Full Moon in Pisces

the unicorn is found

The Unicorn is Found (1495 – 1505)

Full Moon in Pisces

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

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

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

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Gustave Courbet (1869) The Wave

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

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

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

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Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

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

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

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

Remedios Varo creation of the birds

The Creation of Birds (1957) by Remedios Varo

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

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

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

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

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

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

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

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

References

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

Exploring Soul on the Energetic Principles Podcast

Exploring Soul in Astrology

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

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

Virgo New Moon

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Virgo 1 Decan image by Cosimo Tura from Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia (1476-84)

Virgo New Moon

Following the radiant and raging fire set by the Leo Sun during August in which the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars were all occupying the sign of the Lion, the New Moon in Virgo on August 30 initiates us into a month dominated by the cool calculations of Virgo. As the Moon unites in darkness with the Sun in Virgo, they are joined by the co-presence of Mercury, Venus, and Mars in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  It was written long ago that the lack of bright stars in the head of Her constellation is why so many various figures have been identified as the starry Virgin with Wings, including Demeter, Isis, Fortuna/Tyche, Justice/Dike, and Erigone. Mythic themes shared by these figures include facing the grief of loss, whether over the loss of a beloved or the loss of justice, ideals, and integrity within humanity.  Mercury joins the Sun and Moon in Virgo, the home and exaltation of Mercury, saturating the lunation with its capacity for weaving in between and bridging polarities such as spirit and matter, the rational and the emotional. In the forthcoming lunar cycle we will need to rely on the ability of Mercury to serve as a psychopomp guiding us into and out of underworld experiences, gathering the meaning found within the dark.

Underlying all of the changes in 2019 has been the pivotal relationship between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune are at the waning square aspect of their cycle that began in 2009 and have been calling us to deeply question the beliefs, philosophy, and vision of meaning we have been living life from. Within the waning square of Jupiter and Neptune we can experience a harvesting of wisdom, a gathering and sifting through of ideas and experiences from their cycle through which we can discern meaning and resources to share with others. Yet the final square of their cycle can also incite a dramatic confrontation with how we have been shaped and conditioned by the surrounding culture, realizing where we have been led astray by illusory ideals or beliefs. Though disillusionment brings difficulties, it ultimately guides us to realization of what needs to be released and let go. The Virgo New Moon brings an influx of planets in Virgo that will volatilize Jupiter and Neptune, as the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Sun, and Mars will be forming a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in the coming month followed by a tense opposition with Neptune.

The Virgo New Moon setting off the charged dynamic between Jupiter and Neptune is an invitation to make time and space for inner contemplation, digesting and processing the changes that have been taking shape within personal and collective spheres during the past year. Vitally, the Virgo New Moon is forming a square aspect with Ceres in Sagittarius and a flowing trine with Uranus in Taurus.  There may be loss to process, anger over acts of injustice, frustration over plans not working out as had been hoped, yet it is only through descending into the depths of inner sensation that we will unearth the necessary insight that will lead to making substantial changes. The Virgo New Moon in Virgo brings gifts for finding solutions that will be wasted by attempting to deny or escape from whatever has been happening. Since Mercury, Mars, and Venus are invisible in transition from old and new cycles with the Sun, the lunation brings the opportunity to descend into inner darkness in order to bring about a metamorphosis of our presence in the months ahead. Yet as part of this process we will need to make space for mending and nurturance, keeping in mind that visible results may take time to form.

In addition to the influx of archetypal forces in Virgo mediating the dynamic between Jupiter and Neptune, the waxing Virgo Moon as well as Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Sun will be forming a trine aspect with Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto in Capricorn in the month ahead. This means that the Virgo stellium is forming whole sign aspects with all of the other planets as well as the lunar nodes, bringing the focused gaze of the Winged Maiden into analysis of whatever has been working effectively as well as ineffectively. The New Moon will promote taking action and doing the necessary work, being in service to whatever needs to be taken care of as well as whatever inspiration strikes. In the midst of handling daily responsibilities, set aside some personal time in which to open your imagination towards new ways to approach old issues as well as reception of inner vision and purpose that can guide you toward the next steps to take.

Mercury in Virgo rules the New Moon while applying to a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Mercury is in both its home and exaltation of Virgo, but is also in its invisible and regenerative phase of transitioning from being a Morning Star to an Evening Star. Since Mercury is at the end of its cycle it amplifies the capacity of the Virgo New Moon to transition us from old endings toward new beginnings, yet patience will be needed regarding the seeds we plant. During its present phase Mercury is moving at its fastest speed toward a solar conjunction on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit. The speed of Mercury during this phase can bring an overwhelming sense of needing to sift through an overabundance of ideas, yet since Mercury is in its home and exaltation we have enhanced capacity to shed the inessential in the days following the Virgo New Moon. As Mercury unites with the Sun a few days after the New Moon on September 3 at 11º16′ Virgo, we can experience a regeneration of clarity and insight that will help with discernment as well as synthesizing meaning. This is a powerful day to meditate, reflect, and seek inner guidance for not only the beginning of new cycles for the Moon and Mercury, but also for a new Mars cycle.

Indeed, Mars is being regenerated by the creative potency of the Virgo Sun at the same time as Mercury. Mars will enter the heart of the Virgo Sun on September 2 at 9º39′ Virgo, and so the Virgo New Moon occurs during the final days of the Mars synodic cycle which began at 4º12′ Leo on 25 July 2017. Mars holds a strong influence over the Virgo New Moon in the archetypal form of the blacksmith who can melt down old martial patterns while reforging our relationship with Mars for the cycle ahead. In contrast to Mercury and Venus being in transition toward their Evening Star phases, Mars is in transition to being seen again as a Morning Star in mid October. Take time to reflect upon the past two years of themes in your life related to Mars, while simultaneously revisioning how you would like to change and evolve the expression of Mars in your life. Consider what is worth fighting for or protecting, areas you need to be more courageous and assertive, places you feel pulled toward directing your passions and vigor.

With Mercury and Venus also beginning new cycles at the same time as Mars, the month of September will be a powerful period of revivification regarding the values and ideas we wish to embody and express in the world. Mercury will unite with Mars on September 3 about ten hours before it forms its exact conjunction with the Sun, bringing the guidance of psychopomp Mercury into the underworld rebirth of Mars. Mercury will then quickly begin to separate from Mars and the Sun into forming a flowing trine with Saturn in Capricorn on September 5, a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius on September 6,  followed by an opposition with Neptune in Pisces on September 7 and a trine with Pluto in Capricorn on September 8. Since all of these connections being made by Mercury will occur while it is still in its invisible phase, Mercury’s sequence of aspects could help in becoming aware of hidden dynamics that have been impacting us without our conscious awareness; yet there will also likely be a powerful unconscious shaping force due to Mercury, Venus, and Mars remaining invisible.

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Gustave Courbet (1865) Girl with Seagulls

While Mercury and Mars are at the end of cycles with the Sun during the Virgo New Moon, Venus is at the start of a new cycle with the Sun and is beginning to return from being in the depths of the underworld. Not only is Venus in an underworld solar phase, it is also in a place of underworld initiation due to Venus being in its fall of Virgo. Venus in Virgo calls for descent into inner senses and discernment, a willingness to be brought down low to the ground rather than struggling to ascend to exalted heights. While dwelling in low lying places Venus can incubate insight from within, inspecting the foundations and the underbelly with a willingness to get dirty and get to the root of the matter. Under rulership of the psychopomp Mercury, Venus can gather resources from subterranean places like Persephone. Although in its fall of Virgo, Venus has essential dignity at the time of the New Moon due to being in its own bounds, decan, and triplicity and so can use its critical eye to ascertain what needs our focus for reform and improvement.

As the Virgo New Moon begins waxing towards its first crescent light, Venus in Virgo is applying closely to a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius and a flowing trine with Saturn in Capricorn and the South Node of the Moon. Venus will trine Saturn on September 1, form a square aspect with Jupiter on September 2, and then form a pivotal opposition with Neptune in Pisces on September 4.  As a result our newly revivified relationship with Venus will be shaped by the two major planetary cycles of 2019, the Saturn and Pluto cycle and the Jupiter and Neptune cycle. We may feel stress and anxiety within relationships or have to deal with difficulties in other Venus related areas of life, yet there is a necessity in Venus in Virgo taking us down to confront the underlying factors at play in our present circumstances. Venus and Virgo brings a gift for analysis, details, and craft with a magical capacity for productive distribution of whatever can be harvested from experiences.  In particular the opposition between Venus with Neptune can be useful in stripping away illusions and utilizing the strength of Venus in Virgo for unifying and weaving together meaning from disparate threads of experience.

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8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

The New Moon arises in first face of Virgo, associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Eight of Pentacles we see a craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct 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 wrote that the first face of Virgo inmates 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.”

A maiden is seen in the images for the first face of Virgo in several ancient texts, wearing an old dress while holding a pomegranate in the Picatrix, holding a jug while standing in myrtle in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra. The 36 Airs ascribed the ancient goddess Themis to the first decan of Virgo, a Titaness of divine law and order who was present at oracles to have her voice transmitted to querents for divine guidance. The chthonic wisdom and divination of this decan is further revealed in the image appearing in Liber Hermetis: “a serpent put together awry,” whose “head is the likeness of the Moon.” There is a unique quality of inducing growth in the first face of Virgo which has resonance with its description in the Picatrix of being a place of “sowing, plowing, the germination of plants, of gathering grapes, and of good living.”

The Sun is the ruler of the first face of Virgo, and so since the Sun is in its own face it will seed the New Moon with the creative potency and symbolism of this decan. There is a grounding and self-assured humility that is part of the solar quality to embody in this face, and as the Sun continues to move through the rest of Virgo in the month ahead there will be ample amounts of creative potency to harness into our work.  As the Moon waxes in light we will be able to receive a more realistic perspective regarding the deep seated changes happening as well as configuring ways to find solutions to dilemmas. It’s especially notable that the forthcoming Full Moon in Pisces on September 13 will be conjoining Neptune and opening awareness to potential directions we had not previously considered. With Mercury also co-present in Virgo, remember that Virgo is not only a place of analysis and organization but also a lucid transmitter of imaginal revelations.

References

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

Eratosthenes and Hyginus. (2015). Constellation Myths. A new translation by Robin Hard. Oxford World’s Classics.

Legacy of “Cosmos and Psyche” by Rick Tarnas on the Celestial Vibes podcast

Cosmos and Psyche:

The Legacy of Richard Tarnas

I was interviewed by Aswin Balaji with Celestial Vibes Magazine on the significance and legacy of Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas. In part we talk about his approach to archetypes and synchronicity in astrology and tracking historical patterns in connection with planetary alignments. We also talk about his conception of the modern self’s development that experienced a dawn with the Copernican revolution, led into the disenchantment of the cosmos, and then experienced the descent of its sunset with the Depth Psychology revolution at the turn of the 20th Century that decentered the conscious self as the center of the inner universe and unveiled the vastness of the unknown realm of the unconscious.

