Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

gabriel orozoco extenstion of reflection

Gabriel Orozco Extension as Reflection

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

“Here is the medicine:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gabriel Orozco (1999) Nina En  Homaca

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

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

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

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Gabriel Orozco (1998) Building and Birds

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

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

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

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Gabriel Orozco (2004) Untitled

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

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

Capricorn Solar Eclipse: the Holly and the Axe

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Once upon a Christmas time in Camelot, the court of King Arthur was filled with feasting, fellowship, carousing, and carolling. The noble knights of the Round Table were gathered along with the most lovely of ladies, surrounded by the most lavish of Yuletide decor, with the luminous Queen Guinevere and King Arthur at the center. As the revelry settled for the first sumptuous serving of supper to be served, a massive, mighty, and mountainous man appeared in the doorway, eclipsing the merrymaking with awe and amazement in all- for this fearsome figure was “entirely emerald green” in every detail of his handsome features. All of his garments were green, with green flowing hair and a green bushy beard growing down his body- even his horse was pure green in color, with a green mane groomed with gold that had been tinseled, tied, and twisted with beads and chiming bells. “His look was lightning bright / said those who glimpsed its glow. / It seemed no man there might / survive his violent blow.”

Yet the green knight wore no helmet nor armor, held no sword nor shield, “but held in one hand a sprig of holly – of all the evergreens the greenest ever – and in the other hand held the mother of all axes.” The green knight demanded audience with their sovereign, and asked King Arthur to gracefully grant his wish for a game of guts. The green knight called for one present to step forward and strike him with his axe one stroke and then be struck by him in return. After King Arthur gripped the axe while the green knight calmly awaited his attack, the King’s virtuous nephew Gawain intervened and took responsibility for the daring deed. Gawain swore an oath that after striking the green knight with a blow he would be struck in return in twelve months’ time by the green knight, and then proceeded in one clean stroke to cut off the green knight’s head. As the separated head rolled across the floor, the blood covered and headless green knight stoically snatched it off the ground as he swung himself into the saddle of his steed. He held up his severed head which opened its eyelids to stare straight at Gawain and spoke a reminder of the vow he had made to receive his blow the next New Years dawn.

The late fourteenth century chivalric poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight goes on to tell the magical tale of Sir Gawain’s journey to fulfill his oath made to the green knight, a quest that serves as a mysterious test of his mettle, faithfulness, virtue, and courage. Those in pacific, mountain, and central time zones will experience the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the night of Christmas, while those in other time zones will experience the blackening of Sol’s light on December 26, 2019. In any case, the Capricorn Solar Eclipse occurring four days after the Solstice is a dramatic initiation into a tumultuous year that will feature another Solar Eclipse at the Cancer Solstice and will end with the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Capricorn Solstice of 2020. The rise and fall of collective fortunes that will correspond with the extremely volatile astrology of 2020 will test the character and determination of each of us, calling forth our heroic capacities, tender compassion, and creative potency. It will be a year necessitating that we engage the world as active creative agents and receptive responders to those in need, allowing ourselves to be reshaped through participating in the changes to come.

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by William Blake

“There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”  — Aragorn, son of Arathorn

Since ancient times across many cultures, eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. Like the ouroboros imagery of a dragon devouring its own tail in alchemy which mirrors the dissolution of nature that seeds new forms, the dark void of eclipses function as a fertile matrix which can suddenly unleash shifts in storylines we had not been prepared for. Realities that had been hidden from our perception can arise forcibly into our awareness, and in the weeks surrounding eclipses there can be an intensification of forms and relationships entering and leaving our lives.

Since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse is aligned with the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, there will be an emphasis on the sacrifice of making the changes sacred, releasing fixations and being willing to enter the mysterious unknown. Rather than focus on expansive new growth, themes such as releasing, purifying, emptying, cleansing, resting, meditating, and letting go will be favored. As the dissolution of the eclipse loosens the binding of the innumerable strands of historical and cultural conditioning bound up within and without, we may reforge our presence and knowing when immersed in stillness, just as the Sun recently stood still at the Solstice.

