need to work with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus in ways that allow us to shed whatever we have built up over time that no longer authentically aligns with us.

However, the integration possible on personal levels will much more difficult to achieve on societal levels. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described periods of Saturn and Uranus as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.” André Barbault in Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology described the Saturn Uranus cycle as inciting “a thirst for conquest, extremist aspirations, ventures that go to the limits, authoritarian power” among other themes when they conjoin and initiate a new cycle. Breaking down their forty-five or so year cycle, Barbault defined their 1805-52 cycle as being about territorialism and the United States, their 1852-97 cycle involving the movement “from capitalism to imperialism,” their 1897-1942 cycle involving the movement “from imperialism to fascism,” their 1942-88 cycle involving “the Americanization of the world,” and their present cycle from 1988 to 2032 involving “globalization.”

The current Saturn Uranus cycle began in 1988 at the end of Sagittarius, with Saturn and Uranus forming conjunctions on February 13 at 29º55′, June 26 at 28º47′, and October 18 at 27º49′ Sagittarius. At the beginning of the new cycle between Saturn and Uranus the Cold War came to an end, the Soviet Union was torn apart, and the Berlin Wall came down, with the demolition of the Berlin Wall completed in November 1991 with Saturn in Aquarius. The meaning of the United States emerging as the world superpower at the beginning of the present Saturn Uranus cycle was clear to Barbault:

“The US became the only world superpower. Its authority was omnipresent and it had a decisive weight in international life until this unilateralism is contested. There is no doubt that American imperialism has reached the summit of its historic superiority with this present cycle 1988 – 2032. Neo-capitalism, hand in hand with the technological revolution, brought about by computer science and crowned by the advent of the Internet.”

— André Barbault in Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology

Notably, there were significant economic crises and disruptions during the waning square aspect between Saturn and Uranus in their previous two cycles. The years 1930 to 1931 brought the Great Depression and economic instability around the world, while the years that Saturn formed a waning square with Uranus from 1975 to 1976 brought inflation and stalled economic growth. Oftentimes the waning square between Saturn and Uranus brings challenges and tests emanating from the tension of their opposition- in the present cycle, this involved a long sequence of four oppositions from November 2008 into the beginning of 2010, a time period often described as the Great Recession. 

The years surrounding 2010 are especially important to consider, as there was not only an opposition between Saturn and Uranus but also an opposition between Saturn and Jupiter as well as a conjunction between Jupiter and Uranus.  Relative to the environmental and economic issues related to the era of earth we are leaving, both the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred during this time. Within these years the present cycle between Jupiter and Uranus began, with the first conjunction at 0°18′ Aries on 8 June 2010, the second conjunction at 28°43′ Pisces on 19 September 2010, and their third conjunction at 27°02′ Pisces on 4 January 2011.

The waning square phases between Jupiter and Saturn with Uranus we are entering in 2021 involves the beginning of the decomposition of the previous cycles, a time in which we must question and confront the societal beliefs and structures we have developed, reorienting toward what needs to be released and what needs to be built to address whatever the present collective crises expose as no longer working. There will be a need for courage, for drawing from the depths of inner reservoirs in order to mediate the numerous polarized conflicts erupting that involve large collective forces careening seemingly out of control. When focusing on our personal lives and those we can impact on an individual level, however, the immense shifts signified by the alignments between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus stress the importance of claiming your inner authority to productively change the elements of your life you are able to manage. Community and nurturing mutually supportive relationships will be vital, as will be the need to construct flexible networks of support that can reach out to those in need.

The study of past triplicity cycles reveals that empires tend to fall during the transition from earth to air, with an influx of new communication networks that redistribute resources arriving in a climate of instability during which empires of consolidated material security are broken up (the conquests of Alexander the Great, the fall of the Roman empire, and the conquests of Genghis Khan are some past examples of the transition to the air era). As a result, the volatile aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus that will shape 2021 will be part of a much larger sweep of change around the world. If interested in researching past triplicity eras, it’s important to realize that there is a major difference in defining triplicity eras depending upon whether or not you are using the apparent conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the visible sky that I have been writing about in this article, versus whether you are using their “mean” conjunction cycle based upon the average length of each planetary cycle (click here for an article by Benjamin Dykes on this). Tracking the mean cycle is what gives an orderly succession of eras, whereas tracking the visible conjunctions gives a disordered succession. 

Thus although the first visible conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in tropical air signs occurred in 1980 and 1981, the first mean conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was in Gemini on November 4, 2000. As a result, in 1980 and 1981 there was a foreshadowing of the new air era that also involved Jupiter and Saturn ending cycles with Pluto similar to how they did so again in 2020. The difference is that Jupiter and Saturn formed their conjunction first in the beginning of the 1980s, with Jupiter then beginning a new cycle with Pluto in Libra in 1981 followed by Saturn beginning a new cycle with Pluto in Libra in 1982. There is therefore a compelling link between the transition to the air era with Pluto, as in 2020 we experienced the beginning of the new cycle between Saturn and Pluto in January followed by Jupiter beginning a new cycle with Pluto before finally coming together with Saturn.  Moreover, the first mean conjunction in Gemini in 2000 aligned with the true locations of Jupiter opposing Pluto and Saturn being within fifteen degrees of its opposition with Pluto.

There are horrific aspects of death and oppression that constellate when Saturn and Pluto align, yet the constructive side of their unions bring opportunities to explore one’s shadow amidst the exposure of societal toxicity. Within the decomposition brought by Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto coming together during 2020 we have had opportunities to discover vital aspects of ourselves to resurrect that had been buried. Though the union of Jupiter and Saturn does not mean we are entering the Age of Aquarius as defined by the precession of the equinoxes, there is a Plutonic link between the period we are in with the ideas that C.G. Jung developed about navigating the transition between the Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius. In The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey, Liz Greene wrote that Jung felt that “the Saturn-ruled Aion of Aquarius . . . would initially be a true nigredo within the collective psyche as human beings faced the profound and necessary confrontation with the problem of their own evil.”

