New Moon in Cancer: Cronus and the Comet

egrets and crows

Egrets and Crows by Shibata Zeshin

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

— Antonio Machado from “Last Night I was Sleeping” translated by Robert Bly

New Moon in Cancer

The lunar cycle commencing with the Cancer New Moon on July 20 brings transition from the astrology of the past few months, initiating us into the major astrological themes that will be playing out in the next five months. The New Moon in Cancer is separating from an opposition with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn and applying toward an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. It’s exact opposition with Saturn retrograde in Capricorn brings us into the center of Saturn’s retrograde phase when Saturn is closest to us in orbit and in its brightest phase in the night sky. The lunation also initiates a deep encounter with the fallout from the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto that came at the beginning of 2020 and now will be intensifying again until Saturn ultimately stations direct on September 29 less than three degrees away from Pluto.

The New Moon in Cancer is the first lunation to not be eclipsed since the New Moon in Gemini on May 22, and during the forthcoming lunar cycle aspects associated with the past phase of Venus retrograde in Gemini, such as the square between Venus and Neptune, as well as with Mercury retrograde in Cancer, such as the square between Mercury and Mars, will bring resolution to associated narratives by completing the final aspect in their series. The focus of the lunation on Saturn invites unknowing to temper becoming fixated upon feeling like you have already gained clarity regarding the changes that have been developing in recent months. The scythe of Saturn may bring decisive judgment toward certain issues that are in need of harvesting or severing, but in general we are entering an extended period of collective dismantling that will require remaining open to new perspectives and insights that will shift understanding and development of plans. It’s a good time to devote work toward personal goals essential to your core purpose and otherwise allow plans to take shape and adjust to the reordering of societal systems that will be continuing to intensify in the next few months.

The opposition between the Moon in its watery home of Cancer and Saturn in its earthy home of Capricorn is at the heart of the lunation. A figure who can hold the tension of the opposites between the Moon and Saturn is Hekate, a lunar goddess of nocturnal pathways (1) who was also associated with the third decan of Cancer where the lunation is taking place by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Hekate’s presence with the lunation illuminates the necessity of facing the darkness of the unknown during a collective crossroads that has been constellated across global civilizations. Hekate connects with the nurturance and nourishment of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hekate can also be viewed as the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, chthonic fertility of Saturn’s home in Capricorn.

With the inner knowing of Hekate, we can let the debris, refuse, and putrefaction of what we have had to shed and let die during recent months to serve as guidance for what wants to emerge from inner dreamscapes and imaginal exploration. Within the unstable and chaotic flux of current events that will continue to be volatilized at a rapid pace, allow awareness to open to new streams of enlivening desires cracking open from within. There may be movements of social justice and activism you become called to participate in, or inner creative directions to follow that will require making space and time to discover where they will lead you.

comet 1300

Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, Folio 52 (erschrocklicher Comet, 1300): text at bottom translates as “In 1300 A.D., a terrible comet appeared in the sky and in this year, on St Andrew’s Day, an earthquake shook the ground so that many buildings collapsed. At this time, Pope Boniface VIII established the first jubilee year.”

Comet Neowise

An unexpected visitor to the astrology of July has been the comet Neowise. Although Neowise was first discovered on March 27, 2020 when quarantine and social distancing measures were peaking around the world in response to the pandemic, the comet burst into visibility during July resulting in many stunning photographs of its fiery flare. During the first half of July, the comet was visible in predawn sky and then in mid July shifted into being visible following sunset. Neowise was at the end of Gemini at the end of June and then entered Cancer on July 3 and then Leo on July 18. It will enter Virgo on July 25 and Libra on August 2.  If it remains visible until August 7, it will have made it to about eleven degrees of Libra. As a result, it’s worth considering what sort of meaning the strange visitor has been bringing to the Cancer and Leo areas of your natal chart and what it may portend for the Virgo and Libra places as well.

Scientists say that comets like Neowise are covered in cosmic soot left over from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, and so as comets approach the Sun in orbit their tails are formed by the solar heat spewing gas and dust across the sky like a flaming stream. While asteroids are rocky fragments left over from the dawn of the solar system, comets have been described as cosmic snowballs of gas and dust that unravel in a fiery tail. Neowise was named for the infrared space telescope orbiting the earth that discovered it, and it was correctly predicted that around July 3 its approach to the Sun in orbit would cause it to become a bright object visible to skywatchers on Earth.  There hasn’t been a comet this bright since 1995 and 1996, and Neowise will not be visible again for 6,800 years due to its extreme elliptical orbit that takes about seven thousand years to go around the Sun.

The astrologer Rod Chang wrote an excellent article on the meaning of comets in astrology you can read here that has suggestions for how to interpret the meaning of Neowise. It is well known that comets have long been viewed as omens of disaster in astrology, and so it isn’t exactly surprising that one would appear during a time of a global pandemic. I particularly like how Rod Chang interpreted the thawing and release of the ancient gas and dust of comets as symbolizing not only “frozen issues that ignite and grab attention, releasing from the abyss of our consciousness such suppressed emotions as fear and horror,” but also the freeing of new ideas and visions. In timing with the Cancer New Moon in opposition with Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter we can be curious about what old, frozen, and crystalized issues are being unravelled as well as what vivifying visions are being enflamed and freed from within.

Like many I had my first glimpse of Neowise at night underneath the constellation of Ursa Major. The living symbolism of Ursa Major in relation to the nocturnal appearances of Neowise is striking, for Ursa Major has long been seen as a Great Bear and Great Goddess standing guard at the central point and pole of the sky (2). Attuning with Ursa Major brings relationship with the Great Protector at the center of stillness of our world, and so as we center within our own core stillness we may also center within the many disruptive and disastrous changes erupting around the world. From this central point of stillness, open to how you can align with the wider collective changes taking shape and follow the path and vision bursting into awareness like the fiery flame of a comet.

tomorrow is never kay sage

Tomorrow is Never (1955) Kay Sage

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
Walking makes the road,
and turning to look behind
you see the path that you
will never tread again.
Wanderer, there is no road,
only foam trails on the sea.

— Antonio Machado from “Proverbios y cantares” in Campos de Castilla, 1912

The dismantled architecture of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn that is in the middle of regeneration will be further volatilized and reshaped by the fiery heat of Mars in Aries during the forthcoming lunar cycle. By the time of the Full Moon in Aquarius on August 3, Mars in Aries will be forming a square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn and will then move into forming a square aspect with Pluto it will complete on August 13. By the time of the New Moon in Leo on  August 18, Mars in Aries will be within two degrees of an exact square with Saturn in Capricorn. Due to Mars moving direct and Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn all moving retrograde, these will all be mutually applying aspects that will catalyze events dramatically. The impact of Mars can incite hard work and determined effort towards goals as well as lead to further shattering of societal systems and structures.

It is notable that Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn are all in the exaltation of Mars while Mars is in the fall of Saturn. Combined with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn also occupying a superior position in the square aspect, it portends a difficult and destructive journey for Mars through Aries. Due to Mars stationing retrograde in Aries at the beginning of September, there will end up being three different passages of Mars forming a square aspect with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto as well as three conjunctions with the disruptive dwarf planet Eris between now and January 2021. Thus whatever is stirred up by Mars in Aries during the forthcoming lunar cycle will only be the first installment of a dramatic saga, and so while we may gain a sense of some of the issues that will become important there will be many more developments before the full story is told. Although Mars in Aries can strike quickly and ask questions later, it will be advisable to keep the long game in mind, conserve energy, and continue to cultivate strategy to contend with arising challenges.

At the same time that Mars is initiating a sequence of square aspects, Venus in Gemini will be bringing to a close a sequence of three square aspects it has made with Neptune in Pisces that first occurred on May 3 and May 20, 2020. Venus will form an exact square with Neptune on July 27, and so the final lessons and awareness from the sequence will take shape in the week following the New Moon. There has likely been a combination of disillusioning as well as inspiring experiences in correspondence with the square between Venus and Neptune that have stirred imagination and activated idealism. With Venus direct and increasing in light and speed as a Morning Star, be curious in questioning and exploring the deeper meaning of associated events and how you can use the inspirational aspects to create the changes you wish to see happen.

paul klee departure of the ghost

Departure of the Ghost (1931) by Paul Klee

As the Moon unites with the Sun in darkness, Mercury in Cancer will be mutually applying to a tight square with Chiron retrograde in Aries as well as applying toward a volatilizing square aspect with Mars in Aries that it will complete on July 27. Mercury stirring things up with Chiron and Mars can bring contention that requires increased focus and determination in response. As current events will continue to make collective debate even more polarized, it will be easy to become pulled into verbal disputes so pick your battles wisely. By setting focused intention on whatever plans you have clarified as being important to your purpose, it can help in navigating through divisive distractions so you can use your energy for the work and relationships that are most important to you.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star two days after the New Moon on July 22, demarcating the phase when Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase, making it a productive time to work on or embody whatever new ideas and awareness were discovered during the destabilizing and regenerative period of Mercury retrograde at the end of June and beginning of July.

cups04

4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third face of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the Four of Cups image we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree considering three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground. While the figure appears be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice, a fourth cup has become magically offered by an otherworldly hand. Ruled by the Moon and Jupiter, it’s a face in which we must come to terms with available resources and questions of our fair share and how much is enough.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others” (3). Coppock noted that the ascetic air of the figure in the Four of Cups refusing to accept more than he needs reflects having awareness of the “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.”  Yet in the way the figure also appears to be conjuring the magical fourth cup, Coppock declared that the third face of Cancer also involves the spiritual dimension of abundance and luxury,  the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,”  and the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things.” As previously mentioned, the connection of Hekate with this face in the 36 Airs also reveals the chthonic fertility of the third decan of Cancer and its capacity to magically manifest what we need to survive.

With the Moon in its own face and domicile as it is reanimated in the heart of the Sun, its stark opposition with Saturn will draw attention toward the availability of resources and the limitations and restrictions you must contend with. The contemplative nature of Saturn will also demand ethical questions concerning pursuing wealth for yourself versus helping others in need of support through service or charitable giving. With many out of work or facing severe economic barriers related to the pandemic, many will be feeling the constraint and contraction of Saturn through feeling restrained by available resources and afraid concerning the uncertainty of the unknown future. The connection of Hekate with the decan of the Cancer New Moon points to the need of cultivating faith in the unknown, facing our fears, setting intention, and descending into the darkness of the lunation to discover what will emerge as the Moon waxes toward fullness in light once again.

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References

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

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

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

Cancer Solstice Eclipse

Moon Tree

Image by Michelle Doucette, whose work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

Solar Eclipse in Cancer

The Annular Solar Eclipse on June 21 will emit a thin golden ring of light around a pulsating black center. For those who can view the eclipse in daylight hours, the supremacy of the radiant sun will be overcome by the darkness of night, the blackness that gives birth and through which life passes into the otherworld of ancestors. Experiencing a solar eclipse brings a sense of the fertile void where the emptiness underlying everything is found. Eclipses can feel like an opening into the primordial reality that is always there, unchanging, waiting to be entered. It’s not a time for projecting your ambitions into the world, but rather a moment of allowing your conscious ambitions to be eclipsed, connecting awareness with what is waiting to emerge from inner shadows.

The Solar Eclipse will occur nine hours after the exact moment of the Solstice when the Sun enters the tropical zodiacal sign of Cancer. The time of peak day that marks the beginning of Summer in the northern hemisphere, it is simultaneously the pinnacle of darkness in the southern hemisphere that demarcates the beginning of Winter with the promise of returning sunlight. The word solstice  has stationary at the root of its etymological meaning, a time when the luminous Sun pauses at an extremity of height within its endless cycle, initiating a descent. As the Sun is a living symbol of coherence, the shadows that will devour its light indicate an old paradigm that has been used to hold a center on civilization is ready to be dissolved and de-centered.

The lunar nodes demarcate eclipses whenever a new moon or full moon conjoins them, as the nodes are the intersection of the great planes of spirit/soul and matter, the intersection of the apparent path of the Sun with the orbital arc of the Moon. The word node comes from the Latin nodus or “knot,” and so the knots that bind and tie together the strands of civilization become unravelled within the vortex of the ringed blackness. Similarly the knots of our consciousness we use to tie down and bind our inner multiplicity become loosened, allowing vibrant new desires as well as difficult fears and projections to temporarily erupt into awareness.

Since the Solar Eclipse in Cancer is very close to the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, it places more emphasis on intake and a surge of new activity more so than the release, sacrifice, and harvesting associated with the South Node of the Moon. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes stressed the importance of properly metabolizing, digesting, and integrating the absorption of new material that takes place at the North Node of the Moon. It will be vital to discern what we consume and make the necessary time and space to integrate and digest what we take in that can bring nurturance and nourishment, emptying ourselves of the toxic residue we have taken in from our surroundings.

Although the Annular Solar Eclipse is at the first degree of Cancer, the transiting North Node of the Moon is in Gemini and therefore signifies a great upwelling of new perspectives and information to sift through. There will be new perceptions, new information, and new insights that need to ferment within and disrupt our old belief system and worldview. Yet the amount of information and viewpoints to consume in the present information age is far too much to take in. Discovering the personal meaning of the eclipse can be facilitated by turning away temporarily from the cacophony of culture to discover what the blackness of the eclipse is revealing about the inner fertility of your own underground world of chthonic, black depth.

Paul Nash Eclipse of the Sunflower

Paul Nash (1945) Eclipse of the Sunflower

The lunar nodes have long been imagined as a dragon or serpent of chaos that devours our lights, the Sun and the Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing the head of the dragon and the South Node of the Moon its tail. In Egyptian cosmology, the sun faced death in the regenerative underworld of Night at midnight every night, before being reborn at daybreak. Aaron Cheak wrote an essay included in The Celestial Art which described the primordial waters of Nun as hosting the rebirth of our solar light, a sphere that is also associated with the primeval chaos serpent and “constitutes the very matrix in which reality and existence gestates.” As a serpent signifying the matrix of reality consumes the Solstice Sun, we may ask what new forms are gestating to come into existence and take shape.

An eclipse in Cancer, in fact at only twenty-one minutes of Cancer, reveals how we have been caring and who we have been caring for. It reveals the people who have been targets of the oppressive weapons of civilization and the people lacking support and care from their families and community. We can consider how we have been appeased and distracted by technological gadgets made in oppressive working conditions to look the other way. We may ask how we have been enmeshing ourselves in co-dependent attachments in relationships that do not truly nurture us or in material items and conditions that never fully satisfy our soul.

Rick Tarnas has deservedly been gaining increased recognition for the incredible amount of time and research he put into his book Cosmos and Psyche and how accurately he pinpointed the cultural themes that erupt during periods when Saturn and Pluto come together as they have in 2020. At the United Astrology Conference in 2018, at the threshold of our collective entering the amplified period of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto we find ourselves in today, Tarnas gave the talk “A Kairos Moment” in which he described periods of Saturn and Pluto as activating tremendous moral courage in the face of totalitarian forces and that it activates the moral determination of birthing a baby, or new era, under huge stakes.