Aquarius Full Moon

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William Blake from The Song of Los

Aquarius Full Moon

“To be real about the sacred is to see not just what inside us is not sacred- but what it is inside us that’s against the sacred. What is it in our civilization that’s systematically, year after year and minute after minute, mile after mile and inch by inch, gutting everything sacred it touches: devouring it inside ourselves at the same time as irresistibly, inevitably, eating it up outside us in the beauty of landscape and nature?”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

The Full Moon in Aquarius on August 15 illuminates explorations of inner darkness and contemplation regarding the path to follow into the great unknown ahead. The astrology of the past month has been missing the element of air (besides the Moon briefly traveling through each air sign) and so the fullness of the Moon’s light in the clarifying, objectifying, and visionary sign of the Water Bearer brings a needed dosage of the synthesizing and integrative capacities of the air element. Let the light of the Aquarius Full Moon nourish the seeds of rebirth in creativity and underlying values you have been tending during the past couple of months of liminal, mysterious transition. The fixed, persevering quality of Aquarius can help in discovering the inner as well as external resources needed to endure a journey into new terrain, facilitating inner resolve to overcome whatever barriers we have previously felt were preventing us from following a more authentic calling.

The Aquarius Full Moon serves as a gateway out of the complex and challenging astrological transits of the past couple of months, which included two eclipses connected with Saturn as well as a Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer period that deeply stirred up material dislodged by the eclipses. Not only are we now clear of eclipse season, but the Full Moon also brings the final resolution to the Mercury retrograde period that began in the beginning of July when Mercury stationed retrograde while conjoining Mars and forming a square to Uranus. As the Full Moon ripens, Mercury will be moving past the degree at which it stationed in July while also reforming its square aspect with Uranus. As a result, Mercury will be inciting revelations which will bring sudden and startling clarity to whatever questions have remained murky and mired in the mystery of the recent eclipse season.

Moreover, the Full Moon is simultaneously illuminating the reseeding of Venus by the Leo Sun, putting us in touch with a deep process of regenerating the values that source our desires. While we may feel disgusted, angry, or upset over immorality and tragedy in current events occurring throughout external society, we have the opportunity to turn within to discover fertile richness to cultivate. The Full Moon in Aquarius brings the gift of utilizing Aquarian processes of patient, contemplative detachment to step back from emotional overwhelm in order to penetrate into the nature of current circumstances and discern how to catalyze necessary growth. While we may feel like rushing ahead with plans, the fact that the lunation is ruled by Saturn slowly moving retrograde alongside the South Node of the Moon points to the fact that we are in the middle of a drawn out metamorphosis that requires further rumination regarding longterm plans. The waning half of the current lunar cycle will be bringing important information we will need to consider and integrate.

The Aquarius Full Moon is conjoining the fixed star Deneb Algedi, the great star which marks the tail of the Sea Goat constellation in the living sky above. Old magical texts on the fixed stars declared that the image of Deneb Algedi brings prosperity and increases wealth, as well as enhancing one’s home and keeping it secure. As the Aquarius Moon waxes full near the star of the Sea Goat’s tail in the sky, we can turn awareness into the oceanic, immaterial expanse underlying our reality where the roots of form take shape. Rather than becoming overly focused upon external validation for achievement, see what visions from subconscious senses are ready to manifest without regard for external standards of judgment. It may not be clear how to bring new ideas into reality yet, but by setting intention to nurture and foster their manifestation we can begin the process of patiently discovering the best course of development for them.

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Odilon Redon (1899) A Woman Clothed with the Sun

The Aquarius Full Moon on August 15 is forming an opposition with the superior conjunction of Venus that occurred on August 14 at 22 degrees of Leo. Venus at this point in its cycle is invisible and in an underworld phase that can be likened to the descent of Inanna into the Great Below to be stripped of her worldly possessions and experience death followed by a metamorphosis of understanding. At the time of the Full Moon, Venus has just emerged from being revivified by the creative potency of the Leo Sun and is ready to begin her long journey back from the underworld which will occur at the end of September when Venus arises once again as an Evening Star. As a result, the Full Moon will bring light to however we are experiencing a transformation in values and aesthetics, the way we relate with others and the way we express our desires.

Venus in its current solar phase is as far away from the earth as it gets within its cycle as well as moving at its fastest speed, symbolizing increased capacity to let go of old personal fixations. As the Full Moon forms, Venus has been set ablaze by the radiant Leo Sun like a summer bonfire we can release old relational patterns into. As Venus begins to recover from being burned up by the Sun, we can likewise shed old issues that have been weighing us down or restraining our ability to seek or receive pleasure. In the next month, we can realign our external expression with our inner authenticity, deepening inner awareness of the fertile potential we possess to creatively actualize in the world around us.  Ultimately, Venus will be guiding us to manifest whatever we desire to create from within.

The superior conjunction of Venus on August 14 was the first solar reseeding for Venus since 26 October 2018 when Venus was retrograde in the deep waters of Scorpio. It may be time to bury and put to rest some desires and issues that arose in the past ten months, while fertilizing those we wish to cultivate going forward. As Venus forms its superior conjunction in the same sign every eight years as part of its synodic cycle, forming a five pointed star pattern, it may be helpful to consider the strange resonances that can be found between now and past superior conjunctions for Venus in Leo. There were previously superior conjunctions of Venus in Leo in August 2011, August 2003, and August 1995.

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William Blake from The Song of Los

The Aquarius Full Moon is also applying to an opposition with Mars in Leo, as Mars is about six degrees ahead of the union of Venus with the Sun as the Moon forms its exact opposition with the Sun. In contrast to Venus already having been revived by the Leo Sun, Mars is at the end of its cycle and experiencing the final release and purification from its cycle with the Sun which began at 4º12′ Leo on 25 July 2017. Similar to Venus, Mars is also in its underworld phase and giving us the opportunity to melt down old martial patterns and reforge our relationship with Mars to be more resonant with our developing desires and presence. The opposition from the Aquarius Full Moon can help cool down any excessive heat or emotional overwhelm in order to find creative solutions or necessary redirection of energy. Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2, a few days after the upcoming New Moon in Virgo.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus will chase after Mars and form a conjunction with the fiery red planet on August 24 at five degrees of Virgo, beginning a new cycle between the planets that signify our most intimate desires. As Venus and Mars are at the very end of their cycle at the time of the Full Moon, their cycle serves as yet another symbol of the Full Moon in Aquarius initiating us into a process of rediscovering what we want in our relationships as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves. With Venus and Mars coming together in the secrecy of darkness during their underworld phases, we will be called to engage in embodiment rather than intellectual analysis of the changes taking shape through their union. Moreover, since the coming conjunction of Mars and Venus in Virgo will also be applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus, getting in touch with bodily senses can help uncover desires untethered to societal conditioning. The close proximity of Venus and Mars to the Sun will bring a purgative, cathartic intensity to their union that will bring awareness to any underlying motivations we have been acting from that are no longer in our best interest.

William Blake Songs of Experience

William Blake from Songs of Experience

A few days before the Aquarius Full Moon on August 11, Mercury entered Leo while Jupiter stationed direct in Sagittarius and Uranus stationed retrograde in Taurus. During the Aquarius Full Moon, Mercury in Leo will be applying closely to a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Taurus that it will complete the following day on August 16.  When Mercury stationed retrograde on July 7 in Leo, it was within a few degrees of an exact square with Uranus. As a result, as Mercury finally completes its square with Uranus during the Aquarius Full Moon we may receive sudden revelations that change our perspective regarding stories that have been developing since the beginning of July. We may receives flashes of intuition, instant knowing, and rapid insights that bring far ranging vision to mind.

After Mercury completes its square aspect with Uranus, it will begin applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius that it will complete on August 21 while the waning Moon in Taurus is applying toward a conjunction with Uranus. During the week following the Full Moon, Mercury will be glimmering in pre-dawn skies, heralding the rising Sun while it transmits the uplifting and inspiring shift of Jupiter in Sagittarius moving forward in direct motion again. Mercury in Leo is in position to activate goals and animate creative impulses into manifested results. Thus, the Full Moon occurring in the intellectual and community-oriented sign of Aquarius can help with discerning how to find a resonant role in the greater collective as well as conceiving how to develop burgeoning ideas into structures and vehicle through which we will be able to fulfill the needs and interests of others.

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7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Full Moon will rise in the third face of Aquarius associated with the Seven of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius, using the symbol of a knot to explore the karmic binds that keep us stuck in the known and familiar rather than liberating ourselves to enter the unknown. Coppock described the stealthy figure in the image of the Seven of Swords card as having already undergone a process of not only deciding to leave a frustrating situation but also having already contemplated what is worth saving. There is a risk of exile and the uncertainty of no longer having the stability of the structures being left behind, but the figure has determinedly chosen the unknown over the known.

The Moon is the ruler of the third face of Aquarius, giving the Full Moon greater strength than it would otherwise have in Aquarius. As the Sun is securely comfortable and powerful in its fiery home of Leo, as it is simultaneously bathing Venus and Mars in its blazing radiance, the Moon in its own face of Aquarius can help us gather strength and inner resolve to experiment and take creative risks. By listening to the Aquarian guidance of doing things differently and looking at things with a different perspective, we will more naturally find the resources we need to support the new direction taking shape in our mind. The Full Moon in Aquarius can help us cultivate a healthy dose of detachment from the all-consuming subjectivity of the abundant astrological fire, just the space necessary to gain the widening of perception needed to discover solutions and forge supportive connections with others.

Since both Venus and Mars are in underworld phases during the Full Moon, it is interesting that the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Osiris, lord of the dead and the otherworld, to the third face of Aquarius. The presence of Osiris with the Aquarius Full Moon brings themes of fertility and regeneration to the forefront. As both Venus and Mars are undergoing processes of death and rebirth, Osiris calls us to find resources and enrichment within the depths of our unconscious so that we will be able to nurture our own metamorphosis rather than needing to seek the kind of external validation that could condition the change underway. Osiris possesses a sacred quality of surrender to the process of regeneration, surrendering to all of the suffering that must be endured in order to fully nurture and realize our creative potential. As the Aquarius Moon glows bright in the darkness of night, may its luminosity remind you of the inner light you possess in your heart that remains ever ready to guide you forward.

References

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

Warnock, Chris. (2019). Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic. Renaissance Astrology.

New Moon in Leo: Tending the Forge’s Fire

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Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Overseer’s Tale” from 1001 Arabian Nights

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on July 31 seeds solar fire illuminating the dawn of a new lunar cycle, bringing an end to a month of eclipses and the strange descent into soul making and twists of fate that occur when our luminaries become devoured in shadow. Though the Leo New Moon officially marks the end of eclipse season, its fiery light will be casting shadows full of revelations from the eclipses that will continue to foment change.  Whatever came through during the Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2 and the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 will be cohering into new forms during August, bringing the potential to gain clarity regarding whatever shifts in storylines emerged in the past month. There is also a liberating quality to the lunation that can help in making creative breakthroughs, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square with Uranus and applying to a trine with Jupiter. Just in time, the ever nimble Mercury will be making sure we get the message we need to receive as it will be stationing direct as the Moon and Sun unite in Leo.

Not only is the Moon in Leo being reseeded with solar light in darkness, Venus in Leo has also descended into her invisible phase of dark initiation, death and rebirth. While star power radiates from Venus in Leo when in her visible phase, in her current solar phase she has turned away from external pursuits in order to experience an inner rapture and epiphany. Venus is at the end of her cycle which will ultimately transition her from being the glorious Morning Star role she played previously during 2019 into the Evening Star role she will take on toward the end of September into October when she becomes visible again in the twilight of sunset. As the Moon waxes toward fullness, Venus will be experiencing a period of regeneration and purification as she races toward her sacred union in the heart of the Sun at 21º11′ Leo on August 13 or 14, depending upon your time zone. Venus will be encountered in hidden realms and in the shared secrecy of intimacy during August.

