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.

Rodin Sphinx

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.

pents04

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.

 

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Mercury Retrograde in Saturn’s Home

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Illustration for The Raven by Gustave Dore

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell

O Bacchic Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius, parent of the vine,
And of celestial Aphrodite Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand’rest thro’ the sacred feats
where hell’s dread empress, Persephone, retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone’s thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow’r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.

— Hermes Chthonian from The Orphic Hymns

Mercury Retrograde

When Mercury shifts retrograde our angelic trickster slips into his role as psychopomp, the guide of souls who can journey into the underworld and back again. On a personal level this coincides with a turn within toward awareness not as readily available when Mercury is moving direct, a process that can birth new presence and shed old habits as Mercury reemerges on the other side (Mercury will station direct on January 25 and leave the retrograde shadow zone on February 17).  Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear but rather an opening to symbolic perception that can divine messages within the darkness of our dreams as well as in the signs that appear during our sunlit daily journeying.  The Mercury retrograde that begins on January 5, 2016 initiates at the first degree of Aquarius, but spends the majority of the time in the second half of Capricorn.  Aquarius and Capricorn are both the homes of Saturn, and so this Mercury retrograde will be deeply linked with the significations we associate with that old devil, Saturn.  The link to Saturn is further intensified by Mercury crossing the South Node of Saturn while retrograde,and then returning to conjoin the South Node of Saturn again once moving direct.

Modern astrology gives the rulership of Aquarius to Uranus, and one result of this is to associate Aquarius with future-oriented, liberated forms of thought.  Yet this same meaning can be found through Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn, a place where Saturn detaches from the conditioned thought forms of consensus culture to develop systems of thought that break free from the constraints of the status quo.  Mercury free from other influences stationing retrograde in Aquarius would support reception of a message beyond self-centered subjectivity, in an objective and clarified mind frame detached from passions and able to rationalize feelings.  Yet instead the stationing of Mercury is painted in bold, impassioned colors by Mars in Scorpio forming an exact square at the time Mercury stations retrograde.  As Mars in Scorpio heats the emotional climate of Mercury stationing retrograde, our feelings could override our ability to be objective or communicate with restraint.  The eruption of cathartic feelings at the dawn of this retrograde will be borne by Mercury into our underworld for deep processing and purification.

The movement of Mercury from Aquarius back into Capricorn is united by both signs being the home of Saturn.  Mercury in the territory of Saturn can readily focus on systems and structures in our life, including rumination upon time and space.  Mercury stationing retrograde while bearing the water of Aquarius holds the promise of illumination that transcends our everyday conception of time, saturating our direct perception of the moment with lucidity.  As Mercury moves backward into Capricorn, goat horns protrude through the messenger’s head as the role of water bearer is released in order to invest fully into the surrounding material realm with its lusty nature.  In Capricorn, where Mercury spends the majority of its time this retrograde, Mercury shifts our focus toward achievement and ambition as well as the degree of determination and discipline that will be needed for manifestation.

In addition to entering the heart of the Sun while retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury will also form conjunctions with Pallas Athene and Pluto, and in fact will station direct conjoining Pluto.  Around the recent solstice Mercury was first conjunct Pallas Athene, and in the first week of its retrograde movement Mercury will again become conjunct with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  Here the creative visioning of Pallas Athene combines with the symbolic perception of Mercury retrograde for penetrating perception into the structural and systematic foundations surrounding us.  In her classic Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George wrote:

Aesthetically, Pallas Athene is very strong in Capricorn representing the ability to formulate precise structures (molds) into which raw creative energy can coalesce.  Instant manifestation is often possible and can be seen as a magical process. Here, Pallas excels in the arts of architecture, drafting, and sculpture.  Capricorn’s association with time connects Pallas Athene with the art of timing- being in the right place at the right time.  Politically, this is a defender of law and order. There is a strong power drive for authority over others in political and social institutions.  The wisdom of Pallas in Capricorn is the wisdom of order- putting things in their proper sequence (p. 105).

The Sun in Capricorn is applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries when Mercury stations retrograde, and then in the weeks ahead after Mercury passes back across the face of the Sun, Mercury will eventually come into a square with Uranus in Aries and then will station direct in conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  As a result, this Mercury retrograde activates and re-triggers the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that has been dominating our astrological landscape for the past seven years, most exactly in the past four years.  As predicted the Pluto-Uranus square has correlated with seismic shifts around our planet, and so this Mercury retrograde is profound for reflecting upon the immensity of change that has passed through our lives.  Furthermore, it’s a potent period for reorienting our plans and structures in greater harmony with the insights we receive for how our world has been altered and continues to change.

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Illustration for Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer?
When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress?
And this heart, always the gods’ possession,
when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle
as Fate would have us believe?
Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise,
in the roots- later on- stilled?

Ah, the spectre of transience,
through the guilelessly receptive
it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving,-
the abiding Strengths assume
that the gods have some need for us.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Retrograde

Hermes is a god of boundaries, with a tradition of demarcating divisions between profane and sacred territory, between rural and urban landscapes, between the graveyards of the dead and the playgrounds of the living.  When Mercury stations retrograde, this normally swift planet gives off the appearance of putting down roots into solid stillness, and as it disappears with a flash of light at sunset there is a cosmic message transmitted.  As Mercury moves retrograde under the beams of the Sun it is not visible, and being in between our planet Earth and our fiery Sun it is symbolically considered to be journeying through our underworld.  Demetra George has connected Mercury retrograde with the work by Jungian Murray Stein on the borderline spaces we inhabit during transitions and gaps between conscious realities.  As Hermes is a god of thresholds and passages between realms, Demetra George has taught that the stationing of Mercury retrograde marks a liminal time in which we are separated from a clear sense of where we are, as Hermes guides us through a transition of an old identity dying and the emergence of a new sense of Self.

This Mercury retrograde primarily occurring in Capricorn introduces the Mercurial theme of the earth element in 2016, as the following two Mercury retrograde periods this year will also occur in the earth signs of Taurus and Virgo.  This brings to mind the unconscious symbolism of the forest as well as other oracular associations with soulful matter such as rocks, plants, and other elements of our natural world.  Capricorn is distinguished in part from the other earth signs through it being the home of Saturn, and the transiting Saturn in Sagittarius is fittingly forming some of the most significant astrological aspects during this Mercury retrograde.  Transiting Saturn being in Sagittarius colors Mercury’s time in Capricorn with a more strident, visionary vibration.  The last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that has been an intense astrological factor over the past couple of months continues to be so during this Mercury retrograde, and in fact becomes all the more dramatic with the passage of Venus triggering their dynamic.

As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is applying tightly to a square with Neptune, within minutes.  Venus is also four degrees away from Saturn in Sagittarius as Mercury stations, and as Mercury moves retrograde over the following week Venus will conjoin Saturn on January 8 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  The square between Venus and Neptune portends a crisis in our relationships, and as Venus is overcoming Neptune in the square while also approaching Saturn, the dreamy unconditional side of our feelings can be overcome by the conditions of circumstance in front of our face, what we feel are the cold hard facts of reality.  However, the square of Neptune in Pisces to Venus and Saturn combining in Sagittarius also reveals that there is a deeper and more far reaching truth to discern, such as the fact that what we are perceiving to be our reality is based more upon our current beliefs than actual reality.  While Saturn can bring up feelings of wanting to cut something off and separate, it is also true that Venus can soften up the old ringed devil for reconciliation.  At a higher potential, we can utilize these aspects during the Mercury retrograde to penetrate into our subjective feelings and perceptions and unveil a vaster conception of personal truth.

At the outset of Mercury stationing retrograde, with Mars in Scorpio in square to Mercury in Aquarius, we will want to keep in mind that disillusionment and feelings of disorientation are likely to come up in our relationships and that this amplified aspect between Mars and Mercury can erupt easily into bitter conflict.  While Mercury is in Aquarius, there is a risk that the detached side of Aquarius could combine with the fury of Mars at full force in Scorpio, resulting in explosive fights.  Yet the anger coming out in conflicts at this time has a source within, and it will be the task of this Mercury retrograde to journey within and explore the full ramifications of where these feelings are coming from.  It is important to realize that the feelings and thoughts dislodged at the beginning of this Mercury retrograde by Mars square Mercury, Venus and Saturn square Neptune among other things, is not the end of the story but merely the beginning.  Mercury will be journeying in the retrograde all the way back to unite with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there will be a vital message for us to receive about ourselves connected to the impassioned feelings provoked at the outset of this Mercury retrograde.

There is also the potential that we can rekindle passion from the Mars square in order to then harness corresponding desire to determined effort going forward.  Mercury retrograde in the home of Saturn will reward hard work and effort, and so the square from Mars to Mercury can jolt us into awareness of where we need to concentrate and work with full force.  This square between Mercury and Mars is even more intense as it is the second one to occur within the same week.  The first square in this cycle was on December 29, 2015 with Mercury at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 28° of Capricorn, and Mars at the same degree of Libra.  There is something hugely significant to find within this square between Mercury and Mars that will fuel our work in the year ahead.  Mars and Mercury will form their third square in the beginning of March 2016 with Mercury at the very end of Aquarius and Mars and the very end of Scorpio.  It may take until this later time a few months from now to fully come to terms with the work that will be involving this intense aspect between Mercury and Mars, and in the meantime we will need to persevere in the face of any daunting obstacles.

The other major astrological aspect occurring as Mercury stations retrograde is that a couple of days after Mercury stations retrograde, Jupiter in Virgo will also station retrograde closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  There is a powerful connection here with Mercury as the conjunction between Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon is occurring in Virgo. In fact, as Mercury moves retrograde into Capricorn this connection will intensify as Mercury will be receiving Jupiter through a trine.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury during this retrograde, despite some of the otherwise challenging aspects there also appears to be a confluence of forces supporting us finding a vision for our life that will bring us a fulfilling sense of purpose.  Jupiter moving retrograde also brings an inner visioning in terms of reorienting toward a more authentic personal truth.  Jupiter was previously retrograde in Leo between early December 2014 and early April 2015 if you want to contemplate events associated with the prior Jupiter retrograde.  Jupiter will remain retrograde until the beginning of May 2016, at which time it will station direct in range of an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.

mercury passing in front of the sun

Mercury Passing in Front of the Sun by Giacomo Balla (1914)

Only he who has also raised
his lyre among shadows
may find his way back
to infinite praise.

Only he who has eaten with the dead
from their stores of poppy
will never again lose
the softest chord.

And though the pool’s reflection
often blurs before us:
Know the image.

Only in the double realm
do the voices become
eternal and mild.

–Rainer Maria Rile from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury into the Sun

Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs when Mercury retrograde reaches the same zodiac degree as the Sun, and as Mercury during its retrograde is passing between our Earth and Sun, I am part of the astrological community who interprets this as being similar to a New Mercury.  This is a moment of cazimi, in which Mercury is reborn in the radiance of our solar light, regenerated and purified within the golden rays of the fiery Sun.  On a personal level, this is a moment of new conception regarding the significations of Mercury within our life, and a powerful moment within to attune to an oracular message we may receive.  In Pacific standard time, this magical Mercury moment occurs at 6:05 am on January 14, 2016, while in the Central European time zone this will occur at 3:05 pm on January 14.

Mercury and the Sun will be at 23º50′ tightly in trine with Jupiter in Virgo at 23º10′ and the true North Node of the Moon in Virgo at 23º30′.  Amazingly, the waxing crescent Moon at the moment of Mercury cazimi is at 22º30′ of Pisces, closely applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, a sextile with the Mercury and Sun conjunction, and an opposition to Jupiter in Virgo.   These aspects are remarkably suggestive of the interpretation that Dane Rudhyar gave to the Crescent Moon as fighting off the ghosts of the past, as there is an activation of past patterns of awareness at the same time we sense new choices and opportunities linked to a reborn vision of meaning.  While we may feel a pull back toward the normalcy of old patterns, we can consciously with determination propel ourselves into the unknown with faith despite the fears arising that we will not have what we need to be successful in the new direction.  The close trine between Mercury conjoining the Sun and Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon indicates that we will in fact be able to access the resources we need to successfully transition in the new, unfamiliar direction.

In addition, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be almost exactly conjunct the geocentric South Node of Saturn, and a few degrees away from a conjunction with the geocentric South Node of Pluto.  This intensifies the connection of this Mercury retrograde cycle with the full archetypal arcs of both Saturn and Pluto.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green teaches that the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto being in Capricorn symbolizes the vast shadow cast by the patriarchal paradigm that seized power from a matriarchal collective ages ago.  Mercury retrograde united with the Sun at the South Node of Saturn suggests penetrating insight into the foundation of the structural systems surrounding us will be available.  It also portends we can discern how our behavior in the moment has been conditioned by the vast history of hierarchical power structures vying for power, control, and dominance.

Finally, there are additional indications that Venus is demanding attention from us during this Mercury retrograde, and that the retrograde commencing with a tight square between Venus and Neptune is a sign that we have a deep message regarding our Venusian nature to uncover.  At the time of Mercury’s inferior conjunction, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, as well as a square with the Moon in Pisces and the South Node of the Moon.  Well, we’re always focused on Venus and looking for messages about her, right?  Nonetheless, Venus is holding aspects suggestive of being at a crossroads at the time of this Mercury inferior conjunction, and as she will be received by Jupiter it is yet another sign of the Jupiter conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo being a beacon of light leading us out of the Mercurial underworld.

Dore Gustave Inferno_Canto_1_spirit_guide

Virgil leads Dante by Gustave Dore, from the Divine Comedy

We puzzle over flower, vine-leaf, fruit.
They speak not just the language of the year.
A thing of succor rises from the dark
and its hues may gleam with the jealousy

of the dead, those who strengthen the earth.
What do we know of their share in it?
It has long been their practice to enrich
the loam with their own free marrow.

The question is: do they do it willingly? . . .
Does this fruit, a work of sullen slaves,
push through clenched to us, to their masters?

Or are they the masters, sleeping among
the roots and granting us from their profusion
this hybrid of mute strength and kisses?

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct

Mercury ultimately will station direct on January 25, 2016 at 14º55′ of Capricorn, closely conjoining Pluto at 15º54′ of Capricorn.  As Mercury appears to stand still when stationing, this means we will have an extended period of Mercury and Pluto being a degree apart (roughly January 21 – February 1, 2016).  On January 20 when the Sun ingresses into Aquarius, Mercury retrograde will also form an exact square with Uranus in Aries, and Mercury will still be in range of a square to Uranus when it finally stations direct.  There is deep reckoning to be found in this stationing direct of Mercury, much more so than normal as it is intimately bound to the influence of the Pluto-Uranus square.  This may or may not be a pleasant time depending upon your circumstances, but there is no doubt that an aspect of your ineffable soul will be available to perceive.  Whether you are able to schedule some downtime for yourself or whether you will be forced to be engaged in numerous intense activities, there is immense catharsis found in these aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct.  There is also a harmonious sextile formed between Mars in Scorpio with the stationing Mercury in Capricorn, suggesting that a level of resolution could be reached concerning whatever was stirred up by Mars being square to Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde.

Adding to the vast depth of this time is that Mercury will be stationing direct closely conjoining the geocentric South Node of Jupiter, and also a couple of degrees away from a conjunction with its own geocentric South Node of Mercury.  This is yet another potent activation of the Jupiter archetype during this Mercury retrograde, and points toward Jupiter taking on the role of a guiding shepherd.  As Mercury begins to move direct again as an explorative Morning Star, it will once again begin applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Those who have been working hard with due diligence and determination during the Mercury retrograde will be rewarded during this final period of Jupiter in Virgo receiving Mercury in Capricorn through a trine.  By willingly descending into underworld darkness during the Mercury retrograde, we will reascend nourished by a regenerated vision of life focused upon our essential fulfillment.

