Mercury Retrograde in Aries

 

caduceus sun and moon

Mercury Retrograde in Aries

Journeying through the cosmic sea of celestial conditions, what Plotinus called the cosmic circuit, some periods will be felt as more volatile and challenging than others.  Mercury retrograde periods have a bad reputation as signifying doom, a misguided notion as all Mercury retrograde periods are not equal and in actuality are variable in experience.  Having said that (insert Larry David smirk here),  the forthcoming Mercury retrograde in Aries time period is littered with numerous difficult aspects that mark it as a period in which to be especially mindful.  The wise will remain steadfastly watchful for those moments in which the smoothly wound threads of life begin to become undone and in need of mending.  It’s not that it will be impossible to make plans and determined choices that will lead to success, but that it will be important to be ready to respond to challenges as the transits portend more disruption than normal for a Mercury retrograde phase.

It’s worth remembering the symbolism of the caduceus carried by Hermes that both heals as well as provokes slumber to make the cunning arts of the Angelic Messenger easier to manifest.  Mercury rules the art of astrology for many reasons, my favorite being the manner in which its cherished caduceus contains the core themes of astrology: Daimon/Spirit, Fortune, Eros/Love, and Necessity. Dorian Greenbaum in her marvelous thesis on the daimon in Hellenistic astrology integrated the symbolic analysis of the caduceus given by fifth century philosopher Macrobius in his text Saturnalia, including that the two serpents of the staff represent the intermingling forms of Daimon (Sun/Spirit) and Fortune (Moon/Matter). At the top of the staff they arc toward one another for a kiss (Eros), while lower down they are bound in a knot (Necessity).

From ancient thinkers like Plotinus to modern ones such as Carl Jung, endless spans of time have been spent contemplating the intersections between fate and free will.  As astrology developed in the Hellenistic era, forces of Eros and Necessity were seen as ruling over souls such as ourselves bound to human bodies.  Eros was named as the binding force of love, sourced from nous, that creates connections and order; in contrast, Necessity was linked with the strife of fate we must face during existence in a world of temporal forms ceaselessly passing away and coming into being.  Astrology mediated through the caduceus of Mercury helps us bring our personal volition into a kiss with the coming tides of matter we meet in the moment. This includes both the aspect of life we can change, and those we must accept and surrender to no matter how much wishful thinking we project.

Mercury is further associated with the Lot of Necessity according to Paulus Alexandrinus (citing text attributed to Hermes Trismegistus). It’s exaltation in Virgo in the northern hemisphere involves the symbolism of the Sun’s time in its peak period of light coming to an end and approaching the Libra equinox of balanced day and night turning toward increasing darkness. When Mercury shifts into retrograde movement, its orbit comes in between our Earth and our Sun and in correspondence we face the necessity of changes in our material circumstances.  As Mercury disappears from view at twilight as an Evening Star at the beginning of its retrograde phase, its descent into invisibility has been connected to its mythic role of psychopomp by Demetra George and other astrologers. We must inspect and attend to earthly matters during Mercury retrograde, witnessing what is growing, what is falling apart, what needs tending. Mercury also asks us to descend into the darkness of our unconscious and allow for a breakdown of habitual thought patterns to bring about the space needed for regeneration of thought and expression.

Piero_di_Cosimo_-_Allegory

Piero di Cosimo (c 1500) Allegory

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
It beckons, and it baffles –
Philosophy, dont know –
And through a Riddle, at the last –
Sagacity, must go –
To guess it, puzzles scholars –
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown –
Faith slips – and laughs, and rallies –
Blushes, if any see –
Plucks at a twig of Evidence –
And asks a Vane, the way –
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit –
Strong Hallelujahs roll –
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –

» Emily Dickinson «

Consciously, it’s difficult to know exactly what a Mercury retrograde period will be bringing us.  It’s a liminal space in which we have changed in sometimes obvious, other times mysterious, ways on the other side of it.  The confounding nature of Mercury retrograde is both its beauty as well as why it can feel frustrating. The very nature of change and regeneration demands that we shed what was once comfortable and familiar, embracing something unknown and uncomfortably foreign. This is where Hermes enters with his caduceus and sleight of hand, facilitating our capacity to meet disruption while discerning how to effectively remediate and respond, often shifting our life in a new direction in the process.

The ability of Mercury to mediate opposing forces, interweaving between conflicts, will be important to keep in mind with Mercury retrograde in Aries, the fiery home of Mars.  Mars is in its exaltation of Capricorn during the retrograde, a sign that forms a catalytic square aspect with Aries, provoking dynamic change.  It also means that Mars will be receiving Mercury, bringing the resources of its exalted Capricorn location into relationship with Mercury.  Furthermore, Mars will be approaching union with Saturn in Capricorn at the same time Mercury will be uniting with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde. Mars and Saturn will be conjoined in two of their strongest positions while forming a square to Mercury uniting with the Sun in its exaltation of Aries. These are extremely powerful forces at work through the cardinal, or moveable, modality of initiation and engaging in profound changes of circumstance.

Mercury in Aries is direct, quick moving and cuts to the core of perceptions.  As Mercury stations retrograde the Moon will be in the curious sign of Gemini, creating harmonious reception with Mercury that portends a retrograde phase of wide ranging exploration. As Mercury stands still in Aries and begins to slowly shift into backward movement, the impulse of its fiery placement becomes highly concentrated with a volatility that is capable of penetrating focus. Since Mercury is in the home of Mars, its notable that not only will Mars be in its exaltation of Capricorn, it will also be out of bounds in declination. Mars out of bounds and ruling Mercury creates wildness that can be best directed into areas you can freely express untethered curiosity.

In addition to Mercury shifting retrograde in Aries, Venus will also be moving direct in Aries while engaging both Pluto and Uranus.  Mercury and Venus spent an extended period of time conjoining as Evening Stars leading into the stationing of Mercury, drawing attention to something primed for birth. As they separate and Mercury descends toward subterranean depths, Venus will continue to become brighter at sunset while forming a tumultuous square aspect with the archetypal lord of the underworld, Pluto.  After Venus moves through its square with Pluto, it will eventually reach an exact union with Uranus in Aries on March 28 with a Moon waxing in light near fullness.  The interplay of Venus with Pluto and Uranus adds increased turbulence as well as liberating impulses to the already intense aspects formed by Mercury. Its a fertile environment for soul tending and letting the seemingly irrational sway of psyche become more conscious; as a result an opening of awareness for new routes of expression and paths of purpose may ensue.

Mercurius british museum print

Altogether, the intense ingredients of the beginning movement of Mercury retrograde in Aries is ideal for engagement with pioneering research, work, and expression. We need to keep in mind that during this opening division of Mercury’s backward loop, both Mars and Mercury will be getting closer to Saturn in Capricorn each day.  This means we have a powerful accompanist directing us toward how to build effective structures, yet Saturn demands patience and thorough persistence. Saturn simultaneously signifies what could appear to be immovable obstacles and blockages to plans. The fluidity of Mercury retrograde channeled through the fires of Aries may give impulse to burn down the walls we come up against, yet a wiser move will be to utilize the skillset Capricorn brings to Mars for strategic plans of action. The combination of Mercury retrograde in Aries with Mars out of bounds in Capricorn will be optimal for those types of “out of the box” ideas that enable one to successfully work around limitations.

Mercury projects involve creating with both the hands and the mind and so a diversity of work can be done in the weeks ahead, yet the fiery initiative of its Aries location will need to take account of the wide variance of potential hurdles before leaping into action. With both the Sun and Mars in their exaltation engaged with Saturn in its home, there is potential to combine hard work with effective planning to dig the trenches needed for increased irrigation throughout whatever system we focus on. Capricorn is a cardinal sign of nocturnal and inward earth, while Aries is a cardinal sign of diurnal and outer fire. The common ground is in the moveable modality of initiating plans of action, with Mercury retrograde needing to mediate the polarities of day and night, inner and outer, assertion and reception. Fire does thrive on the fuel of felled earthly trees, and so we can keep in mind the image of Mercury serving as a deft fire tender who expertly tempers the balance of keeping the fire going without allowing it to turn into a wildfire.

Temperamentally, fire and earth share the dry quality of making distinctions, having clear boundaries, and making the tough decisions of ending what is no longer working in order to productively engage with whatever holds greater promise. Within personal spheres we will have greater capacity to utilize the protective capacities of Mars, but still need to keep in mind the fact Mars and Saturn coming together can signify conflicts we will need to mediate. In collective events, there are likely to be more conflicts erupting out of the themes of information warfare and vying interests using data networks in strategic conflict, as well as economic warfare involving trade and other mercurial significations. The more we can stop ourselves from getting drawn into surrounding conflicts, the more energy we will have to instead engage with the dynamic aspects that are also available for developing plans with an eye for what looks to be working and what instead needs to be modified.

Blake door orb

William Blake (1804) Jerusalem

Into the Sun

The heart of the Mercury retrograde period occurs when Mercury aligns by zodiac degree in between the orbits of our Earth and Sun, becoming regenerated within its union with our solar light. Mercury retrograde goes into the heart of the Sun on April 1, a day after a Full Moon in Libra and a day before the exact union of Mars and Saturn in Capricorn.  While the inferior conjunction of Mercury occurs at 12º Aries, the conjunction of Mars and Saturn will occur at 9º Capricorn, bringing Mercury and Mars into applying engagement. Since Aries is the exaltation of the Sun, symbolically we can derive an added dose of enlivening empowerment to the purification and rebirth process for Mercury. This is a day for envisioning new ways of approaching longterm goals, as well as taking care of mercurial tasks. Mercury’s significations are strengthened while it aligns closely with the Sun, and so all manner of expression, research, negotiation, and work requiring dexterous skill gets an extra boost.

Moreover, as the Sun-Mercury union occurs in a Full Moon phase with the Moon in Libra applying to an opposition with Uranus in Aries, there is amplified illumination available. The liberating lunar atmosphere will create heightened emotions and excitement that will make the aspects between Sun-Mercury and Mars-Saturn more dramatic. We can receive far reaching awareness not only regarding recent events, but also deep unconscious material due to the Moon forming a polarity with Uranus. Fortunately, Venus will have entered its inner home of Taurus by the time Mercury unites with the Sun, bringing greater stability and full access to the pleasures of Venus. Venus in Taurus will begin to form a trine with Saturn and Mars and can help ground within bodily senses to find the calmness necessary to receive the full scope of lucidity available. If the coming together of Mars and Saturn has left you overwhelmed or exhausted at this point, making space for Venus will bring relief.

The sabian symbol for 12 degrees of Aries is “a triangularly shaped flight of wild geese,” with Dane Rudhyar giving it the keynote of “an idealistic reliance upon a mental image of universal order.” Rudhyar viewed the flight of geese forming a harmonious pattern as reflecting a synchronous attuning to both “planetary rhythms” as well as an underlying “cosmic order.” Rudhyar further pointed out that the type of celestial order revealed by the flight of earthly birds contrasts “with the social-political order within a nation which is represented by its ruler.” As a result Rudhyar saw this symbol pointing toward the polarizing conflict provoked by cosmic order when one has been overly relying upon societal order. The “Soul-consciousness” embedded within this image puts the emphasis on taking individual responsibility in development of one’s life rather than giving power over to external authorities. It also highlights the likelihood that the soulful insights arising from within may be at odds with our societal conditioning, and so we will need to keep an open mind rather than restrict how we interpret the messages we receive.

Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year explained how the inferior conjunctions of Mercury each year occur in the same element. This year we are experiencing the fire element, the first one of the series occurring on 12 December 2017 at 22º Sagittarius, the next one occurring on 8 August 2018 at 17º Leo. Caton gave guidelines into how to grasp the bigger picture of mercurial shifts by looking at the triangle of houses containing the fires signs in your natal chart (for example, they could be occurring in your third, seventh, and eleventh houses). In this way you can see how the isolated meaning of this Mercury rebirth in Aries connects with its previous regeneration in Sagittarius and forthcoming one in Leo in your natal chart. Caton wrote that in fire years “we need to find new sources of creative fuel and inspiration and learn to use this fire to burn off any accumulated detritus in our lives and to purge falsity in ourselves” (p. 142).

Klee heroic strokes

Paul Klee (1938) Heroic Strokes of the Bow

In the Morning

Mercury stations direct on April 15 at 4º46′ Aries during a Dark Moon in Aries, in range of a square to Saturn.  The day after Mercury stations direct we will experience a New Moon in Aries conjoining Uranus, another sign that Uranus looms over the entire retrograde phase in less obvious ways. Mercury direct as a Morning Star is eager for new growth and endeavors, hungry for new information and connection. The New Moon conjoining Uranus following the stationing direct of Mercury signifies an emancipatory shift of the winds we can catch and ride. All the work of preparation and modification put in during the retrograde can fuel a leap forward at this time.

Other signs of monumental shift coming as Mercury stations direct involve Chiron and Saturn. Chiron will be at the final minutes of its time in Pisces when Mercury stations direct, and will ingress into Aries two days later on April 17. In addition, Saturn is stationing retrograde around the same time, bringing the influence of Saturn to the forefront. Mercury moving forward again while Saturn turns backwards means that these two once again begin to apply to another square aspect. Mercury will perfect its final square with Saturn on April 25, and later on this same day Mars will finally reach its exact conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. As a result the week and a half following Mercury moving direct again is saturated with potent astrology which can bring about full realization of whatever creations we work on during the time of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star on April 29 at 13º of Aries as the Moon waxes full in Scorpio. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha illuminated the significance of Mercury aligning three times in the same range of zodiacal degrees before its retrograde at maximum Evening Star elongation (March 15 at 14º Aries), in the middle of its retrograde at its Inferior Conjunction (April 1 at 12º Aries), and after completion of its retrograde at maximum Morning Star elongation (April 29 at 13º). This creates a link between these dates and an alchemical process to work with between March 15 and April 29, 2018. Caution may be applied to what promises to be a tumultuous Mercury retrograde in Aries, but fear will do us no good. In the volatility of change we can discover luminous meaning and persevere with diligence and resilient thoroughness to create and contribute to the greater good.

References

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

Greenbaum, Dorian. (2009). The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence. A dissertation submitted in fulfillment for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Combined Studies at The Warburg Institute of the University of London.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

New Moon in Pisces

TiaThom_baptism

Baptism II by T Thompson

New Moon in Pisces

The dreamy vision reverberating in mind, the eyes catch the mirrored sunlight caressing the waves from the deep.  Colors transfigure the sky, undulating with hues bringing passing magic to the senses.  We call it a brainstorm, the inspiration of inhaling divine guidance.  What comes next reveals the intersection between internal and external realms, the circumstances of our lives and our motivation to dedicate time and effort into manifesting a fragment of what our soul beheld in quiet, secretive contemplation.  The New Moon in Pisces on March 17 is a gate through which we enter an intensified quality of time, one which demands focused follow through if we wish to bring the inner workings of psyche into reality.

The New Moon is united with Chiron in Pisces and forms a catalytic square with Mars at the very, very end of Sagittarius.  Mars will enter Capricorn only a few hours after the lunation, and so the freshly waxing Moon will be in Aries when it forms an exact square with Mars later in the day.  Mars will therefore receive the reinvigorated dark Moon into its exaltation of Capricorn, and as the Moon continues to build toward new light it will find itself contained within squares with both Mars and Saturn in Capricorn.  Mars and Saturn glow these days as Morning Stars, full of essential dignity to bring about their significations in the empowered sign of the Sea Goat.  These combined influences on the New Moon in Pisces bring the inner fortitude required to bear the challenges and wounds of temporal matter in order to work toward sturdy development of goals.

The waters of Pisces wash ashore a seed that needs tending care yet has the resiliency to put down roots and bloom in even the harshest conditions.  In fact it may just be the difficulties of the surrounding environment that help to foster a beauty of form more unique than could happen anywhere else.  Plans enacted now will necessitate the type of mutable flexibility the sign of Pisces has been long renowned for, a capacity for shifting with fertile readiness to the angelic guidance found in the moment.

TiaThom_blacksunsets

Black Sunsets by T Thompson

Jupiter rules the New Moon having recently shifted into slow retrograde movement in Scorpio.   Interestingly, at the very moment of the New Moon perfecting, Jupiter will be ruling the New Moon in Pisces as well as Mars at the very end of Sagittarius.  Significantly,  the New Moon is separating from a trine with Jupiter, signifying a cherished vision or illuminated wisdom we are carrying forward into the coming lunar cycle.  Jupiter these days has a slow, churning, inwardly directed focus and is applying toward a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn that will perfect April 14.  The month following the New Moon will be an intense brewing of Jupiter and Pluto supporting a purging of inauthentic influences and a deepening of feeling into innermost yearnings.

Jupiter in Scorpio is in the middle of its most intense engagement with Pluto in Capricorn, having first formed an exact sextile with Pluto on January 15.  Jupiter has been harmoniously engaging with Pluto for the entirety of 2018, and after they begin to separate from one another toward the end of April, they will return to engage a final time again in August and September.   As always with Pluto we may experience secrets being revealed, taboos tested, and an initiatory journey, yet the supportive sextile formed with Jupiter suggests the underworld treasure and richness also associated with Pluto can be discovered.

These influences on the Pisces New Moon signify the importance of persisting toward goals aligned with inner essence rather than external influences of acculturation that are out of alignment.  This is of supreme importance for just as Jupiter is slowly peeling back toward Pluto, Mars and Saturn are blazing a trail forward to Pluto in Capricorn.

TiaThom_redhues

Red Hues by T Thompson

In the wake of the New Moon, Mars will both move out of bounds by declination and also enter into Capricorn. Mars out of bounds is wilder, fiercely more independent and willful than Mars would otherwise be in Capricorn, while also applying to a conjunction with Saturn.  Capricorn is the exaltation of Mars, the nocturnal and earthy home of Saturn that tempers the inflammatory tendencies of the red planet.   Mars out of bounds in its exaltation is the wandering heretic genius who not only operates outside the confines of status quo conditioning, but also embodies the savvy wherewithal to strategize and effectively organize timeframes for work.  Mars wants the freedom to act out dynamic potential and has the motivation to seek outlets for expression.  Finding channels for Mars expression will be essential.

Mars will remain out of bounds until the first week of April, and it is on April 1 that it will form its exact conjunction with Saturn.  Mars will not unite with Pluto until the end of April, and so although that alignment is over a month away, as soon as Mars enters Capricorn we will begin to feel the intensity of its eventual perfection. In terms of collective events, there is no sugar coating the numerous tragedies that will be told in correspondence.  However, within protected personal spheres there will be opportunities to initiate and develop vital work.  Projects built under the intense eyes of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto may develop at a slower pace but will ultimately possess profound persistence to survive over the long haul.

Thus the 2018 narrative takes a dramatic turn at the Pisces New Moon, as the forces of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto promise a meeting with our nemesis and a forging of inner fire in response. While being one of the most challenging periods of the year, it will also be a timeframe that can lead to immense growth in strength and aptitude.

TiaThom_blacksunsetsII

Black Sunsets II by T Thompson

Fire will be found in the twilight of sunset in the forms of radiant Venus and glittering Mercury glowing bright.  Mercury is beginning to descend from maximum elongation as an Evening Star at the Pisces New Moon, falling lower toward the horizon each day as it approaches its upcoming retrograde period. Mercury will station retrograde following the Aries Equinox on March 22, meaning that the Pisces New Moon contains both the rebirth of the equinox as well as the regeneration of Mercury retrograde within its lunar cycle.  As a result we must be ready for the numerous twists, turns, and unexpected events that will accompany a Mercury retrograde period that looks to be more volatile than normal.

Take pleasure in the sunsets surrounding the New Moon, for the lack of moonlight will darken the backdrop of Mercury and Venus shining bright together in twilight.  As delightful as Mercury and Venus appear together in the sky, within the aspects of the astrological atmosphere they are in a challenging position of forming a whole sign square to the intense Capricorn conglomerate of Pluto, Saturn, and Mars.  After the Sun enters Aries on the equinox, we can add our solar light to the side of Venus and Mercury facing off with the Capricorn heavyweights.  While the Sun, Venus and Mercury together in Aries incite desires for freely boundless expression, the tension coming from Capricorn planets demands channeling expression through contained forms.

We have been presented with an extended period to integrate the heartfelt values of Venus with the mental reasoning and expression of Mercury:  Mercury and Venus recently united on March 4 and will again on March 19. The present union of Venus and Mercury is forming a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Leo and a sextile to the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The fiery determination and willfulness of Venus and Mercury in Aries presents new choices to be made that are in greater alignment with our authentic path.  As Venus and Mars are in the home of Mars, and Mars will be applying to a conjunction with Saturn in the home of Saturn, it will be imperative to embody self-discipline and integrity of purpose in the process.  Challenges may feel overwhelming, yet sustaining focused determination will reap rewards in the end.

cups10

10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The New Moon arises in the third face of Pisces associated with the Ten of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image and card linked with emotional fulfillment of creative dreams, it also carries warnings of becoming lost in romantic fantasy.  The image of rainbows, happy lovers, and playful children captures the essence of an ideal goal for many, and serves as a striving symbol for those with different goals in mind.   Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to this decan, as he wrote “the third face unfolds as the quest for true and perfect love” that ultimately requires sacrifice.  Coppock rightly described this decan as a place in which we can experience the “heights of agony and ecstasy,” both the disillusionment of betrayal as well as the bliss of rich reception.

Mars rules the third face of Pisces, and it is significant that the New Moon is also occurring within the Egyptian bounds of Mars.  This binds the lunation to Mars even more tightly than would otherwise be suggested by the looming influence of the red planet previously described above.  The Sabian symbol for the New Moon is “The Harvest Moon Illumines a Clear Autumnal Sky,” to which Dane Rudhyar gave the keynote of “the light of fulfillment that blesses work well done.”  Rudhyar described this symbol as signifying reaping the harvest of what we have sown and cultivated, emphasizing that “the seed of the new cyclic manifestation is already latent.”

With Mars, Saturn, and Pluto present in Capricorn in the coming cycle we have the power of the scythe on our side. Be mindful of what you cultivate, and generous in the harvest you share with others.  The sharing of love and resources in partnership and within collaborative community will bolster resiliency in the face of coming challenges.

References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

Virgo Full Moon: Pisces Wave

Rosette

India (1645) from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Full Moon in Virgo

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours’ eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing by W.B. Yeats

The Full Moon in Virgo on March 1 is full of inspirational force, imaginal vision and emotional tidal waves.  The Sun, Neptune, Mercury, Venus, and Chiron are all lined up in Pisces opposite the Moon in Virgo, with the lunation’s intensity deepened by a harmonious aspect with Jupiter in Scorpio and catalyzed with explosive vitality by an amplified Mars in Sagittarius.   Ideally during the period of fully reflected light one can situate themselves in a place of stimulating learning or creativity where the dynamic force of the Full Moon can be transmitted into tactile manifestation or revelatory reception.  The potential conflict from Mars comes from dogmatic ideals and subjective projections within an atmosphere making the dry discernment of Virgo challenging.  Mercury rules the Full Moon as it applies to a union with Venus in Pisces and so we experience the Moon in Virgo under the sway of poetic richness, emotional reception, and the intuitive knowing of feelings within the body.

