Full Moon in Cancer

Wschód Księżyca (Moonrise), 1884, by Stanisław Masłowski

Full Moon in Cancer

” . . . There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience . . .

All that is said here grows out of a tragic misconception of time. It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation . . .

One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, courageously and with a majestic sense of purpose facing jeering and hostile mobs and the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two-year-old woman of Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride the segregated buses, and responded to one who inquired about her tiredness with ungrammatical profundity, “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.” They will be young high school and college students, young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’s sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

Martin Luther King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

The Full Moon on January 17, 2022 is in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn, with the Sun involved in a conjunction with Pluto. There is meaning found in Pluto being named after a deity who ruled the underworld, for experiences of Pluto transits often take us through underworld experiences of darkness and despair through which we may retrieve a renewed sense of empowerment and meaning eventually. The Full Moon opposing Pluto will activate inner, subterranean realms of deep soul patterns circulating within our unconscious which drive reactions in ways we are not wholly aware. While Pluto positively can cultivate empowerment through the intensity of associated experiences, it can also activate power struggles and dynamics of power and control that brings feelings of powerlessness. There can be a volcanic, cathartic force to Pluto demanding release that also requires exploration of the shadows cast by the desires for greater power that Pluto may constellate. One way or another we need to surrender to the process of decay and regeneration brought by Pluto, for resisting its transformative charge due to fear of letting go of the ways things have been can ultimately intensify experiences of upheaval and breakdown which force change.

Yet surrendering to processes of Pluto may also make us aware of where we do not have control and need to find acceptance for present circumstances. Attempting to be over controlling and grasp for greater power at all costs during experiences of Pluto can lead to great damage within ourselves as well as within our relationships. By accepting places out of control, we may also more strongly attune to where we do have agency to be in deeper relationship with our inner nature and desires. Ultimately, experiences of Pluto can lead to purifying processes in which we shed old restrictions and evolve into a more potent vitality.

Since the Full Moon is in the watery home of the Moon, there is great potential for emotional release and coming into relationship with the information and sensory insights that may be retrieved through the catharsis. The intense emotions that may arise in the days surrounding the Cancer Full Moon can tap us into hidden, unconscious currents that demand attention and require differentiation and probing to process. The shadow side of the Moon activating Pluto so strongly can emerge when projecting unconscious content into relationships, such as becoming upset when unconscious expectations are not being met or distorting relational exchanges rather than questioning whether or not our initial reaction was an accurate reflection. The propensity for deep emotional patterns to be revealed is amplified due to Venus being retrograde in Capricorn within the same sign as Pluto. Patience may be needed to process feelings and pass through an emotional purging that leads to the root of old wounds and vulnerabilities. It will be possible to realize important insights about yourself and your present relational dynamics, and so it will be helpful to cultivate practices that enhance your capacity for self reflection or activities which can give you a safe harbor when emotions become to overwhelming to focus on.

As the United States of America approaches the first exact return of Pluto to its placement on July 4, 1776 on 20 February 2022, it is fitting that there is a Full Moon opposing Pluto on the national holiday honoring the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, junior. The recent legislative controversy over voting rights, judicial controversy over abortion rights, and innumerable other manifestations of the oppressive underbelly of the American Dream will continue to be emerging with increased intensity through the course of 2022. The urgency that Dr. King brought to the necessity of taking action and refusing to look the other way to gross inequities of oppression will be highlighted. Yet to be most effective within external ways of activism simultaneously requires attending to the kind of inner nurturing and relational care within our community that the Cancer Full Moon will activate.

Ceres and Cyane (ca.1792–95) by Jean-Guillaume Moitte

The Full Moon at 27º50′ Cancer is applying closely toward a sextile aspect with Ceres at 27º59′ Taurus, while Ceres is simultaneously forming a conjunction with the transiting North Node of the Moon. Ceres has an intensified presence of steadfast stillness during the lunation, as she recently stationed direct on January 14, 2022 at 27º58′ Taurus. Ceres previously stationed retrograde on October 8, 2021 at 12º08′ Gemini, creating a region from twelve degrees of Gemini to twenty-seven degrees of Taurus to pay attention to in your natal chart with regard to her retrograde journey that took shape over the past several months. An incredible additional synchronicity is that the Persephone asteroid stationed retrograde at the same time as Ceres within a few degrees from Ceres (Persephone stationed retrograde on October 8 at 14º11′ Gemini), and so Persephone has been on a retrograde journey during the same time period. Remarkably, the Persephone asteroid will also be stationing direct one day after the Cancer Full Moon on January 18 at 00º24′ Gemini in range of a conjunction with the transiting North Node of the Moon.

The mythology of Demeter and Persephone, or Ceres and Proserpina, is inextricably linked with the mythology of Persephone’s abduction by Hades (Pluto) into the underworld where she eventually ruled as Queen. As the present Venus retrograde transit in Capricorn began with a month-long conjunction between Venus with Pluto, you may have been undergoing your own underworld journey during the course of the Venus retrograde that has pulled you into memories of old relational dynamics that include places of deep wounding that have continued to influence your recent relational patterns. Though Ceres is most often portrayed as the great goddess of agricultural and abundant fertility, her roots are within times when the great goddess ruled both realms of life and death. Thus Ceres is known for not only bringing the gifts of civilization to humanity, but also the rites of mystery initiation that led ancient people through rites of rebirth. Indeed, many believe that the Eleusinian Mysteries involved a reenactment of Persephone’s descent into the underworld, Demeter’s search, and Persephone’s ascent and reunion with Demeter, which connects to the versions of Deneter’s grief that took place in Eleusis.

