New Moon in Capricorn

Air Power by Jean Michel Basquiat

New Moon in Capricorn

The Capricorn New Moon on January 12 initiates the first lunar cycle of 2021, the first lunar cycle to follow the dissolution of the eclipses that brought an end to 2020, and the first lunar cycle to begin since the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius.  There has been immense volatility in recent current events befitting our collective transition into a new astrological era, from the chaos of the riotous insurrection in the USA to the swift response of banishment from Internet corporations that has revealed the power they hold in the era of air. Though we have left the era of earth defined by the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, the New Moon in Capricorn will  pull us underneath the surrounding soil, penetrating into the underlying dynamics at play in the tearing down and building up of forms. The darkness of the lunation invites exploration of the dark forest within, feeling into the roots of matters and how they are being nourished from subterranean sources.

The New Moon is separating from a harmonizing sextile with Neptune in Pisces and applying toward an intensifying conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. The lunar movement from Neptune to Pluto evokes the potent depth of the Sea Goat who draws sustenance from the oceanic, immaterial expanse underlying reality, churning visions of what to manifest from subconscious senses. The magnetic influence of Pluto can bring cathartic experiences that expose the desires behind our ambitions and bring realization of goals to cultivate that will be authentically empowering with a natural sense of power. It’s not a lunation for rushing into making things happen, but rather gestating and gathering internal resources. With Pluto present as we cross the threshold of not only a new lunar cycle but a new astrological era, we need to let its process of death and rebirth take its time. We need to deepen into the changes emerging from within before we may wield their full potential in the year ahead.

The New Moon conjoining Pluto also brings awareness to a section of your natal chart that was heavily impacted by the union of Saturn and Pluto in 2020. Indeed, the New Moon at 23°13′ Capricorn is very close to the same place Pluto formed a conjunction with Saturn last year at 22°46′ Capricorn on January 12, 2020.  Pluto had to share the sign of Capricorn with Saturn from the end of 2017 to the end of 2020, and in the past couple of years also has had the South Node of the Moon and Jupiter nearby as well. With Pluto now alone in Capricorn, we can hear the voice of Hades clearer with its fertile pulse buried under the richness of earth. The New Moon and Pluto may pinpoint an area of your external or internal life that needs extra care and nurturance in recovery from all of the ruptures of the past year. The ferryman of Hades has arrived to greet us at the doorway into a new era, willing to guide us into emerging possibility as long as we pay the toll of shedding what needs releasing, deepening into what wants to be born through us.

The Capricorn New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Aquarius, with Mars in Taurus applying to a disruptive square aspect with Saturn that it will complete on January 13. The discord found within the aspect between Saturn with Mars will be reflected in turbulent collective events involving a berserker charge from Mars into the fortified walls of Saturn. While Saturn is in position to protectively bind the rage of Mars, the strife and tension constellated between them can escalate stress and pressure. The square between Mars and Saturn is more important than the usual passing square between them, as it brings the final chapter to a story that was previously initiated during the period of Mars retrograde in Aries when Mars formed exact square aspects with Saturn at the end of August and the end of September in 2020. While the discord between Saturn and Mars dominated the astrology of August through October in 2020, there was a lessening of the friction between them in November and December. Once Mars entered Taurus on January 6, the volatility between them became amped up again and has built in intensity since then.

The aggressive assertion of Mars will make things frustrating if we want to make things happen too fast, and so the fiery force of the star of Ares will be most effective when grounded into the earthy, long term focus of Taurus not unlike how the orphic hymn to Ares gives his weapons over to the agricultural work of Demeter. A balance will need to be struck between opening to new desires being stoked by Mars while patiently working through whatever obstacles and tests are being set in place by Saturn. It’s a period for laying the foundation of long-term goals rather than grasping for short-term gratification. The seeds of the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius have been set in motion, and as the potency of Jupiter and Saturn requires serious intention with commitment to bring things to completion, we need to patiently work through disruptions and restrictions without losing sight of the larger vision we want to work toward. The forthcoming lunar cycle will be one of the most inflammatory periods of 2021, and so it will be helpful to rest when able so that we may draw on full reserves of energy when action needs to be taken.