For the rest of the month, Venus will be inviting you to ponder the mystery of the past month of eclipse season, letting  whatever has been stirred up to settle, giving yourself time and space to integrate the changes in feeling and desire. Venus in Leo is calling us to reconsider the values we have been living by as well as the style and aesthetics we express ourselves through and utilize to magnetize and attract what we want to create. It may be necessary to surrender to a metamorphosis of identity, with old layers of our persona peeling away to reveal a new sense of self ready to begin emerging. There could be difficulties and doubts swirling around us as we recover from an intense eclipse season that was aligned with Saturn and Pluto, but if we are willing to let Venus lead us into our inner depths there will be passion, power, and purpose for us to discover alongside the vulnerability that comes within liminal states of change.

Moreover, the Leo New Moon also marks the entrance of Mars into its invisible phase of darkness at the end of its synodic cycle that began on 25 July 2017 at 4º12′ Leo. Mars is also calling us to regenerate our desires and will-force as it undergoes a period of purging and purification until it is reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2 at 9º41′ Virgo. Allow yourself to consider in the darkness of the Moon the trajectory of your life in the last two years, which desires you were able to achieve with satisfaction, which ones led you astray, and the wisdom you have gathered from all of the martial adventures you have undertaken. If you feel anger and frustration over unfulfilled ambitions or barriers that have obstructed you while Mars is in the process of burning up in the Sun, look for healthy physical outlets to transmit the energy through. Mars in Leo has the fiery heart of the lion and the courage we need to descend with the star of Ares into the underworld to experience a rebirth of how we wish to wield the force of Mars in its forthcoming cycle.

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Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Tale of the Third Dervish” from 1001 Arabian Nights

As the Leo Moon waxes towards its first crescent light it will pass through a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Sagittarius that will aid in elevating vision from the watery depths of July into conception of how the volatility of eclipse season is coagulating into new forms. Furthermore, Venus and the Sun in Leo will both be applying toward a trine with Jupiter which the Sun will complete on August 7 and Venus on August 8. While Jupiter in Sagittarius was out of aspect with the eclipses in July, the star of Zeus will dramatically come back into prominence during August. Jupiter will station direct on August 11 on the same day that Uranus in Taurus will station retrograde, which is notable due to Venus applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus during the New Moon, with the Sun and Moon beginning to separate from a square with Uranus. As a result, the first couple of weeks of August will be full of the emancipatory influence of Jupiter and Uranus, inciting flights of inspiration and vision.

Jupiter has been retrograde since April 10 when it stood still at 24º21′ Sagittarius in order to turn backward toward its direct stationing point at 14º30′ Sagittarius. For four months Jupiter has been glowing bright in night skies asking us to integrate and make meaning from our myriad experiences. As Jupiter stations while forming a flowing trine with the Sun and Venus in Leo, we have an opportune period to take stock of whatever we have been working on, the ideas for what we want to conceive and create, as well as the current state of our relationships and how to adjust our co-participation based upon the inner changes that have been brewing in recent months. Meanwhile, the square between Venus and Uranus will shake up whatever has become stuck or stagnant in the way we have been relating with others or expressing ourselves. August begs us to invite eros into our psyche and let the fires of our imagination guide us forward.

Amazingly, just as Jupiter is beginning to slow down to station direct on August 11, it is entering into an antiscia aspect with Saturn in Capricorn that will extend all the way through September 21. This means that while Saturn and Jupiter are not in a traditional aspect, they can still see one another through being equidistant to 0º Cancer, mirroring each other across the solstice axis at places that share the same amount of daylight. Reinhold Ebertin noted that “patience and perseverance” comes with Jupiter and Saturn in a planetary picture, a worthy attitude to bring toward whatever material and events have been stirred up by the recent eclipse season, especially since the transiting South Node of the Moon will also be traveling with Saturn and making its antiscia with Jupiter more deeply karmic.

Jupiter has been in balsamic relationship with Saturn during 2019, bringing the revisioning and karmic release that always comes at the ending of their cycle. Jupiter and Saturn began their current cycle on 28 May 2000 at 22º42′ Taurus, and their forthcoming union at the end of 2020 in Aquarius is the great conjunction that will launch us into a new astrological era centered around the element of air. After Jupiter enters Capricorn on 2 December 2019 we will have an intensification of the reseeding and release that comes at the end of any cycle, but from now through September the mirroring of Jupiter and Saturn through antiscia can give us an early start on conceptualizing how to begin adjusting our long-term plans to align with the wider collective shifts emerging as we enter the new decade. The 2020s will be initiated by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that also forms a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, and so it will be worth considering what direction you want your life to go and what you want to create in the next couple of years as both Jupiter and Uranus station simultaneously this month.

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Kay Nielsen illustration from The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain

While the Moon, Venus, and Mars will all be invisible, overwhelmed by proximity to the indomitable flames of the Sun in Leo, Mercury is making a dramatic appearance and announcement at the same time the New Moon in Leo is reseeded. Mercury is stationing direct at 23º56′ Cancer while forming an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn, as well as becoming visible again as a Morning Star. Thus as the Moon in Leo waxes into its first crescent light of a new cycle, we have a potent opportunity to deepen the understanding and revelation we have gathered during Mercury’s retrograde phase that began July 7 at 4º27′ Leo. We can expect an upsurge of information to enter our awareness from subconscious depths and unexpected sources, or a new insight into whatever material was stirred up by the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. The tension between Mercury and Pluto can facilitate penetrating underneath the surface of conventions, probing beyond societal boundaries to understand the essence of whatever you have been exploring.

As the Moon waxes in light, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 9 at 29º Cancer, and then will return to Leo on August 11 and begin applying toward a harmonious trine with Jupiter as the star of Zeus stations direct in Sagittarius. However, before we get to mid August when Mercury is picking up speed and creative potency, we need to make the space to integrate the revelations brought by Mercury stationing direct during the darkness of the Leo New Moon. It’s always necessary to maintain sharp focus toward picking up whatever signs and omens cross our path when Mercury is stationing direct, but this is especially the case this time round with Mercury forming an opposition to the degree of the recent Lunar Eclipse. Let the cunning tricks and deft mixing of Mercury work itself on your mind, loosening plans and preconceived notions in order to open awareness to what your soul is guiding you to receive from within.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon in Leo strides forward in the first face 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 rules the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and connect with a receptive audience. The past month of eclipses were difficult for many in part due to the fact that Saturn was playing an integral role in both, with Mercury retrograde at the same time. Use the gift for slow and steady contemplation that Saturn offers toward considering whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona through which you have been engaging the world. As Saturn in Capricorn will be continuing to plod along backwards in alignment with the South Node of the Moon for the rest of the month, there are aspects of your old identity and ambition to shed in order to make space for a more vital passion to follow forward.

While the New Moon in Leo is in the first decan of Leo, it is also within the Egyptian bounds of Venus, meaning that Venus will be setting the terms of the lunation while in process of being burned up and regenerated by the flames of the Leo Sun. Thus Venus can help guide us in remaking the mask we wear in public, drawing us into interior depths to discover inspiration attuned to our soul. Fittingly, 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 in August, letting our creative process align with the changes of nature taking shape within us and outside us.

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.

Planets in Fall on the Liminal Light Podcast

Mythopoetry of Planets in Fall

Planets in Fall arranged in the places of the Thema Mundi

I recently joined Chris Reppucci on his Liminal Light Podcast to discuss planets in fall and how we might think about them and where we might look to find stories that help us in better understanding their condition.

I gave a talk at the NORWAC astrology conference in May 2019 exploring the fall of Venus in Virgo and Mercury in Pisces through the telling of the Psyche and Eros story found in the Hellenistic novel The Golden Ass by Apuleius. Chris was inspired to read The Golden Ass after hearing my lecture and so we spend a good amount of time discussing the novel by Apuleius, as well as Psyche and Eros, mystery traditions, initiatory experiences, magical procedures, the underworld, the celebration of life, the Daimon, fate, and fortune.

I make a lot of references to the placement of planets in fall in the Thema Mundi, the legendary birth chart of the universe which is Cancer rising and has the domicile and exaltation schemes of essential dignity embedded in it. If you are unfamiliar with the concept you can reflect upon the image I have inserted at the top of this post when listening to our discussion, as it shows the planets in fall arranged in accordance with the Thema Mundi.

We didn’t make time to fully explore the Psyche and Eros story in relation to planets in fall during our talk, so if you are interested in hearing my approach to Psyche and Eros in my talk from NORWAC you can purchase it through my store page for $13. I will send you a MP3 recording as well as the slides.

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

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Marc Chagall (1945) The Soul of the City

Capricorn Lunar Eclipse

“History is inside us, as Henry Corbin always insisted, not we inside history. History is a psychological material where the eternities of soul leave their traces in time. As the soul moves in circles, so does history display the soul’s ricorsi as records . . . Soul can always be lost, for that is its nature; lost even as it is found in the noblest of intentions . . . Soul is necessarily shadowed, its enlightenment never accomplished.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology (p. 314)

The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 signals a peak moment of 2019, a gateway releasing the pent up pressure and karmic debris that has been gathered by the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn during the past six months. The nodes mark eclipses and were envisioned by the ancients as a monstrous dragon consuming our luminaries, with the North Node the Head, the South Node the Tail of the dragon. Because the Full Moon in Capricorn is roughly seven degrees away from the nodes, it will become partially covered in blood red shadow cast by the Sun. The eclipse is not only ruled by Saturn, Saturn will be in the same vicinity of the sky as the Moon, while also forming a close conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. Since the Lunar Eclipse is also closely conjoining Pluto, there will be an intensified underworld quality to the time involving the necessity of digging up and facing certain issues that have been buried. The influence of the South Node on Saturn and the eclipse invites a shedding and release of wherever in life you have been neglecting authentic desires and feelings in order to conform to societal expectations.

2019 began with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn and henceforth the close conjunction of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn have emphasized the gravity as well as the ambition of the earthy sign of the Sea Goat. While the North Node has been in Cancer the entire year, it was not until mid June when Mercury and Mars ascended over it, followed by the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2, that the Cancer side of the nodal axis became amplified. The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn, between Moon and Saturn, midwives and morticians, tender searching and patient austerity, has been the dominant astrological theme of the year. The prodigal Moon which waxes and wanes ever forward in its shifting phases of generation and corruption, translating the life-giving light of the sun between all of the planets just as it also signifies our changing feelings and capacity to empathize with others, is in stark contrast to the sluggish taskmaster Saturn who stands guard at the gateway between visible and invisible planets, imagining the boundaries that reorder forms, demanding we persevere and endure its tests that necessarily temper our extremes and shape our path forward. Within the potent polarity betwixt Cancer and Capricorn, the fluidity of feelings flow into the cold gravity of stone.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness and then becomes eclipsed in shadow, Venus in Cancer will be applying toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and an opposition with Saturn. Vitally, Venus is no longer visible and has entered her regenerative underworld phase of combustion in the fiery rays of the Sun.  Yet the meaning found within the purification of Venus is also drawing us toward new growth in our relationships, aesthetics, and our underlying values since she is crossing over the degree of the North Node of the Moon. At this point within her synodic cycle Venus is moving fast as she chases after the Sun to become reseeded and reborn in the heart of the Sun on August 14. The pull of Venus is inward, inviting descent into inner realms where we can discover our hidden power as well as vulnerability. Feelings will be intensified, even irrational at times, due to Venus being ruled by the Moon as it becomes partially eclipsed.