The December 25/26 eclipse is the second and final solar eclipse to occur in Capricorn during the 2018 – 2020 period of the transiting lunar nodes occupying the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The previous Solar Eclipse in Capricorn was on January 5, 2019 and there will be one more powerful solar eclipse along the Cancer-Capricorn axis six months from now on June 21, 2020. While you may be familiar and used to working with whatever themes in your life have arisen with the eclipses and nodes moving through Cancer and Capricorn in your nativity, a new chapter filled with new storylines will commence as the Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiates a lunar month in which the midpoint features a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 followed by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12.

In part due to Capricorn being the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, it was associated in ancient text with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the immortals and ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Capricorn as the southern gate that “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Capricorn is the nocturnal home of Saturn, inwardly directed zodiacal terrain that favors creation through contraction and pulling back to make empty space for new growth to germinate and take root. As Saturn approaches its exact conjunction with Pluto in the next three weeks, even those wishing to focus on external achievement are likely to become grounded by the gravity of graveyards and confronted with personal issues and lessons that need to be accepted and addressed rather than resisted. Make whatever space is needed to contemplate the darkness within, listening for the message you need to receive rather than your preconceived notion of what you want to hear.

“Down in the underworld where western logic comes from, where the roots of earth and water and fire and sky merge into a single whole, the entire world as we think we know it with all its imaginary distinctions and divisions disappears. Everything we cling on to, everything we hold important, is gone.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Kazuki Yasuo black sun

Kazuki Yasuo Black Sun

“All around him, for as far as he could see, lay a rough land strewn with rocks, with not a drop of water, nor a blade of grass. Colorless, with no light to speak of. No sun, no moon or stars. No sense of direction, either. At a set time, a mysterious twilight and a bottomless darkness merely exchanged places. A remote border on the edge of consciousness. At the same time, it was a place of strange abundance.”

— Haruki Murakami (born with Sun and Jupiter in Capricorn) from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage

Jupiter in Capricorn is closely conjoining the eclipse by one degree, and so is seeding the eclipse with its growth-inducing influence and significations. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse marks the end of Jupiter’s synodic cycle, as it will enter the heart of the Sun on the following day to be regenerated with the creative potency of the Sun’s stellar light. It is therefore an old, elder Jupiter ready to fall into death and rebirth that is meeting with the Solar Eclipse, another indicator that promotes investing time in reflecting on the lessons you have learned and the beliefs you have shed in the past year. Like Pan, the wild nature deity who is part of Capricorn’s constellational mythos, Jupiter in Capricorn can function as our shepherd through the fertile darkness of the eclipse, reshaping and organizing our consciousness while attuning with the flux and reordering of Nature and the natural cycles of change coming into form around us. Inspiration may be found through engaging with the constraints of our circumstances rather than through pushing for expansion.

At the same time that the Moon is conjoining with the Sun and its own South Node in Capricorn, Jupiter is also approaching a conjunction with the South Node of Jupiter in Capricorn while Saturn and Pluto are also coming together in close proximity with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This means that the orbital arcs of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be pouring down across the ecliptic at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, saturating our collective field with the putrefaction of the entire archetypal arcs of their past cycles. Not only can we no longer escape our past history at this time, it will be also be a vital responsibility to acknowledge the multiplicity of historical streams of oppression and resiliency feeding into the rising river of collective crises flooding across global civilizations. While we will be motivated to look toward a future of new intentions as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, we also need to look backward for what can be learned from not only our own past but from the legacy of our ancestors as well.

“Our modern democratic age has manufactured a personal spirituality to meet everyone’s needs which is absolutely guaranteed to be calm, sweet, peaceful, polite, positive, comfortable, reassuring, unthreatening . . . But this happens to be almost the exact opposite of the ancient understanding – which is that spirituality and the sacred offer the profoundest challenge to our complacency, as well as presenting the most radical threat . . . truth was seen as something extremely painful, even impossible, for most people to bear.