During the recent peak period of darkness in the northern hemisphere and peak light in the southern hemisphere, Saturn and Jupiter have put on a dazzling display of light following sunset. Pivotally, the Capricorn New Moon demarcates the shift of Saturn and Jupiter from being visible into setting into their invisible phase. With both Saturn and Jupiter setting into their dark, underworld phase that will last until the beginning of February when they will become visible again, pay attention to whatever message they are delivering to you about the new issues emerging from old patterns.  In the forthcoming lunar cycle both Saturn and Jupiter will become reanimated by conjunctions with the Sun, as Saturn will conjoin the Sun on January 23 and Jupiter will conjoin the Sun on January 28, the same day as the Full Moon in Leo. Though no longer visible as a solstice star omen, as Saturn and Jupiter move through their invisible phase during the next month we may gestate whatever visions and ideas we gathered underneath their light, gathering and cultivating the tools and skills we will need to bring the dreams of our imagination into reality in the years ahead.

Vassily Kandinsky Small Worlds VII

Vassily Kandinsky (1922) Small Worlds VII

Looming large over the Capricorn New Moon is the presence of Uranus in Taurus which will station direct on January 14, saturating the astrological atmosphere with its emancipatory and shattering influence. Uranus has been retrograde since stationing on August 15, 2020 at 10°41′ Taurus, and as it stations direct at 6°43′ Taurus it will be met by the explosive volatility of Mars combining with it. Mars will form an exact conjunction with Uranus in Taurus on January 20, with Mars also forming catalytic square aspects with Saturn in Aquarius on January 13 and Jupiter in Aquarius on January 22. In addition, Jupiter in Aquarius will form an exact square aspect with Uranus on January 17 while Uranus is still primed in potency due to its recent stationing. Altogether this period of time has immense risk for discord and violence, and makes the recent mob riots in the USA deeply concerning in relation to what will transpire leading up to the inauguration of President Biden on January 20. There will need to be a collective effort of protection and defensive resistance to prevent the kind of out of control violence that erupted in the USA when Mars joined Uranus in Taurus on January 6.

While collective events will involve the shattering quality of the Tower arcanum in tarot in the week following the Capricorn New Moon, in our personal lives we must also be careful of not become overinflated with self righteousness. There will be greater possibility of personal conflicts accelerating needlessly, and so it will be important to take a step back and regain calmness when needed. It will also be possible to discover personal breakthroughs during this time period and sources of new inspiration if we allow ourselves to transmute fears of the unknown into courageous determination. Constructively, unlike the extreme friction circulating between Saturn and Jupiter with Mars and Uranus, Venus in Capricorn is applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Uranus that it will complete on January 13. Make space to receive whatever innovative ideas emerge, knowing you have time to deepen into their meaning and manifestation. Venus will next move through a sextile with Neptune in Pisces on the way to forming a conjunction with Pluto during the upcoming Full Moon in Leo, and so there will be deep illumination possible at the end of January regarding whatever inspiration Venus picks up at the New Moon in Capricorn.

After Venus completed its conjunction with the South Node of the Moon at the end of 2020, it activated a configuration (called the Kala Sarpa Yoga in Vedic astrology) in which all of the planets transit in between the lunar nodes. In collective events, this configuration intensifies the chaotic volatility and extremes we would normally expect due to crossing over the threshold into a new astrological era. Each month this pattern will be temporarily broken up by the Moon moving across the North Node in Gemini through the signs of Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio, periods in which the Moon can give us a reflection of the deep seated changes taking shape. However, once the Moon passes through the gate of its South Node in Sagittarius everything will be moving in between the lunar nodes until the Moon reaches its North Node in Gemini again, making these sections of time especially charged. This pattern will remain in effect until Mars eventually moves across a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini at the end of March 2021. This time around, the Moon activated the pattern by crossing the South Node of the Moon on January 10 and so the New Moon in Capricorn involves all of the planets being in between the lunar nodes. The Moon and the rest of the planets will remain in between the lunar nodes until the Moon forms a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini on January 24.

kandinsky round poetry

Vasily Kandinsky (1933) Round Poetry (Runde Dichtung)

The other major player in the lunar cycle ahead is Mercury in Aquarius. Within the darkness of the Capricorn New Moon, Mercury in Aquarius will be making major announcements as it has returned to visibility as an Evening Star and has also recently moved through conjunctions with Saturn and Jupiter and square aspects with Mars and Uranus.  Ultimately, Mercury in Aquarius will station retrograde within the forthcoming lunar cycle on January 30, giving us the two weeks following the Capricorn New Moon to make use of Mercury being in its productive Evening Star phase.  Mercury in Aquarius is well suited to helping us navigate through the volatile period of time that will follow the New Moon, as its airy quality can absorb new perspectives while its fixed nature can sustain focus on longterm goals, weaving in between the daily details we need to attend to and the larger vision we are working toward that we need to keep in mind.