Rick Tarnas has often said that the gift we can take from modernity is the idea of taking personal responsibility to shape our world, applying this to developing a participatory and co-creative relationship with the Anima Mundi or World Soul. The Cancer Solar Eclipse is arriving at a collective dark night of the soul exactly as described by Tarnas, a moment necessitating the ego death of initiation and facing the evil and danger of our world. Tarnas and many other great minds before him have long highlighted the fact that transformative rites of passage necessitate uncertainty, and that is is the uncertainty of the unknown that can compel us to confront our moral values and make the changes not only within ourselves, but also within the wider systems of our civilizations.  In his talk at UAC 2018, Tarnas concluded that we cannot do the work as isolated individuals but need to form heroic collectives and communities who hold a vision of good values radically different from the oppressive structures of mainstream society.

cups02

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The Cancer Sun will be eclipsed by the Cancer Moon in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find two lovers coming together with equal passion, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire. Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus and the Moon. Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, nor the Moon only about the enclosure of their fertile love in the palace of Eros. The ferment of the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21 combined with Venus stationing direct in Gemini a few days later on June 25 will demand confrontation with the inner values that underlie all of our relational dynamics with others and the emotional needs we seek to fulfill.

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

The first face of Cancer holding the Solar Eclipse indicates not only the seeking of idealized union with another, but also realization that the union of two can never be permanent and that all relationships must pass through loss. We may gain realization for patterns that have led us into unhealthy enmeshment with others, as well as a more lucid sense of the deeper needs of intimacy we seek in partnership. We may also gain awareness for a new passion to pursue in the arts or sciences and how we can be nurtured through exploring it in more depth.  The eclipse can also break us out of isolated relational dynamics to turn our energy and focus into the wider needs of our community, realizing ways of receiving emotional fulfillment through giving to others or contributing to collective efforts of reform.

The Hermetic text Liber Hermetis ascribed an image of a serpent joined with the face of a dog to the first decan of Cancer, revealing the chthonic powers of fertility and regeneration present. In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory, to the first face of Cancer. A daughter of the underworld river goddess Styx, Nike allied herself with Zeus in the war against the Titans, a mythic war resonant with the astrology of 2020 that will end with a new order being constellated between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Nike served as the divine charioteer of Zeus in battle, while also rewarding victors of competition with the glory of wreathed laurel.  Nike’s presence in the first face of Cancer suggests the eclipse bringing questions of what you are fighting for, who you are fighting for, and how your ambitions for glory may make you complicit in systems that go against your moral values. May the thin ringed light encircling the blackness of the eclipse help illuminate the values you will commit to embodying and living in integrity with.

Goddess_Nike_at_Ephesus,_Turkey

stone carving of Nike in the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus

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References

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

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

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

gabriel orozoco extenstion of reflection

Gabriel Orozco Extension as Reflection

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

“Here is the medicine:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gabriel oroxoca nina.jpg

Gabriel Orozco (1999) Nina En  Homaca

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

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

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

gabriel orozco building and birds

Gabriel Orozco (1998) Building and Birds

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

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

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

gabriel orozco untitled

Gabriel Orozco (2004) Untitled

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

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer

winged scarab.jpg

Scarab (ca 1550 – 1479 BC)

Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer

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

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

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

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

lambspring dragon

From the Book of Lambspring (1599)

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

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

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

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

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

Ibrahim El-Salahi, Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I

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

— C. G. Jung, from The Undiscovered Self

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

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

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

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

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

— C.G. Jung, from The Undiscovered Self

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

Dorothea Tanning Dream of Luxury

Dorothea Tanning (1944) Dream of Luxury

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

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

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3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Moon in Cancer: Solstice Light

Full Moon in Cancer

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year by Max Ernst

Cancer Full Moon

The solstice gets its name from the Sun standing still by declination, reaching its lowest depth in the northern hemisphere at the turn toward the winter, while reaching its peak height in the southern hemisphere at the shift into summer. A time of rebirth within the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, we imagine the Sun pausing in contemplation as we welcome and honor its increasing rise and presence in our life. Each day after the solstice on December 21 in the northern hemisphere we will experience more solar light, while in contrast the southern hemisphere will experience the initial decline from maximum solar light. Thus in the northern hemisphere, the Full Moon in Cancer on December 22 brings the striking symbolism of peak lunar light illuminating the longest stretch of night, while in the southern hemisphere it aligns with the longest days of the year.

The Moon rules the lunation from its home of Cancer and as it separates from its opposition with the Sun it will begin applying to an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. After the Moon completes its opposition with Saturn on December 23, it will begin applying toward the formation of a watery triangle with Neptune in Pisces and Venus in Scorpio. As a result the Full Moon in Cancer will illuminate a hard, unflinching examination of the current state of affairs that opens a window to imaginal visions of whatever we wish to manifest that is currently lacking. The overwhelming emphasis, however, is on Saturn as the Capricorn Sun is simultaneously initiating its annual regeneration with the ringed planet (the new cycle between Saturn and the Sun will begin on the first day of 2019).

Thus the Full Moon in Cancer is ideal for taking a pause within the trajectory of current motion, reflecting upon events across the past year while pondering what you want to set in motion in the year ahead. The strong influence of Saturn brings the necessity of taking responsibility for wherever you find yourself and remembering that even at the darkest moment of despair we can summon the resiliency needed to make the most of current circumstances. The overemphasis on water signs connected through flowing aspects between Venus, Neptune, and the Moon could dredge up difficult emotions concerning any areas of our life we feel like we haven’t been doing our best. Fortunately, the Cancer Full Moon does have supportive aspects for self-nurturing as well as comforting and soothing others who are overwhelmed with difficult feelings.

Solargraph

Solargraph taken from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment

The Moon in Cancer rules the Full Moon and is headed toward a union with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer, emphasizing the Moon’s new position as the ruler of its transiting North Node. Since Rahu now has the speedy Moon as its ruler, we will experience the North Node in Cancer uniting with its lunar ruler once a month during the next year and a half of the lunar nodes transiting Cancer and Capricorn (the North Node will be in Cancer until May 2020). The union between the Cancer Moon and its North Node on December 24 will be the second time so far that the Moon has conjoined its North Node in Cancer, the first time being on November 26 during the period that both Jupiter and Mercury retrograde were being regenerated in union with the Sun. Since Mercury and Jupiter are uniting in Sagittarius at the time of solstice, the Cancer Full Moon will bring stark clarity regarding whatever has been coming into our life in the past month.

Whenever the Moon conjoins its own North Node in Cancer we will have the opportunity to discern new choices regarding the desires drawing us forward as always, but the nodal rulership being activated will bring an intensification of hunger and pull.  Since the Moon in Cancer will also be moving through oppositions with both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on its way toward uniting with its North Node each month, the astrological symbolism suggests we will be experiencing an intense lunar passage through Cancer each month highlighting whatever we want to protect and nurture more so than normal. Thus the Cancer Full Moon initiates us into one of the most important astrological themes of 2019. Since the Moon signifies a constantly changing emotional landscape, the more we can sift through inner feelings to find the desires laying at the heart of passing dynamics, the more we can feel centered and grounded in whatever processes of growth we are engaged with.

Full Moon in Cancer

Stonehenge by John Constable

After the Full Moon culminates and the Moon enters the waning half of its lunar cycle, we enter the mysterious matrix of eclipse season that brings a heightened experience of forms entering and passing away. There will be a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on January 5 followed by a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo on January 20. As Saturn in Capricorn is a foundational influence more so than normal in the next month, keep in mind the temporal nature of difficult emotions that could come up with our life not currently being in a desired condition. We are likely to feel the weight of responsibilities we have taken on and the ramifications of whatever we wish to initiate more fiercely than normal. By being mindful of the bigger picture and where we hope to be in the years ahead, ideally we can recenter in the present and figure out steps available to move toward the larger vision.

Not only is Saturn and Pluto co-present with the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, there is also an added factor that in the next year Pluto and Saturn will be coming together in close proximity with their own south nodes, meaning the south nodes of Saturn, Pluto, and the Moon will all be uniting with the coming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. There is an ancient arc of dominant societal influences being brought to collective attention, creating a tidal force from the collective unconscious to navigate. We can observe myriad signs in current events indicating the decay of global civilizations and underlying structures. Yet even beyond this we can sense the severe weight of collective history, of the havoc wreaked by world powers and their impact on our present state of being.

The silvery, luminescent light of the Cancer Full Moon will create space for compassion, compassion for both ourselves and others in the ways we have been conditioned overtly and covertly by societal forces. Through dialogue and listening, through feeling all the grief and emotions, we can begin to loosen the hold of history in order to not only decondition as needed, but also find strength in the traditions that bring healing. While difficult ancestral karma may come up, the emphasis on Saturn facilitates support and resources to be found in the old as well as the ancestral realm.

splendor solis sunset

from the Splendor Solis

In the pre-dawn darkness of solstice season we have a host of planetary allies heralding the coming rise of the Sun. Brightest and highest is Venus in her Morning Star role as light bringer, but we can also witness Mercury and Jupiter visible as Morning Stars before sunrise. In fact, Mercury is barely beginning to separate from Jupiter in Sagittarius at the time of the Cancer Full Moon, providing a spark to light inner fires of inspiration.  The union of Mercury and Jupiter helps bring to a close the retrograde transits concluding 2018: Venus has now moved beyond the degrees where she previously stationed retrograde, and while Mercury is still a few degrees away during the Cancer Full Moon its final union with Jupiter brings resolution.

Venus in Scorpio is currently in a supportive relationship with Mars in Pisces making it a great time to formulate plans and begin taking action toward whatever essential values you unearthed during the Venus retrograde transit of recent months. The trine between Venus with Neptune in Pisces is dreamy and restorative, perfect for luxuriating in pleasurable sensual experiences as well as for providing healing support in service to others in need. If you’ve been overwhelmed by stress from current events, it’s also a supportive transit for creatively active imaginal escape. Combined with the influence of Mercury and Jupiter in Sagittarius, it’s a potent time for finding words and forms to manifest and make real images and ideas that have been brewing within.

Whether or not you celebrate any of the religious holidays associated with this solstice season, the astrological transits and timing make it an ideal time to gather with those you love and who support you. We have finally reached a stage that will facilitate looking back toward the dramatic changes brought by the year 2018 that involved an intense sequence of Mars retrograde, eclipses, Venus retrograde, and a trio of fiery Mercury retrograde transits deeply connected to all of the former.  In the fire kindled by Mercury and Jupiter, within the watery flow between Venus, Neptune, and the Moon, listen within to whatever you want to voice and enact in the light of the Full Moon. It may be hard to understand the reasons for all of the changes that have come, but we can now feel more clearly where the changes are taking us. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “Past upon past has been planted in you, / in order out of you, like a garden, to rise.”

 

Cancer New Moon & Mercury

chagall la nuit blanche

by Marc Chagall

New Moon in Cancer

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

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

hilma-af-climt-2

by Hilma af Klint

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

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

Hilma_af_Klint_-_1922_-_Birch

Birch (1922) by Hilma af Klint

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

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

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

cups02

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

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

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

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

References

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

 

Cancer New Moon

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Der_Mönch_am_Meer_-_Google_Art_Project

Caspar David Friedrich (1810) The Monk by the Sea

New Moon in Cancer

Memories envelope the New Moon in Cancer on 4 July 2016, memories which nourish as well as memories which torment with the pang of loss.  The Moon is home in Cancer, and the blackness of the New Moon lacking solar light signifies the pure, raw emotions of the lunar realm.  The Moon’s constant waxing and waning, reflecting and holding the light of the Sun, illustrates why we associate Cancer and the Moon with the ebb and flow of our moods and the ever present influence of our memories.  We hold memories of past loves and peak emotions in Cancer and the Moon, as well as remembrances of family, cultural, and ancestral origins.  While memories bring sustenance and source our flights of imaginative vision, the reminiscences of our most blissful times can also become torturous in the pain of losing their source.  Attachments to memory can overburden us when grieving what we have lost, and can also be sources of disruptive illusions in those attached to sentimental nostalgia rather than the arising change of the moment.  In collective events there has been a Nationalistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and bigoted monstrosity raging that has its roots in a nostalgia for cultural illusions of the past. The positive message found in the Cancer New Moon is resolution through reconciling the past with the present, and in the stillness of a reflective moment experiencing the flowering of grace.

The New Moon in Cancer brings a cathartic release through its opposition to Pluto.   Instead of a soft and supple lunar goddess we will feel more in the protective presence of a hard and skeletal Santa Muerte.  Pluto has been associated with Shiva and his fierce destructive aspects by many astrologers, as the experience of a hard aspect from Pluto can not only feel like a complete destruction of one’s personality, but also be experienced through devastating losses of structures and relationships we had been attached to.  When we stop resisting, denying, or being overly defensive,  allowing our ego to be destroyed in the quakes of Pluto, in the resulting dismemberment we are given the opportunity to reassemble ourselves into a more authentic presence, remembering our essentiality through the dismembering.

Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche associated Pluto with Dionysus because it shatters and brings forth new forms in transit, and dismemberment also circulates through the stories involving Dionysus.  James Hillman in Mythic Figures wrote that the dismemberment of Dionysus is “necessary for awakening the consciousness of the body,” because the loss of central control resurrects the light of each separate organ making up the whole.  Hillman saw this alchemical dismemberment as an awareness that can cut through the “habitual ways we have ‘grown up’ and ‘grown together,’” by making us aware of the light found within each distinct part of our body- so it is not really a process, and “not a movement from integration to dis-integration to re-integration.”  It is more of a loosening that “results in the activation of the psychic life of the organs.”  Similarly, within the chaos of recent collective events that has caused fear and destruction in multitudes, the Cancer New Moon brings an opportunity to reawaken from within, impacting the external world through healing and vivifying internal fractures.

JMWTurner_Sunrise_with_Sea_Monsters

J.M.W. Turner (1844) Sunrise with Sea Monsters

Modern astrology associates Cancer with mothers, the womb, and birth, and in ancient astrology Cancer was noted as the rising sign and first house of the thema mundi, the birth of the universe.  The New Moon occurs in the second decan of Cancer, and Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces noted that the fragmentary Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the figure of Heracles to this decan, the legendary hero who was tormented from birth by his stepmother Hera.  My good friend Jason Holley gave a brilliant talk linking Cancer and the Moon with Heracles at the recent Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) of 2016.  In the Greek myth connected with the constellation of Cancer, a crab was sent by Hera to attack Heracles as he was engaged in battle with the Hydra.  After the armored crustacean emerged from the watery depths and charged, sideways, toward Heracles as its claws protruded into the ankles of the hero, Heracles obliterated the crab with his foot.  From the shattering of the crab, Hera thus placed it into the sky as a constellation rewarding its service to her.

In his talk “Exquisite Attunement: the Moon and Empathy,” Jason Holley described lunar material as being emotional openings to the fertile void, a realm of memories that is nonlinear, somatic, and implicitly pulls things into its own rhythm.  Hera’s wrath stems from her being betrayed and abandoned, similar to a devaluing of the lunar realm that sees the fertile void as valueless.  Hera nurtured the Hydra to destroy Heracles, and the Nemean Lion has been said to have fallen from the Moon, sprung from Selene and brought forth at the bidding of Hera.  Holley interpreted Hera’s desire to attack Heracles as an undermining of the solar self that seeks to bring the self back down into the unconscious and the emotional body.  The crab emerging from the lake has come ashore from the undifferentiated unconscious, yet as Heracles shows is vulnerable to attack.  Holley noted that when our internal world lacks a sense of structure and order it leads to reliance on external sources for a sense of stability and safety.  If one’s capacity to contain emotional experience internally is not developed, it will be delegated to others rather than claimed from one’s own sense of inner authority.