References

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

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

Full Moon in Capricorn

Full Moon in Capricorn

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

Full Moon in Capricorn

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

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

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

Cancer silver coin

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

Mars in Cancer

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

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

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

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

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Boat in the Moonlight by Odilon Redon

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

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

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

2 of Pentacles

Illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn I Decan

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

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

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

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

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References

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

Cancer Full Moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

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

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

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

References

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

Rebirthing the Matrix

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Our Galactic Center

  • Jupiter station retrograde in Leo (23°) on December 8, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Sun in Sagittarius (17°) on December 8, 2014
  • Venus ingress into Capricorn on December 10, 2014
  • Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn on December 14, 2014
  • Mercury ingress into Capricorn on December 16, 2014
  • Venus conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 20, 2014
  • Mars in Aquarius sextile Uranus in Aries on December 20, 2014
  • Uranus station direct (13°) on December 21, 2014
  • New Moon on the Capricorn Solstice (December 21, 2014)
  • Saturn ingress into Sagittarius on December 23, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 24, 2014

Merry Solstice to one and all.  Our Sun was recently conjunct our Galactic Center, as it does every year as we approach the regenerative nature of the Capricorn Solstice that heralds Winter in the northern hemisphere, Summer in the southern hemisphere.  Accordingly we are in a dark and potent re-centering time, a dark moon solstice (with the Sagittarius Moon conjunct our Galactic Center) that is dominated by Uranus stationing direct simultaneously.  This year’s Capricorn Solstice is as fertile for intention setting as it gets, as a couple of hours after the solstice we experience a New Moon at the dawning of Capricorn.  In the moist darkness of this solstice, within awareness of the shadow cast by our unconscious, we can consciously plant a seed that will ultimately burst free with our full color from the deep roots we set as our foundation now.  Uranus in Aries is calling us to completely liberate from the past conditions restricting our growth up until this moment, and with Venus, Vesta, and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes, we are entering a space to change the set of conditions we live our life from, rebirthing the matrix that shapes our lives on both personal and collective levels.

A matrix has been defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something (such as a situation or a set of conditions) in which something else develops or forms,” and also as “a container that can be filled with a material to give the material a new shape.”  Fittingly the etymology of matrix connects to feminine procreation, and like the patterns found in an astrology chart, a matrix has also been defined as “something shaped like a pattern of lines and spaces.”  For those who spend time working with their astrology chart, there can be a tendency to fixate on certain interpretations that reinforce the repetitive patterns we develop our choices and responses to life from. Yet the brilliance of astrology can be found in the awareness it brings to us of our repetitive patterns so that we can liberate ourselves from the patterns that have left us unfulfilled, restricted, or stagnated, even when from an outside perspective it may appear that we are reaching the goals that we chose to focus upon.  The Capricorn archetype prominently featured in current transits connects with the potential that we can climb a mountain or overcome great odds in pursuit of a personal ambition, only to find within our successful achievement that it was not a goal that could bring us a sense of fulfillment.  Venus and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn can facilitate a plunge into our fathomless depths to change our structural nature, so we can assume a regenerated presence of form more naturally attuned to our desires that intrinsically motivate and satisfy our whole being.

CapricornSolsticeWRIGC1Going along with this idea of deep re-structuring, Mercury in Capricorn is sextile to Neptune in Pisces at this Solstice, and the Capricorn New Moon that arrives about two and a half hours after the Solstice is also sextile to Neptune in Pisces.  Furthermore, Venus and Pluto in Capricorn are sextile Chiron in Pisces, and Vesta in Capricorn is at the mid-point of a sextile to both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.  The sextile between Capricorn and Pisces is insightful to ponder now, and brings to mind the sea-goat symbol of Capricorn with it’s watery tail dipped into an ocean of collective unconscious.  Capricorn and Pisces are both much stronger and effective when each draws upon the strengths of the other:  for Capricorn, it is letting go of control and manipulation in order to open their emotions with empathy to both nurture others through their striving as well as to flow with where the watery currents of their true soul desires lead them, instead of where their cultural conditioning expects them to go.  For Pisces, the harmonious help from Capricorn comes through making the unmanifest manifest, taking concrete steps to bring structure and form to their visions and ideals so that their imaginative impulses enter our reality to impact others through a creative expression of some sort, as well as owning the responsibility to be accountable to the demands of life in order to sustain a more stable life from which to continue to produce work.

In the recent past there were a number of planets passing through Sagittarius in square to Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces, and so now that we have a group of planets in Capricorn passing through sextile to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, we can utilize any disillusionment and dissolving we have experienced to re-align and re-structure our lives at a source level so we can live closer to our personal truth.  If we became unbalanced on the Sagittarius side of things, we may also need to reflect upon how we became too dogmatic, too self-centered and narcissistic, or too over-confident that a belief system we felt encapsulates the truth holds more weight than other perspectives, becoming a self-proclaimed guru or fanatic in the process.  In comparison, if we became unbalanced on the Pisces side of things, we may need to realize that we have been victimizing ourselves to an unhealthy extent through our oversensitivity, or becoming so wrapped up in a self-centered illusion that we became completely in denial to vital issues in our environment that require our full awareness.  Since we remain in the wake of a square between Uranus and Pluto, with Uranus stationing direct, there is no doubt something very significant that has been dislodged from our depths for us to work with, confront, or integrate.

Indeed, a week ago we experienced the sixth of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have been ongoing since 2012.  We only have one more exact square in this cycle, which will occur days before the Aries Equinox and a Solar Eclipse. The seven squares between Uranus and Pluto bring to mind our seven traditional planets and our seven chakras, and the associated symbolism.  As a result, the sixth square connects to the sixth chakra as well as the sixth planet, Jupiter.  This symbolism works out perfectly, as Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo prior to the sixth square, bringing the Jupiter archetype into prominence as well as the intuitive shift that comes with its station into a retrograde perspective.  When Jupiter stations and turns retrograde, we have a greater capacity to turn away from the expectations of others and the conditioning of our culture that cause us to act from a false sense of self to meet outside demands, in order to turn within to recover our personal truth and motivation to pursue desires that bring us genuine vitality and fuel our passions.

The traditional symbolism of the sixth chakra also resonates with the astrological aspects surrounding the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto, as issues such as intuition, imagination, insight, image, dreams, and visualization come to mind.  Anodea Judith’s Eastern Body, Western Mind analyzed the developmental tasks associated with this chakra to be about the establishment of our personal identity as well as our capacity to perceive the patterns of our life.  If balanced, we can have a perceptive intuition that can think symbolically, visualize, and both recall and work with the material found within our memories and dreams.  In contrast, if out of balance we can have issues around insensitivity and difficulty with our memories, vision, and imagination.  We can also find ourselves in denial, delusional, obsessive, and becoming fixated that our way is the only way.  Judith also analyzed associated traumas and abuse that I find resonate with the potential danger of this sixth square:  “what you see doesn’t go with what you’re told,” “invalidation of intuition and psychic occurrences,” and “ugly or frightening environment (war zone, violence).”  These same concepts further connect with the sixth planet Jupiter’s rulership of Sagittarius, an archetype featured strongly at this sixth square, as the chart below reveals:

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When the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto became exact on December 14, the Moon was at the beginning of Libra with Jupiter retrograde conjunct Juno in Leo, highlighting an additional link between the intensity of this square and all of our personal relationships, including our relationship to our surrounding collective culture and conditioning.   In fact, this last Pluto and Uranus square has a relational impact within our psyche that truly goes beyond the ability of words to capture in its intensity, since the lunar nodes are in the relational signs of Aries and Libra, with Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon and opposite the North Node of the Moon, and Pluto in Capricorn square both the South and North Nodes of the Moon.  Moreover, the North Node ruler is a Venus in Capricorn conjunct Pluto and also in square to the lunar nodes, and the South Node ruler is a Mars in Aquarius that is in sextile to Uranus and the South Node in Aries and in trine to the North Node in Libra.

In plain English, this symbology points to the most primal issues connected to our relationship choices, no matter how hidden they have previously been in the far reaches of our consciousness, erupting forward into our present mindset and surrounding environment for us to face.  The silver lining of serendipity within this intensity is the Mars in Aquarius making the previously mentioned harmonious aspects, bringing with it the potential to liberate ourselves from our previous patterns that have disempowered us in relationship, in order to integrate our burgeoning self-awareness into re-structuring our present conditions into a transformed presence more attuned to the vision of life we hold dear to our hearts.  Mars in Aquarius brings a detached objectivity that enables us to step back from the past conditioning that has influenced our sense of will in the direction of consensus reality structures.  With Mars in Aquarius we can feel and realize what about our recent identity and behavior is not truly who we are at heart, giving us the chance to experiment with, rebel against, and change the circumstances that have led up to our present moment.  Mars in Aquarius can sense the future and in correspondence we can make modifications to creatively actualize more of the unique purpose we were born with in order to serve our surrounding collective.

With Saturn at the very end of Scorpio, preparing to enter Sagittarius in a few days, all of the deep rooted feelings we have not yet faced and addressed are coming up now with an intensity to match the level of resistance we have been projecting onto them.  Saturn rules Capricorn where Venus is currently conjunct Pluto in square to the lunar nodes, and so our collective north node direction in Libra demands that we do this important inner work, realize what aspects of our shadow have been impacting our relationships despite our denial, and realize how we have been acting in order to meet the expectations of family or culture instead of our own Self.  Mars in Aquarius has a polarity of Leo, where Jupiter is retrograde conjunct Juno, and so we must take the courage of the Lion to heart in order to break free from the old structures of our life and the status quo we have become acclimated and attached to.

Finding and living from a true sense of personal justice in our relationships is an important theme of this Capricorn Solstice, not only because of the North Node of Libra ruled by a Venus conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus, but also because of the asteroid goddess Themis #24 being at zero degrees of Sagittarius on the day of the Solstice and New Moon, and so conjunct Saturn as it leaves Scorpio to enter Sagittarius. Themis  is the Titaness of natural law, divine order, justice, and custom, the daughter of Gaia who is connected with “divine law” more so than “human-made law.”  Themis connects to the principle that conditioning and law is not necessarily bad, for it is necessary for many to learn how to act and think in accordance with the highest good for all beings in all of our dimensions.  In fact, when we go against the divine law of Themis, we invite the wrathful retribution of Nemesis.  Unfortunately, not all human-made laws and conditioning factors of our culture are actually in harmony with Themis and divine law, and so it is necessary at this Solstice and New Moon to make intentions to re-discover our personal truth liberated from the oppressive aspects of surrounding culture.  Themis was also a mediator of oracular power, and so also connects to the potential of using Mars in Aquarius to guide us toward our liberated future vision.

morris graves black buddha

Black Buddha Mandala (1944) by Morris Graves

It is important to further reflect upon the meaning of the New Moon lunation occurring on the day of the Solstice.  Unlike the powerful Capricorn Solstice of 2010 that was a Total Lunar Eclipse and so a Full Moon of peaking polarity, the Capricorn Solstice of 2014 is more of a New Moon born out of dark, waning lunar tides.  Therefore it is insightful to reflect back upon events surrounding the pivotal peak of this past lunation cycle, the Gemini Full Moon that occurred on December 6, 2014.  This Gemini Full Moon was a catalytic spark to the issues erupting during this time of Solstice and the square between Uranus and Pluto (I was on Kristin Fontana’s Guiding Stars radio show discussing this Gemini Full Moon that you can find an archived recording of here).  Especially important to the context of Uranus stationing direct on the Solstice, the Gemini Full Moon of December 6 was conjunct the North Node of Uranus in Gemini, and the Sun at the time was conjunct the South Node of Uranus.  This means that the entire arc of how the Uranus archetype impacts our life has been completely lit up and illuminated with all of its shattering spectacle in these past few weeks, culminating in Uranus stationing direct at this Solstice.

Working with Uranus can be difficult for many because Uranus demands change and liberation despite your current attachments, and so the things we possess and cling to tightly can explode in the face of a Uranus transit.  In situations in which we have felt oppressed or restricted and yearned for a change of conditions, the implosions of Uranus can also create space and opportunities for us to finally make the changes to our structure that have felt long overdue from a soul perspective.  Following the Gemini Full Moon that lit up the Uranus archetype a couple of weeks ago, two further important astrological events occurred:  (1) Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo as previously mentioned, and (2) there was a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Sagittarius.  This visionary Mercury transit gave us an opportunity to perceive a vision of our future that we can now work to develop with Mercury in Capricorn and conjunct Pluto.

Interestingly in connection to current events, the superior conjunction of Mercury in Sagittarius on December 8 was in trine to the superior conjunction of Mercury in Leo that occurred around the time of the Aquarius Full Moon of August 10, 2014 that was furthermore in trine to the Gemini Full Moon of December 6.  It was at the time of this Aquarius Full Moon that the eruption of events and protests surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri occurred.  While there is nothing new about police brutality and inequitable treatment of people of color by law enforcement, something about the incredible liberating energy of that Aquarius Full Moon and Superior Conjunction of Mercury illuminated awareness that elevated public protest was necessary.  The trines from that time to the recent Gemini Full Moon correlate to the further intensification of public protest following the non-guilty verdicts for the officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  As additional episodes of police killing people of color entered the news cycle, public protest and acts of civil disobedience in connection intensified. This public movement has direct symbolic correlation with the astrology of this time, in particular the prominence that the Uranus archetype has been demanding.

Mars entered Aquarius on the same day that the non-guilty verdict of the officer who strangled Eric Garner to death was announced.  Mars in Aquarius brings with it an energy of potential rebellion and radical action, but when working with Mars in Aquarius on personal levels as well as with intention to create change in the collective, it is vital to use Aquarian foresight in order to structure focused, impactful choices for protest and rebellion.  One of the shadow sides of Mars in Aquarius can be in becoming so intense in the face of oppressive conditions that our desire for change and protest leads us to rebel against not only the system but also our own well-being, or the greater well-being.  For example, in public protest acts of civil disobedience can be very powerful in certain circumstances, but they have the greatest impact when carefully designed to hit a target while spreading a message, instead of simply being about blowing something up.  In our personal lives, we will want to work with the shattering energy of Uranus to carefully re-build our lives and the surrounding system from the inside out, instead of simply rebelling for the sake of rebelling without purposeful intention.

In addition, Mars in Aquarius can become so detached that we emotionally disassociate from the impact of our behavior on the feelings of others, or we do not allow ourselves to feel all of the emotions that can help us nurture the needs of our relationships.  Similar to how we need to integrate the nurturing archetype of Cancer to the polarity of Pluto, Venus, and Mercury in Capricorn now, we also need to bridge the personal archetype of Leo to the impersonal collective polarity of Mars in Aquarius.  From a place of Aquarian actualization that is heart-centered, we can regain our solar Leo luminosity to radiate our pure Self in a manner that lights a path of inspiration for others.

Penseroso_&_L'Allegro_William_Blake

The Great Sun by William Blake

In the evolutionary astrology system developed by Jeff Green, Uranus has an additional meaning connected to our long-term soul memory, meaning not only all of the memories we have stored from our present lifetime that we may or may not consciously remember in this moment, but also all of our memories from past incarnations that we do not consciously remember.  Some people do gain awareness for past life memories, however, and the potent astrological context that Uranus is stationing within now points to the potential for deep soul memories to emerge from our unconscious.  Whether these are memories from past lives, or memories from the current lifetime that have been buried, or a new perspective gained regarding our present behavior that we had previously been in denial of, this Uranus stationing will be bringing something extremely significant to the forefront of our consciousness.  We need to take time out to nurture ourselves with loving care, feel compassion for where we currently are in our development and not be overly critical of ourselves for not being where we think we should be.  Wherever we are, it is a necessary place in our process to be in, and with loving care we can facilitate growth within that will take us beyond any disheartening, distressing, restrictive, or oppressive circumstances in our present or recent past.

“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads ―at least that’s where I imagine it― there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

This awareness of something from our past being recycled and stirred up in order to help us embody a reborn presence is further reflected in the current balsamic phase between Mars in Aquarius and Venus in Capricorn, with Uranus in Aries being sextile Mars in Aquarius.  Mars and Venus in a balsamic phase will bring significant relationship issues and partners to the surface that are connected with our past patterns.  This is a time of facing the way we have been in the past with relationships with an open heart, allowing us to feel all of our emotions no matter how dark or discomforting.  By taking it all in now, we can dissolve and release the relationship patterns that no longer serve us so we can create the relationships that will serve our needs as well as gain a clearer capacity to listen to the needs of all of our relationships.

Following the Solstice New Moon, Saturn will enter the sign of Sagittarius and Mercury will re-ignite the square between Uranus and Pluto by becoming conjunct Pluto, in square to Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and also in square to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  When a pivotal planet like Saturn ingresses into a new sign, we get an immediate sense of some of the major issues that will be coming our way in the next phase of life, and the information we receive through our interactions with others could be very intense considering the fact that Mercury will be conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes at the same time.  As a result, this next week is another important threshold for us to enter with Mercury present as our guide.  With Mercury and Venus both still in Capricorn, taking personal responsibility for our responses to what is coming at us in our life will be paramount, integrating the Cancer polarity of nurturing our Self and our loved ones.