There is simply something sublime about the Moon in Virgo ripening full in reflection of light cast by the Sun uniting with Neptune in Pisces.  In Virgo we can sense the spirit in our flesh and the soul of the earth around us like nowhere else in the zodiac.  Virgo can both discern and analyze insight from difficult or confusing experiences, as well as weave together meaning into tangible forms of shared understanding.  Attaining calm presence in the moment amidst the tumult of ceaseless change is key to optimize the grounded, pragmatic wisdom available in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  The overflowing Piscean influence on the surrounding time period of the lunation makes it easier than normal to fall into illusory pursuits or projections, yet the combined earthiness of the Virgo Full Moon in harmonious relationship with Saturn in Capricorn brings the potential to make the magic of Pisces real, true, and embodied.

deer mandala of kasuga shrine
Japanese silk scroll (late 14th century)

The Virgo Full Moon is ruled by Mercury in Pisces applying to conjoin Venus and Chiron in Pisces, as well as applying to a stabilizing trine with Jupiter in Scorpio.  Mercury resides in Pisces in polarity to both its home and exaltation in Virgo, yet since it is being received by Jupiter it has the resources of Jupiter fully loaded in its tool kit.  Combine the fact Mercury is simultaneously uniting with Venus in its place of exaltation, and we have a deeply visionary and imaginative Mercury that can grasp understanding of one’s larger emotional environment as well as perceive creative solutions.  Flashes of intuitive, direct knowing may be received and the inward earthiness of the Moon in Virgo can facilitate processing perceptions in order to receive a harvest of important insight.

Most auspiciously, both Mercury and Venus are emerging as Evening Stars at the time of the Full Moon, regaling the twilight with their bright starry presence.  Venus has already been visible at twilight in the week leading into the lunation, but the fullness of the Moon rising is perfect for celebrating the return of Venus glowing bright on the horizon.  We haven’t been able to see Venus since she was in her Morning Star phase last November, and so her longly anticipated return to visibility is an omen of good tidings.  The following hymn “The Lady of the Evening,” adapted from ancient Sumerian text by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, celebrates the re-emergence of Venus as an evening star:

At the end of the day, the Radiant Star, the Great Light that fills the sky,
The Lady of the Evening appears in the heavens.
The people in all the lands lift their eyes to her.
The men purify themselves; the women cleanse themselves.
The ox in his yoke lows to her.
The sheep stir up the dust in their fold.
All the living creatures of the steppe,
The four-footed creatures of the high steppe,
The lush gardens and orchards, the green reeds and trees,
The fish of the deep and the birds in the heavens-
My Lady makes them all hurry to their sleeping places.

The living creatures and the numerous people of Sumer kneel before her.
Those chosen by the old women prepare great platters of food and drink for her.
The Lady refreshes herself in the land.
There is great joy in Sumer.
The young man makes love with his beloved.

My Lady looks in sweet wonder from heaven.
The people of Sumer parade before the holy Inanna.
Inanna, the Lady of the Evening, is radiant.
I sing your praises, holy Inanna.
The Lady of the Evening is radiant on the horizon.

Fascinatingly, due to Mercury slowing down and then stationing retrograde in Aries on March 22, Venus and Mercury will remain in range of a close conjunction all the way through the waning half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, so that on the following Pisces New Moon on March 17 they will still have only one degree of separation between them in Aries.  This is an unusually long time to live with Venus and Mercury transiting in such close proximity to one another and so brings an opportunity to find greater alignment between inner values and outer expression and communication.  There will be a notable shift on March 6 when both Mercury and Venus will move into Aries, bringing potential to take the inner illumination received from their time together in Pisces into direct, courageous action in the world.

While Venus and Mercury are uniting at the end of Pisces they are also taken into a deeper dimension of perception by their additional conjunction with Chiron in Pisces.  Chiron is a celestial centaur who bridges the divide between Saturn and Uranus, the key holder who brings access to vital subconscious information.  Since Mars in Sagittarius is also approaching a challenging square aspect with Chiron, there is a collective trigger that reflects the gaping, aching wounds of trauma and oppression felt throughout the collective, injuries often brought about through violence and conflict connected to dogmatic paradigms of belief.  During the days following the Full Moon there is potential to journey within to both face and dissolve old wounds that are ready to be dislodged.  However, some wounds may still feel more painful than fully engaged in healing and if this is the case the over abundance of planets in Pisces can allow for a flow of emotive release.

One of the biggest factors in the Virgo Full Moon, however, is Jupiter in Scorpio not only forming a trine to Mercury, Venus and Chiron, but also beginning to station retrograde.  Jupiter in Scorpio will station retrograde a week after the lunation on March 8 and is barely moving at the time of the Full Moon, bringing its archetype into a stronger presence within the collective.  Whenever a planet stations its archetype saturates the landscape, so prepare for lessons involving Jupiter in Scorpio to become abundantly clear.  We have passed through a season of eclipses that formed a square to Jupiter in Scorpio, and so we are primed to receive direct knowing from the accumulation of recent experiences.  Although Jupiter and Mars are not in a major aspect, they are mutually exchanging signs with Jupiter in the home of Mars and Mars in the home of Jupiter.  With regard to the additional interplay between Mars and all of the action in Pisces that Jupiter also rules, Jupiter in Scorpio can help us shed attachments to old illusions of belief and ready us for a new influx of understanding.  Once Jupiter turns retrograde in the first week of March, it will move backwards through our zodiac until stationing direct again on July 10 at 13º20′ of Scorpio.

mount meru mandala
Cosmological mandala with Mount Meru (14th century China)

While Mercury and Venus are separating from a square with Mars in Sagittarius, Mars is applying to a trine with Eris and Uranus in Aries.  When we also factor in Mars being conjoined with the asteroid Vesta at the Full Moon, there is potential to utilize the fiery volatility of Mars in Sagittarius to not only explore exciting frontiers but also utilize the focus necessary to bring something worthwhile back to share with the wider collective.  Aspects between planets are multivalent in expression, and so while there is potential destructive conflict signified by the aspects Mars is making at the Full Moon, this same energy of Mars can correspond with separating yourself from previous limitations or oppressive circumstances and making visionary strides forward.  Mars in Sagittarius is fast moving and curious with ample stores of generosity and optimistic hope available to fuel striving for greater freedom and making real progress toward idealistic pursuits.

In addition to all of the watery and fiery dynamics previously mentioned, there is also a lot of the grounded earth element involved in the Full Moon.  As the Moon waxes full in Virgo it will form a trine with Saturn in Capricorn, and then following its opposition with the Sun the Moon will move toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  When we also consider the placement of the asteroid Pallas Athene in the middle of Taurus, there is a stable earth triangle formed that also involves harmonious sextile aspects between Saturn with the Sun and Neptune in Pisces.  As a result, there is potential to find surrounding structures to stabilize and ground the insight available in correspondence with the lunation into tangible manifestation.  It also highlights the availability of outlets for grounding or compassionate support if the emotional waves of the abundant Pisces influence becomes overwhelming.

pents09
9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Virgo arises in the second decan of Virgo associated with the Nine of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is resplendent with a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure, and fittingly Venus is the ruler of the second face of Virgo.  On her hand sits a bird of prey ready to strike out for resources, while ripening grapevines surround her.  This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes.  Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:  “Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus . . . . [and] brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof” (p. 146).

Interestingly, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked the Moirai to the second face of Virgo.  These are the daughters of Necessity, the goddesses of fate: Clotho the spinner of the threads of life, Lachesis the measurer of fateful threads, and Atropos who cuts the threads.  These goddesses of fate appearing in this decan points to the importance of centering within the actual currents of life so that choices can be discerned that will allow one to navigate with as optimal a flow as possible.  While there is incredible imagination available with the overflow of Pisces influence on the Virgo Full Moon, this visionary capacity needs to be grounded in the truly developing elements of life rather than dissipated through denial of what is actually happening.  Through a combination of grounding while simultaneously opening to the full range of possibilities available in the moment, the Virgo Full Moon can facilitate awareness of new choices freed from the limiting thoughts of the past.

References

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

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah. (1983). Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Harper & Row.

 

Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

siren water bearer

from Alcuni monumenti del Museo Carafa (1778)

Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

The Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius on February 15 is not cloaked in total blackness such as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred last August 21, yet still opens us to the mysterious matrix of eclipses that bring significant shifts in circumstances and perception.  Aquarius is the constellation of the Water Pourer, and even within the use of the tropical zodiac we still associate Aquarian meaning with the one who carries the enlivening celestial waters to nourish collective lives and ideals. The diurnal home of Saturn, it is a place of work yoked to transcendent vision and creates the contemplative space needed to break free of cultural conditioning at odds with essential values.

Astrology has an ancient tradition of associating our Sun with the celestial source of soul and our Moon with the worldly reception of soul in our human forms.  At a solar eclipse, we can infer that our sense of soul purpose and creative actualization we associate with our Sun is being eclipsed by the mysterious darkness found deep within our body and psyche, a darkness full of rich fertility that brings forth new life.  New forms move through our life with eclipses while old forms pass away, while what was previously hidden for whatever reason emerges with stark clarity.  Since Aquarius is a fixed sign, a lot of the changes happening in correspondence with the eclipse will be slower to develop yet long lasting.  Since Aquarius is an air sign as well as the location of the transiting South Node of the Moon, we can expect shifts in old mental patterns and complexes, with new ideas percolating and ready to fill freshly created space.

The Aquarius Solar Eclipse is taking place near Mercury and the asteroid Juno, signifying that our mental framework of relational patterns is primed for release of aspects that have been keeping us stuck.  Mercury in particular is a vital component of the eclipse, as it will enter the heart of the Sun and perfect its Superior Conjunction within a couple of days of the eclipse.  This means Mercury is being purified and in a rebirth process within the eclipse, facilitating the letting go of mental debris to clear space for the influx of dynamic new ideas.  With Juno also present near the eclipse, we can gain new insight into our current relationships through shedding the skin of old relational wounds, peeling away perceptions keeping us blocked from meeting the actual needs of relationships in the moment.  Eclipses tend to bring in new relationships while some of our older relationships begin to fade away, but with Juno also present with the eclipse it is worth paying attention to relationship dynamics more than usual and discerning which newly emerging relationships are worth focusing on going forward.

Manjuvajra Mandala

Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom (11th Century; Bangladesh or India; black stone)

Saturn is the traditional ruler of the eclipse, situated in the twelfth place from the syzygy.  Though not in aspect to the eclipse, Saturn does find its joy in the twelfth place due to its more isolated and hidden conditions creating fertile ground for rich contemplation.  Uranus is considered by many to be the modern ruler of Aquarius, and Uranus is engaged with the eclipse through a harmonious sextile.  The Solar Eclipse as well as Mercury in Aquarius interacting with Uranus through a sextile amplifies the potential of the eclipse to facilitate a liberation from old mental wounds and negative thought cycles that have kept us in a loop of limitation in one way or another.  Uranus is moving direct through its final passage in Aries before entering Taurus later in May this year, and so there is a dynamic Uranian wave to catch at the eclipse and ride with the full force of the sign of the Ram.  At the previous Solar Eclipse in Leo last August, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect, and during the last Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect with Mercury.  If you have been working toward greater Uranian emancipation over the course of the past six months, pay attention to openings emerging with the eclipse that can make the desired changes enduring.