The Cancer New Moon is fruitful in terms of regaining inner security and authority following a period of loss and disillusionment that has caused deep questioning of one’s value and how it is accepted and nurtured by others.  The New Moon is separating from a trine with Neptune and therefore pulling away from the square between Saturn and Neptune, applying toward harmonious aspects with its own lunar nodes.  Following its opposition to Pluto, the waning Moon will form an exact sextile with Jupiter and conjunction with Venus.  The embrace of loved ones will be a balm that calms, but the true potency of this New Moon is found through genuine self love and discovering security that is not dependent upon approval or admiration from others.

georgia black abstraction

Georgia O’Keefe (1927) Black Abstraction

The New Moon is also notable for intention setting related to all things Mars, as Mars is finally direct in Scorpio and beginning to slowly generate momentum in the black of the Moon. The opposition between Pluto and the New Moon reinforces the slow metamorphic feeling, akin to the tension of a butterfly wing struggling against the confines of the releasing chrysalis.  Mars moving forward again in the final decan of Scorpio is a slow inferno burning off desires needed to be laid to rest, a funeral pyre releasing and transfiguring what has passed away.

Those who have felt confused or thwarted in action during the Mars retrograde, or hung up on past pain that continued to poison rather than purify, will now be able to feel greater capacity to navigate into favorable currents of change and forward momentum.  Laying desires to rest is never easy, and when dealing with heartbreak or mourning the pain may never be fully released. With Mars beginning to move direct again, however, there is powerful support to commit to a path and the practical actions and steps in need of the zealous force of Mars.  The quincunx from Uranus and trine to Chiron are further indications of the depth of material being purged and purified in the forward crawl of Mars.

klee rhine at duisburg

Paul Klee (1937) The Rhine at Duisburg

my way is in the sand flowing
between the shingle and the dune
the summer rain rains on my life
on me my life harrying fleeing
to its beginning to its end

my peace is there in the receding mist
when I may cease from treading these long shifting
thresholds
and live the space of a door
that opens and shuts

— Samuel Beckett

Mercury is applying to a conjunction with the New Moon, approaching its superior conjunction with the Sun in which it is on the far side of the Sun in orbit from Earth.  Mercury reaches its Superior Conjunction a couple days after the New Moon on July 6, where Mercury rules from the throne at the heart of the Sun and is strengthened in all of its significations.  At the time of the New Moon, Mercury is combust meaning it is undergoing a period of purification and regeneration in the flames of the Sun.  With Mercury in Cancer it is possible moods, memories, emotions, or fears circulating could overwhelm capacity to maintain centered focus, especially within a tumultuous environment of chaotic collective events stirring up hysteria.

Although this phase of Mercury can feel overwhelming,  the surrounding potent aspects to Mercury suggest epiphanies can be unveiled.  The Mercurial atmosphere will contain moments to soak within the elements of our past whose memories will nourish us going forward, while simultaneously opening to a regenerated presence. Insights into one’s family or ancestral karma and influences can be found, as well as greater awareness of relational patterns and emotional dynamics we have been constellating.  As a result, the New Moon supports intention setting for a strengthened sense of inner security less needful of external attachments to feel stable.

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3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

The second face of Cancer where the New Moon occurs is associated with the 3 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The mirthful image of merriment radiates mellifluous metaphors, a tarot card that signifies harmonious collaborations of inspired thought and creativity.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “a walled garden in which something precious is kept” to this face, adding an element not obvious from the above image:  the need of protection and nurturing to allow for an incubating space that can bring forth joy, beauty, and abundance.  A glance through images of this face from ancient texts reveal a profusion of beautiful women of melodious voice, some “seated on a snake-throne” (Yavanajataka) and all adorned with flowers or wreathed in myrtle (Picatrix, The Beginning of Wisdom, 777).  A man appears in Three Books of Occult Philosophy in this decan, dressed elegantly in style and engrossed in play.

The second decan of Cancer is ruled by Mercury.  Mercury at the moment of the New Moon is applying to a trine with Neptune as well as a conjunction with the Sun and Moon.  After Mercury separates from its conjunction with the Sun, it will be opposing Pluto and then receiving a sextile from Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury is in position to mediate the fracturing and ruptures created by the last quarter squares between Saturn and Neptune, and Saturn and Jupiter.  Though current events are rife with destruction, murder, and desperation, though many are wrestling with struggles and fears over poverty, if one can enter into a protected space of nourishment the astrological aspects of this New Moon can also foster enlivening creativity and collaboration.  Joining with others to create structured and protective spaces that filter out the mayhem of the surrounding world can help to circulate and amplify the potential for shared fulfillment and beauty.  This can be a beautiful time to share your own precious gifts with others while being emotionally present to receive the inspiriting blessings of what others have to share.

Fig-tree, for such a long time now, there has been meaning for me,
in the way you almost wholly omit to flower
and urge your pure secret, unheralded,
into the early, resolute fruit.
Like the jet of a fountain, your arched bough
drives the sap downward, then up: and it leaps from its sleep
barely waking, into the bliss of its sweetest achievement.
See: like the god into the swan
……….We, though, linger,
ah, our pride is in flowering, and, already betrayed,
we reach the late core of our final fruit.
In a few the urge to action rises so powerfully,
that they are already waiting and glowing with their heart’s fullness
when the temptation to flower, like the mild night air,
touches their tender mouths, touches their eyelids:
heroes perhaps, and those chosen to vanish prematurely,
in whom Death the gardener wove different veins.
These plunge ahead: they go before their own smile,
like the team of horses in the slightly
hollowed-out relief of Karnak’s victorious pharaoh.

The hero is strangely close to those who died young. Lasting
doesn’t contain him. Being is his ascent: he moves on,
time and again, to enter the changed constellation
his risk entails. Few could find him there. But
Destiny, that darkly hides us, suddenly inspired,
sings him into the tempest of his onrushing world.
I hear no one like him. All at once I am pierced
by his darkened sound carried on streaming air.

Then, how gladly I would hide from the yearning: O if I,
if I were a boy, and might come to it still, and sit,
propped on the future’s arms, and reading about Samson,
how his mother first bore nothing, and then all.

Was he not a hero already, O mother, in you, did not
his imperious choice begin inside you?
Thousands seethed in the womb and willed to be him,
but see: he grasped and let go, chose and achieved.
And if he shattered pillars, it was when he burst
out of the world of your flesh into the narrower world,
where he went on choosing, achieving. O mothers of heroes,
O sources of ravening rivers! Ravines into which
weeping girls have plunged
from the high heart’s edge, future offerings to the son.
Because, whenever the hero stormed through the stations of love,
each heartbeat, meant for him, lifting him onward,
he turned away, stood at the end of the smiles, someone other.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sixth Elegy, Duino Elegies

References

Beckett, Samuel. (1977). Collected Poems in English and French. Grove Press.

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

Hillman, James. (2007). Mythic Figures. Spring Publications, Inc.

Full Moon in Cancer

full moon chinese

Full Moon by Tao Lengyue

Cancer Full Moon

The Full Moon in Cancer on December 25, 2015 occurs on the same day that Uranus in Aries stations direct.  It is also the Full Moon that falls equidistant between Lunar Eclipses, in square to both:  the total Lunar Eclipse in Aries at 4°38′ that happened September 28, 2015 and the annular Lunar Eclipse in Libra at 3°10′ that will happen on March 23, 2016. There is as a result an electrified quality to this Full Moon that reopens past memories for reprocessing whether you are alone or in a holiday gathering.  As we grow older we realize that the story we tell about our life changes across time.  Our past is not bound in a fixed form but rather is as fluid in fluctuation as this present, passing moment.  Uranus stationing direct at this Cancer Full Moon can break us out of a perspective regarding our life we had managed to convince ourselves was an unchanging truth.  Feeling into our emotional bodies in the full light of this lunation, there is something to be found that metamorphoses our viewpoint regarding our past and our trajectory forward, a deeper quality of soul to embody within the vehicle of our body.

In our Northern Hemisphere December 25 is a day in which our Sun is beginning to increase in light, and so there is a loveliness in celebrating the return of light with a Cancer Full Moon.  Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so this Full Moon has a potent pull to draw us into our emotional body and the full range of feeling we are receiving.  The reflection of our Sun’s light by our Moon signifies our moment to moment consciousness and awareness, for in the waxing and waning lunar cycle we correspondingly experience the creation and destruction of our thoughts and emotions.  In a catalytic astrological atmosphere such as today, many are coping with their fear over the dismantling of systems they had believed to be secure by fixating on perceptions and beliefs that bring a feeling of comforting control.  This changes the nature of thoughts and feelings from being fluid into a frozen bedrock anchoring repetitive personal patterns.

Uranus is here now to strike and shatter whatever has become overly hardened and crystallized.  When Uranus stations following the Full Moon, it will be close to an exact square with Pluto in Capricorn and will reignite the issues related to the square between Pluto and Uranus that have been dominating astrology for the past seven years.  Uranus stationing direct brings content forward into conscious awareness much farther back than seven years, however, so much so that memories that feel like they have been buried for lifetimes could erupt from within.  This doesn’t mean that everything is going to change overnight in a liberating reverie of Uranus, or that everything will be transformed in a regenerative matrix of Pluto.  It does mean that this Full Moon is shining light into the deepest reaches of our ineffable darkness within, and here we may find buried treasure.

In addition to being the domicile of the Moon, Cancer is a sign signifying mothers and the womb that gave birth to all of us, family, ancestors, the vulnerability of our raw emotions, and the protective shell we utilize to shield our feelings from being wounded.  Being a Full Moon, of course this means the Sun is in the polarity place of Capricorn, the home of Saturn.   Pluto is also in the home of Saturn, and Saturn meanwhile is engaged in square with Neptune that amplifies the dissonance of the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Considering all of the associated calamity that can go with the pairs of Pluto-Uranus and Neptune-Saturn being in hard aspects, there is grace to be found through this Cancer Full Moon applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces.  Just like Uranus is shattering the structure of Pluto, Neptune has been dissolving the boundaries of Saturn, and so this Cancer Full Moon could correlate with messages from beyond appearing through the realm of family and our ancestors.

Hiroshige,_New_Year's_Eve_foxfires_at_the_changing_tree,_Oji,_1857

Hiroshige (1857) New Year’s Eve foxfires at the changing tree

There is in fact a Grand Water Trine found in this Full Moon through the Moon in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Juno conjoining the true location of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio.  The corner of this triangle held by Juno and Black Moon Lilith is rich to contemplate, a fertile field of deep emotions concerning our past and present relationships and times we have felt oppressed, misunderstood, cast out, and projected upon.  Yet this Juno, Black Moon Lilith point is also full of desire for burning, shared intimacy with a partner willing to accept us and commit to working to understand us.  As we know, the wounds of our childhood oftentimes resurface in our adult relationships and repetitive relational projections and patterns we engage in.  This Full Moon holds potential for tapping into our feelings regarding old wounds and a sense of how they impact our current relational behavior.

Uranus stationing direct in Aries holds numerous aspects activating the themes of this Grand Water Trine, as Uranus is in range of an opposition to the mean (averaged) location of Black Moon Lilith while Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to enter into range of a trine with Uranus (this Saturn-Uranus trine will become one of the major themes in 2016 eventually).  Furthermore, Mars in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus, while Mercury in Capricorn is separating from a  square with Uranus.  These aspects are all potent for activating a vital aspect of our essential nature demanding attention and actualization.  As a result, we will have strong feelings of wanting this essentiality acknowledged by others and so it will be most helpful to have creative outlets available to transmit the energy through.  If overcome by frustration of not being in a position to fully gain or express what you desire, work to find smaller scale steps and situations to get things moving.

While Mars and Mercury are both separating from hard aspects with Uranus at the time of the Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn is applying to a square with Mars in Libra that further intensifies the atmosphere with potential conflict.  While it is possible the square between Mars and Mercury will correlate with arguments and heated rhetoric, it is also an ideal aspect for initiating projects that will require hard work, focused concentration, and collaboration with others.  There may be some clashes with others to work through when going after what we desire, but this first quarter square between Mars and Mercury supports planning and developing the structures we will need to have in place to work through any difficulties that could arise.

Hiroshige_100_views_edo_107

Utagawa Hiroshige (1856) 100 Views of Edo, no. 107, part 4, Winter

There is in fact a long range vision that can be accessed at this Cancer Full Moon through a stabilizing trine between Mercury in Capricorn with the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury in Capricorn is an evening star that is in position to synthesize the extraordinary vision that can be activated through Jupiter uniting with the North Node of the Moon in the home and exaltation of Mercury.  Mercury is also now within its retrograde shadow zone, and in a couple of weeks on January 5, 2016 during the waning lunar cycle Mercury will station retrograde.   As a result of the upcoming Mercury retrograde cycle, this is the first of three trines we will experience between Mercury in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo in the next month and a half.  Pay attention to the messages you receive at this Full Moon as they can help you begin to get a sense of the new sense of meaning you can develop during this upcoming harmonious period between Mercury and Jupiter.

The supportive, stabilizing trine between Mercury and Jupiter at this Cancer Full Moon is further accentuated through both Mercury and Jupiter being in a sextile with Venus in Scorpio.  Venus in Scorpio is willing to be brutally honest if necessary to get to the bottom line dynamics of whatever relationships we are engaged with at this Full Moon, yet the harmonious sextile Venus forms with Mercury and Jupiter at this time suggests there will be a way to communicate in a manner that will facilitate our partner listening to us rather than dismissing us from a place of defensiveness.  These aspects are also supportive for going within and intuitively feeling and envisioning from a place beyond the types of consensus beliefs and morality that repress our ability to create the life we want to live.

Astrologer Jeff Green, who was born with Venus retrograde in Scorpio conjoining his ascendant, wrote in his second Pluto book that Venus in Scorpio individuals radiate an aura “analogous to the eye of the eagle,” as they are “uniquely structured to have the ability to focus on the large picture while at the same time telescopically zooming in on its point of focus” (p. 161).  If we work with what Venus in Scorpio is offering through her sextile with Mercury, Jupiter, and the North Node of the Moon, and trine with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, we can feel within our inner core all of the accumulated past wounds and desires that have created the various relationship projections we have been making, as well as discern the choices and relationships to focus on moving forward.  Venus in Scorpio can enflame intense focus on an object of desire, but also making the time to sit with and heal our past wounding will enable us to create healthier, mutually empowering relationships that will support us going after whatever is in alignment with our evolving sense of growth.

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Cancer, a decan associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a kundalini caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic energy found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, but rather on a deeper level Venus signifies the inner values and needs that source all of our relationship dynamics with others.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the Cancer I decan, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock analyzed that we find both the nurturing mother in the first face of Cancer as well as the childless, protective figure of Artemis and the principle that as the Moon waxes she gives but as she wanes she takes away. Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104):

Though thoroughly romanticized, the actual dynamic entailed herein is a mixture of hunger and sweetness.  Love and need blend together here.  Yet there is an alchemy, for the energy circulates between the two participants.  It is as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted.  It is this miracle of entwined vessels that many long for when they dream of the love that will save and strengthen them.  The possibility of this manner of union can be seen in this decan, yet success in this matter requires more than longing  (p.105).

Venus in Scorpio is in a whole sign trine to this Full Moon in Cancer, and as the Moon begins to wane through the sign of Cancer it will form an exact trine with Venus.  The more we can move away from a compulsive, Scorpio need of Venus to consume and control our relationships and open to feelings focused on understanding our relationships and supporting them with what they need for their own development, the more we can open to the potential available with this Full Moon to develop and deepen the relationships that can become mutually empowering, encouraging, and nourishing.

With Uranus stationing direct in Aries, be ready to receive sudden insight into the relationships you have engaged in across your lifetime, including with family, friends, and romantic partners, and the myriad ways in which the associated needs, desires, and issues created various relationship patterns you became attached to repeating.  With awareness and being willing to stay present with these feelings, we can create a shift away from old, outworn patterns toward new opportunities for growth seen through the sextile between Venus in Scorpio with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 (translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

References:

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

Green, Jeffrey Wolf. (2009). Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.