Neptune stations in Pisces

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The image above from Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds centers around a moment of epiphany, an opening of consciousness resonant with the dissolving of personal structures that can occur when Neptune stations direct as it has now at five degrees of Pisces.  People love to write about the Age of Aquarius, but Neptune stationing direct is a reminder that we remain in the Age of Pisces, an age dominated by harrowing experiences of war rooted in conflict between idealistic ideologies.  Ashes and Diamonds is set in Poland on the last day of World War II, a war in which Poland passed through unspeakable terror during its time of Nazi occupation and concentration camps that haunt collective memories with agonies incapable of description.  On the day of events in Ashes and Diamonds, modest celebrations over the end to the war occur in air saturated with the heavy fog of lingering trauma and the encroachment of the Soviet state on Polish independence.  Immediately prior to the image above inside a bombed church, the Lovers shown here discover an engraved fragment of a poem by the legendary Polish poet Cyprian Norwid: 

From you, as from burning chips of resin,
Fiery fragments circle far and near:
Ablaze, you don’t know if you are to be free,
Or if all that is yours will disappear.

Will only ashes and confusion remain,
Leading like storm into the abyss? Or will there be
In the depths of the ash a star-like diamond,
The dawning of eternal victory!

The phoenix of transformation found within these words fits our current astrological climate.  When pondering the nature of an archetypal force such as Neptune stationing, it is important to consider the surrounding astrological context: new cycle of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, Mars triggering the approaching square between Pluto and Uranus in Aries, new cycle between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio, a Leo Jupiter in square to the Sun, Saturn, and Venus in Scorpio, and Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Moreover, making the exact timing of this Neptune stationing more palpable on a personal level was that the Moon was in Virgo opposite Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces as the planetary symbol of oceanic consciousness stood still from our Earth-bound perspective.  Easing our ability to integrate meaning from all of this, Mercury has regained full strength as a Morning Star, re-emerging from it’s retrograde shadow zone to form a harmonious trine with both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.

Images are a realm of Neptune, and cinema in particular resonates with the myriad meanings of Neptune’s archetype.  Looking at the image from Ashes and Diamonds above, those who grew up immersed within the United State’s Hollywood will recognize the archetypal rebel stance drawing perplexed interest from a lover (and indeed, the actor Zbigniew Cybulski playing the lead was known as the “James Dean of Polish Cinema” and experienced an early traumatic death).  This scene unveils a Neptunian dissolution of interior structures and complexes, as each character had previously experienced an unlocking of inner vaults in the union of their embrace. The heart-centered words of a poet are another entry point into Neptune, and after hearing this poem recited from the lips of his desired lover, the lead character opens to the awareness that he could be leading a different life from a different form of consciousness. In the same scene, surrounded by ruins of wars and relics of dominant religion, he expresses that as he had never before realized he could fall in love he also had never thought that his life could be arranged around something different than his own pure survival.

Ewa reading poem in Ashes and Diamonds

Ewa Krzyżewska reading Norwid’s poem in Ashes and Diamonds

Neptune’s symbolic association with water relates to the dissolution of former structures of our self and reality we experience under a Neptunian wave. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

The tragedy of Ashes and Diamonds and the tragedy of many lives is that we label the epiphany the illusion, call the realization a magical fantasy as if magic can not truly happen.  Yet while attempting to re-adapt to our former perspective that was not so discontinuous with the surrounding consensus reality, the yearning of Neptune can take root instead in escapist pursuits like drug use or absorption into fictional or non-fictional stories about other people instead of living our own dream.  Addictive relationships can fall into this category as well, the type of attachment we form for a relationship that does not nourish our deep self but instead brings us a sense of security within our consensus surroundings no matter how unfulfilling.  Ironically from this space we are likely to view a truly fulfilling opportunity for relationship as a romantic fantasy we are imagining from our childhood fairy tales.

The remedy is to swim with the current and be a creative agent, an active magician in your daily life manifesting your internal world into your external environment.  Think of the great magician of recent fiction, Harry Potter, consulting his magical mentor Albus Dumbledore in a Neptunian King’s Cross Station:

Harry Potter:  Professor, is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?

Albus Dumbledore: Of course its happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that its not real?

Whatever signs and symbols you have been drawn to, whatever movies you have felt compelled to watch, books you suddenly knew you had to start reading recently, take note for most likely there is a significant message for you here. Neptune works through mysterious ways that are more musical, imaginal, and intuitive than anything logical.  There are many intense astrological signs pointing to a new cycle, new life, and new reality coming into form and while we may be in mid-process and there may be many tumultuous surrounding events, be courageous enough to follow the vision emerging from your depths in your waking life.

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Beatrice Addressing Dante by William Blake

Following Neptune stationing direct in Pisces, Venus has now entered Sagittarius and will soon send sparks through a square to Neptune.  The image above by Sagittarian artist William Blake unveils the Muse in the form of Beatrice, the inspiring force behind the work of Dante Alighieri.  We can find the shifting archetype of Neptune in this work of passion, in the spinning vortex of chariot wheels carrying the beaming and erotic Beatrice.  Dante serves as an example of an artist able to channel the imaginal visions lit by love for a woman he was never able to be with physically, into works of art that centuries later continue to leave a mark in modern minds.  I was curious to see how this image was interpreted in Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth by Leopold Damrosch, and was surprised to find the language describing Beatrice and the other women as dominating a “meek” Dante.  To me this connects with Venus emerging from its new cycles with the Sun and Saturn while in Scorpio, into Sagittarius and a square with Neptune: are we being overpowered and confused by our vision or being uplifted into creative inspiration.  If we are able to look underneath at the substantive structures sourcing our perception and instinctual reactions we can gain greater awareness of how to ride a wave of Neptune into greater abundance instead of being pulled into an undertow of disintegration.  For example, if we come from a sense that creation comes out of conflict we may find ourselves forever stirring up drama around us, sometimes needlessly so-  with reflection we may find opportunities to be harmoniously collaborative with others while also being creative.

Venus entering a square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces is a gateway into a couple of months of Neptune experiencing squares from planets in Sagittarius.  Within a week on November 22, there will be a New Moon at zero degrees of Sagittarius that will herald our Sun’s entrance into the sign of the centaur. At the end of November, Mercury will enter Sagittarius, and then at the end of December on December 24, 2014 Saturn will also enter Sagittarius.  With this time of Saturn at the end of the depth of Scorpio, with Venus, then the Moon, Sun, and Mercury coming into Sagittarius to square Neptune, it is time to make our dreams and visions real.  What is illusory will be revealed, and what is authentic and genuine will be deeply felt.  If there is unrequited love or romantic projection, it can be channeled into works of creativity and art.  If we can enter into a new nourishing relationship, or go into greater depth and intimacy within a continuing one, we will be called to do so.  If we are studying a subject or exploring the meaning behind a philosophy we have become drawn to, our experiences will reveal to us what about the teaching and knowledge brings us deeper into ultimate understanding of our reality, and what elements ring false from our experience.  The end of November in particular will feature a Grand Fire Trine between Venus in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries that can coincide with liberation, expansion, deepening, and the birth of something vibrant and passionate in our life.

As a final thought in connection with Neptune stationing, many in the spiritual collective community have been concerned over the health of Thích Nhất Hạnh who experienced a brain hemorrhage on November 11, 2014.  His words have been shared to a greater extent as a result, including this beautiful writing resonant with Neptune:

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear

Taurus Full Moon

full moon etching claude mellan

Full Moon engraving by Claude Mellan (1635) Paris

We say it is human nature to be attached, thinking of the bond between the mother and the child she births, the parents who focus on nurturing the development of the human being birthed into the world through their merging.  Yet although attachment and connectivity is a primal urge of humanity, there are many people who are abandoned, neglected, or abused as children, and do not experience an opportunity for full bonding with a parent.  This and other societal ills link to the separation polarizing our attachment, the separation we experience being released from our mother’s womb and ensuing need for bonding with someone or something in our environment.  The sign of Taurus connects to our hunger for security, and the forms of attachment we engage to feel secure and stable in an ever changing reality.  We become attached to ideas and feelings as well, thoughts and sensations that give us comfort, irregardless of whether or not our fixation on them is in our best interest.  For example, we can become attached to being depressed, attached to avoiding our passion, attached to numbing our pain and emotions through drugs, attached to escaping reality through popular culture, attached to being in denial of what will bring us happiness, attached to a life leaving us essentially unfulfilled.  Today we can see around us people more attached to their electronic connection to the world-wide web than their physical surroundings, parents fixated on their “screen connections” instead of their connection to the needs of their child.

We now experience a Taurus full Moon, the full phase of the lunar cycle that began with a solar eclipse in Scorpio aligned with Venus as well as Mercury stationing direct in the sign of the scales ruled by Venus.  No doubt if you like to read astrology posts on social media, you are hearing a lot about “integrating your authentic values” for this Taurus full Moon, and it is true that the Taurus archetype helps us find internal worth and stability instead of grasping for it in the external world.  However, in light of the Scorpio eclipse and Mercurial shifting that began this lunation cycle, this is an opportune moment to question why you think the “authentic values” that come to mind for you are the genuine article.  Be willing to question everything during the full light of this Taurus Moon, and you will open yourself to letting go and releasing the values that you have led yourself to believe in the past are essential to your nature.  Are they really?  What signs and symbols in your environment since Mercury stationed direct have emerged to give you guidance?  Who or what is getting in your face begging you to give second thought to your absolute fixation on having this or that particular value or attachment in your daily life?  If we can gain clarity for the real deal, the true values that will bring us genuine happiness and wealth, then going forward we can intend to ruminate our thoughts, circulate our feelings around desires arising from these values.  A lot of unconscious material could have been stirred up in the solar eclipse at our last new Moon, so keep in mind it is worthwhile to give further thought to what exactly “happiness” and “wealth” actually mean for you, as opposed to what you have gotten used to thinking they mean in your past.

Reflection

Reflection by Karena Karras

Venus has not yet finished her underworld journey in Scorpio, and is getting closer each day to a union with Saturn that will occur on November 12: there will be crucial lessons to be uncovered within during this closing week of their cycle.  This heavy Scorpio pull into our depths is an intense facilitator for a pivotal aspect of this Full Moon:  the balsamic conjunction between Mars and Pluto in Capricorn.  Mars and Pluto will begin a new cycle in Capricorn on November 10, so this Taurus and Scorpio full lunation is illuminating our experiences with desire and the degree to which we have integrated the conscious and unconscious sides of our nature in the past two year cycle of Pluto and Mars.  In union the combined message is to courageously go deep within to sense what brings us alive with passion and joy, beyond the limitations and guarding of repression, guilt, and fear of judgment or abandonment.  The Capricorn archetype also links to the conditioning of our parents and surrounding culture from birth, and the manner in which our sense of self learned to adapt to find a sense of security and attachment within the values and expectations of our early environment.  In order to harmonize with the values or expectations cherished by our parents or surrounding culture, many of us adapt our personality interacting in the external world to an external conditioning that is not wholly connected to the internal conditions necessary for us to feel wholly passionate and joyful.

Our desires that come from Soul and connected with Self are too strong to completely repress, however, and so many of us learn to pursue our essential inner desires in secret.  Out of this fear of external judgment, we set up a dichotomy of acting in the culturally acceptable way in the outer world to gain acceptance, while inwardly or in secret we follow the desires burning from within and demanding expression. As Carl Jung and others have noted, when we completely ignore or deny our burning inner desires, these unconscious forces can erupt in our lives in the form of crises demanding that we finally pay attention.  Within the sixth of the seven ripening squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, this Full Moon in Taurus illuminating our interplay between the depth of Venus-Saturn and Mars-Pluto holds the potential for us to re-source our desire nature to reveal our whole Will we have previously given away to others, including outside power structures.

Furthermore, there are additional strong aspects from Leo to the Scorpio and Taurus activated at this Full Moon, with Jupiter in Leo in square to Saturn and Venus in Scorpio, and Juno in Leo in square to the Sun in Scorpio and Moon in Taurus.  In combination with the closing cycles of Venus and Saturn in Scorpio, and Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, we can receive a message of how we have attempted to compensate for our fear of abandonment and separation by grasping for control over whatever we can control, whether that be people, non-human material, or thoughts.  A Taurus Full Moon invites us into the realm of Venus and what will bring us authentic pleasure and joy in our body.  Instead of remaining fixated on what you thought was bringing you happiness in the past, this Full Moon of Venus asks you to open to what is bringing you joy and happiness in the ever evolving moment, and to follow it.  Part of this is taking the risk to be vulnerable, part of this is expressing our needs to others and taking our essential needs seriously instead of a need to find acceptance in the dominant cultural paradigm.  Within what we previously thought would hold our disempowerment we may find what will make us feel powerful, while within what we previously thought was bringing us power we may realize was leading to our disempowerment.

The strong Leo energy interacting with the rest of the aspects of this Full Moon means there is something to be revealed about our personal destiny going forward if we are willing to listen.  This is not a time to feel guilty about the past or past decisions, but rather to reflect instead on modifications we can make in our life going forward that have been revealed to us through this past reflection.  This Full Moon aligns in the tropical zodiac with the cross-quarter holy days that occur in the middle of the fixed signs:  in the Southern Hemisphere this Full Moon is embedded within the blossoming of Full Spring, in the Northern Hemisphere this Full Moon lays within the clearing of Full Fall.  Open up the desires from within you have locked away, and there will be an opportunity to integrate these passions into manifestation in your future daily life.

sengai autumn moon

Sengai, Autumn Moon

Finally, with the North Node in Libra and Mercury moving direct again at the end of Libra, near the point of its inferior conjunction of the Sun, I would like to share a text I feel is connected to our current nodal axis of Uranus being conjunct the South Node in Aries, the North Node being in Libra, and the nodal rulers Mars and Venus entering into and out of intense dynamics.  The following is from The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler that was published during the shifting times of the late 1980s, and connects to the dominant cultural paradigm many human beings have been attached to for centuries:

One result of re-examining human society from a gender-holistic perspective has been a new theory of cultural evolution. This theory, which I have called Cultural Transformation theory, proposes that underlying the great surface diversity of human culture are two basic models of society.

The first, which I call the dominator model, is what is popularly termed either patriarchy or matriarchy-  the ranking of one half of humanity over the other.  The second, in which social relations are primarily based on the principle of linking rather than ranking, may best be described as the partnership model.  In this model- beginning with the most fundamental difference in our species, between male and female- diversity is not equated with either inferiority or superiority.

While there is much more to this idea than the above quote, it goes to the heart of realizations that we can find in our daily interactions in our external environment and internal mind.  Namely, moving away from a focus on a need for power over something to a focus on the power that can be found in between authentic partnership.

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Mystery of Stillness

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The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, 2nd Century Alexandria: “One is the All”

n

OthI

n

g can

s

urPas

s

the m

y

SteR

y

of

s

tiLnes

s

— e.e. cummings

In the last few days our Moon has eclipsed Mercury, Venus, the Sun, and Saturn in order.  Writing in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, I am looking through a window upon the Japanese Maple in my front yard releasing its flaming red astral leaves in the wind. A stormy gale is blowing through the tall trees and evergreens in view, with intermittent showers of rain descending upon the soaring crows, broken up at times by a white cloud break of sky blue.  Similar to a reflective response to today’s tumultuous weather, there is not much more we can do to prepare for eclipse season than to center in our being within the field of chaos and change.  While we are still in range of eclipse aftershocks, the eclipses of this season are now finished until the next equinox (there will be a solar eclipse on March 20, 2015).   If we can create a sacred or womb like sphere of contemplation, insight is beckoning discovery.

Although this recent solar eclipse was partial and not full, the fact that Venus was also involved in the eclipse in the same period of the superior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, with Mercury simultaneously stationing direct in the sign of Venus, means that the ripples of this time will have far reaching effect.  The superior conjunction of Venus and the Sun happens when Venus is moving direct, on the other side of the Sun from our home planet, uniting in the same degree of the zodiac as the Sun and beginning a new cycle that will lead to Venus arising nightly as an evening star.  In the thirty or so days before and after this moment, Venus disappears from our view in the sky under the rays of the Sun, and so the superior conjunction is a sort of wintery solstice moment in the sense of promising a return of her light.  Archetypal and mythic astrologers are especially prone to link the cycle of Venus with underworld goddess myths such as the story of Inanna and Ishtar, and Her descent to the underworld to face Ereshkigal, the Great Goddess in the land under the earth, the land of the dead.  From this perspective the superior conjunction of Venus is a pivotal moment of soul searching and regeneration in her cycle.