Truth, or alêtheia, had its own mythology that confronts humans with the grim but glorious reality of what they are “from the beginning”: unimaginably glorious because of their boundless inner potential and unthinkably grim because of the overwhelming responsibilities such a forgotten potential brings.

This is why it- or she, because Truth often appears as a goddess- was always intimately involved in the superhuman effort to stop that process of forgetting. Her role, above all, was to preside over the supremely urgent task of remembering not what happened yesterday or even last month but what happened in the distant past that shaped this present moment and will also produce our future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

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Kalighat painting (19th Century) of Kali dancing on the corpse of Shiva

Saturn in Capricorn rules the eclipse while applying toward a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 12, two days after the forthcoming Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. Though the close balsamic phase between Saturn and Pluto has been a pivotal influence during the past year, there will be a deeper level of impact felt as they finally complete their long anticipated union. The multivalent significations unleashed in collective events during hard alignments between Saturn and Pluto (conjunction, square, opposition) were deftly described by Richard Tarnas in his tome Cosmos and Psyche. Tarnas described periods of historical darkness and gravity requiring moral courage from individuals in the face of severe collective events full of the “morally problematic aspects of human existence” and “the end to naïveté and inflated privilege.” Tarnas also gave a compelling list of artistic masterpieces produced during Saturn Pluto alignments representative of its archetypal meaning, such as The Trial, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, 1984, The Stranger, The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, Crime and Punishment, The Waste Land, The Grapes of Wrath, The Rite of Spring, Heart of Darkness, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. As shown in these artworks, during periods of Saturn Pluto we must encounter the dark underbelly of civilization and a reckoning with humanity’s aspirations for power.

With Ceres, Mercury, and the Sun also conjoining the coming together of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, it is clear from current events how their significations are combining with Saturn and Pluto around themes such as environmental destruction and the plundering of natural resources for human consumption, grave moralistic questions concerning the use of technology and its interface with global power structures, women’s reproductive rights, as well as coming to terms with historical oppression of women and many other identities and cultures by those representing dominant cultural identities. As the volatile force of eclipse season will be mixing with the union of Saturn and Pluto, although the collective crises we are facing feel overwhelming we also have the opportunity to take responsibility for doing our part in reshaping the world that will be taking form between now and next year when Jupiter and Saturn move through their conjunctions with Pluto to initiate their new cycle in Aquarius on December 21, 2020.

The Nobel Prize winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who was born with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, recently gave a powerfully penetrating acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature that evoked the quality of time we find ourselves in:

“The climate emergency and the political crisis in which we are now trying to find our way, and which we are anxious to oppose by saving the world have not come out of nowhere. We often forget that they are not just the result of a twist of fate or destiny, but of some very specific moves and decisions―economic, social, and to do with world outlook (including religious ones). Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.

That is why I believe I must tell stories as if the world were a living, single entity, constantly forming before our eyes, and as if we were a small and at the same time powerful part of it.”

Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize for Literature speech on 12/07/19 translated by by Jennifer Croft and Antonia Lloyd-Jones

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2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The Capricorn Solar Eclipse falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a  juggler dancing while holding the ouroboric motion of two pentacles, against a backdrop of a pivotal sea change, embodies the capacity of the first decan of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Tarot author T. Susan Chang recently posted an insightful article on the first face of Capricorn, calling it “The Difference Engine.” Chang described one of its lessons being that since “the only constant is change” we need to find the opportunities available to make our own luck, but that simultaneously it also offers greater ease communicating with the past and with ancestors while reconciling “the turn toward light and life in the midst of the darkest hour.”

Fittingly for a South Node Solar Eclipse taking place in this face, Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn. Coppock stated that the first face of Capricorn “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.” Coppock analyzed the ancient attribution by Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new work of art or sources of sustenance.

The “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the ancient Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributing the ancestor of earth and body-based healers, Asklepios, to the first face of Capricorn. Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, is a compelling figure in relation to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, for he embodies a centered focus which integrates all surrounding realms, both material and immaterial. Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity, and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures. Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious. With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through the type of disciplined spiritual practice which pleases the ruler of the eclipse, Saturn in Capricorn.

