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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
As 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:
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron
Imagination can be the source of our pleasure, perhaps is our most important human gift, and yet it can also be our downfall when we choose to hide from the challenges life is presenting us for growth and greater strength by sealing ourselves off in an isolated fantasy of safety. Grand Water Trines like we have been experiencing are often described as beautiful opportunities to experience ecstasy, but unless we are in a position to do little else than drift off in relaxation, we will have a hard time adequately responding to the harsher life events appearing in our life if we do not have a handle on managing our feelings. This has been particularly the case this Summer, since there has also been a square aspect occurring between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and our intense experiences that have correlated with this could have transformed that same blissful hope of the Grand Water Trine into a feeling of drowning in a flood of unconscious emotional turbulence. In a sense we are learning to swim in a new way for a new time, and as the current Grand Water Trine between Cancer Jupiter, Scorpio Saturn, and Pisces Neptune eventually shifts into another Grand Trine between Pisces Chiron, Scorpio Saturn, and Cancer Jupiter, our current experiences will hopefully help us develop a more effective ability to manifest what we truly want to have happen in our lives. Since we are experiencing a Saturn in Scorpio during this time, any crises or intense emotional connections we are experiencing are forcing a realization within us of vitally important aspects of our feelings to not only recognize, but also to investigate and attempt to purify or transform.
When examining birth charts with Grand Water Trines, the general rule is that it takes some stressful aspects like we have been experiencing collectively with Pluto and Uranus, in order to activate an effective use of the trine’s potential by the individual. A powerful example of a person with these aspects in his birth chart is Kurt Cobain, who was born with a Grand Water Trine between Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, and Saturn, Chiron, and Venus conjunct in Pisces, activated by a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus in Virgo in opposition to his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron. In Kurt’s biography, we can see the isolated imaginative aspects of this astrology in his devotion to spending hours everyday building intricate sculptures out of clay and thrift store purchases that would amaze the people he had let into his life, only to destroy them upon completion. As far as cleaning his house or organizing aspects of his living environment, Kurt was always described as being a lazy dweller in clutter, yet at the same time we can also see how his Grand Water Trine was effectively activated by Pluto and Uranus in his obsessive desire to practice music with his band every single day, and in his ability to infuse extraordinary Soul power into his musical expression.
To be honest dear reader, I’ve been looking for an astrological excuse to write about Kurt Cobain for quite some time. However, now that the Grand Water Trine between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune has been activated by Jupiter in Cancer coming into an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, I genuinely think that Kurt can be a helpful point of focus in working with these energies. This is especially the case recently since the dark moon phase this past weekend had a Cancer Moon combined with Jupiter in forming the trine with Neptune and Saturn, as well as the opposition and square with Pluto and Uranus. Kurt Cobain was born with a water trine of a different sort, with a Scorpio Neptune and a Pisces Saturn, but he did have currently relevant natal placements of Jupiter in Cancer, the Moon in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces. His life trajectory reveals the positive power available with the grand water trine to manifest inner visions into reality that can help dissolve the very structures of that consensus reality, as well as the negative potential that can come from an unintegrated and unprocessed shadow side of the water element. It is sad to think that he would be experiencing a nodal opposition at this time (this happens when the transiting South Node of the Moon conjuncts your birth chart’s North Node of the Moon, and the transiting North Node conjuncts your South Node) if he were alive, since he is no longer with us. However, with the mark he left behind he will always be with us, similar in a generational way to the figure of John Lennon who also left a body before becoming an elder. His birth at the time of the Pluto-Uranus conjunction (the same time John Lennon released “Strawberry Fields Forever” as a Beatle) helps to seal his fate in this manner, as research by Richard Tarnas has shown that many key figures born at conjunctions and oppositions of Pluto and Uranus come into later prominence during astrologically resonant eras. For example, Kurt became famous during the conjunction between Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn in the early 1990s with Pluto in Scorpio, and he has remained popular with the generation that was born at that time.
I am writing this post from my parent’s home near Atlanta, Georgia which is fitting because it is the same house I lived in when attending high school and discovered the work and life of Kurt Cobain. Hearing Kurt Cobain’s music was an aesthetic epiphany for me, but not really any different on a pure musical level than the first time I heard the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur, Jr (the Lou Barlow You’re Living All Over Me version). What set Kurt Cobain apart from the rest for me was the quality of his voice, and especially reading his interviews. Listening to the voice of Kurt Cobain at the time felt like coming into contact with someone from the same planet or star system, a voice that gave a calming effect to my imposed sense of alienation that I was not alone in my perspective. Kurt had this effect on many people, on a deeper level especially with others who also had a feeling of not fitting in, or were incredibly socially withdrawn like I was in high school. But even with people who were considered “popular and normal” in one way or another in their social sphere, the primal scream of Kurt Cobain represented a feeling of outrage against societal abuse that seemed to unify an entire generation in appreciation. Although he had his own personal issues with the fame he achieved, this same level of fame he achieved gave him a platform that reached youth across all channels of the United States, into places that were previously unaware that underground musical figures even existed.
Nirvana became famous at a time of mainstream radio in which it appeared that rock may have been dead. There were countless incredible bands playing a form of “rock” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but most of this music was considered “underground” and did not get major radio play. There was something shattering and paradigm shifting about the appearance of Nirvana in the mainstream, and Kurt decided to bring as many punk, underground, and independent musicians with him into prominence as possible, constantly naming and referencing bands for youth to search for in interviews. Astrologically, it was a perfect ascendancy for the time period of the Uranus and Neptune conjunction in Capricorn that occurred at the end of the 1980s and continued through the early 1990s, with Pluto in the sign of Scorpio. As Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth said at the time, “When a band like Nirvana comes out of the underground, it really expresses something that’s going on in the culture and not a commodity” (Azerrad, p. 3).
Kurt’s life revealed the difficulty that can correlate between a Grand Water Trine and the navigation of powerful unconscious forces, as he eventually became a heroin addict who committed suicide. At the time of his passing, his own Grand Water trine was being activated by transiting Pluto and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct his natal Scorpio Neptune, the transiting Pisces Mercury and Mars conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron, and his progressed Sun and Chiron conjunct in Pisces and also conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn and Venus. Yet, his life also reveals the extraordinary imaginative power of a Grand Water Trine to dissolve what was formerly considered possible by society: seriously, would anyone have believed in 1990, a time in which there was no dynamic rock music occurring in mainstream culture, that within a couple of years a high school dropout who had experienced homelessness and played Kurt’s style of music, would change the face of popular music completely? Do we even tend to listen to homeless heroin addicts who have not graduated high school today? Kurt Cobain revealed the brilliant mind and creative genius that one can find amongst the outcast of our society, and the tragedy of his life also shows how this same brilliance like a strike of lightning or the burning of quicksilver can be too much for an individual to handle when they become addicted to a destructive substance like heroin, instead of developing a more purifying release of energy. Sadly, the potential radiance of a grand water trine can instead lead people into an isolated existence of withdrawal from the world in which they are overwhelmed or confused by the unconscious side of their emotional nature. Most people flooded by feelings that feel out of control lack the skills, understanding, or even interest to process and integrate unconscious shadow material into a more whole presence of Self, and so they become at risk of entering a self-imposed exile that eventually leads to sickness of one form or another. And yet, Kurt also proved the potential visionary power of the grand water trine, that by having a dream and pursuing it with relentless passion, we can create a form for it in the reality of our personal lives, against all odds of what society tells us is possible.
Looking at Kurt’s chart, and the significance of his Pisces Saturn in his seventh house (it is conjunct a Pisces Venus, Chiron, Mercury, and Descendant, as well as an Aries Black Moon Lilith, in trine to a Cancer Jupiter and Scorpio Neptune, and in opposition to a Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo) drew me to exploring the old Liz Greene classic, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil. Also relevant to the transit at this time of Saturn in Scorpio, in this book Liz connected Saturn in water signs and houses to the esoteric perspective of the mind, imagination, and emotions being the source of events and experiences, and the challenges Saturn in water signs can bring to the individual through the forms of blocks to this psychic energy:
No event or mundane circumstance can occur without having first been set in motion by an idea, charged with emotion, and then manifested as an action. Beyond these three stages of an experience lies the meaning of the experience in relation to the whole, which it is the function of the intuition to perceive. The world of feeling lies directly behind the world of events, and it is this world with which the watery signs and houses are concerned . . . [Humans are] largely unaware of the potency of this feeling nature, particularly at the present juncture where emphasis is placed on external behavior rather than on the quality of desire. As long as something is not “done,” the individual will convince himself that he has no desire to do it; consequently, the power of the feelings increases because they are forced underground, into the realm of the unconscious. From this subterranean position the feelings will force a man to action or attract certain kinds of illnesses or behavioural patterns which he does not understand, and which may hurt him, and which appear to be coming from somewhere else. Psychic energy, like physical energy, cannot be destroyed; in fact they are the same, both kinds of energy, and will merely follow a different channel of expression if the usual one is blocked. Blockage on the level of the feeling nature is symbolised by Saturn in a watery sign or house, and true to form the psychic energy which would ordinarily seek release through expression of feeling must take another channel of expression- frequently through the body or through certain kinds of events.
— Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, (p. 16-17)
This access to deep reservoirs of psychic power that can be released into magical and artistic forms, or when blocked manifest as deep wounds in the body, reminds me of Frida Kahlo (who had a Pisces Saturn at 28 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Pisces Saturn; a Sun-Neptune conjunction at 13 degrees Cancer conjunct Kurt’s Moon; and a Cancer Jupiter at 21 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter), a painter who created art and lived from a place of constant, tortured pain in her body. Kurt also lived and created art from an intense feeling of pain in his stomach that baffled the medical professionals he sought help from, apparently located according to him in the same region of his body he generated his singing voice from. The bodily pain that Kurt and Frida both experienced reminds me on an archetypal level of the poisoned phase in the mythic life of Chiron (a very significant astrological archetype in Kurt’s chart), and both Frida and Kurt created art on a deep Chirotic level of release through exploring and expressing the darkest recesses of the psyche. Like Frida, Kurt was able to transmute this pain into an artistic expression that touched the soul of many on this planet- a transcendent and immanent power that emanated from his voice and physical presence on stage.
The song “Even In His Youth” is a good example of the simple and repetitive lyrics Kurt would sometimes write, that still managed to carry a deep message to many youth because of his compelling expression of their emotion: “Even in his youth / Even in his youth / Even in his youth / He was nothing / Kept his body clean / Kept his body clean /Kept his body clean / He was nowhere / Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / He was something / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / He was something . . . ” This particular song could be somewhat autobiographical, as in interviews Kurt has said of his father, that “He wanted me to be in sports and I didn’t like sports and I was artistic and he just didn’t appreciate that type of thing, so I just always felt ashamed. I just couldn’t understand how I was a product of my parents because they weren’t artistic and I was. I liked music and they didn’t. Subconsciously, maybe I thought I was adopted . . . ” (Azerrad, p. 18). Kurt was on the receiving end of both emotional and physical abuse from his father at times, an Aberdeen car mechanic who had some anger management issues; furthermore, Kurt’s mother became involved with incredibly abusive men following her divorce with Kurt’s father, scenes of abuse that Kurt witnessed.
In this footage below of “Even in His Youth” being performed in 1989, Nirvana was on a European tour with the band Tad and discovering for the first time that they had a huge following in Europe. At this time, Nirvana was still playing with Chad Channing from Bainbridge Island, one of their early series of drummers who stuck around a little longer than others. You can see that the later addition of Dave Grohl on drums accelerated their dynamic energy on stage, but that the Kurt and Chris combination was still very compelling nonetheless:
Below is the iconic footage from “19991: The Year Punk Broke,” aka Pisces out of control on a Rock God Trip. Again, note the very simple lyrics that somehow through his delivery transmitted huge emotional content across our planet. The lyrics are also so simple they can be interpreted in a universal context if you have been in High School in a situation with social cliques, and then experienced that again: “Won’t you believe it just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / No recess / No recess / No recess . . . You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again.” Kurt was artistic in high school and very withdrawn socially, a pattern he continued when moving to Olympia, Washington. Although he was fairly withdrawn socially from the more communal punk and hipster social circles of Olympia, I feel these lyrics relate more to the cliques and socio-politics of the Seattle music scene that Nirvana joined through Sub Pop records, a music scene that was at its early stages of being marketed by Sub Pop on its way to becoming the celebrated “grunge” movement in popular music.
