Dark Moon Equinox

Black Madonna

Black Madonna of Einsiedeln, Switzerland

Because the light that we see as coming from the moon is the sun’s reflected light, the dark moon is in a sense the moon’s true face.

–Demetra George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon

Balancing light and dark, equal parts lunar and solar, the Libra Equinox of 2014 occurs on a Dark Moon in Virgo charged with the archetypal force of Pluto stationing direct in Capricorn.  In our Northern Hemisphere this is the Autumn Equinox, in the Southern Hemisphere the Spring Equinox, but in either case a myth deeply resonant with this seasonal shift is the story of Persephone, Hades, and Demeter.  Three thousand years ago in Eleusis, Greece the Greater Mysteries initiated participants into the underworld, where epiphanic experiences in darkness revealed illumination participants returned with to their upper world existence, imbibed with transcendent knowledge.  While our global culture no longer participates in such Mysteries, in moments of darkness many do reach out for the Virgin Mary, the Black Madonna, and in her embrace beyond religious boundaries we find the archetypal story of the Great Goddess alive in our World Soul.

Venus in Virgo is conjunct a Dark Moon in Virgo in our moment of equinoctial balance this year, and if we remember that Venus is considered to be in it’s fall in Virgo, then let us embrace this symbol and fall and fall again into a descent that re-balances the light and dark, the past and future, the conscious and unconscious.   Entering the void of darkness within where we will find no one to save us other than our soul itself, we will find the presence of the Black Madonna, the love of the Dark Goddess, the force that will Animate us forward again like “the One who walked in terrible chaos and brought life by the way of love” (Abraham, Chaos in Myth and Science).  Dark Moons are not so much a time to be striking out boldly on a new plan, but rather a moment of visioning, an oracular space to enter in which out of the darkness of turning back into our past, what may feel like dormancy is in actuality a germination of our future livelihood.  We may ultimately clear past patterns, liberate ourselves from repressive wounds we have been grieving, yet to reach this state necessitates what is left to be released to arise from the depths of our unconscious.

With Pluto stationing direct, the unconscious forces we have been resisting, the calling of our soul we have refused to answer, will arise from the deep earth.  Yet this chthonic force is not a monster to be feared, but rather is embodied in the beautiful, wise, and fierce form of Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld whose shadow falls across the Black Madonna more widely worshipped today:

In the tale of the mother searching for her daughter, Demeter often merged with Persephone. For Jung, the merging presages the psychological phenomenon wherein “every mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother, [so] that every woman extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter.”  This gives rise to a sense of time reaching backward and forward, suggested in the phrase, “remembering the future.”  In the christian age the merging of mother and daughter became the fusing of mother and son evident in images of black madonnas.  Persephone as queen of the underworld was worshipped as a goddess of the dead, holding the keys of heaven and hell before they were given to saint Peter in the christian age.

–Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Black Madonnas, p. 37-38

This Jungian perspective on the Black Madonna and Persephone as “remembering the future” is an apt phrase for Pluto stationing on an equinox with Venus conjunct a Dark Moon in Virgo.  If we take time out of our busy lives at this equinox to go within the darkness of our Self without distraction, denial, and escapism, whatever we encounter, no matter the emotions and feelings we must bear witness to, is going to be exactly what we need to recover on a soul level to re-balance our authenticity.  Now is the time to make conscious whatever needs to arise so that we can make adjustments between our sense of soul and personality, because not only does our consensus culture not support such a re-balancing, we are also going to enter an October of eclipses that may bring unexpected changes in need of balanced navigation.

The Libra Equinox is ruled by Venus, and Venus in Virgo is now a morning star getting less and less visible in the pre-dawn sky everyday.  We are approaching the time in which Venus will be getting close enough to the Sun to no longer visible, as her Superior Conjunction with the Sun will ultimately occur at the end of October in Scorpio.   But before we get to that point, we will go through a lunar eclipse in Aries conjunct Uranus, a Mercury retrograde phase from Scorpio to Libra, a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, and a movement of Venus across Libra that will involve a conjunction with Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Libra, and a square to Pluto in Capricorn. In ancient times this would be a period in which widespread fear that the great dragon of chaos would rear its monstrous head would overcome the general populace.  Today, we can be aware that sudden shifts are on the horizon, but if we go within we can find the middle way through this impending portal of change that will allow us to keep focus on the vision we are cultivating to manifest.

Demeter Torch

Demeter with torch and ears of barley stalks bearing the opium poppy. Athens National Museum

Indeed, focus is a key word at this time, as there is a powerful conjunction in Scorpio occurring between Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta.  This is a powerful symbol of the Great Mother who was equally a Goddess of Birth and Death, a creative progenitor and guide to the underworld.  This triple conjunction demands authenticity, demands brutal honesty, demands focus and discipline, and yet if we do this work, the rewards will be great as this is a truly transformative energy that can take us to our greatest depths in order to give us our most beloved desire.  The potential to find harmony by focusing through whatever challenges arise is further shown through Venus in Virgo being sextile the conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta at this equinox.  This energy is intense and not unlike the dark chthonic goddesses of old:

It could be said that what scholars term the chthonic aspect of the Goddess- her portrayal in surrealistic and sometimes grotesque form- represented our forebears’ attempt to deal with the darker aspects of reality by giving our human fears of the shadowy unknown a name and shape . . . designed to impart to the religious initiate a sense of mystical unity with both the dangerous as well as the benign forces governing the world . . .

. . . But with all of this, the many images of the Goddess in her dual aspect of life and death seem to express a view of the world in which the primary purpose of art, and of life, was not to conquer, pillage, and loot but to cultivate the earth and provide the material and spiritual wherewithal for a satisfying life. And on the whole, Neolithic art, and even more so the more developed Minoan art, seems to express a view in which the primary function of the mysterious powers governing the universe is not to exact obedience, punish, and destroy but rather to give.

–Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade, p. 20

To work with the energy emerging at this equinox, we will want to focus not only on giving ourselves the space to process events and emotions and fulfill our own needs, we will also want to focus on how to give to others what they need.  There is an amazing liberating force occurring at the same time as the heavier aspects of depth, especially Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries, and yet with a square between Leo Jupiter and the Scorpio conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta, this is not a time to be focusing on selfish desires that are only about gaining power or prestige for yourself.  This is a time to pursue a soulful passion, but a passion that will not only bring you alive but give inspiration, healing, or hope to others.

Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries is a radically creative energy that in the wrong hands could lead to great transgression of others or abuse of power.  Remember, however, that Ceres in the story of Persephone knows how to make Jupiter listen to her, and likewise a bargain must be struck between an energy that makes us want to leap and an energy that makes us want us to take a very deep look.  Fittingly enough, just as Demeter made Zeus send Hermes down to Hades in order to release Persephone, so is there a mutual reception occurring between Venus in Virgo and Mercury in Libra  that will help guide us toward discerning and perceiving how to work with our depth in a way that will not weigh us down, but rather will fuel our fire forward.

LibraEquinox2014WRIGC2

I have been reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, a book that thematically takes the reader into the void, into the deepest recesses of soul, in order to rebirth love.  In a crucial scene, the character of Sara Kimoto, a woman driving the title character into his depths through his desire for her, challenges Tsukuru Tazaki to confront his past.  Like many of us, Tsukuru initially resists, feeling that he has already done this work and moved on with his life:

Tsukuru waited until the waiter left before he spoke.

“Like I told you, I want to put it all out of my mind.  I’ve managed to slowly close up the wound and, somehow, conquer the pain.  It took a long time.  Now that the wound is closed, why gouge it open again?”