Jupiter is the ruler of the first face of Capricorn, and since Jupiter is not only transiting through the first face of Capricorn but is also closely conjoining the Solar Eclipse, the meaning of this decan will be noticeable in personal and collective events. Walking with the tender awareness of Asclepius for not only the interconnectedness of our surroundings but also the visions of new forms we can churn from subconscious depths will be a way to navigate the chaotic changes that will be rippling through our global collective. Since periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning correspond with an intensification of collective scape-goating and projecting dark, unrecognized material onto others, the capacity of Asclepius for exploring one’s shadow and accepting one’s inner multiplicity through contemplation of dream images as well as passing omens and synchronicities will be vital skills to develop.

The connection of Asclepius to the first face of Capricorn is further interesting in the context of Robert Hand’s work demonstrating that through precession of the solstices that the Capricorn Solstice point in recent years has passed through the hand of the Serpent Holder (a figure often connected with Asclepius) in the Ophiuchus constellation that is holding the Serpent. Hand has connected the meaning of this alignment in current events with ecological disasters and crises in which nature rebels against human attempts to tame or control it for power and resources. Hand has stressed this alignment indicates the critical necessity for coming to terms with climate change and human consumption of natural resources for energy.

While there are no easy answers to fix the myriad collective issues demanding attention, individually we can each take steps to nurture reservoirs of inner strength to draw upon when needed in response to difficulties or when devising creative solutions. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiating our entrance into the new decade of the 2020s serves as a fitting omen for the new year bringing to a close an old way of being while intimations of a reordering to help shape comes into greater awareness. As the Solar Eclipse conjoining the South Node suggests letting go of old patterns, we can shed and release any beliefs we have been holding or actions we have been taking that are not aligned with our values and do not serve the greater good.  Make the time and space to explore your inner darkness, listening for the gifts you possess to cultivate and share with the wider world. Be open to connecting with creative collaborators with whom you can combine skills and strengths while mutually supporting one another. Claim the courage to creatively actualize more of your potential in 2020 and help make the changes you wish to see happen.

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References

Armitage, Simon. (2018). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Revised edition. Faber & Faber Ltd.

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

Hand, Robert. (2014). The Precession of the Capricorn Solstice and the Importance of 2017 to Humanity. The Mountain Astrologer. October/November 2014 issue.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

Murakami, Haruki. (2014). Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.  Alfred A. Knopf.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs  (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

moonrise

The Pond – Moonrise (1904) by Edward J. Steichen

Mercury retrograde is an inner alteration that comes to us three times a year, and our first of 2015 that begins on January 21, 2015 in Aquarius initiates a year of Mercury retrograde phases in each of the three Air signs of reflection, thoughts, and ideas.  Being afraid of Mercury retrograde is like being afraid of making a mistake, being afraid to go into the darkness of our inner realm and shadow work.  Mercury in myth is the psychopomp of Soul, the messenger who can bridge the underworld with the upper world, and guide us into our inner depths in order to help us shift our external presence and perspective.  Some of us have astrology charts that naturally resonate with Mercury retrograde times more than others, but the key is to open perception to the world of symbols, signs, omens, dreams, and what we can sense from our unconscious.  If things become disorienting or confusing, perceiving through intuition can help guide us more so than reaching for rational clarity.

Aquarius in astrology is a Fixed Air sign, and so the fluid Mercury in retrograde can help us shift some deep rooted and fixated patterns of habitual thought.  Modern astrologers look to Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius while classicists look to Saturn as the lord of the Water Bearer:  both Saturn and Uranus are at center stage now, with Uranus square Pluto and conjunct the South Node of the Moon, and Saturn freshly in Sagittarius and in square to Neptune and Mars in Pisces, as well as passing through a square with Venus during the upcoming Mercury retrograde. The sextile between Sagittarius holding Saturn and Aquarius holding Mercury retrograde unveils the potential of this Mercury retrograde to take us into the mystery of fundamental change and re-structuring of our thought process and its interplay with our expression.  Aquarius symbolizes the paradox of both conformity to an established tradition as well as complete rebellion against an established tradition, through the common purpose of breaking free from consensus conditioning.  Yet there is also the collective phenomenon that following ground breaking revolution a heavy hand of Saturn control is often re-asserted by a new power structure.  This Mercury retrograde will call us to re-examine our inter-personal relationships as well as systematic relationships, including the relationship between global, national, and local structural systems.