Indeed, while Venus is magnetizing us to reflect upon and explore whatever is truly most worthwhile to pursue and create through desires as well as embody within relationships, the opposition with Saturn can trigger issues of rejection, fear, and insecurity we will need to endure in order to gather the wisdom available through the experience. Moreover, since Venus is also applying toward a conjunction with Pluto that will complete on July 21, there can be an intensification of relational dynamics that reveal issues or patterns that have been hidden or that we have been in denial of. It is one of those transits that can dredge up difficult feelings while also inciting opportunities for significant growth on the other side of the process. Venus in the sensitive sign of Cancer will be asking us to feel it all deeply.

However, although Venus is facing the intensity of confronting the Head of the Dragon during a Lunar Eclipse while also opposing Saturn and Pluto, she is also forming a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on July 18. Neptune is also mediating the polarity of the eclipse, as it is forming a trine with the North Node of the Moon and a sextile with the eclipsed Moon, Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto. As a result, when emotions become overwhelming we can cope through imaginative creative expression fueled by the feelings, relaxing in or nearby water, or fantasizing through art, storytelling, music, or other combinations of Venus and Neptune. One song that evokes the dynamic tension between Cancer and Capricorn, Venus and Saturn is “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. In the music video she deftly directed herself, the imagery accentuates her lyrical portrayal of fearfully being pursued by love like chthonic hounds, while also discovering if love is actually not something to fear after all:

I thought of sharing “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush not only because I consider it to be a masterful song and video evocative of Venus conjoining the North Node while opposing Saturn conjoining the South Node, but also due to a newsletter from the astrologer Nina Gryphon I read in which she remarked how the two hounds of the fixed stars, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are connected with the eclipse. The Lunar Eclipse is opposite Procyon, the alpha star of Canis Minor, while Venus is close to a degree-based conjunction with Sirius, the alpha star of Canis Major which is also the brightest star in the sky. Notably, however, both Sirius and Procyon are currently in their hidden phases, invisible just like Venus. Just as Kate Bush utilized the symbolism of hounds to write about confronting the fear of falling in love, hounds are also associated with psychopomps into the underworld and being the companions of goddesses such as Hekate who exist in the crossroads between worlds. As we process and integrate the emotional experiences of the eclipse, as Venus continues to engage in her underworld journey the rest of the month, turning within toward the fertile realm of inner senses will help cultivate a regenerated, more authentic presence.

Further deepening an underworld process, Ceres stations direct in the first degree of Sagittarius a day after the Lunar Eclipse on July 17, having been retreating in backward motion since April 8 when it stationed retrograde at 14º16′ Sagittarius. Ceres signifies not only our issues around mothering and nurturance but also our capacity for undergoing cathartic experiences of grief in order to return to a place of creative productivity. Just as Ceres in her myth had to withdraw away from the world in order to mourn and nurse her wounds from losing her beloved, so may we need to focus more on allowing ourselves to do the same rather than trying to force something to happen through ambitious, external striving. The stillness of Ceres is an additional invitation to tend to one’s inner wounds at this time so we can then become strengthened to provide nurturance to others as Ceres begins shifting forward again. Ceres is preparing to embark upon a pilgrimage toward an eventual conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will not become exact until the end of October.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)  Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)

The Lunar Eclipse marks a dramatic moment within the present cycle between Saturn and Pluto, as not only will the Moon become eclipsed, but the Moon itself will also be occulting both Saturn and Pluto. This is due to not only the Full Moon being conjoined with the South Node of the Moon, but also Saturn being conjoined with the South Node of Saturn and Pluto being conjoined with the South Node of Pluto. We are at the end of a Saturn and Pluto cycle that began in 1982 and 1983 (a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto will begin in January 2020), a cycle that has been strongly connected to the nodes of Saturn and Pluto due to the 1982 and 1983 conjunction taking place at the northern bending of Saturn and Pluto, with Saturn and Pluto both forming catalyzing square aspects with their own nodes. Since this time Pluto has been steadily descending in latitude toward its current place of being on the ecliptic.

This means that not only is the Capricorn Moon becoming eclipsed as it descends downward across the ecliptic in union with its own South Node, Saturn and Pluto are also being occulted as they also are on the ecliptic in union with their own South Nodes. Altogether in archetypal terms, this is an incredibly intense dynamic involving the entire orbital arcs of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto intersecting with our own orbit during the time of the Lunar Eclipse. This profound dynamic relates to the necessity of facing not only our own individual karma, but also an intensified encounter with numerous intersecting waves of karma regarding civilization and its wounding impact upon our ancestors across time. There are crucial issues to face not only regarding the living of our own personal lives but also how we are being shaped by the forces of civilization and what is being created and enforced through societal structures, heads of state, governing bodies, and courts of so called justice.

An eclipse in Capricorn signifies sudden endings and changes impacting corporations, governments, heads of state, and hierarchical power structures. As we witness the corresponding volatility in current events, each of us is also being asked to dislodge ourselves from the conditioning of dominant power structures in order to realize whatever we truly wish to create and cultivate. While we may need to continue working somewhere in order to survive and provide for loved ones, we can embrace our performance in a way that can uplift others rather than negatively resigning ourselves to it. We can imagine ways to create time and space to engage in more activities we feel passionate about and enlivened by. We can refuse to conform with dictates from societal power structures that ask us to passively enable oppressive acts of social injustice.

John Everett Millais (1856) The Blind Girl

Just as Venus in Cancer is in her dark phase of invisibility during the eclipse, so is Mercury. Mercury has ancient associations with alchemical water due to its capacity for blending and dissolution, a remedy we will need to utilize to navigate the changing currents to come. Alchemists such as Paracelsus identified Mercury as part of the primal trio along with sulfur (animating soul) and salt (matter, body), with Mercury fluidly mediating the below with the above, the above with the below. In astrology Mercury also has ancient associations with mediating polarities such as the above and below, the spiritual and mundane, the solar and lunar. As a result, it is notable that the Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is separating from a conjunction with Pluto and applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Leo. Though Mercury retrograde has a notorious reputation for bringing delays in external striving, it can be utilized for powerful inner work of purging, processing, clearing, and clarifying.

As I previously wrote in my article on Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer, after Mercury shifts from Leo into Cancer a few days after the eclipse on July 19, it will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination as the Moon wanes toward its dark phase at the end of July. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

Furthermore, after Mercury is reseeded in the heart of the Sun through its inferior conjunction on July 21, it will head backwards toward a mutually applying conjunction with Venus in Cancer on July 24. Both Venus and Mercury will be in the middle of a regenerative process of purification when they meet, with Venus moving away from an opposition with Pluto and Mercury heading toward an opposition with Pluto. While deep issues and emotions will continue to be stirred up, the encounter between Mercury retrograde and Venus can bring a shift into greater healing and nurturance toward whatever needs tending. Though the Lunar Eclipse is a temporary moment of shadowing, the feelings stirred up by it linger, with experiences manifesting at a later date that have their roots in the blood red shading. Let yourself contemplate and explore whatever images emerge into awareness in the coming weeks through dreams of night and travel by day, for they will hold key insights to ponder. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology, “Anima comes to its knowledge by an imaginative proces: by the study of its own images.”

References

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

Mercury Retrograde in Leo & Cancer

Chagall BetweenDarknessandLight.jpg

Marc Chagall (1938-43) Between Darkness and Light

Mercury Retrograde in Leo & Cancer

It’s the main highway leading in, / the sun soon down. / Traffic backs up, creeps along, / it’s a torpid glittering dragon. / I am a scale on that dragon. / The red sun all at once / blazes in my windshield, / pouring in, / and makes me transparent. / Some writing shows / up inside me- words / written with invisible ink / appearing when the paper / is held over a fire. / I know that I have to go far away, / straight through the city, out / the other side, then step out / and walk a long time in the woods. / Walk in the tracks of the badger. / Growing hard to see, nearly dark. / Stones lie about on the moss. / One of those stones is precious. / It can change everything. / It can make the darkness shine. / It’s the light switch for the whole country. / Everything depends on it. / Look at it . . . touch it . . .

— Further In by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

The stillness of Mercury when it stations retrograde demands attention. The fleet-footed Star of Hermes which is capable of questioning and curating with quicksilver speed, ever cunning in its capacity to incite changes in perspective, stands still in contemplative pause. In the liminal transition of twilight, Mercury shares the final light of its cycle before descending into its invisible phase of rebirth. It is always advisable to pay closer attention than normal when Mercury stations, as well as making space for reflection regarding inner shifts beginning to take shape. When Mercury stations retrograde on July 7 at 4º27′ Leo, however, it will be even more important than normal due to it stationing in range of a conjunction with Mars in Leo and a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. These aspects indicate more than the usual amount of unexpected twists and turns in storylines suddenly appearing, even more so since it is also happening within the mysterious vortex of change that comes in between eclipses.

It’s common to hear warnings from astrologers to not sign any contracts or make major purchases during periods of Mercury retrograde, due to it being associated with delays and erratic volatility, but the fact remains that life for most cannot go on hold for the rest of July while Mercury is retrograde. It is possible to successfully initiate new enterprises, sign contracts, and make purchases during Mercury retrograde periods, but it is important to recognize it possesses a different quality of time than when Mercury is moving at its usual speed while direct. The slow, churning, backward motion of Mercury calls for introspection and paying close attention to inner guidance and intuition in relation to whatever is undertaken. While Mercury is retrograde we can become aware of numerous signs indicating it’s not the right time to do something we have been consciously fixated on making happen. However, if  everything is lining up well to embark on a new initiative, there is no reason to refrain from acting just because of fear over the fact that Mercury is retrograde.

We are often called to revisit an old issue or pattern while Mercury is retrograde, but rather than becoming angry and frustrated over having to rework or re-engage with something from the past, it’s better to utilize the opportunity for resolving old issues, making reparations and repairs where needed, and coming to terms with whatever needs completion in order to more effectively welcome an influx of new developments.  In the week following Mercury stationing retrograde on July 7, take time for reflection regarding whatever you have outgrown and feel that the time has arrived to release. Mercury retrograde periods are always powerful in terms of purging and breaking free from old habits, but this particular Mercury retrograde will be even more powerful than normal due to Mercury stationing in strong aspect with both Mars and Uranus, while also happening in between a solar and lunar eclipse. There is an old way of expressing ourselves in the world that is ready to be shed, while at the same time a potent new form or source of creativity is ready to be embraced.

Dragon ouroboros Hermetic Sun and Moon

From The Hermetic Child of Sun and Moon (1752)

The Fixed & Volatile Fire of Leo

The dwarf pine on marsh grounds holds its head up: a dark rag. / But what you see is nothing compared to the roots, / the widening, secretly groping, deathless or half-deathless root system.

I you she he also put roots out. / Outside our common will. / Outside the City.

Rain drifts from the summer sky that’s pale as milk. / It is as if my five senses were hooked up to some other creature / that moves with the same stubborn flow / as the runners in white circling the track as the night comes misting in.

A Few Moments by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

As Mercury stations on July 7 to begin slowly shifting retrograde on July 8, we will experience the unusual occurrence of Mars applying toward a conjunction with Mercury that completes on July 8. While Mars will continue to charge forward into a volatile aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will complete on July 11, Mercury will turn around and head backwards before completing an exact square aspect with Uranus. As Mars completes its catalyzing aspect with Uranus, Mercury will be disappearing from view in twilight and entering its invisible, psychopomp role of pulling awareness into subconscious depths. In combination these aspects portend extreme volatility with mental unrest and overwhelm at times overcoming us, as well as sudden conflicts arising that could provoke frustration and anger. There may also be a connection of events back to the period of June 18 when Mercury previously formed a conjunction with Mars for the first time in this series.