“I understand, but maybe it only appears, from the outside, that the wound is closed.”  Sara gazed into his eyes and spoke quietly.  “Maybe inside the wound, under the scab, the blood is still silently flowing.  Haven’t you ever thought of that?”

We will not be able to hide from the wounds of our past at this time, and even if we feel that we have already completed the hard work of clearing out our past, it is likely that a challenge to this belief of ours will arise in one form or another in the coming weeks.  If we need to relapse into previous wounding again, so be it, for eventually as we sort through the darkness of this past issue we will re-emerge with a stronger sense of self that will arise from within along with growth through intensification.  Keeping in mind the balance of the equinox, anything demanding our attention or surprising our psyche in our dreams or waking consciousness is exactly what we must address and process now.  We can truly get to the core of our past wounding and issues now and light a final fire of release.  Surrendering to an internal adjustment at this time will help us be present through the shifting of the coming eclipses from a centered position.

thracian-girl-carrying-the-head-of-orpheus-1864

Thracian girl carrying the head of Orpheus (1864) by Gustave Moreau

For those experiencing a dark night of the soul at this time, there could be an element of great disillusionment in the experience.  With Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces, some of us may come to the realization that we have been operating inside of a great illusion either in our relationships or in our beliefs about the world.  However shattering it may feel to realize we have been delusional about someone or something in our life, it is vital for our own well-being that we finally gain this self-realization at this time so that we can make the necessary adjustments that will lead to fulfillment in our future.  There may also be conflicts and disagreements happening around us or between us and others, but this is more than likely to occur if we are insisting on getting our way or fixating our perceptions through past patterns of belief, irregardless of the information coming to us in the present moment.

The strength of the square between Mars in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces is its mutable nature and desire for ultimate understanding.  In many ways this aspect is resonant with a challenging or difficult experience in one way or another opening our minds to a deeper knowing regarding our world.  The mutability of this square will help us to shift appropriately to the motion of soul in the moment, and the understanding we gain from this test of our beliefs and desires we will be able to integrate into the Grand Fire Trine that also awaits us between Jupiter in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Sagittarius.  Roughly twenty-eight hours after the equinox we will have a New Moon in Libra on which to set intention informed from our Dark Moon Equinox insights:

LibraNewMoonWRIGC1

This will be a New Moon of the other we are in relationship with, in all the myriad forms the other appears in our life, mirroring back to us key issues and insights for us to integrate.  Monika of the Symbol Reader blog recently wrote a brilliant depiction of Juno as the source of the soul’s procreation, and Juno is a truly procreative force to inform the intention we set at this upcoming New Moon.  Juno in Cancer is in sextile to Venus in Virgo and in trine to the Scorpio triple conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta.  Who we desire will bring us understanding, who we collaborate with will bring us understanding, who we argue with will bring us understanding, and who we become angered by will bring us understanding.  If jealous feelings overcome us, for example, it will be an opportune time to get to the heart of the underlying reasoning and take responsibility for the way we communicate our emotions with the other person or people involved.

It will please Juno if we are authentic and accountable in all of our interactions with others, and if we claim the emotional security to open our hearts to who or what we desire, risking the possibility that our relationships may not play out as we had wished. There are also intense aspects involving Juno now that could coincide with significant obstacles, challenges, confrontations, or misunderstandings that come about in our relationships.  Yet, all of our relationships at this time will be holding ingenious illumination regarding ourselves and our path forward if we take the time to reflect upon their dynamics.  Soaking in our sacred spring like Juno during this equinox will be a vital rejuvenation, so prepare a sacred space for yourself however best you can.

Below I have listed the current astrological aspects I focused on for the most part:

  • Pluto stationing direct at 11 degrees Capricorn
  • Ceres conjunct Saturn and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Dark Moon in Virgo at the Equinox, conjunct Venus in Virgo
  • Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries
  • Jupiter in Leo square Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces
  • Juno in Cancer trine Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Juno in Cancer sextile Venus in Virgo
  • Juno in Cancer square Mercury in Libra, Uranus in Aries, and the Nodes of the Moon
  • Mercury in Libra and Venus in Virgo in Mutual Reception
  • Uranus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon
  • Pallas Athena in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon
  • New Moon in the first decan of Libra following the Equinox, ruled by Venus in Virgo

References

Abraham, Ralph. Chaos in Myth and Science.

Birnbaum, Lucia Chiavoloa. (1993).  Black Madonnas: Feminism, Religion, and Politics in Italy. toExcel.

Eisler, Riane. (1988). The Chalice and the Blade. HarperCollins.

George, Demetra. (1992).  Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess. HarperCollins.

Murakami, Haruki. (2014).  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Knopf.

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Asteria Alchemy of Asteroid Goddesses

T15.1Asteria

Emotional transformative crises are changing our psychospiritual vibrations so that we may attune our individual frequency to the spiritual core which resonates with the whole of creation. The positions of Ceres, Pallas Athene, Juno, and Vesta in our charts describe a personal way whereby we can effect this change.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5

Asteria or the “starry one” is a Titan Goddess of oracles found in the night such as the interpretation of dreams or the reading of the wandering celestial spheres in the stars above. From the same “Greek” traditions come Ceres, Vesta, Juno, and Pallas Athene, Goddesses represented in astrology through being the first four asteroids discovered, their archetypal meaning described in the classic text Asteroid Goddesses written by Demetra George with Douglas Bloch.  Astrology is “read” by many through a concept defined by humans to represent Mystery- archetypally– and it is important to remember that the term archetype was created to reflect the ever changing nature of the primordial themes astrological terminology attempts to describe.  Embedded in the concept of archetypes is the paradoxical significance that the power symbolized by our astrological concepts can never adequately be defined into crystallization by human language, that although there are repetitive patterns we can recognize through time that seem similar in operation to the concept of fractals in chaos theory, they are at the same time always changing in a process of creation.  Demetra George intended for her work on the many Goddesses we can find among the asteroids to deepen our understanding of archetypal themes operating within our own chart and in the greater world around us, including how archetypal understanding in astrology is currently changing and has changed across time (for example at the time Asteroid Goddesses was published in 1986 it reflected a previous wave of feminism, and today we have movements around gender that are not limited into binary definitions such as masculine and feminine).  Some feel that integrating asteroids can muddle or murk up the clarity of focusing solely on the traditional seven wanderers or the modern ten that integrates Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto-  however, in my opinion while bringing in too many asteroids into astrological analysis can indeed become overwhelming for clear comprehension, at the same time ignoring the Goddesses of the asteroids means missing out on cosmic magic.  Today is no different, as amazing as the current complex brew of traditional astrological planets is at the moment, it is even more extraordinary once realizing where the fabulous four of Vesta, Juno, Ceres and Pallas Athene are at the moment.

heres-a-jaw-dropping-satellite-image-of-typhoon-haiyan-as-it-approached-the-philippines

The sattelite image of typhoon Haiyan above gives a small sense of the immense magnitude of this cataclysmic storm that has devastated a global region, an event that occurred in the same time period of nuclear radiation fears connected to repairs at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan.  Apocalyptical themes have been rampant in popular cultures for years, and continue today such as the Radiolab Live tour from NPR simply called “Apocalyptical” that just passed through the Pacific Northwest of the USA this past week.  I recently realized that the term apocalypse is also connected to ancient Greek culture, but that instead of it meaning an “End of Time” scenario it actually means an “uncovering” or a “revelation.”  I first came across this definition in an article by Kate Petty which included a number of astrology charts examining the nuclear radiation situation in Japan, and have since come across many other writers focused upon archetypal themes connected to an apocalypse such as this chapter from an academic thesis entitled “Modern Apocalypse: Expanding the Nuclear Metaphor.”