As we are moving in between astrological eras, Mercury in Aquarius can help ferry us across the divide between the known and the unknown.  While Mercury in Aquarius can be helpful in making the connections we need to make between our present life and the sense of future vision we are cultivating, we will need to resist the stubborn side of Aquarius and open to the flexibility of consciousness beloved by the star of Hermes. Mercury will enter the “shadow” of its upcoming Mercury retrograde phase on January 15, and so events from around that time may play into shifts in storylines that extend through February as Mercury will return to station direct at the same degree on February 20. Most importantly, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as an Evening Star on January 23 at which point it will begin slowing down in preparation for its stationing a week later on January 30.

4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Decan

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

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Throne” to the third face of Capricorn, a fitting image given that the Sun rules the decan.  Coppock wrote that this face of Capricorn involves administering from a throne to control the elements of the world needed to attain material gain and positions of greater power and responsibility.  Notably, Coppock cautioned that hubris can tempt those grasping for power in this face to overlook the weight of responsibility and the loneliness of isolation that accompany achieving ambitions.  Coppock warned that accumulations of material wealth, power, and responsibility “may end up crushing them,” the idealized palace turning into a restrictive prison as “only high places bring with them the danger of terrible falls.” Coppock concluded that the third face of Capricorn draws us “close to high seats of power,” we need to remember that influential “positions always come with responsibility, and to sit in them is to be tempted by hubris.”

Thus the union of the New Moon in the third face of Capricorn with Pluto may stir ambitious desires that bear the seeds of hubris within the potential fruit of manifestation. In collective events, we will likewise witness those from high seats of power fall while others fight to gain a seat on the throne. Allow the darkness of the Capricorn New Moon to guide you into the goals that will be truly worth you courageously putting everything into, versus the desires that will ultimately lead you to overwhelming pressure that will not be worth the effort. Explore the shadow of the goals and desires you are cultivating, feeling into where you may become at risk of being consumed by hubris. Let the forthcoming lunar cycle deepen your sense of the innovative plans and ideas that have emerged during the recent weeks of the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, and how to most effectively integrate them into your present life.

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References

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

Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on Pluto’s Nodes

dragon limestone mesopotamia

Mesoptamian top fragment of a kudurru with a mushhushshu dragon and divine symbols (ca. 1156–1025 B.C.) from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer

All new lunations deemed eclipses are not equal, for those that succomb to total blackening of the Sun are far more potent than those in which only a sliver of a shadow obscures our solar light. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 12 (or July 13, depending upon time zone) is one such eclipse, as it will only be visible in the southern reaches of Australia and the south pole region. The first solar eclipse in Cancer is partial due to its distance from the lunar nodes, 15º12′ from the true node position. However, even though its not the most intense type of eclipse, it’s incredibly dynamic due to its Plutonic quality. The Cancer syzygy is closely aligned with the planetary nodes of Pluto while opposing Pluto at the same time. This creates the potent matrix of the partial eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, while Pluto is aligned with its own South Node. We thus we will be experiencing a total activation of the entire orbital arc of Pluto, and a colossal release of all things Plutonic into our collective field.

Eclipses have a long association with destined events due to new forms entering our life in the weeks surrounding them, often with an unexpected gravitas, while other forms we had previously felt securely attached to pass away. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is the first activation of an upcoming cycle of eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn, with the next Partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn in January 2019, followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer in July 2019. As a result the Plutonic eclipse will be revealing first intimations of new themes that will become more firmly established in our lives once the lunar nodes make the switch into Cancer and Capricorn in November 2018. The eclipse emphasizing areas of future oriented growth is further shown by it occurring on the side of the North Node of the Moon, with the Moon waxing toward a conjunction with its ascending node across our ecliptic, moving from southern toward northern latitude.

However, since our Sun will be partially covered by the shadow of our Moon, it suggests there are elements of the irrational, deep unconscious, potent dream experiences of night, and charged memories that will be oozing or erupting into conscious awareness. Since the North Node of the Moon is in Leo and we will be experiencing a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July combined with Mercury moving retrograde in Leo, the Cancer lunation opposing Pluto in Capricorn brings the Cancer-Capricorn polarity strongly into a context dominated by Leo and Aquarius. I’m reminded of a talk I heard Jason Holley give on Cancer that explored its archetype through the myth of the crab in the constellation sent by Hera to attack Heracles. Holley described lunar material as being emotional openings to the fertile void, a realm of memories that is nonlinear, somatic, and implicitly pulls things into its own rhythm- thus it as if the crab has emerged from the undifferentiated unconscious to attack Heracles, the solar hero wearing lion skin. Holley noted that when our internal world lacks a sense of structure and order it leads to reliance on external sources for a sense of stability and safety.  If one’s capacity to contain emotional experience internally is not developed, it will be delegated to others rather than claimed from one’s own sense of inner authority. The opposition from Pluto in Capricorn to the lunation will force awareness of any such issues.