At the time of this footage below in August of 1991 or so, Nirvana was now beyond the level of Sub Pop and were signed to a major corporate record label, on tour in Europe with Sonic Youth, following their completion of recording the material for the Nevermind album and awaiting the release of the album a month later. As I will discuss further below, in Kurt Cobain’s chart this was a significant time period because in his progressed chart, his progressed Mercury stationed direct at five degrees of Pisces (it had been retrograde since he was a toddler) around August 10, 1991. Fittingly for a stationing direct progressed Mercury, this time was a huge shift for Kurt as he was able to play huge festivals for the first time alongside musical peers he looked up to such as Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, following the recording of a major label studio release. In this footage below, as he had a charged Pisces Mercury by progression, he did not yet realize the extraordinary media attention that would soon become focused upon him:
The footage below is the moment they were becoming famous on an extraordinary level: I always think of this clip as sort of their “Beatles” moment, around the same time they performed on “Saturday Night Live.” They were becoming very famous at this point, and this was filmed live in an MTV studio in front of a studio audience, as the crescendo of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was building and building. Kurt is direct and honest in his lyrics about his co-dependent relationship pattern, and of course that was exactly part of his appeal: “One baby to another says I’m lucky to met you / I don’t care what you’re thinking as long as it is about me / It is now my duty to completely drain you”
Someone without prior astrological knowledge may think the image of Kurt’s chart looks like a kite (that’s the “official” label for the major visible aspect pattern), but I also think the image of a bow and arrow about to fly would come to mind. With the bow and arrow image, it is fascinating to me that it is Pluto and Uranus holding the trigger, with the arrow prepared to shoot through the master marksman Chiron, in Pisces. For any Kurt Cobain fans reading this who do not have previous astrological knowledge, I hope this post makes you more interested in astrology because Kurt’s chart is such a spellbinding and perfect representation of the mark he made upon the world as well as his self-undoing.
I feel we must start with the extraordinary fact that Kurt was born at the time of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction in Virgo, with his Ascendant splitting them directly up the middle, with Pluto at the very end of his 12th House, and Uranus at the very beginning of his 1st House. If you are wondering why this would be significant, an extraordinary read on the subject is Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas in which he analyzes various historical periods that occurred during a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus, for example the 1960s (1960 – 1972) and the 1850s (1845 – 1856). Among other themes, Tarnas found that historical events that occurred in the sequence of conjunctions and oppositions in the Pluto-Uranus cycle related to “epochal shifts in the rise and fall of imperial powers and dynasties and turning points in world history that mark tectonic shifts in the global balance of power . . . the sudden rise and empowerment of countercultures and youth cultures; eras marked by the emergence and flourishing of historically significant bohemian and countercultural districts, communities, and demimondes (the Left Bank, Bloomsbury, Soho, Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, Berkely, Harvard Square) . . . periods that brought the rapid emergence and proliferation of ecological, environmental, and nature-oriented movements of various kinds; and eras marked by cultural trends and movements advocating sexual revolution and erotic emancipation in society and the arts” (Tarnas, p. 164-5). Tarnas distilled the Pluto and Uranus cycle down to an archetypal synergy between Dionysus and Prometheus:
The planet Uranus appears to be correlated with events and biographical phenomena suggestive of an archetypal principle whose essential character is Promethean: emancipatory, rebellious, progressive and innovative, awakening, disruptive and destabilizing, unpredictable, serving to catalyze new beginnings and sudden unexpected change. The planet Pluto, by contast, is associated with an archetypal principle whose character is Dionysian: elemental, instinctual, powerfully compelling, extreme in its intensity, arising from the depths, both libidinal and destructive, overwhelming and transformative, ever-evolving. –Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 142
With both Pluto and Uranus in Virgo on his ascendant, the deep Soul that many have a hard time coming into contact with would have been impacting Kurt very much on a moment to moment basis, no matter how conscious he would have been of it. Moreover, the ruler of his Ascendant and chart, as well as the ruler of his Pluto and Uranus, is a Pisces Mercury in direct opposition to his Pluto and Uranus, albeit a Gibbous more so than a Full phase. His Pisces Mercury also being at the end of his 6th House conjunct his Descendant is another perfect symbol of how he was able to communicate his Soul nature through his art and music, and that in this lifetime he was coming into more of a courageous place to communicate some of the ultimate meaning he had accumulated across lifetimes, a purpose that gave his music the incredible power that was felt by so many listeners.
Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is very significant, as it rules his chart as the Ascendant ruler, rules his Virgo Pluto and Uranus, and rules his Gemini Ceres, with the Gemini Ceres forming a t-square to the opposition between his Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Mercury-Chiron-Venus-Saturn. Any Mercury in opposition to Pluto and Uranus would be intense, but Kurt’s Mercury being in Pisces at the very end of his 6th House on his 7th House cusp makes the relationship between his perception and his communication even more complex and difficult to handle. Pisces Mercury perceives phenomenal reality on a level beyond the confines of language, and so normally can make a more powerful impression through artistic, symbolic, musical, and poetic expression- this is because it seems next to impossible for an individual with a Pisces Mercury to communicate what it is sensing through straightforward language description, and it can seem even more difficult to find an audience who can listen to their language choices and fully grasp their meaning. Kurt Cobain often said he wrote lyrics at the last moment because he was lazy, but in the end the actual words he used were less important than the emotion he expressed through his music and the sound of his voice.
In Kurt’s progressed chart, his Mercury becomes even more important as it stationed retrograde in his toddler years and did not station direct until August 10, 1991 at the midpoint of his natal Pisces Sun and Persephone asteroid (which happens to also be his Vertex), following the recording of Nevermind when Nirvana was playing European festivals with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and other well-established bands, a real career peak for Kurt. This career peak was only the beginning, however, as his progressed Mercury moving direct coincided with the release of Nevermind and his extraordinary rise to rock stardom. The fact Mercury moved retrograde for so long in his lifetime leading up to his achievement of fame coincided in part with his artistic, withdrawn, and rebellious nature, a high school student who was talented enough to win artistic scholarships to college, but had such a hatred for his high school culture and the perspectives of many of his culturally conforming teachers, that he decided to drop out of high school before graduating. This progressed retrograde movement of Mercury supported the counter-cultural development of his mind, and also could have given him greater capacity for a re-membering of pertinent Soul feelings that could have had the double-edge of making his art more powerful but his emotional life also more difficult to handle.
Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is also an entrance point into his Grand Water trine, with a Pisces Mercury-Venus-Saturn on his 7th House cusp, a Jupiter Cancer in his 11th House, and a Scorpio Neptune in his 3rd House that is also conjunct Vesta. As I wrote in my last post on the Neptune and Jupiter cycle, the 1960s had a Scorpio influence across the decade due to Neptune and Jupiter starting a new cycle at 4 degrees of Scorpio in 1958, and Kurt had a connection to this point in Scorpio as it is the midpoint between the conjunction of his Scorpio Mars and Scorpio South Node of the Moon. The sex, drugs, and rock and roll that came into prominence during the 1960s, the sexual revolution, as well as the spiritual seeker movement to merge with Source all have a connection with this Scorpio Neptune theme, and in Kurt’s chart Scorpio rules and Neptune is found in his third house of communication. His Scorpio Neptune also being tightly conjunct Vesta in Scorpio, Kurt was able to focus on channeling this transformative Neptunian energy into his creative expression. A Scorpio Neptune here is also a perfect symbol for how he often destroyed the art he created, as well as destroyed his guitars and other band equipment when performing on stage. Even though at one point Kurt in an interview said he felt the name of Nirvana was “too esoteric,” he in fact seemed to have mastered the esoteric concept and significance of the destruction of form in the process of reaching a more heart-centered and Soul-infused consciousness.
Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is in a disseminating trine to his Scorpio Neptune, and so Kurt had the evolutionary task of modifying his visionary qualities into a form that would be accepted and widely disseminated in society. He found this form in music, and his Jupiter being in Cancer and the 11th House is perfect for how he became obsessed with the culture of punk rock. Cancer in Jupiter, like we are experiencing today, correlates to the intuitive perceptive quality of Jupiter, and the corresponding generation of beliefs, being filtered through the Cancer themes of roots, memories, and origins. Kurt first became obsessed with punk rock before he even knew what it sounded like- he came across photographs of the Sex Pistols and other punk rock stars, and through his intuition became convinced that this was the exact music he needed to play, without having heard what it actually sounded like. He went to his room and played three chord progressions with a lot of screaming (Azerrad, p. 23):
“It was definitely a good release,” says Kurt. “I thought of it as my job. It was my mission. I knew I had to practice. As soon as I got my guitar, I just became so obsessed with it.” “I had this feeling all the time- I always knew I was doing something that was special,” says Kurt. “I knew it was better, even though I couldn’t prove it at the time. I knew I had something to offer and I knew eventually I would have the opportunity to show people that I could write good songs- that I could contribute something musically to rock and roll.” Kurt Cobain in Come As You Are, p. 23
Even though Kurt lived in the outskirts of Aberdeen, Washington, fortuitously there was a well-known punk band there called the Melvins, giving Kurt an opportunity to join a punk rock culture. The culture of punk rock also correlates with the 11th House placement of Kurt’s Jupiter, as well as the fact he was able to manifest this rock and roll “wish” of his into his personal destiny. Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is also conjunct Juno at the beginning of Leo in his 11th House, another perfect symbol in how Kurt was attracted to romantic partners he met through the punk scene: his first girlfriend Tracy he met through the Melvins, his Olympia infatuation with Tobi Vail of Bikinni Kill, and his ultimate union with Courtney Love who actually had a cameo in the film Sid and Nancy. The final side to Kurt’s Grand Water Trine may be the most key point of all, with a Pisces Saturn conjunct Venus, Chiron, and Mercury in Pisces, as well as a Black Moon Lilith in Aries. Depending upon your astrological school of thought, you may consider Kurt’s Saturn to be ruled by either his Cancer Jupiter or his Scorpio Neptune, and both actually make a lot of sense in his case. Just isolating this stellium to his Saturn and Venus being conjunct is enlightening from the perspective of Liz Greene:
We have all encountered those children who because of their fear of being unwanted can only express their need for affection through destructive actions, or an attempt to inflict pain, or sulking and weeping; if we transfer this rather extreme picture to the adult body and mind of the Venus-Saturn individual, and include the skill at portraying surface coolness which he has usually developed, we will hold the key to his peculiar and often misunderstood emotional nature. — Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 112
This sense of being unwanted seemed to be a deep issue for Kurt, and is even stronger archetypally when you consider that his Venus-Saturn conjunction was in Pisces, in his 7th House, and was also conjunct Black Moon Lilith and Chiron. As we know Lilith is the ultimate symbol of the rejected feminine in myth, and Chiron in myth was also unwanted by his parents, transforming this wound into a capacity to foster countless other youth into greater embodiment of their heroic qualities. Similarly, as Kurt Cobain found his way into fame, he attempted to highlight and bring into prominence as many other musicians he admired who had been ignored by mainstream media into the limelight. With the asteroid Lilith also conjunct Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, Lilith also seems to be a significant archetype in relation to his Anima, or inner feminine soul nature. In Kurt’s case, it wasn’t entirely the case that he was unwanted, as he had to suffer through an intense custody battle between his parents after their divorce, but after his father gained custody he re-married and Kurt felt neglected in comparison to his new step-siblings. In contrast, his mother experienced a series of abusive relationships and apparently did not seem up to the challenge of raising Kurt, who acted out in numerous destructive ways. Throughout his adolescence, however, Kurt pleaded with his mother to take him back in, and she did at various points. However, at other times Kurt was left with no home to live in, and had to fend for himself. The connection between these difficult life circumstances and his Grand Water Trine was masterfully described by astrologer Bill Tierney in his essential Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology:
There tends to be shown [in the Grand Water Trine] an exaggerated need for dependency, general mothering, safety from threat or harm, and psychological insulation from the harsher facets of reality. And the more subtle these needs express themselves, the more potentially insidious. In my opinion, this is the only Grand Trine that readily can become problematic, since the emotional self-containment it represents makes this individual hard to get to know intimately. Negatively, he may feel he is disconnected with the outer world (since water is a unifying element which, when blocked, can feel out-of-tune with its surroundings). He then may lose touch with his conscious awareness of himself and may passively allow unconscious forces to take over. — Bill Tierney, p. 76-77
With a South Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct a Scorpio Mars in his second house, Kurt knew how to rely on his inner resources for survival, and so he figured out creative solutions for his homelessness like sleeping under a bridge and fishing (until discovering the water was polluted), hanging out in public libraries as much as possible, and pretending to be family of hospital patients so he could hang out in hospital waiting rooms for extended periods of time. Yet even though he knew internally how to physically survive on a material level, his emotional nature was clearly wounded, leading into more difficult relational patterns with his female romantic partners as an adult. For example, his mother tried to show him “tough love” by not letting him continue to live with her after dropping out of high school without a job, and later in his marriage Courtney Love also tried to show him “tough love” by confining him to a residential drug rehabilitation center. However, no matter what trouble he may have felt women in relationships caused him, in the end this Pisces Saturn stellium was more about him learning to take responsibility for his own emotional dynamic in relationship. Just having a Saturn in the 7th house with nothing else according to Liz Greene indicates a need for him to balance his masculine and feminine sides in order to come to relationship more out of free choice than emotional need and compulsion, but with Lilith, Venus, Chiron, and Mercury also conjunct his Pisces Saturn, this powerful unconscious need would be even greater for Kurt to navigate relationships successfully and release relational co-dependency patterns stemming from past emotional wounding:
When Saturn is in the seventh house, the opportunity for an inner integration or balancing of opposites is offered, for it is unlikely that the individual will find the qualities he seeks happily expressed by a partner. It is more likely that he will attract to himself situations which involve some degree of pain, isolation, rejection, and disappointment until he begins to reorient himself toward an inner search. This placement is analagous to the coniunctio or mystical marriage of alchemy, which in psychological terms suggests an inner integration which results in a new centre for the psyche and new balance and meaning in life. In alchemical symbolism this marriage is always accompanied by darkness and death previous to the distillation of the elixir, and the darkness which often accompanies a seventh house Saturn is matched only by the brilliance of the gold which is also promised. –Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 62
Kurt was able to alchemize gold from his Pisces Saturn signature in the form of the music that brought him widespread acclaim, but sadly Kurt went so deep into the darkness that he never came back out. Kurt ended up passing away before he got to his exact Saturn return, with transiting Saturn in Pisces conjunct his Sun but more closely conjunct his Pisces Persephone asteroid. So although Saturn was in Pisces when he died, it had not come into range of being conjunct his natal Saturn, and so he never made it to his first Saturn return, a time which would have correlated with an opportunity to make internal progress on these issues. However, Kurt had such an intense Saturn signature in his birth chart it indicates it would have taken him years past his first Saturn return to begin to fully resolve all of his issues. In fact, as he would have been getting closer to experiencing his Chiron return if he were alive today, it more than likely would have taken him at least as long as living to this point in time to come to a clearer resolution of his unconscious make-up.