We can use astrological symbolism to conjecture that the era of air will open a multitude of new perspectives, ideals, and worlds, and that the collective movement will be more flexible, elevated, and expansive than the era of earth rooted in more solid, heavy, durable, and stable matters. Yet the gravity of the moment, the collective burden of resources being so unequally distributed, the excessive wealth and power controlled by a scant minority, the overconsumption of natural resources by humans, and many other earthly concerns will all be more important than ever. From the vastly larger perspective of time opened by considering triplicity eras, it’s even more clear that everything we do this year matters. Our actions now are not only about what this transition means for us, but also for what it will mean for our ancestors who follow us and will look back upon us as their ancestral source.

As we are the ones responsible for what happens at the beginning of this massive transition, we will not be able to know the full implications of how our actions will reverberate across the next two centuries. We can know that the way we form relationship with the soul of the world around us matters, as will the way we form community with the humans and other-than-humans in our interconnected environments.

XVII THE STAR by Pamela Colman Smith

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References

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

Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus’s Phaenomena. A new translation by Robin Hand. (2015). Oxford University Press.

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology: In Theory and Practice. Rubedo Press.

Greenbaum, Dorian Gieseler. (2005). Temperament: Astrology’s Forgotten Key. The Wessex Astrologer.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Jung, Carl. (1981, 5th printing).  Aion: Researches into the Phenomenlogy of the Self. Routledge.

Kingsley, Peter. (1995). Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition. Oxford University Press.

Noelle, Richard. (1999). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.  http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/geo/ju-sa/ju000sa.html

Rudhyar, Dane. Jupiter: Organizer of Functions.

Rudhyar, Dane. Uranus:  Master of Transformations.

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

Usher, Joy. (2018). A Tiny Universe: Astrology and the Thema Mundi Chart. Joy Usher.

Full Moon in Cancer

Hekate and the Three Graces (1st – 2nd Century CE)

Full Moon in Cancer

Around the hollow of her right flank a great stream of the primordially-generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light, fire, ether, worlds.

In the left flank of Hekate exists the source of virtue, which remains entirely within and does not give up its virginity.

The Chaldean Oracles translated by Ruth Majercik, fragments 51 & 52

Full Moon in Cancer

The Full Moon on December 29 is in the watery sign of Cancer, the home of the Moon where its potency for nurturing restoration and drawing sustenance from memories and dreams can be expressed directly and fully. Ever since 2018 the Full Moon in Cancer each year has had to share its watery domicile with its North Node as well as forming an opposition with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, creating greater volatility and a harder edge to our lunar experience. In fact, we entered 2020 with a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 that set off the conjunction that formed between Saturn and Pluto a few days later on January 12. While the Cancer full moons and eclipses of the past three years have been helpful for drawing our attention to issues in need of tending, the Cancer lunation at the end of 2020 will deliver a purer dose of lunar medicine to imbibe. The silvery soulfulness pouring down from the Cancer Full Moon will be able to find its way to the parts of yourself in need of its nurturance, the more so that space is made to receive it and discover where it leads you.

The Full Moon in Cancer will peak as we prepare to cross the divide of calendar years into 2021. While the end of the year typically feels like a threshold experience, there will be an amplified sense of being at a collective crossroads due to the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on the solstice. The Cancer Full Moon will serve as a beacon of light not unlike the torch traditionally carried by Hekate, illuminating our feelings about what we are ready to release from the past year and what we are hopeful will emerge in the year ahead. We will need to draw from the perspective of the two-faced, threshold guardian Janus that can simultaneously reflect backwards while looking forward, as we need to honor the freshness of being at the beginning. The Cancer Full Moon will illuminate our arrival at the beginning of a new chapter in world history that has opened in correspondence with the new cycle set into motion by Jupiter and Saturn.

The Cancer Full Moon is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward an opposition with Mercury in Capricorn and a trine with Neptune in Pisces. The Moon’s opposition with Mercury will be mentally activating, while its movement from the sextile with Uranus into the trine with Neptune will activate the nonlinear realm of memories, emotions, and somatic material that often impacts us without our conscious awareness. Doubling down on the lunation making a potent subconscious impact is that in addition to immediately separating from a sextile with Uranus, the Cancer Full Moon is also separating from a catalytic square aspect with Chiron in Aries that will help to dislodge material that has been frozen in the psyche or held in the body so that it may become processed and released. The opposition between the Full Moon and Mercury may feel overwhelming if life events are creating excessive busyness and mental stimulation, and so if this is the case find ways to calm and soothe nerves. Otherwise the tension between the Moon and Mercury can be utilized in divination, journaling, artistic expression, or any other medium that can draw on the lunar activation by Uranus and Neptune to provide insight into important aspects of your inner parts and purposes that are ready to emerge in the new year and new era we are entering.