Yet there is also an alternative version of Demeter’s search for Persephone that takes place in Arcadia in which Demeter gives birth to a daughter after being raped by Poseidon, a daughter whose name cannot be known by the uninitiated. In order to flee from the pursuit of Poseidon, Demeter turns herself into a horse that although swift placed her into the patterning of Poseidon due to him being the god of horses. After experiencing a replication of her daughter’s rape, Demeter takes refuge within a cave in the Arcadian wilderness to mourn and grieve. She is finally found by Pan, the wild shepherd god of nature who also happens to be one of the living images of the Capricorn constellation. After Pan notifies Zeus of Demeter’s whereabouts, the Morai (also known as the Fates) are sent to mediate and are able to coax Demeter back into the world.

In addition to the narrative differences between Demeter’s journeys, since Arcadia was more of an uncivilized and wild region it can equate with wounding and trauma cast far off from conscious awareness in the deepest regions of wilderness within the unconscious. While Ceres is retrograde or in periods of intensification such as stationing, we may find ourselves re-enacting old patterns associated with wounding, loss, or trauma that dredge up old pain while also tearing at the fabric of the relational dynamic between those relating within the enactment. Such heartbreaking experiences can be recoverable when each person involved within the relationship takes accountability for whatever form of repair is required, conducts their own inner work and processing, and continues to relate with understanding they are within an equally mutual relational field. When repair is carried through responsibly and patiently with care, the catharsis can help free space for new relational patterns to take root.

Thus the combination of both Ceres and Persephone stationing direct, combined with Venus being retrograde in Capricorn and the Full Moon being opposite Pluto, presents opportunities for reflection upon ways we may have re-enacted past wounding within relationships in recent months, while also coming into deeper attunement with how to relate to old narratives in new ways and work toward shifting their influence within present relational dynamics going forward. There may be pain that necessarily must be felt as emotive material reemerges into awareness from hidden depths. The region of Arcadia as the setting for this version of Demeter’s story is fascinating due to it not only being a wild, uncivilized, and liminal landscape, but also that it is the birthplace of liminal deities such as Hermes and Pan who serve in roles of shepherding us through dark nights of the soul as well as putting us back in touch with the primal eros we may recover from within.

The Arcadian region was also the source of the River Styx according to Herodotus, one of the rivers of Hades whose flowing water consecrated oaths that even the gods themselves had to swear by. Hesiod in fact named Oath as the most severe of the children of Strife (Eris), “who, more than any other, brings pains on mortals who of their own accord swear false oaths.” The pain of past betrayals and broken oaths may reemerge with the activation of Pluto and Ceres with the Cancer Full Moon, yet due to the sextile between the lunation with Ceres and the alignment of Ceres with the transiting North Node of the Moon, there is potential for a new relationship with memories of broken trust to emerge from the dissolution of emotional release. Time may need to be spent within the cave of Ceres to grieve, yet through the shedding and purgation of old emotions we may come into deeper contact with the renewed sense of vitality waiting to emerge from within.

Crystal Gradation by Paul Klee

The quality of time surrounding the Cancer Full Moon will be saturated with the confounding presence of Uranus in all of its wide ranging, revelatory disruption. Uranus will station direct one day after the lunation on January 18 at 10º49′ Taurus, intensifying the impact of Uranus within our daily interactions and world events. With Venus retrograde in Capricorn also having an intensified presence due to reappearing in visibility as a heliacal rising Morning Star, the flowing trine aspect between Uranus with Venus can lead to unexpected insights emerging that may feel uncomfortable or painful at first, but ultimately lead to important awareness of underlying relational patterns we are in the process of reshaping through the retrograde journey of Venus. During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, Venus will station direct on January 29 at 11°05’ Capricorn a couple days before the New Moon in Aquarius on January 31. Whatever relational issues erupt around the period of the Cancer Full Moon will need to continue to be processed as Venus completes her retrograde journey and then slowly begins moving forward again, but the impact of Uranus stationing at the same time may make them take on an accelerated intensity.

In addition to Uranus having an intensified presence during the time period of the Cancer Full Moon, Mercury does so as well as Mercury stationed retrograde in Aquarius a few days before the lunation on January 14. In addition, Mercury stationed retrograde in range of an extremely close square aspect with Uranus as well as only a few degrees away from Saturn in Aquarius, thereby setting off the longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus. As a result, the Cancer Full Moon will bring illumination to deep emotional patterns related not only to Pluto and the present Venus retrograde phase, but also the ways in which we have been coming to terms over the course of the past year with the ways our own desires for personal liberation and structural change have been interfacing with titanic disruptions to societal systems. Read my article on Mercury retrograde here for more information about how the Cancer Full Moon relates to the stationing of Mercury and the forthcoming retrograde phase of Mercury that will extend through the duration of the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Cancer will illuminate the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the Four of Cups image we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree considering three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground. While the figure appears be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice, a fourth cup has become magically offered by an otherworldly hand. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Four of Cups “is a complex card, because it evokes opposing states: scarcity vs. surplus, temptation vs. apathy.” Chang further pondered that if the image evokes the refusal of the call of the Hero’s Journey (see Joseph Campbell), it may also contain the hidden polarity of the call itself. Chang wrote that the Four of Cups represents the “restlessness” that comes after satisfying the pursuit of a new interest and while it could correlate with states of boredom, it can also be seen as an invitation. Chang advised listening “to those dissatisfied voices till they quiet down: they will tell you what is not leading you toward purpose and fulfillment,” and thus through “process of elimination,” we may attune to another inner voice prompting us to consider what we would do if we “could do anything in the world?”