Pluto has been associated with Shiva and his fierce destructive aspects by many astrologers, as the experience of a hard aspect from Pluto can not only feel like a complete destruction of one’s personality, but also be experienced through devastating losses of structures and relationships we had been attached to.  When we stop resisting, denying, or being overly defensive,  allowing our ego to be destroyed in the quakes of Pluto, we open ourselves to the treasured gifts we will eventually unearth in the underworld process. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche gave an excellent summary of terms associated with Pluto including “the principles of elemental power, depth, and intensity; with that which compels, empowers, and intensifies whatever it touches, sometimes to overwhelming and catastrophic extremes; with the primordial instincts, libidinal and aggressive, destructive and regenerative, volcanic and cathartic, eliminative, transformative, ever-evolving . . . violent purgatorial discharges of pent-up energies, purifying fire; situations of life and death extremes, power struggles, all that is titanic, potent, and massive.”  Collectively we will be experiencing a massive purge of all things Plutonic in the time surrounding the Partial Solar Eclipse due to the eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, with Pluto conjoining its own South Node. Within the discharge can be found vital empowerment as described above by Tarnas, the question becoming what do you want to empower?

Planetary Nodes can be confusing for some people to understand when first coming across them, but I can vouch from years of experience with them that they are well worth the effort to integrate into astrological practice. There are valid reasons to use heliocentric planetary nodes (calculated from the accurate concept of the Sun being center of our solar system) as well as the geocentric nodes (calculated as they appear from our Earth-bound perspective as the center). The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is closely conjoining the geocentric North Node of Pluto (geocentric North Node of Pluto is 20º33′, lunation is 20º41′ Cancer) and Pluto is tightly conjoined its own geocentric South Node (Pluto at 20º00′, geocentric South Node of Pluto is 20º32′). Pluto and the Partial Eclipse are also closely conjoining the heliocentric nodes of Pluto. This means that Pluto is in the process of crossing the ecliptic from northern latitude into southern. For astronomical information and diagrams on the alignment of the lunation with Pluto, which also means someone on Pluto with a massive telescope could watch the earth transit in front of the Sun, see here and here.

american gothic

American Gothic (1930) Grant Wood

In contrast to the current transit of Pluto across its own South Node, Pluto transited across its North Node in 1929 through 1931, stationing retrograde in close proximity in October 1928. The year 1929 is famous of course for the Wall Street stock market crash that led into the Great Depression of the 1930s. Dane Rudhyar in his landmark text The Planetary and Lunar Nodes cut to the heart of the significance of paying attention to planetary nodes, writing that “in philosophical traditions concerning the meaning of astrology it was stated that the fundamental reality of what we call a planet is not its material mass but rather the space which its movements define.” Planetary nodes bring awareness into the relationships between the entire orbital arcs of planets in our solar system, therefore in archetypal terms we are talking about discerning relationships between the entirety of the archetypal cycle of each celestial wanderer to one another, and to our experiences on Earth.

When planets ascend across their north node into northern latitude as Pluto did in the transition from the 1920s into the 1930s, to Rudhyar we experience “an increase in the radiation of the planet’s characteristic attributes.” In part this period of history involves not only the Great Depression but also the rise of fascism, nationalistic forces, and the ascending terror of Hitler and Nazi Germany. When a planet reaches its northern bending of forming a square to its own nodes, as Pluto did in Libra in the transition from the 1970s into the 1980s, Rudhyar stated the planetary archetype reaches a collective “turning point” and thereafter begins the trajectory down in latitude toward where we find ourselves now with it crossing its descending node toward the south. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote:

One of the most significant ways of thinking of the nodes is to consider them as two “gates.” When a planet [Rudhyar includes the Moon here] is at its north node, its essential function and quality in the solar system is focused upon our Earth-space which is then most able to absorb and assimilate it. When the planet is at its south node what is released as “substantial” factors are the results of the relationship between the characteristic nature of the planet and whatever in the Earth-space has absorbed its power. If the relationship has been positive, then what has been absorbed has also been “assimilated” and integrated to the Earth-consciousness and has produced a new “seed,” i.e., new experiences and values. If the relationship has proven negative, what is being released or exteriorized are disintegrating materials, or negative existential results.