In the global collective, the World Economic Forum annual meeting (in ski resort Davos, Switzerland this year) commences on the day Mercury stations retrograde in Aquarius.  One issue that Aquarian activists hope will be addressed is global economic inequality, as a recent study by the charity Oxfam predicted based upon current trends that in 2016, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.  While this is a prediction that the richest 1% of the world will own more than 50% of global wealth in 2016, the Oxfam study published on January 19, 2015 revealed “that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%.”  The inequity of wealth distribution will not be changing anytime soon, but during the retrograde cycle we can work on shifting patterns within that are connected to our relationship with wealth and how we define what it means to have wealth.  Is it simply a matter of having more money, or is it more about the quality of our life- in this way, what sort of quality do we want?

The day before Mercury stations retrograde is a New Moon at the very beginning of Aquarius, and two days before Mercury stations retrograde there is an opposition between Venus in Aquarius and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, and a conjunction and new cycle between Mars and Neptune in Pisces.  These are extremely fertile astrology aspects in which to root a Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius, and suggest that our past values and visions will be challenged on a foundational level in order to test how much they truly align with what we can create and draw upon in our surrounding reality, as well as to what degree they nourish and catalyze us to consequently impact or inspire our community.  When Mercury stations retrograde, the Moon will be passing over Mercury in conjunction while the stationing Mercury opposes Jupiter retrograde in Leo:

MercuryRetroStationWRIGC7

Mercury and Venus have recently been glorious evening stars beautifying our twilight.  On January 14 when Mercury was at its maximum elongation, I savored a sojourn of staring at a bright Venus and Mercury aligned symmetrically in the shifting blue hues of sunset turning indigo toward the dark of night.  The recent companionship of Mercury and Venus in Aquarius has brought something into the awareness of each of us, and as Venus moves forward in the direction of Pisces while Mercury turns back to retrace Aquarian steps, there is something significant for each of us to realize.  Take the time to explore the Aquarius house of your birth chart, and any important planets or aspects you have with the first eighteen or so degrees of Aquarius to help you deepen your self-reflection.  With its stationing, Mercury will now descend from view at twilight as an evening star into our underworld, not to return again for us to view until it has stationed direct and moved forward again to become a morning star heralding our dawn.

Though Mercury and Venus were delightful to view in twilight together recently, their time together in Aquarius has most likely coincided with events that opened your emotions to sadness or pain in one way or another.  The point where Aquarian detachment can go awry is when we choose to be in denial of our sadness, distracting ourselves away from our pain to pretend like visualizing positive fantasies will take our troubles away.  It is necessary to deal with our sadness and grief by fully feeling our emotions, without denial and the distraction of coping strategies to construct an artifice of control.  Paramount at this Mercury stationing is Pluto in Capricorn exactly in square to the lunar nodes of the Moon, with Uranus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon.  There is no escaping the dark night of the soul that can arise with this aspect:  if we attempt to escape from it or resist it, incoming events will reinforce the issue even more strongly than before. Yet this is the blessing of experiencing a Mercury retrograde, as Mercury is the messenger who can mediate with Pluto in our depths. While we may feel adrift, lost in a space of past attachments dissolving, remember Mercury is the trickster who facilitates our crossing of the borderline space in between significant transitions of our life.