The Cancer Moon will form an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn on December 31 and then will form oppositions with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius and a square with Uranus in Taurus after entering Leo later in the day. In the wider context of the astrology of 2021, it’s fascinating that the Moon will move from an opposition with Pluto into hard aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus as the new year begins. As a result, the Moon’s movement will connect us with the fact that on a larger scale we are leaving a period of time dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto into a year that will be dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. The deep contractions and heavy gravity of years influenced by Pluto will now be erupting with the propulsive and shattering force of Uranus that can be erratic, unpredictable, emancipatory, and inventive all at the same time.  Uranus can be a positive influence when connecting us with whatever makes us feel authentically passionate and inspired, and so the Cancer Full Moon can aid in shedding the dead weight of the past so as to feel lighter and more freely capable of aligning with the exciting opportunities that can emerge in the new year.

fountain from hypnerotomachia poliphili

from the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Venus in Sagittarius is making important aspects to consider during the Cancer Full Moon, including forming a conjunction with the South Node of Sagittarius that it will complete on December 30 with the mean node and on December 31 with the true node. Venus moving across the Sagittarius South Node will focus attention on material that was seeded at the Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14, with issues that were previously hidden becoming unveiled. With Venus tending to the release valve of the Moon’s nodes, the full light of the lunation pouring down upon us will bring realizations mediated by Venus in Sagittarius such as anyway we have been relating from dogmatic values, righteously believing we know the truth or crusading to convert others to our own viewpoint. Positively, Venus in Sagittarius can help in rooting our relating through awareness of not only the ways we are interacting with other humans but also in the ways we are interacting within the vaster field of animals, land, ancestors and other living spirits. As we leave the era of earth to enter the era of air, Venus in Sagittarius can help in revealing how it’s not only our relationships with other human beings that will need greater care and attention, but that our innumerable relationships within the vast realm of Nature above and below will also need greater focus and cultivation.

The lessons Venus can teach from its proximity with Ketu, the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, involve many themes covered by Jason Holley recently in a webinar entitled Sagittarius in Myth and Psyche. Holley focused on the tendency in today’s astrological world to project upon the nomadic consciousness of Sagittarius from the settler consciousness of the colonial cultures we live within. Some of the aspects of Sagittarius discussed by Holley led me to consider how they connect with our collective movement into the era of air, and in these ways it makes sense that Venus combined with Ketu in Sagittarius can help us cut through what is in the way of us becoming more spatially mobile, fluid in our roles, flexible in our social organizations, and capable of grounding in movement while retaining a differentiated perceptual field capable of restructuring interpretation and analysis as needed. Holley described the orientation of Sagittarius as carrying “an ancient memory that one is partly here to shepherd the souls of others and oneself- to free them from limitations.” This is a worthy lesson to remember from Venus as the star of Aphrodite journeys across the South Node of the Moon as we journey into 2021.

However, Venus is not only applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, but also to an imaginatively activating square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that it will complete on December 30. The square between Venus and Neptune will constellate fantastical images and enticing visions, but we will need to be wary of being led astray into dangerous tidal forces. As Venus is now forming a waning square aspect with Neptune, it may bring back important insights, memories, or relationships connected with the long series of waxing square aspects Venus formed with Neptune due to Venus shifting retrograde in Geminiin May 2020 (May 12, May 20, and July 27 were the three exact aspects). Although Venus has not garnered as much attention as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in the astrological world during the past year, it has been a major factor in reshaping our relationships and relational needs during 2020. The pivotal sequence of hard aspects formed between Venus and Neptune have been opening our awareness to previously unseen needs, desires, and values during a year in which severe social distancing restrictions around the world have limited physical contact.

The waning square from Venus to Neptune is additionally bringing focus to the fact that Neptune is presently residing at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with both the North and South Nodes of the Moon that it will eventually complete on January 26. With so many people locked into polarized conflicts and perceiving things from completely different perspectives regarding reality, the disorientation stirred up by Venus with Neptune can potentially lead to even more widespread delusion that will make it even more difficult to resolve differences and mediate resolution. It’s been noted by many that the deluge of conspiracy theories circulating coincides with the fact so many people have felt anxious and alienated due to the global pandemic, and mistrustful of those in authority. It also seems fitting that the disorder being brought to consensus reality is coinciding with the great reordering of structural realities that will ripple out from the great astrological cycles beginning now. The collective volatility will not be ending anytime soon, and so it will be up to each of us to figure out how to hold the tension of our differences in viewpoints when relating with others. The square from Venus and the South Node of the Moon to Neptune in Pisces can help us deepen into understanding the troubled history of our world and the ways in which the ripples from systemic oppression across time are playing into our present relational difficulties.

Musashi Plain moon, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon (1891) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

After peaking in light at the full moon, the Moon in Cancer will move through an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn into a cathartic square aspect with Mars in Aries on December 31. The tensions unleashed between the Moon with Pluto and Mars on the final day of 2020 further shows how it’s a time of releasing the trials and tribulations of the past year, while also needing to recognize that the impact of the troubles that were exposed all around global societies in the past year will not be going away and will need our continued attention in the future years to come. Rather than develop illusory hopes that the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that has arrived at the end of the year is ushering us into a new era free from the suffering of the past, we instead need to utilize it like a lighthouse helping us navigate through the turbulent storms that will be coming in 2021 so that we may find our way to a stabilizing shore or harbor.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Mars will enter Taurus on January 6 and immediately incite the explosive tensions building between Uranus in Taurus with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Mars will not form its exact square aspects with Saturn and Jupiter and its conjunction with Uranus until after the upcoming Capricorn New Moon on January 12, but we will begin sensing a notable increase in disruptive influences and social unrest as the present lunar cycle comes to a close. On personal levels, the friction stirred up between Mars and Uranus with Saturn and Jupiter will dislodge whatever has been stuck, creating rapid change in some cases. It will be much better to find your way into the flow of the changing currents rather than attempting to hang on at all costs to the way things have been in the past.

Two of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The Full Moon will rise 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 equal passion, 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 and the Moon. Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, nor the Moon only about the enclosure of their fertile love in the palace of Eros. The Cancer Full Moon can thus connect us with the Eros of care, love, and fellowship that weaves community together when focused upon a common purpose that brings practical help and resources to those in need. It can also reveal those in our relational field who we can form mutually supportive dynamics with. As we are entering an extended period of collective volatility, we will need to be actively co-creating community that can flexibly mutate in accordance with the changing societal dynamics.

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.” Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, and that the “face’s magical virtue is to establish mutually nurturing relationships.” With Venus applying to a square aspect with Neptune during the Full Moon, we may also gain realization for patterns that have led us into unhealthy enmeshment with others, as well as a more lucid sense of the needs we seek within all types of relationships we form with others.