So what exactly is some of the unconscious Soul material Kurt was working with? I have seen astrologer and past life regression therapist Patricia Walsh give a talk in which she said many Pluto in Virgo people come from the burning times, and Pluto in Virgo is often associated with relevant past lives in our “A.D” time period using the geodetic system. Whether Kurt was burned at the stake or not, there are very clear signs that his Soul has been deeply wounded by the hierarchical power structure of the dogmatic Christian Church that has dominated the past couple of thousand years, often associated with the “Patriarchy.” The burning of witches is one example of this, the Inquisition is another. Part of Kurt’s evolutionary purpose with his Grand Water Trine was to integrate his anima or bring his feminine side into balance with his masculine side. His Cancer Moon in his 10th House is one symbol of a sensitive feminine side hardened by cultural conditioning to make sure he gets his needs met, and another powerful female archetype of persecution in his chart is Lilith. Kurt has the Lilith asteroid #1181 conjunct his South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, and he has Black Moon Lilith in Aries conjunct his Pisces Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in his 7th House. Since the asteroid Lilith that is conjunct his South Node or past life ego identity is associated with the original wounding and rejection Lilith experienced in myth according to Demetra George, this means that Kurt is acting from Soul desires that are connected with the persecution and rejection of strong, independent women. Since this South Node is in Scorpio, this persecution could have been associated with cultural taboos such as those involving sexuality, and with a Scorpio Mars also conjunct Lilith and his South Node there could have even been extreme rage and violence associated with this persecution.
In addition, during his high school years his progressed Mars would have stationed retrograde, staying retrograde for the rest of his life- again a symbol of not only his rebellious nature but also an instigator to deep unconscious material. In any case, all of this strong Scorpio in his second house means that Kurt would have deep Soul desires linked into being familiar with relying on his own resources for survival through merging with a relationship or another external source of power. As a result, the evolutionary purpose for him would have been to gain a stronger sense of internal security and integrated Self that would allow him to truly merge with others from his own place of power. Since the placement of Black Moon Lilith according to Demetra George is a point of integration in the chart where we can work on coming to resolution of our Lilith issues of rejected femininity, it means that Kurt would have had the purpose of resolving these issues in his 7th House, in his relationships, in connection with his Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in Pisces. As there haven’t been many female celebrities who have been culturally rejected as much as Courtney Love has, as much of a Lilith in the level of rejection, upon reflection of these Soul history signatures of Kurt it may make more sense for you why he chose to marry Courtney Love, if that was a scenario you previously did not understand. Kurt has symbols in his chart indicating a need to integrate a strong Lilith aspect of his Anima into his Self, and so merging with Courtney Love in a relationship would have given him ample material to work with along these lines.
Since Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio is conjunct Mars, the traditional ruler of Scorpio, and the modern ruler of his South Node is his 12th house Pluto in Virgo that is conjunct Uranus and his ascendant, he has an extremely intense birth signature of having experienced extreme crises and cataclysms of epic proportions in his Soul’s history. His navigation of this unconscious emotional makeup in his Soul’s incarnation as Kurt Cobain is shown through his Cancer Moon being in his 10th House, a house placement that emphasizes the impact of societal conditioning on his feeling nature. The impact of cultural conditioning on his soul is most likely ancient, however, as can be seen from the fact that he has a conjunction of the Isis and Osiris asteroids in Capricorn in his 4th House, in opposition to his Cancer Moon. I wrote about the significance of the Isis and Osiris cycle in an earlier post about Osiris, but in relation to Kurt it is a further symbol of his need to do intense alchemical inner work on his unconscious make-up and work on coming into a more whole and integrated presence of his Self. This is not easy work for anyone, but would be especially intense for someone with the birth chart signatures that Kurt embodied.
In the end, Kurt simply has “crisis” written all over his birth chart, and so in many ways the intensity of the pain he experienced was part of his Soul’s evolutionary journey- we just never got a chance to see how strong he could have turned out in the end by persevering to a longer life. For example, he had a Gemini Ceres in a t-square to an opposition between Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Lilith conjunct his South Node of the Moon, Persephone conjunct his Sun, Osiris-Isis in opposition to his Moon, and a 12th House Pluto conjunct his Ascendant that is also conjunct a 1st House Uranus. Chiron as an archetype especially stands out to me, as at the time of his death transiting Chiron in Virgo was in his 12th House and in opposition to his natal Pisces Sun, his progressed Sun was in Pisces conjunct his progressed Chiron, both of which were then conjunct his natal Saturn, Venus, and Black Moon Lilith. Furthermore, at the time of his passing Pluto and the North Node of the Moon were conjunct in Scorpio and transiting conjunct his natal Neptune, and transiting Venus was conjunct his North Node of the Moon. Meanwhile, transiting Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces and further activating his water trine through being conjunct his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Saturn was in Pisces conjunct his Pisces Persephone and Sun, and the Moon on the day of his death was moving through Pisces and would have also passed over the significant Pisces celestial bodies in his chart.
In short, although none of these transits explains really any reason why Kurt was meant to die when he did, they are simply further examples of the extreme intensity present in his birth chart. We will never know what would have happened if he had lived longer and had the opportunity to attempt to heal himself from his past wounding, but we do have a recorded legacy of his being, his Soul pouring out, his pure Soul expression that saturated his music and voice. Finally, below is is a fairly long (23 minute) interview with Kurt in August of 1993 where one can get the opportunity through the Pisces illusion of computers to sit with him for a bit:
Azerrad, Michael. (1993). Come as you are: the story of Nirvana. Main Street Books.
Greene, Liz. (1976). Saturn: a new look at an old devil. Samuel Weiser, Inc.
Tarnas, Richard. ( 2007). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a new world view. Plume.
Tierney, Bill. (1983). Dynamics of aspect analysis. CRCS.
Angelic grace or imaginal joviality may be evoked by the conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter, but their cycle has a deeper relationship with the evolution of consciousness. In July 2013 we are now in the first quarter trine phase of this most recent cycle, and this current trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces has demanded a great deal of attention as it has been part of a grand water trine with Saturn in Scorpio (Saturn in Scorpio is in a disseminating trine to both Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces). I recently came across a copy of Dane Rudhyar’s 1958 article about The Jupiter and Neptune Cycle, originally published in Horoscope magazine, and have been thinking about it in relation to the current phase involving Jupiter and Neptune.
Rudhyar believed the Neptune and Jupiter cycle is one of the most important planetary cycles to contemplate because it is the only one with a consistent pattern of successive conjunctions between the planets occurring in successive signs of the zodiac. As a result, Rudhyar placed it with the Jupiter-Saturn cycle and the eclipse cycles to be one of the most important cycles to ponder in relation to historical analysis. Rudhyar also highlighted the lunar phase quality of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle because it occurs in relation to the number 13, with the entire cycle lasting for 166 years (adds up to 13) and each successive conjunction happening every thirteen years. The fact that Neptune functions as the Sun in this analogy, and Jupiter as the Moon, is interesting in light of Rudhyar’s analysis because he viewed Jupiter as corresponding to societal beliefs and attitudes we may conform to for security purposes, and Neptune as corresponding to more of an evolutionary Soul path forward for us to follow, albeit a more disorienting one that can be difficult for many human beings to integrate in a grounded manner.
In his article Rudhyar stressed the fact that Jupiter and Saturn as planetary archetypes both connect to the concept that human beings interact in groups and form societies and cultures, producing communities within these that have shared values, ideals, needs, and memories. As a result there also ends up being a shared language, laws, religions, institutions, and cultures. Rudhyar further reasoned that while Saturn correlates with the boundaries a person embodies in their participation through the role, function, and place they act from, Jupiter gives each individual person the feeling that they belong or are connected in a community through shared knowledge and belief. Rudhyar explained that Jupiter does this because it “deals particularly with social-cultural-religious feelings and the expansion that comes to the individual who operates warmly in terms of these feelings, reiciprocated (usually) by others, either emotionally (happiness) or in terms of concrete values (wealth)” (Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraph 18).
In connection to the Neptune cycle, and how we tend to think of Neptune as corresponding to our connection to Goddess/God/Spirit, we can thus infer that Jupiter and Saturn deal with the shared societal aspects of organized religion, and the ways in which one should behave in society as a follower of the particular organized religion one follows. In case one is not religious, Jupiter and Saturn would thus connect with the shared societal aspects of how one “should” or “should not” act if one would like to be viewed as “successful” by the consensus culture with which one belongs. Yet as we know from experience, sometimes what the consensus culture defines as normal, such as ignoring a homeless person on the street or keeping a secret about a wound from person in authority over us so as not to damage the associated institution, may not feel inside us like it is how we truly want to act in the moment. As a result, Rudhyar made the astute observation that although Jupiter is usually described as the “great benefic” among astrologers, in reality it often can correlate with conformity and resisting the call of an evolution in consciousness:
Astrologers are haunted with the idea that Jupiter is “the greater fortune” and a symbol of all that is “good.” But good and fortunate for what- for the easy way of complacent and nearly automatic repetition of the past! Jupiter gives good fortune to those who conform, who follow the rules of the social game, the political game, the religious ritual, the way of the “classical” great masters in the arts. Truly, there is nothing wrong in conforming; and there are vast practical benefits in doing so. But conforming is not taking the new evolutionary step. This step- this new transformation or “mutation”- requires, like the taking of any walking step, an initial loss of balance, a “fall,” immediately followed by a “recovery.” To walk is constantly to lose one’s balance, then recover it as the foot again touches the ground a yard or so ahead.