It will be helpful to consider all of the changes in your life that have been taking place over the past year of eclipses occurring in Leo and Aquarius, since the Aquarius Solar Eclipse is roughly in the middle of their trajectory.  There was a Full Moon in Aquarius on 16 August 2016 that some labeled an eclipse (but it had absolutely no visibility), but the sequence of Leo and Aquarius eclipses did not fully kick in until the Leo Lunar Eclipse that arose on 10 February 2017.  The most potent of the eclipses was the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that happened 21 August 2017, and since the current one is at the polarity of that eclipse, its possible to now gain clarity regarding the changes in life direction and relationships that have corresponded with these eclipses.  It’s always important to focus on the houses of your natal chart as well as aspects with Leo and Aquarius to fine tune your analysis, but simply reflecting upon the overall narrative will bring insight that can help you acclimate to the new shifts arriving with the current eclipse.

hand with images

from the Alcuni monumenti del Museo Carrafa (1778)

The partial solar eclipse in Aquarius is in a saros series that began with an eclipse in 1729 that featured Mercury conjoining the South Node of the Moon. While Mercury has separated eleven degrees from the South Node of the Moon in the present eclipse, Mercury is closely conjoining the eclipse itself on the side of the South Node of the Moon, echoing the eclipse at its origins.  Bernadette Brady in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark wrote “this family of eclipses is concerned with ideas and their enthusiastic expression,” leading to an onrush of ideas that may flood one’s system, “but if you can go with the new ideas, they will have positive outcomes.”

Mercury is separating from a sextile with Uranus and applying toward a conjunction with the eclipsed Aquarius Sun.  Mercury has also separated from a square with Jupiter in Scorpio, adding to overarching influence the Star of Zeus in the sign of the Scorpion exerts over the eclipse.   With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our ideals, with the Jupiter and Mercury tension pulling us into the core of difficult questions regarding the current state of the multiplicity of civilizations around the planet.  Though Jupiter has now separated from its previous opposition with Uranus, we are still in the wake of the catalytic tidal wave instigated by Jupiter and Uranus reaching the peak of their cycle in 2016.  The influence of Uranus and Mercury within the eclipse facilitates opening minds to answers that reframe circumstances and allow a bigger vision to help discern smaller choices made in the present.

Fantasy novelist Ursula Le Guin passed away earlier this year about nine days before the recent Lunar Eclipse in Leo, revivifying the memory of her work that was able to create entire worlds unto themselves, often centered around idealistic perspectives such as feminism.  After receiving the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014 she spoke the following words:

I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. …

We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.

– Ursula Le Guin

Gary Caton’s recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year does a marvelous job of illuminating the elemental meaning of the six pointed star Mercury forms each year within its synodic cycle.  In the present year we have Mercury forming retrograde unions with the Sun in the Fire triangle, while forming direct unions with the Sun (like we are experiencing now) in Air signs.  Caton wrote that since Air and Fire share the characteristic of heat, yet differ in that Fire is dry and Air is moist, it means that the Aquarius lesson of moistness “means curbing your tendency to go it alone, and joining with like-minded allies before adventuring.”  Be alert for opportunities to join with like minded souls in coming weeks and months; after the eclipse Mercury will begin shifting into becoming a visible evening star again and will be moving direct until stationing retrograde in Aries on March 22 following the equinox.

The sabian symbol of the eclipse reflects the symbolism of releasing Aquarian air to fuel the fire of the Leo north node: “A tree felled and sawed to ensure a supply of wood for the winter.” Dane Rudhyar wrote the keynote of this symbol involves “knowledge and skill used in its natural surroundings for the satisfaction of vital basic needs,” based upon “intelligent foresight.”  Rudhyar beautifully concluded that “in meeting the hardships inherent in an existence close to nature, strength, efficiency and intelligence are needed, but they are incorporated in a life in which every act can be part of a harmonic and beautiful ritual permeated with deep significance.”  Moreover, the sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury’s superior conjunction with the Sun that will occur on February 17 is a “butterfly emerging from chrysalis,” again reinforcing the themes release and rebirth.  As we let go of the past and what has been holding us back, a new presence may emerge deeply sensitized to both the resources and needs of the surrounding environment.

black iris

Black Iris (1926) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Venus in Pisces is closely applying to an integrative sextile with Saturn in Capricorn, the ruler of the eclipse, heading toward union with Neptune.  At the same time, Mars in Sagittarius is applying to a superior square with Neptune in Pisces and as the Moon waxes full in the forthcoming lunar cycle, Venus will form a waxing square with Mars.  Additionally, as Venus moves across a union with Neptune in the forthcoming lunar cycle toward a square with Mars, Venus will also be forming a harmonious trine with Jupiter in Scorpio.  Venus in Pisces is playing a mediating role within the eclipse and portends positive potential growth within relationships.  The influence of Neptune brings some fogginess of illusion to cut through, as well as over zealous martial crusaders to contend with. Yet the coming union of Venus and Neptune is also the sort of dreamy transit to allow yourself to indulge in, luxuriating in whatever you find pleasing and soothing.

swords07

7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Solar Eclipse in Aquarius rises in the third face of Aquarius associated with the Seven of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Similar to the union of Mercury with the solar eclipse, we can see a bit of Hermes in the image’s thief stealthily removing five swords from the scene, leaving two firmly planted in the ground.  The five swords bears numerical resemblance to the Five of Swords card associated with the first decan of Aquarius, a face that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to in his book 36 Faces on the decans.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius aligned with the 7 of Swords card, noting that the figure of the thief in the image has already undergone a process of what to leave behind in the place of the known as he embarks with what he has selected to take with him on his journey into the unknown.  Coppock astutely used the symbol of the knot to explore the karmic binds that often keep us bound in the place of the known and familiar, rather than liberating ourselves from frustrating situations in order to enter the unknown and risking exile in the process.

Venus rules the third decan of Aquarius within the triplicity rulership scheme, while the Moon rules the third decan of Aquarius within the descending rulership scheme.  Since the Moon rules this face and the Moon in Aquarius is eclipsing the Sun, the Moon is at an advantage with regards to essential dignity as it darkens our view of the Sun.  The Moon will additionally occult Mercury in Aquarius hours before the eclipse forms.  While the hectic pace of daily life and its gravity of responsibilities may make it difficult to create space for reflective solace at the exact moment of the eclipse, make the effort to create room for contemplation when the moment allows.  Allow your mind to open to the possibilities of the vast unknown of the future, and as you gain intimations for who you can become find places, even within the most mundane of choices, to begin realizing more of your envisioned potential in the present.

References

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

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.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

Leo Lunar Eclipse: Scythe of Ceres

Sunflower clock

Sunflower Clock by Athanasius Kircher

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

The Moon will glow in rosy shadow as the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo culminates on January 31.  Eclipses reveal the wonder of our living world through the stunning optics of our Moon not only appearing to be the same size as our Sun, but also mutating in color during the exact alignment.  During a total lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our planet upon the face of the Moon, creating a reddish light as opposed to the total blackness that manifests in a solar eclipse.  Venus joins the Sun in Aquarius as it casts shadows on the Leo Lunar Eclipse, bringing an influence of searching for inner harmony amidst the numerous corresponding changes that will occur in between the lunar eclipse and the Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15.  We all know the Leo stereotype in astrology of the solar hero journeying for personal glory.  Yet the type of heroine illuminated by the Leo Lunar Eclipse willingly descends into shadowy inner depths in order to discover the essential value they may serve the needs of the collective with, helping to heal and strengthen bonds of community.

Lunar eclipses occur when a Full Moon aligns with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon, meaning that the polarity of Sun and Moon aligns with the intersection of the orbital arcs of Sun and Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon or serpent consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

The meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma, patterns, and attachments whose time has come.  These themes are amplified by the ruler of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, the Aquarius Sun, being conjoined the South Node of the Moon.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is “total” and particularly potent due to it being closely aligned with the lunar nodes, with both the Sun and Moon only three degrees away.  While the influence of the Moon residing in Leo brings an element of creative actualization, the weight of Aquarian leverage on the syzygy necessitates taking into account a wider perspective of humanitarian concerns.  Those who have been alienated or choose to inhabit the fringe will demand attention as our planet’s shadow slips across the face of our Moon.  Creative solutions are needed for the vast array of issues people are struggling with around the world; while those solutions will not be appearing magically in the eclipsed light of the Moon, personal and collective narratives will shift dramatically in its wake and force issues to surface awareness. Within the turning wheel of fortune we can gain clarity for what needs our full attention within intimate circles as well as within broader collective concerns.  The eclipse season we are entering swings toward an emphasis on Aquarius and the South Node, just as the eclipses in 2017 had more emphasis on the North Node side of Leo.

Ceres statue

Ceres by Augustin Pajou (1768-70)

The dwarf planet Ceres is closely conjoined the eclipse, only two minutes away from the eclipsed Leo Moon.  As an archetype, Ceres both produces the resources needed for vitality as well as bears the seeds of renewal. Yet the swing of her scythe that brings the harvest necessitates loss as much as it brings forth gain.  Just as the Leo Moon will be eclipsed by shadow, so was Ceres eclipsed by pain and rage over her own personal tragedy.  In an element of her myth that parallels the story of Isis and Osiris, Ceres was willing to incarnate into human form as part of fully embodying her grief.  Though she needed to take time away from producing growth in the world in order to process and release her trauma, Ceres ultimately mediated a compromise in which she returned to her service of providing fertile abundance for the greater collective.  Ceres reveals the importance of taking time and space away from production in order to grieve, while also illuminating the resolve necessary to return to the world of suffering in order to bolster strength in others.

As Ceres aligns with the Moon on the North Node side of Leo, Venus accompanies the Sun on the other side of the axis in Aquarius.  While Ceres and the Moon are in the Egyptian bounds of Saturn, the Aquarius Sun is in the Egyptian bounds of Venus.  We can find here the message Ceres received in her journey into the mysteries of darkness, that though life and love will return so will death and strife coexist.   The gravitas of Saturn that demands us to mature and be accountable for how we navigate cycles of change is amplified by Saturn in Capricorn ruling the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus in Aquarius.    The influence of Venus in Aquarius upon the lunar eclipse is not about hedonistic desire for everything we find pleasurable, but rather brings a purification to our pursuits of pleasure and what we value.  Saturn in Capricorn hones the raw into the fine-tuned and essential, and so its influence on the Sun and Venus at the eclipse takes us into a process of clarifying the values to prioritize in our choices and discovering who we want to become based more upon internal authenticity rather than external acclaim.

Venus in Aquarius is also in the bounds of Jupiter at the lunar eclipse, while Jupiter in Scorpio is engaged in an impactful relationship with both the Leo Lunar Eclipse on January 31 and the Aquarius Solar Eclipse on February 15.   Moreover, Jupiter is in its own bounds, ruled by Mars in the home and bounds of Jupiter (4º of Sagittarius).  As I’ve previously written, Jupiter in Scorpio facilitates delving deeper into our own subconscious as well as gaining insight into the sea of collective unconscious swirling around us.   Combined with Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.  Yet its challenging square aspect to the eclipses in Leo and Aquarius necessitates courageously facing difficult, disillusioning questions and allowing the answers we discover to help us shed beliefs that have been keeping us contained within illusion rather than being alertly aware in the present moment.

trident with naga

Trident with Naga, Bronze (11th – 12th Century)

Nodes of Neptune

The eclipse falls across the nodes of Neptune, with the Leo Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.  This also means that the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus are also conjoining the South Node of Neptune in Aquarius.  The nodes of Neptune being in Leo and Aquarius is something I have spent time contemplating yet still have difficulty putting into words. Like all archetypes, the best we can do in the end is observe how events and images emerge into form in correspondence. One element I feel involves the archetypal arc of Neptune being related to spirituality as an access point into the interconnected field of our reality, and how this connection with Spirit can both connect us to the needs of living diversity across our world, as well as often necessitates time in exile, as a hermit or recluse in order to connect with divinity from within.  It also makes sense that the North Node of Neptune in Leo goes along with the phenomenon of spiritual glamor, and how there has been many examples of people taking on spiritual guru roles revealed to be narcissistic abusers of power.  Ultimately, it seems the North Node of Neptune in Leo is about centering consciousness in our heart so that we can engage the interconnected field of our reality from a heart-centered place of love and compassion.