In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory, to the first face of Cancer. A daughter of the underworld river goddess Styx, Nike allied herself with Zeus in the war against the Titans, a mythic war resonant with the astrology of 2020 that has ended with a new order being constellated between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Nike served as the divine charioteer of Zeus in battle, while also rewarding victors of competition with the glory of wreathed laurel. In 36 Faces Austin Coppock connected the presence of Nike in the first face of Cancer with the ancient symbolic link between chariots and the body as the vehicle of the soul, symbolism also resonant with the connection in tarot between the VII Chariot arcanum and the zodiacal sign of Cancer. If we want to make a difference in 2021 and help to shape the world we wish to live in, we will need to take care of our body and mind so that we will have the strength and clarity necessary to be effective agents of change. Make time and space during the Cancer Full Moon and the following days to get all the rest and restoration you need. May the strength you cultivate now serve you in deepening into fulfilling your purpose and destiny in 2021.

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References

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

Majercik, Ruth. (2013). The Chaldean Oracles. The Prometheus Trust.

 

Total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius

As the Sun turns black during the total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14, so may we feel overshadowed by what is ready to be laid to rest in the darkness of our subterranean soil and what is stirring in our chthonic depths with the seeds of new growth to come. The eclipse will appear above as a dark void unveiling stars normally obscured by daylight, while below it will be felt as a fertile matrix unleashing material that has been hidden from perception into awareness. While solar eclipses have long been known to demarcate pivotal endings and beginnings in storylines, the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is unusually significant due to it arising at the threshold of not only a new year but also a new astrological era.

Indeed, in the week following the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse we will experience Saturn entering Aquarius on December 16, Jupiter entering Aquarius on December 19, and a grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, the day of the Capricorn Solstice. Not only is the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn initiating a new twenty year cycle of sociopolitical changes in culture that always occur when Jupiter and Saturn unite, their conjunction at the end of 2020 is also marking our entrance into a new astrological era in which Jupiter and Saturn will only be forming conjunctions in the tropical air signs of Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra. After Jupiter and Saturn conjoin at 00°29′ Aquarius on December 21, there will only be conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in air signs until 21 December 2159 when they will unite in Scorpio, followed by two more grand conjunctions in air signs (2179 in Gemini and 2199 in Aquarius) before the elemental era fully shifts into tropical water signs in 2219.

As a result, the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is occurring in the final week of an astrological era of Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in earth signs that began in 1802. Since eclipses typically intensify our experience of forms entering and leaving our life, there will be an immeasurably larger scale of wider collective change at the same time we will be experiencing our own personal mutations. The dissolution of the eclipse can loosen however we have been bound up in knots by difficulties from the past year, yet we may also sense an unraveling of innumerable threads of historical and cultural conditioning that have been bound together. As eclipses enhance our capacity to purify and release material attachments, we may experience not only a personal reckoning with our own past attachments but feel how there is a wider reckoning occurring across global civilizations concerning collective attachments that have dominated the past two centuries.

The astrological tradition imagines eclipses as a great dragon or serpent consuming the light of our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. The Solar Eclipse at 23º08’ Sagittarius will be aligned with the tail of the dragon, as the South Node of the Moon will be at 19º56’ Sagittarius. As a result, we can align with the eclipse by emphasizing processes associated with the South Node of the Moon such as emptying, shedding, cleansing, purifying, releasing, and harvesting. Knowing that the solstice a week after the eclipse holds great potency for visioning and intention setting with Jupiter and Saturn conjoining, the week surrounding the eclipse can help us gain a sharper sense for the projects and goals to focus on and cultivate by letting go of whatever is inessential or no longer resonant with our core purpose. Sit in the stillness of the solstice season and let the gravity of the eclipse settle your soul on the creative desires that will be most enlivening for you to cultivate and develop in the new year. Let your sense of linear time be eclipsed so that nonlinear revelations may bring inspiration as you simultaneously surrender to the dissolution, emptying, and deepening of the eclipse.

Folio from a Mu’nis al-ahrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (The Free Man’s Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi dated A.H. 741/A.D. 1341

More immediately, however, the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is important due to being the first solar eclipse in a series that will occur in the signs of Sagittarius and Gemini over the course of the next year (there will be another solar eclipse at 19°47′ Gemini on 10 June 2021, followed by another solar eclipse on 3 December 2021 at 12°22′ Sagittarius). Since the eclipse is the first of a series of solar eclipses in the signs of Sagittarius and Gemini, it will introduce new narrative themes into our life while we simultaneously need to begin molting aspects of our old attachments and identity. One way to get a sense for how your story may be changing in accordance is to pay attention to the associated topics and condition of the Sagittarius and Gemini houses of your natal chart. 

As the shadow of the Moon completely covers the face of the Sun, so will the meaning of Sagittarius also undergo a blackening as it becomes veiled by the void of the eclipse. Sagittarius is the fire sign that comes at the end of the calendar year, the time of greatest darkness in the northern hemisphere when cold winds blow. Sagittarius kindles the inner fire that incites grand quests for meaning and adventure, and in its symbol of the wayfaring centaur reveals how it synthesizes reasoning with instinctual intuition as it searches widely for meaning across diverse cultures and philosophical traditions. The other primary symbol of Sagittarius is the archer, showing its tendency to look ahead and center its gaze on targets to strike, fueled by the fiery visions hovering over the horizon. In keeping with the eclipse arising at a threshold between collective eras, Sagittarius is a sign open to mystery and capable of sustaining faith in the face of the unknown.