With the heavy concentration of Scorpio energy through a Solar Eclipse conjunct Saturn in Scorpio as well as the recent Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle that criss-crossed over the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, we have been experiencing an uncovering of many frightening concerns on our planet that can be difficult to fully acknowledge and face, and yet recent events have made it much more difficult to remain in denial of the need for us to re-structure in order to re-align with the changes occurring on our planet.  For example, we may continue to argue in our culture whether global warming is caused by humans or not, but we can no longer argue against the unavoidable fact that ocean temperatures are rising and so is the magnitude of storms that are making complete devastation of human communities more likely.  We likewise can no longer honestly argue that nuclear energy is safe and clean and poses no great risk to our environment, as the cataclysmic danger of another great storm striking Japan or a different nuclear reactor somewhere else on the planet makes obvious.  Planet Earth will survive with or without us, there is no end game with regards to Earth except for whether or not as a human species we will be able to re-align ourselves and our societies in order to survive here.

The planets above reflect an opportunity for us to make deep modifications to how our personal path impacts our collective path, as there are a number of significant current transits bridging the personal issues of the inner planets with the collective issues of the outer planets, such as the current movement of Mercury in Scorpio becoming exactly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio again, as Mercury afterwards will begin to move out of its retrograde shadow zone in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer.  If you are reading this article you are likely to already know we are in the middle of a series of seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, and part of this greater collective meaning is the birth of new archetypes and understanding through Uranus in Aries to confront the break-down and re-generation of systematic structure through Pluto in Capricorn.  At the recent “Plants and Planets” talk by my astrology teacher  Rosie Finn, she illuminated me to the fact that as we shift into the calendar year 2014 there will be significant higher octave activation of personal planets, that potentially can help us on an inner level align with the huge outer shifts occurring:  Venus in Capricorn will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013 and will work with Pluto as a higher octave on our desires, in February the messenger planet Mercury will station retrograde in Pisces and work with Neptune as a higher octave on our perceptions, and then in March the willful planet Mars will station retrograde in Libra and work with Uranus as a higher octave on our ability to take leadership of our lives, an opportunity to step into our authentic power amid unexpected drama and shifting.

In synchronicity, at this time we have the aid of the Goddesses in our personal transformation work:  Ceres and Vesta in Libra working directly with Pluto and Uranus, Pallas Athene in Virgo working directly with Neptune and Chiron, and Juno in Aquarius working directly with Saturn in Scorpio (and Mercury too this next week in Scorpio).  In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George explained how the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio because they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  If you do not like the binary gender labeling of the Goddesses being linked to a feminine archetype then it may be more helpful to think of these Goddesses as being yin archetypes that reflect themes of receiving, gestating, and giving birth.  Like yin energy, the asteroid Goddesses in our charts and by transit reveal how we can receive impressions from our environment to activate our self-transformation from personal to collective awareness:

The essence of the feminine principle is symbolized by the moon.  As the motion of the physical moon is cyclical in nature, phases of waxing and waning affecting the ebbs and flows of the tides, so essential teachings of the asteroid goddesses relate to the cycle of coming and going.  This is also known as the cycle of transformation.  Not only do the asteroids relate to new archetypal principles that are currently being activated and integrated into the psyche, but also they serve as agents in the transformative process of individuals.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5 -6

CHT163393Ceres in Libra

Ceres has now been elevated from asteroid to dwarf planet status, and is correspondingly beginning to take on a more significant role in astrological interpretation.  At the moment she is holding her ground with two of the heavyweights of astrology:  in the sign of Libra, she is opposite Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, she is conjunct her sister Vesta in Libra.  At the moment, Ceres is pretty much exactly in opposition to Uranus, and so will become a tighter square with Pluto next week on November 28.  All through the first week of December 2013, however, Ceres will remain in a fairly close t-square with Uranus and Pluto.

Ceres during this time in Libra is ruled by a Venus in Capricorn that was recently conjunct Pluto, will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013, and then around Candlemas of 2014 (January 31) station direct conjunct Pluto again in Capricorn.  In myth, Pluto is the nemesis of Ceres who takes her daughter Persephone away from her and the upperworld she rules in order to rule with him from the underworld during part of the year.  Similar to how there are myths associated with Venus and the underworld such as Inanna’s descent and trials, or the test given by Aphrodite to Psyche to face Persephone, we will all be entering an upcoming time of deep descent of our Venusian nature into our personal and collective underworld.  Ceres in myth is the Great Goddess of Abundant Life on Earth who reacts to the underworld descent of her daughter with such powerful emotions that she loses her sense of productivity, refusing to create new life on earth, and attempts to cope with strategies similar to what many continue to do today: the use of opiates to numb her pain, the ebb and flow between denial and depression.  Ultimately, Ceres had to face the ultimate questions of life and death, and accept that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.

Ceres in Libra will bring greater focus on relationships, and the necessity of interacting with others triggering whatever relationship issues we are currently facing.  Harmoniously, Ceres in Libra can connect with nurturing others, cooperating with others, and learning to initiate and respond in relational dynamics in a manner to create greater equity or an egalitarian quality.  Ceres in Libra can also connect with social justice issues such as oppression and how our various social identities play into us becoming targets or agents of oppression: again, in a more harmonious intent, we can work through our own personal issues to discern how to be an ally for others or ourselves to overcome oppression.  None of the above will be exactly easy at this time, however, as the opposition to Uranus and square to Pluto can coincide with extreme grief over the loss of loved ones or other cherished personal objects of desire; or, with difficulty forming deep intimate bonds with others due to a lack of emotional nurturing from one’s early or recent home environment; or, with a feeling of hopelessness with the state of environmental destruction and human oppression that begins to constrain our ability to be effectively productive.  There could be a temptation to reach for coping strategies such as drugs or other escapism from the pain of emotional attachment and connection, or difficulty breaking a cycle of depression or social anxiety that keeps one within limiting confines of relation.

I’m sensing one of the great potential transformations that can come from these intense aspects to Ceres could take us from an initial reaction that is imbalanced into a process of re-aligning ourselves with the structural and systematic destruction going on in society and the environment.  Moving through this tension will strengthen our capacity to birth a new presence in the world in which we are vibrating our being in greater connection with how to respond to what we are receiving for the highest good of all beings in all dimensions.  Ceres can create profound beauty everywhere she goes, artistically directing energy at all times into everything, sustaining an energy of abundance.  We may ebb away at times from this feeling into clearing times of depression that feel stagnated, but cyclically we will flow back into resiliently re-aligning our ability to feel productive, abundant, or grateful. At the same time, we do not want to lose ourselves in an imbalanced Libra use of the Ceres archetype by overly focusing on the needs of others to such an extent that we stop living in accordance with our own values or well-being, either.  Sister Vesta being nearby in Libra should help with this, as Vesta adds an archetypal energy that is aware of how to take time alone to re-center, from a spiritual practice to a walk in the green world.  However, since Vesta is also in Libra it still warns of a potential danger of losing ourselves in our interactions with others.

hestia-2Vesta in Libra

Vesta is currently in Libra conjunct her sister Ceres, and is moving toward her own t-square with Uranus and Pluto like Ceres is currently experiencing.  Vesta will more strongly enter the t-square in the first couple of weeks in December, but she is still in range of being conjunct Ceres in Libra and not very far from an opposition to Uranus in Aries at the moment- her opposition to Uranus will be gaining in strength the next few weeks and so the Vesta archetype may become visible to a greater extent in the collective culture as we move into December.