Indeed, this Mercury retrograde is not something to complain about but instead seize for its potential to take us into the deep.  Aquarius brings a capacity to objectively analyze, and so this Mercury retrograde can be like our own inner Jungian analyst who can help us find the cause of our current issues through interpreting the symbolism of our daily experiences with dreams and other signs in our environment.  Insights will arise in the coming weeks especially if we refuse to numb or shelter ourselves from the issues and feelings demanding our attention.  This is a time period in which to take responsibility for our emotions and the way our behavior is impacting the emotions of those we are in relationship with.  With Pluto in Capricorn, this involves us having to face the countless examples of systematic oppression we encounter in our daily environment, as well as how on a personal level we can attempt to deal with our emotional vulnerabilities though seeking control of others in one way or another, or by giving our power away to others in order to have someone else take care of us.  Furthermore, with Mercury stationing opposite Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, we may become triggered by interactions bringing up issues of past rejection, or fear that we will not be accepted or chosen for relationship due to a feeling of alienation.  Yet within the drama of our subjective inner world we can sense our personal truth struggling to find its voice, and by courageously expanding further into our essential nature we will initiate a retrograde phase that will lead us to become more authentically alive.

Relationships, our old patterns of relationship, and the new way of being we can now embody in our relationships is an overarching theme of this Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, in part because Mercury is stationing in trine to the North Node of the Moon in Libra and in sextile to the South Node of the Moon and Uranus in Aries.  Moreover, this Mercury retrograde cycle is taking us through the balsamic phase of Mars and Venus toward a new cycle of Mars and Venus that will begin on February 21, 2015 at two degrees of Aries.  This is the closing of a cycle between Mars and Venus that began on April 6, 2013 at 19°57′ of Aries.  Think back to this time period of April in 2013 and what relationships entered your life, or what was shifting in relation to external connections with others in your life.  Everything that has transpired in our relationships in these past two years, that has happened in connection with our passions, desires, and inner values, is now at a time of clearing in order to let go and release with finality what is no longer serving us and to re-seed what is in accord with our new vision for the relationships of our present and future.

black-in-deep-red-1957

Black in Deep Red (1957) by Mark Rothko

On April 6, 2013 we entered a new cycle between Mars and Venus, and since then we have gone through a Venus retrograde in Capricorn as well as a Mars retrograde in Libra while experiencing the sequence of squares between Pluto and Uranus.  In 2015 three times will be the charm with the new cycle between Mars and Venus, as we will experience three conjunctions between them before they finally settle into their new cycle. After Venus and Mars conjunct at two degrees of Aries on February 21, Venus will move forward and get beyond a semi-sextile aspect with Mars before stationing retrograde at the beginning of Virgo to move back into Leo and reunite with Mars again on August 31, 2015 at fifteen degrees of Leo.  After Venus stations direct in Leo, it will move forward again and catch up with Mars for a final conjunction and initiation of the new Mars and Venus cycle on November 2, 2015 at twenty-five degrees of Virgo.  As a result, while we will experience a new initiation and rebirth in our relationships following this Mercury retrograde, we still have a lot more to work out between Mars and Venus during this year before we finally settle into our new relationship dynamic.  With the final conjunction occurring in Virgo, there seems to be a Mercurial aspect to the incoming Mars and Venus cycle, as the three conjunctions this year will also be preceded by the three Mercury retrograde phases in each of the Air signs.

Venus begins this Mercury retrograde opposite Jupiter, then ingresses into Pisces and forward into a square with Saturn and conjunction with both Neptune and Chiron, while Mars is initiating a new cycle with Neptune at Mercury’s stationing to move forward in the direction of Chiron.  By the time Mercury stations direct, Venus and Mars will be in a balsamic conjunction in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac and a fitting place for Mars and Venus to release their previous cycle.  While Venus is in Aquarius during the first week of the Mercury retrograde, we may have a greater capacity for detached analysis of the inner values we have gained from conforming to an external source, whether that be from the consensus culture or from a subculture rebelling against consensus values we gravitated toward out of a sense of disenchantment or frustration with the status quo.  During this time of Venus moving through the final decan of Aquarius we can sense the values we have been living from that do not truly resonate with our unique individuality, and we may perceive intimations of how we can begin to actualize a more authentic value system.  With Mercury being retrograde, mixed into this process may be perceptions from a new perspective along with rumination into memories of previous relationships and the values we took on through old relationships.