Since the Sun is being eclipsed in Sagittarius, however, we need to be ready to release fixation on already knowing where we need to go and what we need to do. There are illusive influences swirling around the eclipse difficult to decipher, as Neptune in Pisces is forming a bewildering square aspect with the lunar nodes and the eclipse is separating from a square with Neptune. The shadow of Sagittarius involves dogmatism and self righteousness, insisting that one’s inner sense of the truth is in fact the truth despite other perspectives indicating you do not really know the full story and have not appreciated other viewpoints. It will also be important to not rush ahead with sole focus on future directions, instead taking time to contemplate the past and integrate any essential lessons from whatever old material is being emptied into the void of the eclipse. The deep wisdom of Sagittarius needs to be applied like a nonlinear spiral, reaching back in reflection on lessons learned from the past while cohering a clearer vision of the new direction opening in the year ahead.

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Jupiter in Capricorn is the ruler of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse as it traverses the final degree of Capricorn. Jupiter will be less than one degree away from Saturn in Capricorn during the eclipse, with Saturn at 29°44′ Capricorn spending its final two days in the sign of the Sea Goat. Saturn has been in Capricorn since 19 December 2017, and ever since Jupiter entered Capricorn a year ago on 2 December 2019 we have been experiencing the closing of not only their past twenty year synodic cycle but also their past two hundred year elemental era of uniting in earth signs. As we exit 2020 to enter 2021 we will be able to witness manifestations of the old earth era fading away as the new air era takes shape through the kind of rapid change and dispersed movement associated with air. Before crossing the threshold we will be well served by pausing within the stillness of the solstice season to recenter and deepen into envisioning the life we wish to create free from the obstacles and hangups from the past. As the new desires take root within, we can hold space for them while facing challenges and prioritize the steps that need to be taken to begin making the vision a reality.

In the larger context of being in between collective eras, it’s significant that Venus in Scorpio is applying toward an almost exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn that it will complete a few hours after the eclipse, as well as a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn that Venus will complete the next day on December 15. Venus in the third decan of Scorpio possesses potency in digging into the roots of desires, a skill that will help us more gracefully cross the collective threshold. By laying old desires to rest we will create space for whatever new passions, interests, and dreams will emerge in accordance with the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. Venus in Scorpio will resurrect essential desires through decomposing old wounds and losses, helping us to sort what must be let go with finality and what needs to be regenerated within the new visions we enact.

Saturn has been strong in its earthy, nocturnal home of Capricorn during the past three years and so has brought immense adversity on collective and personal levels for us to endure. Yet as we sit with the lessons of Saturn and persevere through the tests brought by the star of Cronus, we slowly strengthen the bones and foundational structures of our lives. As Saturn lingers in the final degree of its Capricorn domicile that accentuates it’s cold and dry nature, it’s an ideal time to contemplate what you have created from its contraction and honing force in the past three years. Let yourself witness how you have grown in your ability to take responsibility and act from your own sense of authority, as we will each need to become even more accountable for doing our individual part in helping to create the world we wish to live in during the next three years of Saturn bringing the next level of its tests from its airy, diurnal home of Aquarius.

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Eclipses come in families known as the Saros cycle. The origin of their ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. The Sagittarius Solar Eclipse on December 14, 2020 is part of the Saros 142 eclipse family that has its origin in a 1624 eclipse at the south pole. The 1624 date is intriguing for numerous reasons, including that some mainstream media reports about the upcoming conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn have stated that it will be their closest visible alignment since 1623. While other media reports have instead declared the upcoming conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn to be their closest visible alignment since 1226, it’s nonetheless notable that the period of the early 1620s has connection with the upcoming sequence of the Solar Eclipse on December 14 and the grand conjunction on December 21.

For those living in the USA during a period of intense polarized conflict that has its roots in the nation’s history, it is significant that the 1620s is the same period during which the Mayflower landed ashore, the Plymouth colony was established, and the legend of the first Thanksgiving was conceived. During this past era the collective traumas of the Atlantic slave trade displacing Africans, European immigrants fleeing oppression becoming displaced from their own ancestral culture, and indigenous people losing their land and lives all intensified in development. The ancestral wounds, grief, and trauma from this time period are still all around us, unresolved and in need of healing and reparation. While the promise and potential of being on the precipice of a new astrological era may make us want to focus on future visions, it will be necessary to return to the roots of the discord gripping current events for there to be any hope of mediating the polarized conflicts and creating a more just society.

In Bernadette Brady’s stellar book Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark she named the eclipse family of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse “4 South” and wrote about it having its origin in a solar eclipse on March 19, 1624. However, checking the NASA site of saros series for eclipses, the origin of the Saros 142 eclipse family was actually on April 17, 1624. Brady described the 4 South eclipses as involving “very strong emotional feelings concerning relationships and/or money,” with sudden desires to end relationships running up against blocks that create great frustration, leading Brady to advise “avoid[ing] rash action until the issues settle down.” Brady’s description may have been based on some research into events associated with the saros series, but also clearly was connected to the fact that the March 19, 1624 eclipse was at the midpoint of Venus and Pluto with Pluto also in a conjunction with Mars and Venus also in an opposition with Saturn and Uranus.

In contrast, the April 17, 1624 eclipse is at the midpoint of Mars in Gemini and Chiron in Pisces, with Venus in Pisces applying to a close conjunction with Chiron. In fact, the Chiron and Venus conjunction in the origin eclipse from 1624 is at the same degree as transiting Neptune in Pisces today. As Chiron can function in connection with ancestral relationship and healing, one message from the 1624 origin eclipse relevant to the present is the capacity each of us possesses for forming relationships with our ancestors and doing our own individual part to deepen our relationship with the intersection between our ancestors and the present experienced in our individual bodies and within the world around us. As we deepen into relationship with our ancestors we deepen into recognizing the impact of culture and ancestral trauma on our individual lives as well as how they shape societal events.