It’s easy to find the “disintegrating” and “negative existential” manifestations of the Pluto archetype in current events these days. There has in fact been a re-activation of white nationalism and supremacy and many people have had fears of another rise of fascist forces rising. There is also the additional factor that Saturn also has its South Node in Capricorn close in degree to the South Node of Pluto, and that Saturn is now heading toward a conjunction with Pluto at the beginning of 2020 that will be aligned with the South Nodes of both Pluto and Saturn. It is in fact striking that the second World War erupted after Pluto crossed its ascending node, and that the “Cold War” in the aftermath took shape in alignment with a conjunction between Pluto and Saturn.  NATO was then formed between North American and European nations against the threat they feared from the Soviet Union, and today as this eclipse forms with Pluto on its own South Node the relationships within NATO are taking center stage in current events.

The last time Pluto was conjoining its South Node was the beginning of the 1770s leading into the Revolutionary War that created the United States of America. As has been often discussed, the USA is now approaching its first ever Pluto return, with the coming conjunction of Pluto and Saturn being intrinsic. The USA is known as a country formed by immigrants, a creation also involving the displacement and destruction of indigenous populations as well as enslavement of people from the African continent. Today all of these issues are flooding collective events, including the controversial “Zero Tolerance” policy of the U.S. administration that separated family members attempting to cross the border. It is  striking how resonate the term “Zero Tolerance” is with the archetypal meaning of the Pluto and Saturn cycle.

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Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt (1647) Rembrandt van Rijn

Within the raging thunderbolts and hurtling winds of collective history, the Partial Solar Eclipse occurring in Cancer illuminates our capacity on personal levels to nurture and protect what we hold most dear. Within relationships with loved ones and within larger spheres of community, the opposition from Pluto to the eclipse highlights the necessity of taking the personal responsibility to live in alignment with one’s integrity and to devote choices and commitments in service to the greater good for all beings, not just those we feel bound to by family or culture. The polarity of Cancer to Pluto and Saturn occupying Capricorn, in tandem with the nodes and coming Total Lunar Eclipse along the Leo and Aquarius axis, places importance on finding our inner emotional security so that we can claim personal power without the shadow of needing to control others or be competitively threatened by the power of others. The Cancer Partial Solar Eclipse holds potential to discover the essential value you want to cultivate within that you can then share with others for their own support.

The eclipse is separating from a trine with Neptune in Pisces, as Neptune continues to be in range of a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. Neptune’s transit in Pisces has coincided with massive illusions and disillusionment, the ascendancy of “fake news” and massive amounts of the populace getting their imaginal fix from phones, tablets, and other electronic devices all being closely monitored by the hierarchical power structures we can associate with Pluto in Capricorn. Part of reclaiming our inner security is engaging with our inner imaginal potency and our capacity to help co-create through our participation the world we hope to dream into being, rather than the nightmare we fear.

hiroshige carp swimming against waterfall

Utagawa Hiroshige (1852) Carp Swimming Against Waterfall

Jupiter Stations Direct

The Partial Solar Eclipse is in the exaltation of Jupiter, with Jupiter in a trine to the eclipse. Jupiter holds monumental influence due to stationing direct on July 10, two days before the eclipse.  Jupiter is in the home of Mars, as the red planet is currently retrograde en route to aligning with an incredibly intense Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July. Jupiter brings hope and reason for faith in the unknown, yet this simultaneously requires unflinching awareness of the depths and shadow of current circumstances. Jupiter is now in forward motion through the rest of Scorpio where it will reside until entering its home in Sagittarius at the beginning of November.  It is a bright Evening Star shining in the same sky that both Saturn and Mars can be seen in. The forward momentum of Jupiter will bring corresponding opportunities to find sources of expansion and growth within the disintegration of societal structures signified by Pluto’s influence on the eclipse. With the activation of Pluto, this likely could come with connecting to ancestral lineages whether that is one’s blood family or family of like-minded souls.

Interestingly from a planetary node perspective, Jupiter has stationed in range of a wide conjunction with the heliocentric nodes of both Mars and Mercury (heliocentric North Node of Mercury, heliocentric South Node of Mars). This is of vital importance due to Mars already being retrograde, and the fact that in the forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon we will also experience Mercury stationing retrograde just as the Moon reaches full reception of light. During Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we’ve also been experiencing it forming a square with eclipses as well as the transiting lunar nodes. When I previously wrote about Jupiter in Scorpio, I shared the following about it forming a whole sign square to the lunar nodes being in Leo and Aquarius:

The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.