The Jupiter-Neptune cycle is very much like a walking process. Every 13 years- and, even more, every 166 years- mankind should take a step forward, even if only a tiny one. It should be a step ahead of our past traditional, social, cultural, and religious sense of human relationship. Unfortunately, such a step tends to lead at first to confusion, disarray, dismay, perhaps temporary blindess and panicky escape “back to the womb” of what may be thought to be a secure and familiar institution or religious organization. However, progress is only through the confusion and the glowing mist over the hills, yonder. There is no way ever of going ahead, except through!
–Dane Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraphs 23 and 24
The connection between Jupiter and Saturn with what can fall within the boundaries of consensus thought links to the fact that for a long time Jupiter and Saturn were the outermost known planets of our solar system. With each successive planetary discovery, first Uranus, then Neptune, then Pluto, and now we know that there is a vast array of celestial objects even beyond this, with each new discovery a new collective evolution in consciousness occurred, such as Uranus being discovered during revolutionary times in the United States and France, and Neptune being discovered during a time of spiritual movements in the 19th Century. In his article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle, Rudhyar described that along these lines Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are galactic ambassadors for us connecting us to another level of reality, a “stage of transition between the solar system unit and the vaster cosmic whole, the galaxy; more precisely, they refer to certain basic modes of activity by which this galactic whole constantly impresses its powers upon our tiny solar system, ‘feeds’ (in a sense) this solar system and works toward its closer integration into the galactic field” (Rudhyar, paragraph 19).
However, these outer planets prove difficult for us to integrate and more often than not impact us in a manner that reveals how we are not wholly integrated with our true soul path and work in the world. While Uranus can be an awakener that unexpectedly shocks us and shakes us free from the Saturn role or Jupiter belief we have identified our ego and personality with in society, Rudhyar illuminated that it is Neptune that then dissolves the shattered remnants of this formerly crystallized identity, exposing our consciousness wide open with the potential to feel vulnerable and disoriented. When we respond to this heightened sensitivity and openness by clinging to escapist pursuits in order to grasp at a sense of security or familiarity, we bring in the side of Neptune described as being illusionary, foggy, glamorous, or unfocused. Yet Neptune is a universal archetype of unity and unconditional love, and as Rudhyar described “an agent of the vast galactic field of cosmic existence . . . an emissary of the greater to the lesser” that “dissolves the obsolete narrowness of the Saturnine focus” because of the deep compassionate nature of its archetype (Rudhyar, paragraph 21). This is how Neptune represents the future in relation to Jupiter.
Rudhyar concluded that the Neptune and Jupiter cycle therefore symbolizes the steps we can take as an individual in transforming our established social beliefs, and the manner in which as a society of people we are moving forward in our collective evolution. Rudhyar emphasized that the Jupiter-Neptune cycle by itself does not necessarily correlate with startling events, but instead emerges more as a change in feeling regarding what our human interactions mean. The following chart image is taken from the Rudhyar Archival Project’s republication of his article that was originally published in September 1958 in Horoscope Magazine: you can see that the conjunction happened in a successive sign of the zodiac every cycle except for the cycles of 1984 and 1997 that each happened in Capricorn, and the cycles of 1779 and 1792 that each happened in Libra.
In his article Rudhyar analyzed how you can compare the previous cycle of Jupiter and Neptune conjunct in a zodiac sign in order to help understand the meaning of the new cycle. For example, when he wrote this article in 1958 Jupiter and Neptune were having their conjunction in Scorpio, which connected to the previous Scorpio conjunction in 1804. Rudhyar noted that 1804 found Napolean Bonaparte an Emperor of France following the previous conjunction in Libra in 1792 that found the monarchy abolished and France declared a republic. And just think of what occurred alone in the United States of America between the Scorpio conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1958 and their next conjunction in Sagitarius in 1971! Thus, from this viewpoint while the tumultuous events of the 1960s are often associated with the conjunction between Pluto and Uranus that occurred in Virgo, we can also connect them with the theme of Scorpio that was introduced in 1958 through the Jupiter-Neptune cycle.
Similarly, while we associate the intensity of events occurring today with the square occuring between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, we can also interpret them through the Jupiter-Neptune archetypal theme of Aquarius that was introduced in 2009. Looking back to the last Aquarius conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in 1843 could possibly give us some guidance (for example, in the realm of philosophy I noticed that Kierkegaard’s Either/Or and other writing was published in this year and that Friedrich Nietzsche was born a year later- two of the “fathers” of Existential philosophy which objectified and analyzed in an Aquarian manner the individual’s role in society and religion), but events of today are obviously very different from events in 1843. When we consider our current cycle between Jupiter and Neptune that began on May 27, 2009 in Aquarius, one major news event happening in the United States was the first phase of newly elected President Barack Obama’s administration attempting to successfully establish itself following the infamous “first hundred days” period. The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the USA was an Aquarian event that liberated the U.S. presidency from past patterns, as he was the first African-American to be elected, as well as the son of a single mother who had a compelling story that resonated with many of the U.S. people. One of his administration’s first intentions was the Aquarian ideal of reforming the U.S. Health Care system through opening up health care to citizens with pre-existing health issues, among other reforms. This action had a parallel to a previous Jupiter-Neptune cycle initiated during the first term of a presidency- the 1932 cycle in Virgo that saw Franklin Roosevelt (born a half year later than the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction of 1881) elected, and then his “New Deal” passed a year later. Similarly, after a process of excessive political gamesmanship between political enemies and competing interests which connected more with the conforming aspect of Jupiter that Rudhyar referenced in his article, the Obama administration was able to pass an imperfect compromise. In connection to the recent first quarter trine, it is nonetheless interesting that in the same week as the exact trine happened, President Obama finally made a new public stance and push in order to promote the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or what has now been commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”
Of course, much more has been going on in this time period than attempts at health care reform, as we have been in an intense Aquarian storm in the sense of dramatic events and crises that have evoked a collective emphatic response from humanity. One of the most obvious connections to the Aquarian themed archetype of this phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle has been issues and ethical questions surrounding the world-wide web, the Internet, and social media. For example, we have had the Wikileaks scandals, the Bradley Manning leaks, and now the “Snow Man” leaks in which we have learned the U.S. government can access all of our social media and Internet communication anytime it wants. There have been a lot of attempts from activists and others seeking to liberate (Aquarius) information to the public, with a sharp backlash from power players/institutions (Leo) wanting to keep control. For example, academic institutions have prosecuted people, at extremely high monetary value, they have labeled as being hackers for attempting to open public access for free to academic journals one would have had to pay a fee for in the past. This has been in contrast to the “open source” movement that has been popular among many at the forefront of technology in which they have intentionally made all of their information public and free in order to receive “outside the box” criticism and feedback from members of the public who would normally not have the access. With regards to the current NSA control of cell phone and Internet records, to the wide array of issues that have come up through the instantaneous manner in which the global community is now connected through social media, we have been in a Neptunian fog so to speak with how exactly to work out these issues. However, the potential power of these forms of communication have become very clear, as one of the greatest Aquarian uses of social media in this time period has been through the use of it in organizing revolutions such as the Arab Spring. Looking back upon the last year of intense events that are far too many to even begin to document here, it is also important to remember that with regards to Jupiter and Neptune, we also experienced a first quarter square between Gemini Jupiter and Pisces Neptune that first occurred in June through July of 2012, and then in a wider aspect again in January through March of 2013 after a retrograde phase of Jupiter in Gemini.
Aquarius 2009 Cycle
The above image of Trayvon Martin and his father was made by the artist Rudy Shepherd, an old college friend of mine who attended a private and religiously-affiliated university with me in the Southeast of the United States of America. Being from the South in the USA (I grew up outside New Orleans, Louisiana and then Atlanta, Georgia) I am very familiar with the racial dynamics that recently exploded here surrounding the verdict on George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin. The Grand Water Trine involving the Neptune-Jupiter trine coincided with a cathartic emotional release and rage from the African-American community and other people of color who have lived under the constant threat of racial profiling from the American criminal justice system. In addition, there has also been a lot of bickering between people who consider themselves to be “White allies” and people who appear to be either ignorant or nonreflective of the “White privilege” they intrinsically possess as being a member of society in the USA. Whether you agree with the verdict or not, the indisputable facts are that George Zimmerman believed (Jupiter) he had the community-sanctioned authority of being in a “Neighborhood Watch” role (Saturn), and chose to focus on Trayvon Martin, an African American youth wearing a hoodie and buying skittles, he did not recognize as being suspicious and a potential criminal threat. A response from someone with a different set of beliefs may have been to walk up to Trayvon and have a brief friendly conversation, but instead Zimmerman chose to follow him with a gun, call the police, and continue to stalk Martin despite being told not to by the police. There is in fact no way to separate out the racial profiling aspect of this situation, and whatever altercation between these two individuals that followed does not change the fact that the entire situation was rooted in racial profiling. Racial profiling is a serious and well-documented aspect of American culture, and this particular event drew a collective emotional connection through Aquarian aspects of social media technology and group mind connection. The quick manner in which a story like this can circulate throughout social media, and the strong emotional response it can manifest that then can quickly turn into a massive emotional reaction (perhaps in this case having a stronger than normal correlation to the grand water trines between Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn and Mercury-Chiron-North Node of the Moon) is to me a perfect example of this being an Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle.
The opportunity presented by the grand trine between Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Neptune, and Scorpio Saturn that happened at this time inside of the larger Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, is for a new dialogue concerning issues of race to occur in the United States of America with the hope to throw off and liberate consensus thought from some of it’s past limitations of mainstream belief concerning racism. There is also the opportunity now for people outraged by racial profiling and other aspects of racism in America to re-organize themselves into more productive groups and organizations to do something pro-active about this situation in an Aquarian manner. In the community college classes I have taught to many members of the Neptune-Uranus generation born in the 1990s, many students of this generation do not believe that “race” even exists and can be initially reluctant to examine dynamics between oppression and race in the USA. In class I would respond that while I agree with them that “race” does not necessarily exist besides the idea of a “human race” (Neptune), the fact that there is a strong cultural belief in “race” and “racism” (Jupiter) means that it is an issue in need of examination. Despite some talk from some people of us existing now in a “post-racial” society because we have an African-American President for the first time, the Trayvon Martin killing now stands as a historical landmark clearly revealing to everyone the extent of racism that still exists in this country. If we hope to move forward as a people and a collective and survive on this planet in the looming Age of Aquarius, it is imperative for us to initiate new conversations and work at healing the gaping wounds individuals and groups carry with regards to racism and a lack of equity and inclusiveness. This is not easy work, and during a time of incredibly destructive religious wars occurring across the planet, it may seem impossible. However, the 2009 celestial partnering of Neptune and Jupiter in Aquarius indicates that working on our group dynamics as a people is one of our tasks in our collective evolution.
With regards to our current President Obama, a leader who has a Pisces Chiron currently conjunct transiting Neptune and in trine to transiting Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio, the Trayvon Martin story finally either pushed him or gave him the inner strength to publicly talk openly to the American people about the racism and judgment he has experienced as an African-American male in this country. While some think this was a politically motivated talk or want to demean it on account of various transgressions enacted by his administration, the fact that a President of the United States openly talked to the press about hearing car doors locked as he walked down the street and being followed by clerks in stores when he has been shopping is a huge monumental event in the history of the United States. With regards to President Obama on a personal level, the grand water trine coincided with an opportunity for the issues of his Pisces Chiron in his first house, issues that in part relate to his identity as a mixed race son of a single white mother, to be released- watching video of his “speech,” you can visibly see how energetically confining his public role has been for him and the incredible amount of restraint he has carried in completely avoiding talking about his identity as an African-American male to the American people. With regards to the effect of this speech, it gave an opportunity for many African-Americans and people of color for the first time to hear the ultimate public authority in the United States speak from direct experience of experiencing racism in the USA. Maybe it is my own Aquarian ideals speaking here, but I strongly feel it is important to not discount this moment and the potential opening that could result. However, for productive growth to occur it will important to focus on how to most effectively utilize the Aquarian concepts of collectivity, technology, communication, inventiveness, protest, and liberating thought in order to most effectively create new change.