Catafalque by Peter Kingsley has been my favorite book that I have read that was published during the recent transit of Saturn through Capricorn, in large measure due to the attention Kingsley gave to having relationships with our ancestors as well as stressing the importance of the living ancestors in the work of C.G. Jung. Kingsley wrote:

“We too are broken. All of us, not just some or a few, are addicts. We have lost any contact with our ancestral homes not because someone chased us out, but because we chase ourselves out. And there is not a single atrocity westerners can inflict on indigenous people that they have not also inflicted on themselves.”

If you want to reflect back upon your experience with previous solar eclipses in the Saros 142 series, the previous solar eclipse took place on December 4, 2002 at 11°58′ Sagittarius, on November 22, 1984 at 00°50′ Sagittarius, and on November 12, 1966 at 19°45′ Scorpio. All three of these eclipses were total just like the one on December 14, 2020.

Light in darkness

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Another key aspect of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse involves Mercury in Sagittarius. Mercury in Sagittarius will be three degrees away from the eclipse, moving swiftly toward a conjunction with the Sun it will complete on December 19 at 28°42′ Sagittarius. Mercury will form a conjunction with the dark Moon shortly before the eclipse, and is also separating from a disorienting square aspect with Neptune. Mercury’s close presence with the eclipse will seed the significations of the star of Hermes into the impact that the eclipse will make in world events. Judith Hill in Eclipses and You listed significations of Mercury in connection with eclipses including news services, journalists, communication systems, phone and computer companies, writers, books, young people, childhood education, literacy, the postal system and language. 

Before Mercury forms its solar conjunction, it will first move through a flowing trine aspect with Mars in Aries. With Mercury separating from a square with Neptune and applying to a trine with Mars, we have a correlation in the USA with the use of the Internet and social media by those in power to manipulate public opinion that voter fraud in the presidential election took place despite having a total lack of evidence showing the proof. Whether or not your are being swayed by conspiracy theories, however, all of us are having to contend with our personal information being used by Internet companies to manipulate our choices and behavior. Mercury is also the ruler of the North Node in Gemini, and therefore its approaching union with the Sun is ideal for burning off distractions and shifting away from our attention being dispersed into too many directions into become focused upon the heart of the matter aligned with our greater purpose. All of us need to increase our capacity for critical thinking and seeing through attempts to manipulate our perception as we cross the threshold into a new astrological era of air.

As Mars in Aries is finally picking up substantial forward momentum we will likewise have increased support for getting things done and taking action. As Mercury moves through the trine with Mars and forms its conjunction with the Sun on December 19, we can ideally gain clarity regarding our creative desires and begin envisioning more fully the work we wish to create in the year ahead. At the same time, Mars is applying toward its final square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that it will complete on December 23 a couple of days after the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. Mars previously formed a square aspect with Pluto when it was retrograde in Aries on October 9, and so we have had a few months to let whatever desires were stirred up by their previous tension to simmer within our inner depths. While we previously may have felt blocked or inhibited in some way from fully expressing whatever ambitions were ignited by Mars and Pluto in October, we can use the week following the Capricorn solstice and the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn to make significant progress on whatever goals were forged during the past few months of Mars moving backwards and forwards in Aries.

10 of Wands

10 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 3 Decan

The Sun in Sagittarius will be eclipsed within the third decan of Sagittarius associated with the 10 of Wands card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.  Human toil, endurance and perseverance are some of the immediate associations evoked by the image of determination, as this card has been associated with oppressive dynamics and limitations we must face and do our best to work through. The third face of Sagittarius is ruled by Saturn and the Sun, bringing together within its space of relentless determination the polarized tension between the limiting contraction of Saturn and the animating spirit of the Sun. While we will need to take care of necessary responsibilities in the days surrounding the eclipse, we will manage things better by refraining from overworking ourselves and instead making contemplative space to ponder the meaning gathered from our experiences.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Horse’s Skull” to the third face of Sagittarius in his book 36 Faces, describing how it reveals the unification of mind, body, and spirit through committed work and effort yoked to a goal.  Coppock also wrote that the final face of Sagittarius brings a reckoning regarding whatever needs to be sacrificed in pursuit of desires, noting that “those who walk this face must choose which burdens they will bear to the bitter end, and which are not worthy of such feats of will and endurance.” Both the Picatrix and Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy warn of the “evil inclinations” that can be harbored within this decan for those overly desperate to achieve objectives. Coppock described the intoxicating pursuit of victory that is found in this face, noting a need to realize when the “desperate fervor” of this decan’s power is appropriate and when it is inappropriate and will exact “a heavy toll.” These essential points by Coppock are in deep accord with what needs to be released and emptied into the eclipse in the third face of Sagittarius. It’s not a time for being forceful with whatever ambitions you have been consumed by, but rather a time for surrender and release so that the freed up space may generate new desires and visions that will be in greater alignment with the quality of time we will enter at the end of 2020.

In keeping with themes of necessity, the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac proclaimed the presence of the primordial goddess Ananke in the third face of Sagittarius.  Ananke is the mother of the Fates, the overseer of souls incarnating in Plato’s Myth of Er, and is the primordial mother of creation in some strands of Orphic cosmology who governs the cyclic nature of the cosmos. Ananke is the goddess of Necessity, and her presence in the third face of Sagittarius further amplifies the fateful feelings that will be incited by the eclipse initiating us into the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. May the watchful eye of Ananke alert us to whatever actions needs to be taken and whatever responsibilities need to fulfilled as we contend with the burdens of Necessity. As the Sun emerges from the shadow of the eclipse and enters its sacred space of the solstice, may its returning light illuminate an inspired path of Eros for us to follow into the new era of air.

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser Books.