Venus in Aquarius can detach to prevent us from becoming overcome by our emotions, while Venus in Pisces is more likely to merge into our inner feelings as well as with others. Leading up to the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun, Venus will ingress into Pisces and will have entered into a first quarter square with Saturn in Sagittarius and a balsamic conjunction with Neptune when the angelic messenger unites with our Sun:

Mercury-SunconjunctionWRIGC8

The inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun is ideal for intention setting if you can be alert to its timing.  This is a moment of conception that can signal a shift in our state of mind similar to a new moon.  Look to where 10°20′ of Aquarius is in your astrology chart by house and aspect to analyze how this impacts you specifically.  In connection with the theme of relationships, it is fascinating that the inferior conjunction of Mercury is opposite Juno retrograde in Leo.  Our passionate Juno side that can have the drive of a lioness in pursuit of creative desires has an opportunity here to integrate into our presence in community and bring a more heart-centered focus to the oftentimes cool and detached Aquarian mindset.  It could also signal a time to break from a current relationship drama in order to re-center, like Juno re-sourcing herself in her sacred bath.

The relationship theme is further emphasized by Venus being balsamic conjunct Neptune in Pisces, and in square to Saturn in Sagittarius, with Mars balsamic conjunct to Chiron in Pisces.  The Venus-Neptune and Mars-Chiron cycles ending now to begin again both go back to early 2013, when Mars and Chiron began the current cycle in Pisces in February and Venus and Neptune began their current cycle in Pisces at the beginning of March (Mercury was also retrograde in Pisces when Venus and Neptune were last conjunct).  The first quarter square from Pisces Venus to Sagittarius Saturn is coming off their conjunction in mid-November 2014 in Scorpio.  All of these aspects coinciding with Mercury’s inferior conjunction point toward illumination concerning the ideals we hold in our relationships versus the actual reality of our relationships.  The more we accept ourselves for who we actually are and not the ideal persona we want to create about ourselves, the less likely we are to project our ideals on a relationship that ultimately leads us to disillusionment because we are not taking care of our own work.  The more we live with integrity in line with our deeply felt values, the more likely we are to magnetize relationships that are aligned with our ideal path, and this inferior conjunction of Mercury is a moment to set such an intention.

There is also a paradoxical potential to these aspects that could align with great wounding as well as groundbreaking strides toward a cherished vision.  Mars aligning with Chiron could take us deeply into our wounds, and Saturn can have a very heavy hand with a Venus wanting to drift away in a Piscean illusion, all the more so with Uranus closely conjunct the South Node of the Moon and in square to Pluto at the inferior conjunction.  Uranus has to do with unexpected shattering which can be both liberating as well as traumatic, but in any event has to do with some sort of large energetic shift arriving unannounced.  Chiron is a mediator between Uranus and Saturn, and so these same aspects point to an opportunity for us to re-direct incoming energy into our work and relationships with our surrounding environment.  Chiron is a courageous and wise archetype for Mars to re-formulate our sense of will around at this time of the inferior conjunction, and we can work with him better if we bravely step into a mediating role between conflicts, be present for healing in our interactions, and if necessary make a sacrifice not out of a sense of masochism or victimization but out of authentic desire to purely serve.

moon-woman-1942(1)

Moon Woman (1942) by Jackson Pollock

As we move away from the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun toward the period of Mercury stationing direct, Venus gets closer each day to Mars in Pisces making the clearing of previous relationship patterns deeper.  This is a great couple of weeks to claim as a severing of what no longer serves us in our previous patterns of relating to others as well as our self.  Yet clearing does not mean clean cut or simply cut off, but rather this letting go could become a messy affair, a spiral-like process that brings up deeply felt emotions from old relationships we had tucked away, or feelings about a current partnership we had been ignoring or distracting ourselves from.  Pisces is a compassionate place for this release to take place, and drawing on the Piscean ideals of compassion and acceptance with ourselves and in our interactions will help us let go of old wounds and patterns we will soon realize we had been sorely needing to release.  We will also get another opportunity for relationship clearing later this year since Mars and Venus conjunct two more times before settling in for good into their new cycle, but Mars and Venus will not be in Pisces at that time.