Keeping in mind that the grand water trine of Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn is occurring within a first quarter square between Uranus and Pluto, we can directly connect these events to the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus first came into range of the conjunction in Virgo they are now in a square to each other from in the signs of Aries and Capricorn. Fittingly, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Bernice King, gave a public statement on social media following the verdict in the Geogre Zimmerman case that connected these events with the civil rights movement her father helped lead in the 1960s. Again, remember events in the 1960s can be connected to the Scorpio cycle of Neptune and Jupiter that was initiated in 1958, so it is also interesting that Saturn is in Scorpio today:
It’s ’63 again. NOT GUILTY. Just like those who got off for the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham back in ’63. I’m stunned and disappointed. It’s a sad day in the history of American jurisprudence that our justice system continues to fall short of the truth, especially when a person can be going about their daily business and ultimately be killed because of a false assumption. In the words of a friend, “any law that justifies the actions of Zimmerman is an unjust law.” In the words of my father “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” Let us seek God for his guidance during this time. God is a God of Justice, mercy and grace. All protests against the verdict must demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to Nonviolence, to honor the dignity of Trayvon Martin’s life and not add further tragedy to what his family and the people of Sanford have already experienced. Now is the time to create a culture of Nonviolence.
–Dr. Bernice King, facebook post on July 13, 2013
Dr. King’s call for a nonviolent protest again connects these events with the Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle we are currently in. Her reference of God is also interesting as an example of the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune as archetypes. During the Zimmerman trial, the prosecution played a video tape of George Zimmerman also invoking God in relation to his actions. In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, in response to being asked if he could go back in time if he would have done anything differently that day, Zimmerman replied not only that he would not do anything differently, but that in fact it was God’s plan that he did what he did. These contrasting uses of God in relation to this situation is a good example of how human beings can get themselves to believe anything, or another way of saying that is we can create and believe any illusion that we want to.
Although in his article Rudhyar pointed out the “lower” side of Jupiter that can be not only conforming but also fanatical about consensus beliefs that may not truly reflect the evolutionary trajectory of the moment, when we examine the glyph for Jupiter, a half circle sitting on top of a cross, we can see how the half circle representing higher mind or Soul being above the cross of matter corresponds to the potential of Jupiter to help transmute human consciousness above attachment to matter. Therefore, Jupiter as an archetype is receptive to a close connection with awareness from the Neptune archetype, but the trick is in the discernment and spiritual or esoteric discrimination one employs in navigating these energies. Again, just because Jupiter can correspond to what one “should” or “should not do” is not intrinsically an issue- however, it can become an enormous issue of our psyche if we have refrained from acting in accordance with how our true heart would call us to act for fear of breaking or going against a Jupiterian belief or taboo associated with consensus thought, religion, society . . . In this way we cut ourselves off from our true perception, communication, interaction, and Self. Alan Oken has taught about how one can employ esoteric discrimination through intuitively aligning with certain energies or vibrations without the need to label them as “good” or “bad,” because if our hearts are open, we do not need someone to tell us that we want to nurture a baby instead of harming a baby.
In Evolutionary Astrology, Jeffrey Wolf Green taught that Jupiter corresponds to beliefs and is a key factor in helping us align with Natural Law to a greater extent. Green taught that the Jupiter archetype corresponds to how human beings form beliefs, and that there also can be a difference between what one believes and what the ultimate Truth of the situation is. Green also defined the knowledge we can gain with Jupiter as not being a result of our beliefs, but instead is a result of our direct experience with the actual truth of anything. In comparison, Green taught that Neptune as an archetype correlates with the ultimate meaning of anything, including the meaning of the nature of our ultimate Source of Creation. As a result, Green taught that through the combination of Jupiter and Neptune humans can create any illusion, delusion, or belief that they want, including a connection to the ultimate meaning of God/Spirit/Source. Furthermore, Green taught that because there is a natural square between the archetypes of Sagitarius and Pisces, zodiac signs commonly associated with Jupiter and Neptune, a crisis of consciousness can result when we discover that our beliefs do not align with the actual truth of a situation we realize through direct experience. As a result, Green taught that the evolutionary purpose of experiencing disillusionment is so that we can ultimately align ourselves to a greater extent with the actual truth of anything, including the ultimate meaning of anything.
Perhaps it can be helpful for any of us experiencing profound disillusionment at this time to consider this evolutionary purpose of disillusionment described by Jeff Green. This concept of a crisis in consciousness also hearkens back to who I believe is the originator of the term “crisis in cosciousness” in astrology, Dane Rudhyar, and his analysis that experiences connected with the cycle of Neptune and Jupiter will most likely involve a “fall” that is full of “disorientation” and “confusion.” But instead of running “back to the womb” of our comfort zone and habitual comforts, we can draw up the strength to recover and step forward on our evolutionary journey. In connection with the potential for profound collective soul work that could come from this Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, it is also important to remember that it sometimes takes intense crises to liberate the hearts and minds of people into a united focus upon a cause.
Jupiter first quarter trine to Neptune at Birth
As a way to come at an additional understanding of how the Jupiter-Neptune cycle can play out in birth charts, I thought it would be interesting to give a historical example. When considering a conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in the birth chart, the individual could in many ways be instinctively tapped into the wave of the future, without perhaps being as consciously aware of the new vision as someone with a different aspect between the planets. One example of this would be the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, born during the Libra conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1792. While Shelly did achieve a level of fame in his meteoric lifetime, he was also criticized as a dilettante and crazy political radical by contemporaries living from the consensus Jupiter-Saturn thought patterns of the time. However, in connection with the future-oriented meaning of this cycle in Libra, in the successive generations following the death of Shelley he became a major inspiration in not only the field of poetry, but also in activism through his written proclamations concerning non-violent resistance in political protest and a vegetarian lifestyle.
In Evolutionary Astrology a first quarter trine aspect between Pluto and a planet is connected with the individual being “full” of their evolutionary purpose, and I feel in a similar fashion an individual with a first quarter trine aspect between Neptune and Jupiter could also be full of a new vision to manifest, including a conscious awareness of how to actualize a personal reality aligned with the vision. A profound example of a birth chart containing a first quarter trine between Neptune and Jupiter is Owen Barfield, who was born on November 9, 1898 in London, UK. The previous conjunction between Neptune and Jupiter would have been at 14 degrees Gemini, and is the place where Barfield has his Pluto. So being born five years after the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction here, Barfield also has his Gemini Pluto conjunct his Gemini Neptune. He also had a Mercury conjunct Chiron conjunct Uranus on the Scorpio/Sagitarius cusp, among many other fascinating natal chart aspects. However, for our purposes here of examining a first quarter trine aspect between Jupiter and Neptune, the life and work of Owen Barfield is a beautiful example. The following video is summarizes many of the innovations in thought provided by Barfield:
The fact Barfield has been held up as one of the most innovative thinkers, writers, and teachers of the 20th Century aligns completely with him being born with a trine between Neptune and Jupiter following their conjunction in Gemini in 1894. With a Jupiter in Libra he formed relationships with and inspired two of the most influential novelists of the 20th Century, Tolkien and Lewis, the authors of The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories, and he was able to create channels through which to express his Neptunian-informed thought. We can see the influence of Neptune on his thinking in his ability to discover aspects of the evolution of consciousness through his Gemini exploration of the history of the English language. He perceived how metaphors reveal a significance beyond a materialistic outlook, and how the fact that metaphors can only be understood by the imagination but not by logical reasoning does not mean they are not real. As the video above quoted, he saw how a butterfly and a flower are a “material manifestation of an immaterial unity from which both the butterfly and the flower sprung, an invisible common ancestor if you like.” His writing and thoughts on “thinking about thinking,” the “evolution of consciousness,” “collective representations,” and “original participation versus final participation” are all lovely examples of a human chanelling Neptunian thought through Jupiterian expression.
It may be of interest that I recently discovered Owen Barfield during this time of the Jupiter-Neptune trine through a social media (Aquarius) post by the Seattle astrologer Kate Petty and so for me coming across Barfield’s writing has been a great synthesis of many aspects of my recent thinking. In particular I am drawn to his concept of participation and how humans became cut off from nature with a feeling of being isolated and enclosed in their physical bodies, but by developing our imagination we can return to an awareness of our participation with Nature without losing our independent self-consciousness. He further described our consciousness as being more enclosed within the world as a whole than within the confines of our skin and skull. He invited us to release our attachment to viewing our minds as having evolved from a material and unconscious universe, to seeing that in the history of our world that matter has emerged from mind, and not mind from matter. The following poem is quoted among others at the end of the video:
Light in the world-
World in the mind-
Mind in the heart-
Heart in the night-
Pain in the day-
Strength in the pain-
Light in the strength-
World in the light.
–Owen Barfield, from Orpheus: A Verse Drama
It is also interesting examining the life of Barfield, in connection with the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, that he chose to take on a more consensus Jupiter-Saturn role at one point in order to help out with his family business. However, he eventually returned to his true Soul work of communicating liberating thought through a prolific period of writing and publishing books that took up the rest of his lifetime. As the video quoted at the end, Barfield’s work served the Jupiterian and Neptunian purpose of revealing that there is a meaning of meaning, that the world has deep meaning, and that if we learn to properly listen we will hear its meaning. May we likewise have the courage to continue forward on our own evolutionary journey of consciousness.
The image above is by my favorite painter, Marc Chagall, a Cancer who is enjoying his birthday today wherever he is, as I write this. It is called, “So I came forth of the Sea and sat down on the edge of an island in the moonshine,” and to me it encapsulates the watery astrological energy of the moment and the possibility of intuitively moving with the flow of it all, finding some sense of stillness within. In case you haven’t heard, this is going to be a very potent New Moon in the midst of a grand water trine involving Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio. Saturn is of particular prominence in the moment, having stationed direct yesterday. Saturn being in Scorpio, ruled by a Pluto in Capricorn undergoing a square from Uranus in Aries, has the sort of energy that makes the more squeamish of astrologers run for the underground. However, why not invite this energy in and have it help resurrect our truest path from within, just like the Moon itself emerges from its dark phase at this time to new light?
Examination of the Sabian symbol of this New Moon, as we astrologers love to do (if you haven’t noticed) bears in this case the repetition of you maybe having already read this one by Dane Rudhyar:
Cancer 17: The unfoldment of multilevel potentialities issuing from an original germ.
Keynote: The life urge to actualize one’s birth potential.
What is pictured here is simply the process of germination. As it unfolds from the sundered seed the plant pierces the crust of the soil and reaches up toward the light. This is a dynamic process turned outward, in contrast to the more static or introspective process of integration-through-understanding depicted in the preceding symbol. Germination is the crucifixion of the seed . . . The expanding process of self-actualization- which may mean nothing more than ego-expansion through conquest- contrasts with the introspective study of the structural relationship between, and the meaning of, the various energies and potentialities of one’s nature (svarupa in Sanskrit). The keyword is GROWTH.
from An Astrological Mandala, p. 121-2
The “preceding symbol” Rudhyar references is from sixteen degrees of Cancer, “A man studying a mandala in front of him, with the help of a very ancient book” and so is about more of a deep internal process of personality integration, in contrast to the outward expression of the potential of the individual found in the symbol associated with this New Moon at seventeen degrees of Cancer. Rudhyar’s analysis that this self-actualization process may appear to be an “ego expansion through conquest” links with the tumultuous process we undergo through individuating ourselves, and how part of this can look like narcissism or self-absorption because of the need to figure out who we are, as part of the process of then being able to move out into the world embodying more of our multilevel potential. Again, though, this symbol points to this being more of a time of germination, or feeling the urge of our potential, not necessarily that we would actually be already living the vision at this phase of our process.
One supportive New Moon aspect going with this symbolic meaning is the fact that Venus in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries. Another one is Mercury moving in retrograde in Cancer conjunct this New Moon, perfect for helping us perceive and reveal our inner potential- also, Mercury retrograde energy can be utilized in outer expression like this symbol suggests more so than you may realize from the pop astrology stereotypes about the dangers of it’s retrograde movement. However, I cannot think of a more harmonious change in planetary movement to support such a symbol than Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio on the day before the New Moon. Saturn being a boundary planet that is more about the collective and our role in society than a personal planet like Mercury, it’s stationing direct or retrograde can often coincide with major global events. This is particularly the case in connection with modern Egypt, as the Arab Spring there began in 2011 with Saturn stationing retrograde, and the new phase of the Egyptian revolution that took effect this past week happened with Saturn stationing direct. July 3 being the date of this most recent phase of Egyptian revolution is interesting because it is a date in which the Sun in Cancer is conjunct the fixed star Sirius, an important star in the ritual and myth of ancient Egypt. In fact, conspiracy theorists believe the Founding Fathers of the USA chose the date of July 4 to be the date of “America’s Independence” because it is a date in which the Sun is aligned with Sirius. The shifting of Saturn corresponding to major global events is also a symbolic correspondence to the power available to us on a personal level to revolutionize aspects of our lives when it stations direct. The fact that Saturn is doing this now in the sign of Scorpio, in a grand trine aspect to Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces, is an extraordinary symbol of transformation available to us on the deepest level of our being, if we are brave and honest enough to avoid denial and take accountability of our actions, release what is holding us back, and invoke what will propel us forward.