New Moon in Cancer

New Moon in Cancer

La Nascita (The Birth) by Marc Chagall (1911)

Cancer New Moon

New Moons are a time of visioning and nurturing the intentional seed we plant in the hidden depths of fecund darkness.  Cancer is a sign associated with birth, the creation of new life from the wombs of mothers, the arising of a new season at solstice, and the development of our personal identity from the matrix of our soul.  The New Moon in Cancer on July 15, 2015 falls in the final decan of Cancer and brings to our awareness a sense of separation from sources of past comfort and a vague dawning of realization into the new direction arising out of this dark genesis.  Creating a new lunar cycle following a Full Moon in Capricorn that was conjunct Pluto on July 1, this New Moon in Cancer resurrects the potency of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus we have lived through in the past several years, as it is square to Uranus in Aries while Mars and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer and directly opposite Pluto in Capricorn.

As an infant must bravely breathe in air separated from the sheltered nurturing of the womb, so must our identity shed the comfort of past security attachments if we wish to embody the full radiance of our potential in the moment.  Amplifying the air with instinctual individualism is a Uranus currently stationing in Aries, standing still by zodiac degree from our earthbound perspective and preparing to turn retrograde in less than two weeks.  Since the New Moon in Cancer is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries, it triggers the discomfort, insecurity, anxiety, or fear that can strike from within when we realize that the burning force beckoning us to embody a liberated presence creates the possibility and even likelihood that we will become disconnected in the process from our ties to family, culture, and other elements of the accustomed reality we take comfort in.

We may find it necessary now to create a sacred space of some sort to nurture the vulnerability we feel in the unfolding of our current creativity.  Even when we consciously have desire to free ourselves from the conditioning of culture and the way we felt our family of origin limited our full creative actualization, a fear of losing the security we gain from our relationship with these same influences can still overcome us.  In addition, due to sensitively observing authorities in positions of power taking advantage of the more vulnerable, we can also come to fear the potential impact of expressing our full power into the world around us.  Synthesizing together the strength that can come from hard aspects between Cancer, Capricorn, and Aries, we can ultimately learn to take the responsibility for expressing our personal power in a way that protects and empowers ourselves and our relationships.  Yet the calamitous aspects held by this New Moon of Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn, with Saturn in Scorpio in square to Venus and Jupiter in Leo, means that there will be a number of oppressive power dynamics between people on display in our surrounding environment to observe and mediate.

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

Image of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 13, 2015

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

It is simply incredible that as the first images of Pluto enter our consciousness through the completion of the epic journey of the New Horizons spacecraft, Mercury is exactly conjunct Mars and in opposition to Pluto, while Saturn shapes structure in the Plutonic sign of Scorpio.  It is further fitting that this binary planet named for the Lord of Souls and the Ferryman of the Underworld claimed center stage in mainstream media in the dark of a balsamic Moon that was opposite Pluto.  Whatever shift in collective consciousness happens as a result begins to build in accordance with a potent New Moon that places the messenger (Mercury) and will-force (Mars) of consciousness in a full polarity to Pluto.

Due to a number of astrological factors, in the past couple of months there has been an emphasis on a new quality of Mars to exert through an influence of Mercury.  Mercury is an unstable planet of wild extremes and variation in speed, and so while on the one hand it can bring challenges in our ability to focus our Martian drive, on the other hand when we align instinctually with their unified energy it brings the eloquent cleverness of Hermes to our life force of desire.  With Mercury and Mars unified in polarity to Pluto, we need to be ready for the possibility of extreme power conflicts and emotional confrontations occurring around us.  Yet on a personal level, there is also an initiation found in this aspect to journey into our core depth to discover a regenerated treasure of gifts from within to begin to integrate and express in the cycle ahead.  There is a purification involved in this process, as Mercury is now under the beams of the Sun and preparing to enter into the heart of the Sun a week from now around the first quarter Moon, while Mars is also under the beams having already united with the Sun and beginning to get some clarified separation away from the fiery center of our solar system.  Emotions may feel raw and overly sensitive, but are the material through which we can now gain penetrating insight into the core emotional patterns and compulsions most in need of attention.

Venus stationing

La Paresse by Felix Vallotton (1896)

Venus stationing

Meanwhile, our Queen of pleasure, luxury, and glamour, Venus in Leo, is slowing down and preparing to station at the time of this New Moon in Cancer.  Venus is now at the final degree of Leo and in a few days will enter Virgo where she will station retrograde on July 25- meaning that basically for the next few weeks Venus is not going anywhere and holding space at the first degree of Virgo and final degrees of Leo.  This would be intense under any circumstance, but is so even more as Venus is conjunct Jupiter and in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio.  As Saturn is stationing direct at the beginning of August and will also be standing still then, this means that from now through the beginning of August we get to experience the seriousness of Venus in a last quarter square to Saturn, while simultaneously buoyed with a sense of expansive vision by Jupiter.  Venus now in Leo, soon to be in Virgo, in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio, brings about a reorientation of our inner values that at times could feel severe as the scythe of Saturn cuts away the old value structures that must now be released.  At this moment, we are only at the precipice of a deep transformation with many dramatic experiences coming our way.

Thus, while we may feel a burning sense of desire through the union of Venus and Jupiter, their last quarter square to Saturn brings a constricting sense of an obstacle or major challenge standing between us and the full manifestation and experience of our desire.  Powerful work on an inner level and on an outer level through our vocation and creative expression can come about through this aspect, but we are being asked to be disciplined, focused, organized, and thorough in our approach if we wish to realize the full potential available to us.  This is not a lighthearted skip through the woods singing without a care in the world, but rather a courageous and focused trek into a deep region of the forest we have previously avoided exploring.   This is not to say that it will not be possible to experience moments of pure pleasure and luxuriation, as in fact bringing a sense of joy to our daily experience will be a vital help.  It is only to suggest that if we bring passion into our work with a sense of disciplined persistence to work through the upcoming obstacles, on the other side of these aspects we can experience a deep sense of fulfilled desire.

Cancer III Decan

4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer III Decan

The third decan of Cancer is ruled by the Moon and so is a potent place for a New Moon, a particularly auspicious new lunation to set intentions toward the new direction sensed from within.  In the image of the 4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered out of thin air by an otherworldly hand.  The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, and appears to either not notice the fourth cup or be dismissive of it.  In fact, this protagonist’s stance of crossed arms, crossed legs, and eyes cast down suggests someone unwilling to go after what is being offered, perhaps until after completing an inner exploration.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces found that the third decan of signs are synonymous with the “Solve” phase of separation in alchemy in which “the constituent pieces must part ways,” similar to “the spirit forced to separate from the matter,” and “those factors which press for an abandonment of the balance created in the second” decan of the sign (p. 264-265).  Along this line of thought Coppock gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the Cancer III decan, declaring that it “juxtaposes the advantages and dangers of luxurious excess with the truth of scarcity” (p. 115).  Our cherished sense of luxury we desire is shown in contrast here to a sense of scarcity rooted in “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 116).  Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the 4 of Cups tarot card with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.

Importantly, Coppock additionally linked the karmic significance of further investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works, so as “to be a conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” (p. 116).  Furthermore, he brought up the spiritual dimension of luxury:

While this face has much to teach about the material dynamics of scarcity and excess, not all matters relevant to it can be confined to matters of food, wealth and shelter.  Our world also provides gifts not so easily exhausted. The ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things- is an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain.  Likewise, the spirit offers cups ever-refilled.  This decan thus offers a vision not only of hoarding the finite, but the endless luxury of the limitless.  (p. 117)

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the great goddess Hekate with the Cancer III decan.   Hekate  ruled over the three phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, and also crossroads, magical craft, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  In short, we could not have a better spirit to associate with the dark richness of this Plutonic New Moon than Hekate, and it is worth remembering there is a long tradition of praying to Hekate in order to receive wealth.  Hekate is also a goddess of midwives, and therefore an apt ally for us in the intense birthing process that will follow this Cancer New Moon.

CancerNewMoonWRIGC1

References

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

Full Moon in Capricorn

Full Moon in Capricorn

Gold coin from India dated A.D. 1621–22, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Full Moon in Capricorn

Cancer and Capricorn are signs of solstices, peak times of birth and maturation, stages of intentional visioning and full illumination.   This Full Moon in Capricorn is the first full lunation since the solstice, and holds a thread to the previous season as it is square to the Libra Lunar Eclipse that happened on April 4, 2015, thus triggering all associated issues.  Cancer is connected to the living image of the crab, yet also associated with the child birthed from the womb of the mother.  Capricorn is the living image of the sea-goat, a creature who emerges from the oceanic source of life to climb onto the elevated heights of the material plane.  In the polarity from Cancer to Capricorn lit up in this Full Moon, we gain a sense of our personal identity that has emerged from the primordial oceanic matrix and the roles and responsibilities we are called to take on for the benefit of family, relationships, and community.  There is a compulsive quality to the urge we can feel to manifest our ambitions at this Full Moon, as the Moon is conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and the Sun is conjunct Mars in Cancer.

We bask in the glow of this Capricorn Full Moon in the aftermath of the glorious conjunction between Venus and Jupiter that has been captivating our attention in the night sky for weeks.  Not only is Venus separating from a conjunction with Jupiter at the time of the Full Moon, this Venus and Jupiter conjunction is also separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries.  Since Neptune in Pisces is also forming a sextile to the Full Moon and trine to the Sun and Mars, there is a clear transpersonal activation in this Full Moon to our most pressing issues on a soul level.  The expansive liberation that could have entered your life through Venus, Jupiter, and Uranus recently can be linked to the Sun and Mars in Cancer at this Full Moon through the symbolism of the crab and the molting of its crustacean shell.  Crabs create a new shell for themselves through re-absorbing elements of the old exoskeleton in order to separate the old shell from their skin, and in this symbol we can interpret the crab’s shell as being the personality formed around our soul.  Our soul likewise expands beyond our conditioned, personal identity in order to generate a new sense of self, reabsorbing some elements and shedding others, and this process is slow and in need of patience and nurturing.

The constriction and tension we could feel being compelled to expand beyond the limitations of belief conditioning our past can be seen in another aspect at this Full Moon, the square between Venus and Jupiter with Saturn in Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio is the ruler of this Full Moon and can help in the release of what needs to die and be let go, and the re-structuring of a new form for our personality to live from.   With the Full Moon conjunct Pluto, the aspect of Pluto taught by Jeff Green in his evolutionary astrology is important to keep in mind, as this shows that our personality will be emotionally bound to deep soul patterns we have been attached to.  Self-care may be necessary if we feel overwhelmed by compulsive fixation on anything currently out of reach.  The associated issues can vary from person to person, but the Full Moon being in Capricorn means in general a strong pull toward the role we desire to take responsibility for playing in our community.  Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn holds resonance together at this Full Moon through their capacity to regenerate a more fitting structure for our life and calling, and we can receive a message in how to reformulate plans along these lines.

Cancer silver coin

Cancer silver coin from India dated A.D. 1622–23, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mars in Cancer

This Capricorn Full Moon follows the previous New Moon in Gemini that was connected with a new cycle between the Sun and Mars, and Mars is holding a pivotal place in aspect at this Full Moon.  Mars in Cancer is conjunct the Sun and opposite the Capricorn Moon, and crucially is square to the lunar nodes just as the Full Moon is square to it’s own nodes.  While the Full Moon in Capricorn has a strong pull to resolve its significations with external goals through the North Node in Libra, Mars in Cancer seeks resolution through the South Node in Aries that is closely conjunct Vesta at the time of the Full Moon.  This connection between Mars in Cancer and the South Node of the Moon is further augmented by the fact that Mars is the  transiting ruler of the South Node. As Mars is combust the Sun at an early, more vulnerable feeling stage of its new cycle with the Sun, this potent aspect reveals choices that must be made between desires to satisfy our Self versus feeling compelled to satisfy the needs of the Other in relationships.

In traditional astrology we know Mars is considered to be in it’s “fall” in Cancer, which means among other things that the direct, blood-pumping drive of Mars does not find an easy fit in the sign of the compassionate, considerate Cancer.  The crab (Cancer) has a side-step motion in comparison to the signs of the charging ram (Aries) and venomous scorpion (Scorpio) that Mars favors.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of active initiation, yet significations of Cancer tend to be around creativity and the arts, and creature comforts of home and family, rather than traditionally martial activities.  Part of the conflict involving Mars at this Full Moon could center around wanting to simply relax in comfort and attend to emotional needs versus aggressively pursuing the drive toward goals associated with Capricorn.

Integrating the perspective of evolutionary astrology is helpful to sort out the meaning of Mars square the lunar nodes, as this system of astrology focuses more on the “why” of Mars being in Cancer rather than its “fall.” Jeff Green has taught that Mars in Cancer desires security and safety, and while we have the tendency to seek security through external structures such as career, salary, and validation from relationships, the core lesson to learn here is that to achieve true security we must feel it within without reliance on outside reinforcement.  Until Mars in Cancer develops this inner security, Mars can tend to use the psychic sensitivity and claws of the crab to attempt to control others and manipulate situations in order to achieve its security needs.  The Full Moon in Capricorn conjunct Pluto calls for an evolution of Mars in Cancer to take complete responsibility for our emotions and the actions that come out of our feelings.  Through secure self-determination, we can more full embody the best qualities Mars in Cancer has to offer in terms of being protective, nurturing, compassionate, and empowering toward others.

With Vesta closely conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries and square to Mars in Cancer, we may face challenges in being able to devote ourselves to independent self-focus on our own needs at this Full Moon.  Vesta here suggests that making the time to focus on our own deepest desires instead of attempting to accommodate others inauthentically in our relationships will increase our ability to achieve a genuine sense of inner security.  Connecting Vesta conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries to the fiery conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in Leo that is in trine to both Uranus in Aries and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius,  there is potential for true creative breakthroughs in our works of passion and artistry at this lunation if we consciously make the determined effort of focus.

boat-in-the-moonlight

Boat in the Moonlight by Odilon Redon

There are also strong aspects in this Capricorn Full Moon to both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, suggesting the symbolism of maintaining a workable structure for our boat that will carry us across the oceanic expanse before us.  The Cancer Sun is trine to Neptune in Pisces, and the Moon in Capricorn is sextile Neptune.  Furthermore, Pluto in Capricorn is also in range to a sextile with both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.  All together this suggests striving forward at this full lunation with steps and actions to further develop skills and build forms to work toward manifesting deep dreams and visions.  In combination with the Jupiter conjunction with Venus separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries, these are additional signs of a dynamic leap forward in growth available.

The Venus and Jupiter conjunction in Leo is quincunx to Chiron in Pisces, and the adjustment necessary to bridge the differences between Leo and Pisces can be worked out well in the realm of creativity or the arts.  Now that Saturn has moved back into Scorpio, we also have a return to a trine between Saturn with Chiron in Pisces that can help bring in Uranus to our process through its trine to Jupiter and Venus.  Since Saturn in Scorpio is the ruler of this Full Moon, it opens up an opportunity for giving form to information and inspiration we are receiving from our environment or channeling through concentrated focus.