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

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

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

Lunar Eclipse in Gemini

Gemini

Folio from a Mu’nis al-ahrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (The Free Man’s Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi dated 1340–41

Lunar Eclipse in Gemini

Mystery and shadow envelope our experiences during the time of eclipses, making it predictable to encounter unpredictable change and an influx of fertile chaos. The Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on November 30 will initiate us into a liminal portal that leads to the Total Solar Eclipse that will occur on December 14 at 23°08′ Sagittarius. While sequences of eclipses always unleash a series of events that bring important endings and beginnings in our storylines, the eclipse season that arrives at the end of 2020 will bring more than the usual amount of accelerated change due to its synchronous alignment with the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on December 21. The dragon of this eclipse season is ushering us into a new era.

Indeed, the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction at the end of 2020 demarcates not only the ending and beginning of the typical twenty year cycle between the superior planets, in this case it also transitions us from a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn aligning in earth signs into a two century era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs. Thus the typical dissolution we would normally expect due to being at the threshold of a new astrological era will be exacerbated by the vortex of volatility opened up by eclipses. Since the light of the glowing Full Moon becomes obscured by shadow during lunar eclipses, we similarly must pass through a dissolving phase of darkness that will reshape matters in fundamental ways. Fittingly, both Gemini and Sagittarius are mutable signs that assist in adapting to monumental transitions.

The Gemini Lunar Eclipse on November 30 is classified as penumbral, meaning that although the light of the Moon will be darkened by shadow it will not turn blood red in color as it does during a total lunar eclipse. Lunar Eclipses occur when a Full Moon lines up with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon, and the closer they align corresponds with a more dramatic shadowing during the eclipse. Since the Gemini Lunar Eclipse will be eleven to twelve degrees away from the transiting lunar nodes, the shadowing will be fainter and less noticeable to the naked eye. However, the eclipse symbolism of a great dragon consuming the light of the Moon is still in effect, and so we will need to let go of certain elements of our life passing away while welcoming the emergence of new twists and turns within our story.

The Gemini Lunar Eclipse is most of all significant for being the first eclipse in a series to occur in Gemini, as well as setting in motion our first experience of back to back eclipses occurring along the axis of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. The true node calculation of the lunar nodes entered Gemini and Sagittarius on May 5, 2020 and a month later we experienced a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5. Though we have been orienting to the presence of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini during the past six months, its full implications will be more deeply felt by the Moon becoming eclipsed while heading toward a conjunction with its North Node in Gemini. With the Sun simultaneously heading toward a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, the ways in which you are letting go of old beliefs that no longer resonate with your experience will be fueling an influx of new perspectives to reconcile with your worldview.

Since 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, Dane Rudhyar interpreted the solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past as shadows veil the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Since the Gemini Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon while the Sun is illuminating the side of the South Node of the Moon, growth will come from the resolution and release of old issues and cultural conditioning that have shaped our beliefs and vision of life in the past. By shedding and emptying old beliefs there will be new questions that need to be asked and new lines of thought to follow with our curiosity.

Gemini tends to be a misunderstood zodiacal sign in popular astrology, oftentimes devalued despite the depth of thought it applies toward holding and contemplating a multiplicity of perspectives. Its double-bodied and digressive nature means that events linked with the eclipse in Gemini will require multi-tasking and present choices to pursue rather than a clear focus on only one option forward. While we will ultimately be able to weave together insight and find our way into the authentic path to follow, the events stirred up by the Gemini Lunar Eclipse will require a nuanced capacity for questioning, listening, and holding the tension of divergent perspectives until greater clarity is gained. Gemini is not known for stability, yet its airy and humane nature will invigorate and open up experiences and relationships rather than keep things stuck in stagnation.

As the Lunar Eclipse will occur at 8°37′ Gemini, it will be close in zodiacal degree to the legendary fixed star Aldebaran that is known as one of the four royal stars connected with worldly power and acclaim. In fact, the Gemini Lunar Eclipse will also be visually close to Aldebaran in the sky creating a visible celestial omen to decipher.  Aldebaran is the bright rosy eye of the Bull whose reddish hue connects it with the planet Mars, as Aldebaran kindles the vitality needed to achieve the ambitious desires stoked by Mars. It’s therefore notable that the Gemini Lunar Eclipse is applying toward a sextile with Mars in Aries. The interpretation Bernadette Brady gave to Aldebaran seems fitting in connection with the eclipse, as she wrote that ethical integrity needs to be followed to achieve success in connection with the red star (1). It will be an opportune period for questioning your aspirations and anyway that you could come out of alignment with your integrity by trying to achieve them.

The next eclipses that will occur in Gemini and Sagittarius will be a total lunar eclipse at 5°26′ Sagittarius on May 26, 2021 and a solar eclipse at 19°47′ Gemini on June 10, 2021, followed by a solar eclipse on December 3, 2021 at 12°22′ Sagittarius. You can begin preparing for the larger arc of storylines that will be changing during the next year of these eclipses by reflecting upon the life topics associated with the houses the degrees of the eclipses impact in your natal chart. Oftentimes the new narratives emerging with one pair of eclipses will go through major developments when the subsequent pair of eclipses strike six months later.

MarleneSevenBremner Rubedo

Rubedo: Forever Fixed in the Heart of the Sun (2018) by Marlene Seven Bremner

The Gemini Lunar Eclipse is applying toward an invigorating sextile aspect with Mars in Aries, while Mercury in Scorpio as the ruler of the eclipse is likewise applying to a sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. From August through October 2020, the astrological landscape was dominated by a harsh square aspect between Saturn in Capricorn and Mars in Aries that intensified as Mars stationed retrograde. While they are still occupying zodiacal signs that form a square with one another, they have now put some distance between them. Saturn is now at the end of Capricorn and moving direct through the final degrees of the Sea Goat en route to entering Aquarius on December 16. Although Mars and Saturn will form one more square aspect in this series in January 2021 once Mars has entered Taurus, we now have an opportunity to reset and reconfigure to how we have already been reshaped by their tension.