Ruled by the Moon and Jupiter, the third decan of Cancer is a face in which we must come to terms with available resources and questions of our fair share and how much is enough. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Facesgave 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.” Coppock noted that the ascetic air of the figure in the Four of Cups refusing to accept more than he needs reflects having awareness of the “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.”  Yet in the way the figure also appears to be conjuring the magical fourth cup, Coppock declared that the third face of Cancer also involves the spiritual dimension of abundance and luxury,  the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,”  and the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things.”

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the goddess Hekate with the third face of Cancer. 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. The connection of Hekate with this face in the 36 Airs also reveals the chthonic fertility of the third decan of Cancer and its capacity to help guide us toward manifesting and receiving what we need to survive. Hekate’s presence in this face also points to the need of cultivating faith in the unknown; just like she guided the grieving Demeter toward the next step she needed to take within her journey of finding her lost daughter Persephone, so may Hekate’s presence in this decan do the same for us.

Due to the Moon ruling the third face of Cancer, the Full Moon taking place within this decan takes on amplified potency related to the imagery and themes of this decan. May the emotional content it unleashes be received with the wisdom of Hekate, mediated with her inner knowing which can surely guide us through liminal spaces into the choice we need to make at the crossroads intersecting with our present path.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Hesiod. (2004). Theogony, Works and Days, Shield. Second edition. Translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis. The John Hopkins University Press.

Full Moon in Gemini

Hilma af Klint, The Swan, NO. 1 (1915)

Full Moon in Gemini

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, an archetypal image carrying multitudinous stories from multitudinous cultures around the world. In the Greek mythos there are a pair of twins, one mortal and one immortal in each pairing of Castor and Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra, conjuring images of being simultaneously bound to an immortal soul while being separated into incarnate form. All stories of twins involve symbiosis that becomes differentiated into separate paths emanating from a shared source. In astrology, the airy sign of Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury named after the cunning Hermes of myth who is available at the crossroads where one path separates into a choice of options. Mercury like the sign of Gemini holds the tension of paradox, probes the meaning that weaves together differences, questions the certainty of righteousness in order to tease out the insight necessary for a deeper and more authentic engagement. The Full Moon in Gemini on December 18 will illuminate a pivotal turning point in personal and collective stories, a quality of time holding the tension of astrological influences simultaneously culminating with intensity while on the threshold of dramatic change.

The Gemini Full Moon will brighten the night during the time of peak darkness in the northern hemisphere, a few days before the deep stillness of the Sun entering Capricorn and reaching the nadir of the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year that signals the return of light to come. At the same time the final exact square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus will be amplifying their longstanding tension until forming on December 23. Moreover, Venus will station retrograde while conjoining Pluto the day after the lunation, while Jupiter will finally leave Aquarius for its home sign of Pisces during the waning half of the lunar cycle on December 28. Yet not only is Jupiter in Aquarius during the lunation, the Gemini Full Moon is applying to a flowing trine with the star of Zeus. The trine between the Gemini Full Moon with Jupiter holds the promise of finding the light within the darkness to guide the path forward, to stabilize a sense of coherence amidst the flux of fluidly shapeshifting dynamics.

The final exact square aspect between Saturn and Uranus occurs less than a week after the Gemini Full Moon on December 23. The previous exact square aspects between Saturn and Uranus were on February 17 and June 14, 2021: looking back you may realize ways in which the previous exact alignments involved longstanding structures of stability became shattered or dislodged with new sources of liberating inspiration thrusting through the death of the old. In personal and collective events their alignments have forced the collapse of systems no longer capable of moving forward with sustainability through the changing of the times, forcing awareness to what needs to be addressed with creative renovation. Although the moments of their exact aspects forming can bring events and insight of peak intensity, it is important to realize that an extremely powerful impact of the square between Saturn and Uranus in fact lasts for the entirety of 2021 as well as 2022 with extremely important experiences occurring in relation outside the periods of time in which they form exact aspects. Nonetheless, with the third and final square aspect forming in the wake of the Gemini Full Moon it will be important to pay close attention to witness and contemplate ways in which the new storylines that have erupted in alignment with Saturn and Uranus clashing take on new forms and meaning during the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

Mercury in Capricorn rules the Full Moon while applying to a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus, stoking perception toward the emancipatory potential of new creative paths and aligning choices with the exciting, liberating side of Uranus within its tension with Saturn rather than clinging on to old patterns and relationships you have outgrown. Vitally, Mercury is barely separating from an exact square aspect with Chiron in Aries, during the same time that Chiron is stationing direct on December 19. Listen for the message being transmitted by Chiron to Mercury which can help in bridging choices and reality from the old structures of Saturn passing away into the more authentic, passionate aliveness that can be embodied through Uranus.