The importance of concentrated focus is further amplified by Mercury in Gemini applying to a square with Chiron in Pisces.  Mercury is moving direct in Gemini free of its earlier retrograde shadow zone and picking up speed each day.  Chiron is the master teacher in Pisces who can connect his knowledge of star patterns in the sky with the patterns of healing found in the green world, as well as instill discipline and skill building in the martial arts.  Mercury in Gemini is the willing student who can soak up learning and discern profound meaning in the interconnections of multiple disciplines of study.  This aspect is yet another sign of potent growth available by diving into whatever we are passionate about studying, exploring, and developing excellence in, all themes that this Full Moon in Capricorn supports.

2 of Pentacles

Illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn I Decan

The Full Moon in Capricorn falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the 2 of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see a Mercurial juggler or magician playfully dancing while holding the motion of two pentacles in the form of an ouroboros or infinity symbol.  Behind the figure is an ocean in which ships are surging over large tidal waves.  The image expresses the perpetual motion and movement of matter, the procreative spirit contained within the material plane.  Interpretation of this card tends to focus on change and the adjustments required to attend to competing interests in changing circumstances, such as balancing relationship obligations with changing career concerns.  This angle on the card fits well with aspects of the Full Moon, in particular Mars conjunct the Sun in Cancer and square to the South Node of the Moon in Aries and North Node of the Moon in Libra.

Jupiter rules the first decan of Capricorn, which further increases the significance of the conjunction of Venus with Jupiter that is barely separating at the time of the Full Moon.  The visionary quality of Jupiter that helps us find meaning in our life on earth connects to the attributions Austin Coppock gave to the first decan of Capricorn in his book 36 Faces, including the descent of spirit into matter and the corresponding ability of our mind to descend through strata of the natural world (animal, plant, rock/mineral kingdoms) for deepening of understanding.  Coppock explained the changing circumstances of this decan revealed in the image of the 2 of Pentacles as “ultimately a matter of the spirit, floating free, selecting the section of the world in which the drama of its incarnation will take place, and then taking root according to the law of the soil chosen” (p. 211).

Coppock further showed this first face of Capricorn holds not only images of moving across matter, but moving the material plane itself by a”cattle prod” carried by a “bestial man” being Ibn Ezra’s image for the decan.  Coppock stated that while a cattle prod can be used “to drive great forces within the world, such as public opinion, or the direction of an institution,” in the end “the stubborn, heavy, powerful beast is ultimately a layer of self” (p. 211).  Thus this decan holds the complexity set in motion by our attempts to stimulate and manipulate material power, and the vital importance to not only “bring consciousness to these deeper strata” but also to “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course” (p. 212).

The inspirational beauty and reverence for all forms of life you can feel staring at the illumination of Venus and Jupiter joined together in the night sky of this Full Moon is a good start in terms of the quality of consciousness best able to help you make plans and take action in accordance with your highest good.  We carry this beauty forward with us into astrological intensity building in the upcoming waning cycle of this lunation in the next two weeks, culminating with Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the Dark Moon transition to New Moon around July 15, 2015.

CapricornFullMoonWRIGC1

References

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

Cancer Full Moon

826px-Luna_und_ihre_Kinder_-_detail_of_lunar

Luna und ihre Kinder (Detail: Lunar mit Schimmel), Mittelalterliches Hausbuch von Schloss Wolfegg, circa 1480

To feel.  To feel deeply. To feel into the moment wholly, opening fully, being present through unclenching and unclasping without distraction, without our habits of dissociation and ingrained emotional reactions. To unlock our essence in defiance of the surrounding consensus values, beyond the inner conditioning we have clung to from childhood and pivotal peaks like the first breaking of our heart.  We enter 2015 with a full on lunation befitting the goddess Luna we associate with the lunar sign of Cancer,  whole in Her many faces of darkness and light.  Just like a Cancer adrift in remembrances of time past, this Full Moon beckons us to take a glance back at the ruptures from 2014 dissolving in our wake as we turn to face the mystery of our unknown future arriving in our present moment.

Indeed, the Cancer Moon of January 4/5, 2015  is a full polarity of light that triggers the dominant astrology themes of 2014, including the Cardinal Grand Cross and the Pluto and Uranus square.  Squarely impacting fifteen degrees of the Cardinal signs, this Cancer Full Moon falls in the same area of the zodiac lit up by the Cardinal Grand Square of April 2014.  Furthermore, Pluto and Uranus remain in square with Uranus close to the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and the Sun conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and in square to the South Node as well as the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  This means that this Full Moon not only sets off the Pluto and Uranus square, it also triggers the relational lunar node theme of 2014 in Libra and Aries.  Along these lines, this Full Moon is also an important stepping stone from the Lunar Eclipse in Aries that occurred on October 8, 2014 at sixteen degrees, as this Cancer Full Moon squares that past Lunar Eclipse.  Thus Luna is weaving a thread that connects fading hues from 2012 when the Pluto and Uranus series of squares commenced with what we felt bursting from within during the initiating transits of April and October 2014 that dislodged our primal material in need of liberation.

CancerFullMoonWRIGC3

If our feelings are messy, emotions overflowing in crisis, passions held at bay due to our desire out of reach, we can remember this is what it means to be human.  Since consensus culture is increasingly technological and linked via computerized networks, it can seem sometimes that humans have become instruments of a machine and often times more attached to their mobile screen than the people surrounding them. Of course, our emotional beings are not logical and no upgrade exists to make our feelings more efficiently operational, and this is precisely our great human gift.  The year 2014 had numerous astrological transits capable of liberating us from stuck patterns, and the degree to which we either took action or allowed ourselves to surrender to the changes calling us from within reveals how we will be impacted by this Full Moon in Cancer.  If we have been resisting change or realizing in the light of this lunation that we have been attempting to force something to happen that is not meant to be, this Full Moon can be a point to set a new intention going forward and change course.  If we enter this Full Moon already adjusting to how we have been dramatically altering our life structure, we are in a place to receive important insight into how we can deepen further into a more authentic life.

Similarly, our current state of consciousness will color how we experience the dramatic opposition between Mars in Aquarius and Jupiter retrograde in Leo that ushered in 2015.  To me, the great potential of this aspect is an intuitive grasp of not only our personal truth but a clearer sense of what action we need to take in line with our truth, a visionary light blazing a trail in front of us with the desire we need to complete the journey.  There is great global trauma, oppression, violence, and plutocratic control surrounding us, but while earlier watching a Harry Potter movie with my daughters I was reminded of how like the Expecto Patronum spell, we each have a unique brilliance to send out into the world, a pure light from the center of our heart that can dissolve the toxins of our environment attempting to dissipate our energy.  As Jupiter retrograde is also conjunct a Juno that is retrograde in Leo, our love will be a procreative force in this process and our relationships a vital vessel for growth.

Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius can already be witnessed in accordance to numerous current events, and this Full Moon holds a significant aspect between Saturn, Neptune in Pisces, and Black Moon Lilith in Virgo that is yet another sharp aspect demanding adaption.  The square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces is only at it’s beginning stages now, and we will be working with the issues emerging in correspondence during the entire year.  Black Moon Lilith in Virgo forming a t-square with Saturn and Neptune here means we will strongly feel how much our essential self and desires line up with our current reality.  If we feel imbalance, we may feel this so strongly it may feel more than we can bear, and yet this feeling is the fuel we need to draw on to make our life structures line up with our inner truth.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being conjunct Saturn at this time is a powerful ally to aid us in perceiving how we can creatively actualize in order to manifest the aspects of our vision that line up with natural law in the face of unjust human created law.  If we can sidestep the shadow side of falling victim to dogmatic ideology or ideals we talk about being utopian but in actuality are about our own self-interest, then with discipline, concentration, and focus we can take concrete steps to shift structures.

cups03

3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

This Full Moon falls in the second face of Cancer, a decan ruled by Mercury and associated with the Three of Cups in tarot.  The Three of Cups is collaborative and about creating goals that have a common purpose, nurture our inner passion and creativity, and connect us to community for support when facing difficulty.  For those who want to work on activating constructive change in their community, this Full Moon is also a reminder that to be an effective activist requires that you are engaged in a process of working on your own personal issues before putting your energy into others.  The personal issues we need to address are now revealed by the Sun conjunct Pluto and in square to the lunar nodes:  look to the houses and aspects in your birth chart impacted by the Sun and Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, the North Node of the Moon in Libra, and the Full Moon in Cancer.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces described the second decan of Cancer as an alembic incubation, requiring an assertion of protective action to nurture soul development in the tumult of tribulation.  Coppock linked the images of abundant joy associated with the Three of Cups as in the picture above by Pamela Colman Smith with the importance of difficult challenges as they force us to protect what is dear to our hearts and cultivate strength in what brings us joy.  As Mercury is the ruler of this decan, it is fitting in this way that Mercury is conjunct Venus in Aquarius and in sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius at this Full Moon, as these aspects to Mercury in transit increase our capacity to de-condition from repressive influences and to re-structure inspired by liberating influences.

Mercury and Venus are both Evening Stars now visible together during twilight.  Mercury in its Evening Star phase lends us a more deliberate thought process able to reflect and integrate information coming our way, assimilating a message within the context of a long-range perspective.  With this Full Moon, Mercury also prepares to enter it’s retrograde shadow zone, foreshadowing the issues we will face during the Mercury retrograde that will occur from January 21 until February 11, 2015.  Following a New Moon in Aquarius on January 20, Mercury will station retrograde at 18° Aquarius on January 21 and move back to station direct on February 11 at 2° Aquarius. It also means that since Mercury begins to slow down as it approaches its stationing, that Mercury and Venus will remain conjunct over the entire course of the upcoming waning cycle of the Moon- when Mercury stations retrograde at eighteen degrees of Aquarius, Venus will be at twenty-two degrees of Aquarius.  In Aquarius, Mercury and Venus give us an enhanced ability to reach self-knowledge through a more objective and detached perspective that can uproot the causes underlying our current issues.  If there are sources of agitation arising in our life around this Full Moon period, we can celebrate the appearance of Mercury and Venus together in Aquarius as an opportunity for a distillation that can free a sense of individuality within our cultural context.  Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Aquarius now bring the opportunity to share the unique purpose we realize we possess with our wider community.

References

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

Cancer Solstice 2014

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A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon (1942) by Marc Chagall

Happy Solstice! The Sun has centered firmly in Cancer now, and we can all sense how the energy of this June Solstice is settling around us in our environment.  At this moment the Moon has entered Taurus, after a powerful few days in Aries in which the Moon re-triggerred the cardinal cross of April 2014 by being opposite Mars, in square to Pluto, and conjunct Uranus.  At the time of the Solstice, the Moon was in Aries and conjunct Eris and the South Node of the Moon, while again evoking the cardinal cross through being in square to Jupiter in Cancer.  Paying attention to the solstice is always important as far as setting new intentions for our self, yet it can be especially beneficial at the time of the Cancer Solstice to tune in with clarity to our environment, discerning how the vision we have been manifesting in our lives is interfacing with our environment, and the meaning we are bringing into our lives.

In astrology we often take a self-obsessed perspective that everything going on is about our self and our natal chart, when we really know from an ecological perspective the huge impact our environment and community has on us in every moment.  Instead of only considering our inner psychology, patterns, and issues, an ecological assessment in astrology also considers our environmental fit, or how well we are able to manage and adapt to our environment and access the resources we need to live the lives we want to live.  From this perspective, when our behavior is not living up to our authentic intentions, we can consider how much this has to do with being a misfit in our environment in one way or another, instead of solely being about some sort of psychological flaw.  In no way do I mean to suggest that we should not take any responsibility for where we currently our in our lives, or how we are acting.  Instead, I just mean that when we act out of alignment with our authentic self it can have less to do with a character deficiency and more to do with growing discouragement in the face of environmental conditions like gender discrimination, classism, racism, and poverty.  The universe is alive around us, and we are living participants to such an extent that we cannot just isolate ourselves and our birth charts out of our social context.  This is a powerful Solstice to reflect upon our psyche, our ego, our personality, but also what sort of community beliefs, resources, and entities are surrounding us day-to-day and how we are integrating with them.  We may even want to look at how changes in our living environment, even smaller scale actions like re-decorating or re-arranging can help us make a profound shift at this time in manifesting more of our authentic meaning into our collective environment.

This solstice is extremely powerful from an ecological perspective: Chiron in Pisces stationed retrograde at the same time as the solstice, tightly in trine to Saturn in Scorpio and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, widely trine Jupiter in Cancer. In addition to the stationing Chiron,  Jupiter in Cancer is looming especially large on the collective landscape as it is in square to the North and South Nodes of the Moon at the time of the Solstice:

CancerSolstice2014WRIGC1

In the twenty-four hours before the Solstice, the Aries Moon of this Solstice chart re-triggerred the cardinal cross of April 2014 through an opposition to Mars, square to Pluto, and conjunction with Uranus. By the end of the Solstice day, the Moon had travelled through Aries to be conjunct the South Node of the Moon and square to Jupiter in Cancer.  As a result, personal issues associated with the shifting of this past Spring could have re-surfaced for us to deal with, as well as challenges associated with catalytic collective events.  For example, while we have known for a long time about the environmental destruction occurring on our planet, the time of the cardinal cross correlated with definitive scientific evidence of unrelenting arctic ice melt and widespread death of life in our oceans and bodies of water. This is a Chironic wound we are all dealing with in one way or another, some of us literally poisoned with disease by the toxicity of our living environment.

In our personal lives, wherever we have not been taking responsibility for our behavior has likely reared it’s monstrous head for us to either confront or attempt to escape out of fear.  If we have had self-inflicted challenges to face in this past week it is vital for us to gather the courage to responsibly face and manage whatever has arisen.  However, even if we have been doing powerful personal work and taking full responsibility for our lives, most likely we have still experienced some extreme experiences and confrontations from external relationships in this past week, and there are signs these challenges will continue in this next week.  In particular, Mars is approaching a conjunction with Vesta and Ceres in Libra while being in opposition to Uranus in Aries, and Venus is approaching a conjunction with Juno in Gemini while being in square to Neptune in Pisces.  Bearing in mind that Mars is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon, and Venus is the ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon, we can further connect these personal aspects to collective patterns in our global society.  The Mars conjunction with Ceres in opposition to Uranus could be especially volatile, and we will want to caution against incinerating our living environment like an enraged Ceres.  We will want to think of how to effectively release feelings of anger through us in a way that does not completely destroy everything around us. Since everyone around us may be especially quick to the trigger in light of this aspect, we will want to be especially aware of how we are responding to any wounding experiences.  In contrast, the Venus-Juno conjunction in Gemini in square to Neptune in Pisces could be more about disillusionment in our relationships and an attraction to someone outside our current relationship, or instead could be more about the awareness necessary to make changes in our current relationship so that we can become genuinely satisfied.

The gem we can find in recent underworld experiences correlates with the Grand Water Trine between stationing Chiron in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter in Cancer and our capacity to own any projections we are creating, being accountable for our shadow or unconscious wounds from our environment.  Mercury is still retrograde, and even though Mercury retrograde has gotten a bad label in popular culture, we can benefit from the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun that occurred a couple of days before the Solstice to help us consciously shift unconscious thought patterns that have kept us in debilitating habitual reactions so that we can prepare ourselves to make responses to our environment from a centered place of authenticity.