Vesta is the sacred Hestia, the keeper of the sacred flame, a priestess of sacred sexuality, a visionary mystic.  She will be lending a more focused and determined energy to Ceres through their conjunction in Libra this next month, impacting relationships through more of a tendency to move away from partnership at times to be alone.  However, Vesta in Libra desires to be in relationship and to focus energy through collaboration with others.  Vesta coming into range of an opposition to Uranus with a square to Pluto could create a more competitive energy in our work environment with an over-emphasis on wanting others to like us or admire us, all of which takes us out of alignment with our true way of being in the world.  Yet if we can successfully re-balance our focus on personal priorities versus the needs of others, a triggered Vesta in Libra archetype can harness extraordinary energy into dynamic collaboration with others that draws on the strengths of all members.  Vesta in Libra can help activate our perceptions of who we can team up with, collaborate with, or partner with at this time in order to achieve mutually beneficial goals.  Vesta and Ceres together in Libra gives desire to devote time to the needs of one’s family, nurture others through service in our work, or nurture ourselves through spiritual practices or visioning time in nature.

However, we may be challenged in our ability to do this at this time by the intense context of collective destruction and transformation occurring around us.  In particular with the strengthening opposition between Vesta and Uranus, we may need to stop ourselves from angrily over-reacting with a waste of rebellious energy that is more destructive than regenerative.  We will have strong energy available to us through Vesta facing Uranus, and so we can be most productive with it by focusing it at targets in the system that will create the greatest effect with our energy.  We will want to center and aim before taking action, but Vesta in Libra promises ample focus and determination to get the job done.  We may be able to make innovations into the old structure of things, or instead build a new order or structure that will bring healing or constructive changes.

In relationships, the deep issues of sexuality connected to the Vesta archetype could also correspond to sexual obsessions or compulsions with the square to Pluto and opposition to Uranus.   We could go to the depths of sexual desire or instead experience repression, isolation, or self-absorption with a stressed Vesta in Libra. Yet if we can use the deep Scorpio energy of this time to not just uncover a deeper layer of our sexuality but to uncover a deeper layer of reality and understanding, we can use Vesta focus to penetrate to the core of current issues in order to problem solve a solution to work toward.  Having a broader social cause, a social ideal of justice to work toward, finding a community of like-minded collaborators to work with toward a humanitarian social change and transformation will help us with Vesta being in Libra, and these same social change agents will also be helpful for us with Pallas Athene being in Virgo.

athena by klimtPallas Athene in Virgo

It pleases Pallas Athene to be in Virgo, a zodiac sign with strong associations to her archetype.  However, she must now face the Ocean God as Pallas Athene in Virgo is opposite Neptune in Pisces.  In myth, Pallas Athene has already proven herself worthy of defeating Poseidon as they each competed to be the ruler of Athens and Pallas Athene won through her gift of the olive tree that was selected for its beauty and functionality, its practical use in healing, shelter, and other expressions that benefit society.  Similarly, Pallas Athene being in Virgo at this time also lends us a powerful archetypal tool-set to utilize in our personal and collective projects.  Just as Jupiter along with Pallas Athene were held in highest regard in classical Greece, so today can we not only utilize Jupiter being in Cancer to assist us in our endeavors, but also draw from Pallas Athene in Virgo to help us, in her case through a sharpened focus and discernment to penetrate to the core of any issue with her analysis.  In opposition to Neptune in Pisces, however, she must be careful of delusion and illusion, falling under the influence of blind faith or an inability to distinguish between what is real and unreal in our environment.  Yet, these potential pitfalls of Neptune being in opposition to Pallas Athene are the exact sort of obstacles that Pallas Athene being in Virgo is equipped to combat:  in Virgo, according to Demetra George, Pallas Athene has an “analytical perception” that can sense “the essence of things in their simplest forms apart from the surrounding superfluous complications,” like “separating the wheat from the chaff” or “the wisdom of discrimination” (page 103).

Therefore, we can have no greater ally in our personal transformation at this time than Pallas Athene in the development of our ability to scan our collective environment for the root causes of societal ills and to begin devising practical solutions to help us on both personal and collective levels.  Whether we are focused on food and nutrition, creativity and the arts, protest, activism, or political change- in all areas of life Pallas Athene can give us a laser focus of penetrating to the heart of the matter, as long as we are also aware of the need for us to question our own beliefs and possible illusions since she is in opposition to Neptune in Pisces.  If we can examine our perceptions enough to discriminate whether or not we are being delusional, we can use the opposition of Neptune in Pisces to make our Pallas Athene perception divinely inspired and even more powerfully attuned to the needs of the moment in all dimensions.

In myth, according to Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses after Poseidon lost to Pallas Athene in their contest to win the hearts of the people of Athens, Poseidon created a great flood to demand attention, and in the process of appeasing him the male rulers of Athens deprived Athenian women of their citizenship, voting rights, and the right to pass their family name down generations through their children.  In addition, in the classic Greek version of myth, Pallas Athene is given birth through the head of her father, Zeus, instead of through the womb of her mother.  This symbolic aspect of her myth parallels the use of her wisdom by the Greek patriarchy in their military strategies and conquests, as Pallas Athene originally is more of a Libyan Warrior Queen who was then integrated into the Greek pantheon of deities.  Today, we tend to view the Pallas Athene archetype as a result with the sort of gender issues that female consciousness faces in a male dominated society.  Pallas Athene is with the woman who feels like she is taking on more of a professional “masculine” or “yang” identity in the work environment in order to compete or collaborate with male rivals or co-workers, and she is also with any of us who face conflicts pursuing our vocational goals in the outer world in a culture that tends to reward logical and rational thinking and behavior we have been conditioned to associate with “masculine” behavior.  Pallas Athene reminds us that whether we identify as male, female, queer, or another gender label, we all have within us the intelligence and creativity necessary to be successful, and that more “intuitive” or “receptive” skills we have been conditioned to associate wtih being “feminine” are of equal benefit to those we have been conditioned to view as being “masculine.”

As Pallas Athene over the next month will begin to move away from an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and into an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, issues around our gender identity could become part of the collective Chironic wound that gains more attention.  No matter what personal or collective issue we will be facing however, Pallas Athene is the type of mystic warrior, visionary activist, and artistic worker who will be able to hold her own with an opposition to Chiron and utilize whatever sort of wounds or triggers arise inside us to make our work in the world even more powerful and deep.  Her opposition with Chiron also points to the importance of paying attention to the impact of our mind-body connection on our health more so than normal- techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation, mind-based practices such as guided visualization, or therapeutic practices focusing on holistic approaches to our psyche, can all assist us at this time to help re-balance ourselves in order to re-align with changing events.  The deep creative wisdom embodied by Pallas Athene is highly attuned to the worlds of the arts, healing, and political activism- all areas that Chiron also enjoys working with, all areas of supreme importance to focus on in the world at this time of cataclysmic change.

junoJuno in Aquarius

Juno is on her throne in Aquarius at this time, and the Great Goddess has her hands full with an intense square to Saturn in Scorpio that at the moment also involves Mercury conjunct Saturn in Scorpio.  The added intensity of Mercury in Scorpio finishing off the end of its retrograde shadow movement in conjunction with Saturn today is giving our Queen Juno all she can handle from her humanitarian seat in Aquarius-  this added intensity will dissipate over the next week, but Juno will remain in a square to Saturn through our last month of 2013. This intense square between Juno with Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio to me represents the alchemist image of the King and Queen melting together- we may feel extreme weight and heaviness at this time from Saturn and Mercury teaming up in Scorpio in their square to Juno in Aquarius, but remember Juno is also the Great Goddess who can melt the hearts of even the Scorpio duo of Mercury and Saturn together.  The sacred heart of Juno may give one the impression of being coldly objective or detached in the sign of Aquarius, but our lady Juno always has a burning heart and she will help us move through any floods of watery depression or emotions at this time to re-focus our energy on a greater social cause that will benefit us on both a personal and collective level.  Her seat in Aquarius at this time will let us use a more detached and objective perspective to help us re-align with our deepest passions.