Today’s New Moon also happens to be conjunct Sirius, a beautiful star to behold in the sky and a star that carries a deep well of myth and tall tales encircling it from the most ancient of days, among the widest variety of indigenous cultures imaginable. One mythic figure who is especially connected to Sirius through myth is Isis (to read my archetypal analysis of Isis click here). I was reading recently about the Isis and Osiris myth in Carl Jung’s revised version of his Symbols of Transformation, thinking there could be something there about Isis to connect with this New Moon energy. The following quote I found I feel is a perfect addendum to the sabian symbol cited above by Dane Rudhyar:
But it is far from clear, because a new adaptation or orientation of vital importance can only be achieved in accordance with the instincts. Lacking this, nothing durable results, only a convulsively willed, artificial product which proves in the long run to be incapable of life. No man can change himself into anything from sheer reason; he can only change into what he potentially is. When such a change becomes necessary, the previous mode of adaptation, already in a state of decay, is unconsciously compensated by the archetype of another mode. If the conscious mind now succeeds in interpreting the constellated archetype in a meaningful and appropriate manner, then a viable transformation can take place. Thus the most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood state is indicated. One such succesful interpreation has been, for instance, Mother Church, but once this form begins to show signs of age and decay a new interpretation becomes inevitable.
Even if a change does occur, the old form loses none of its attractions; for whoever sunders himself from the mother longs to get back to the mother. This longing can easily turn into a consuming passion which threatens all that has been won. The mother then appears on the one hand as the supreme goal, and on the other as the most frightful danger- the “Terrible Mother.”
–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation (2nd edition, with corrections, 1967) , p. 236
Carl Jung’s interpretation of the Isis and Osiris myth in Symbols of Transformation has an almost obsessive attachment to viewing it through the lens of incest as a taboo. Jung focused on the sibling sexual relations between brother-sister Osiris and Isis, as well as Osiris and Nephthys being connected to the marriages between brothers and sisters that were common among the aristocracy of ancient Egypt. Jung then connected the concept of cultural taboos to the repressive effect they can have on human instincts, and then how the separation humans developed with their instinctual natures led to cultural prohibitions associated with various taboos. Jung believed that when children are bound to unconscious attachment to their mothers they are “still one with the animal psyche,” but that “development of consciousness inevitably leads not only to separation from the mother, but to separation from the parents and the whole family circle and thus to a relative degree of detachment from the unconscious and the world of instinct” (p. 235). This is the source of why in the quote above Jung reasoned that as consciousness develops away from the instincts of childhood, we are forever tempted “to make evasions and retreats, to regress to the infantile past” (p. 235). We can look for other new sources or mother archetypes to compensate for our detachment from our mothers, but this can at times also take us down the road of illusion and addiction as coping strategies.
The fact that Sirius is known as the dog star makes me think of the instinctual strength of dogs, and the significance Jung drew to the idea of us not being able to transform ourselves only through reason, but that the process to be successful would require a transformation in accordance with our instincts. This makes me think that if the star Sirius could symbolically embody a sense of instinct like a dog, it could be a guide at this time for helping us germinate a new level of potential from within ourselves that is aligned with the deepest levels of our instinctual nature. In Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung connected the myth of Isis and Osiris to Sirius, the dog star, because of the role of Annubis, the jackal-headed deity of death, in helping Isis to reanimate Osiris after he had been dismembered into many pieces by Set, and how Sirius as the dog star played a major role in ancient Egyptian ceremony:
. . . the deeper meaning is connected with the astral form of the dog ceremony, i.e., the appearance of the dog-star at the highest point of the solstice. Hence the bringing in of the dog would have a compensatory significance, death being made equal to the sun at its highest point. This is a thoroughly psychological interpretation, as can be seen from the fact that death is quite commonly regarded as an entry into the mother’s womb (for rebirth).
–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, p. 238
These themes connect strongly to me with the zodiac sign of Cancer in general, and how in mundane astrology it is ruled by the Moon, and how in esoteric astrology it is ruled by Neptune. With the associated astrological symbolism of the Moon and Neptune, such as themes of family, mother, Spirit, Source, . . . many of us are on the wheel of spinning through stages of desire to separate from these as well as a desire to return to them, with all sorts of ramifications of this separation/return theme impacting our daily life and actions in connection with our relationship to our unconscious and instincts. The esoteric rulership of Neptune makes me think of the birth-death-rebirth theories of Stanislav Grof, in which he connected the stage of the womb with Neptune. This womb stage evokes the imagery of Neptune not as the wrathful Poseidon, but as the Divine Mother, the mother of matter. It also connects the sign of Cancer to the complications of connection to the oceanic psychic realm of Spirit in a manner that goes along with Neptune currently being in the sign of Pisces. Having psychic urges or inclinations, or a desire to connect with God or Spirit or what have you, requires a strong sense of self in order to avoid drowning in the numinous ocean. At times we may think we are engaging in a psychic experience, or a communion with the divine, when in fact we ultimately realize we were off on some sort of illusory folly. In Soul Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated the connection between Cancer with the Moon and Neptune:
The waters of the Soul/Neptune wish to pull the individual into the ocean of the collective life experience. Yet the individual cannot “swim” safely in these universal waters without first having anchored its own sense of psychological independence and particular focus of self-expression. It is here that we come to understand that the more individualized a person becomes, the more universal he can be. Through the expanding consciousness, the many is seen as a reflection of the One, and the Ones is seen as whole in each of Its parts. This revelation (which some would rightly call “mystical”) is the gift of Neptune, as well as the product of a Soul-centered consciousness.
The Moon relinquishes its control to Neptune when attachment is released from those facets of life ruled by the Moon on the personality level. Then the root chakra- the center wherein dwells the unconscious urge for self-preservation . . . loosens its dominance as the driving force behind life. The removal- or, at the very least, the objectification- of the desire to be attached to form frees the individual in increasing stages toward the identification with the Will-to-Be at the crown center . . . The root center can then be utilized for the externalization of matter which has become consciously linked to Divine Cause . . .
The connection to Neptune as the Soul-centered ruler of Cancer is very profound. Neptune “unveiled” is not the same influence as it is when masked by the unconscious waters of the emotional life. It is by her actions on the unredeemed lower self that Neptune earns her reputation as the primary force behind self-destructive addictions. If the personality is not safely anchored through a strong, integrated, and aligned ego structure, the magnetic force of the waters of the psyche will indeed try to pull the struggling individual back into unconscious and undifferentiated beingness. One has to work incredibly hard to unmask the mirages of Neptune (as focused through the Moon) to arrive at the illumination of Neptune as a vehicle for the Sun!
–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 182
Saturn stationing direct at this time in trine to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer corresponds to an increased ability for us to discern what sorts of mirages or illusions could have been impacting us in this recent time period. It is no coincidence in this way that Saturn in this cycle stationed retrograde back in February during an incredibly intense time period of planets lined up in Pisces.
An additional enlightening element of Cancer I have come across from looking more into esoteric astrology is the stage of incarnation it symbolizes, following the mental birth of incarnation in Aries, the solidifying of form and desire in Taurus, and the movement between the mental and emotional in Gemini. Cancer along these lines represents a new cycle of physical incarnation that synthesizes the three previous stages of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini. This does not mean incarnating for the first time in form, but rather means that “an incarnation in Cancer indicates that this is the first cohesive anchoring of the Soul in a physical body for a particular cycle of unfoldment” (Oken, p. 179). For me this brings us back full-circle to the sabian symbol interpretation by Dane Rudhyar I brought up at the beginning- this New Moon in Cancer amid all of the other aspects of this time, calls our attention to the “particular cycle of unfoldment” we each are here on planet Earth in this moment to enact. This is a time of germination of that multi-level potential we have within ourselves- and with the upcoming magical yet heavy astrological aspects on the horizon, it will be a time in which we can manifest our potential into tangible results.
Below is a link to a video of a dynamic drawing of the zodiac sign of Cancer developed by Wolfgang Wegener. I learned of this technique from Evelina, an astrologer and translator of ancient texts who lives in Bulgaria, and appears to be a star sister of some sort to me, or someone whose thoughts on astrology give me a jolt to my own thinking. I somehow managed to find her blog pretty much as soon as it was published through a link to the Chiron archetype, and I recommend reading this post here that she made, for I feel it encapsulates the larger context of what I am writing about this New Moon and the current “above” our “below.”
At this time may we be still enough to hear the birdsong, the wind, and the streaming of water ahead of us on our path, and may we have the courage to follow it.
Jung, Carl. (1967 edition revised from original 1912). Symbols of Transformation. Bollingen.
Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees Pisces on June 17, 2013.
Chiron and Neptune have been widely conjunct during the first half of 2013 in Pisces, and will remain together within a wider orb of nine degrees for the next year. Chiron and Neptune began their current cycle in 2009 when they were exactly conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius.
Neptune in Pisces is trine Saturn in Scorpio and both are retrograde. Saturn will be the first to station direct on July 7, 2013.
Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 conjunct Venus in Cancer. Mercury will station direct on July 19 at 14 degrees Cancer in trine to Chiron in Pisces.
Chiron is the teacher and the healer of our inner Hero, the guide to our Hero’s journey. It is common to limit discussion of Chiron in astrological circles as “the wounded healer,” and while there is truth to that statement, there is also more to Chiron than a healer with a wound. The Chiron archetype will be an important guide for us during the Summer of 2013 in between the Pluto-Uranus square of May 2013 and the upcoming square of November 2013. There is a fascinating connection between Chiron and the current Pluto-Uranus cycle because in the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, Chiron was not only in Pisces, it was in the same vicinity of Pisces as it is now.
Just as the square between Pluto and Uranus connects the current time period with events of the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct, so does the transit of Chiron in Pisces. There was even a grand water trine in 1966 when Pluto and Uranus were in range of being conjunct and Chiron was in Pisces, with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Pisces, and Neptune in Scorpio. Although this 1966 trine had seven degrees separating Scorpio Neptune from Pisces Saturn and Cancer Jupiter, and so not nearly as significant as the grand water trine happening this Summer with the Pluto-Uranus square happening, it is still a fascinating parallel of the same planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune) being in the three water signs, with Chiron strongly in Pisces amid an intense aspect between Pluto and Uranus. In the Autumn of 1966 Chiron was conjunct Saturn in Pisces: it’s interesting to ponder how differences between the mid to late 1960s and our current time period could correspond to the differences between Saturn in Pisces with Neptune in Scorpio from Saturn in Scorpio with Neptune in Pisces. Although there is more and more talk of the Age of Aquarius, we really are still in the Age of Pisces today. The idea of an approaching Age of Aquarius first took hold of mass consciousness in a big way in the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, and during this time period in which they were in range of a conjunction in Virgo, Chiron at times was in range of an opposition to their alignment in the sign of Pisces. Now that Chiron has returned to this same area of Pisces as the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus is occurring from that alignment, it makes me think of Chiron in Pisces being a very important archetype in the shift of the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.
Chiron in Pisces today is holding more harmonious aspects to the Pluto-Uranus intensity, forming a sextile to Pluto in Capricorn and a semi-sextile to Uranus in Aries. This time period of collective upheaval can be viewed in large extent through the socially liberating energy of Uranus in Aries being in conflict with the energy of Pluto in Capricorn, which has a shadow side of control and manipulation from the dominating power structure. With Neptune, the planet of illusion, being in the sign of Pisces that can also connect with illusion, it brings the potential for the dominating power structure to attempt to use Neptunian illusions in order to ward off the force of collective liberation that could come with the Uranus in Aries energy. In the recent news cycle in the USA for example, we can see the veil of our national media removed and that our major news services are commiserate with the power structure as they attempt to spin the coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden away from an investigation into the actual issue into more of a criminality case against Snowden. In general, all one has to do is turn on cable television or pick up a copy of a product of the national corporate “journalism” services to find a gluttony of superficial coverage of celebrity scandals, arguments between political “adversaries” that are not even offering solutions to argue about, and other gossip more than investigative coverage of any of the actually important news events occurring. It is further interesting that in the USA we have a Pisces Chiron in the White House, as President Obama has a Chiron in Pisces and experienced his Chiron return during his re-election to his second term in office. It doesn’t take of course an astrology analysis of Chiron to realize President Obama is facing and incredibly complex, intense, wounding, and karmic situation at the moment as being the figurehead leader of the USA during current events, but it is a further interesting astrological layer of the current situation to observe.