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Angelina Jolie as Maleficent

Eris conjunct the South Node of the Moon

Eris and the South Node of the Moon have slowly been approaching one another, and though you cannot see Eris on the chart I posted above, she is currently at 24 degrees of Aries.  Now that Eris is only three degrees away from the South Node of the Moon, it is interesting that their approaching conjunction was initiated by Jupiter in Cancer passing through in a square.  Furthermore, Eris is also not too far away from an opposition to another powerful goddess in Ceres.  Themes connected to both Eris and Ceres emerge in the film Maleficient that was released this past May and stars Angelina Jolie in a role evoking the dark goddesses of myth.  It is fascinating to me that at this time, none other than Disney would produce a high budget film about a chthonic heroine who has an affinity in our popular culture with the Eris of myth.  Most of us know Eris as the goddess who threw the golden apple that incited events leading to the Trojan War, a curse enacted out of a vengeful feeling of being excluded from an invitation to a divine marriage.  Similarly, in the popular version of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a wrathful fairy who curses the infant princess out of a vengeful feeling of being excluded from an invitation to a royal ceremony.  There are also parallels in Maleficent to the myth of Ceres/Demeter, including an angry Maleficent turning the green of her landscape into death, just like an angry Ceres refused to have anything grow on the planet after her daughter was taken from her.

Eris was discovered in the sign of Aries, and all of us have personal interest in discovering on a deeper level just what exactly Eris in Aries may mean:  this next period of time with Eris being conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries could be very illuminating along these lines.  Our collective unconscious and our consciously collected history of collective events are saturated with cyclic patterns of revenge and violence.  The unconscious destructive side of Eris comes out through a sense of being abandoned, persecuted, excluded, or forsaken, with a feeling that in order to claim power for one’s self means taking power over another either through violence or manipulative actions that lead to great discord.  The film Maleficent to me shows how natural it can feel to become enraged with anger at oppressive forces in our environment that are taking destructive action against what we cherish and love.  It is natural for us to garner the strength to do what we must to protect those we love from danger, but we create even more danger for ourselves when we lose touch with our authentic self in this process and lose control to such an extent that we destroy life with intentional malice.

It may be very appropriate for us to become extremely angry with people in our environment at this time who are wronging  us in one way or another.  However, we will want to remember the true power of the goddess, the full potential of Eris and Ceres, is not in the ability to destroy and create fear of us in others, but rather it is in the power we have in us to stand strong in our full empowerment, in connection with our soul and the soul of everything in our environment.  In the movie the Maleficent character in her wrathful mood feels a need to make herself into a Queen of status, when in reality she always held the natural power without the need for a title or official power over others- she was so powerful that she naturally took the lead and others naturally looked to her for protection and guidance.  The goddess is a goddess of the underworld, a goddess of the earth, and we will want to maintain our connection between our center and the nature surrounding us.  With Uranus opposite Ceres at this time, in range of a conjunction with Eris, we can liberate ourselves from past patterns of needing to take destructive revenge when we have been wronged, and instead use the energy to help others who are also wounded in our environment and take action to manifest what we want to have in our life.  By focusing on what we want to create in our life in order to feel good, to have a sense of purpose we feel passionate about, we will naturally help inspire others in the process.  In the end this will make us happier than if we instead had used all of our energy to plot the destruction of our enemies.

Now is a perfect time to set intentions for yourself in this next three to six months, with awareness of your environment and community. It will be beneficial in this process to consider how to modify the vision you have been developing to be most effective in our current climate. Since there are many oppressive and manipulative forces out there who are determined to get their way at all costs, it may be necessary to develop a strategic plan to make sure you will have the space for your opportunity.  Times are not easy, but there is incredible and important work to be done. Blessings to anyone facing a personal crisis at this time, and blessings to all on this Solstice in June.

 

Venus Retrograde in Capricorn

Psyche_Opening_the_Door_into_Cupid's_Garden

Psyche’s Desire

As 2013 comes to a close with a powerful Dark Moon in Sagitarius, and 2014 begins with a potent New Moon aligned with Mercury and Pluto, we are now over a week inside the portal of our current Venus retrograde cycle in Capricorn.  Venus retrograde cycles are magical portals that take us out of our linear constructs of time, working through the Golden Mean of five cycles every eight years, connecting us back to past Venus retrograde cycles as it simultaneously regenerates profound growth for our future.  In the sign of Capricorn the structure of form is a significant archetypal construct, and the structure of Venus retrograde resembles not only the Golden Mean found throughout nature, but also the five fold form of the Rose and the Star Pentacle.  The magic imbibed into the Golden Mean, Rose, and Pentacle has been well documented in countless esoteric symbols and stories across cultures, but the way this structure plays out in our experience of the Venus retrograde cycle to me goes something like this:  that just as when we look at the glimmering stars at night we are seeing light emanating from different time periods, like time traveling, so can Venus retrograde cycles resurrect patterns and stories of our past we experience from our present moment.  Those of us into astrology are aware of the repeating patterns and stories found within our birth chart, and this same phenomenon of influence can be found in the myths and stories of our world that repeat themselves. While some judge myths as only relating to the culture from which they originate, I feel the myths of Great Mystery transcend cultural boundaries and take us to a realm of perception that connects to our Soul that is beyond the culture our human form was born into at the beginning of our lifetime. A myth of Great Mystery arising of profound significance to me at this time is the story of Eros and Psyche.

We’ll get to the astrology details later, but the synchronicity of astrology asteroid transits is what validated my feeling of Psyche’s story connecting to this current Venus retrograde, as at the time of Venus stationing retrograde the Sun and Mercury were conjunct the Psyche asteroid and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio was conjunct the Eros asteroid, and at the time of Venus stationing direct at the end of January 2014, Venus will not only be conjunct Pluto as has been widely discussed, Venus will be almost exactly conjunct the Psyche asteroid.  Eros at the time of Venus stationing direct does not have a major aspect with Venus, but will have moved into Sagitarius and will be in a square to Neptune in Pisces.  However, at the time of the inferior conjunction of Venus and the Sun on January 11, Eros will be closely conjunct Saturn in Scorpio and in sextile to the Venus and Sun conjunction in Capricorn.  Even without such asteroid synchronicity, however, the story of Psyche and Eros resonates with Venus retrograde cycles as one of the classic interpretations of the story aligns with the astrological meaning of Venus retrograde cycles:  to promote reflection, going within to change our inner Venus relationship with our self in order to change our outer Venus relationship with the world and what we manifest for ourselves in relationships.

Eros and Psyche is a story that has captured popular imagination for ages, such as being integral to some ancient Mystery rituals, and whose themes still today run rampant through popular romance novels, films, and television.  For example, we can feel the presence of Psyche’s agonizing desire in the vampire romance “Twilight” series and the feeling of the heroine Bella that her love and desire for her “monstrous immortal” lover has taken on life or death proportions.  This is the classic romance theme we all know from Romeo and Juliet and many other examples, in which the characters become suicidal when their passionate desire for a lover is taken away, compromised, or seems in danger of ending.  These stories remain popular because so many can relate to having these sorts of feelings at least at some point in their lives- desiring someone to such an extent that it seems as if the world would end if they no longer remain as a being we merge with in passion.  Some of us have even had this obsessive desire arise like a fantasy for someone we have never even been with physically, and never will- and yet something in them sparks a feeling in us that we desperately want to merge with them in passion.  If we are not judgmental about ourselves for having such feelings, others around us normally are, and characters in such stories are routinely judged harshly by many.  Keep in mind, however, that the story of Psyche and Eros is a Great Mystery with meaning that gets more complex the more you sit with it.  Before going further I would like to state my intention that it is important to avoid judging Psyche in order to open ourselves to the deeper meaning of her story, and yet of course I must acknowledge that by writing about this myth and analyzing how it fits into the current moment I am of course judging and projecting my own meaning into the story.  So be it, as these ideas are the exact topics I wish to address.

This Venus retrograde cycle in Capricorn carries some important themes we can explore through the story of Eros and Psyche:  JUDGMENT, INNER AUTHORITY, DESIRE, and PROJECTION, among others.  These themes are present in the story at its beginning, when we meet Psyche, the youngest daughter of a King whose beauty is considered by the people to be so unsurpassed that some begin to worship her as if she were the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. Yet Psyche remains a solitary figure in reception of this tremendous romantic projection from her father’s people, as no one has enough self-confidence to move beyond their romantic fantasy of her into an actual relationship with her.  Even more ominous for Psyche, she ultimately finds herself on the receiving end of the wrath of Aphrodite, as the Goddess of Love erupts with jealousy and indignation over losing the attention of her worshipers for a mere mortal like Psyche.  Aphrodite orders that her son, Eros (also known in versions as Cupid) pierce Psyche with the tip of one of his arrows in order to make her fall in love with some sort of disgusting creature that will bring societal shame to Psyche.  However, Eros instead falls in love with Psyche upon seeing her and devises his own plan to express his passion for her in secret.

As time passes and potential suitors continue to be too fearful to approach Psyche because of her overwhelming beauty, her father the King consults an oracle and is told to abandon his daughter to a high cliff in order to meet her destiny of marrying a monstrous creature- it is at this point that Eros enacts his secret plan as Psyche is carried off by the wind to an idyllic palace in which she is told she will have her every need attended to.  Once inside the palace, Psyche finds herself treated to elaborate banquets, luxurious baths, and other sensual delights.  At night, and every following night, a stranger comes to Psyche in her bedroom and passionately makes love to her- yet Psyche is never allowed to see her lover, let alone get to know on any sort of deep level beyond hedonistic sexual pleasure.

At this point in the story it is important to remember that the version of Eros and Psyche we know finds Eros relegated to his mythic interpretation more common to his Roman version as Cupid, the son of Venus (earlier versions have different fathers, later versions focus on Cupid as being the son of Mars and Venus).  However, in some ancient Greek traditions, Eros is a primordial God who was at the beginning of time along with Chaos and Gaia (such as in Hesiod) and in some versions is even the original Godly form. In these myths Eros is not even portrayed as masculine, but instead is in a form beyond duality definitions of gender.  In the Orphic and Eleusinian Mystery traditions, Eros is seen not so much as primordial, but instead as the progenitor of the human race.  In this version of his story, Eros is the offspring of Night, or Nyx, who mates with the winged Chaos in a dark void to produce the human race.

Together through these myths, we can sense how the Eros we eventually find portrayed as a mischievous Cupid who slings arrows of love to create great drama in human affairs was originally a primordial, chaotic creature of extraordinary power.  At the beginning of our Psyche and Eros story, however, Eros has lost this sense of his own inner authority and instead gives his power away to his mother Aphrodite, allowing her to dictate the terms of his life and boss him around.  However, the passion Eros projects upon seeing the beauty of Psyche calls him to attempt to defy his mother, but only in secret.  Influenced by the negative parental judgment of his mother against Psyche, or perhaps as well his divine societal judgment that Gods are not allowed to enter committed romantic partnerships with mortals, Eros does not claim his inner authority to openly expose and express himself to the object of his desire, Psyche, but instead chooses to worship her body with lustful desire in secret, not allowing her to see or know him.

Judgment continues to influence events in this story as Psyche soon falls prey to the judgments of her sisters who come to visit her in her palace “paradise.” No doubt jealous of the luxurious palatial lifestyle their sister is living, Psyche’s sisters convince her that she must take a knife and a lamp to bed with her so that she can see the monstrous creature that was prophesied to marry her and kill it.  Psyche gives her own authority away to her sisters and does what they tell her to do, only to find with the light of her lamp that her lover is not a hideous monster but is instead the most beautiful creature she has ever seen.  Startled awake by the hot oil of Psyche’s lamp, however, Eros flees the palace in fear and Psyche abandons her secluded palace life to chase after him into the night.  This takes her on a journey away from the palace of Eros, a structure of romantic ideals not unlike a structure of Capricorn, into an arduous journey that opens her up to her authentic emotions and the ultimate ability to freely express her emotional needs in her own authority, not unlike the sign of Cancer, the polarity to the current Venus retrograde in Capricorn.

Giuseppe_Maria_Crespi_-_Amore_e_Psiche_-_t

While Psyche’s desire to finally see her lover Eros with her own eyes, the catalyst for her journey of finding her Self and her True Love, was in some ways influenced by the judgments of her family, I also feel it came from an authentic desire of hers to actually see and know her lover as a real person instead of a fantasy.  After choosing to see the real instead of the fantasy, Psyche finds herself abandoned by a river with a suicidal urge to kill herself.  It is here that she meets the Nature deity Pan who comes to her assistance and is a harbinger of many other beings of Psyche’s surroundings that begin to come to her aid, everything from plants to ants to eagles.  An excellent summary of this part of the story along with depth psychology analysis of meaning can be found here on the Symbol Reader blog (this post would become incredibly long if I go into all the details of the story, so hopefully you can pick up my general intent of meaning by what I include here).  As the story continues, Psyche continually summons the necessary courage to persist while forming a true communion with nature and a psychic openness that can even communicate with the energy of inanimate objects, expressing her needs to her environment and finding that everything from a reed by water below her to a tall tower above her has helpful advice to give her.  These instructions become vital, because on her journey to find Eros, Psyche instead crosses paths with Aphrodite who gives her a series of near impossible tasks to complete before giving the ultimate challenge:  descend to the underworld where no mortal can survive and bring back a beauty ointment belonging to Persephone to give to Aphrodite.

Somehow Psyche succeeds in not only descending to the underworld, but ascending back to the upper-world having successfully received the desired beauty ointment from Persephone.  However, overcome by desire to make herself beautiful for Eros, Psyche decides to open the box of beauty ointment even though she has been told it will put her into a state of perpetual sleep- which it does- but her fall into this dangerous state is what awakens Eros finally to come and revive her with a kiss.  Some judge Psyche for opening the box of Persephone to claim Persephone’s beauty potion for herself, to try to make herself look pretty and pleasing for her man, but again once judgment is removed there are many levels of meaning to this action. Remember that Persephone is the Queen of the Underworld, and the Guide of Souls, and so is guiding Psyche on her journey of Soul, not guiding Aphrodite.  It is also significant that Persephone gave her gift of beauty ointment to Psyche, and not to Aphrodite.  Psyche takes her own authority to anoint herself with the beauty of Persephone, to meet her own need to feel beautiful, sparked by her passion for Eros.  Likewise instead of judging Psyche as being “saved” by Eros like the Disney version of Snow White saved by Prince Charming, we can instead perceive that it is Psyche who helps save Eros. By claiming her own inner authority to defy Aphrodite and claim the gift that Persephone gave to her, for herself, perhaps this is the inspiration Eros needed to finally openly defy Aphrodite and claim his own inner authority to become the open lover of Psyche.  And True Love’s kiss- we have all heard the fairy tales of how this can destroy any curse and create miraculous events in the lives of lovers- is this not the very breath of life (the word “psyche” means “breath” as well as “soul” and “self”) merged with passion (“eros” as a chaotic, primordial, passionate progenitor of form) so that our personality and soul can finally merge through the act of love?  Is there really something to judge about this in any sort of negative way?  At this point in the story of Eros and Psyche there is not, as each is finally truly seeing the other for who they are and are merging their beings in a soulful embrace that ignites the deepest embers of the soul inside each.

Psyche opening box by Waterhouse

It is here at the end, at True Love’s kiss, that Eros and Psyche finally open themselves to the real reality of the true self of one another, instead of seeing one another through a lens of romantic fantasy-  their deep merging of passion and Soul Mate relationship follows.  At this point I would like to share insights I heard in a lecture by Richard Tarnas on romance, astrology, and synchronicity in March of 2012 at the Washington State Astrological Association, as he beautifully summarized a vital lesson we can take from the story of Psyche and Eros. 