Within the astrology of astronomy, Chiron’s orbit bridges the realms of Saturn and Uranus, with his transit in Aries placing him on the side of Uranus. In myth, Chiron similarly bridged celestial insight from the heavens into material forms of medicinal as well as martial arts, nurturing heroic capacity from his dark, Saturnine cave. Chiron brings understanding for our wounds, fragmentation, and alienation experienced with our identity, showing how the external forms of matter and relationship we struggle within have the same divine source, teaching us how to move with heart-centeredness through our difficulties in ways that can companion and ally with others experiencing their own struggles.

While Mercury is engaging with Uranus and Chiron, Mars in Sagittarius is engaging with the side of Saturn and Chiron. Mars is sextile Saturn in Aquarius and applying to a trine with stationing Chiron in Aries, having recently separated from a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. Mars in the sign of the Centaur will be receiving Chiron through a flowing trine, making the star of Ares receptive to the wisdom and guidance that Chiron has to offer. Moreover, the sextile between Saturn and Mars can help in taking decisive action when necessary that is grounded and focalized on the matters at hand that most need our attention. Mars in Sagittarius can help in separating from what needs to be left behind, protecting what needs to be held, and pursuing visions of new growth and inspiration. Mars in Sagittarius will be ruled by Jupiter in Aquarius until Jupiter returns to its home sign of Pisces on December 28, at which point we may experience a kindling of inner celestial fire to transmit through our experience of Mars in Sagittarius.

Helen by Gustave Moreau

Venus retrograde in Capricorn

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot / and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing / on the black earth. But I say it is / what you love.

Easy to make this understood by all. / For she who overcame everyone / in beauty (Helen) / left her fine husband

behind and went sailing to Troy. / Not for her children nor her dear parents / had she a thought, no- / ] led her astray

] for / ] lightly / ] reminded me now of Anaktoria / who is gone.

I would rather see her lovely step / and the motion of light on her face / than the chariots of Lydians or ranks / of foot soldiers to arms.

] not possible to happen / ] to pray for a share / ] / ] / ] / ] / ] / toward [

] / ] / ] / out of the unexpected.

Sappho 16 translated by Anne Carson

Venus will station retrograde in Capricorn about six hours after the exact alignment of the Gemini Full Moon. Venus will station retrograde within a degree of Pluto, and will form her second exact conjunction with Pluto on December 25 at 25º43’ Capricorn (Venus previously formed a conjunction with Pluto at 25º19’ Capricorn on December 11).  Venus will be glowing bright in twilight on the western horizon during the Gemini Full Moon, heralding the rise of the illuminated Moon in the east. Her proximity with Pluto has brought an extended process of old relational issues and patterns resurfacing to be engaged with. In some cases the messages gleaned need to be integrated, in other cases bringing awareness to what needs to be shed and released from the past with finality. In some cases there may be harrowing and terrifying fears and memories resurfacing that could influence present perceptions, yet also bring the possibility of realization regarding how present relational dynamics are not the same as the past. Thus relationships in which trust, devotion and mutual support are present may experience a deepening with Pluto and Venus together, whereas relationships replicating patterns of past toxicity may bring realization of what needs to be ended, separated, remediated, or have boundaries redrawn. Like Helen, the immortal twin of Gemini, there is much more to come from her story and presence following her initial abduction by Plutonic forces.

After Venus stations retrograde on December 19 at 26°29′ Capricorn, she will initiate us into a forty-one day period in which the star of Aphrodite will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on January 29, 2022 at 11º05′ Capricorn. Thus the zodiacal terrain of eleven to twenty-seven degrees of Capricorn will receive a thorough excavation from Venus as it moves back and forth across the degree range, digging up some emotional material in need of release or recycling, while also rediscovering ancient artifacts of our psyche that can reveal vital lessons we need to learn in the present. Venus first crossed eleven degrees of Capricorn on November 17 and will not finally move beyond 26°29′ Capricorn until March 1, 2022. Fascinatingly, once Venus finally moves beyond the point of her retrograde stationing she will have one more exact encounter with Pluto on March 3, 2022; however, this time around she will be accompanied by Mars in his exaltation of Capricorn.

Centrally, Venus retrograde brings an end to Venus being visible at night and initiates her phase of being visible before sunrise. Venus will descend from visibility as an Evening Star in the beginning of January, disappearing into an invisible and liminal passage of rebirth until reemerging in visibility within her Morning Star phase. As Venus transitions from a nocturnal to diurnal phase, her apparent backward motion is a result of her orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to her closest proximity with us in orbit. In our personal lives, Venus retrograde brings an intensification of all things related to Venus, as her visual descent in the sky reflects a call for an inner descent to dig up the roots of our desires, purging and purifying material that will bring about a reseeding of desire on the other side.

Venus retrograde periods invite us to depart from the usual into exploring the unusual, shedding old desires while coming into relationship with neglected parts of ourselves and new desires emerging from within. Venus when moving direct enjoys uniting and harmonizing elements, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, art, music, aesthetics, and whatever we attract and find attractive in relationship. During Venus retrograde, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional space of social norms loosening to allow for deep reevaluation of inner values as well as how we are seeking to fulfill our changing values and needs.