However, I feel a key to tune into is Mercury, our winged angel at the threshold, our soul guide in between boundaries of the upper and underworld, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth is as still as it ever gets, stationing to move forward again.  If you remember, Mercury originally stationed retrograde conjunct the point of the Solar Eclipse and the superior conjunction of Venus on October 4, 2014.  Now, it has completed its retrograde and stationed direct conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and opposite Uranus and the South Node of the Moon.  Corresponding with Dane Rudhyar’s description of Mercury as the weaver of patterns of relationship, commingling meaning out of commerce with the multitude of information sources accessible to our perception, we have a unique moment now to cut through our awareness of past patterns of relationship in order to weave together new patterns of relationship connected with our future, ever changing sense of self.

Mercury stationing direct is not always interpreted as being the most “razor sharp” moment of thought and consciousness, yet I feel that has to do with your perspective on consciousness.  Mercury stationing direct is similar in my mind to waking consciousness, when we emerge from our dream world into an awakened world, yet we are still connected to our time in dreams and we may have moments of not knowing what is dream and what is waking.  At this time we are beyond the duality, we are both at once, and each is all of our awareness.  Yet far from fogginess, we may receive a startling comprehension as described by William Blake: “Knowledge is not by deduction but Immediate by Perception or Sense at once . . . Forms must be apprehended by Sense or the Eye of Imagination.”  The more we open to this sense of Blake’s that “Man is All Imagination,” the more Mercurial knowledge into our deep nature will be revealed in line with Blake’s understanding that “The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself”  (Damrosch, p. 14 – 16).

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Mercury stationing direct now is fortuitous as it will allow for greater integration of the recent lunar eclipse in Aries, and the solar eclipse in Scorpio.  My understanding of eclipses is heavily influenced by Demetra George’s workbook Finding Our Way Through The Dark as she succinctly crystallized an essential message regarding eclipses through the lens of two intellectual figures I admire, Carl Jung and Dane Rudhyar:

In general, eclipses are said to be negative, but this is a misunderstanding of the shadow function. In both solar and lunar eclipses, the light of either the Sun or Moon is obstructed from reaching the Earth. When the light of consciousness is temporarily blocked, something else is revealed- that which is normally hidden. Called windows into secret realms and open doorways into the subconscious, eclipses allow us to access that which has been concealed or repressed in our lives. Eclipses are said to be karmic in nature, because they relate to issues that lie outside of our consciousness.

If we are out of touch with this hidden material which Carl Jung calls “the shadow,” then we may judge it as bad and destructive. We are shocked because this material seems to come out of nowhere, when in fact it was with us all along. To the extent that we have tried to repress the shadow material, we will call the results of the eclipse disastrous.  But to the extent that we are open to the unconscious and the surfacing of hidden problems, we will experience the emergence of this material as neutral, revelatory or healing.

Dane Rudhyar said that at the New Moon solar eclipse, the present is blotted out by the past, while at the Full Moon lunar eclipse, the past is obscured by the present. This statement suggests that at a solar eclipse, the Sun- which represent our consciousness awareness- when obscured, allows the forces of the past which lie buried in the unconscious as psychic complexes, to be seen, confronted, and experienced with the possibility of integrating these previously unconscious energies into the present awareness. During a lunar eclipse, it is the past, symbolized by the Moon, which is obscured and can be released.  In the absence of the conditioning of the past, the possibility emerges of meeting experiences in a new manner.

Of further importance is the fact that the Sun in these last two eclipses was conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, suggesting forward drive through the chaos toward our desire, and a stirring up of new ways to approach future-oriented growth.  Mars also ruled both eclipses, from the perspective that the Moon was in Aries in the lunar eclipse and the Sun and Moon were in Scorpio during the solar eclipse: another sign of desire compelling our will forward.  Since the lunar eclipse was in the cardinal sign of Aries and conjunct Uranus, it may have had more of an immediate impact on our perception through a dislodging of past patterns to be released.  In contrast, the partial solar eclipse occurring at the very beginning of the fixed sign of Scorpio may not have made such an instantaneous effect in your life, unless the beginning degrees of Scorpio make significant aspects in your natal chart.   However, the deep, fixed nature of Scorpio, as well as the additional power of Venus and Mercury in association, means that the solar eclipse could have sweeping, extended, and drawn out repercussions.

Again, Mercury is an important focus as it has stationed direct more tightly conjunct the North Node of the Moon than the solar eclipse, closely opposite Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Fascinatingly, the Moon eclipsed Saturn in Scorpio at the same time Mercury stationed direct, symbolically opening the gates of Saturn to the Uranian, transpersonal vision of the outer planetary bodies.  Many astrologers believe that Uranus is a higher octave to Mercury, and in this moment of Mercury stationing direct opposite Uranus, there can be no argument that Mercury in Libra is actively receptive to Uranus and weaving new patterns of inter-relationship that go beyond our usual conditioning of culture and Saturnine boundaries.  Mercury can be our guide, but Mercury can also serve us and other components of astrology like Jupiter- the consciousness we apply to Mercury, the way we look through Mercury at our world matters.  If we are wrapped up in fear now, we may weave together new ways to be afraid; if we are overcome by greed and motivation for greater status, we may weave together new ways of manipulating other people to serve our own benefit.

Moreover, since Pluto in Capricorn is also in square to Mercury in Libra, meaning that there is a t-square between Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus with the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and Mercury with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, the full effect of all of this on us can be cathartic and shattering.  The more we claim this moment to go deeper into our nature if we have already been soul searching, or choose to engage in a new pattern that is more about our Self than our fears or compensation for our insecurity like greed, the more we will participate in the active change serving the higher good that is possible in the collective now.  Unfortunately, since many people are not doing this hard work of Self, these same astrology aspects going forward could correspond with continued and increasing warfare, violence, and oppression in our collective consciousness.

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Chrysopoea of Cleopatra

Venus was also part of the Scorpio solar eclipse, though not part of the visual phenomenon as she was on the other side of the Sun from the Moon and already invisible.  However, since Venus recently was conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra as well as Mercury retrograde in Libra, Venus beginning a new cycle through the heart of the Sun holds a new relationship we can have with our future development that at the same time involves confronting our past patterns of relating.  We may be reminded of a past relationship behavior, we may be triggered by something that has more to do with an old relation than our present heart and mind, but in any case these associations with our previous values and ways of relating are here to reveal to us that we can release what has held us back in the past:  we are not stuck or incapable of change and evolution.

As previously mentioned, the Venus superior conjunction at the beginning of Scorpio is also a strong link to the underworld goddess myths and tests of diverse cultures, bringing a sense of the heroine’s journey and the need to answer the call. Yet Venus is known to be in detriment in Scorpio traditionally in astrology, and Venus being eclipsed by the Moon in Scorpio shortly before her superior conjunction has an added dimension that the Moon is considered to be in its fall in Scorpio.  Piercing through these labels, the lessons we may find here revolve around our deepest, core, unconscious feelings and values, emotions that may feel unsettling to unearth from our psyche.  Give yourself at least a month of focused intent to burn off the past issues or karma that no longer serve you.  In thirty days or so, at the end of November, Venus will arise again with her brilliant white light, illuminating our evening sky momentarily at first, staying with us longer in the evening hours each successive day.

From the perspective of declination in astrology, what is even more amazing about the end of November will be that at the time Venus arises again as an evening star, she will be united with Mars in declination, barely within the bounds of the Tropic of Capricorn.  In this same period Venus in Sagittarius will be in a Grand Fire Trine with Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, more closely in trine with Uranus.  On an archetypal level, this could be a time of integration between masculine and feminine energies within, our receptive magnetism and active energy, the Jungian concepts of the animus and the anima.  It also makes me think of the Axiom of Maria concept from alchemy that Carl Jung took into his concept of individuation, that out of the One (unconscious wholeness) comes Two (conflict of opposites), Two becomes Three (transcendent resolution), and the Third becomes the One as the Fourth (transformed, whole consciousness).  This process represents the idea of all the unconscious energy that has become stimulated now eventually leading us into a more fully realized individual consciousness:  just remember it is a process that takes time.

Stars_and_dec

“Stars and dec” by Tfr000 (talk) 16:58, 13 June 2012 (UTC) – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-via Wikimedia Commons

In case you do not understand the concept of declination illustrated flatly above, in declination we pay attention to the location of celestial objects within the relationship between the Earth’s equator and the ecliptic, the apparent motion of the Sun on our celestial sphere.  The high and low points shown in the red ecliptic line on the above graphic are important, as they are the Tropic of Cancer to the north and the  Tropic of Capricorn to the south.  The Tropic of Cancer is 23º26′ north of the equator, and the place of the Sun at the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere that occurs in June.  Similarly, the Tropic of Capricorn is 23º26′ south of the equator, and the place of the Sun at the Summer Solstice in the Souther Hemisphere that occurs in December.  Using Mars as an example, if Mars goes further than 23°26′ north or south of the equator it would mean that Mars is “out of bounds” or in extreme declination.  This gives a wild, maverick, independent streak to whatever celestial object is out of bounds, essentially meaning that the associated archetype is going to be its own ruler, think for itself, and go after what it wants.

Since the beginning of October 2014, Mars has been in extreme declination, meaning that the wild bounding nature of the centaur associated with Mars being in Sagittarius has been even more intense, further adding a wild personal will into the Grand Fire Trine that happened between Mars in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries.  Mars reached its peak extreme in declination at about the same time as the solar eclipse in Scorpio, and current events in North America revealed the shadow side of the aggressive red planet out of bounds:  the shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, another attempt to jump the fence at the White House in Washington D.C. (this one taken down by security dogs), and a horrific shooting at a high school in Marysville, Washington that ended in suicide.  Yet the other side to this out of bounds Mars is an out-of-the-box sense of will, power, and desire that is essentially out-of-this-galaxy, as Mars at the end of Sagittarius has been conjunct our Galactic Center.  In combination with Mercury stationing direct opposite Uranus and conjunct the North Node of the Moon, this could be difficult chaos or liberating illumination depending upon how you respond or in what environment you enter.

During this time of Mars in extreme declination, as well as its time in the Grand Fire Trine, Mars has been in a balsamic or dark phase with Pluto in Capricorn.  And now we enter a period in which Mars enters the sign of Capricorn, the sign of its exaltation, in order to conjunct Pluto on November 10, 2014 and begin a new cycle.  As a result, we are currently at the close of a Mars and Pluto cycle that began at the end of November in 2012, and so a dissolution of our deep soul desires that have arisen in the past two years.  In Pluto Volume II:  The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships, Jeffrey Wolf Green wrote the following about the balsamic semi-sextile aspect between Mars and Pluto that we entered around the time that Mars went out of bounds:

Some individuals will experience this as a sense of meaninglessness and emptiness, and will manifest a diffuse or undefined personal identity or purpose . . . The key is to let go of the past and to allow new patterns, ideas and impulses to enter the consciousness of their own accord.  Approached in this way, these new thoughts, ideas, and impulses become the light that illuminates the path to the individual’s future.

Continuing the amazing 2014 theme of Mars and Venus, when Mars conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn on November 10, Venus will be approaching a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio.  From now until then, coming out of the insights gained from the eclipses and Mercury stationing, become as clear as possible about the future life you want to live and do the hard inner work to clear whatever obstacles are getting in your way of pursuing your desired life.  As Neptune in Pisces will also be stationing direct in mid November, it could be a great time to set a powerful intention for a new beginning.

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page 54 in Carl Jung’s Liber Novus

On page 54 of his Liber Novus, Carl Jung illustrated the above image with the translated words:

Amen, you are the lord of the beginning.

Amen, you are the star of the East.

Amen, you are the flower that blooms over everything.

Amen, you are the deer that breaks out of the forest.

Amen, you are the song that sounds far over the water.

Amen, you are the beginning and the end.

In The Red Book: Liber Novus, Carl Jung in a section labeled “Refinding Soul” recounted the impact of his vision of a flood in October 1913 when he was thirty-eight years old.  At this time, Jung said “I had achieved everything that I had wished for myself. I had achieved honor, power, wealth, knowledge, and every human happiness. Then my desire for the increase of these trappings ceased, the desire ebbed from me and horror came over me” (p. 232).  Jung went on to describe his “unbearable inner longing” in his search for his soul that included the following passage:

He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul.  If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world.  He becomes a fool through his endless desire, and forgets the way of his soul, never to find her again. He will run after all things, and will seize hold of them, but he will not find his soul, since he would find her only in himself. Truly his soul lies in things and men, but the blind one seizes things and men, yet not his soul in things and men.  He has no knowledge of his soul.  How could he tell her apart from things and men?  He could find his soul in desire itself, but not in the objects of desire.  If he possessed his desire, and his desire did not possess him, he would lay a hand on his soul, since his desire is the image and expression of his soul.

–Carl Jung

References

Damrosch, Leopold. (1980). Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth. Princeton University Press.

George, Demetra. (1994).  Finding Our Way Through the Dark. AFA.

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

Jung, Carl. (2009). The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Norton.

Mars Retrograde in Libra

Aries kneels before Aphrodite

Mars Initiation

  • Mars entered his retrograde shadow zone (9-10 Libra) on December 27, 2013
  • January 16, 2014:  Venus retrograde (19 Capricorn) squared Mars (19 Libra)
  • February 28, 2014:  Mercury stationed direct at 18 Aquarius /// New Moon at 11 Pisces
  • March 1, 2014:  Mars stationed retrograde at 28 Libra
  • March 2, 2014:  Saturn stationed retrograde at 24 Scorpio /// Venus (28 Capricorn) squared Mars retrograde (28 Libra)
  • March 6, 2014:  Jupiter stationed direct at 11 Cancer
  • Mars retrograde will create a Cardinal Grand Cross in April with Jupiter in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn around 12-14 degrees of the cardinal signs. The grand cross will be intense in the days surrounding April 23, with a Lunar Eclipse on April 15 and Solar Eclipse on April 29.
  • Mars will station direct on May 19 at 10 Libra
  • Mars will leave his retrograde shadow zone on July 22, 2014

March fittingly began with its namesake Mars claiming center stage by stationing retrograde at the end of Libra, in between Mercury stationing direct the day before and Saturn stationing retrograde the next day.  A few days later on March 6, Jupiter stationed direct, creating an extraordinary week of intensity.  Every time a planet stations it means their energy is saturating our astrological atmosphere:  with so many occurring at the same time the effect was dizzying and disorienting, but since Mars only goes retrograde about every 26 months or so, his stationing was especially dramatic.  A raised Mars vibration became even more pronounced at this time because his stationing occurred in conjunction to the shift of the true node of the Lunar North Node into the sign of Libra, meaning that Mars also became the lord of the South Node of the Moon in Aries.    As Mars is occupying the sign of Venus, conjunct the North Node of the Moon ruled by Venus, we are at a time of a Mars initiation under the auspices of Venus.

Mars initiating a collective and personal shift at this time was symbolized in current events by Russia invading the Crimea region of Ukraine at the time of Mars stationing retrograde.  Mars is of course the god of war, with an ancient link to the Greek Ares who was particularly bloodthirsty in battle and obsessed with creating conflict and strife.  The Russian invasion also connected to the shift of the South Node of the Moon into Aries that is ruled by Mars, as it brought to the collective mind a fear of another great war breaking out between global super powers, all the while evoking collective memories of the cold war between the United States of America and the Soviet Union that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  However, fitting to a Mars retrograde occurring in Libra at this time, instead of an actual world war of mass killing breaking out what instead has occurred so far is a war of diplomacy and behind the scenes maneuvering of diplomats and dictators.

While Mars does have a mythic connection to the Greek Ares, his appearance in Roman culture was of supreme importance as Mars was a founding father of the Roman people through his fatherhood of Romulus and Remus.  In addition to being a god of aggression and violence, the Romans also saw Mars as a passionate, and scandalous lover- in fact the lover of Venus who was quite willing to ignore the fact that Venus was married to Vulcan.  This love affair between Mars and Venus was also found in the Greek version of numerous love affairs between Ares and Aphrodite who likewise transgressed the marital vows of Aphrodite and Hesphaestus (the Greek Vulcan).  Through the heated passion and sexual intercourse between the Mars and Venus of myth we can also find the astrological meaning behind Mars as an indication of our passionate and erotic desire that resists restrictions or limitations of any kind.