For another perspective, the evolutionary astrologer Mark Jones has theorized that the North Node of Neptune in Leo correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  Part of this interpretation relates to the Uranus rulership of Aquarius developed by Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology, wherein Uranus is linked to both traumatic memories from past lives held by the soul, as well as our capacity to liberate ourselves from being incapacitated by them.  Two areas this interpretation could play out are found in art and activism, both art integrating activism and activism incorporating art.  There are powerful aspects found within the Leo Lunar Eclipse to facilitate dynamic creative breakthroughs, and its alignment with the nodes of Neptune brings the potential to release elements of tragedy and trauma fettering within our collective through artistic expression.  There is a lot of innovation within the aspects of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to wield in the process of making the change you wish to see in the world.

 

wands06

Six of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

 

Leo 2 Decan

The Leo eclipses falls in the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   We find here an image of triumphant victory, a strident champion riding a white horse and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  The pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, a complex that deserves attention since the Leo Moon will become engulfed in blood red shadow.

Jupiter rules the second decan of Leo, and so with Jupiter in Scorpio as well as Saturn in Capricorn in the background of the eclipse, its more likely than normal that those who seek glory and fame without inner integrity will fall or be cut down from heights.  Its worth contemplating the question of what does victory truly mean for you, and what degree of external validation is actually needed.  Allow the redness of the Moon to take you within the purity of heart, and let the authentic presence you discover there take the helm of navigating through the sweeping tides of the coming eclipse season.

References

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

 

 

New Moon & Venus in Capricorn

 

beau v photo of white trees b w

Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

New Moon in Capricorn

Within the heart of the dark forest we seclude ourselves from the tumult and toxicity of civilization.  We feel the slow rhythm of the earth under our feet, the songs of the wild in the air, the sense of the trees reaching out from and sinking deep into subterranean nourishment.   The canopy of trees shelter the surrounding diversity of nature, the natural cycles of growth and decay clearly observable.   A Capricorn New Moon is similarly an opportunity to center and ground within the changes of what is ready to be developed and what is passing away or in need of release.  Capricorn is most potent and fertile when we allow our inner life to help us navigate through the labyrinth of external conditioning structures and influences.

The New Moon in Capricorn on January 16 takes us into a season of eclipses, with a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo (12º) coming January 31 followed by a Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15 (27º).  The emphasis on Capricorn calls us to formulate plans and fixate determination to persevere, yet the nature of the forthcoming eclipse season portends a wave of events on the horizon bringing changes in circumstances requiring adjustment. This theme is reemphasized by the New Moon forming a square with Uranus in Aries.  The places in your natal chart impacted by the coming eclipses in Leo and Aquarius are important to take into consideration at this New Moon.  Ultimately, the Capricorn New Moon is fertile ground to launch the work and endeavors you are most passionate about, with a willingness to consistently put in the necessary amount of practice, study, and effort needed to achieve successful manifestation.

beau mountain b w photo

Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

Saturn rules the New Moon from within the stability and strength of its own home in Capricorn.  Co-present with the New Moon and Saturn in Capricorn are Mercury, Venus, Pluto, and Black Moon Lilith.  During the darkening of the Moon leading up the Capricorn lunation, Mercury finally completed its final conjunction with Saturn in Capricorn that links back to its previous Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius (December 2 -22, 2017) that began with Mercury united with Saturn.   Direct action toward goals and strengthening of foundations are needed now more than reflective restraint.  Contemplation must be yoked to determined effort and disciplined focus.  Distractions flee under the glare of Saturn, revealing the core desires, needs, and issues to prioritize.  The plethora of placements in Capricorn support creative visualization of developing plans that pragmatically discerns a path forward with solutions that are both realistic and imaginative.

While Saturn in Capricorn intensifies the Saturnine significations of the Capricorn New Moon, Mercury will be a bright Morning Star in Capricorn in the lunar cycle ahead, ready to help make clarified choices within daily tasks.  Mercury will be transitioning from Capricorn into Aquarius as the blood red eclipse in Leo forms on January 31.  While there will be solid astrological support for making headway with work and projects in the next couple of weeks, remember to make time for self care and restful dreaming time.  The emphasis on Capricorn can coincide with intense, pressurized feelings of time and space and deadlines we must meet.  Ideally a balance can be struck between seizing the moment when opportunities appear and nurturing ourselves so we have our full strength to summon when needed.

FB_IMG_1515167377733.jpg

Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

A New Venus synodic cycle began in the week before the New Moon that was simultaneously united with Pluto in Capricorn.  The personal meaning found in the January 8 solar union of Venus and Pluto seeds the growth beginning to form within the New Moon.  The reception of meaning stemming from this alignment will continue to slowly deepen in awareness in coming weeks, prodding us to face and overcome whatever fears have been holding us back.  It can be easy to remain stuck in routines and responsibilities we have outgrown due to the comfort of the old and familiar that do not require making radical changes.  The rebirth of Venus in union with the Sun and Pluto, combined with Mercury and Saturn also residing in Capricorn, facilitates asking new questions that demand new answers and a reframing of circumstances.  Old structures can more easily break open within the series of eclipses we will be experiencing within the next month, making this a perfect time to courageously consider how our use of time and space can be rearranged so we are more actively engaged with inspirational activity that grips our full presence.

FB_IMG_1515167368897.jpg

Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

The other major aspect of the Capricorn New Moon involves the harmonious sextile with Scorpio holding a formidable influence of Mars and Jupiter.  Mars is separating from a recent union with Jupiter in Scorpio, and Mars has a receptive sextile with the New Moon due to it occurring in the exaltation of Mars.  Amplifying the transmutational potency is Jupiter in a close sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and Mars in Scorpio in square with the degree of the partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius coming February 15.  We have both malefics, Mars and Saturn, at full strength in their own homes.  Malefics are a polarity to benefics due to their correspondences often causing fear and requiring determined resiliency in response.  Often the key to overcoming fears is a willingness to explore their undercurrents and face whatever lies at their root.  As we shed old fears the harmonious interchange between Scorpio and Capricorn within the lunation brings a forceful current to propel us through the upcoming eclipses into bold new levels of development.

In addition, Neptune in Pisces has a less obvious effect within the New Moon as it forms harmonious whole sign aspects with the abundance of planets in Capricorn and Scorpio.  The strongest aspect for Neptune in the New Moon involves Mercury in Capricorn applying to a sextile with Neptune.  Furthermore, the Total Lunar Eclipse coming on January 31 is aligned with the nodes of Neptune, with the Sun and South Node of the Moon conjoining the South Node of Neptune, and the eclipsed Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.   Altogether this ramps up the imaginative fertility of the New Moon to foster a dissolution of restrictive conditioning influences from the past in order to activate creative actualization of core talents and calling.

pents04

4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Decan

The New Moon arises in the third decan of Capricorn associated with the Four of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image of empire building and wielding influence from a seat of power, the Four of Pentacles signifies a cultivation of inner talents to make an impact in the material world in matters that are most meaningful.  The crowned and enthroned figure has pentacles below and above him, with a fourth pentacle cradled at heart level evoking a spinning wheel of fortune.   The figure towers in the foreground, suggesting someone sovereign and able to manage structures to bring material prosperity and security within the wildly fluctuating changes in fortune that come and go within surrounding society.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Throne” to the third face of Capricorn, a fitting image given that the Sun rules the decan.  Coppock wrote that this face of Capricorn involves administering from a throne to control the elements of the world needed to attain material gain and positions of greater power and responsibility.  Notably, Coppock cautioned that hubris can tempt those grasping for power in this face to overlook the weight of responsibility and the loneliness of isolation that accompany achieving ambitions.  Coppock warned that accumulations of material wealth, power, and responsibility “may end up crushing them,” the idealized palace turning into a restrictive prison.

Since Saturn in Capricorn can bolster the application of the New Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Pluto in Capricorn toward whatever ambition we set our mind and will toward, make sure that the achievement of current goals are in accord with a healthy, balanced life that enables inner fulfillment in addition to external success.   If you are feeling overwhelmed and blocked by external circumstances, let yourself surrender to acceptance while remaining watchful and determined to find openings for advancement, no matter how small or temporary.    In fact, the astrological alignments at the New Moon can help prepare and refine an abundance of inner riches and attainment of inner wisdom that has nothing to do with material circumstances.  Within the shifting tides of the material realm, however, perseverance and determination will be required to navigate the sweeping change on the horizon.

References

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

 

Capricorn Cazimi: Venus & Pluto

John_Reinhard_Weguelin_–_The_Magic_of_Pan's_Flute_(1905)

The Magic of Pan’s Flute (1905) John Reinhard Weguelin

Venus in the Heart of the Capricorn Sun

Venus has begun a new cycle with the Sun, forming an exact conjunction with our Sun on January 8 or 9, 2018 depending upon your time zone.  The beginning of the new synodic cycle for Venus is even more potent than normal due to it simultaneously beginning a new cycle with Pluto. Venus in the heart of the Sun with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of inner desires and values, and as we dig into the soil of soul we will unearth meaning  that will guide us on our journey forward, even if current feelings are difficult.  Venus is currently orbiting on the far side of the Sun from Earth, its union with the Sun at this point in its cycle called the exterior or superior conjunction of Venus.  This solar union is in contrast to the conjunction Venus forms when it is retrograde and in between the orbit of Earth and the Sun, called the interior or inferior conjunction of Venus.    Venus will still be invisible to us for awhile, but is now in transition into becoming visible again eventually as an Evening Star at the beginning of March 2018.

The vivifying light of our Sun is a foundational source for meaning found within astrology.  Of course the Sun is the source of the light that our visible planets reflect back to us and that define their phases, whether that is the constantly waxing and waning of our Moon or the slower shifts in time we experience through Saturn.  As a result when planets unite with the Sun by zodiac degree within astrology, they are returning to their source of light and being reborn.  As the planet approaches its union with the Sun we can imagine it being somewhat weakened due to the purification process underway, not unlike our bodily sensations when soaking in a hot spring or sweating in a sauna.  The planets beyond our orbit such as Mars and Jupiter only experience one conjunction with the Sun during their synodic cycle, while in contrast Mercury and Venus experience two conjunctions since they orbit in between our Earth and the Sun.

Traditionally, astrological text pinpoints the superior/exterior conjunction of the Sun as the very beginning of the synodic cycle of Venus, an important consideration especially in terms of answering queries through horary.  At the same time there is a debate amongst astrologers based upon experience and observational factors over whether or not the interior conjunction of Venus (when Venus is retrograde and aligned with the Sun in between our orbit with the Sun) should actually be considered the beginning.  However, whether you believe the current exterior conjunction of Venus on the far side of the Sun from us in orbit is the beginning or midpoint of its overall synodic cycle, all astrologers can agree that when united with the Sun that Venus is being purified and regenerated through the union.

Venus has been under the beams of the Sun and invisible to us since early November 2017, and so since then there has been something more hidden and internal about Venus with the potential for a purifying reflection process about all things Venusian.  As mentioned, our astrological tradition has considered this to be a phase of Venus not being at full strength, a period in which Venus is seen as being most successful undergoing secretive, hidden endeavors.  The ancient astrologer Rhetorius (from the 6th/7th century) wrote the first written record that survives denoting the significance of a planet becoming strengthened when in the heart of the Sun, which to Rhetorius occurs when a planet is within one degree of the Sun (later Medieval astrologers moved this range, also called cazimi, to be within sixteen minutes of orb).  Being in the heart of the Sun was likened to the planet sitting on the solar throne: Venus as the Queen, with all things Venusian amplified in strength during her meeting with the Sun.