In his lecture Tarnas explained how synchronicity, astrology, and romantic love all have the underlying structure in common of an archetypal, synchronistic field, and that Carl Jung’s “self archetype” is constellated by a profound romantic love involving the marriage of opposites, the cosmic marriage of the inner and the outer.  However, since astrology and synchronicity are not openly acknowledged in consensus society, we end up with a heightened desire for romantic love in mainstream culture as romantic love in this consensus worldview carries the entire magical, anima mundi sense of a communion between souls opening up a new universe, an opening that goes beyond the compressed isolation of the Cartesian Ego.  Tarnas pointed out that astrology, synchronicity, and romantic love all (1) have great potential for profound significance, (2) are extremely susceptible to a skeptical negation, and (3) are also susceptible to both projection and illusion.  The theme of judgment I have begun to address through the Psyche and Eros story is important in connection to the danger of negating a divine communion with the other, as Tarnas made the point that Jung and his followers tend to judge romantic love as a projection of the ideal, and there is a tendency among therapists to ask their clients to “own” their projection of romantic desire, saying it’s really something coming from inside their self.  While projection is extremely important to reflect upon as I will continue to discuss in connection to the astrology of this time, it also leads to the potential of negating our connection with a numinous quality through romantic love.  Indeed, in his lecture Tarnas made the argument that if I am carrying the divine inside me, then it is not impossible for a communion of divinities to occur through romantic love in that I am recognizing the divinity of the other as they are recognizing it in me.

How did Tarnas explain how to discern if our romantic desire for the other is a projection?  He said such discernment requires an “I-thou” relationship with the other instead of an “I-it” connection.  This means that projection comes from an “I-it” perception in which we are projecting our own romantic ideals despite who the other really is-  in other words, we are looking at the other as an instrument of our own emotional or sexual satisfaction rather than their actual person-hood.  This is how we end up with an illusionary projection of our own ideal or needs upon the other in spite of who the other actually is, instead of each person actually disclosing their real reality to the other.  In contrast, instead of seeing the other as an “it” who meets our needs or ideals, we connect with their true “self” and as a result open to the potential for a communion of soul or inner divinity to occur through romantic love.

Being open to this sort of communion in my opinion means that we work with the astrological polarity of Capricorn to Cancer brought by the current Venus retrograde, and learn to fulfill and nurture our own emotional needs when possible, but also importantly to learn to express and communicate our emotional needs to others without blocking ourselves for fear of being judged or shamed.  The importance of having compassion for our psyche and feelings of fantasy that can arise has been illuminated by James Hillman, who actually used the story of Eros and Psyche as the core myth behind his contrast of the traditional development of Depth Psychology with his own conception of Archetypal Psychology. Instrinsic to Hillman’s idea of Archetypal Psychology is compassion and acceptance of Psyche, the Psyche of myth as well as the feelings and sensations of our own Psyche:

“Psyche into life” can be put in many ways. Most simply I mean the freeing of psychic phenomenon from the curse of the analytical mind.  This involves reflection upon the analytical mind, realizing its predilections for psychopathology and the fact that psychology has become a massive yet subtle system for distorting the psyche into a belief that there is something “wrong” with it and, accordingly, for analyzing its imagination into diagnostic categories.  Moving the psyche into life means moving it, not from its sickness, but from its sick view of itself . . . The helping professions- education, social work, pastoral counseling, psychotherapy- all must envision suffering and illness as something “wrong.”  They have a vested interest in psychology as it is now conceived. They must see sickness in the soul so they can get in there and do their job.  But suppose the fantasies, feelings, and behavior arising from the imaginal part of ourselves are archetypal in their sickness and thus natural.  Suppose they are authentic, belonging to the nature of man; suppose even that their odd irrationalities are required for life, else we wither into rigid stalks of reason. –James Hillman, The Myth of Analysis: Three Essays on Archetypal Psychology, pages 3 – 4

Hillman highlights in this work that “we discover a sense of soul in the sufferings of psychopathology” (p. 4-5), and so we can move with our psyche into life with its “sickness,” so to speak, instead of giving our power over to a therapist in analysis or trying to repress feelings in order to fit into the “real world” of society.  I don’t mean to suggest by any means that one should avoid entering therapy with a therapist- however, the current Venus retrograde in Capricorn is a further sign of the danger we can cause for ourselves by judging our feelings and fantasies through a lens of shame and guilt.  The story of Psyche and Eros carries the potential of us connecting with our inner divinity, our soul, and even true love by learning to express our authentic emotions without shame and guilt, as Psyche and Eros each learn to do.

In Evolutionary Astrology as taught by Jeff Green, the Capricorn archetype  that connects with our current Venus retrograde in part involves the structure of form, the phenomenon of time and space which connects with our sense of mortality and the limitations of form and structure.  This sense of structure in the Capricorn archetype leads to the collective organization of people into societies with consensus laws that lead to social expectations, bringing us to the concepts of conformity and resulting guilt or shame one can feel from breaking free of consensus conformity.  Venus in the sign of Capricorn as a result can become controlled or cautious in expressing their emotional needs not because of lacking deep feelings- instead it is actually the opposite, Venus in Capricorn underneath carries enormous magnetism and passion-  but there can be trepidation to share feelings and needs because of a fear of rejection or false judgment.  When we have not had our emotional needs met in childhood, or experienced either rejection or wrong judgment from our parents or other early authority figures, we  can end up with emotional needs as adults that have become incredibly distorted and exaggerated because of being displaced from a childhood in which our sense of having an inner authority was suppressed or broken in some manner.

As a result as adults we can develop a tendency to then have a fear of expressing our true emotional needs for fear of being judged, and our own internal conflicts with our own sense of inner authority can lead us to attract partners into our lives who play out the role of a controlling, dominating, judgmental, or hypocritical authority over us.  Venus retrograde in Capricorn will give us the opportunity to utilize the Capricorn gift of structure to reflect upon the nature of imprinting we received from our parents and early development in the society we were born into, in order to gain awareness for how we have developed our current self-image so that we can now re-structure our inner relationship with our self in greater alignment with our authentic emotions and needs.  With this Venus retrograde in Capricorn happening inside the context of an intense Cardinal Grand Cross (Libra Mars opposite Uranus in Aries, both in square to Jupiter in Cancer opposite Pluto in Capricorn along with Mercury, the Sun, and the Moon at the moment) we may gain a visceral sense of a vast emptiness we have inside of us from not having our emotional needs met in the past, an inner void we attempt to fill with obsessions or addictions of one sort or another- this is the same source a lot of our romantic projections can come from that are more about a fantasy of having our emotional needs met more so than intimacy with the actual reality of the person we desire, or a projection that is more about having someone else meet our needs instead of doing the hard inner work to nurture the needs inside of us that we are actually responsible for.  Of course, this dynamic can also play out in other ways, such as an overcompensation in which we attempt to control others or events in a role of an external authority, leading to a tendency to attract relationships that are dependent upon us, mirroring our own actual need to have someone take care of our own needs.  Whatever internal dynamics are at play inside of us at this time, with inner attention it will be possible to reach profound realizations of how our inner world is impacting the external world we are experiencing.

It is notable that Jeff Green was born with a Scorpio Venus retrograde on his Ascendant, and so his perspective of how the Venus retrograde cycle connects with the evolution of our connection with our soul comes from his own unique experience:

[Venus retrograde] is a very significant time for all individuals on Earth because it will correlate to a time frame in which we must reexamine and reflect on the overall nature of our reality.  The intention in this is to become aware of what we no longer need in our lives- the dynamics or circumstances that are now counterproductive to our need to grow and move forward.  At the same time, it creates an awareness of what we do need in order to move forward . . . [it can also] correlate to a time in which we re-experience old issues or dynamics that we may have felt that we have already worked through or left behind.

–Jeff Green, Pluto Vol. II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationship, pp. 202-3

With Venus retrograde in Capricorn, this will utilize the Cardinal sign archetype of moving backwards in order to move forwards, in part through possibly having old wounds, memories, and issues dredged up for us to reflect upon.  Since Venus is in Capricorn, we can utilize the self-determination of Capricorn to not drown in past emotional wounding but instead use the awareness for how we have developed our current self-image to de-condition ourselves from this past process so that we can then re-create a new self-image that aligns with our true self-empowerment.  With the recent trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio, and a Cancer Jupiter that is widely opposite Capricorn Venus, we will have greater capacity to re-create a new self-image that will facilitate us integrating into society in a new way that aligns with our actualized self or intrinsic individuality.  Important in this Capricorn process of Venus will be the removal of guilt associations from our past conditioning, so that we can freely express our emotional needs without restriction or fear of rejection or judgment.

In the story of Psyche and Eros, I feel that Psyche’s time in the castle of Eros was like a time spent in a Capricorn structure of her conditioned societal needs- having great wealth, overflowing food and luxury, and erotic sex every night.  When she leaves the structure Eros secretly created to express his desire for her without claiming his own inner authority to defy his mother Aphrodite, Psyche is thrown into trials and tribulations that open her to her deepest emotions and vulnerability, not unlike a journey into the Cancer polarity of Capricorn.  More than once Psyche overflows with emotion and vulnerability near water, and learns to express her needs to her environment while also surrendering herself to an allowing of what life is bringing to her. To me, there is an emotional integrity and emotional authenticity she gains that is not unlike the Queen of Cups in the tarot.  In fact, while contemplating this article I have had a few images come to mind of a Queen of Cups tarot card integrating the image of Psyche overcoming her trials and tribulations through psychic sensitivity and emotional authenticity.

This brings us to the astrological meaning of the Psyche asteroid, which Demetra George has viewed as “a higher octave of Venus, expressing a refinement of personal love and psychic attunement to another” (George, p. 188).  According to Demetra, when we follow the path of Psyche we find that “conscious relationship provides a path to spiritual illumination,” and in our birth charts the Psyche asteroid symbolizes our “capacity for psychic sensitivity to the mind and feelings of another person” (George, p. 188).  In contrast, Demetra has viewed the Eros asteroid as representing “passionate desire” and the “masculine sexual force . . . and generative masculine power which brought the world into creation” (George, p. 189).  If you do not like ascribing the term masculine to Eros, in remembrance of the original multi-gender nature of this deity, I do feel it is important to associate Eros much more with an active yang energy in interpretation more so than the receptive yin energy embodied by Psyche.  Demetra also has described Eros as a “higher octave of Mars,” and that he symbolizes “one’s passion, sexual attraction, sexual preference, and vital energy . . . the need to continuously recreate the excitement of falling in and being in love” (George, p. 189).

This idea of Psyche being a higher octave of Venus and Eros a higher octave of Mars makes them even more significant to the current astrological climate with regards to the transit of the lunar nodes.  Currently we are finishing the transit of the South Node of the Moon in Taurus, ruled by the transiting Venus in Capricorn that has now gone retrograde.  At the same time we are concluding the transit of the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, ruled in traditional astrology by transiting Mars that is currently in Libra.  In February of 2014 we will have a transition of lunar nodes to the South Node of the Moon entering the sign of Aries, meaning that the transiting Mars in Libra will become the ruler of the transiting South Node, as the North Node of the Moon enters the sign of Libra (it will even do this conjunct Mars in Libra) meaning that Venus will become the ruler of the transiting North Node.  Not long after this transition, Mars will station retrograde, so we end up with a phenomenon with this transition of lunar nodes with the ruler of the South Node, first Venus and then Mars, being retrograde.  If that did not completely confuse you, it means in part a heightened intensity of processing past patterns in all of our relationships, including our inner relationship with our Self and how this is projected outward in our relationships.

Finally, I want to include a few astrology charts to point out where exactly the Psyche and Eros asteroids have been in the context of the greater whole.  Below is a chart for the December Solstice of 2013, the same day that Venus stationed retrograde, the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.  When looking at this chart, you can place Eros at roughly six degrees of Scorpio and Psyche at  twenty-eight degrees of Capricorn:

DecemberSolstice2013WRIGC1As you can see, therefore, exactly when Venus stationed retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013 in full-expression of the Sea-Goat, at the very end of Capricorn, she did so with Psyche conjunct the Sun and Mercury at their mid-point, with Eros conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio. Electrifying the intensity of Venus at this time was the catalyst planet Uranus stationing direct a few days earlier at the height of a Full Moon aligned with the Galactic Center.  At this time of the December 17 Full Moon, the Psyche asteroid was conjunct the Sun by one degree at 26 Sagitarius, at the same time also conjunct the Galactic Center.  At this Full Moon the asteroid Eros was conjunct the North Node of the Moon by four degrees, at 3 degrees of Scorpio. And so began the forty day journey of Venus carrying the sacred fool energy of Uranus into the underworld, an expedition that will take us from the Solstice all the way to our next cross-quarter holy day of Candlemas on January 31 when Venus will station direct conjunct Psyche and Pluto and in opposition to Jupiter. At this time of Venus stationing direct, it is fascinating that the Eros asteroid will have entered the sign of Sagitarius and will be in a significant square to Neptune in Pisces-  this aspect relates to experiences or reflections that ultimately will help us liberate ourselves from conditioned romantic patterns of our personal and collective past.

Finally, I will end with the chart of the potent New Moon occurring on January 1, 2014 that ushers in the year of 2014 with a Cardinal Grand Cross that will have a huge influence on events of the next year.  You can place the Psyche asteroid into this chart at roughly three degrees of Capricorn, widely conjunct the New Moon and widely square to Uranus, and more closely in trine to the South Node of the Moon in Taurus.  You can place Eros into this chart at roughly fifteen degrees of Scorpio, in trine to Jupiter and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, and more widely in trine to Chiron in Pisces.  Eros at this time is entering into a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio that significantly will become exact around the time of the inferior conjunction of Venus and the Sun around January 11, 2014:

NewMoonNewYear2014WRIGC1This New Moon is all the more powerful because another figure who has more experience descending to the underworld and ascending back to the upper-world, Mercury, will be conjunct both the New Moon and Pluto, widely also conjunct Psyche.  Mercury at this time is still combust the Sun having just experienced his superior conjunction with the Sun- he is moving so fast, so close to the Sun from our perspective, that we may be flooded with so much information it may be difficult to process the insights occurring at this time.  However, powerful insight into the deep nature of our Self is available at this time.  This is an incredibly opportune moment to clear what needs clearing from our past, and to set intentions for our future to step onto our authentic path like Psyche.  Eros awaits us.

Eros_bobbin_Louvre_CA1798

References

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

Green, Jeff. (2009). Pluto Volume II:  The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.

Hillman, James. (1960). The Myth of Analysis: Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology. Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd.

Tarnas, Richard. (March 2012). Lecture on Astrology, Synchronicity and Romantic Love. Washington State Astrological Association.

Ceres Sun Leo / Full Moon Aquarius

Venus of Laussel

Ceres at the Crossroads

The legacy of Goddesses in all Her forms will be lit by the Full Moon in Aquarius occurring on August 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, as Ceres will be conjunct the Sun and Mercury in Leo at the time of the lunation.  This Full Moon will be about us recovering our authentic creative Self, a process which involves a Shadow integration that has it’s roots in the story of Goddesses.  Ceres is a dwarf planet that has the Roman name of the Greek Goddess Demeter, who is commonly known as a Goddess of fertility and the earth, but in more ancient times was also known as the Mother of the Dead, similar in a way to the Sumerian Mother of the Underworld, Ereshkigal (Shlain, p. 31).  The “Venus of Laussel” above was discovered in a cave in Southern France and believed to be at least 22,000 years old, from a time in which Goddesses were sacred to the hunter-gatherer people of the time on Earth.  Researchers into myths of the Goddess such as Anne Barin and Jules Cashford (The Myth of the Goddess) believe that there were two prominent myths of the time, one involving a Mother Goddess who was linked to fertility, the sacredness of life, transformation and rebirth, and a second myth involving a Hunter who was more connected with survival, including the ritual act of taking life in order to survive (Shlain, p. 31).