Yet the volatile, destructive quality of time signified by Mercury stationing retrograde while engaging both Mars and Uranus can be utilized in breaking free from situations that have been limiting or stagnating us. There is a highly charged dosage of liberating creativity and courageous determination within these aspects that can spur us to act on desires for new growth and dynamic exploration. However, it will be vital to keep in mind the tendency of Mercury retrograde periods to bring delays, so be patient and do your best to not add fuel to fires of frustration when events do not move as quickly as you had expected. Positively, Mercury retrograde periods can help cultivate incredible focus directed toward research, writing, and other mental pursuits when we are able to make time and space free from distractions. As long as we don’t insist on making fast progress, Mercury in its retrograde path through Leo can facilitate work on creative projects that can eventually manifest powerful results in the months ahead. Rather than cursing Mercury retrograde when we lose track of something or are surprised by a sudden twist of fate, see where the unexpected turns take you and discover whatever revelations your mind becomes opened to receive.

Mercury will remain retrograde in the first decan of Leo until July 19 when it will return to the watery sign of Cancer. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power to focus massive attention through the role, mask, or persona we bear in public performance for an audience. Since Mercury retrograde will be stoking the flames of the first face of Leo as the Sun forms a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on July 10 and then eclipses the Capricorn Moon on July 16, take time to contemplate whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona you have been engaging the wider world through. What aspects of soul and psyche have you been neglecting in your pursuit of worldly ambition or insistence on doing things a certain way to conform with external expectations?

Mercury retrograde in the fire of the first face of Leo can be utilized to burn off and purge however we have allowed ourselves to stray from our essential purpose, or however we have been restricting ourselves from pursuing and achieving what we want to create.  In particular, whatever fears and blockages have arisen as barriers during the recent months of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon aligning in Capricorn will become triggered during the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. While we will need to face and deal with issues of necessity during this time, the sleight of hand offered by Mercury retrograde can help open a new awareness for how to handle responsibilities while also nurturing the life we desire to cultivate. After Mercury moves backward into the lunar-ruled sign of Cancer on July 19, a few days after the lunar eclipse, we will need to sift through irrational feelings and messages from our depths that will be able to ultimately help guide us forward into a more fulfilling direction.

Remedios Varo-Personaje-En-Lancha-1957

Remedios Varos (1957) Personaje En Lancha

From Flames to Waves

“We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us.”

— Marcel Proust from Within a Budding Grove volume two of In Search of Lost Time 

Mercury will return to Cancer on July 19, making the incongruous transition from the hot and dry fire sign of Leo into the cold and moist water sign of Cancer. Whereas the scorching, fiery light of the Sun rules Leo, Mercury will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

While Mercury will station direct and return to visibility as a Morning Star at the end of July, it will remain in the third decan of Cancer from July 19 through August 11 when it will finally return to Leo. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, linking it with both the endless energy of the natural world as well as the danger of facing scarcity within societal systems in which people compete for limited material resources. The importance Coppock noted for being a “conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” through investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works relates well to the societal upheaval which will likely correspond with eclipses volatilizing the combination of Saturn and Pluto with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. As Mercury moves retrograde and stations direct within the third face of Cancer, consider how its regenerative process may reshape your work to not only be more personally fulfilling but to also provide resources to benefit others.

Mercury retrograde will reenter the third face of Cancer only a couple of days before it becomes regenerated through its conjunction with the Sun on July 21, placing it at the end of a cycle similar to a Dark Moon. Fittingly, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs named the lunar goddess Hecate as presiding in the third face of Cancer. Hecate has always been honored at the crossroads during the dark phase of the Moon as well as when facing the darkness of the unknown. The wise crone and dark goddess who rules over all lunar phases and all realms of the upper and underworld, Hecate for ages has been available to call for regenerative guidance and assistance during dark nights of the soul. With Mercury going through a death and rebirth process in the inner, watery home of the Moon, we will need to discern inner guidance from the deep stirring of our emotions. Old memories that bear a soulful message will likely demand attention and call us to re-integrate them into the way our regenerating perspective is reshaping our life narrative.

“When from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”

— Marcel Proust from Swann’s Way volume one of In Search of Lost Time

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

Remedios Varo (1945) Icono

Chthonic Cazimi in Cancer

“On the way there a couple of startled wings fluttered, and that was all. One goes there alone. It is a lofty building made entirely of open spaces, a building which sways all the time, but is never able to fall. The sun, changed into a thousand suns, drifts in through the open slivers. And an inverse law of gravity takes hold in the play of light: this house floats anchored in the sky, and what falls falls upward. It makes you turn around. In the woods it is all right to grieve. It’s all right to see the old truths, which we usually keep packed away in the luggage. My roles down there in the deep places fly up, hang like dried skulls in an ancestor hut on a remote Melanesian island. A childlike light around the terrifying trophies. Woods are mild that way.”

– A Place in the Woods by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

On July 21, Mercury will unite with the Sun at 28º28′ Cancer during its inferior conjunction in which Mercury aligns in between our orbit with the Sun, as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mercury to be. Astrological texts named this time of rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun, when Mercury is seated upon the throne of the solar ruler and revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light. This is a moment of solar re-seeding in which Mercury is regenerated and purified within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” As a result, July 21 will be especially potent in terms of turning within for reflection and contemplation regarding all of the material stirred up by the eclipses of July. We may not only set intention for release and to manage whatever is demanding our attention, we may also plant the seeds of whatever we wish to cultivate during the coming cycle of Mercury.

At the same time that Mercury is being reborn in the heart of the Sun, the disseminating Moon in Pisces will be conjoining Neptune. The Moon’s union with Neptune supports setting time and space aside to luxuriate within your senses and imagination, to meditate away from the monotony of daily responsibilities when possible. It will also be a potent time to pay attention to dreams or actively work with any recent dream images, as well as contemplate messages received from signs and synchronicities in your environment.

There is a compelling connection between the conjunction of Neptune and the Moon with the Sabian symbol for the degree where the chthonic cazimi of Mercury occurs. The Sabian symbol for Cancer 29° is “a greek muse weighing new-born twins in golden scales,” a symbol which Dane Rudhyar described as involving “the intuitive weighing of alternatives.” Rudhyar wrote that since it’s “the Muse that is doing the weighing, it is apparent that forces deeper or higher than the intellect are actually at work- the intuitive mind, or what Jung calls the anima, i.e. the psychic function which relates ego-consciousness to the collective Unconscious.” Rudhyar further noted this symbol can also imply that we need to sort through what “may be more a dream or ideal than a practical reality” within choices needing to be made, an important warning to keep in mind when the Moon is under the sway of Neptune.

In addition to the Moon conjoining Neptune at the time of Mercury’s union with the Sun, Venus in Cancer will be forming an opposition with Pluto. The presence of Venus less than six degrees away from the rebirth of Mercury is pivotal, for Mercury has turned backward in order to complete an additional union with Venus on July 24. The mutual application of Mercury retrograde with Venus signifies a sudden insight or turn of events. Both Venus and Mercury are in the middle of a regenerative process of purification, with the opposition from Venus with Pluto dredging up unconscious patterns that have been impacting relationships from hidden realms within. There is incredible depth within these aspects that will be worth the time made for reflection and sifting through the intensification of desire that will be stirred. Though both Mercury and Venus are not at full strength during their union, their meeting can bring healing and nurturance to whatever needs tending.

Remedios Varo-Trasmundo-1955

Remedios Varo (1955) Transmundo

Morning Star of Lunar Tides

One March day I walked down to the lake shore to listen. / The ice was blue as the sky. And breaking up in the sun. /  The sun whispers into a microphone under the ice. / There’s a seething and burbling. Far out it sounds like a sheet / being snapped. / The whole thing is like History: our present. We are lowered / into it, we listen . . .

Radical and Reactionary live together as in a miserable marriage, / diminished by each other, leaning on each other. / But we, their children, have to find our own road. / Each problem cries out in a private language! / Walk down any path where there is a trace of truth.

In a field not far from the subdivisions / a newspaper has been lying for months, full of news. / It is aging because of days and nights, rain and sun. / It’s on its way to becoming a plant, a cabbage head. It’s starting / to join the field, / like an old memory gradually changing into you.

– from About History by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

From July 22 through the end of July, Mercury will remain invisible until it returns to visibility as a Morning Star around the same time that it stations direct on July 31. The return of Mercury’s light will bring important messages to receive and integrate, highlighting the importance of making time and space for reflection and paying close attention to the signs we receive in our daily travel. The date of July 31 signals a major transition from the eclipse season of July, as a New Moon in Leo will occur within the same hour in which Mercury will station direct. This will be a potent date to deepen the understanding gained during Mercury’s movement retrograde, as well as setting intentions for the forthcoming lunar cycle, yet the stationary presence of Mercury suggests we will remain in a liminal state of recovery for a time before moving stridently forward with progress in August.

While Mercury will station direct at 23º56′ Cancer, Pluto will be moving retrograde away from an opposition with Mercury at 21º28′ Capricorn. Although Mercury will not reach an exact opposition with Pluto, its intensity will be deeply felt as the transiting Moon in Cancer will pass through an opposition with Pluto and a conjunction with Mercury on July 30. As Mercury stations in the final days of July in opposition with Pluto, we can expect a final upsurge of information to enter our awareness from subconscious depths and unexpected sources, one more installment of whatever material was stirred up by the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. The tension between Mercury and Pluto can facilitate penetrating underneath the surface of conventions, probing beyond societal boundaries to understand the essence of whatever you have been exploring.

Significantly, Mercury will be stationing direct in range of a conjunction with the North Nodes of Saturn and Pluto. This is of vital importance due to the fact that the alignment of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in recent months has ben occurring in alignment with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto, a configuration that has been dredging up intense societal issues that have roots within the oppressive cycles of civilized history. With Mercury activating the North Node side of Cancer, it may feel like peeling off the dead skin of perception you have been attached to using when interpreting meaning, especially those aspects heavily conditioned by external influences within your surrounding civilization. While you may initially feel vulnerable due to releasing perspectives that have brought security to your identity, you can simultaneously begin to feel revitalized by embracing a more authentic way of understanding.

Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 9 at 29º Cancer, marking its entrance into what Gary Caton named the rubedo phase of its alchemical, retrograde process 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 the shift into a new way of being as Mercury picks up speed and moves through its Morning Star phase. After Jupiter in Sagittarius stations direct on August 11, Mercury will return to Leo and begin applying toward a harmonious trine aspect that will facilitate taking ownership over creating what you want to bring into the world free from the weight of however you have held yourself back in the past.

By the time of the Aquarius Full Moon on August 15, Mercury will be crossing the threshold of the degree in Leo in which it stationed retrograde at the beginning of July, finally completing its catalyzing square aspect with Uranus on August 16. The month of August holds dramatically different astrological meaning than the month of July, with a strong focus on fiery inspiration and creativity. The more we can utilize July for clearing and reshaping our perspective, the more we will be able to manifest powerful changes and productive results in August and September.

References

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.

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

Tranströmer, Tomas. (2001). The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer. Selected and translated by Robert Bly. Graywolf Press.

Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer

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Scarab (ca 1550 – 1479 BC)

Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer

The Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2 is full of change-inducing force, corresponding with an influx of events which can rapidly shift narratives. The solar eclipse will be visible mostly in Chile and Argentina, and so while its impact will be most potent in South America you do not need to be living in the direct path of the eclipse to experience the vortex of change that arrives with eclipse season. Those with natal placements near 11º of Cancer, Capricorn, Aries, and Libra will especially feel the effect in their lives immediately, but whatever areas of life are connected with Cancer and Capricorn in your natal chart will be undergo accelerated developments between the Cancer Solar Eclipse on July 2 and the Capricorn Lunar Eclipse on July 16. During a total solar eclipse the light of our Sun is extinguished by the eclipsing Moon, temporarily turning day into night. Those who have witnessed a total solar eclipse know the indescribable Mystery of its apparition, and similarly our experiences surrounding the syzygy can feel mysterious in the way they pull us into transitions. While turning inward is advisable during the window of an eclipse, life events tend to become more dramatic and unexpected in the week surrounding an eclipse and demand response and assertion.

Cardinal signs such as Cancer initiate the seasons, and so the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer will make an immediate, noticeable impact and will coincide with quickly changing circumstances. Since Cancer is a water sign we can expect a flooding of emotions and feelings to come with the changes, with our sensitivities heightened making us feel more vulnerable than normal. Since Cancer is ruled by the Moon, and the Moon is eclipsing the Sun, irrational feelings as well as memories and sentiments from the past may emerge from hidden places in our psyche. Even if some of the feelings that come up feel uncomfortable at first, allow yourself sit with, process, and contemplate whatever emerges. While there will be some impressions arising that need to be released, there will also be nuggets of insight to discover within the sifting that will help open new opportunities for growth in the season ahead. There is a gravity of dark matter that comes with total solar eclipses that pull our soul inexorably towards things whether we consciously intend to or not.

It’s often helpful to focus on emptying as we enter eclipse season and getting in touch with the type of cosmic void that has been described by ancient mystics as well as modern thinkers such as Stanislav Grof as a fertile emptiness which underlies and gives birth to everything. Just as the solar light of the Sun becomes enveloped in darkness during an eclipse, so may old matters and patterns become dissolved in the weeks surrounding an eclipse. The potential to liberate oneself from old patterns is particularly emphasized during the coming eclipse season, as the Sun in Cancer will be conjoining the North Node of the Moon while Mercury in Leo will be stationing retrograde in the week following the solar eclipse, while forming a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and a conjunction with Mars in Leo. Take time in the week following the eclipse to contemplate whatever needs clearing in order to create space for an influx of vivifying growth. It will not be a time to attempt to push forward and force change but rather to find a way to flow with the currents.

In fact, the pending Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer will be a key catalyst within the process of change underway.  As eclipse season is typically defined as the period in which the Sun transits within 18º of the lunar nodes (since that is the window within which a new moon can be an eclipse), it is notable that the Leo Sun will finally exit the eclipse season threshold around July 28 at 5º Leo in a square aspect with Uranus, the same degree that Mercury stations retrograde on July 7. In addition, just as the Leo Sun leaves eclipse season Mercury retrograde will become visible again as a Morning Star while simultaneously beginning to station direct. As a result, it is likely that the numerous storylines stirred up by the eclipses will be continuing to develop significantly all the way to the end of July. While Mercury going retrograde at the same time can increase feelings of volatility, it can also help dislodge us from stuck places and help us discover inspiration and motivation to embark in a dynamic creative direction we had not previously considered undertaking.

lambspring dragon

From the Book of Lambspring (1599)

The color black that overcomes the golden light of the sun during an eclipse has ancient associations with death and the underworld, an experience for those believing in reincarnation that also holds the promise of rebirth. Black also resonates with the fecundity found underground in our living earth, and indeed the term alchemy finds its root in the dark fertility of soil along the Nile River. In Egyptian cosmology, the sun faces death in the regenerative underworld of Night at midnight, before being reborn at daybreak. Aaron Cheak wrote an essay included in The Celestial Art which described the primordial waters of Nun as hosting the rebirth of our solar light, a sphere that is also associated with the primeval chaos serpent and “constitutes the very matrix in which reality and existence gestates.” Serpents of chaos and dragons also have ancient associations with the lunar nodes, as both the sun and the moon become devoured in shadow whenever a new or full moon aligns with the lunar nodes.

The Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2 is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, also known as Rahu or the Head of the Dragon. As a result we may notice new hungers for growth in the weeks ahead, new desires emerging which call us to pursue new opportunities and ambitions. Just as something about our old solar identity, the way we have been cohering our personality, will become eclipsed, there can also be an activation of previously hidden feelings, sentiments, and intuition that once awakened begin to drive us toward to making new choices and following new directions. However, since Mercury will be stationing retrograde on July 7 while forming catalyzing aspects with Uranus and Mars, while there will likely be impulses to follow breakthrough insights we will need to keep constant awareness for the tricks and sleights of hand that Mercury retrograde will be providing that can serve as important guidance for how we need to adjust and respond.

Just as eclipses are associated with dragons, so are eclipses also grouped in families according to the Saros cycle, which we can also think about as a sort of family of dragons. The Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer is part of a Saros cycle which began with a partial solar eclipse in 991 and only has included eclipses aligned with the North Node of the Moon, with the previous one in the series occurring on 21 June 2001. Bernadette Brady described it as an “over-excessive eclipse family” which can bring information that transforms circumstances and can spark anxiety as well as obsession. Brady wrote that while this eclipse family can be positive in correlating with desire to take on a large enterprise, we need to be careful to not get carried away heedlessly.

In addition to considering the eclipse family the Total Solar Eclipse belongs to, it can also be helpful to reflect upon the previous times that the lunar nodes were in Cancer and Capricorn and hosting eclipses. From August 2009 through March 2011 the transiting South Node of the Moon was in Cancer with the North Node of the Moon in Capricorn; from April 2000 through October 2001 the transiting South Node of the Moon was in Capricorn while the North Node of the Moon was in Cancer. If you can notice a pattern of changes that took place during these times of previous eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn, see if there are aspects that relate to the way you can tell your present life story is beginning to shift. In particular, the previous Cancer Solar Eclipse and Capricorn Lunar Eclipse that occurred in June and July of 2001 have an additional connection to the end of the Saturn and Pluto cycle we are experiencing now, as in 2001 it was the midpoint of the cycle with Saturn forming an opposition to Pluto.

Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I 1961-5 by Ibrahim El-Salahi born 1930

Ibrahim El-Salahi, Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I

“What our age thinks of as the ‘shadow’ and inferior part of the psyche contains more than something merely negative. The very fact that through self-knowledge, that is, by exploring our own souls, we come upon the instincts and their world of imagery should throw some light on the powers slumbering in the psyche, of which we are seldom aware so long as all goes well. They are potentialities of the greatest dynamism, and it depends entirely on the preparedness and attitude of the conscious mind whether the irruption of these forces, and the images and ideas associated with them, will tend towards construction or catastrophe.”

— C. G. Jung, from The Undiscovered Self

The component making the upcoming eclipse season especially intense involves the intersection of the planetary nodes with the alignment of Saturn and Pluto with the South Node of the Moon.  Saturn is in range of a conjunction with the South Node of Saturn while Pluto is also conjoining the South Node of Pluto, meaning the orbital arcs of both celestial bodies are descending downward across the ecliptic and the path of our orbit around the Sun. This has been creating an intensification of the difficult gravity that always comes when Saturn and Pluto come to the end of their cycle, bringing a deeply karmic feeling of having to face issues of civilization and systematic oppression with deep roots in the ancient past. The Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer begins an eclipse cycle that will peak with a Lunar Eclipse on July 16 in which the Moon will be eclipsed in Capricorn while also occulting Saturn and Pluto.

Dane Rudhyar wrote that when planets conjoin their own south node, we experience the entire history of their orbital arc being released: thus we have been overwhelmed and saturated with all things signified by Saturn and Pluto in recent months. Vitally, Rudhyar theorized that when this happens we can experience a seeding of new values related to positive aspects of the planets conjoining their south node, as well as the toxicity and “negative existential results” of their cycle. Thus during the coming eclipse season we will be simultaneously facing issues in which to utilize the empowerment and tenacious, disciplined determination of Saturn and Pluto while also witnessing the horrific impact from oppressively organized political, military, economic, and social forces.

As Richard Tarnas described in Cosmos and Psyche, “the widespread sense of victimization and suffering under the impact of cataclysmic and oppressive forces of history” that correlate with the Saturn and Pluto cycle can lead to many people feeling anxiously constrained as if their life is out of their control and being determined by historical, political, economic, and other impersonal societal forces. Tarnas made the key insight that within the same individual, group, or nation there can be a deeply felt wounding from violation or defeat that simultaneously can also constellate desire to prove one’s capacity to violently fight back if necessary.  As the eclipses further will be triggering Saturn and Pluto, we will be facing questions of what we need to cultivate within civilization in order to meet the needs of people, while also recognizing that numerous aspects of the old order must now break down and decay in order to clear space for the needed new structures to take shape.

“Even today people are largely unconscious of the fact that every individual is a cell in the structure of various international organisms and is therefore causally implicated in their conflicts. He knows that as an individual being he is more or less meaningless and feels himself the victim of uncontrollable forces, but, on the other hand, he harbors within himself a dangerous shadow and adversary who is involved as an invisible helper in the dark machinations of the political monster. It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know by foisting it off on somebody else.

Nothing has a more divisive and alienating effect upon society than this moral complacency and lack of responsibility, and nothing promotes understanding and rapprochement more than the mutual withdrawal of projections.”

— C.G. Jung, from The Undiscovered Self

Neptune in Pisces is in a place of being able to mediate the polarity of the eclipses, as it is forming a trine to the North Node of the Moon and the Cancer Solar Eclipse, while also forming a sextile to the South Node of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto. Furthermore, during the time of the upcoming Capricorn Lunar Eclipse on July 16, Neptune will also be forming a trine with Venus in Cancer as it conjoins the North Node of the Moon. In reference to the negative potentialities described by Tarnas and Jung above, Neptune can correlate in many with shadowy projections and being consumed by illusive conditioning from societal structures.  However, there is a profound potential for Neptune in Pisces to be an imaginal ally in not only sustaining belief in the potential to find solutions and mediate discord, but to also envision ways to creatively respond to difficulties without denial and escapism. Neptune’s role in the eclipse supports showing compassion to others who are struggling as well as make time to nurture and calm your own anxieties enough so that you can respond to events from a place of creativity rather than fear.

Dorothea Tanning Dream of Luxury

Dorothea Tanning (1944) Dream of Luxury

Venus is at the very end of Gemini at the time of the Total Solar Eclipse and enters Cancer the next day. In between eclipses, Venus will be approaching a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and an opposition with Saturn which it will complete at the same time as the Capricorn Lunar Eclipse on July 16. Simultaneously, Mercury will station retrograde on July 7 as a visible Evening Star and then will begin descending under the beams of the Sun into its invisible phase a few days later. This means that in between eclipses, both Venus and Mercury will be undergoing the regenerative purification and stripping away of their underworld phases.  Thus the irrational feelings, potent dream images, and reawakened passions that arise during the coming eclipse season can be utilized as part of a process of revisioning our values and the ways in which we make meaning in our life.

A particularly challenging period in between eclipses will be July 8 and 9, as Mars will conjoin Mercury retrograde in Leo in range of a square with Uranus in Taurus at the same time that the First Quarter Moon in Libra forms a square aspect with the Sun, lunar nodes, Saturn, and Pluto. However, the coming eclipse season in general has numerous transits intersecting which have the potential of corresponding with frustrating experiences which will make us question why we are doing things. It will be best to make an effort to set aside time as often as possible for reflection and anything that helps you calm down, ground, and process. For example, we may be able to realize ways we have been acting due to trying to fit in with our conception of how to be successful within the system we are working that are actually at odds with our authentic approach and expression. There has been so much emphasis in recent months on Saturn and Pluto impacting the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn that the solar eclipse setting off the Cancer side of the North Node of the Moon can help open awareness to new ways of doing things that will be in greater alignment with what we feel inspired by rather than being preoccupied by the opinions and judgment of others.