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Rembrandt van Rijn (1655)

Red Star of Ares

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is not in aspect to the eclipse, but is one of the most important underlying factors. We’ve been experiencing Mars retrograde since June 26 and so now have a better sense of what elements of life are shifting in correspondence. A more recent element is that Mars went out of bounds by southern declination on July 7, adding in a higher degree of freedom seeking to its retrograde vibe. Just as Mars is at its brightest red at night as an Evening Star, so is the inner heat we feel in correspondence also inflamed. Desires may be emerging that we have been denying or unaware of previously that are in fact vital elements of our nature to begin integrating and embodying.

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is forming a retrograde loop pattern relative to the ecliptic that is taking it into its most extreme southern latitude, as it is in the sign of its southern bending to its heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Gary Caton has been doing a lot of intriguing work with the planetary nodes and retrograde loop patterns, and has added on to Rudhyar’s previous interpretation by suggesting the current Mars retrograde will lead us into the deepest subconscious elements of the Mars archetype. Since Mars is aligned with the South Node of the Moon and the Total Lunar Eclipse will be on the South Node of the Moon, the theme of sacrifice takes prominence. Again the words of Dane Rudhyar are worth reflecting on:

At the south node one does not build personality; one may expand it, releasing its contents in full dedication to a community and an ideal. There are many ways of speaking of sacrifice, some quite meaningless, even actually egocentric or masochistic. But the true meaning of sacrifice is “making sacred”; and this implies a complete dedication of one’s thoughts to what one may call either God or mankind – – or to a specific group, culture or ideal. This means a surrender of the ego-will.

— Dane Rudhyar, The Planetary and Lunar Nodes

The intensification of Mars will be building during the entire forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon, as Mars will oppose the Sun at the heart of its retrograde at the same time as the Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27.  While this is happening Mars is also getting closer and closer to receiving Chiron in Aries through a sextile, and forming a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. At times we will need to retreat into inner spaces to process everything coming up in correspondence. As this will all be happening in the middle of eclipses, the information and messages coming our way could be nonlinear and feel irrational. Be open to what is coming up, while maintaining discernment for what to act on and what to simply witness within.

Virgo 1 decan-Agosto,_cosmè_tura_e_maestro_di_ercole,_03

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

Venus & Ceres in Virgo

At such a Plutonic syzygy, it is fitting that Venus in Virgo is applying to a conjunction with Ceres. Venus is in its fall in Virgo, which can be seized in terms of walking and witnessing with awareness the myriad forms of suffering occurring around us, offering service where appropriate. The world is full of suffering, yet Venus and Ceres in Virgo also offer us the potential to ground and find the resources around us that will nurture us and others. Their alignment offers strong discernment found within subjective inner senses and intuition. Venus and Ceres also support transmuting nervous or anxious energy into creative work or productive maintenance such as focusing on needed cleaning, repair, or purification.

Venus and Ceres are in the home and exaltation of Mercury, which is notable because Mercury is in Leo, the home of the Sun being partially eclipsed. Moreover, Mercury is bright as an Evening Star and on its way toward stationing retrograde in Leo in a couple of weeks. Gary Caton has also been doing a lot of interesting research into the retrograde loop patterns Mercury forms when retrograde, and the one Mercury is now forming is notable because it will take it into extreme southern latitude just like the Mars retrograde loop is also taking it into extreme southern latitude. This is because Mercury in Leo is at the southern bending to its own heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Mercury is conjoining its geocentric South Node at the Partial Solar Eclipse, meaning it is now heading toward southern latitude and will not return back to cross over the ecliptic to go into northern latitude again until August 28. Furthermore, Mercury is in Leo is at 17 degrees at the time of the eclipse, the same degree it will be when it experiences it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde journey.

While the writing in the previous paragraph may sound like a confusing foreign language, there is a simple takeaway. The combination of all of this happening for Mercury with Venus and Ceres coming together in Virgo suggests rich fertility to be found in our inner landscapes.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Partial Solar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Moon rules the third face of Cancer, bringing extra potency to the shadow cast by Luna upon our solar light in the eclipse.  In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 115-6). Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.  Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things . . . an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain” (p. 117).

Hecate has dominion within the third face of Cancer according to the Hellenistic text the 36 AirsFinding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hecate for guidance. Hecate connects with the luminosity of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hecate is also the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn (check out this article by Charles Obert on Saturn as Feminine and Crone). Hecate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  For ages Hecate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul. She serves as a reminder of the inner guidance we can call upon to discern what choices and steps to next take on our path through the liminal season of eclipses and retrograde phases of Mars and Mercury we now enter.

References

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

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

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Plume.