There is also an additional protective factor considered to be important to ancient astrologers such as Porphyry and Rhetorius when a planet is invisible and close to the Sun by zodiac degree, translated as the planet being in its chariot.  A planet is in its chariot, protected from being weakened by the solar rays, whenever it is within its own domicile, exaltation, or bounds.  Thus Venus is in her chariot whenever she is close to the Sun in Taurus, Libra, Pisces or within her own bounds.  The Egyptian bounds for Venus in Capricorn range from fourteen to twenty-two degrees, and so there is an additional consideration to take into account of Venus being in her chariot during her union with the Sun and Pluto.  Venus also has triplicity dignity in Capricorn since Venus favors the earth signs, and so altogether these factors give Venus support in not becoming overwhelmed by her meeting with Pluto and the Sun. This means the triple union of Sun, Venus, and Pluto is especially focused upon Venusian matters, and we can feel our relationship with Venus and her significations acutely.

Since Pluto is an invisible planet far away in orbit, it may seem strange to imagine it also being regenerated in the heart of the Sun by transit, but there is still the same effect of both Venus and Pluto being simultaneously regenerated in meaning for us through their alignment with our solar light.  Be patient with whatever feelings and insights are arising with this stunning union, and nurture the inner process they lead you into, for this astrological alignment is setting the stage for the events of the rest of 2018 to unfold.  Often our personalities don’t like the issues Pluto brings up in transit, whether it be due to fear or wanting to be in denial of certain realizations that come to our awareness.  Within the tumult of tempestuous collective change promised by the astrological alignments of 2018, the solar highlighting of Venus and Pluto can guide us into inner awareness of the modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.

marlene-seven-cross-of-venus

The Cross Rose in the Garden of Venus (2016) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Since the Sun, Venus, and Pluto have united in the home of Saturn, its further significant that Saturn is in its home, co-present in Capricorn.  Capricorn is the inwardly directed home of Saturn, and so Saturn also being in Capricorn brings sharper focus into matters of time and space and forces of change we can sense underway in our reality.   The beautiful aspect of this strong emphasis on Capricorn is that we have the astrological support to make real, tangible progress in the direction we are being called to focus upon.  At the same time there can be a lot of frustration over the limitations of time and space available to us with our numerous responsibilities, and so it will be important to reprioritize goals so we can reconfigure the best way to make use of our time.  We need to be letting go and letting things pass away that no longer carry the same soulful inspiration as in the past, to make space for whatever is going to make us feel more alive and passionate.

We associate Saturn with the order of time and forces of necessity, and Capricorn with the maturity and responsibility we cultivate through facing natural cycles of change. Both of these meanings of Saturn and Capricorn fit in well with the synodic cycle of Venus as it is incredibly structured and consistent, with effects on our experience of time that bring a sense of destiny and fate to associated events.  If you trace the five  points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper.  Every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time, and every eight alternating years we experience Venus moving direct into the Sun in the same place.  [note: Chris Brennan recently interviewed Nick Dagan Best regarding Venus and Mars retrograde cycles and their timing sequence you can view here]

This means that eight years ago in January 2010 we experienced a superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn, and that four years ago in 2014 we experienced a Venus retrograde in Capricorn (and another superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn in January 2002 and another Venus retrograde in Capricorn in January 2006).  Interestingly the Venus retrograde in Capricorn in 2014 also involved Pluto, as Venus stationed direct in range of a conjunction with Pluto.  There is approximately nine months in between the superior and inferior conjunctions of Venus, and so this means that later this year in October 2018 we will experience an interior conjunction of Venus with the Sun while Venus is retrograde in Scorpio.  The Venus retrograde in Scorpio later this year will finish up with Venus stationing direct in Libra in range of an opposition to Uranus in Aries and a square to the lunar nodes which will have transitioned into Capricorn and Cancer.  Venus will form three oppositions with Uranus through going retrograde and will be part of the transition of Uranus back into Aries from Taurus.  Since there is tremendous change portended by these alignments, its all the more important to pay attention right now with Venus having recently aligned with the Sun and Pluto.

2018 is remarkable in the interplay between Mars and Venus synodic cycles, as Venus will station retrograde in Scorpio in October in range of a square to the same place Mars will have stationed retrograde in Aquarius in June.  Just like Venus will make three oppositions with Uranus through its retrograde, Mars will make three catalytic square aspects with Uranus through its retrograde process.  The dynamics between the Venus and Mars cycles will be one of the most important aspects of 2018, and in collective current events we can already clearly see this through numerous examples of gender issues dominating the news cycle.  With Venus being regenerated with the Sun while aligned with Pluto, there is a strong emphasis on empowerment of women and feminine issues in the face of systematic oppression.

Venus and Mars began their current cycle through forming a conjunction in Virgo at the same time as a Full Moon in Aries in October 2017.  Venus and Mars have now entered into their waxing sextile alignment under the most amazing of astrological circumstances:  Mars conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio forming a sextile with Venus in conjunction with Pluto and the Sun.  There is potential for harmonious integration of Venus and Mars in our life now, yet the additional astrological elements make it a supercharged dynamic that could lead into overwhelming feelings difficult to handle.  The Mars and Jupiter alignment in Scorpio is even more jarring due to it forming in range of a square to the lunar nodes and the upcoming season of eclipses we are entering.  These aspects support courage in breaking free of previous restrictive conditions, but remember sometimes all that is possible for us to do is make what appears to be a small change from outside perspectives.  These alignments support the overused analogy of carefully building your path brick by brick with strong focus on details of each movement.

Speaking of eclipses on the horizon, at the end of January we will experience a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo that will feature Venus in Aquarius aligned with the Sun and the South Node of the Moon.  This means that Venus will be part of the symbolic filter the Sun is shining its shadow through onto the Moon, creating the optic effect of a blood red Moon.   Since Venus is so instrumental in the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse on January 31, it makes the insights and realizations we gain now with Venus aligned with Pluto and the Sun all the more important.  To keep it simple open feelings to what you want more of and what you want less of, where you feel pulled to spend more time and what you feel you need to let go of.

fullsizeoutput_787

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth . . . When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music . . . Work is love made visible.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

This quote from Kahlil Gibran is included in the wonderful book on vocation and astrology written by Brian Clark called Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity, and Calling.  One aspect of Brian Clark’s work I admire is his ability to open up the imaginal field of interpretation within astrology in creative ways.  Similar to this imaginal direction, I’ve always enjoyed the association of the nature deity  and flute playing Pan with the sign of Capricorn because it’s always felt aligned with my experience of people with Capricorn placements.  We often see Capricorn written about in cold and austere ways, but there is also a creative, visionary capacity of Capricorn that enables us to connect with a calling beyond our former conditioning, rather than following careers restricted to our former conditioning.

Capricorn is a nocturnal sign and so the nocturnal home of Saturn which stands in contrast to Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn.  Robert Hand has taught that the nocturnal sect in astrology has more focus on being unconditional in expression in contrast to the diurnal sect having more focus on being conditional.  Saturn is a diurnal planet we associate with significations that are very conditional, such as deadlines and whether or not we pass the test.  It will clearly be important to handle all of our daily responsibilities as always, and in fact Saturn’s presence in Capricorn may make us feel the need to be accountable even more sharply.  Yet don’t allow this to keep you from dreaming of how things can be different and remembering to take the time to nurture your inner life instead of becoming exhausted through work in the external world.

With Saturn now in its nocturnal home of Capricorn, with Venus having become regenerated through union with Pluto and the Sun in Capricorn, allow your visions of career and creative expression to soar beyond all of the restrictions currently felt within your daily responsibilities and grind.  Allow your desires for a soulful calling to soak deep into subterranean waters and wells that hold memories of the deepest gifts you have to offer.  Our world in 2018 will be going through seismic societal shifts, and we will all benefit the more each of us brings our works of passion forth to share.  I’ll end with a quote from Brian Clark’s book on vocation:

“Vocation is not about being someone, but becoming who we are . . . A literal career or profession, no matter how enlightened, is not the answer to the soul’s longing. Vocation is an aspect of the individuation process and its path is not predetermined but forged over time through the relationship of the inner self with the outer world. Vocation demands its own set of rules and insists on its own laws . . . To pursue one’s true vocation takes courage, as well as the strength to break free from ‘the herd.’”

— Brian Clark, Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity and Calling

 

 

 

 

Sagittarius New Moon: Tension of the Bow

Jupiter clouds by NASA

Jupiter by NASA’s Juno spacecraft

New Moon in Sagittarius

The New Moon in Sagittarius arrives at the close of 2017, a few days before the Capricorn Solstice and the peak time of darkness in the northern hemisphere and peak time of light in the southern hemisphere.  The threshold we cross at the New Moon also involves the end of two different cycles of Saturn:  the end of Saturn’s cycle over the past year with the Sun, as well as the end of Saturn’s journey over the past three years through the sign of Sagittarius.  On December 19 Saturn will enter Capricorn, and on December 21 we will experience the amazing alignment of Saturn entering the heart of the Sun and beginning a new synodic cycle on the same day as the Solstice.  The visionary significations of Sagittarius are amplified at the New Moon as Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and the Sun and Moon are all co-present in the sign of the Centaur;  and yet, there is a tension at play between the expansive thrust of Sagittarius and the impending shift into the condensed, disciplined, and persevering qualities of Capricorn that will dominate the coming lunar cycle.

Mercury is a vital player to listen to within the final symphonic movement of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius we are experiencing at the New Moon.  We are at the final stage of Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, as Mercury will station direct at the same time as the Capricorn Solstice and the union of the Sun and Saturn in the sign of the Sea Goat. Mercury is orbiting in between our Earth and our Sun and similarly the presence of Hermes will demand our attention as Mercury stands still (from zodiac perspective) in a catalyzing aspect with Neptune in the week following the New Moon.  Mercury calls us to descend into our inner darkness and reflect upon how are beliefs about life are interfacing with our actual experience of life.  The New Moon calls for an uncompromising assessment of what has been happening for us in the material world rather than what we wish would be happening in imaginal space.  Mercury offers the gift of shifting perspectives and beliefs to better align with the hard work and determined problem solving that will be needed in the coming season.

Adding creative fire to the lunation is the harmonious trine formed between Uranus in Aries with the Sagittarius New Moon, with Venus in Sagittarius closely applying to a trine with Uranus.  The asteroid Pallas Athene is also united with Uranus in Aries, and the mythic significations of Athene such as far ranging vision and strategy are available to engage with in figuring out needed course corrections.  Uranus can bring unexpected events but also opens fields of perception to simultaneously remember our past as well as liberate ourselves from whatever has kept us stuck in limiting patterns of thought.  If we can align our hopes and desires for our future with grounding in the needed work of daily life, the trine between Uranus and the New Moon can facilitate breaking free of stagnant habits and the birth of presence needed to make real the type of “new year resolutions” traditionally made at the threshold between calendar years.

With regard to the coming shift of Saturn into Capricorn, the darkness of the New Moon invites rumination over the past three years since Saturn entered Sagittarius on 23 December 2014, enabling us to be prepared and ready for what is to come with the shift of Saturn into Capricorn.  In the coming season of amplified Capricorn atmosphere, we will have opportunities to make strides in building structures to support our core desires and visions.  Yet to reach the potential of Saturn in Capricorn we will also need to let go of the elements of our life that have been needlessly dissipating energy and resources so we can be as efficient and direct as possible in action.

kay_nielson_eastrofthesun_snowshoes

Kay Nielsen (1914) from East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Jupiter in Scorpio rules the Sagittarius New Moon and is in the middle of two pivotal aspects with Mars in Scorpio as well as the transiting lunar nodes.  Since Jupiter is in the home of Mars, Mars being at home in Scorpio bolsters and supports Jupiter and makes our experience of Jupiter as intensely Scorpio as possible.  There is tenacious determination available in pursuit of goals and greater support for persevering through whatever obstacles are in the way of desired outcomes.  Yet the square between Jupiter and the transiting lunar nodes creates the climate of a crossroads on both personal and collective levels.  Accountability is being demanded, as well as a piercing analysis into how we have been conducting ourselves in pursuit of desires.