Jealous Juno is an image of this Goddess we have been collectively conditioned to think of, and indeed a square between Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to her can certainly correlate to tremendous feelings of jealousy if we have not been working on personal issues relating to our insecurity or possessiveness in general.  Juno being in the sign of Aquarius can also connect with a feeling of being too frozen to melt into a deep commitment of intimacy with a potential partner at this time, a fear of attachment rooted in the fear of loss, like when the death of a loved ones makes us afraid of creating another bond we will ultimately lose again in heartbreak.  However, any limiting beliefs we carry within us connected to our relationships can be exposed at this time, with a square from Scorpio to Aquarius this can further mean in an intense manner that rocks us to our core.  As a result, we may realize how much we are limiting our ability to form a new relationship in connection to fears of abandonment, intimacy, loss, or dependency, or it may dawn on us that we have been staying in a relationship that has not been meeting our true needs out of a sense of societal expectation, an obedient sense that we are expected to remain in this partnership even if it is making us incredibly upset.  If we wish to sustain a relationship that has been creating oppression or frustration in our lives, we may be forced by events to break down the belief systems of each partner about the relationship in order to discover if the relational dynamic can be re-built in a manner that will benefit each partner.  If we wish to enter into a new relationship, we may be forced to confront the limiting beliefs about relationships we have accumulated from our past in order to clear the space for a new partnership to be born in 2014 that can fulfill us to a greater extent than past relationships.  In all relationships, we will want to listen without judgment to the concerns of the person we are interacting with and avoid attempting to manipulate the situation purely for our own benefit- the square from Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to Juno in Aquarius otherwise could place us into some intense confrontations at this time.

Juno in Aquarius will also focus our relationship needs on finding a community of like-minded people who are commited workers, serious partners of deep work and dedication who will assist us in boldly confronting reality and devising creative solutions to address our collective concerns.  If we have been focusing a lot of our energy into an intimate partnership or into a limited number of relationships, the energy of Juno in Aquarius will bring a desire for greater freedom in our relationships to us.  This could for some creating the sense of wanting a more “open” relationship, but for others this will simply mean expanding the scope of our relationships, expanding our community of people we network and collaborate with.  We may be called upon at this time to experiment with the form our relationships take, or experiment with joining a new community of collaborators to test if we can discover greater inspiration for ourselves.

References

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

Libra Equinox 2013

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Equinox of September 22, 2013

In the Northern Hemisphere where I live (Olympia, Washington of the USA) we are experiencing the Autumn Equinox today, but to remember the importance of integration and balance at the equinox, I want to acknowledge those in the Southern Hemisphere who are experiencing the Spring Equinox today.  There are obvious seasonal as well as symbolic differences between a Spring and Autumn equinox, yet each do involve the theme of balancing the yin and yang- with Spring it is more about the yang, beginnings, cleansing, elimination, new growth and creativity, whereas with Autumn it is about entering more of a yin cycle, consolidating, communicating, gaining clarity, increasing productivity and study, while being more restful (Haas, 1981).

However, the fact that we are all experiencing an Equinox today is significant and brings its own unification, as the Sun is at the point of the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator meet once again, day and night will be equal, and likewise we have the opportunity to bring greater balance to our being and community around us- the themes of both Spring and Autumn involve creating balance in their own way.  The theme of balance is especially important with this particular equinox being in the sign of Libra, the zodiac sign associated with balance.  Libra, however, is a cardinal sign of initiating action and does not mean everything will be in balance- in fact, in Libra things can feel extreme and quite out of balance- yet the intention remains to find center again, re-calibrate and re-balance, and by going through extreme events and feelings, we enter a process of being able to find a more authentic and genuine balance point.  The equinox today has signs that support setting a strong intention to find greater balance in our being by avoiding denial and take a piercing, honest look at ourselves and what habits and patterns are in need of modification.  We will soon be entering an upcoming season of eclipses and dramatic changes, and so the more we can make a clearing at this time of what needs to be released, the better prepared we will be to respond in the moment to the upcoming changes that will be occurring.

800px-Ecliptic_path

This particular equinox chart is incredibly powerful and among other themes associated with the equinox, it does point to a potential for balancing masculine and feminine energy within each of us. However, there are also signs of their being some major conflict between masculine energy wanting to boldly pursue desire and passion versus feminine energy that is penetrating to the core of everyone and everything and demanding complete honesty and authenticity.  If the striving masculine energy is genuine it’s ambition could be a catalyst for new growth; if the masculine energy is too prideful, egotistical, oppressive, or vain, the feminine energy will see through it and cut it down to size.  Here in Olympia, Washington we are having a cold and rainy equinox morning, with the winds accelerating and leaves and weak branches correspondingly falling from the trees outside.  In accordance, with the current astrological winds perhaps our own leaves and branches we are ready to release from our core trunk will fall away.  The chart for the Autumn Equinox here in Olympia, Washington is below:

AutumnEquinox2013WRIGC1

A major player in the potential shift available at this time is Pluto in Capricorn that just recently stationed direct.  Pluto had been moving retrograde since April 12, 2013 when it stationed retrograde at 12 degrees of Capricorn.  Pluto stationed retrograde last April less then a week after there was a conjunction between Mars and Venus, our masculine and feminine personal planets, at 20 degrees of Aries.  Today at the equinox, Mars and Venus are now in their first quarter square of this cycle with Venus in Scorpio and Mars in Leo.  Mars and Venus have a cycle that last for about two years, in contrast to how our Sun and Moon cycle in roughly 29 days or so.  This past April of 2013 was a time of a new cycle beginning in your own personal Mars and Venus patterns or archetypes- you can look at your birth chart for where 20 degrees of Aries is to see where this occurred in your chart, with what sorts of aspects.

Just like the first quarter Moon square to the Sun is significant, so is the first quarter energy between Venus and Mars that is coming into manifestation now.  At this point in the Venus and Mars cycle, we have gained greater awareness through our experiences in the past five months of our patterns in relationship associated with our inner feminine/masculine and what we may desire versus what we have manifested in reality.  Venus in the sign of Scorpio, conjunct Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at this time, is an especially powerful evening star manifestation of the Goddess that is carrying more weight than Mars in Leo and can help facilitate us penetrating to the core of our current reality in relationships, love, and manifestation of whatever type of abundance we desire.  At the first quarter square time, action is necessary to establish whatever Mars-Venus seed could have begun to be envisioned back in April of 2013.   We will have from this equinox until the end of this next week to make the final harmonizing of our energy in this way before the exact Mars-Venus square hits around September 28.  The approaching first quarter square at this equinox between Venus and Mars is even more significant inside the larger first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries we have been experiencing since 2012, as the next exact square between Pluto and Uranus will occur a month after the exact square between Mars and Venus.  Pluto has now turned around direct to begin moving forward again, coming into the next exact square with Uranus in Aries in the early morning of November 1, 2013 here in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, which will actually for us be the night of Halloween or Samhain.  The equinox chart thus signifies a balancing of our Mars-Venus energies being especially relevant to the upcoming fourth exact square between Pluto and Uranus in this cycle.  Since the number four is associated with our heart chakra, this seems to be very relevant and true.