 

New Moon & Venus in Capricorn

 

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

New Moon in Capricorn

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

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

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

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

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

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

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

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

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

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

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4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Decan

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

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

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

References

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

 

Capricorn Full Moon

Edward Steichen-primary-sunflower

The Sunflower (1920) by Edward Steichen

Full Moon in Capricorn

The Full Moon on July 19 being in Capricorn binds the lunation with Saturn.  Saturn rewards those who take responsibility for everything occurring and honors those who are accountable.  Saturn calls us to put in work and persevere through dark times, knowing that the suffering of today will become the soil from which future fulfillment will flower.  As current events have been unraveling in chaotic waves since the Cancer New Moon on July 4, it is worth paying attention to how the current lunation cycle is intimately bound with the first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries.  While the New Moon on July 4 was opposite Pluto, the Full Moon on July 19 is in square to Uranus.  In between the longstanding issue in the USA of police officers killing African Americans exploded with the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, followed by the killing of law enforcement officers and heated debate.  As the Moon continued to wax brighter as the Sun approached a square with Uranus, the traumatic terror of Nice, France was followed swiftly by an attempted coup in Turkey, a land that for ages has stood at the intersection of crusading conflicts among world powers.  With collective events spinning so wildly out of control, the Full Moon in Capricorn is a call to claim full responsibility for your own thought forms and your every action that impacts the world. On a personal level, issues have arisen to face that stem from the sweeping changes that came with the square between Uranus and Pluto that was most exact between 2011 and 2015.

The square between Uranus and the Full Moon illuminates not only the grief and pain felt over the losses and tragedies of the past,  but where in one’s life greater diligence is needed to build support to foster stability and security for oneself and others.  Many will become mobilized to organize direct action to increase awareness of personal and collective causes,  whereas others will find it necessary to attend to more personal wounds that need mending before worldly action can be taken successfully.  With Mars in Scorpio slowly beginning to generate forward momentum and also strongly aspected by the Full Moon, taking small steps that are saturated in mindful intent is favored more so than launching quickly into big plans that are truly in need of further refinement.  When dealing with heavy feelings or grief, like Psyche in her story of Eros all we can do is embrace the soul of our surroundings for sustenance and move forward on our journey step by step with full presence.  By claiming the inner integrity of acting from authentic desires that are not being corrupted by external influences, we begin to build support while also discovering elements of our environment that will bolster strength.

With numerous collective issues reaching a critical boiling point, there is a need for open communication and listening to other perspectives.  Yet the element missing from the Capricorn Full Moon is the Air element (with nothing significant in Air signs except Vesta and the true, oscillating position of Black Moon Lilith), and so the Full Moon does not foster mediation through objectifying issues or using clear communication to increase awareness.  There will be a flooding of emotions and heat from enflamed passions, but this Full Moon supports earthy solutions that come from self-absorbed perspectives.  Steam will be rising from the interplay of so much Fire and Water, and so there is potential for compassionately feeling the emotions and experiences of others to gain understanding.  Extra effort will need to be made at this Full Moon for greater clarity in communicating and listening.  The Full Moon being in the home of Saturn while in square to Uranus is a catalyst for moving beyond personal hangups to taking responsibility for one’s place within the global collective.  This includes the places we hold privileges as well as the places we face oppression and the way we respond.  It is also imperative to vigilantly witness attempts by those entrenched in power to take advantage of chaotic events to further increase their own interests out of greed.

klee temple of thither

Paul Klee (1922) Mural from the Temple of Longing

Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius rules the Full Moon while being in square to both the transiting lunar nodes as well as Neptune in Pisces.  In fact, the Full Moon is fairly close to the midpoint between the Saturn and Neptune square.  The slow retrograde pull of Saturn brings gravity to the act of fully being responsible for one’s personal karma and past actions.  Saturn demands this accountability in order to create healthy relationships in the present and to be able to effectively impact the collective.  This is not a time to escape into privileged isolation, but to find the areas of the world in which you can take direct action to help others.  Yet,  we must at the same time attend to our own needs while using the boundaries of Saturn to seal one’s inner vessel from toxic contamination.  Not easy work, but Saturn in square to Neptune and the lunar nodes has nothing to do with ease.

The Full Moon occurs in Capricorn at the same degree that Mars is exalted, and Mars in Scorpio also forms a sextile with the Full Moon.  In addition, Mars in Scorpio is in a Grand Water Trine with Chiron in Pisces and the Sun in Cancer.  While Mars has at least finally gotten beyond the degree it stationed direct at, it is still moving very slowly on its destined path of aligning again with Saturn and the fixed star Antares in August.  The exaltation of Mars in Capricorn, binding the force of Mars with the discipline of Saturn, is the magical access point to these aspects.  Mars in Scorpio is dredging up deep cathartic material that can be so overwhelmingly painful that those out of balance can become overcome by hateful anger and violence.  To make use of these powerful aspects surrounding Mars, there is a need to accept the pain of loss and transmute the voracious emotions through tears and sweat, through appropriate outlets such as exercise and creative action.  There is so much Fire and Water interacting in this Full Moon that healing can come from going into feelings intensely in order to release them into transfigured form, similar to the alchemical steam that arises from water catalyzed by fire into air.