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3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

The second face of Cancer where the Total Solar Eclipse occurs is associated with the Three of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The merry image of dancing women evokes the three graces and signifies harmonious collaborations of inspired thought and creativity.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “a walled garden in which something precious is kept” to this face, adding an element not obvious from the above image:  the need of protection and nurturance in order to create an incubating space that can bring forth joy, beauty, and abundance.  With a Total Solar Eclipse impacting this decan, we will want to consider whatever we have been letting in as well as keeping out from our life with the barriers we have erected to protect whatever is most important to us. It’s likely we will need to restructure and renegotiate boundaries in order to cultivate the inner process of creativity and intimacy we desire. It will also be helpful to find ways of finding joy with others similar to the image of the Three of Cups as a way of navigating through the difficult astrological terrain on the horizon.

As the second decan of Cancer is ruled by Mercury, it further highlights the fact that Mercury will be stationing retrograde less than a week after the eclipse and then shifting into its underworld, psychopomp role of guiding us through a regenerative and liminal process of death and rebirth. Interestingly, the Liber Hermetis described the image of the second face of Cancer as having the body of a vulture with the face of the great goddess Isis wearing a crown. In part we can imagine how this image connects with the brilliantly bright fixed star Sirius which was associated with Isis and heralded the flooding of the Nile, as well as the significance of vulture goddesses within Egyptian cosmology. Vultures connect the upper wold with the underworld through the eating of the dead, and in the story of Isis searching for her dismembered lover and twin Osiris she also transformed into a Kite, a raptor which is also known to feed on the dead. Similarly, with Mercury shifting retrograde in between eclipses it will be necessary to undergo a cathartic, underworld experience in July that may feel difficult at times but also holds the potential to break us free from ways in which we have become stagnant.

In addition, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the figure of Heracles to the second face of Cancer, a legendary solar hero who connects with the constellation myth of Cancer. The great goddess Hera sent the crab to attack Heracles as he was engaged in battle with the Hydra, and after Heracles destroyed the crab Hera placed it into the sky as a constellation for its service to her. During a Total Solar Eclipse just as the solar light of our Sun is consumed by darkness from the fertile void, so may the way we have been identifying as a solar hero in our life become pulled down into nonlinear depths to be stripped away and regenerated. Allow the death of however you have been cohering a persona to navigate the world of external ambitions so that a more authentic one may be reformed in the coming month.

Within the polarity of Cancer and Capricorn becoming so intensely activated, it will be necessary to focus on finding ways to contain and process the emotional flooding and intense feelings that may arise during the coming eclipse season. Rather than seeking stability within external sources and giving our power away to others in order to grasp at security, it will be essential to act from a place of one’s own sense of inner security and authority. As C.G. Jung famously wrote in The Undiscovered Self, “A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally short-sighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would thing that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hands of a single madman.”

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1999). Predictive Astrology: the Eagle and the Lark. Weiser Books.

The Celestial Art. (2018). Edited by Austin Coppock and Daniel Schulke. Three Hands Press.

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

Jung, C.G. (1990). The Undiscovered Self. Princeton University Press.

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

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

July 2019 Eclipses with Cassandra Tyndall

July Eclipse titlecard

July 2019 Eclipse Video

We are on the threshold of a particularly potent eclipse season. Unlike our last eclipse season in January, these eclipses hone in on a specific area of your birth chart due to the solar eclipse on July 2 being in Cancer, and the lunar eclipse on July 16 being in Capricorn. This leads to the eclipses activating opposing houses in your birth chart, such as your 1st and 7th houses or your 11th and 5th houses.

In this video, my good friend Cassandra and I explore the themes of the eclipses and what to expect over the coming weeks, as well as some of the other major transits occurring in the month of  July.

If you like this video, please feel free to subscribe to follow my site with your email address, subscribe to Cassandra’s youtube channel,  or discover more about Cassandra’s stellar work at her website.

Full Moon in Sagittarius: Tides of Jupiter & Neptune

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Rufino Tamayo Landscape with Moon

Sagittarius Full Moon

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 17, 2019 illuminates the intersection between our beliefs and ideals with the reality of our current experience. It’s a perfect time to take a contemplative look at oneself and one’s behavior in the world to note however we can make changes to be more aligned with the values that are most important to us. If we are undergoing any disillusioning experiences, the lunation can also bring light to how our personal vision and perception needs to be readjusted in order to flow in greater harmony with the life around us. The Sagittarius Full Moon can also help open a wider view of anything we have been struggling with in our day to day efforts at survival and managing the difficulties of life. Rather than denying the suffering happening around us, the lunation can facilitate acknowledgment of present struggles within a larger perspective of the greater cycles of time we are traversing. Let your mind wander beyond the short term goals of the moment in order to envision ideas of what you want to create and where you wish life to lead you in the next few years.

The Sagittarius Full Moon is at a pivotal point within the Jupiter and Neptune cycle, as Jupiter retrograde will form its second exact last quarter square aspect with Neptune on June 16. Previously, Jupiter and Neptune formed the first of three square aspects in the sequence on January 13,  2019 at 15° with both direct; Jupiter and Neptune will do so again a third and final time on September 21 at 17° with Neptune retrograde. Jupiter and Neptune form a conjunction once every thirteen years within their cycle, typically in a successive sign of the zodiac, with their last conjunction occurring in 2009 between 24º – 27º Aquarius. Viewing the 2009 alignment as a seed of the new vision being birthed by Neptune and Jupiter, we are now at the point of harvesting the meaning of their cycle and utilizing the knowledge gained from our experience to reorient and reorder our vision for the future. Dane Rudhyar believed that the Jupiter and Neptune cycle is one of the most important cycles to pay attention to, as it reveals the ripple effect that comes from changes in individual perception and meaning-making impacting the wider collective.

While the Jupiter and Neptune cycle is being amplified by the Sagittarius Full Moon, it is taking place within a wider context of Saturn and Pluto coming together at the end of their cycle while forming an opposition with Mercury and Mars in Cancer alongside the transiting lunar nodes.  Following the Full Moon, the moon will begin waning toward the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer that will occur on July 2, bringing us into the strange quality of time found in eclipse season and a further intensification of the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn. The divisiveness and acrimony in global politics, the decay of old societal structures, the obsessive attempts to consolidate greater power by those in power, the heartfelt anger and outrage over the myriad forms of oppression and injustice occurring, are all outer signs of deep internal changes beginning to take shape.  Allow the light of the Sagittarius Full Moon to show you what elements of life need your full engagement, what needs to be protected and nurtured, and where you need to share and be more giving.

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Nike of Samothrace (2nd Century BC)

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the Full Moon while forming its catalytic square aspect with a stationing Neptune in Pisces. Neptune will station retrograde about four days after the full moon on June 21, which means that the archetypal influence of Neptune will be saturating the astrological landscape in the days surrounding the Sagittarius Full Moon. Moreover, while the Full Moon is separating from a conjunction with Jupiter, the true node of Black Moon Lilith is within five degrees of Neptune in Pisces. Altogether this points to the necessity of contemplating the bedrock of our thoughts, the oftentimes hidden beliefs that source the way we imagine and perceive the possibilities available. It’s clear in current events that many people around the world are clinging to old, outdated beliefs about the past they have distorted in their minds such as those consumed with nationalistic and racial pride and hubris. At the same time, there are traditional elements of our past and ancestry that can help us mediate strife and create a healthier and more fruitful lifestyle.

Allow the light of the Sagittarius Full Moon to shine upon your inner convictions, those ideas and ideals you are usually unwilling to question and tend to self-righteously act from. Do you wish to harness the power of creation for your own benefit or instead attempt to flow with natural forces in a way that can help others as well as yourself negotiate challenges? In the season ahead, with the intensity of the coming eclipses aligning with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, there is no doubt that there will be tumult to contend with. In many situations it will be necessary to fight with resistance in order to protect what is held most dear. Let the Sagittarius Full Moon illuminate what will be worth fighting for and whatever can be let go and released.

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Dorothea Tanning (1947) Maternity

Following the peak of the Full Moon on June 17, the waning Moon will occult Saturn in Capricorn on June 18 and then occult Pluto in Capricorn on June 19. This is due to the Moon aligning with its own south node while Saturn and Pluto are also aligning with their own south nodes. Simultaneously, Mercury will form an exact conjunction with Mars in Cancer on June 18, with both Mercury and Mars forming an exact opposition with Pluto on June 19. The volatility of this configuration will be amplified due to the fullness of the Moon, as the silvery Moon is the ruler of Mercury, Mars, and the North Node of the Moon. Thoughts can be irrational, dreams more intense, emotions more unhinged and exacerbated when the Moon is at its peak light, even more so when the Moon is ruling Mars and Mercury as they conjoin the North Node and oppose Saturn and Pluto. The loosening of passions can become difficult due to the widespread destruction signified by the rancorous configuration assembled around the lunar nodes.

The gift of having Mercury as an Evening Star aligning with Mars in Cancer is the wry wink and smile of the trickster Hermes. Moreover, the union of Mercury and Mars with the North Node of the Moon is also forming a flowing trine with Neptune stationing in Pisces. The more we can have a sense of humor about what’s happening, the more we can be willing to put our ego and pride aside when it is drawing us into petty conflict, the more smoothly we will be able to navigate the swirling tides that will be following in the wake of the full moon. In fact, the volatility of these aspects also makes this an incredibly creative time in which breakthrough ideas can be dislodged from stuck and stagnant places. If possible, find a creative outlet through which to transfigure fraught or explosive emotions into transmission of artistic expression, or take on a challenging physical expedition. There has been so much emphasis on the Capricorn side of the lunar nodes for so long with Saturn and Pluto camped out there, the dynamic onrush of Mercury and Mars across the North Node of the Moon can bring a productive jolt forward.

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Kehinde Wiley, An Economy of Grace, Princess Victoire of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Around the time of the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere on June 21, Venus in Gemini will descend under the beams of the sun into its invisible phase. As a result Venus is on the precipice of descending into the Mysteries of its upcoming underworld phase at the time of the Full Moon. Venus will eventually be re-seeded in the sacred heart of the Leo Sun on August 13 at 21º07′ Leo, and then will re-emerge in visibility as an Evening Star around the end of September. At the same time as the solstice, Neptune will station retrograde in Pisces while Venus in Gemini simultaneously forms an opposition with Jupiter in Sagittarius and a first quarter square with Neptune in Pisces. Adding to the mystery being nurtured by Venus, Venus in Gemini is forming a shadowy antiscia aspect with the Mercury and Mars conjunction as well as a contra-antiscia aspect with Saturn in Capricorn in the days surrounding the Sagittarius Full Moon.

Drink in the final light that Venus has to offer as a Morning Star in the days following the Sagittarius Full Moon. In Gemini, Venus promotes holding a multiplicity of perspectives and a willingness to question and contest dogmatic diatribes and stubborn viewpoints. Venus in Gemini finds depth in the connections found between what appear to be differences on the surface. Listen as closely as possible to your inner voice, the nudges of your intuition, the signs and omens of nature that cross your path, for the current phase of Venus signals a shedding of the values that have been prioritized and an expansive revisioning. Ask yourself what you can do differently, what potential path is available that up until now you have believed to be impossible due to your old conception of circumstances. Venus entering its invisible phase brings us into a long period of regeneration in which we can reconceptualize how we have been engaging in our relationships and work. Rather than seeking rapid success in the season ahead, focus instead on sustaining effort that will rebuild and reconfigure the foundation you launch yourself from.