Thus, since April as Venus and Mars shifted into the first quarter square aspect we are beginning to sense at this equinox, Pluto has been moving retrograde.  Pluto moving retrograde can be helpful for doing the deep work of becoming aware of our deepest patterns of desire and values so that we can come to a place of clearing and regeneration of a more authentic self.   Pluto stationing direct at the equinox is powerful, and in combination with the Venus-Mars square, can be linked to us having become aware of what patterns associated with our relationships, as well as our own masculine and feminine energy and patterns, we wish to modify to create more of the life we want to live.  At the Autumn Equinox time, since ancient times Pluto has been a powerful mythic figure associated with the reaping of an abundant harvest, as well as later with taking Persephone down into the underworld to help with the transition of souls.  In contrast, at the Spring equinox in myth Pluto is able to let go of and release Persephone back into the upperworld to create more life; however, in both cases there is a clear intentional act taken by Pluto at the equinox.  Similarly, we can make our own unique intention at this equinox supported by powerful astrological energy.

ceres

Fittingly, with Pluto taking on significance at this equinox, Ceres is holding her own and embodying strong aspects of a different sort.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, Demetra George has written about how in ancient Crete, Ceres was a Goddess associated with the Corn Priestess who took part in a sacred marriage with her lover and gave birth to Plutus, the god of wealth coming from the earth.  These ancient connections between the harvest of Autumn and wealth, or to shift to the Spring equinox, with the seeding of the coming harvest and wealth, connect with our modern focus on resources for our own survival, whether we are living a more Earth-based lifestyle in connection with resources we are growing from the Earth or a a less Earth-based lifestyle in which we are focused on working a job to make money to buy processed food from a grocery store.

At this 2013 equinox Ceres is paying a lot of attention to Chiron, and she is the key point of a Grand Earth trine between herself in Virgo, Pluto in Capricorn, and the Moon and the South Node of the Moon in Taurus.  The trine between Ceres and Pluto can correspond with an opportunity to become more productive in our lives if we are doing the deep Pluto work referenced earlier in this article.  However, to bring the real production generator, the Goddess Ceres, into our life at this time, we have some additional work to do if we want to more harmoniously access her trine with Pluto and the Moon in Taurus.  Ceres is moving direct in Virgo, a sign that pleases her as she is the literal symbol used by modern astrologers for Virgo.  However, to fully activate Ceres into her highest potential at this time will require us to take heroic strides forward through the wounding experiences of this recent time period, as Chiron is retrograde in Pisces in opposition to Ceres at the equinox, while also being in a wide conjunction again with Neptune in Pisces.

From the perspective of Ceres, this opposition with Chiron connects strongly with the lesson from her mythic story of losing Persephone to the underworld and becoming so anguished and emotionally overwhelmed at her great loss, entered a period in which she ended her productivity and refused to create life and new harvest on Earth.  She also drifted into coping strategies such as opiate use, and lost became further wounded and oppressed by Poseidon, who raped her.  Ceres was ultimately able to begin a process of purification, however, by bathing in a flowing river, which to me is a symbol of her beginning to process of opening herself to the constant changes of life and the loss we can experience in the process.  This lesson to be open to the constant flux of life is also a key point in Ceres fully accessing her trine with the Moon in Taurus at the equinox.  This is because the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon, which can indicate more of an emotional connection to past patterns of coping because they are comfortable more so than truly effective or productive given changing circumstances.  This is further emphasized with the Moon and South Node being in Taurus, a sign that can be more stubborn about holding onto past patterns for a sense of stability.

Chiron retrograde in a wide conjunction with Neptune in Pisces could coincide with great emotional wounding and spiritual crises we could have been experiencing, but at the same time carries a potential of incredibly deep healing of past wounds that can then be integrated back into a productive capacity in which we draw upon our newfound strength.  Ceres in Virgo in combination with Chiron in Pisces embodies extraordinary potential.

chiron and achilles by sargent

From the perspective of Chiron, he has been moving retrograde back toward Neptune in Pisces again, and at the same time has become involved in a Grand Water trine that will be continuing for some time.  In August he was part of a trine with Saturn and Jupiter, and though his trine with Jupiter is wider now, he is still in range of a trine with Saturn and Jupiter.  However, Chiron is also in trine with Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio, and more exactly with the mean node of Black Moon Lilith in Cancer at the time of the equinox than Jupiter.  Interestingly, by the time Pluto stations retrograde again in Capricorn in April of 2014, Chiron and Jupiter will again be closely in trine.

As a result, Chiron is in league with the Dark Goddesses and is helping Ceres regain her original seat as the Goddess of the Underworld, like Ereshkigal in the myth of Inanna, instead of the later masculine takeover of placing Pluto in charge of the underworld.  The Great Mother was not only the Goddess of Life but also Death, and Chiron at this time is presenting us with an opportunity to integrate the whole portrait of the Great Goddess, especially being in trine to the conjunction of Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.  Chiron is often called the wounded healer, and we may in fact be experiencing incredible wounds at this time.  However, he is also a great teacher and cultivator of our own unique heroic qualities, and so whatever has been occurring in our lives is actually an opportunity for us to take a stand at this time and courageously face the actual nature of our current reality.  If we stand in our own integrity at this time, it will honor and work well with the combination of Saturn with Venus and the North Node of the Moon.

Since Black Moon Lilith is often referred to as a resolution point of the rejected feminine, her mean node being in trine to both Chiron in Pisces and the Venus-Saturn-North Node conjunction in Scorpio indicates a potential opening to integrate the rejected and oppressed side of our feminine energy back into our psyche.  Not that this is an easy task, but if we are acting from the hurt and wounded parts of our rejected feminine, with the square from Mars in Leo we could become involved in some serious negative energy and fights in our personal environment.  This equinox is a perfect time to make an intention to purify the toxicity that come from the rejected feminine aspects of our psyche.

Since the Black Moon Lilith point relates to the orbit of the Moon, it is interesting that the South Node of the Moon in Taurus is conjunct the Moon in Taurus at the time of the equinox- in trine with Ceres in Virgo, and in sextile to Chiron in Pisces.  If we can avoid the seething anger that can come from Taurus, especially when Taurus is focused on past emotional wounding or past emotional patterns connected with negative energy, there can be a potentially very positive use of this energy.  To me, it would be more of a Taurus focus on what we can cultivate and nurture for ourselves at this time of the equinox.  If we can cut out and release the negative past patterns, which can be facilitated by Venus and Saturn in Scorpio being opposite the Taurus Moon and South Node of the Moon at this time, then we can draw from our past patterns in a manner that will help us draw on our strengths and gifts in the cultivation of our personal harvest.  Whether this is symbolically a planting time or a reaping time for you in your own personal cycles, the use of lunar Taurus energy can be a patient and helpful guide to stay in touch with what is truly bringing pleasure to your body and being, so that you can as a result begin to bring more joy into your life.

Demeter finds Persephone

Finally, the other planetary player I want to mention is Mercury in Libra, who has been moving full speed ahead at 20 Libra, but is currently beginning to prepare to station retrograde in mid-October in the sign of Scorpio.  At the equinox, however, Mercury is at the midpoint between the Sun in Libra and Saturn and Venus in Scorpio, as well as being in a sextile to Mars in Leo.  In the Ceres and Persephone myth I have been referencing, it is Mercury who descends to the underworld in order to ascend again with Persephone and return her to her mother Ceres.  Mercury is strongly in the sign of Libra at this Libra Equinox, and so the way we are perceiving reality as well as choosing to communicate with others will be vital in our ability to cultivate greater balance in our lives.  With so many intense astrological aspects, we will surely be tested in this manner, and most likely we will make some mistakes in communication that can lead to some extreme arguments and confrontations at this time.  However, if we are taking responsibility for our communication and perceptions, and make sure to learn from our mistakes and make amends in our relationships, we can help cultivate greater balance within ourselves as well as within our outer relationships.