Between Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun and Mercury stationing direct, Ceres in Capricorn also enters a balsamic clearing with Pluto in Capricorn, evoking a strong Dark Moon aspect between these rivals of myth.  In addition to it’s themes of nurturance and attachment, Ceres can show us where crisis has led us to attempt to cope through vengeful anger or the taking of control, and how through surrendering to acceptance as well as through taking assertive mediation we can reclaim our personal authority and ability to be productive.  This conjunction in Capricorn brings up both the oppressive nature of the power structure as well as our capacity to claim the authority to take action within the system to bring perpetrators of wrongdoing to justice.  In the myth, Ceres ultimately stands up for herself and forces Jupiter to make a deal with her, thereby sending Mercury into the underworld to retrieve her beloved daughter Proserpina, or Persephone.  In synchronicity with the Northern Hemisphere experience of this Mercury retrograde occurring in deep Winter, with an upcoming Solar Eclipse occurring at the Spring Equinox, this Mercury retrograde descent to the underworld has resonance with the reclaiming of a beloved to reappear in the coming rebirth of Spring.  Ceres combining with Pluto in Capricorn now suggests that instead of attempting to tear down the entire power structure, instead look to where there are aspects of the system to connect with and use to promote your personal truth.

In the Homeric hymnal version of the Demeter and Persephone myth, the Moon Goddess Hekate directs Demeter to seek counsel with Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Demeter the knowledge that Hades took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Similarly we will be able to receive our own lunar divination around February 3, 2015 when there will be a Full Moon in Leo at the time of the cross-quarter holy day of Imbolc.  The Full Moon will be conjunct Juno and Jupiter in Leo, in between them, with both Juno and Jupiter retrograde, once again highlighting the theme of relationships.  In line with the balsamic relationship between Mars and Venus in Pisces co-occurring at the same time, this Full Moon will bring up a significant relational issue for us to integrate when Mercury stations direct at the beginning of Aquarius in the following week:

MercuryDirectStationWRIGC9

Mercury stations direct near the same degree of the New Moon of January 20, 2015 bridging the intentions we set at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde with it’s completion.  Mercury will station in conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, bringing added focus, centeredness, and commitment to this stationing direct.  Vesta combined with Mercury in Aquarius could find us feeling somewhat alienated from others as we process and integrate the inner shifting that came during the retrograde phase of Mercury, and we may need to take some time for solace in solitude.  Ceres closely combined with Pluto in Capricorn in square to the lunar nodes and Uranus, with Venus conjunct Chiron in a balsamic conjunction with Mars may give us further cause for taking a break from busyness to re-center and re-intergrate.  Some of us may not be so lucky to get away from others and our daily work while Mercury is stationing, and so the focused energy of Vesta combined with Mercury will help us fulfill professional responsibilities and remain dedicated toward completing the responsibilities associated with the goals we are working toward.

“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Mercury stationing direct heralds the fleet footed messenger’s return as a Morning Star welcoming our Sunrise.  While Mercury as an Evening Star is associated with the cool, reflective hindsight of Epimetheus, Mercury as a Morning Star is associated with Prometheus and a more fiery foresight that operates best consciously in daylight hours.  The Messenger at this stage is curious, inquisitive, and eager for a new adventure with a mind ready to race ahead toward the future horizon. The ability of Mercury at this time to help us re-focus on our goals in line with the changes unfolding in our life will be a great benefit, as there is plenty ahead to keep Mercury busy as in March we will experience Saturn in Sagittarius stationing retrograde, the seventh and final square between Pluto and Uranus, and a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces.

References

Demetra George:  Hermes Guardian of Thresholds