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10 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The third face of Sagittarius where the Full Moon in Sagittarius culminates is associated with the Ten of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Human toil, endurance and perseverance are some of the immediate associations evoked by the image of determination, and so there is strong alignment between the 10 of Wands with the astrological atmosphere of Mars and Mercury opposing Saturn and Pluto during the Sagittarius Full Moon. In tarot this card has been associated with oppressive dynamics and limitations, and in fact is called Oppression in the Thoth deck.  Fittingly, the third decan of Sagittarius is ruled by Saturn, a planet that involves the type of difficult circumstances that force us to cultivate endurance and new structures of support.

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.”

The Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac placed Ananke, the primordial goddess of Necessity, within the third face of Sagittarius. Ananke is the mother of the Fates and 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’s presence in the third face of Sagittarius which holds the full light of the Moon further amplifies the fateful feelings incited by Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn aligning with the lunar nodes and the season of eclipses on the horizon. It will not be possible to hide from the watchful eye of Ananke, meaning that whatever life dictates needs our attention we must do and follow through with full consciousness. Though there are things to do we simply must do, issues to face we simply must face, there can also be revelation and insight discovered through the effort of will applied diligently to the task at hand. As the traditional Irish blessing goes, “May the road rise up to meet you.”

References

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

 

 

 

New Moon in Taurus: Plowing Fields

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Robin of Modern Times (1860) by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Taurus New Moon

The New Moon in Taurus on May 4 initiates a new lunar cycle from the middle of Taurus, the cross quarter point of Spring in the northern hemisphere otherwise known as Beltane. Pollination, burgeoning blooming, and the steady patience and diligent tending needed for cultivating gardens intersect with magical notions of veils being thinned between our usual reality with that of fairy spirits and intermediary daimons. Whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere, the fertility focus of Taurus and its plodding pace that savors every second of sensual satisfaction is the ground in which to plant the seeds for what you wish to cultivate in the month ahead. However, we can hear in the wind forewarnings of challenging weather and changing fortune on the horizon that demand necessary preparation. Indeed, both traditionally benefic planets, Venus and Jupiter, are involved in challenging aspects with both traditionally malefic planets, Saturn and Mars, as Sun and Moon conjoin in the sign of the Bull. Fortunately, the Taurus New Moon is making aspects that support devising a successful strategy for making sure the seeds you are planting will eventually produce a worthy harvest.

The Taurus New Moon is in range of harmonious aspects with the intense union of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as with the imaginal potency of Neptune in Pisces. Since Saturn stationed retrograde within the week prior to the New Moon less than three degrees away from Pluto, their combined influence along with the South Node of the Moon has been forcing awareness to contend with whatever is necessary for us to confront, rather than whatever we wish we could be focusing on. This can include shadowy aspects of our subconscious or issues involving external relationships we had previously been ignoring, denying, or have been simply unaware of. Unions between Saturn and Pluto have a long historical track record of corresponding with global crisis and instability, and though Saturn and Pluto do not exactly align until January 2020, we are presently being initiated into an intensification of the tension that will be corresponding with the ending and beginning of their cycle.

As the Taurus New Moon is in a stabilizing trine aspect with the Capricorn trio, it brings the gift of making the necessary adjustments and modifications and being able to implement strategies for enduring present challenges. Since the New Moon is also in a creative sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces, there is even something magical to be found in using common sense to address practical issues with grounded presence open to possibilities found in the moment. It will be necessary in the coming lunar cycle to actively cultivate the fertility of whatever ground we are working on and then follow through with sustained effort toward completing needed tasks. In order to access the full potential of the Taurus New Moon, however, we need to enrich our process with the full range of our imagination and creative visioning.

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Thoughts of the Past (1859) by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Venus in Aries rules the New Moon and is applying toward a square aspect with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn as well as the transiting lunar nodes. The tension between Venus and Saturn will be building until their aspect completes on May 7, bringing Venus into a complex relationship with both Pluto as well as Jupiter in Sagittarius.  On May 9 within hours Venus will move from a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter into a catalytic square aspect with Pluto, making the week following the New Moon pivotal as the Moon increases in light. Indeed, on May 9 the Crescent Moon will be in Cancer applying toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon opening awareness to important future-oriented choices to make. During this time there may be difficulties and stress to handle, but these aspects also suggest we can utilize the tension for our own benefit. Keep the larger vision of what you wish to manifest in mind as you work under the pressure of these aspects, sustaining belief in being able to achieve aspirations as you simultaneously apply effort and discipline to get the job done.

Yet, focusing too much on work and what we wish to build into the structures of our life can also distract us from another important side to these crucial aspects that Venus in Aries is passing through. Part of the story involves Mercury, as in the week before the New Moon the star of Hermes crossed the same terrain and teased open our psyche to the necessary issues that Venus needs to now mediate. There will likely be a lot of unconscious material stirred up, including vital memories from our past, that need to be reflected upon and sifted through in order to glean and integrate the needed lesson. As a result we will also need to make time and space for contemplation and allowing ourselves to set aside the demands of work so we may arrive at a deeper understanding of the present dynamics at play in our life. Venus in Aries engaging the intensity of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn suggests that while we will need to be shedding and clearing certain issues, there is also something essential and vibrant to uncover, protect and nurture within ourselves, something with a life force that will endure whatever obstacles are in the way now.

Mercury will be a key figure within the astrology of the coming month to track, as it can serve as a liminal guide through the transitions on the way. During the Taurus New Moon, Mercury in Aries is separating from a square with Pluto, a trine with Jupiter, and a mutually receptive sextile with Mars in Gemini, giving the star of Hermes a significant message to carry forward into the coming lunar cycle.  A couple of days after the New Moon on May 6, Mercury will enter Taurus and immediately begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus. May 6 through May 9 will be important days to pay close attention for signs of larger shifts opening up on the horizon. Mercury combined with Uranus can facilitate a liberated perspective able to receive insights that change our relationship with and understanding of our developing life narrative.  This is the first time Mercury will form an exact conjunction with Uranus in Taurus and so will likely bring additional clarity to whatever life events have been volatized by Uranus in Taurus.

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Knight in Armor (1943) by Kurt Seligmann

Yet another dramatic aspect central to the dynamics of the Taurus New Moon is an applying opposition between Mars in Gemini with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will complete on the day after the lunation. The opposition between Mars and Jupiter is dynamic, propulsive and carries a double edge sword of inciting action while demanding caution toward pride that comes before a fall. The flames of ideological warfare and conflict will be stoked underneath the friction of Mars polarizing Jupiter, and so in personal realms be aware of when it is better to walk away and de-escalate conflict before it becomes more amplified. There may be arrogant accusers and cocky crusaders to contend with, and in the end the tension of this opposition can help clarify what beliefs we hold are worth fighting for and rising to defend and protect.

The opposition between Mars and Jupiter can also incite breakthrough decisions to move beyond previous boundaries, barriers or restraints. The liberating potential of their tension will be increased on May 6 once Mercury enters Taurus and initiates an emancipatory conjunction with Uranus that will complete on May 8.  While we will need to be careful of excessive actions and hubris, there will also be important lessons to learn from the experience of taking a leap to go after what we want during this time. Rather than passively surrendering to the intensity of the other astrological aspects previously mentioned, the opposition between Mars and Jupiter will encourage being an active co-creator with the catalyzed dynamics.

The Taurus New Moon is building toward a passionate and emotional Full Moon in Scorpio on May 18 that will have a Dionysian impact of loosening and dislodging.  Before the waxing light of the Moon becomes full, Mars in Gemini will receive Venus in Aries through a creatively dynamic sextile aspect on May 14. This is one day before Venus will enter its home of Taurus and Mars will enter is fall of Cancer on May 15, and so the sextile aspect between Venus and Mars will form at the final degrees of Aries and Gemini. There will be stress and tension present to manage within the surrounding astrology, but the receptive sextile between Mars and Venus holds the potential of using the friction for innovative creative manifestation. Work initiated during the Taurus New Moon may receive a propulsive jolt of development as Venus and Mars come into relationship in the middle of the month.

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6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The New Moon in Taurus will be seeded in the fertile darkness of the second decan of Taurus, associated with the Six of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money.  The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch.  The unifying theme is that there is receiving found in the giving, and giving found in the receiving; the image of the scales could further be interpreted as signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity in the process.  Through inner harmony transmitted through collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm. This is a key concept to bring into the meaning found with the New Moon in Taurus, as reaching out for support from others, as well as reaching out to support others, can bring us exactly what we need to endure present challenges.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action. Notably, Coppock advised that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides” (p. 75).  Indeed, the fertile potential of the darkened Moon in Taurus is evident as the Moon rules the second face of Taurus, giving the Moon essential dignity through face, exaltation, and triplicity.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horai to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time who are the daughters of Zeus and Themis, goddess of divine law and order. Diodorus of Sicily wrote in the 1st century BC that each of the “Horai was given a responsibility named after her for the ordering and arranging of life for the greatest benefit of mankind” and “furnishing a prosperous life” through “lawfulness {eunomia}, justice {dike}, and peace {eirene}.” In keeping with the Taurean metaphor of cultivating crops, the Horai were worshipped by those planting and tending their field of harvest in alignment with the rising and setting of stars. The presence of the Horai with the New Moon in Taurus suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time and season for action. Within the darkness of the New Moon, let yourself let go of the plans whose time is not now, while mobilizing the force of your conviction and integrity behind those goals whose time have arrived.

References

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

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

 

 

May 9 Lecture for Washington State Astrological Association

WSAA Mercury lecture image

The Light and Shadow of Mercury in the Secondary Progressed Chart

Thursday 9 May 2019

7:30 pm

For those in the Seattle area, I’ll be giving a talk for the Washington State Astrological Association (WSAA) about the meaning of Mercury in the Secondary Progressed Chart on Thursday, May 9. The talk begins at 7:30 pm and will end at 9 pm. Click here for more information about how to order tickets as well as become a member of the WSAA.

The main focus of the talk is illustrating how to break down Mercury’s movement within the secondary progressed chart into different phases of its synodic cycle, similar to how Dane Rudhyar developed his lunation phase model using secondary progressions. For example, we will be exploring the meaning of having Mercury by secondary progressions direct as a Morning Star, invisible under the beams of the Sun, or stationing retrograde as an Evening Star.

I gave this talk at the United Astrology Conference (UAC) in 2018 and it was well received. I heard from many people afterward that it changed the way they work with the secondary progressed chart for the better and gave them a powerful new tool to use in consultations. For those who do not live in the Seattle area, I have a recording of my UAC lecture available to purchase from my site under the “Store” category above for $14. I will also send you a copy of the slideshow presentation if you order the talk.

Lecture Description:

The changeable nature of Mercury is found in its synodic cycle and its shifts between being direct and retrograde.  The meaning of Mercury’s cycles will be applied to the secondary progressed chart, where Mercury’s movement across a lifetime demarcates vital periods of personal development.

Gray will explain how to interpret the shift of progressed Mercury from being direct to retrograde and vice versa, and what to pay attention to in relation to the natal chart.

Meetings for the Washington State Astrological Association are held at the Puget Sound Yacht Club located at 2321 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103.

In addition, the NORWAC conference in Seattle is coming at the end of May in the Seattle area. I will be speaking at NORWAC this year, and so if you are coming to the conference I  hope to see you there!