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Figure of a Woman “The Sphinx” by Auguste Rodin

Fittingly, Venus is the glamorous star of the Full Moon, deftly supported by her co-star Mercury in order to amplify her dramatic and comedic effect.  Those looking for a positive omen need only gaze at the western horizon during twilight, as both Venus and Mercury have finally emerged as Evening Stars.  We have not been able to see Venus since April when she was a Morning Star, and we have not been able to see her as an Evening Star since last August 2015 when Venus was retrograde in Leo.  Venus in Leo conjoining Mercury in Leo as they have emerged from under the beams of the Sun together is a burning symbol of hope for living from deeper levels of embodied passion.

Mercury is separating from a trine with Saturn at the time of the Full Moon, while Venus is applying closely to a trine with Saturn.  On the one hand, the fire from Venus and Mercury could be used for greed and avarice by those consumed with their own narcissistic self-interest.  On the other hand, the radiance of Venus and Mercury beautifying twilight is an apt symbol for the potential available to replenish our personal system and structures with more creativity, harmony, joy, and pleasure.  The trine from Venus and Mercury to Saturn is a powerful aspect for making strong commitments.  There is also a quincunx formed between Venus and Mercury with the Neptune conjunction to the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, suggesting old illusions and beliefs could be getting in the way of opening to the creative actualization of Mercury and Venus joined together in Leo.  Being alone in solitude out of romantic partnership is not something to curse for missing out on enjoying this aspect with a lover, but instead a situation to seize for the individuating flowering that becomes available when out of relationship in a place to know oneself more deeply.

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4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Dean

The third face of Capricorn is associated with the Four of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see a crowned figure seated on a throne that places him above two Pentacles placed under each of his feet, as well as below a Pentacle placed on top of his crown.  The fourth Pentacle is cradled at heart level, with the arms wrapped around the Pentacle in a manner suggesting the potential to spin the Pentacle like a Wheel of Fortune.  While this could be interpreted as being in flow with abundance, the Pentacle also appears to be tightly gripped suggesting an attitude of needing to control or be possessive of material resources.  The figure towers in the foreground, overshadowing castles and towers in the background, suggesting someone in charge of their surroundings, perhaps at the expense of being a co-participant who is fully aware of their environment outside of how it impacts their goals.  The Four of Pentacles signifies taking control and structuring boundaries so as to bring a sense of greater security within the chaotic world, including gaining greater material security.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Throne” to the third face of Capricorn, a fitting image given that the Sun rules the decan.  Coppock interpreted this face of Capricorn as being about governing and administering from a seat of power, “the struggle for control between an individual and their world” and “the struggle to attain great position in the created world” (p. 221-222).  Coppock cautioned that hubris can tempt those grasping for power in this face, and that each step toward achieving ambition requires tantamount levels of responsibility to meet the obligations found in the acquired position of power.  If not, Coppock warned that their accumulated material wealth “may end up crushing them,” and the glittering palace could become instead a restrictive prison.

Since the Sun rules the third decan of Capricorn, there is added emphasis to the square between the Sun and Uranus as well as the trine between the Sun, Mars, and Chiron.   While Venus and Mercury are already united in the home of the Sun, in the days following the Full Moon the Sun will join Venus and Mercury in Leo.  As a result, in the waning phase of this lunar cycle the astrological atmosphere will shift toward an emphasis on Fire and spirited action and expression, as Mars completes its final pass through the tumultuous waters of Scorpio.  There is no doubt that the numerous conflicts and crises circulating in the collective will continue to intensify, yet in the sphere one invests their inner energy into with responsible, dedicated effort there will be greater astrological support to bring matters into manifestation.

We play with dark forces that cannot be captured with the names we give them, like children playing with fire, and it seems for a moment as if all energy had rested dormant in all objects until now, until we arrived to apply it to our fleeting life and its requirements.  But, again and again throughout millennia, those forces shake off their names and rise like an oppressed class against their little masters, or not even against them- they simply rise and the various cultures slide off the shoulders of the earth, which is once again great and expansive and alone with its oceans, trees, and stars.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters on Life translated by Ulrich Baer

 

References

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