Another ancient connection to Mars was as a harbinger of plagues, pestilence, and disaster, as can be seen in his traditional association with the XVI Tower card of the Tarot Arcana.  I feel through modern astrology we have come to associate outer planets like Pluto and Uranus more so with crisis and calamities, but it is important to remember that Mars was always seen in this role and connected with disastrous events such as the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine at the time of a Mars stationing.  As a result, we can apply the theme of the XVI Tower card to events at this time, with the higher potential of this correlation being that we can become electrified and shook wide awake by dramatic events.  Indeed, Mars is also one of the traditional malefics of astrology along with Saturn, seen in night charts as representing the sorts of challenges that make us stronger and in day charts the sorts of challenges that simply make us lose our shit.  Through the myths and astrology of ancient Babylon, we can find all of these meanings, as Nergal (the God associated with the planet Mars in Babylon) was also a god of violence, plague, and disaster, who was also the  brother of Ninurta (the Babylonian Saturn, the other traditional malefic of astrology).

Michael Baignet in his incredible book From the Omens of Bablylon:  Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia analyzed translations of ancient tablets and text to reveal a vivid portrait of the Babylonian Nergal who was associated in astrology with the planet Mars.  Nergal was like a combination of the Mars and Pluto of myth, a lord of the underworld who was considered to be evil and violent in addition to being a judge of the dead.  In fact, through Nergal we can discover the patriarchal takeover of the underworld as he forced himself unto the goddess of the underworld and into a seat on her throne.  The story began when Ereshkigal, the goddess of the underworld, sent an emissary to represent her at a feast of the gods.  Nergal intentionally gave a sign of disrespect to the emissary that led Ereshkigal to demand that Nergal be sent down to her so that she could kill him as punishment.  Nergal was unable to argue his way out of being sent down for retribution to Ereshkigal, but he was able to successfully negotiate the right to take fourteen of his companions down with him for protection, giving him one guard for each of the fourteen doors in the palace of Ereshkigal (this mythic action also reveals the Mars skill in manipulation, negotiation, seduction, diplomacy . . . ).  After placing a guard at each of the doors of the goddess of the dead, Nergal charged full speed ahead into the throne room where he took Ereshkigal by surprise, forcibly grabbing her by the hair and forcing her into the floor with a knife to her throat.  Somehow this great goddess found herself pleading for her life and making an offer to become his bride in exchange for Nergal letting her live.  And so Nergal became the husband to Ereshkigal, the lord of the underworld, the god and judge of the dead.

The connection between Mars and Pluto we can see in Mesopotamian myth is also found in modern astrology where Pluto is considered to be a higher octave of Mars by many astrologers.  The ancient embodiment of Mars as lord of the underworld in myth goes well with the effective use of Mars as the ruler of Scorpio in Hellenistic and other traditional forms of astrology, while there are also some modern astrologers who have done powerful work using Pluto as the ruler of Scorpio.   The link between Mars and Pluto is especially important in the system of evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, in which the analysis of Mars is a key window into the desires radiating from the soul.  To Green, Mars correlates with our instinctual hunger to act on the desires coming from our soul and so the Mars archetype can help us become aware of our continuous state of becoming through activity.  Mars has a thirst for freedom and an aversion to restriction of any kind:  when Mars is moving direct, we take action that moves out from our soul.  In contrast, when Mars goes retrograde we take instinctual action that returns us to our center instead of moving out from our core.  Mars retrograde inverts the desires emanating from our soul so that we pause and reflect before taking action, leading to “considered action versus an impulsive action” (Green, p. 255).  As a result, the period of Mars retrograde can help our personality align to a greater extent with our soul’s intentions and eliminate or remake what is not serving our soul purpose.  In this way, during a Mars retrograde time-frame we have an opportunity to counterbalance past compulsive and overly willful egocentricity through listening inwardly, looking before we leap.

At this time of the Ides of March approaching, I am reminded of the famous speech given by Marc Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that to my mind is exemplary of both a Mars stationing and a Mars retrograde sort of action.  Here we have an excerpt spoken by Marlon Brando, an actor filled with the vigor of Mars in every performance:

Marc Antony would have been full of rage at the murder of Caesar, yet instead of reacting with destructive violence or direct attack he paused and considered how to craft persuasive language that would ignite the people of Rome to mutiny against the assassins of Caesar.  The dramatic atmosphere of this moment ripe with the potential for war is fitting for a time of Mars stationing like we experienced last week.  Yet through taking the time to reflect upon how to craft the most persuasive language possible instead of impulsively shouting diatribes against the plotters who tried to seize the throne through killing Caesar, Marc Antony’s speech also connects to the energy of a Mars retrograde.  Furthermore,  Marc Antony’s speech also contains a deft use of Libran diplomacy, seduction, and social manipulation, as he cleverly called the murderers of Caesar honorable while nimbly weaving words and phrases that would arouse the passions of the Roman people to his cause for revenge.  Each time he called Brutus or the other assassins “honorable,” he created an increasingly “dishonorable” impression of them in his audience through his considered choice in language that made his audience feel his own sense of wounding and wrongdoing.

As our current Moon cycle is waxing toward the Virgo and Pisces Full Moon of March 16, we have entered an energy field that is settling into the energy of the Mars retrograde more so than the more catalytic and disruptive energy of the Mars stationing last week.  In the same way that Venus retrograde cycles can coincide with fateful events carrying a sense of destiny in some personal birth charts, so can Mars retrograde cycles also be especially fateful for certain birth charts.  If Mars is a major factor in a chart a Mars retrograde cycle may always be significant, whereas for other charts it may have more to do with the specific zodiac degrees involved in the retrograde cycle.  For our current Mars retrograde cycle, you will want to pay close attention to the area of your chart holding nine to twenty-eight degrees of Libra (the Mars retrograde zone) as well as nine to twenty-eight degrees of every other cardinal sign in your chart (Aries, Cancer, and Capricorn- the Mars retrograde will be forming a square or opposition to these points), or other Air and Fire signs (Gemini, Aquarius, Leo, and Sagitarius- the Mars retrograde will be forming a trine or sextile to these points).  If you want to think about personal experiences relating to past Mars retrograde cycles, I will include some of the dates below.  You can also add in a couple of months before and after these stationing dates in order to capture the full retrograde shadow journey of Mars:

  • January 24 – April 14, 2012: stationed retrograde at 24 Virgo and stationed direct at 4 Virgo.
  • December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010: stationed retrograde at 20 Leo and stationed direct at 1 Leo.
  • November 15, 2007 – January 30, 2008: stationed retrograde at 13 Cancer and stationed direct at 25 Gemini.
  • October 1 – December 10, 2005: stationed retrograde at 24 Taurus and stationed direct at 9 Taurus.
  • July 29 – September 27, 2003: stationed retrograde at 11 Pisces and stationed direct at 1 Pisces.
  • May 11 – July 19, 2001: stationed retrograde at 30 Sagitarius and stationed direct at 16 Sagitarius.
  • March 18 – June 4, 1999: stationed retrograde at 13 Scorpio and stationed direct at 25 Libra.

ItalianDeSphaeraVenus1550sA web

Mars in the sign of Venus

Mars stationing retrograde in Libra is very significant in relation to Venus, including that Mars is considered to be in “detriment” in Libra.  The detrimental label of Mars in Libra connects to Libra being the polarized opposite of the sign Aries that Mars loves being in, as well as that Libra is a sign ruled by Venus.  Astrologers often think of Libra as a sign of balance, overly concerned with relationships and the needs of others, a sign of beauty that doesn’t quite jive with the freewheeling nature of Mars that will strike up conflict and want to have things its own way.  However, though balance is the aim of Libra, many Librans are in reality extreme in behavior and more in a process of searching for balance through extremity of behavior than beings whose every gesture is of rarified air.  Libra can have a manipulative talent for diplomacy, for getting its way through cooing negotiation, and for becoming enraged over social justice issues and oppression, all behaviors that do correlate to the willful Mars.  And just because the red planet is moving backwards in the sign of Venus does not mean we should think it a detriment, when instead we can celebrate the fact this planet of desire is moving under the guidance of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.

Jeff Green’s perspective in evolutionary astrology I feel is beneficial to consider regarding Mars in Libra because he doesn’t get hung up on analyzing it as a “detriment” but instead looks at it as it is what it is, so let’s explore what it is.  There are a number of issues connected to Mars in Libra in Green’s evolutionary astrology I have been sensing connect with the current retrograde transit:  learning to actualize our soul intentions through initiating relationships with people from different beliefs, values, and backgrounds, learning to expand our consciousness through understanding our reality in a new way through relationship, learning to understand ourselves in a new way through the perceptions of others in relationship, learning to balance our need for independence versus our need for interaction, learning how to balance giving and receiving on an equal basis in relationship, and learning how to understand the nature of projections we receive from others as well as the nature of the projections we make on others in relationship.

Again, since the retrograde movement of Mars inverts the energy of the red planet toward our soul, instead of more impulsively acting out from our soul desires, during this retrograde transit the issues we encounter surrounding our relationships will help us eliminate what is not truly “us” in our behavior, and help us align to a greater extent with our soul purpose.  While this inverted energy of Mars may heat up our inner sexual desires, it does not necessarily mean we will be impulsively leaping into wild, lustful encounters with the people we become attracted to at this time, but in contrast we may find ourselves with an opportunity to pause and consider the reasoning behind the sexual desire we feel inside, helping us to better understand our own sexual nature in the process.  Jeff Green has also drawn attention to the link between Mars in Libra and sexual karma, and the karmic binding we create even in one-time sexual encounters.  In his second Pluto book, Green made the point that the archetype of Mars in Libra emphasizes the need to make our sexual intentions conscious so both partners are aware, from a one-night stand to a new attraction developing outside the boundaries of a monogamous relationship.  Along these lines Green stressed the importance of being honest or resolving the karmic agreement of the current relationship before entering into sexual relations with the new attraction.  The concept of mirroring, in which our relationships will mirror active elements of our psyche to focus on and learn more about, will be very active during this Libran retrograde and so acting with integrity in our relationships will be even more important than normal.

Along these lines, we will want to make sure that we are listening to the true needs of others in our relationships instead of what we want to hear, as well as making sure that we are likewise expressing our true needs in our relationship and having the personal integrity to believe and expect that our needs will likewise be acknowledged and honored.  Jeff Green also illuminated the tendency of the Mars in Libra archetype to be so overly concerned with the needs of others that they lose touch with their own needs.  This leads to great difficulty such as others projecting their own needs and expectations on us that have nothing to do with our actual reality, as well as our own danger of becoming incredibly angry at our needs not being met and at risk of projecting this anger on anyone that crosses our path.  While the sacred concept that the receiving is in the giving will be something we can experience at this time, we will want to take accountability to maintain the balance that our own needs are also being met and that communicating our needs will always be a good choice for us to make in the type of relationship we want to truly be inside.  If we have been someone who has been the scapegoat of our family, or have been carrying around karma and issues that are not even our own and have been projected onto us from others, we can at this time come into greater awareness of the nature of these projections from other people and clear out what does not truly belong to us.

If we are not feeling stirrings for new relationships at this time, or working on re-making an existing relationship to be more fulfilling, another area we may find connection to Mars being retrograde in Libra is through artistic work or creativity in any medium or material.  Libra is a Venusian sign of creativity and artistry, and so this Mars retrograde time will be opportune for entering into a sacred space of artistic creation, making sacred art that calls to our soul, viewing or experiencing art that feels sacred or soulful, or making choices to practice simple acts of creativity and joy whenever a moment arises.  Entering into an artistic or creative process of any kind, being open to observing whatever emerges, can be another helpful guide for us to align to a greater extent with our soul purpose and intention at this time.

Parnasse,_by_Andrea_Mantegna,_from_C2RMF_retouched

Affairs of the Heart

In the painting Parnassus above, painted in 1497 by Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna, we can see the lovers Mars and Aphrodite standing tall over a dance of the nine muses, with Mercury standing watch in the foreground, and the husband of Aphrodite, Vulcan, looking distraught in the background.  Over the past year the planets Mars and Venus have been involved in an intense affair, as their new cycle began around April 6, 2013 with a conjunction at 20 Aries.  Today we are just past a very long first quarter square phase that took months to complete:  the first time Mars and Venus squared was on September 28, 2013 with Mars at 20 Leo and Venus at 20 Scorpio.  Next, they squared on January 16, 2014 during the Venus retrograde with Mars inside his retrograde shadow zone, with Mars at 19 Libra and Venus retrograde at 19 Capricorn.  Significant to the Venus retrograde cycle of that time, Venus was just arising from the underworld as our Morning Star at this time following her inferior conjunction with the Sun on January 11.  And then last week on March 2, 2014, the third time was the charm as just at the time that both Mars and Saturn stationed retrograde, we had the final first quarter square with Mars retrograde at 28 Libra and Venus moving direct at 28 Capricorn.  Amazingly, this means that this final square between Mars and Venus in this cycle occurred at the exact time Mars was stationing retrograde and Venus was leaving her retrograde shadow journey.  Even more astounding, at the final square of this series on March 2, Mars retrograde was conjunct the North Node of the Moon ruled by Venus, and Mars at the same time was the ruler of the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Meanwhile, Venus in Capricorn was in a square to the lunar nodes, making the intensity all the more grandiose.

What does a first quarter square between Mars and Venus mean?  It means, relative to this cycle that began on April 6, 2013, that we have crossed through a significant gate of challenge and crisis, made more so in this case because it took about five months to complete and involved retrograde cycles of both Mars and Venus.  From the lunar phase perspective, a first quarter square is about establishing the roots of our new direction, a phase full of tension, strength, and force that requires the building of a structure that can house the new purpose.  This phase requires a pioneering spirit that must confront and overcome past patterns and deal with their own sense of rage at having to face limitations and perhaps vestiges or triggers of past issues.  From this perspective, look back at what began last April of 2013:  any new relationships, projects, or desires? Was anything culminating or clearing in the time leading up to last April?  Likewise, where is 20 Aries in your birth chart for the start of a new cycle?  Where are all the degrees of the first quarter square- 20 Leo, 20 Scorpio, 19 Libra, 19 Capricorn, 28 Libra, 28 Capricorn?  From last September until now, through two of our four seasons, we have been facing crises and challenges connected to whatever new soul intention connected with our Mars and Venus we begun last April.

I want to come back once again to Jeff Green and evolutionary astrology, because I believe Green developed some valuable insights illuminating the archetypes involved in the phasal relationship between Mars and Venus:

From an evolutionary point of view, the phasal relationship between Mars and Venus will correlate to how the Soul is oriented to actualizing the relationship dynamics for itself, and how its needs for necessary freedom in order to actualize its overall evolutionary and karmic intentions interrelate.

–Jeff Green, Pluto Volume II, p. 259

From this same perspective, the first quarter square phase we just completed made us aware of new ways for us to be in relationship that reflect a new understanding we have for ourselves and how we relate to our soul.  At the first quarter square, we develop the courage to stand up for ourselves and assert our individual values whether or not others around us share the same values.  Part of the crisis of this stage then comes from the fact that we have a new sense of individuality we are developing that we fear we could lose by entering into relationships with other people, especially into intimate relationships where merging and bonding can occur.  As a result we can come into conflicts in our relationships because we may not truly commit, keeping our options open for an escape due to a fear of losing our individuality in the relationship.  To Green, the lesson of this stage “is for the Soul to realize that the individuality that has been established will not be lost, that this fear is a fear only, and to align with other individuals who have the same courage to project their own individuality in the face of the consensus . . . they need to choose an intimate other who is evolutionarily evolving in the same way” (Green, p. 262).  If we are currently in a relationship, we may need to reflect upon the dynamic and see if things can be reworked for greater harmony and a sense of personal freedom to develop in accordance with the calling of the soul.  If we are lacking relationships, we can hopefully find a new group of like-minded souls for friendship and collaboration, as well as gain greater clarity for the type of intimate partner we wish to eventually commit to.

For the rest of March we will be inside this first quarter phase of the Mars and Venus cycle, but at the very end of March we will have an opportunity to creatively actualize more of our new direction because Mars retrograde at 23 Libra will form a trine to Venus at 23 Aquarius on March 29, 2014.  This does not mean everything will become easy for us, but it does mean that whatever desire, issue, project, or relationship we are working on in connection to this Mars-Venus cycle will demand more of a yearning from us to manifest it to a greater extent, and with Venus being in Aquarius no doubt this will feel like a burning sense of liberation from within us.   This new, impulsive, liberating energy will be all the more intense because there will be a New Moon on March 30 that is conjunct Uranus in Aries, square Jupiter in Cancer, and square Pluto in Capricorn.   Events at this time will help us become aware of all the myriad of issues that have led up to this point, and with making the whole process more conscious we will have increased capacity to make our soul desire more of a reality, or at least create an effective plan to make it happen eventually.  Using this time for this purpose of clarifying our soul desire and then beginning the process of actualizing it in our life is of supreme importance because as we enter April we enter a time of intense aspects that many astrologers are signalling high alert to the collective regarding- a lunar eclipse, a cardinal grand cross including an exact square between Pluto and Uranus, and a solar eclipse among other things . . . These intense aspects also are fitting for the Chinese astrological perspective of this being the year of the Wood Horse, because although this energy could indeed correlate with some crises and stressful experiences, it is also the type of energy that can completely liberate us from our past and help us break free into uncharted territory- the transits have an extraordinary pioneering spirit to them at the same time they portend extremely challenging events.  But what does a pioneer do except face the greatest challenges and obstacles imaginable?