While Venus is normally associated with seductive pleasures that draw us into full sensual engagement in our body, as Venus draws closer to us in orbit through her retrograde her magnetism on our desires increases and creates a potent influence on our daily experiences. Pivotal turning points in stories often occur and important new relational developments and directions often emerge as we simultaneously must confront and lay to rest old issues from the past. Emotions and desires become messy and paradoxical during Venus retrograde, a necessary disorder that becomes part of a process of reordering passions.

During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, we may experience a more intensified purging and putrefaction of past relational patterns and old value systems as part of a process of clearing the ground for new relational desires and inner values to take root. The upcoming New Moon in Capricorn at 12°20′ Capricorn on January 2, 2022 (close to the same degree where Venus will ultimately station direct on January 29) will be applying toward a conjunction with Venus and will initiate us into the invisible, underworld phase of the retrograde journey of Venus which will culminate with her rebirth in the heart of the Sun on January 8 at 18°43′ Capricorn.

Kore (6th–5th century B.C.)

While the stationing of Venus with Pluto has obvious mythic parallels to the story of Demeter (aka Ceres) and the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, it is further fascinating that the dwarf planet Ceres as well as the asteroid Persephone are both present in Gemini near the North Node of the Moon in Gemini during the Full Moon in Gemini. With Ceres retrograde in Gemini at 00º22’ conjoining the mean North Node of the Moon in Gemini at 00º12’ and the Persephone asteroid at 03º18’ Gemini, their co-presence with the Gemini Full Moon likewise illuminates their archetypal themes in personal and collective events.  

Tim Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul analyzed that while Persephone’s name can be translated as “death bringer,” and she does indeed step into the role of ruling over the realm of the dead, she equally signifies our incarnation of being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death. Addey focused upon the 6th century Platonic philosopher Damascius who linked Persephone with the soul’s descent into generation, interpreting how Persephone is drawn toward the narcissus flower, a bloom whose name has mythic associations with the soul falling in love with its reflection in matter. Her innocent, purely spiritual state is shattered by her violent pull into the underworld of death, yet ultimately on the other side Persephone discovers a powerful underworld role of mediation and rulership to embody. 

Safron Rossi in The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology associated the archetypal Kore being bound within an archetypal polarity with the Great Mother, and her insights regarding their relationship to me is significant to the meaning of Ceres within astrology as I have previously associated her with themes related to the Great Mother. Rossi summarized the Great Mother as “a vesseling and containing condition of consciousness whereby individuality is returned to primordial oneness . . . Nurturing and devouring, the Great Mother obscures the presence of the Kore because autonomy and difference stand in opposition to her principles.” The separation and strife encountered by Kore and her descent into underworld processes becomes a necessity for her to to differentiate her own autonomy and sovereignty. Thus within the astrological associations, we can imagine how the inexhaustible abundance of Ceres as the goddess of fertility and agriculture can be set against limitation and loss until integrating the grieving side of Ceres associated with the introduction of the Mysteries to humanity. Rossi wrote that the Great Mother can constellate a “generally unconscious expectation of life that demands equal and ever-increasing plenty,” which “stands in contrast to the focus and choice of the Kore” and her “celebration of the limited.” Rossi declared that “the Kore makes sacrifices, differentiates, and incubates the unique . . .[helping] women focus and make choices without feeling they are betraying something of their own nature.”

Ceres moving retrograde in alignment with the North Node of the Moon symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against the injustices and oppression of our world, releasing the emotions felt when experiencing death or loss. For nine days Ceres aka Demeter refused to eat and mourned; Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted the fasting of Demeter as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” Likewise the purging and putrefaction we experience and emote in the next couple of weeks of the opening stage of Venus retrograde will ultimately open deeper levels of self realization. With Venus retrograde occurring in Capricorn, a sign that exalts Mars and is home to Saturn, we can find ways to protect our inner wildness from outside threats while gestating and incubating new forms of desires taking shape.

Due to Ceres and Persephone both moving retrograde in close proximity with the transiting North Node of the Moon, they will continue to do so until each stations direct in turn. Ceres will station direct at 27º57’ Taurus on January 14, 2022 while Persephone will station direct at 00º24’ Gemini on January 19, 2022. They will eventually reunite on March 23, 2022 at 10º15’ during the return of Spring in the northern hemisphere.  

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Gemini will arise in the third decan of Gemini associated with the Ten of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. While the card’s image contains dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky revealing new beginnings. The Sun is the ruler of the third face of Gemini, and since the Sun is moving through the opposite zodiacal terrain en route to its glorious appearance at dawn on December 21 during the Capricorn Solstice, we likewise will be experiencing the death of one season of light for the birth of another.

The death and regeneration within the image of the Ten of Swords fits with the influence of Egyptian culture upon Hellenistic astrology and the Thema Mundi chart for the birth of the universe which lies at the foundation for numerous astrological concepts: from this perspective Cancer is the beginning of the cycle and the first house of the nativity, making the third decan of Gemini the end of the cycle, the final of the thirty-six faces of the zodiac. Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “An Executioner’s Sword” to the third decan of Gemini, writing that though “the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices- judgments that must be made. To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed.” Thus the image of a dead man with ten swords plunged into his back resonates with surrendering to the end or death of a cycle, as Coppock described this face as “the final bloom of internal and external polarization.”