Black Moon Lilith is again a player with Mercury, but this time it is the true node of Black Moon Lilith that is conjunct Jupiter and in a tight square with Mercury in Libra at the time of the equinox. The way our feminine nature has been spurned or rejected in the past could be behind a lot of conflict and arguments we have at this time.  However, at the same time as we get in touch with this energy it can also could be a catalyst for difficulty but powerful conversations and awareness of what is at the root between the conflict of our masculine and feminine within, how this inner conflict of our nature can create difficulties for ourselves in our outer relationships, as well as how the masculine and feminine are in relationship in the collective.  The collective conflict between the masculine and feminine is obviously an enormous problem at this time, but there is an opportunity at this time to gain perhaps an incremental insight into the nature of this conflict.

The current square between Mercury in Libra with Jupiter in Cancer is another level to the deep questioning of our personal beliefs some of us may have been experiencing recently.  If we have not been questioning our beliefs, we may instead have been getting into debates or arguments associated with beliefs we have that we do not like to question.  Earlier this past Summer, there was and opposition between Jupiter in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn that would have initiated this process.  By the time Pluto stations retrograde again next April of 2014, Jupiter will have gone through a retrograde motion that will bring it back into an exact opposition with Pluto, so we are only at the beginning of this process.

One of the greatest debates in belief has to do with the very nature of Creation itself.  Last night in thinking about this equinox, I opened the book The Earth Path by Starhawk to a passage I want to share in its entirety below, about the beliefs many people in our collective hold about creation and evolution and how that has influenced worldly events since the time that Darwin shattered the previously dominant Biblical interpretation with his theory of natural selection:

 Evolution, of course, was in Darwin’s day a shattering and heretical challenge to the simplistic, literalistic biblical view.  First, the theory of evolution holds that the world is much, much older than the Bible says.  Second, humans, animals, plants, bacteria, and all other creatures are a single continuum of life.  Humans are not something set apart.  We are animals, and we emerged from the same natural processes by which other life-forms evolved.

From the perspective of earth-based spirituality, those insights were a vast improvement over literalistic interpretations of the Bible.  Evolution restored dynamism to the universe, brought it alive as a growing, changing, interacting web of relationships.

Darwin himself was a great observer, embodying the permacultural principle of “thoughtful and protracted observation” more than a century before permaculture was formulated.  He looked at the plants and animals and birds around him in the far-flung places of the world he traveled, and he let himself ask, “I wonder . . .”:  “I wonder how that tortoise got to be the way it is, how differences between those similar plants arose, what forces produced the beak on that bird.”  He theorized that environmental pressures and constraints select the individuals most fitted to a given environment from a range of genetic variations.  Those individuals succeed best in the competition for food and scarce resources.  They are also most likely to reproduce, and so they pass on their adaptations.  His theory of evolution and natural selection was a brilliant example of relational thinking, focusing not just on individuals or species as separate, isolated elements, but on the whole pattern of interactions, exchanges, and effects of living communities as a whole.

But at the same time that Darwin was researching and writing, industrial capitalism was growing and consolidating its power, and looking for an ideology to justify ruthless exploitation of the poor by the rich.  “Social Darwinism” a simplistic reformulation of Darwin’s theory, turned natural selection into “survival of the fittest.”  The best win out and, by extension, the “winners” must be the best-  and therefore deserving of their rewards.  “Losers” are by definition inferior, maladapted, and deserving of their demise.  To suggest that the winners owe anything to the losers is to interfere with nature and risk weakening the race.

This misinterpretation of Darwin’s theory was a secular reformulation of earlier religious doctrines of the “elect.”  It was also a perfect rationale for cutthroat capitalism, in both the nineteenth century and the Reagan/Bush era.  Competition is the driving force of progress in nature and, by extension, human society.  The more worthy win out in time, and this, in the long run, is good for the species and the whole.  Success is its own justification, and what’s good for big transnationals is good for the U.S.A.

There is a different view of evolution, one that better serves the world-view of earth-based spirituality.  We might call it Gaian evolution, after the Gaia theory developed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis.  Gaian evolution is not so much a counter to Darwin as a shift in focus from the individual to the ecosystem, the whole.  The earth functions like a living being, and the biosphere, the world community of life-forms, changes its environment as it is changed by it.  The redwood tree does not evolve as a separated species; rather, the forest as a whole evolves, the interwoven lives of redwood and tanoak, huckleberry and salal, the mycorrhizal fungi in the soil below and the lichens in the canopy where the marbled murrelets nest.  None of these creatures adapts alone, in isolation from each other-  they coevolve as Forest-Being, in an interdependent dance that balances competition and cooperation.  Individuals and species survive when their activities benefit the whole as well as the parts.  Evolution becomes the story of how the planet herself comes alive.

–Starhawk, The Earth Path, p. 42-43

I have taken part in the spiral dance with Starhawk before, and while that isn’t possible for me to do at this equinox, I hope that all of do our own sort of personal spiral dance to help us balance ourselves to a greater extent, as well as interdependently then help facilitate greater balance in the Earth.  Blessed be.

References

Haas, Elson. (1981).  Staying Healthy with the Seasons.  Celestial Arts.

Starhawk. (2005). The Earth Path.  Harper.

Ceres Sun Leo / Full Moon Aquarius

Venus of Laussel

Ceres at the Crossroads

The legacy of Goddesses in all Her forms will be lit by the Full Moon in Aquarius occurring on August 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, as Ceres will be conjunct the Sun and Mercury in Leo at the time of the lunation.  This Full Moon will be about us recovering our authentic creative Self, a process which involves a Shadow integration that has it’s roots in the story of Goddesses.  Ceres is a dwarf planet that has the Roman name of the Greek Goddess Demeter, who is commonly known as a Goddess of fertility and the earth, but in more ancient times was also known as the Mother of the Dead, similar in a way to the Sumerian Mother of the Underworld, Ereshkigal (Shlain, p. 31).  The “Venus of Laussel” above was discovered in a cave in Southern France and believed to be at least 22,000 years old, from a time in which Goddesses were sacred to the hunter-gatherer people of the time on Earth.  Researchers into myths of the Goddess such as Anne Barin and Jules Cashford (The Myth of the Goddess) believe that there were two prominent myths of the time, one involving a Mother Goddess who was linked to fertility, the sacredness of life, transformation and rebirth, and a second myth involving a Hunter who was more connected with survival, including the ritual act of taking life in order to survive (Shlain, p. 31).