As we enter this intense April time period, we will likewise enter the gibbous phase of this Mars and Venus cycle around April 9 or so with Venus at the beginning of Pisces conjunct Neptune in Pisces.  This gibbous phase will take us through the  eclipse season and cardinal grand cross of the rest of April because we will not hit the full phase of Mars and Venus, their opposition point, until around May 11, 2014.  Fitting for the intense astrological climate of April, the gibbous phase of this Mars and Venus cycle could have us needing to withstand extreme criticism from our relationships and surrounding environment concerning the soul intention we are desiring to pursue as part of this cycle.  Part of the crisis we can experience in our relationships during April will be to help us make modifications in our relationship patterns so that we can adjust to the energy of others in our environment and learn to interact in more of a balanced manner.  Since this phase will begin with Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces, there could be a very idealized aspect to our soul desire- it will be good to take time to pause, reflect, and center in accordance with the Mars retrograde and discern if this is a truly spiritualizing desire or more of an illusory escapist sort of Neptune desire.  Venus and Neptune conjunct in Pisces, however, can also help us step into a higher vibration of love in all of our relationships and more of an unconditional acceptance for the people we care about and where they happen to be in the moment with their own issues.  In line with a gibbous phase, we will also need to practice acceptance and unconditional love for ourselves because this phase of the Mars-Venus cycle can often correlate with becoming self critical and focusing on what we perceive as our own “shortcomings, inadequacies, imperfections, indiscretions, and lacks” (Green, p. 263).  If we are also being criticized harshly in our personal environment we will need to be careful of taking on projections and victimizing ourselves to such an extent that we become so angry that we cause destruction in relationships that are important to us.  Jeff Green views this phase as reflecting the need of the soul to humble itself and move out of any superior complexes in relationships that come from an actual inferiority complex underneath it all- we are called at this time to make modifications to how we take in criticism from others and learn that they mirror in a way our own self-criticism.  The lesson we can learn from all of this is how to make effective adjustments in how we interact with the greater world, which in the end will help us actualize our soul intention connected with this Mars-Venus cycle to a greater extent.

Fittingly our current Mars-Venus cycle reaches its halfway point, or full phase opposition point, toward the end of the Mars retrograde cycle with Mars beginning to station again.  This will occur on May 11, 2014 with Mars retrograde at 10 Libra and Venus at 10 Aries.  We will have accumulated a huge amount of information from the eclipse season of the cardinal grand cross that is simply impossible to predict at this time- whatever that information and events turn out to be, however, will add incredible understanding of our personal issues linked to this Mars and Venus cycle.  Since Mars will be entering a time of stationing at this time, although we may not be able to predict specific events we can know that most likely events will be very dramatic and possibly cataclysmic, and so we will want to be prepared to pause and reflect for our optimal response to whatever situation occurs.  Incredibly, in the following week around May 19 Venus will return to the same degree she was at the start of this cycle, 20 Aries, at the same time that Mars stations direct.  This is so beautiful and perfect in its pattern that it gives me great hope for this upcoming time period no matter how difficult our life may appear in moments of desperation.   Although events at this time may seem overwhelmingly challenging, the full phase point of the Mars-Venus cycle occurring as Mars stations direct is also perfect for Mars intensifying the energy of Libra, as the lesson of this phase between Mars and Venus is for us to learn how to cultivate equality in our relationships, find greater balance in our giving and our receiving, and learning how to integrate our unique soul needs into our social environment so that we can get what we need from our environment.  Difficulties in relationships can be learning tools that help us learn how to truly listen to what others need instead of what we think that they need:  as we learn to objectively understand the reality of others around us we will likewise attract a partner or relationships who have this same objective awareness of us.  We will also need to learn how to balance our feelings for spending time alone versus spending time in relationship:  the retrograde movement of Mars will help us tune into our instinctual soul desires of when we really need to spend time by ourselves, for example, and so we must have the personal integrity to honor these feelings and not succumb to pressure from others to socialize needlessly when we are not truly called to socialize.

We also will want to honor our sexual feelings and desires and come to greater awareness and understanding of our sexual nature at this time.  As previously stated, the retrograde movement of Mars through Libra will heat up our inner sexual vibration through the inversion of Mars energy- the soul intention of this will be to come to greater awareness of our erotic nature so we will want to avoid judging and shaming ourselves.  With all of the eclipse and cardinal grand cross intensity, putting shame into our game ain’t gonna make things easier.  Coincidentally, I recently had an epiphany regarding self-shaming of sexuality through attending a webinar by Demetra George on the fifth house of good fortune, where Venus has her Joy and greatest affinity from a traditional Hellenistic perspective.  In her webinar Demetra traced how the love affairs associated with the fifth house over time came to be labeled as being scandalous and risk-taking of the adulterous variety, much like the celebrated extra-marital affairs of Mars and Venus in myth; she did so in order to make the counter-point that the sexual desires where Venus has her Joy are in actuality divine and life infusing, fortunate and inspired by gods, noble and pleasurable.  Demetra incorporated a lesson from Plato’s Symposium to make her point, wherein Phaedrus described how Eros and our beloved can inspire us to act with greater integrity and aspire to the divine, so that we will be held in high esteem in the eyes of our beloved.  During this Mars retrograde in Libra we will have the opportunity to become clearer about the relationship we want to be in, the type of partner we want to attract, as well as gain clarity on our true values and desires we will live from that will simultaneously help attract our desired partner or relationship.  We will want to honor the sexual desires we experience as providing us with pleasure, inspiration, and even important information instead of judging or shaming ourselves- for example, if we experience attraction outside the boundaries of a personal relationship, we will want to remember to have integrity with how we deal with the situation, instead of acting from a place of shame and judgment toward our self.

In addition to relationship attractions and issues, the Mars and Venus square can connect with our inner masculine and feminine, as well as social justice issues such as the fact many do not even believe in concepts like masculine and feminine and suffer oppression in our society as a result.  Through the internalizing energy of the Mars retrograde we have the opportunity to cultivate greater balance between our inner yin and inner yang energy.  However, as Mars is moving retrograde all the way back to creating an extraordinary cardinal grand cross in April of 2014 that will occur during eclipses and another exact square between Pluto and Uranus, lets just say that many people around us will not exactly appear to be balanced and we could be witnessing examples of oppression as well as feeling oppressed ourselves by how fucked up the world has become.  What can we do?  We can use the retrograde energy of Mars in Libra to feel the oppression around us but instead of just becoming angry and destructive, move the energy into compassion for others, being a good listener to the problems and struggles of others, learning to listen to what others truly need, as well as being willing to express our own needs for help and support and being willing to receive and accept help and support from others.  Mars in Libra can correlate with us forming not only new relationships, but coming into contact with a diversity of experience from others that are different from our own experience, which in the end will help us develop a greater understanding of reality outside of our own subjective experience and perspective.  As a result, we will have the opportunity to learn how to accept and support the individual reality of others, no matter how different they may appear to be from us, or how different their background and culture is from us.  As we learn more about the relativity of truth through the perspectives on truth from different people with different opinions and values, in the end we will have the opportunity to expand our consciousness and understanding of the world in a way that will enable us to better support and give to others in need, as well as will enable us to more effectively achieve and manifest the soul purpose associated with this current Mars and Venus cycle.

hestia statue staff

Post-script:  Vesta in Libra

I may later write another post about this, but I would like to briefly mention the amazing synchronicity that at the same time Mars stationed retrograde to move back through Libra in conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, the asteroid Vesta did as well.  In addition, Ceres was also nearby at the beginning of Scorpio and Ceres will also eventually be stationing retrograde to move back into Libra by the end of March.  However, since Vesta never made it to Scorpio and turned around at the same time with Mars at the end of Libra, I feel Vesta has helped initiate our transition into this Mars retrograde in Libra that will be taking us all the way to a cardinal grand cross in April of Libra Mars, Cancer Jupiter, Aries Uranus, and Capricorn Pluto.   It is a further sign, along with Venus ruling the North Node of the Moon that Mars retrograde is conjunct, that the retrograde journey of Mars is being initiated by goddesses, including the magnetic, celestial, and earthly Aphrodite, and the focused, sacred, and independent Vesta.  Vesta being part of this initiation means that we will be re-focusing our energy and will to experience more of our authentic self, in a space outside of relationship at times, even though Vesta in Libra enjoys relationship as all celestial spheres do in the sign of the scales. Even if we are in a relationship we will be re-focusing and re-establishing our presence inside of it, as Vesta is an independent goddess who belongs to no man and does not make herself dependent upon anyone else. As Demetra George has taught, Vesta “teaches the wisdom that periodic retreat from others in order to cleanse and regenerate the self can lead to a clarity of vision and purpose” (Asteroid Goddesses, p. 34). Vesta’s presence at the initiation of a Mars retrograde that happened in a square to Venus also means we will be re-focusing our sexual nature and desire, including sexual issues around fear, projection, repression, judgment, sin, sacredness, and sexual discernment in choice of partners.  Vesta in Libra carries with her all of the issues associated with Libra I have previously mentioned here in connection with Mars, but Vesta in particular has a gift for focus.  As a result she will help us focus to a greater extent on our soul intention through the inverted movement of Mars within us, and eliminate what is not in alignment with our soul purpose in our relationships, self, and life.

References

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

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

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

Rites of Lilith: Venus stations at a New Moon in Aquarius

rites-of-lilith

Venus Stations Direct conjunct Pluto

  • Venus stations direct on January 31, 2014 at 13º34′ conjunct Pluto in Capricorn (12:49 pm PST).

  • January 31 to February 1 is the traditional time of Imbolc, a holiday at the cross-quarter between the Solstice and Equinox (by zodiac degree, however, this will be happening more like February 3 – 4 when the Sun hits 15 Aquarius).

  • There is a NEW MOON on January 3o at 11 Aquarius at 1:38 pm PST, the day before Venus stations direct.

  • LILITH in her triple form is activated by this New Moon.  The asteroid Lilith (#1181) will be at 14 Leo (retrograde) opposite the New Moon.  The true node of Black Moon Lilith will be at 2 Leo squaring the North and South Nodes of the Moon in Scorpio and Taurus.  The Dark Moon (or Waldemath) Lilith will be at 25 Taurus opposite to Saturn in Scorpio.

Anytime Venus is stationing brings added intensity as she stands still from our geocentric perspective, concentrating Venusian themes in our lives and drawing us to face or contemplate our inner relationship with her archetype.  However, this week is more intense than normal, as Venus is stationing conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and in direct opposition to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer.  Additionally, less than twenty-four hours before she officially stations direct, there is a New Moon in Aquarius which also ushers in the Chinese New Year of the Wood Horse.  The day of Venus stationing direct is also a holiday in Gaelic and other “pagan” cultures, the traditional time of Imbolc which is at the cross-quarter of the Solstice and Equinox, heralding the coming Equinox.  In the Northern Hemisphere this is also the time of our “groundhog day” when we look to a groundhog to tell us when Spring is approaching.

The South Node of the Moon at this time is still in Taurus, ruled by Venus.  Whether your astrological frame of reference calls you to consider the transiting South Node of the Moon to be an indication of personal or collective past lives, connections, comfort, or attachments, most likely you have a sense of the Lunar South Node indicating a comfort zone of security in one form or another, like a habit impossible to break without conscious work and effort.  Add in a square from Uranus in Aries to Venus, and you can see how Venus is highly charged at the moment for all of us (though anyone with planets or angles at 11-15 degrees of cardinal signs should especially take note).  As many people have a perspective that connects Venus to goddesses, the divine feminine, and mythic heroines, her influence at this time in conjunction to Pluto and in opposition to Jupiter is even more pronounced when you factor in the placement of Lilith in her astrological forms at this time.

Lilith has become a popular archetype in astrology in relation to Black Moon Lilith, the empty focal point of the Moon’s orbit that some calculate through the true node, others the mean node.  From my own experience, I have come to favor the true node placement, but both the true and mean nodes of Black Moon Lilith at this time are significant:  the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes, resolving toward the South Node that Venus is ruling, and the mean node of Black Moon Lilith is in Cancer in opposition to the degree of Capricorn that Venus stationed retrograde on the December solstice of 2013.  There is also a Lilith asteroid #1181 that is moving retrograde in opposition to the Aquarius New Moon on January 30.  Finally, there is also the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith, a more controversial Lilith placement that I personally do not use much, but that Demetra George and others have integrated into this triple goddess form of Lilith for precisely the reason that its controversial nature reflects the Lilith archetype to such a large degree.  Speaking of Demetra George, I utilize her triple goddess theory of the meaning of Lilith that looks to the Lilith asteroid as a point of wounding, repression, or suppression that potentially can erupt into anger from us and cause us to become alienated or ostracized (this point is being triggered by the Aquarius New Moon).  Along these lines, the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith is a point where we can gain a vengeful rage of indignation at our persecutors and develop an unhelpful victim mentality that can get us into difficult situations (this point is being triggered by Saturn in Scorpio).  Finally, in this context the Black Moon Lilith placement is the resolution point where we can work through and integrate this past wounding or repression, cut away delusional or false aspects of ourselves or patterns, and come into more of an authentic presence reflecting more of our true nature (this point is being triggered by the lunar nodes).  The energy of the Black Moon Lilith is like the Dark Goddess of the Dark Moon phase in the lunar cycle, a clearing energy to prepare for the new phase, perfect for a New Moon in which Venus is stationing direct conjunct Pluto.  However, since the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in a square to the lunar nodes at this time, it suggest that what needs to be cut or cleared may be an intense issue or pattern we have been deeply attached to:   in other words, shifting whatever this pattern may be will be much easier said than done.

The ability of Black Moon Lilith to help us cut away what is false in our thoughts and beliefs goes well with the Sabian symbol for 14 Capricorn where Venus is stationing direct: “an ancient bas-relief carved in granite remains a witness to a long-forgotten culture.” Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala found the keynote for this symbol to be “The will to unearth, in our culture as well as in any culture, what has permanent value, and to let go of nonessentials” (p. 237).   Lilith for many is a long forgotten goddess or heroine of wisdom who was cast out and ostracized from Biblical, monotheistic religion and portrayed as a deadly femme fatale of evil seduction, when upon closer inspection of myth we get a sense that all she wanted to do was be on an equal level of power to Adam and preserve a sense of her own independence in their relationship.  The following quote from Joseph Campbell (in a new book published in December 2013 when Venus was first conjunct Pluto and entering her retrograde shadow zone) cuts with insight to the core problem resulting from traditional monotheistic interpretations of the Bible that neglect the divine feminine:

Freud asks in “Moses and Monotheism” why it was that just when all the other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean were learning to read their myths poetically, the Jews became more confirmed than ever in the concretist (Freud calls it “religious”) way of interpreting their idea of God.  The obvious reason, I would say, is that both they and their tribal deity failed to realize that the waters of the Deep (tehom) over which Elohim was brooding and blowing in the first two verses of Genesis I was not just water, but the old Babylonian goddess of the primeval sea herself, Tiamat (ti’amat), and that his failure to appreciate the poetry of her presence there was the beginning of his whole misunderstanding even of himself.  It was to her, his cosmological wife, that he should have turned to listen, occasionally, when moved to throw the Book at their disobedient children.

–Joseph Campbell, Goddesses, p. xxv

Lilith is a polarizing figure in myth and religious doctrine that goes well with the polarity between Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing the conjunction of Pluto and Venus stationing direct in Capricorn.  On the one hand, if we are fixated on a particular belief system and lock horns in argument with another individual with an opposing belief system they are equally fixated upon and attached to, we could come into great conflict at this time in the outer world of mundane events.  On an inner personal level, however, I see the totality of these archetypal signs indicating an opportunity for us to do deep inner cathartic work on the ideas and thoughts operating inside us, that we act from, the sort of habitual patterns we have been living from and at times forgetting we have the power of choice to work on and change if they are not in alignment with what we want to attract and manifest in our lives.  Leading up to this New Moon and Venus stationing is an opportune time to do the inner work of lovingly questioning ourselves and our inner relationship with our Self, becoming more aware of how we talk to ourselves or emotionally react to a triggering comment from everyone from a passing stranger to an intimate partner.