Ceres is an archetype that not only goes all the way back to the original Great Mother, but also moving forward through time she encompasses many of the most prominent Goddesses of myth such as Isis and Hekate.  Eventually, around the time documented by Homer or so, Ceres as Demeter became a Goddess who was regulated to being simply a sister of Zeus/Jupiter, instead of his Great Mother.  This is in part due to invasions of the ancient Matriarchal cultures of Goddesses by invaders who became increasingly Patriarchal over time and re-wrote myths from the perspective of masculine Gods holding power over the Goddesses, bringing some cross-pollination to myth between cultures of the time in the process.  As a result, we can see many parallels in the myths between cultures who came into contact, such as the fact that Isis made Osiris whole again by synthesizing his fragmented pieces of his body together again, and in other myths Demeter (Isis) put the severed limbs of Dionysus (Osiris) back together again (Jung, p. 237).  In his book, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, author Leonard Shlain constructed a theory proposing that the development of alphabets and written records coincided with the subjugation of Goddesses and the ascendancy of Gods as sitting atop the hierarchical power pyramid of myth:

Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, presided over what had traditionally been considered the quintessential feminine essence:  water.  Many bulls inhabited his home in the deep.  The image of a bull inside a body of water or in an underground labyrinth is evocative of the female’s reproductive organs.  In the myth that precipitates Cadmus’s fateful journey to Greece, a bull carries a terrified young woman out to sea on his back. Initially, she trusted the intentions of a creature that had been associated with her gender for eons.  Zeus chose to rape her at Crete, the island culture consecrated to the Goddess.  Europa’s violation by a feminine totem is allegorical:  it is the incident that initiates the mythical transfer of the alphabet from Phoenicia to Greece.  With the beginning of alphabetic writing, women would have reason to fear the bull, which came to represent lustful virility.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 125

Shlain further depicts mythic plot lines developing in accord with the work of Homer, whose stories such as The Illiad “glorifies masculine values and denigrates feminine ones,” as it is focused upon “the deeds of men, and the story line is drenched in male-death consciousness”  (Shlain, p. 127).  The oppression of Goddesses becomes even more apparent when we consider how Gods became more important to the birth/release of many Goddesses more so than a Mother Goddess, such as Aphrodite being born from the severed testicles of Uranus by Kronus, Athena being released into the world from the head of Zeus, and Demeter, Hera, and Vesta being freed by Zeus from the belly of their father Kronus who had devoured them:

The birth stories of these three goddesses [Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena]- remnants of the Magna Mater- are so peculiar that they could only have been devised by a male mind intent on changing the perceptions of society.  Each goddess emerged from the insides of a male, though this required convoluted plot twists . . . Not only did all three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, enter the world by way of a man instead of through the birth canal of a woman, but none of these examplars of the Great Mother was nutured during childhood by a mother.  This resulted in the paradox that these three representatives of the Great Mother were themselves motherless!  New myths are frequently imposed on a culture by the needs of a dominant ruling class.  What better way to discredit women’s roles in the creation of life, and by extension, the Great Goddess, than to have your goddesses born of gods?  The Iliad, the Theognis and the Old Testament turn barnyard commonsense upside down by asserting that birthing is a man’s job . . . The death throes of the Great Mother can be read between the lines of these sexist credos.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 130-131

Ceres being such an vital aspect of the herstory of myth on our planet is significant at this time, as in astrology we are experiencing a Full Moon in Aquarius, with the Leo Sun being conjunct the planet Mercury as well as the “dwarf” planet Ceres.   The Leo Sun and Ceres have actually been conjunct this entire past week during a lot of intense astrological energy, with Jupiter in Cancer in a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and coming into a first quarter square with Uranus in Aries, plus the Grand Water Trine we have been talking about still occurring, now more prominently involving Jupiter in Cancer, Chiron in Pisces (with Neptune), and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio (with Saturn).  Demetra George is my favorite author concerning the astrological meaning of Ceres, and many of the issues that Demetra associated with Ceres in her book Asteroid Goddesses are connected with the modern oppression of women and femininity that have clear connections to the mythstorical oppression of Goddesses by Gods.  For example, as Ceres is a Goddess of food and nourishment, she can be connected with the eating disorders many modern women have experienced, disorders that are connected to a psychological complex rooted in misogyny and the oppressive depiction of women in media such as movies, commercials, and popular music.

Demetra also analyzed how the pre-Hellenic versionof Ceres was a universal archetype of the Great Goddess that emerged in Crete and Greece in association with figures such as Isis, Ishtar, Inanna, Gaia, Rhea, and Tara.  Ceres as the Great Mother in Crete was integral to fertility rituals such as being the corn priestess at the Autumn Equinox who lays with her lover Iasion in a field in order to birth Plutus, who was the god of wealth found in the Earth, “a symbol of that rich bounty that the earth produced when it was so honored by the Sacred Marriage” (George, p. 45).  In the later versions of myth, however, after Demeter takes her younger lover Iasion out to a field during the marriage ceremony of Cadmus and Harmony, Zeus angrily strikes him dead with a bolt of lightning upon discovery.

Similar to this re-write of the myth, Demetra George also described how it was not until Homer’s Hymn to Demeter that the rape of Persephone appears in myth, as it had “no precedent in the earlier cult versions” (George, p. 45):

Historically, Persephone’s rape symbolizes the power struggle that was occurring between the patriarchal cultures (Pluto) and the indigenous matriarchal goddess cults (represented by Ceres).  The final outcome of the story points to a clear victory for the northern Zeus worshippers.  The Great Mother not only had to stand by and watch her daughter being raped and abducted, Ceres was also forced to share her beloved Persephone with the enemy.  Hence, she had to abdicate a portion of her powers over the birth and death rituals, a dominion that was eventually wrestled from her in its entirety.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 45

In the popular version of the Persephone myth, Ceres/Demeter is no longer identified with the powers associated with Hekate, and in fact Ceres deep in grief comes into contact with Hekate, looking for guidance.

HekateHekate

Hekate is often depicted as a crone goddess representative of the triple goddess, a goddess of the moon, magic, and plant medicine, a goddess who stands at the crossroads.  In stunning synchronicity to today’s full moon in Leo and Aquarius, Hekate in the Persephone myth directs Ceres to seek guidance from Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Ceres the knowledge that Pluto took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Today at the time of this Full Moon, many of us are standing at our own crossroads, coming into knowledge of the root causes or sources of intense personal issues and experiences that are coinciding with the intensity of outer planet transits we have been experiencing:   in particular that  Jupiter in Cancer has now come into the full first quarter phase of it’s square with Uranus in addition to a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.

But what does this mean, you may ask?  For one, Jupiter in Cancer, considered an exalted aspect by ancient astrologers, entering such intense aspects with outer transpersonal planets difficult for us to integrate on a personal level but which consistently correlate with cataclysmic and paradigm shifting events in our human collective, has been coinciding with many of us having to realize once again how many of our beliefs we hold dear are ultimately speculative in nature.  I am not debating that there is an actual Truth, only that we humans tend to believe what we believe and on this level of relativity two people can view and interpret the same experience completely differently, arguing from a perspective rooted in belief systems that on the surface seem to hold no common ground.  This experience can feel especially debilitating when one is feeling oppression from a belief system connected to a dominant culture that one knows is not actually the Truth, but which still holds tremendous power of control over us nonetheless (or at least will try to control us).  We could be finding ourselves in a similar position to Ceres, enraged at the violation to our own divine femininity inside of us.  However, the version of her myth involving the descent of Persephone to the underworld also holds an important moral lesson, as Ceres had been extremely possessive of Persephone prior to her descent, and she reacted to the loss of her daughter with anger and bitter vengeance, refusing to nourish the Earth with food, flowers, and vegetation out of protest.  Ultimately, Ceres had to come to a place of letting go of her attachment to having Persephone with her at all times, as well as come back to a place of being productive with her unique calling and gift of food and nourishment that sustains life on our planet.  This does not mean we need to be mushy and passively accepting of oppression we experience or witness, but it does mean that we can be more productive and effective when acting from our hearts instead of out of anger or bitterness.  Going through the raw pain of crises does at least give us an opportunity to open more of our heart in the end of the process if we do our deep work.

As a result it is fascinating to me that the Sun has been conjunct Ceres at this exact time, an event that typically is not drawing a huge amount of attention from astrologers, although it most likely will be briefly mentioned in numerous “Full Moon reports,” such as something along the lines of “mother issues” or “baking bread” for someone.  Traditional astrologers barely even acknowledge Ceres, as they have a deep learning of astrology that can work limited to only the original seven planets of the Sun through Saturn.  However, even amongst the modern late 20th Century astrologers who have taken great leaps of thought with our ancient study of astrology, with the exception of Demetra George and others of like-mind, Ceres has not been developed to a great extent as an astrological archetype.  Astrologers do use her, but I find that she tends to draw less attention as a general rule, and many question the validity of even paying much attention to her in the first place.

ceres

One reason many question using the asteroids (although again, Ceres is not even an asteroid! She is now a dwarf planet on the same level of Pluto!) is why we should integrate the myth of a particular culture with a particular myth, to an asteroid that some astronomer just chose to give a certain name to.  However, in answer to this argument Ceres has a knowing smile.  At the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology conference near Portland, Oregon I witnessed Demetra George giving an electrifying talk about the mythology and astrological significance of Ceres, following a trip Demetra took taking astrology students to the specific locations of the myth.  Demetra shared with us that when Ceres was discovered in 1800 by the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, she was discovered in an astro-lab that was near the exact site of Persephone’s abduction in myth.

In actuality, although Ceres has still not generated a tremendous amount of astrological writing, since the 2006 astronomical controversy in which Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status, and Ceres was elevated to dwarf planet status, Ceres is today on the same level playing field as the other celestial bodies that modern astrologers tend to obsess over since Pluto isn’t going anywhere in terms of astrological significance.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George presented an ingenious thesis for the astrological meaning of Ceres that I have found is deeply compelling and typically makes sense in the context of natal birth charts.  In this book Demetra associated Ceres with the signs of Cancer (nurturing issues), Virgo (productivity issues), and the Taurus-Scorpio axis (issues of attachment and letting go for transformation).

Again, as I spent time outlining the subjugation of the Great Mother for a reason, it is important to take our Ceres placement in our birth charts in consideration of the context of the oppression of women in our global culture and the effect this has had on our individual growth and development.  For example, Demetra George brought up the fact that hospital births in which the infant is separated from the mother in a sterile and isolated hospital crib first came into dominance in the 1930s, and as a result contributed to the plethora of relationship issues that have been handed down to ensuing generations since that time.  If we do not receiving the nurturing we need as an infant, a child, and/or an adolescent, we in turn have difficulty nurturing others in relationship, including our own children, and as a result a psychological complex such as an “attachment disorder” can be transmitted down the line of generations of family karma.  It is possible, however, with deep work and processing, to overturn complexes like attachment disorders we can become stuck to in our development, and as we each do our own unique personal work in this manner, and support others in their own deep work along these lines, we can help add to a great paradigm shift of anti-oppression work in the world around us.

When we talk about integrating our Shadow into helping us actualize our unique Self, this is exactly what we are talking about:  becoming aware of the rejected feminine aspects of ourselves (even if we are a macho dude) that have been cast off or suppressed in the face of cultural conditioning.  With Ceres lined up with the Sun and Mercury in Leo at this time of a Full Moon in Aquarius, we have a clear sign from above that a more authentic version of our actualized creative Self could become available to us at this time.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George wrote the following about having Ceres in the natal birth sign of Leo:

Ceres in Leo people identify nurturance with self-expression.  Ideally, the parents will foster in the child a sense of pride, confidence in his/her abilities, and an appreciation for the creative efforts of others.  These people can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity-  thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.  Self-acceptance is based upon one’s ability to create and share something he/she takes pride in.  The inability to do so may bring self-rejection and a lack of self-confidence.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p.  64

Since we are at a Leo-Aqurius lunation, it brings up the natural square to the Taurus-Scorpio axis that Demetra George wrote about Ceres ruling, associating it with issues of abandonment and attachment.  The reason people enacted Eleusinian rites of death for so long based upon the myth of Ceres and Persephone was to overcome a fear of death in the collective, as well as perhaps to gain a sense of the transformation and regeneration available in the process of death.  In Esoteric Astrology, Alan Oken and others have talked about the significance of the Taurus-Scorpio axis involving a death and destruction of form that helps humans open themselves to the heart-centered opening of the fixed cross.  It is through death of form, of learning to let go of attachment and experience rebirth, that we learn to open our hearts as well as come into closer contact with our Soul nature:

To prepare for the moment of death, one must learn to experience “little deaths” every day through the process of letting go.  While letting go may seem frightening at first, it is actually a necessary part of the cycle of life/death/renewal.  In this transformative process, nothing new can be reborn until something old first dies.  Thus, whenever we cling to a person, thing, or situation that has outlived its purpose, we only prevent ourselves from experiencing the abundance of renewal.  At this point, a Ceres transit will inevitably come along, denoting our need to confront our fears of dying and to realize the truth of the Ceres-Scorpio death secret-  that release is the precursor to rebirth.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 55

Back in February of 2013 during a time of incredible planetary Pisces energy, Mercury and Ceres both stationed retrograde in square to one another-  Mercury around 20 degrees of Pisces, Ceres around 20 degrees of Gemini.  Since Mercury is now conjunct both Ceres and the Sun in Leo at this time, if we have been doing the work to let go of what has served its purpose, we may be experiencing a renewal of energy.  In contrast, if we have held on tightly to something that has outlived its purpose, we may be experiencing an intense climax of energy requiring us to make a definitive decision to let go of what is clogging up the process of transformation that could otherwise be available.

This point of 20 degrees of Gemini that Ceres previously stationed retrograde at this year is significant as it is the Heliocentric north node of Ceres.  During her talk on Ceres at the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, Demetra George pointed out that Ceres has Heliocentric nodes in square to the nodes of Juno and Pallas Athena, all on the mutable cross:  Ceres at 20 degrees of Gemini (north) and Sagitarius (south), Pallas Athena at 23 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south), and Juno at 20 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south).  As in traditional astrology this means that all three of these Godesses have Heliocentric north nodes ruled by Mercury, and south nodes ruled by Jupiter, Demetra synthesized that the evolution from “faith to reason” is at the evolutionary core of the feminine in our solar system.  At first I was surprised to hear this, as it seemed to suggest the divine feminine should become more rational and less intuitive, and then upon more thought I realized that this would be exactly the evolutionary point.  Thus the divine feminine could gain strength through developing its rational side while drawing upon its great powers of faith, not neglecting its intuitive abilities.  Becoming more rational, developing the ability to objectify our experiences instead of being overridden by emotional responses to our experiences, ultimately will help all of us come to a better understanding of the oppression the Shadow side of our Self has experienced.  As a result, we can ultimately realize and actualize more of our whole Self in the world, coming into a stronger embodiment of our unique power of creation and expressing more of the full Virgo sense of productivity associated with Ceres.  This also means carrying the Leo-Aquarius meaning of this Full Moon out into appreciation and sharing in joy of the work of other creators around us, instead of viewing other creators with envy, jealousy, or competitiveness.  Enjoy this Full Moon and soak up its lunar rays!

Ceres statue

References

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

Jung, Carl. (1967 edition revised from original 1912). Symbols of Transformation. Bollingen.

Shlain, Leonard. (1998).  The Alphabet versus the Goddess:  the conflict between Word and Image.  Viking.