Mars in Scorpio at its highest expression is a fierce protector who will unconditionally devote itself to guarding the vulnerable, while Jupiter in Scorpio adds amplified intuition and the capacity to transcend former limitations.  With the transiting North Node of the Moon in Leo and the transiting South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, it is necessary at the Sagittarius New Moon to penetrate into how we have been conditioned by surrounding culture and realize how this has influenced our values and desires.  It is a perfect time to reflect upon what aspects of our beliefs and goals have had more to do with fitting in with group dynamics and societal norms more so than how we can truly manifest our gifts in service to what our surrounding community actually  needs.  Jupiter in Scorpio is demanding exploration of difficult questions and uncomfortable answers about our collective culture; on personal levels we have the opportunity for purification and release of past influences while embodying deeper integrity aligned with the core values that stand up to the test.

The trine between Neptune in Pisces with Jupiter in Scorpio can help with feelings of disillusionment regarding the surrounding world so that we can form a vision of life that is simultaneously inspirational as well as more realistic and grounded. Instead of trying to escape reality or distract ourselves in denial, we have the opportunity in the coming lunar cycle to take practical steps toward helping to create the type of world we want to live within.  At the same time, the challenging square formed between Chiron in Pisces with the Sagittarius New Moon signifies the indescribable pain that can be felt through witnessing both the suffering of the world and the lack of appropriate response by power structures.  Within the coming influence of Saturn in Capricorn in the year ahead, we will need to take the responsibility to protect and nurture rather than expect it to come from outside sources.

After Saturn enters Capricorn as the Moon waxes full, both Mars and Saturn will be at home in their own signs, strengthening the resolve to bring about the significations of Saturn and Mars in our life. As a result the coming lunar cycle will be more about perseverance than normal, enduring challenges while striving for whatever we need to make happen for ourselves or others.  As the Moon builds with light into the coming Cancer Full Moon on January 1, Mars will move within three degrees of an applying conjunction with Jupiter as well as a square to the lunar nodes. We can expect the collective atmosphere of heated conflict to not only continue but intensify, and so within the tumult we will need to make careful choices and decisions so we will be aligned with the highest good.

wands10

10 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 3 Decan

The Sagittarius New Moon falls in the third decan of Sagittarius associated with the 10 of Wands card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above.  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 the New 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 oppressive 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.”   Coppock also noted the influence of the primordial goddess Ananke over this decan, as the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac proclaimed the presence of the goddess of Necessity here.  While we have a range of choices to choose from in response to what is arising in our life at the Sagittarius New Moon, there is also the necessity of what we have to face due to being here amongst all of the challenges brought about by the period of world history we find ourselves within.

Since Saturn is present within the third decan of Sagittarius at the New Moon, the forces of Necessity unleashed by the third face of Sagittarius will be on full display.  Cultivating inner fire and bringing inspired effort into our daily grind not only will help us achieve personal goals but will also model the needed passion that can bring hope to others in the doldrums of despair.  As we leave the fiery, outwardly directed energy of 2017 we enter the year of 2018 that has more of an emphasis on the inwardly directed elements of earth and water.  Allow the darkness of the Sagittarius New Moon to open you to the level of soul searching needed to face all of the demands coming in the season ahead.

References

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

 

 

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius: Crossing of Cronos

Saturn with Mercury caduceus

Saturn photo by NASA; Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

In the twilight of encroaching darkness Mercury disappears at sunset toward the beginning of its retrograde period, initiating its invisible phase.  As nightfall and its bed of glittering stars overtake our senses, we lose the light of Mercury during the liminal time of its retrograde until it’s reflected light returns again at dawn on the other side of its backward movement through the zodiac.  During the time we have no hope of glimpsing the light of the star of Hermes, we can feel bewildered as our perceptual awareness shifts in correspondence as elements of our life pass away.  The volatility of Mercury can be found in its mythic sources:  Carl Jung called Hermes the “many-hued and wily god,” while Karl Kerenyi noted that the ingenious leaps in gain brought by Hermes also coincide with loss.  Since Mercury stations at the beginning of December aligned with Saturn, there is adversity to face on the horizon.  The solidifying stillness of Mercury stationing with Saturn also can bring the types of tests that ultimately foster increased strength, endurance, and structural foundations.

Mercury’s retrograde cycle comes at least three times each calendar year, each manifestation unique and notable for more than a few reasons.  However, the Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius that commences December 2 or December 3, depending upon your time zone, is especially remarkable for ushering us from our experience of Saturn in Sagittarius (12/23/2014 – 12/19/2017) into Saturn in Capricorn (12/19/2017 – 12/17/2020) while Mercury also spends an unusually long time in close proximity to the star of Kronos.  Mercury first united with Saturn on November 27 at 27º27′ of Sagittarius, and after shifting retrograde will align with Saturn for a second time on December 6 at 28º23′ of Sagittarius.  Mercury will remain within three degrees of Saturn until December 9, capping off a couple of weeks of close alignment.  Mercury will eventually conjoin Saturn for a third and final time on January 12, 2018 at 2º47′ of Capricorn, and at this point we will be able to gain sharper clarity for how the events of the Mercury retrograde fit into vaster narratives.  Mercury is serving as a messenger for Saturn, and though not the only meaning to be found in this period is certainly a fundamental aspect to contemplate.

Mercury’s protean nature shifts and mutates more so than any other planet, weaving together polarities and delighting in the grayness of being in between dualities.  Mercury can be both yin and yang, nocturnal and diurnal, spiritual and material, masculine and feminine, and readily accords itself with whatever planetary engagements it finds itself within.  Additionally, the retrograde phase of Mercury is the time in which the meaning of Mercury itself changes, as its swift pace slows to a standstill at the beginning and end of its backward movement through the zodiac.  Instead of firing quickly with curiosity in numerous directions of outward expression, Mercury when retrograde focuses internally with greater propensity for intuiting guidance through symbols and discerning the underlying meaning of both waking and dreaming life. Aligned with Saturn, Mercury retrograde takes on the significations of the star of Kronos, and so to navigate this passage optimally we need to consider how the archetypal forces of Mercury retrograde and Saturn commingle.

Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus floor panel in Siena Cathedral

Hermes, ruler of the world, dweller in the heart, circle of the moon,
Round and square, inventor of the words of the tongue,
Obedient to justice, wearer of the chlamys, shod in winged sandals,
Guardian of the many-sounding tongue, prophet to mortals.

— translation of a Magic Papyrus in Carl Jung’s Alchemical Studies

In our astrological tradition, the affinity between Saturn and Mercury is generally positive:  the 17th century text Christian Astrology by William Lily stated that both Mercury and Saturn are friendly toward one another, while the 9th century Vedic astrological text Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra stated that Saturn considers Mercury a friend while Mercury in comparison is neutral about Saturn.  In the 20th century archetypal tradition that synthesized ancient understanding from Hermetic sources within a depth psychology framework, the lineage from Carl Jung through James Hillman found a vital relationship between Saturn and Mercury within alchemy as well as through the conceptual duality of the senex (elder authority) and puer (eternal youth).  In Alchemical Studies, Carl Jung noted that Mercurius contains the dual  nature of senex and puer. Hillman later illuminated that the senex brings structure, discipline, tradition, and grounding, while the puer injects the vibrancy of idealism, imagination, creativity, and wanderlust.

We can imagine the union of Mercury’s creative bridging with the structural discipline of Saturn through authoritative sources that sustain openness to invention and visionary change.  Mercury retrograde periods bring the ability to focus deeply into mercurial research and communication projects, and so the influence of Saturn brings opportunities to base understanding from traditional lineages while opening awareness to how it fits within the current moment and zeitgeist.  Fantasizing or speculating while disconnected from the responsibilities of reality during this Saturnine retrograde of Mercury will bring repercussions, however, and so flights of imagination need to sustain a level of grounded application.  Whatever philosophical, intellectual, or spiritual frameworks we have been thinking and acting from will be confronted and tested and it will become obvious (if we are paying attention) where we have been deluding ourselves or how are belief system leads to adverse consequences we had not formerly recognized.

With regards to the interplay between Mercury and Saturn within alchemy, I was intrigued to find that Gary Caton linked the alchemical process of nigredo with the initial stationing phase of Mercury retrograde in his recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year.  The blackening and putrefaction of nigredo that Jung’s work linked to the dark night of the soul has been associated with Saturn as it brings a decomposition that ultimately leads to illumination.  Since Mercury is stationing in alignment with Saturn at the end of Sagittarius, the peak period of darkness in the northern hemisphere that precedes the rebirth of increased solar light at the Winter solstice, the link to nigredo is even further increased.  Caton wrote that the connection between the initial descent of Mercury retrograde with the nigredo process calls us “to purge the body, the psyche, and the life of extraneous or ‘dead weight’ in order to free up energy for future growth” during the beginning phase of Mercury retrograde (p. 112).

Since Saturn and Mercury are both in the outwardly directed home of Jupiter, Mercury’s retrograde will be pulling us into volatile and stark examinations of our vision for how we create meaning from our experiences in life.   Old thought patterns that have become habitually ingrained in our mind yet are no longer aligned with our authentic development can be dissolved and released with mindful focus and attention.  In a more immediate and mundane sense, we will be called to question some of our goals and plans through Saturnine delays, blockages, or obstacles.  It can be a pop astrology cliche to say that we should expect delays with everything happening in correspondence with Mercury retrograde, but with Mercury stationing in such close proximity to Saturn we are entering a retrograde phase that will force us to slow down and reconsider choices as we encounter restrictions or barriers of one sort or another.  Instead of impatiently shutting down or trying to force things out of frustration, keep a steady and alert focus on how things are developing and be ever ready to spontaneously shift directions or make alterations and revisions as needed.  Saturn and Mercury can guide us toward what needs to be modified for necessary reasons, whether we initially like it or not.

Ancient Mesopotamian astrology also reveals some overlap in meaning between Mercury and Saturn through the associations of the planets with mythic divinities Nabu and Ninurta.  Saturn was linked to the conquering hero Ninurta who retrieved the tablets of fate from a dragon of chaos who had stolen them, subsequently becoming an “overseer of fate and destiny” according to Michael Baigent in his book From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.  Mercury was linked to the messenger Nabu, a divine scribe who recorded the fate for the world in the coming year when the gods met to decide upon the destiny for the year ahead at the ceremonial end of the year.  These ancient connections with Mercury and Saturn are fitting for the Mercury retrograde coming at the close of 2017, as its surrounding aspects portend the arrival of twists and turns in our personal and collective narratives.

fullsizeoutput_782

Hermes (27 B.C. – A.D. 68) The Met

Mercury plays the role of psychopomp during its retrograde phase, and if we can make the space to go within for internal contemplation we can receive guidance from the depths of soul.  Chthonic Mercury’s guidance can feel irrational at times, perplexing to habitual, egoic minds.  Since Mercury is aligning with Saturn at the end of its time in Sagittarius and will station direct following the ingress of Saturn into Capricorn, we have a saturnine atmosphere to reflect back over all of our experiences in connection with the star of Kronos since it entered Sagittarius on December 23, 2014.  At the same time we will be dealing with the final lessons Saturn in Sagittarius has to offer, and so the quicksilver of Mercury can help us mutate as needed and prepare us for crossing over the threshold of the forthcoming three years of Saturn in Capricorn.  Mercury is a guardian of gates, doors, and liminal thresholds of all manner.  Maintaining mindfulness will enable us to notice and discern whatever final messages we need to hear and integrate with Saturn in Sagittarius.