Indeed, the sabian symbol for this New Moon at 11 Aquarius is “during a silent hour, a man receives new inspiration which may change his life.”  Dane Rudhyar even connected the inner work revealed through this sabian symbol with our “need to rely upon inner inspiration and guidance at the start of new developments,” again another fitting correspondence to a New Moon with Venus stationing (p. 255).  Rudhyar described this process as finding the “value of keeping open to the descent of spiritual or Soul forces, especially when a new period of individual activity is about to begin” (p. 255).  To connect with our Soul requires work, effort, and the use of our Will:  the term “transformation” is often used in this context because it can feel like we are becoming a new person, even though it may accurately be more like becoming the person we truly were the entire time underneath it all.  There is one more part of Rudhyar’s interpretation of this New Moon sabian symbol I want to include here, because it also connects this process to the creation of art and what we can find within when we are willing to take the solitary dive inside of ourselves:  “There is a creative power within, a power that can be tapped, or rather that should be allowed to flow into the brain-consciousness or the hands which write or fashion materials into original forms” (p. 255).  True, that:  making art, writing, or any other creative act that can help us process our emotions at this time is felicitous.

Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing Venus and Pluto in Capricorn can relate to the family karma we know from our own lifetime, as well as more ancestral karma we may get inklings of from time to time.  Since Jupiter and Venus are both synthesizers that can transcend the challenge of their current polarity, setting intentions at this time to clear the issues that we are not truly responsible for, and to face and be accountable for the karma and patterns we are responsible for can be very powerful.  Venus can be the fire in an alchemical process of these elements, by allowing ourselves to feel the burning sense of what is truly passionate and joyful at our core, there is a new presence for ourselves to feel and embody that brings together the polarity represented by Cancer Jupiter retrograde/Capricorn Pluto.  Jupiter is capable of great projection from a deep inner realm of bottom line principles and thoughts, like an underworld ruled by Pluto, we live from.  Any external conflict at this time can be utilized to reveal past inner dynamics we have been perceiving and intuiting from that are ultimately limiting for us, that we have been operating from more as a result of the conditioning from our early childhood, family, or society more so than our true nature.  Now is the time to set intention for any such inner adjustments or modifications.

Pluto usually has a regenerative quality to the intensity of his aspects, and so whatever Venusian tumult we could be experiencing on a Jupiter-like scale at this time most likely is offering us something to work on to become more aware of our soul and true presence.  Jupiter always wants us to grow, so moving retrograde in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn is calling for a descent into the inner emotional feeling realm for greater Self-awareness.  The fact the exact opposition of Jupiter and Pluto at this time is fairly close in orb to a t-square with Uranus in Aries is a reflection to the years of 1968-1969 when Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto were in a triple conjunction.  In Cosmos and Psyche Richard Tarnas noted this time was like the peak culmination of many 1960 themes involving the Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo we are now feeling the first square from:  riots like Stonewall and the Chicago 8, protests, Woodstock, and notable for the type of inner work I am speaking of, this was also the time in which Stanislov Grof founded Transpersonal psychology, James Hillman founded Archetypal Psychology, and the man formerly known as Richard Alpert stepped into being Ram Dass.  During this past month, if we have been utilizing the Venus retrograde cycle for a spiritual or artistic practice of some sort that has been working with and releasing a lot of the energy that otherwise could have built up in this time, we have an amazing opportunity at this time to birth a new presence for ourselves.  However, no matter our recent experiences, this is an important New Moon on which to set a clear intention going forward.

In the chart below for the New Moon on January 30, you can see how the true node for Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes.  Again, the mean node of Black Moon Lilith can be placed into this chart at 26 degrees of Cancer (opposite the degree that Venus stationed retrograde on December 21, 2013), the Lilith asteroid #1181 can be placed at 14 degrees of Leo retrograde (opposite the New Moon), and the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith can be placed at 25 degrees of Taurus (opposite Saturn in Scorpio):

AquariusNewMoon2014WRIGC1

If we have been experiencing some recent events that have triggered feelings of past repression, suppression, judgment, alienation, or persecution, if the archetype of Lilith being active at this New Moon and Venus stationing feels resonant for you, then there is also a strong possibility of this past wound being opened wide at this time.  But in the end this can lead to the sort of heart opening that makes true healing possible, the type of healing that allows us to move forward no longer burdened by that past pain or repressive pattern any longer.  Remember, even though Venus is stationing direct, she will still be in her retrograde shadow zone until March 4, 2014 which will also take us through an entire Mercury retrograde cycle (most of February 2014) and into the beginning of a Mars retrograde transit in Libra (March 1 – April 20, 2014).  The fact that this New Moon with Venus stationing leads us into Mercury stationing retrograde a week later in conjunction to Neptune in Pisces makes it even more important to state very clear intentions for ourselves at this time.  What do we truly want, not out of a sense of need, but out of a true sense of what will bring us joy?  We have a full Mercury retrograde cycle, and then the beginning of a Mars retrograde cycle to experience before Venus will finally leave her retrograde shadow zone, so there is still a lot of inner work to be done even though we may become increasingly called to focus on external events and actions.  Today and the Imbolc season that follows is a perfect time to re-assess and re-form our purpose, vision, and goals moving forward.

slow-swirl-at-the-edge-of-the-sea(1)

Mark Rothko and Venus Retrograde

As we are entering a time in which we are leaving a Venus retrograde transit only to enter a Mercury retrograde cycle as Venus is still moving through her retrograde shadow zone, a historical figure I feel is interesting to consider is the artist Mark Rothko, born with a Mercury retrograde in Libra and a Venus retrograde in Virgo.  If you noticed, this means his Mercury and Venus were in mutual reception, with his retrograde Venus ruling his retrograde Mercury, and his retrograde Mercury ruling his retrograde Venus.  Fitting to such a natal aspect, Mark Rothko was a deeply contemplative artist whose artistic expression and perception were rooted to his core inner Self more so than consensus cultural norms of society or the art world.  When we work with planets moving in retrograde, we have the opportunity to turn inward to find new ideas and ideals we can ultimately bring forth into the world.  The progression of Mark Rothko’s art in his lifetime was a fascinating example of this internal/external process in motion.

For example, in the painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, Rothko had entered a new phase in his art in which he was painting with greater abstraction:  this painting supposedly relates in some ways to his romance with the woman who became his second wife, while some have also interpreted it as integrating a reference to Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”  In any event, the energy of love, movement, passion, and music found in the image certainly connect to Venus, but the more abstract depiction of Venusian themes is what had changed in this period of Rothko’s art.  Previous to this period, Rothko painted more realistic depictions of ideas that often connected to myth and other subjects of timeless meaning.  Rothko was known to be a great admirer of Nietzsche, Carl Jung, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot, with the sort of internal, mythic perception of soul in matter found in people with Mercury and Venus retrograde in their charts.  Eventually, Rothko shifted into further, or maybe better said, purer abstraction in a style that has been called “multi-form” and involved large fields of color:  this is the style that ultimately brought him his greatest fame.  About his art at this time, he made a very Mercury/Venus retrograde statement of saying, “my paintings’ surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles, you can find everything I want to say” (wikipedia).  The depth of feeling he put into his work was further exemplified when he said he was only interested in “expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point” (wikipedia).

The painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, as well as the painting at the beginning of this post, “Rites of Lilith,” were both shown in 1945 following a dramatic shift in Rothko’s art.  In a letter to the Art Editor of the New York Times you can read here, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb articulated a manifesto expressing a re-visioning of their art away from a more literal representation of myth in their painting into a form inspired by surrealist and abstract art from Europe.  This letter came out immediately following Mercury stationing direct in June of 1943, still in its shadow zone.  A few months later in August of 1943 there would be a Venus retrograde transit of Virgo matching the same Venus retrograde cycle in which Rothko was born.  Thus this shift in the art of Rothko (which would become even more dramatic in a few more years) was a good example of Mercury-Venus inner work, an inner change of values, ultimately re-emerging into a new vision for external manifestation.  This is exactly the sort of opportunity available for all of us at this time, in whatever realm of thought and action your current interests are found.   Here are a few of their key points found in their manifesto:

  1. To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.
  2. This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.
  3. It is our functions as artists to make the spectator see the world our way—not his way.
  4. We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.
  5. It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it  is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art.

Over a half century later, excerpts from this manifesto appeared in a song crafted by another artist with a link to retrograde personal planets, Kathleen Hannah, born on November 12, 1968 with a Scorpio Mercury direct a few degrees out of it’s retrograde shadow zone of October 3-23, 1968 when she was in her mother’s womb:

Of course, Kathleen Hannah is no stranger to manifestos as she wrote a Riot Grrrl manifesto including lines like “BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t” and “BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-hierarchical ways of being and making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.” She is a strong example of how to use a Mars in Libra with power and force for social justice through art (she also has a Uranus conjunct Mars in Libra, also conjunct Jupiter at the very end of Virgo).  As Mars in Libra in March will station retrograde following the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius (that’s going to be February 2014), we will no doubt hear from many astrologers how Mars “doesn’t like” being in the sign of Libra.  Look no further than Kathleen Hannah to learn you can kick ass with Mars in Libra when working for social change.  Now is a good time to figure out where you want to re-focus your energy to ultimately become the change you want to see in the world.

References

Campbell, Joseph. (2013). Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. New World.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.

Rothko, Mark. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko

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

Venus Retrograde in Capricorn

Psyche_Opening_the_Door_into_Cupid's_Garden

Psyche’s Desire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giuseppe_Maria_Crespi_-_Amore_e_Psiche_-_t

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

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

Psyche opening box by Waterhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eros_bobbin_Louvre_CA1798

References

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

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

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

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

A Light in the Darkness

December 21-23, 2012

The times surrounding the Winter Solstice of 2012

We all knew the world wasn’t going to end today (at least I hope you knew), but the sudden mass shift into higher consciousness and rainbow light predicted by some new age philosophers hasn’t exactly been happening either.  Many of us have been inundated in tragedy, stress, suffering, grief, and madness.  That being said, there have been some interesting developments: for example in USA politics, there have been some movements and shifts on a status quo level that would have seemed unlikely several months ago.

Many of us into astrology have been navigating a storm of astrology works talking about the Yod, or finger of fate, happening right now, so I won’t bore you by going into detail.  For those who don’t know about this, a Yod is an aspect of destiny that can involve sudden shifts, and so symbolically does go along with the shift of consciousness predicted for this time period. This yod has Scorpio Saturn and Capricorn Pluto at the base in mutual reception, both streaming energy into Gemini Jupiter.  This yod has been extra intense because first Mercury triggered it this past week by being in opposition to Jupiter in Sagitarius, and now Venus is in opposition to Jupiter triggering the whole dynamic.

Did you think this was going to be easy?  Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter are in our face showing us everything that is wrong with our society.  We have had a mass murder of children that has gripped the mainstream media and culture in the USA, serving as a perfect example of the evil that can come out the power dynamics of our society.  Yes, we have assault weapons readily available for purchase at Wal-Mart.  More importantly, we have a culture deluged with violence and a culture filled with mental health issues.  Most, if not all of us, have mental health issues.  And most, if not all of us, are in denial of our mental health issues.  Some people have more intense mental health issues.  But in general we have yet to figure out a way to heal our mental health issues on a systematic level.  And the way the system is currently working to heal mental health issues, such as the psychiatric system drugging people on a mass level, clearly is not working.  To be clear, medications do work for some people who are able to find the right chemical balance for their brain;  for many people, however, the psychiatric drug system does not work for their greater holistic health.  And on a systematic level, we don’t currently have a lot of other options-  therapies can be great, but many people don’t have the health insurance or do not pursue therapy for whatever personal reason.

When we look at the placement of Jupiter at this time of the Solstice, we can see it all.  Jupiter is moving retrograde in Gemini, and at the root of all of this is the old patriarchal beliefs that still hold mass sway over our culture.  Jupiter is being set off at nine degrees of Gemini, and the Sabian Symbol for this degree is so perfect, I will quote it in entirety for those without access:

Gemini 9: A Quiver filled with arrows

Man’s aggressive relationship to natural life, as a basis for survival and conquest.

The bow and arrow represent symbolically man’s ability to extend the scope of his conquest of nature and to kill enemies in order to build a larger base for the collective development of a culture and an organized society. Implied in the symbol of the arrow is the piercing of a target. The mind of man is essentially a trans-piercing power; it goes through the object toward which it is aimed.  It seeks to go through and beyond the obstacles on its path, and this usually implies the destruction of the obstacle.  At a higher level- as in the Zen practice of archery- the obstacle is the ego.

~from Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases

Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation of this symbol as being a Zen practice of archery to destroy the ego I believe is the potential for the shift of consciousness that could occur for many at this time.  There is so much oppression and tragedy happening in the world right now, it is forcing many of us to let go of ego beliefs we had been holding on to tightly in the face of the tragic circumstances we are witnessing.

Indeed, Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation for the placement of Saturn in Scorpio at nine degrees at this time sheds further light on current developments:

Scorpio 9: A Dentist At Work

Keynote: Overcoming the negative results of social practices and ego-cravings.

Social living and cultural patterns impose upon us certain habits of eating, arouse desires for unwholesome or denaturated food, force us perhaps to eat in tense circumstances and hurriedly. This results in tooth decay far more frequently than should be inevitable through aging. The symbol therefore shows us how society and civilization, which may indirectly cause tooth decay, then have to invent means to skillfully repair the damage.

Saturn is the karmic taskmaster who will cyclically point to the deepest individual and collective patterns for us to focus on and address; if we do not, we are often faced with an intense experience integrating multiple symbols of the karmic pattern.  At this time, Saturn in Scorpio in this yod at this degree reflects the complex interwoven fabric of societal influences that have tightened over centuries of human egoic conquest of nature, and has resulted today in not only widespread oppression, but in the USA a situation in which souls lost in this societal fog who commit mass murders is becoming a familiar news story.

The need for us to devise solutions on a societal level to heal problems created on our societal level has been reflected in the transits of Mercury recently.  During this past week Mercury continued its spellbinding journey of 2012 by triggering this yod exactly and now crossing the Great Attractor.  There are huge debates in the USA occurring right now about topics at the root of our cultural difficulties, a debate that didn’t even seem possible to have earlier in the year.  Many pundits and people are devising various solutions that should come out of our government or from other places of power to try to repair the damage caused by the very same forces that sustain the government and give the pundits their position in our culture.  It isn’t exactly surprising, therefore, that the pundits and the representatives of government haven’t been able to devise any successful solution.  It will be up to the people, taking individual power and responsibility, and then linking that awareness with others to create a larger movement for change, for any effective long-term solution to emerge.

In fact, the spiritual component of recent tragedies could be that it can often take crises and cataclysms for people to wake up and shift their perspective, work on shifting their beliefs, and have their awareness and consciousness opened and expanded.  The final piece of the yod, Pluto in Capricorn at nine degrees, has the sabian symbol of An angel carrying a harp with the keynote of “the revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the core of any life situation” (Rudhyar, p. 235).  Even in the worst of times, if we want to avoid becoming mired and stagnant in suffering, we must have the courage to look for a spiritual meaning behind the events and consequences, and look to find the places where an opportunity for our personal growth has occurred.  Pluto in Capricorn has been reflecting the need of society to transform it’s systematic power structure, and like everything with Pluto, this societal transformation will continue to get more intense as Pluto moves deeper into Capricorn.  The intense crises and tragedies happening around the world at this time reflect deep issues at the core of our collective being in need of transformation and evolution.

And now at this time of the Solstice, into the mix steps Venus in Sagitarius:

What could be the evolutionary purpose for ourselves and humanity with Venus in Sagitarius triggering this yod at the time of the solstice?  Well, Jeffrey Wolf Green in Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships describes the evolutionary purpose of Venus in Sagitarius as a “deep need to discover and actualize their own personal truth . . . a guiding philosophy of life in order to have a core sense of meaning and purpose” (p. 168-9).  Green draws attention to the ability of Venus in Sagitarius to possess strong intuitive powers, and fittingly, at this time of the Solstice it will be important to pay attention to our intuition and follow it instead of being directed by more of a left-brain rational process.  Green describes the evolutionary lesson for Venus in Sagitarius, seen in the point of Gemini occupied by Jupiter at the moment, to be  to “learn that their particular point of view, their truth, and their beliefs are relative, and not the only or absolute truth” (p. 173).