On a personal level, the societal upheaval on an economic, political, and structural level has the potential to increase fear and anxiety within individuals, making each person more open to being manipulated on an unconscious level by power players in control of media and mass distribution of information. This has been especially the case during the last year with Chiron and Neptune conjunct in Pisces, because these archetypes combined magnetise the issues of duality connected with the Pisces archetype that has been such a strong influence during the Age of Pisces. This duality is connected to the symbolism of the two fish connected by a silvery cord, one fish standing for the “lower nature” of our ego personalities, the other fish standing for the “higher nature” of our Soul that incarnated into our current form.
One reason Pisces have the stereotype applied to them of being addicts and escapists is that it can be even harder for Pisceans than others to escape awareness of their Soul, no matter how much they try to hide from it through drugs and other various escapist activities. Pisces is also often the target of the “victim” and “martyr” labels, and again this can come from a sense of their timeless Soul nature that can lead to an illusory perception of being trapped in their physical form on the planet, with so many difficult and destructive forces surrounding them in three dimensional consensus reality. And so while Pisces energy can go along with feeling a sense of connection to Soul, it also has the duality of a sense of separation from Soul and Source, which further increases Piscean tendencies for illusionary pursuits that further contribute to a sense of separation from Source, Spirit, God, . . . This is one area in which Chiron, a half human and half animal grounded in the physical earth plane, can help us shift our perspective toward seeing the magic around us in our physical form and environment, and that everything we are experiencing and seeing also is connected with the same divine Source.
The previous conjunction cycle between Chiron and Neptune in the 20th Century occurred during great world calamity, toward the end of World War II after the United States of America dropped atomic bombs on Japan to force a surrender (September of 1945 at 6 degrees of Libra). Chiron and Neptune’s latest cycle began in 2009 when they were conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius, another period of global conflict that had some connections to the global power status the United States of America claimed during the previous conjunction between Chiron and Neptune. Many astrologers connected the conjunction between Chiron and Neptune toward the end of Aquarius with the Age of Aquarius that could be felt approaching at a distance, but a further interesting connection with this section of the zodiac and Neptune is that Neptune was discovered in 1846 when it was at 25 degrees of Aquarius, and Saturn was also at 25 degrees of Aquarius at the same time. Neptune being discovered when it was conjunct Saturn points to the importance of bridging the two archetypes in order to gain a stronger grasp of Neptunian energies, and Chiron is one of our strongest guides and mediators between the energy of our personal and collective Saturn and Neptune archetypes.
The connection between Chiron, Saturn, and Neptune has been handed down to us through myth, long before the technology of astronomers were able to locate the outer celestial bodies. Chiron is the son of Kronus in Greek myth, so he is literally the son of Saturn just like Neptune, Jupiter, and Pluto. Chiron’s link to Neptune, however, goes much farther back than merely sharing the same father. Chiron is literally a matriarchal descendant of an ocean deity even more primordial than Neptune: Oceanus. Chiron’s mother was a sea nymph named Philyra who was not only the daughter of Oceanus, according to some accounts she was the second oldest of all the sea nymphs that were borne from Oceanus. Saturn/Kronus became consumed with desire for Philyra, and in some versions transformed himself into a stallion in order to chase her, and in other accounts after forcing himself upon her sexually, he transformed himself into a stallion in order to disguise himself when he was discovered ravaging her body by his wife, Rhea.
In all mythic versions, this coupling of Saturn as a stallion with the sea nymph Philyra is how the birth of Chiron, half man and half horse, occurred on Mount Pelion. One of the first wounds of Chiron occurred by him being spurned by his parents for his unorthodox, animalistic form, and he stayed on Mt. Pelion as somewhat of a recluse, one of the original wise hermits in the cave. Furthermore, there is an even deeper link between Chiron and the ocean realm, because Chiron eventually took another sea nymph as his lover and partner, Chariclo, who was the grand-daughter of Neptune. Thus Chiron is both the son and the lover of water goddesses, and has as a result a stronger feel for Piscean energy than may be expected without exploring his myth.
The special sense Chiron embodies for the water element and in being a skilled mediator between the energies of Neptune and Saturn is of supreme importance in this moment, as Saturn in Scorpio is moving retrograde in trine to Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter is entering the sign of Cancer, and Mercury and Venus remain conjunct in Cancer. We can draw upon the Chiron archetype to help us activate the harmonious potential of the developing water trine aspect, as trines in astrology do not guarantee harmonious events and can in fact coincide with lethargy if we do not consciously activate them. There will be a lot of retrograde energy in water signs before Saturn stations direct in a couple of weeks on July 7, since Chiron and Neptune are retrograde in Pisces, Saturn is retrograde in Scorpio, and Mercury is stationing retrograde in Cancer.
With all of the watery energy and a powerful water trine to Neptune in its own sign of Pisces, we will have to be especially careful of escapist pursuits or illusions leading us to separate from our higher self or our connection to Source/Spirit. Chiron in Pisces carries this wound of connection to Spirit within it’s archetypes, and so at this time Chiron can help guide us to finding ways to connect with Spirit through healing techniques that can help us consciously move our higher self down through our body. With Saturn in Scorpio, we will have to be willing to face some deep aspects of ourselves, including shadow sides we may previously have been in denial of, if we want to authentically make our beings more whole in this way- but remember how Pisces Chiron is a perfect mediator between Scorpio Saturn, Pisces Neptune, and Cancer Jupiter. If we can ground in this manner, we will have an opportunity to evolve ourselves and our growth forward by following our own unique path and our special gifts and talents that may not typically fit in with the dominant culture. Chiron was the trainer of heroes and the guide in their hero’s journey, and so by developing and following through with practices at this time, such as creating time and a schedule for a daily journal practice, creative art practice, meditative practice, yoga practice, physical exercise practice of any sort . . . we can create structures to express the deep desires and emotions that could arise at this time.
The retrograde connection between Chiron and Mercury will remain of great significance in the next month, as Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 and then station on July 19 at 14 degrees of Cancer in trine to Chiron. After the upcoming retrograde movement of Mercury finishes when it stations in trine to Chiron next month, we may gain a greater ability to manifest tangible results of visions we planted back in February of 2013 when Mercury was in Pisces and conjunct Mars, Neptune, and Chiron. Aspects of the vision brewing inside us have been triggered in this recent time period, as Mars in Gemini has been in square to Chiron at the same time Chiron stationed retrograde. The full dates are as follows:
Around February 8, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Mars at 5 degrees Pisces and also conjunct Chiron at 7 degrees and Neptune at 3 degrees of Pisces. In the following days, first Mercury and then Mars became exactly conjunct Chiron in Pisces.
Around May 21, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Gemini and square to Chiron at 14 degrees of Pisces. This square happened immediately following an exact square between Capricorn Pluto and Aries Uranus.
Around June 10, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Cancer and in trine to Chiron in Pisces.
Around June 19, 2013 Mars in Gemini formed a square with Chiron in Pisces as Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees of Pisces.
These aspects between Mercury, Mars, and Chiron have been significant for everyone but especially anyone with planets or key chart aspects in mutable signs from zero to fifteen degrees or so (Gemini, Sagitarius, Virgo, Pisces). We may have had trouble recently finding a way to rationally understand our perceptions or sense of phenomenon in our dreams or waking states that do not fit into the neat categories of linear and rational thought aspired to by the dominant culture. We also may have been having difficulty communicating our experiences in a way that can be understood clearly by others, and with Mercury about to move retrograde we may need to let go of attachment to being understood and instead focus on understanding for ourselves what is happening inside of us.
The flood of emotions and extrasensory perception we could have been experiencing connected with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces could be better understood by withdrawing from external influences into the metaphorical cave of Chiron, but if we have been tapped into media sources of the dominant culture during this time or a participant in social media sites and sources, we instead would have been overwhelmed by a deluge of information thrown at us by authorities of all sorts, from genuine experts, to culturally appointed experts, to self-proclaimed experts utilizing the Internet to self-publish their thoughts. There have also been revolutions breaking out on the global stage in places as diverse as Turkey and Brazil during this time period, and while in the larger context these events correlate more with the square between Uranus and Pluto than personal planet aspects to Chiron, it is still important to consider Chiron was being aspected at the same time. In these revolutionary events the liberating force of individuals using social media to cover the news has been helpful as these events have had relatively small amounts of coverage by major news services. For example, I am fortunate to have a friend in Turkey through which I was able to gain access to a lot of images and news coverage of events there through his social media profile.
However we have been triggered by this flood of feelings and information recently, though, most likely is connected to important Soul work or issues for us to face. A perfect example of how to use the heroic gift of Pisces Chiron at this time is Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who is going through a Chiron return at the moment with a natal Chiron at fourteen degrees of Pisces, and is engaging in an attempt to pull off an all-day filibuster in the Texas state Senate to single-handedly prevent a passage of a controversial abortion bill that the Governor had to call a special session to attempt to pull-off in the first place. Her North Node of the Moon is also conjunct the current placement of Mercury in Cancer, and Mars in Gemini is square her natal Chiron, so her chart is being strongly aspected by the Chiron-Mars-Mercury cycle as she takes her heroic stand. Chiron does provide the sort of gift we can pull up from deep within ourselves at a time of crisis, and achieve success and rewards against all odds.
Similarly, the grand water trine we will experience this Summer between Neptune in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter in Cancer has the potential for euphoric and magical experiences, as well as the potential to coincide with watery chaos and emotional crises- however, if we can access our source of Chiron strength we can make heroic strides forward no matter what happens. Paying attention to the Chiron archetype and how his retrograde movement through Pisces can correlate to opportunities for us to take charge of our own heroic journey will be helpful.
Guru of Plants, Planets, and Spirit
Chiron in myth held the role of a guru of the heavens and the earth, as he was a teacher, trainer, and healer who was skilled in hunting, martial arts, gymnastics, music, medicine, herbalism, astrology, and the arts of prophecy, to name but a few of his talents. He was a master of channeling divine energy through these outlets, similar to a yogic or qi gong master, shaman, or a musician on the highest level of divine expression through their art. Chiron is a guide to the connection of our mind, body, and spirit because he understood the divine source of everything on our planet. He was an herbalist who was well-versed in medicinal uses and applications of plant beings, and he was also an astrologer who was well-versed in the medicine of the stars and their movements and interactions. Chiron lived from a sense of everything being connected to Source and Spirit, so stands as a teacher for us that our conflicts with life are often connected to our struggles with the external forms of matter in our environment, but that if we open our perception to the awareness that all of these forms we may struggle with also have the same divine Source as we do, we can persist in merging with love through all of our difficulties and help others in their own struggles as well.
The celestial body of Chiron was discovered on November 1, 1977 and it has been theorized by many astrologers that since that time we have had a greater capacity to connect our mind, body, and spirit as a collective species. The Saturn connection to Chiron is interesting because Saturn was at the very end of Leo when Chiron was discovered, so brings an energy of the culmination of the Leo hero’s journey to the Chiron birth chart. In Evolutionary Astrology, astrologer Rose Marcus has connected the significance of Chiron to “peak experiences” in our lifetime as well as the deep past life history of our Soul that are connected to our special destiny, legacy, and path. I saw her lecture on Chiron at the 2012 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, in which she described how Chiron carries a dense magnetic frequency that correlates with our most significant and lucid memories, how the Chiron archetype will be involved in our own peak experiences, and how we can also be a catalyst for activating other people’s key issues when we step into our own Chiron archetype. Rose explained that Chiron can connect with our wounding issues that have been repeating and devastating across lifetimes, but at the same time Chiron can also correlate with extraordinary resources we can find within ourselves to face the tests and challenges of our journey. In this way, Rose connected Chiron to the Virgo and Sixth house archetypes in the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm because of Chiron guiding us to use our crises as vehicles for our own growth.