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs named Praxidike to this face, goddess of judgment and exactor of vengeance, signifying the complex karma encountered here in decisions made and actions undertaken. Fascinatingly, the Orphic hymn to Persephone connects Praxidike to the subterranean queen, signifying the psychopomp side of Gemini that holds space between worlds and between cycles. Coppock linked the decan’s image of “An Executioner’s Sword” to Praxidike through the “sword of judgement.” To Coppock, “to hold or face such a blade is to understand the consequences of one’s choices. Those entrusted with this blade grow wise and judicious, else fall to the very tool they wield.”

Demetra George recently shared her translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE) in a webinar entitled Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. In her presentation Demetra shared her translation for the image in the text associated with the third face of Gemini: “It is the figure of a woman who seizes a thunderbolt in her right hand and holds a small water urn in her left hand. Her body is winged from her middle to her feet and she has a crown upon her head.”

As Safron Rossi’s extended exploration of the Kore archetype is rooted in Carl Jung’s association of the Kore with the Self, so does the image from The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius for the third decan of Gemini reflect the potent divine wholeness our path may turn towards when making the pivotal decisions found within the third face of Gemini. May the light of the Gemini Full Moon illuminate the way forward in alignment with your most essential and authentic soulfulness.

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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References 

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Rossi, Safron. (2021). The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology. Winter Press. 


Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

The Hall of Stars in the Palace of the Queen of the Night, from The Magic Flute by Karl Friedrich Schinkel

Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

Eclipses are portals of intersecting pathways, signaling an upswing of new relational developments entering our life while older storylines end in release or fade from focalization. Lunar eclipses occur when a Full Moon occurs near the intersection between the Moon’s orbit and the ecliptic, the apparent pathway of the Sun from our perspective on Earth. As the crossroads of the Sun and Moon becomes illuminated, so does our sense of soulful direction and destiny. Since the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 19, 2021 is the first eclipse to occur in Taurus and is co-present with an activated Uranus in Taurus, there is greater likelihood for new attractions, revelations, disruptions, challenges, and opportunities to emerge in the surrounding time period. There may be a need to create time and space for restorative rest and resourcing to help digest what needs to be integrated into one’s life and understanding.

The Taurus Lunar Eclipse is the first eclipse of the series that will be going back and forth between the fixed signs of Taurus and Scorpio, initiating new narratives involving the signs of Scorpio and Taurus that will last until the final eclipse in the series occurs on October 28, 2023 in Taurus. In addition to activating a new zodiacal sign polarity, it is also the first eclipse to occur in the same sign as Uranus since Uranus entered Taurus in 2018. Later eclipses in the series will be exactly aligned with Uranus and more potent in their promethean expression, and so the Taurus Lunar Eclipse will bring an initial sense for how the combination of eclipses occurring in the same sign as Uranus will be accelerating change and inspiring breakthroughs in the next couple of years.

The Taurus Lunar Eclipse will catalyze the recent release of tension and dynamism created by Mars in Scorpio forming an exact opposition with Uranus in Taurus on November 17, after Mars previously formed a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on November 10. The ongoing square aspect between Saturn and Uranus has been underlying all of the radical structural changes that have been rippling across 2021, as it has been bringing the consolidating contraction of Saturn that builds enduring structures into conflict with the accelerated vision of Uranus that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. Though dramatic external changes that have correlated with Mars in Scorpio igniting the friction between Saturn and Uranus may already be obvious, the Moon being eclipsed only a couple of days after the exact opposition between Mars and Uranus will bring a stronger sense for how inner processes are being transmuted in correlation. Since Venus in Capricorn rules the eclipse and is forming a trine aspect with Uranus and a sextile aspect with Mars, we will be able to attune to deep changes within our inner realm while we simultaneously receive a felt sense for how our interpersonal relationships are likewise shifting in correlation with the larger changes at work.

The Taurus Lunar Eclipse is separating from a sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn and a propulsive square aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius, bringing vital insight into whatever goals and projects connected with our core purpose and values we have been contemplating and developing. As the Moon becomes eclipsed while inhabiting her sign of exaltation, there may be old idealizations that will be brought down from their formerly lofty heights as we realize what their exalted light has been obscuring within shadow. It will be necessary to become clear about the challenges we are facing, while also kindling visions of vivifying growth and creative expression that can emerge within the dismantling and regeneration underway.

The Taurus Lunar Eclipse will be partial, meaning that while the shadow cast across the face of the Moon will become ruddy in color, it will not become the more vibrant blood red color that occurs during a total lunar eclipse. The lunar eclipse will be unusually long, in fact the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440, and visible across North and South America, Asia, and Australia. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse is also a member of an eclipse family associated with the saros series 126, and is the first partial lunar eclipse following a long sequence of total lunar eclipses. The last lunar eclipse in the series was total and took place on 9 November 2003, with the previous total lunar eclipses in the series occurring on 28 October 1985 and 18 October 1967. You may notice some strange recurrences or replicating patterns associated with events that took place during previous lunar eclipses in the series.