All of the difficulties and suffering we could be experiencing at this time are connected with our beliefs and our perceptions mixed into the various beliefs and perspectives around us, particularly the dominant perspectives and beliefs taken to be the absolute truth by the dominant culture and status quo.  The shadow side of Venus in Sagitarius is thinking that our perspective is right, feeling like we should convert other people to our perspective instead of allowing them the space to hold their own opinion and perspective, being overly defensive and dogmatic about our own beliefs in the process.  The tragedies of these times are calling all of us, no matter how enlightened you believe yourself to be, to critically examine our beliefs and the roots and foundations of those beliefs, and to realize that our belief system is not the one and only absolute truth.  Unfortunately, as we have seen, part of the major problem of these times has been people holding on tightly to their beliefs and refusing to compromise or be open to other points of view.  As Venus sets off this yod we may experience more events that will work to help force this shift of perspective.

Finally, as I mentioned in my November blog post, there is also now a second triple Goddess T-Square involving Ceres in Gemini moving retrograde squaring Pallas Athena in Pisces almost exactly, and in a wider opposition to Juno in Capricorn at the Solstice point.  Yes, at the time of the solstice Juno is almost exactly conjunct the Sun at zero degrees Capricorn (I also wrote about Juno in a blog post earlier in October).

Vesta in Gemini moving retrograde out of a triple goddess t-square and being replaced by Ceres moving retrograde in Gemini has many ramifications.  In the USA current event news cycle of this time period, the most obvious symbol has been all of the mother issues coming out of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school, from the mother murdered by her son, to the extraordinary mothering instinct for the lost children as well as their own children that has been triggered in mass USA culture.  The Ceres/Demeter myth is so powerful in our collective consciousness because of the personal connection all parents can feel for her tremendous grief and rage over losing her daughter Persephone to Pluto/Hades and the underworld.

Ceres in astrology represents mothering issues including the myriad emotions surrounding the attachment disorder that is so widespread in our USA culture.  A son murdering his mother en route to a mass murder is a horrific example that is uncommon.  What is more common, however,  is the generational family cycles of children not having their emotional needs met through nurturing in their early childhood development, an issue that is then transmitted through the later parenting of their own children, and as this is passed down and children grow up, as adults they can have difficulty forming and sustaining attachment in relationships- or have a distorted over attachment to relationships that are not healthy for them and in which they are not truly having their emotional needs met.

In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George describes Ceres in Gemini issues revolving around education, communication, listening, and transmission of knowledge.  Difficulties could stem from low academic self-esteem, feeling “mental inadequacy,” or attempting to “intellectually impress or verbally manipulate others” (p. 64).  In addition, George describes stressful aspects between Ceres and Juno as being about conflicts with a partner and especially an ex-partner in parenting and raising children, conflicts in relationships through partnership responsibilities, or discontent with a relational role such as being a husband or a mother.  Furthermore, George describes issues coming from a stressful aspect between Ceres and Pallas Athena as being about rejecting one’s mother while overidentifying with one’s father:  “this can manifest as the alienation from one’s feminine origins and nature which in turn can block one’s creative abilities” (p. 75).

Along these lines, Ceres is carrying a powerful message for us at this time of the solstice.  We need to be able to integrate our feminine, nurturing, compassionate, and mothering side of our nature into our intellectual and creative expression (Pallas Athena) as well as into our relational roles and responsibilities in the world (Juno).  If we feel resistance to connecting more deeply in an intimate relationship, investigate if we have an attachment “disorder” of some sort operating under the surface, and push through it for the growth.  Combined with Venus in Sagitarius, we need to re-connect with and follow our intuition, letting go of the belief system we tend to rationally react from. Blessed be, please.

Pussy Riot in the Stars

Pussy Riot has been one of the biggest stories during this time of Aries Uranus square Capricorn Pluto. The energy of Aries in Uranus is reflected in the image above, the energy of Capricornian Plutocrats attempting to control and repress this same energy, below:

There is more going on with the cosmic archetypes relating to Pussy Riot besides Uranus and Pluto, but they are two of the main ones. Aries Uranus in a first quarter square to Capricorn Pluto directly reflects the radical energy of Pussy Riot meeting the harsh backlash of totalitarian power, as the first quarter square aspect indicates there may be a push of some radical energy at this time, but there will be at least as strong of a push back, and that we are only at the beginning of a process of change happening.

The revolutionary image and group collective aspects of Pussy Riot also evokes the coming Age of Aquarius, with the beginning shifting into the Age of Aquarius meeting the prideful power stances of Leonine authority figures. The masked neon attire of Pussy Riot is the group collective hero archetype of a masked figure that could be anyone; and as Putin’s regime has attempted to blot out Pussy Riot, there are new members of Pussy Riot popping up all over the world in neon masks, crying out in protest. We are still dealing with issues of the Age of Pisces, however, and Pussy Riot emerged into international spotlight as Neptune shifted into Pisces. The misunderstood sign of Pisces is very much a part of Pussy Riot energy, made all the more evident by their performance of “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” on February 21, 2012 during a New Moon in Pisces that was conjunct Neptune in Pisces, Pallas Athena in Pisces, and Chiron in Pisces; not to mention Vesta was at the end of Pisces, and Mercury was strongly in mid-Pisces at this moment:

There are various translations of “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” but this is one by Sasha Dugdale, a published translator of Russian poetry:

Virgin Mary Mother of God
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin

A black robe with stripes on the shoulder
All your parishioners crawling to the altar
A ghost of freedom up in the skies
But Siberia in chains for Gay Pride

The Head of the KGB is their big saint man
Loading the protesters in a prison van
If you don’t want to insult the most Holy Lord
Women! Know your place is in the birthing ward

Shit shit holy shit, shit shit holy shit

Holy Mary Mother of God
Be a feminist to us
Be a feminist to us
Be a feminist

The Church pays homage to degenerate bosses
A black limousine in the procession of the crosses
If a Priest comes to your school today
Take in your purse – you’ll have to pay.

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin –
The dog would be better off believing in God!
The Virgin Mary’s belt – no replacement for protest
The most holy Mother of God is at the rallies with us

Virgin Mary Mother of God
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin

Here we can see the full polarity of the Pisces-Virgo axis, integrating the Virgin Mother with a call for a personal sense of Spirit to work on the behalf of the oppressed, the true work of Jesus, instead of being used as an instrument of a totalitarian regime. As a Pisces with strong Aquarius energy in my chart, I always love the Aquarius to Pisces time period shifting of February 21 that Pussy Riot staged their direct action in, a time period of birth for famous figures who took Piscean explorations of radical fringe concepts into mainstream popularity, such as Kurt Cobain and Anais Nin. Pisces is often portrayed as being submissive, but that can often be an outside perception of the disassociated connection with reality many Pisceans maintain because of feeling a total lack of connection within our Patriarchal and Hierarchical cultural context today; in fact, Pisces can become as angry as Posiedon brewing up a huge storm on the seas, especially from a sense of outrage over oppression against natural law. In their actions Pussy Riot is expressing a Piscean anger against oppression from their own sense of inner divinity, with a Scorpio drive of Pluto and Uranus intensity.

The birth charts of the three members of Pussy Riot put on trial involve strong archetypal themes of Pisces/Neptune, Uranus/ Aquarius, Pluto/Scorpio, and Saturn/Capricorn. All of these archetypal themes can be found in the generational aspects of two of the members who were born with Pluto in Scorpio with a conjunction involving Saturn (Capricorn), Uranus (Aquarius), and Neptune (Pisces). Pussy Riot is one of the most publicized actions to come from the generation coming of age now who were born with the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn (1988-1996), a time period that coincided with the development of the riot grrrl punk feminism in Olympia, Washington and that Pussy Riot draws inspiration from. In the momumental Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas tracked Uranus and Neptune cycles throughout history and found themes that included “spiritually inspired political activism (p. 363),” and “new art forms and new media of expression for the cultural imagination (p. 364)” amongst many other themes involving epochal shifts of psychological, spiritual, and cosmic understanding amongst humans on our planet. Punk Rock is a perfect expression of Uranus-Neptune energy, utilizing Piscean musical expression of a strident Aquarian value system. In her closing statement on trial, Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova described the instrument of punk music possessing “yurodstvo,” which translates as “holy foolishness,” a perfect description of Uranus-Neptune archetypal energy.

It is noteworthy that each of the three women have conjunctions between Saturn and at least one of the outer planets, and in balsamic conjunction. This points to each having a deep soul history with issues of power they are resolving in this lifetime, and they have the courage and discipline to take strong stands integrating energy that may make them look like lunatics to the status quo. In addition, within the three women there is a bridge from the Pluto in Libra generation to the Pluto in Scorpio generation, as well as the Uranus and Neptune in Sagitarius generation to the Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn generations:

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (11/07/1989) born with Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune conjunct in Capricorn, as well as her Scorpio Sun conjunct Mercury in balsamic conjunction to Pluto in Scorpio, represents the Capricorn Uranus-Neptune generation just now beginning to step into their power, as well as carrying some strong energy for the Pluto in Scorpio generation! With a Capricorn Saturn that is balsamic to Neptune and new phase with Uranus, she has the power to ground the idealistic energy of Uranus-Neptune into direct action. In combination with her strong Scorpio energy, she represents a femininity that is not going to back down to oppressive power structures and will integrate and merge anger against that system into creative and artistic protests that will be instantly communicated across the wide ranging social network of the Internet that was developed during the Uranus-Neptune time of her birth. Nadezhda in particular embodies the strong Scorpio energy carried by Pussy Riot, seeking to test taboos of culture in order to create a transformational shift of status quo cultural values that have become fixed- such as are involved in orthodox religious viewpoints linked into oppressive power structures.

In her closing statement at trial, Nadezhda stated, “Pussy Riot’s performances can either be called dissident art or political action that engages art forms. Either way, our performances are a kind of civic activity amidst the repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights and civil and political liberties. The young people who have been flayed by the systematic eradication of freedoms perpetrated through the aughts have now risen against the state. We were searching for real sincerity and simplicity, and we found these qualities in the yurodstvo [the holy foolishness] of punk.”

Maria Alyokhina (06/06/1988) was also born with a Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction, but in contrast has Uranus at the last degree of Sagitarius and Saturn at the first degree of Capricorn, both in balsamic conjunction to Neptune in Capricorn. Maria also has a Pisces Mars that is conjunct her north node of the Moon in Pisces, and both Mercury and Venus retrograde and conjunct at the very end of Gemini and therefore in opposition to her Sagitarius Uranus. Like Nadezhda, she also has a Scorpio Pluto, in her case in a trine aspect with her Pisces Mars. With a retrograde Venus-Mercury conjunction in Gemini opposite her Sagitarius Uranus, at the final degrees of each sign, she represents a culmination of the Uranus movement across Sagitarius that includes many with deep connections with Natural Law. She also carries strong Pluto in Scorpio energy that she can channel through her Pisces Mars, expressing the anger against oppression of women and other infringments upon Natural Law that must be overpowering for those growing up within the totalitarian regime of Putin.

Maria’s closing statement is notable for also integrating the difficulties those reflecting Neptunian energy can have with their mental health growing up in a culture they cannot relate to, while possessing a conception of Spirit that is in contrast to the mainstream spiritual groups and educational system dominating their personal development. Maria explained, “Today’s educational institutions teach people, from childhood, to live as automatons. Not to pose the crucial questions consistent with their age. They inculcate cruelty and intolerance of nonconformity. Beginning in childhood, we forget our freedom…I have personal experience with psychiatric clinics for minors. And I can say with conviction that any teenager who shows any signs of active nonconformity can end up in such a place. A certain percentage of the kids there are from orphanages…In our country, it’s considered entirely normal to commit a child who has tried to escape from an orphanage to a psychiatric clinic. And they treat them using extremely powerful sedatives like Aminazin, which was also used to subdue Soviet dissidents in the ’70s…This is especially traumatizing given the overall punitive tendency and the absence of any real psychological assistance. All interactions are based on the exploitation of the children’s feelings of fear and forced submission…I would like to note that this method of personal development clearly impedes the awakening of both inner and religious freedoms, unfortunately, on a mass scale. The consequence of the process I have just described is ontological humility, existential humility, socialization. To me, this transition, or rupture, is noteworthy in that, if approached from the point of view of Christian culture, we see that meanings and symbols are being replaced by those that are diametrically opposed to them. Thus one of the most important Christian concepts, Humility, is now commonly understood not as a path towards the perception, fortification, and ultimate liberation of Man, but on the contrary as an instrument for his enslavement…When I was involved with organizing the ecological movement, I became fundamentally convinced of the priority of inner freedom as the foundation for taking action. As well as the importance, the direct importance, of taking action as such.”

The elder of this trio, Yekaterina Samutsevich (08/09/1982) has been having quite the Saturn return! Born with Saturn in balsamic conjunction to Pluto in Libra, she carries a different generational energy than her two comrades. Yekaterina has a Uranus that is at the very beginning of Sagitarius and a Neptune toward the end of Sagitarius. In fact, Uranus was stationing direct at zero degrees Sagitarius when she was born! Although she does not have a Scorpio Pluto like her two bandmates arrested with her, she does have some strong Scorpio energy as she has Mars and Jupiter conjunct in Scorpio, at the beginning of Scorpio. So, as Maria was born at the very end of the Uranus journey through Sagitarius, Yeketarina was born at the very beginning of it. She also represents the Pluto in Libra generation, a group who can become sidetracked at times with relationship issues, but carries a deeply ingrained sense of social justice that can be channeled into powerful direct action that draws on the strong drive this generation has for cultivating relationships.

In her closing statement, Yekaterina clearly and succinctly described the reasoning behind their choice of location: “That Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of the authorities was clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyayev took over as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be openly used as a flashy backdrop for the politics of the security forces, which are the main source of political power in Russia….In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to unite the visual imagery of Orthodox culture with that of protest culture, thus suggesting that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch, and Putin, but that it could also ally itself with civic rebellion and the spirit of protest in Russia.”

Tragically, recent events have taken an even more tragic turn than the two year prison sentence each woman received, with ghastly murders being committed and made to look like they are linked with supporters of Pussy Riot. There has been the other side of Pisces Neptune, the side of delusion and illusion, very much at work during recent events as well as the trial that evoked a witch hunt. Just yesterday in an interview, Russian President Putin described past actions by the collective Voina that Nadezhda and Yekatarina have been linked to as follows: “First, in case you never heard of it, a couple of years ago one of the band’s members put up three effigies in one of Moscow’s big supermarkets, with a sign saying that Jews, gays and migrant workers should be driven out of Moscow. I think the authorities should have looked into their activities back then.” In actuality, the reasoning behind this past protest was to “draw attention to government policies encouraging anti-Semitism, xenophobia and homophobia, not endorsing those sentiments” according to the New York Times. There are conspiracy theories that some of the ghastly murders that left evidence in blood linked to Pussy Riot were orchestrated by Secret Police in Russia. An article by Robert Mackey in the New York Times yesterday describing a recent interview of Putin concluded that when Putin was “[a]sked later in the interview about new restrictions on the Internet described as an attempt to suppress dissent by the opposition, Mr. Putin again cast himself as a defender of Russia’s moral majority, insisting that his only concern was to “ban child pornography” online. “Any steps we take are in the interests of the Russian people, and our children need this kind of protection,” he said. “No one is going to use this as a tool to restrict the Internet or online freedoms, but we have the right to protect our children.”

Pussy Riot has been victorious in bringing attention to the polical activist potential of punk rock and direct art action on an international level. The intense astrological energies of these times suggests that there will continue to be a massive power structure backlash against any attempts of radical revolutionary energy, utilizing the illusionary aspects of Pisces Neptune to control and manipulate information to the mass public. The stage is set, and we are a long way from any resolution to these intense energies.

But- one glimmer of hope in the stars is an asteroid, but she is also a Goddess- Pallas Athena. Pallas Athena was in Pisces and conjunct the New Moon (Sun & Moon), Neptune, and Chiron on the day Pussy Riot performed their “Punk Prayer.” Today she is moving retrograde in Aries and is conjunct Uranus, so she is moving against the cultural mainstream with her creative intelligence on the side of Uranus in this struggle of star energy. Pallas Athena, who was co-opted by the Patriarchy who re-wrote the myths in a delusional Pisces Neptunian way to place her on the side of their takeover of the Matriarchy. Pallas Athena, who was put in a military headdress by the Patriarchy and evoked in their military strategies of war and plunder. Pallas Athena, who is now garbed in a neon mask of Pussy Riot! May we all use our creative intelligence to devise ways to help break others out of oppressive situations.