Barbara Hand Clow, who wrote the pioneering and definitive classic text on Chiron, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets, also connected Chiron with the Sixth House and the Virgo archetype. There is also an interesting connection between Saturn and Chiron with the Virgo archetype in the time period that Chiron entered astrological awareness as a distinct celestial body, because although Chiron was discovered when Saturn was at the very end of Leo, after a couple of weeks following the discovery Saturn shifted into Virgo. As a result, most people born in the period following the discovery of Chiron, meaning the first people born who have a higher potential ability to integrate the lessons of the Chiron archetype, were born with Saturn in Virgo. Fittingly enough, this group of Souls went through their first Saturn return just in time for these cataclysmic times of the Pluto-Uranus square, again giving them a better chance to access the gifts of Chiron to help all of us on the planet at this time.
Virgo is the polarity to Pisces, and an important archetype to help understand how to access the gifts of the Chiron archetype at any time, but especially now with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces. One way Chiron can help everyone better understand their own connection to the Pisces archetype through Virgo is by making the famous “silvery cord” connecting the two fish of Pisces more tangible and conscious. One fish of Pisces of course represents the personality side of ourselves, while the other fish represents our Soul nature- they are connected in Pisces irrevocably through a silver cord, which is why Pisceans can never escape the challenges of our personality connection to our Souls and Source discussed earlier. Alan Oken gave a concise description of the deep esoteric significance Virgo brings to this aspect of the Pisces archetype in his book Soul Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self:
The string is the symbol of the Antahkarana- the silvery cord linking the personality and the Soul, the darkness and the Light. It is formulated out of the substance of the mental plane, thus requiring the discriminating focus of Virgo and Mercury in its construction. Once the Antahkarana/Rainbow Bridge is forged, one can then traverse the various planes and fields of consciousness and not lose one’s way. This is the Thread of the Warrior/Disciple, who goes forth in the act of self-sacrifice, in order to do battle for the unfolding purpose of the Plan.
–Alan Oken, Soul Centered Astrology (p. 243)
The Mercurial functions of discrimination and discernment can be developed into sharper focus for us at this time, even with Mercury stationing retrograde, through practice and daily ritual. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and other forms of spiritual practice are Virgo techniques similar to spiritual practices of the Chiron of myth, and can be helpful tools for us in this flooded time of Piscean emotional currents. Since there have been a series of squares to Chiron in Pisces from the sign of Gemini, with Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all moving through Gemini in square to Chiron this past Spring, we may have been distracted with a busy and hectic schedule or a mass of information to process in some way. However, even closing our eyes and meditating or just breathing with intention for ten or fifteen minutes, whatever we can manage, can be extremely helpful in this upcoming time period.
The vast expanse of knowledge held by Chiron is interesting considering how in this upcoming Summer, Jupiter will move into a trine apect through Cancer with Chiron (especially toward the end of July through August of 2013) giving us an opportunity to draw upon knowledge and resources found in recent challenges to propel us forward. This aspect is in stark contrast to what had been happening this past year, as from July 0f 2012 through April of 2013, Jupiter was in Gemini and in a square aspect to Chiron in Pisces. This square could have been felt in part by how our psychic sensitivities are impacted by the flood of information we can be bombarded with when connected to modern technology and social media platforms. On the one hand the social media outlets are liberating because anyone can start writing and publishing their thoughts on a blog, but on the other hand this liberation can be overwhelming when trying to sift through the sheer volume of information for what to focus on with the time available.
With Mercury about to station into a retrograde motion, developing and practicing techniques that will help guide us toward greater discernment with our intuition will be helpful for us finding our unique path to follow at this time. Most likely significant opportunities will present themselves, so it will be up to us to make choices aligned with our highest intention for the highest good for ourselves and other beings. If we have experienced crises or wounding during this past year of Jupiter in Gemini squaring Chiron in Pisces, or simply confusion over which direction to follow, through our own self-care, healing, and giving and receiving of love with others we will be entering a time in which we can find a gift or special skill to take from past turmoil.
The conflict between Jupiter in Gemini and Chiron in Pisces that happened this past year has its own divine source in the ancient myths of Greece. Jupiter and Chiron have had their issues before our day:
Entering the Cave of Chiron
Thetis was a sea nymph of great importance in ancient times. In some versions she is not given greater importance than her description of being a sea nymph, but other mythic researchers have found evidence that in ancient times she was much more important and an integral manifestation of the Great Goddess. She is widely known as the mother of Achilles, who gave her son to Chiron to raise and draw out his special skills and capacities. There was a prophecy regarding the greatness of the son of Thetis that made Zeus afraid that her offspring could dethrone him as he had dethroned his own father. Zeus helped arrange a marriage between Thetis and a mortal, Peleus, and their wedding happened outside the cave of Chiron on Mt. Pelion and was attended by most of the deities. However, one was not invited who goes by the name of Eris, and so this wedding outside the cave of Chiron is the scene upon which Eris threw her golden apple out of vengeance, an action that ultimately led to the decision of Paris and the Trojan War.
The cave of Chiron being the scene of the source of the vengeful desire of Eris is a core wound of our collective culture. I remember being in an 8th Grade English class near Atlanta, Georgia in the USA in which we analyzed this mythic scene, and it seems to still be a widespread mythic scene in our collective educational backgrounds if you are from a “Western” influenced or culturally dominated background. It’s also a wound we as astrology students and teachers need to figure out in a Chiron manner, as Eris is the a recent addition to our astrological paradigm and her full meaning is still being worked out by astrologers.
The cave of Chiron is an apt symbol for the training ground of our hero’s journey, as Chiron was famous for training the most praised heroes of ancient myth, having the ability to draw attention to their unique talents and help them develop their natural gifts into extraordinary strengths that would help them persist through unfathomable difficulties that became the stuff of legend. Chiron was not only the trainer of warrior heroes, however, but also medicinal ones. Asclepius, considered to be the mythic master of medicine, was his most famous pupil in the healing arts, and so Chiron in this way is also considered to be a father of medicine and surgical practices. The mind-body-spirit connection of Chiron is evident in the holistic healing practices associated with Asclepius, which included patients going to sleep in special chambers in which the act of dreaming itself healed their wounds, or at other times the healing could be helped through dream interpretation made by healers trained in the methodology of Asclepius.
We enter the cave of Chiron whenever we enter a space in which we have the opportunity for self-transformation, healing, and gaining greater awareness and access to special skills and resources we have to offer the world. If we have ever been in a classroom with a powerful teacher who struck us on a deep level to our core, we have been in the cave of Chiron. Being a teacher is one of the most obvious outlets for Chiron energy, and this connection was illuminated in literature by John Updike in his novel The Centaur, in which he used myth in the way of James Joyce by re-telling the story of Chiron through a novel about a public school teacher in a mid-twentieth century small rural town in the USA. In this novel Updike also integrates the mythic connection between Chiron and Prometheus, and as I haven’t mentioned this widely commented upon connection yet in this article, allow me to remind you that another time Chiron mediated a conflict involving Jupter was when he gave of his own immortality in order to release Prometheus from the bondage of being punished by Jupiter for giving fire to humanity. As there are some versions of myth in which Prometheus is actually the creator of humanity, Chiron giving of himself to release a deity who in some myths is responsible for the creation of humanity and in others is the source of our knowledge of fire and all of the creativity that followed, is profound and is not unlike an action of a Christ figure. The fact that Chiron was drawn to do this in part because of being tormented by the pain of being an immortal who was struck by a poisoned arrow of Hercules, is one of the main reasons why the Chiron archetype has become associated with being a wounded healer for our humanity.
As is often the case, when an archetype like Chiron is prominent, other archetypes that connect with similar themes will also become prominent, and that is certainly the case right now. Lilith is another popular symbol of our wounding and in the larger context something Chiron could be holding space for us. The triple goddess aspects of Lilith in astrology are all going through significant transits right now:
Original Lilith (asteroid #1181) is currently at 13 degrees Gemini and so is square to Chiron as well as recently conjunct Mars.
Dark Moon Lilith (hypothetical celestial body) is moving through Cancer in range of being conjunct Mercury, Venus, and Vesta at the moment. At the time of the Summer Solstice it was opposite Pluto in Capricorn and in square to Uranus in Aries.
Black Moon Lilith, the Resolution Lilith (an energy vortex that is the “other” focal point of the Moon’s ellipitical orbit besides Earth) is at 6 degrees of Cancer and so is also in range of being in a T-Square with Pluto and Uranus, and was also strongly aspected by the Full Moon on June 23.
Demetra George in Finding Our Way Through the Dark gave a widely used description of these three phases of Lilith, in which the asteroid Lilith “describes the first stage of Lilith’s mythical journey where she is suppressed, humiliated, and flees in a fiery rage to the desolate wilderness,” the Dark Moon Lilith “depicts the pain of her exile where she plots and executes her revenge,” and the Black Moon Lilith “shows how she transmutes her distorted image back into its natural healthy expression” (p. 92). The fact the original Lilith has been squaring Chiron and was recently conjunct Mars could correlate with a core wound being activated in our psyche, and yet the healer side of the Chiron archetype is also present with Lilith at this time as the resolution aspect, the Black Moon Lilith, is also being strongly activated now.
And as if these intense aspects involving Lilith isn’t enough, there are also some fascinating transits occurring now that involve asteroid Goddesses associated with the Soul, working with the Soul, healing and retrieval of our Soul:
Isisis conjunct Uranus in Aries and so is square to Pluto in Capricorn.
Persephone is conjunct Saturn in Scorpio and in trine to Neptune in Pisces. Persephone has now stationed direct after moving retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon and Saturn in Scorpio this past Spring.
Psyche is also in Scorpio and moving retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon.
my friends, I have not written an article about Psyche . . . yet. However, there are a lot of resources available regarding her story to investigate.
In totality all of these transits involving such powerful feminine archetypes of the Soul mean that this is an incredibly deep time period of huge feelings and experiences. To me, one of the greatest tools we can use at this time, again keeping the archetype of Chiron in mind as a guide, is to create a practice of Art to move the energy.
Chiron holds the Art of our wounds
One of the connections between the Chiron archetype and the archetype of the artist can be seen in the following quote from an art review I found in The Chicago Reader about the above watercolor by Gustave Moreau from 1890, Dead Poet Borne by a Centaur:
The centaur often symbolizes Dionysian violence and intoxication, and here he bears the dead poet in his arms. Some have interpreted this image not as the union of warring opposites, however, but as a pessimistic reflection on the artist’s lot in modern times. As turn-of-the-century writer Ary Renan said about this work: “How many have perished without funerals at the bottom of solitary streams? To be sure, sometimes a charitable centaur gathers up the victim.
Chiron as a wounded healer archetype certainly connects him with all of the great artists throughout time who put all of their heart and soul into their art, posthumously inspiring a large audience drawn to the specific quality of their art, and facilitating healing for many people who could draw strength and compassion for themselves through experiencing their creative work. And yet the wound for these artists was that in the actual time-frame of their existence they often lived through pain and torment, lacking an audience or material rewards for their work. However, no matter what difficulty some of these artists could have experienced in their material life, through the act of creating their art they could reach a blissful state that would be it’s own reward. Moreover, the gift of healing and inspiration such artists leave for those with similar sensibilities to find and gain strength to continue on their own unique path is incalculable and has deep resonance with the quality of wounded healing associated with Chiron.
During these intense karmic times, we can work with our Chiron wounding through expressing our feelings through art and releasing the energy in the process. Unfortunately, for many of us the actual creation of art can be one of our Chironic wounds, and so we tend to hold ourselves back from creating. A beautiful book to work with during this time if you have not already is Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way in which she provides activities and questions to help the reader break out of any restrictive writer’s or artist’s blocks limiting their ability to express themselves. One of the basic techniques of the book is a daily journaling activity in which after waking up in the morning you write three pages of writing as quickly as possible, thinking about it as little as possible. It is amazing what can start to open up for you as you engage in this practice. I also like this book because Cameron connects the creation of Art with it being a spiritual practice: “We are, ourselves, creations,” she writes, “And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.” Her central theme in the book is that by opening ourselves up to our own creativity, we open ourselves to a greater connection with Spirit and the capacity to develop our unique gifts and live the full potential of our lives some of us merely dream of instead of actually actualizing. This lesson that making the creation of art a daily practice, habit, and ritual in our lives will open up a greater spiritual dimension and holistic feeling of healing in our lives is a very Chironic lesson to me. Any practice you can develop for yourself at this time that will provide an outlet for your sense of Spirit and expression of creativity will bring a smile to the face of Chiron and will be good medicine for your Soul.