Mars stationed direct two and a half weeks ago on November 13, but has moved less than two degrees forward since then. The sextile between the Gemini Lunar Eclipse with Mars in Aries will attune awareness with Mars finally beginning to build some forward momentum during the waning half of the current lunar cycle. In combination with the volatility of eclipse season, those who have felt stuck in situations they have wished to change may finally make a needed separation or push forward toward new growth opportunities. As the Gemini eclipse may coincide with numerous potential paths to choose between, the influence from Mars in Aries can help in cutting through to the authentic choice that needs to be made.

In contrast, the harmonizing sextile aspect between Mercury in Scorpio with Saturn in Capricorn is less about fiery action and more about deepening and grounding into the depth of one’s circumstances to discern the most effective ways to navigate through the epochal transition arriving at the end of the year. There is immense capacity for thorough research and penetrating contemplation within the sextile between Mercury and Saturn that can be applied to any area of life in need of attention and discernment. In addition to looking forward, the sextile between Mercury and Saturn may also be utilized in reflecting back upon the many experiences and lessons that have coincided with the transit of Saturn in Capricorn that began on December 19, 2017. We are close to the end of Saturn’s momentous journey through Capricorn and it will be worth the time it takes to ponder what you have learned from the experience before it enters Aquarius for good on December 16.

Oceanus

Oceanus

Neptune Stationing

While the Gemini Lunar Eclipse is applying to a sextile aspect with Mars in Aries, its next aspect will be a catalyzing square aspect with Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is a major influence over the lunar eclipse due to the fact that it stationed direct on November 28 while also forming a confounding square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes. When Neptune stations direct it saturates the astrological landscape with its influence so that instead of being in the background or out of consciousness it becomes more viscerally felt. Among other things Neptune signifies the multitudinous meaning found in images, and so it will be worthwhile to explore the meaning of any images that grab your attention whether through dreams or your waking life. The stationing of Neptune may bring images that inspire with the ineffable quality of soul, unveiling aspects of inner psyche through contemplation.

The impact of Neptune forming a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes is difficult to fully capture in words but clearly seen in current events full of numerous conspiracy theories and fraudulent attempts to manipulate public opinion by those in power. Issues surrounding social media, the Internet, and the alternating realities they can create that make bridging political divides seem impossible are major issues that the coming era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs will exacerbate and that the stationing of Neptune while at the bending of the lunar nodes has been making obvious. Neptune can dissolve structures of thought into a process of disillusionment, confusion, and disorientation that can be difficult to traverse with clarity when in the middle of it. Yet with the eclipses activating the South Node in Sagittarius and North Node in Gemini, crucial lessons will be found through reorienting to our reality with the sense of truth we gain from experiences of disillusionment.

The questions of Neptune do not have easy answers, and as the Moon will be eclipsed on the side of its North Node in Gemini we can further surmise that the larger answers to our questions will also not come from the “spirit of the times” as C.G. Jung would say. No matter if the information is coming from what is perceived as a mainstream or alternative source, ultimately we will each need to descend to our inner depths to discern our way through the maze of cultural influences to find our authentic path forward. While the shadow of Gemini in square with Neptune in Pisces can involve distraction and deception, its more positive potential involves an open mind willing to listen, committed to questioning everything, and actively witnessing the reality of the multitudinous and those on the margins overlooked by others.

swords08

Gemini 1 Decan

The Moon will be eclipsed in the first decan of Gemini associated with the Eight of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is apt for the fears and grief that have been overwhelming to many during the past year of pandemics and political turmoil. The image of the bound woman has been interpreted as the paralysis that comes from fears running rampant within or triggered in 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. As Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini, the image also reveals 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 that will come in the next month of eclipses and the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, linking Eve’s bite into the apple with emerging awareness of “the duality within all things” including the yin and yang of the self. Coppock described that the discovery of the binary and “the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities” unlocks “the capacity to code all things” and display clever skills in all of the arts and sciences. Yet in keeping with the image of the Eight of Swords card, Coppock also declared that this opening to abundant flow also “de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.” Coppock noted that the mental acuity of this decan 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 (2).

In contrast to the tightly bound woman in the Eight of Swords image, ancient texts ascribed a graceful woman of flowing mind and deft dexterity inhabiting the first decan of Gemini.  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.” Indeed, the Picatrix declares it to be “a face of the art of the scribe, of reckoning, of number, of giving and receiving, and of the sciences.” In keeping with the double-bodied nature of the sign of the Twins, we can imagine how the image of a woman gracefully prodigious in arts and crafts is another side of the first face of Gemini to remember in contrast to the Eight of Swords image.

Fascinatingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Tethus, also known as Tethys,  to the first face of Gemini. Since Tethys is the Titan goddess of fresh water which interconnects and nourishes our earth, we can note her appearance in the Eight of Swords image as the water at the foundation of the figure. Tethys was also the wife of Okeanos, the primal sea divinity of the oceanic field surrounding the world where the Sun rises from at dawn and returns to at sunset, and the mother of river, cloud, spring, stream, and fountain spirits. Daughter of Gaia, Tethys fed her children through the subterranean waters of Okeanos as her name is derived from the Greek word têthê meaning “nurse” or “grandmother.” Moreover, she was often depicted in art with a pair of wings on her brow signifying her role as mother of rain clouds (3).

Lunar Eclipses can be more emotional than the usual Full Moon, bringing events that cause waves of change that continue to reverberate in their rippling effect. While there may be a need for grief and the release of tearful emotions like rain from clouds in response to events that will come from the eclipse, allow exploration of your watery internal landscape to bring you into contact with the enlivening water that resides there. Be curious about whatever you can feel emerging from within to be born into your life, as these feelings will likely intensify as we approach the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse on December 14.

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References

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

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

(3) Tethys, Greek Titan Goddess of Fresh Water. https://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisTethys.html