Salome and the Apparition of the Baptist’s Head (1876) by Gustave Moreau

Astrological tradition imagines eclipses as a great dragon or serpent consuming the light of our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. The Lunar Eclipse at 27º14’ Taurus will be aligned with the head of the dragon, as the North Node of the Moon will be at 1º47’ Gemini, introducing a symbolic dragon with a head in Taurus and tail in Scorpio that will take much stronger form over the course of 2022. The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with ouroboros imagery of a dragon consuming its own tail that has been used in Hermetic arts for ages. The dragon devouring itself mirrors the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms. In alchemical work the arts of separation and union tied to this imagery reflect our capacity for purifying material attachments. The inner and outer changes we experience in correlation with eclipses can facilitate a letting go of fixation to enable release, while a burgeoning sense of new forms coming together to emerge can be felt.

Since the meaning of a lunar eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of the Sun casting the Earth’s shadow onto the face of the Moon, Dane Rudhyar interpreted the solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past as shadows veil the lunar impact of past conditioning and attachments on our present consciousness. Since the Taurus Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon while the Sun is illuminating the side of the South Node of the Moon, growth will come from the resolution and release of old issues, emotional material, and familial conditioning that have shaped our actions and relationships. Engaging whatever insights may be excavated or new growth nurtured from the putrefaction of the past will continue to be important as we traverse the strange vortex of time that occurs in between eclipses, as the Taurus Lunar Eclipse will be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 4 that will be aligned with the South Node of the Moon. The intersection of the past into the coming eclipse portal brings a dragon’s pearl to the surface that has been born from the darkness of the beast’s belly, a natural gem purified across time that now opens awareness to future potential and growth that may emerge from decomposition of the past.

Gorgon (around 580 BC), as depicted on a pediment from the temple of Artemis in Corfu

The Taurus Lunar Eclipse occurs near the fixed star Algol, known as the severed head of Medusa in some traditions and the head of the demon in others. Algol fits well with eclipses due to it being a three star system containing an eclipsing binary which causes Algol to blink in the night sky, as it contains stars that are constantly eclipsing themselves. Just like astrologers have long feared the volatile impact of eclipses within mundane events, so have they also feared Algol. However, although Diana Rosenberg wrote that Algol has been correlated with horrific events in human history, in natal charts “it is not necessarily malevolent and may, in fact, bestow considerable benefits, including intellectual brilliance, creativity and originality.” Rosenberg wrote that having Algol strongly connected to a nativity “does not necessarily mean one will commit or experience violence; it is, rather, that one will not be able to remain aloof from the awareness of that level of human experience, and will be led to come to terms with it in some manner.” Rosenberg gave the examples of a journalist covering tragedies or those called to comfort or assist victims of disaster or those recovering from trauma.

Yet Rosenberg also warned of the potential for one to “lose one’s head” under the influence of Algol, going against better judgement through “dictatorial” and “absolutist” tendencies with an “unwillingness to see any humanity in their opponents,” leading to “wanton aggressiveness,” “criminal intolerance,” and using “religion or intense patriotism to justify violence against others.” Similarly, Bernadette Brady wrote that “Algol represents a strong consuming passion that may devour you with anger and rage.” Yet Brady also wrote that if “one can contain an unconscious compulsion to take revenge, and focus that passion into a more productive outcome, Algol is one of the most powerful stars in the sky.” Along these lines Rosenberg wrote that there is a strong artistic and intellectual side to Algol that can lead to great ambition and accomplishment.

As a result, the eclipse occurring near Algol may bring increased awareness of the ways systemic oppression has been causing devastation within the natural environment and landscape of human relationships. There may be increased waves of anger and rage unleashed in retribution, as well as polarized conflicts within politics continuing with each side locked in projecting back and forth without listening to one another or reflecting on how one’s own shadow may be influencing their behavior. Yet within our personal experience we may gain a deeper sense for how some of our own wounds and frustrating patterns are connected to must vaster ancestral patterns underlying the present conflicts within surrounding culture. Turning within to explore one’s shadow when needed, making effort to pull back one’s projections when possible, and deeply listening to internal processes and the messages received within relationship can help in finding creative ways to engage with whatever material becomes stirred up by the eclipse.

Queen of the Night by Marjorie Miller

Venus in Capricorn rules the eclipse while shining brightly as an evening star following sunset. Venus is out of bounds in southern declination, and so is appearing low in the sky in the northern hemisphere. The freedom oriented nature of Venus being out of bounds is further amplified due to Venus actively engaging and mediating the recent opposition between Mars in Scorpio and Uranus in Taurus that has dislodged and jarred loose stuck material and issues. Venus is separating from a trine aspect with Uranus and applying to a sextile aspect with Mars in Scorpio, both aspects that suggest opportunities being available to become creatively activated. Moreover, there is reception involved in the aspects Venus is making with both Uranus and Mars, as Venus is receiving Uranus within her earthy home of Taurus and Mars is receiving Venus through Venus being in the exaltation of Mars. Venus in Capricorn is capable of enforcing boundaries and cultivating containers within which shared intimacy and creativity may flourish, and her supportive aspects with Mars and Uranus suggest opportunities for deepening our engagement with whatever relational processes and revelations become activated while also having the courage to embrace the depths of our experience.

Yet Venus is also beginning to approach another significant aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that will become stronger as we approach the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 4. Venus will be within three degrees of a conjunction with Pluto during the upcoming solar eclipse, eventually forming a conjunction with Pluto on December 11 the first time and then again on December 25 after stationing retrograde on December 19. Venus will then remain within three degrees of Pluto until January 1, 2022. Although Venus is twelve degrees away from Pluto during the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, during the waning half of the lunar cycle we will be gaining a stronger sense of whatever deep material that Venus and Pluto will be bringing to the surface for an extended process of engagement.