Moon in home of Mercury

Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

A Full Moon in Gemini on December 3 launches us into the Mercury retrograde period with a boom and bang.  Most notable in the syzygy are the aspects circulating between the Full Moon, Jupiter in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces.  While the Full Moon forms a tight, catalytic square with Neptune, at the same time Jupiter in Scorpio is forming its first exact trine with Neptune in Pisces. Since the Full Moon is in the home of Mercury, there is incredible timing of the lunation ripening about eight hours after Mercury has officially stationed retrograde in union with Saturn.  Altogether this brings increased potency to Mercury’s stationing much more so than normal, and whatever the Mercury retrograde is initially leading us to recognize and respond to will be obvious.

The influence of Neptune over the Gemini Full Moon that initiates us into the Mercury retrograde harkens back to the square between Neptune and Saturn in Sagittarius that dominated 2016 and was one of the most prominent aspects of Saturn’s time in the sign of the Centaur.  Among other current events this coincided with debates over national borders with regards to refugees and immigrants as well as a deterioration in the ability of the general public to discern the difference between fake and accurate media sources.  We now have the transit of Jupiter harmoniously interacting with Neptune as the backdrop behind Saturn and Neptune’s movement through the homes of Jupiter, and during the Mercury retrograde we will also experience Mercury, Venus, the Sun and the Moon moving through Sagittarius.

Since Jupiter in Scorpio is in the twelfth place from Sagittarius, the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can deepen understanding through exposure of the previously concealed.  However, the easy trine aspect could also result in people deluding themselves within dogmatic belief systems if they are unwilling to open their minds to evidence coming from a different perspective.  The influence of Neptune upon Mercury’s retrograde through Sagittarius will not be going away, as Mercury will ultimately station direct in range of a square with Neptune.  As a result disillusionment could arise in related events that can cause depression, but these same difficult events can also become a necessary wake up call with what needs our full attention to change or heal.

The trine aspect between Uranus in Aries with Saturn has been another one of the key aspects within Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius that Mercury retrograde will also activate.  Mercury in Sagittarius formed a trine with Uranus on November 25 while moving direct at maximum elongation, and will form a second trine with Uranus in Aries on December 10.  After Mercury stations direct, it will move into its final trine with Uranus on January 6, 2018.  The trine between Uranus and Saturn has brought opportunities throughout 2017 to innovate and open the structural foundations of our lives to greater freedom and authenticity of expression.  Mercury moving back and forth in aspect with Uranus can help us attune to the aspects of organizational restructuring we have been developing that need additional support or repair.  It also increases the volatility of the Mercury retrograde period through unexpected influences and change that comes rapidly with quick development.

Ananka_i_Mojre

Ananke and the three Fates

The shadow cast across the Mercury retrograde by Saturn means the disintegration of matters we will face are necessary, and so instead of becoming stagnant with depression we need to surrender to the unalterable changes while conserving energy for the creative action we have the time and space to make a difference with.  The ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the primordial Ananke to the third decan of Sagittarius where Mercury will unite with both Saturn and the Sun during its retrograde.  Since Saturn rules the third face of Sagittarius and has been present in transit here, the gravitas of Ananke has been accentuated.  Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that Ananke’s influence over this decan can be seen in daunting trials and tasks demanding uncomfortable endurance and effort.  Forces of Necessity and Eros, Daimon and Fortune lay at the root of our astrological foundations.  We have to deal with elements of destiny we cannot change and must endure, while we are also given opportunities to respond with clarified intention and co-create the life we most desire to lead.  Do your best to flow with the currents brought along with Mercury’s sleight of hand rather than becoming frustrated by the aspects of life you cannot change.

Since Mercury is orbiting through the space between our planet and our Sun during its retrograde, as close to us as it ever gets, it is like the Mercury archetype is more present and gripping us from the inside.  As a result its always important to maintain keen alertness and attention to subtle shifts in the details of daily life so we have the best chance to respond effectively.  Mercury retrograde periods also reward efforts to create space for meditation and inner contemplation, and this aspect is especially intriguing this time around as Mercury retrograde is uniting with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center which is roughly at 27º of Sagittarius.  I find the idea of transits to the Galactic Center compelling, though I do not feel I completely understand the full ramification of their meaning as an astrologer.  I like the following interpretation Melanie Reinhart wrote in her article The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs:

Astrologically, when the Galactic Centre zone is activated by transits . . . the places, people, ideas, notions and events in our life where we have previously projected our own sense of ‘Higher Self’, or ‘Deeper Centre’ as a source of nourishment may collapse, let us down, crumble, turn against us, or simply quietly depart. That which promised ‘immortality’ fails us. Our ‘tribal’ associations, national or racial identities, while valuable on their own level, are relinquished. Through these transitions or crises, our consciousness develops. This may require a great deal of psychological processing, allowing grief and confusion to give way to peace and clarity. Both our physical bodies and subtle bodies may need attention as toxins begin to be eliminated when we travel the ‘celestial pathway’.

Urania's_Mirror_Serpentarius_Serpens

Ras Alhague, Ophiuchus from Urania’s Mirror

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

On December 12 we will experience the heart of the Mercury retrograde phase when Mercury is purified and reborn through a conjunction with our fiery Sun.  Called the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it represents a time of illumination in which Mercury aligns in orbit exactly in between our Earth and the Sun.  All of Mercury’s significations are strengthened during the time in which Mercury is transiting within a degree of the Sun, making it an excellent window of time for all mercurial activities. As we cross this threshold of the Mercury retrograde we enter a phase of deepening meaning and realization. Occurring at 21º14′ of Sagittarius, the influence of Saturn is further amplified by Mercury’s inferior conjunction happening within the Egyptian bounds of Saturn.

The union of Mercury with the Sun is also occurring in range of a conjunction with the fixed star  Ras Alhague in the Ophiuchus constellation.  Ras Alhague is the brightest star in Ophiuchus and the head of the Serpent Holder.  Ptolemy associated Ras Alhague with Saturn and Venus, interesting since both Venus and Saturn are co-present with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius.  Bernadette Brady wrote that “healing, teaching, or wounding” are the themes of Ophiuchus with a focus on reparations for whatever has been damaged.  The healer connection with Ras Alhague is intriguing since the inferior conjunction of Mercury occurring nearby can facilitate attention to nurture whatever needs mending.  Robert Hand and other astrologers have also connected the Serpent Holder with humanity’s attempts throughout history to grab ahold of nature in order to reap energy resources and power.  We are clearly at a collective crossroads in terms of our use and misuse of nature for energy.  Mercury’s back and forth through Sagittarius and across the Serpent Holder will bring significant messages concerning the need for change and the repercussions of inaction.

Hermes print Robert Mapplethorpe

Hermes by Robert Mapplethorpe

Solstice Station of Mercury

A few days after Mercury unites with the Sun, Mercury retrograde will conjoin Venus on December 16 at 17º52′ of Sagittarius.  Venus will be co-present with Mercury in Sagittarius for the entirety of its retrograde, making Mercury’s ability to find pleasure and harmony easier than it would normally be while in the same sign as Saturn.  Similar to the recently reborn Mercury not being at full strength due to being invisible and finishing a purification process, Venus is also not at full strength and engaged in purification on her way toward an eventual union with the Sun.  Venus and Mercury retrograde unite under a Dark Moon in Scorpio.  Nights come full of secrets and delights that are hidden from external eyes.  In the privacy of one’s inner sanctum healing and joy are possible during the interplay of Venus with the retrograde Mercury.

Mercury stations direct in Sagittarius a day after the Solstice on December 22, the peak time of darkness in the northern hemisphere and the peak time of light in the southern hemisphere.  This is also one day after Saturn enters Capricorn and forms a conjunction with the Sun at the Solstice.  Mercury also shifts into direct motion in range of a challenging square with Neptune, while forming a harmonious sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and a stimulating trine with the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  If we have been open to flow with the chaos and allow for the necessary disintegration and dissolution, the coagulation of the Capricorn Solstice will bring needed reordering and rebirth along with the return of the holy light of Hermes.  The close of the year brings a new cycle of Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, with Mercury bright at dawn and ready to take on all of the needed responsibilities in the day ahead.

References

Baigent, Michael. (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Arkana.

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

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.

Hand, Robert. (2000). A Dialogue Between Heaven and Earth.

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring.

Reinhart, Melanie. (2017) The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs.

 

Scorpio New Moon: Mars & Pluto

andrew wyeth dryad

Dryad by Andrew Wyeth

New Moon in Scorpio

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

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

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

Andrew Wyeth carry

Carry by Andrew Wyeth

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

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

Andrew Wyeth Wind from the Sea

Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth

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

–Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

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

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

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

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

Andrew Wyeth trodden weed

Trodden Weed by Andrew Wyeth

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

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

7_cups_RWS_lg

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

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

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

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

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

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

— Rainer Maria Rilke

References

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

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

Taurus Full Moon: Unveiling Essence

Sarcophagus_Selene_Endymion_Met_47.100.4ab_n03

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

Full Moon in Taurus

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

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

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

leonoracarringtonthepomp

Leonora Carrington (1947) The Pomps of the Subsoil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden_porch_-_a_book_of_Greek_fairy_tales_(1914)_(14569094819)

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

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

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

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

pents06

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls in the second face of Taurus associated with the Six of Pentacles illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money.  The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch.  The unifying theme is that there is receiving found in the giving, and giving found in the receiving, and the image of the scales could further be interpreted as signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity in the process.  Through inner harmony transmitted through collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action.  Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus that mirrors the second face of Scorpio where the Sun is currently residing.  Notably, Coppock advised that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides” (p. 75).  Coppock referenced that the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horae to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time. Coppock wrote the Horae point towards the need for “passion and discipline merged in rhythmic union” utilizing the virtuous character traits of “peace, order, and justice.”

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

References

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

 

 

Jupiter in Scorpio

Hokusai_Dragon

Dragon by Hokusai

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

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

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

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

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

Jupiter in Scorpio

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

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

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

georgia-okeeffe-stormcloud-at-lake-george

by Georgia O’Keeffe, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Terrence McKenna, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

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

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

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

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

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

Monet_waterlilies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter trine Pisces Neptune

The ocean-like immensity of joy

Arising when all beings will be freed,

Will this not be enough? Will this not satisfy?

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

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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

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

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

Monet, water lillies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter sextile Capricorn Pluto

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

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

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

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

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

The Woman in White 1871 by Frederick Walker 1840-1875

by Frederick Walker, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio at the Bending

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rodin, Balzac photo

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

References

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

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

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

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

Libra New Moon: Balancing Uranus

Man_Ray,_1922,_Untitled_Rayograph

Untitled Rayograph (1922) by Man Ray

New Moon in Libra

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

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

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

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

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

man ray nusch eluard

Nusch Eluard by Man Ray

Venus in Libra

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

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

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

man ray rayograph film reels

by Man Ray

Jupiter & Mercury in Scorpio

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

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

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

swords04

Libra 3 Decan

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

Full Moon in Aries

1989.281.98

Gold Ram amulet  (ca 712 – 664 B.C.)

Aries Full Moon

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

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

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

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

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

two lovers japanese print

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

Venus and Mars Unite

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

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

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

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

23.101.4

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

Mercury in Libra

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

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

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

wands03

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

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

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

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

References

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