The approaching confrontation between Venus and Pluto conjures the myth of Persephone aka Proserpina and her mother Demeter aka Ceres. During the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, Ceres is retrograde in Gemini near the north node of the Moon, with the eclipsed Moon applying toward a conjunction with Ceres. There is a fascinating link between the Taurus Lunar Eclipse and the present period of Ceres retrograde: the degree of the lunar eclipse at 27º14′ Taurus is the same degree where Ceres will eventually station direct on January 14, 2022 at 27º58′ Taurus. Thus whatever material emerges from shadows in connection with the lunar eclipse may have an important relationship with whatever material that Ceres is leading us to remember and integrate during the course of her present retrograde. Ceres previously stationed retrograde on October 8, 2021 at 12º08′ Gemini, creating a region from twelve degrees of Gemini to twenty-seven degrees of Taurus to pay attention to in your natal chart. An incredible additional synchronicity is that the Persephone asteroid stationed retrograde at the same time as Ceres, within a few degrees, and so is also on a simultaneous retrograde journey nearby Ceres.

Ceres produces the resources needed for vitality as well as bears the seeds of renewal. Yet the swing of her scythe that brings the harvest necessitates loss as much as it brings forth gain, and her retrograde passage can correlate with her passage of grief following the loss of her daughter to the underworld.  Just as the Taurus Moon will be eclipsed by shadow, so was Ceres eclipsed by pain and rage over her own personal tragedy.  In an element of her myth that parallels the story of Isis and Osiris, Ceres was willing to incarnate into human form as part of fully embodying her grief. Ceres reveals the importance of taking time and space away from production in order to grieve and tend to inner darkness, while also illuminating the resolve necessary to return to the world of suffering in order to bolster strength in others. Just as the myth of Ceres/Demeter tells the story of how the mystery initiations were brought to humanity, so does the connection of the dwarf planet Ceres with the Taurus Lunar Eclipse suggest paying mindful attention to the deeper mystery of your experiences and what important aspects of soul are emerging within your interactions with others that contain a wealth of insight to reflect upon and slowly integrate across the course of Ceres being retrograde.

7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 3 Decan

The Moon will be eclipsed in the third decan of Taurus associated with the Seven of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of a farmer or gardener carefully watching over the growth of green foliage he hopes will ultimately ripen into a bountiful harvest, it is a card of delayed gratification that necessitates patiently cultivating the process at work so that a savory climax of fulfilling ripeness can later be enjoyed. Fittingly, Saturn rules the third face of Taurus as it is zodiacal terrain where the calm, prudent, and attentive countenance of the farmer in the image of the Seven of Pentacles is needed to make sure all of the necessary planning and responsibilities will be completed even when facing adversity. Similarly, we will need to mediate whatever blessings or burdens emerge with the Taurus Lunar Eclipse while maintaining a long range perspective that will allow for carefully tending to and nurturing the needs of our relationships and endeavors so that they may ultimately bloom in healthy wholeness.  

The destabilizing nature of eclipses aligns well with the meaning that Austin Coppock gave to the third face of Taurus in his book 36 Faces. Coppock ascribed the image of “A String of Prayer Beads” to this face, stating that it “represents a confrontation with destructive factors which impede completion,” as well as the need to enact remediation and “make plans to accommodate the unforeseen.”  While Coppock acknowledged that we must face toil and difficulty at times in this decan due to everything that can go wrong in between the germination of a seed and its ultimate flowering and fruiting, he also listed virtues such as “wisdom, patience, humility, and foresight” as being “the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face.” Indeed, Coppock concluded that while this face may make us confront potential disaster, it is also a place from which we can call for support from higher powers and worthy allies while developing the remedies needed to overcome threats. 

T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets made the astute observation that it is important to “consider the nature of boundaries” in all of the decans ruled by Saturn, as “freedom depends on its limits.” Chang also noted that the image of the farmer staring into space in the Seven of Pentacles image suggests “a sort of timelessness” inherent in the card’s meaning, not unlike the role Saturn plays in astrology as the threshold guardian between time and timelessness. To Chang there is a lesson in this face found within the relationship between our finite perception of time and the truly infinite nature of time. Indeed, by patiently attending to what needs to be completed or cared for in accordance with the finiteness of time, we may also gain wisdom from and find strength within the infiniteness of time in ways that can help us withstand hardship and toil. 

Since the Taurus Lunar Eclipse will be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 4, we have forewarning that significant changes will be occurring, especially for those whose natal charts have natal placements impacted by the eclipses. The wisdom of the third decan of Taurus suggests we may prepare through patient attention to whatever needs attending to, as well as by reaching out for support from those who will be able to assist us through whatever transitions we will be moving through. Choose rest and personal nurturance rather than burning yourself out through overproduction, as there will be much to gain through focusing on mutually supportive relationships and taking the time to attend to foundational elements of life that will bolster your long-term health and prosperity.

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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References

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

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press. 

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

George, Demetra. (1994). Finding Our Way Through the Dark: an astrological companion to Mysteries of the Dark Moon. AFA.

Rosenberg, Diana. (2012). Secrets of the Ancient Skies, Volume 1. Ancient Skies Press.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books