Ceres is an archetype that not only goes all the way back to the original Great Mother, but also moving forward through time she encompasses many of the most prominent Goddesses of myth such as Isis and Hekate.  Eventually, around the time documented by Homer or so, Ceres as Demeter became a Goddess who was regulated to being simply a sister of Zeus/Jupiter, instead of his Great Mother.  This is in part due to invasions of the ancient Matriarchal cultures of Goddesses by invaders who became increasingly Patriarchal over time and re-wrote myths from the perspective of masculine Gods holding power over the Goddesses, bringing some cross-pollination to myth between cultures of the time in the process.  As a result, we can see many parallels in the myths between cultures who came into contact, such as the fact that Isis made Osiris whole again by synthesizing his fragmented pieces of his body together again, and in other myths Demeter (Isis) put the severed limbs of Dionysus (Osiris) back together again (Jung, p. 237).  In his book, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, author Leonard Shlain constructed a theory proposing that the development of alphabets and written records coincided with the subjugation of Goddesses and the ascendancy of Gods as sitting atop the hierarchical power pyramid of myth:

Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, presided over what had traditionally been considered the quintessential feminine essence:  water.  Many bulls inhabited his home in the deep.  The image of a bull inside a body of water or in an underground labyrinth is evocative of the female’s reproductive organs.  In the myth that precipitates Cadmus’s fateful journey to Greece, a bull carries a terrified young woman out to sea on his back. Initially, she trusted the intentions of a creature that had been associated with her gender for eons.  Zeus chose to rape her at Crete, the island culture consecrated to the Goddess.  Europa’s violation by a feminine totem is allegorical:  it is the incident that initiates the mythical transfer of the alphabet from Phoenicia to Greece.  With the beginning of alphabetic writing, women would have reason to fear the bull, which came to represent lustful virility.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 125

Shlain further depicts mythic plot lines developing in accord with the work of Homer, whose stories such as The Illiad “glorifies masculine values and denigrates feminine ones,” as it is focused upon “the deeds of men, and the story line is drenched in male-death consciousness”  (Shlain, p. 127).  The oppression of Goddesses becomes even more apparent when we consider how Gods became more important to the birth/release of many Goddesses more so than a Mother Goddess, such as Aphrodite being born from the severed testicles of Uranus by Kronus, Athena being released into the world from the head of Zeus, and Demeter, Hera, and Vesta being freed by Zeus from the belly of their father Kronus who had devoured them:

The birth stories of these three goddesses [Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena]- remnants of the Magna Mater- are so peculiar that they could only have been devised by a male mind intent on changing the perceptions of society.  Each goddess emerged from the insides of a male, though this required convoluted plot twists . . . Not only did all three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, enter the world by way of a man instead of through the birth canal of a woman, but none of these examplars of the Great Mother was nutured during childhood by a mother.  This resulted in the paradox that these three representatives of the Great Mother were themselves motherless!  New myths are frequently imposed on a culture by the needs of a dominant ruling class.  What better way to discredit women’s roles in the creation of life, and by extension, the Great Goddess, than to have your goddesses born of gods?  The Iliad, the Theognis and the Old Testament turn barnyard commonsense upside down by asserting that birthing is a man’s job . . . The death throes of the Great Mother can be read between the lines of these sexist credos.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 130-131

Ceres being such an vital aspect of the herstory of myth on our planet is significant at this time, as in astrology we are experiencing a Full Moon in Aquarius, with the Leo Sun being conjunct the planet Mercury as well as the “dwarf” planet Ceres.   The Leo Sun and Ceres have actually been conjunct this entire past week during a lot of intense astrological energy, with Jupiter in Cancer in a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and coming into a first quarter square with Uranus in Aries, plus the Grand Water Trine we have been talking about still occurring, now more prominently involving Jupiter in Cancer, Chiron in Pisces (with Neptune), and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio (with Saturn).  Demetra George is my favorite author concerning the astrological meaning of Ceres, and many of the issues that Demetra associated with Ceres in her book Asteroid Goddesses are connected with the modern oppression of women and femininity that have clear connections to the mythstorical oppression of Goddesses by Gods.  For example, as Ceres is a Goddess of food and nourishment, she can be connected with the eating disorders many modern women have experienced, disorders that are connected to a psychological complex rooted in misogyny and the oppressive depiction of women in media such as movies, commercials, and popular music.

Demetra also analyzed how the pre-Hellenic versionof Ceres was a universal archetype of the Great Goddess that emerged in Crete and Greece in association with figures such as Isis, Ishtar, Inanna, Gaia, Rhea, and Tara.  Ceres as the Great Mother in Crete was integral to fertility rituals such as being the corn priestess at the Autumn Equinox who lays with her lover Iasion in a field in order to birth Plutus, who was the god of wealth found in the Earth, “a symbol of that rich bounty that the earth produced when it was so honored by the Sacred Marriage” (George, p. 45).  In the later versions of myth, however, after Demeter takes her younger lover Iasion out to a field during the marriage ceremony of Cadmus and Harmony, Zeus angrily strikes him dead with a bolt of lightning upon discovery.

Similar to this re-write of the myth, Demetra George also described how it was not until Homer’s Hymn to Demeter that the rape of Persephone appears in myth, as it had “no precedent in the earlier cult versions” (George, p. 45):

Historically, Persephone’s rape symbolizes the power struggle that was occurring between the patriarchal cultures (Pluto) and the indigenous matriarchal goddess cults (represented by Ceres).  The final outcome of the story points to a clear victory for the northern Zeus worshippers.  The Great Mother not only had to stand by and watch her daughter being raped and abducted, Ceres was also forced to share her beloved Persephone with the enemy.  Hence, she had to abdicate a portion of her powers over the birth and death rituals, a dominion that was eventually wrestled from her in its entirety.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 45

In the popular version of the Persephone myth, Ceres/Demeter is no longer identified with the powers associated with Hekate, and in fact Ceres deep in grief comes into contact with Hekate, looking for guidance.

HekateHekate

Hekate is often depicted as a crone goddess representative of the triple goddess, a goddess of the moon, magic, and plant medicine, a goddess who stands at the crossroads.  In stunning synchronicity to today’s full moon in Leo and Aquarius, Hekate in the Persephone myth directs Ceres to seek guidance from Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Ceres the knowledge that Pluto took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Today at the time of this Full Moon, many of us are standing at our own crossroads, coming into knowledge of the root causes or sources of intense personal issues and experiences that are coinciding with the intensity of outer planet transits we have been experiencing:   in particular that  Jupiter in Cancer has now come into the full first quarter phase of it’s square with Uranus in addition to a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.

But what does this mean, you may ask?  For one, Jupiter in Cancer, considered an exalted aspect by ancient astrologers, entering such intense aspects with outer transpersonal planets difficult for us to integrate on a personal level but which consistently correlate with cataclysmic and paradigm shifting events in our human collective, has been coinciding with many of us having to realize once again how many of our beliefs we hold dear are ultimately speculative in nature.  I am not debating that there is an actual Truth, only that we humans tend to believe what we believe and on this level of relativity two people can view and interpret the same experience completely differently, arguing from a perspective rooted in belief systems that on the surface seem to hold no common ground.  This experience can feel especially debilitating when one is feeling oppression from a belief system connected to a dominant culture that one knows is not actually the Truth, but which still holds tremendous power of control over us nonetheless (or at least will try to control us).  We could be finding ourselves in a similar position to Ceres, enraged at the violation to our own divine femininity inside of us.  However, the version of her myth involving the descent of Persephone to the underworld also holds an important moral lesson, as Ceres had been extremely possessive of Persephone prior to her descent, and she reacted to the loss of her daughter with anger and bitter vengeance, refusing to nourish the Earth with food, flowers, and vegetation out of protest.  Ultimately, Ceres had to come to a place of letting go of her attachment to having Persephone with her at all times, as well as come back to a place of being productive with her unique calling and gift of food and nourishment that sustains life on our planet.  This does not mean we need to be mushy and passively accepting of oppression we experience or witness, but it does mean that we can be more productive and effective when acting from our hearts instead of out of anger or bitterness.  Going through the raw pain of crises does at least give us an opportunity to open more of our heart in the end of the process if we do our deep work.

As a result it is fascinating to me that the Sun has been conjunct Ceres at this exact time, an event that typically is not drawing a huge amount of attention from astrologers, although it most likely will be briefly mentioned in numerous “Full Moon reports,” such as something along the lines of “mother issues” or “baking bread” for someone.  Traditional astrologers barely even acknowledge Ceres, as they have a deep learning of astrology that can work limited to only the original seven planets of the Sun through Saturn.  However, even amongst the modern late 20th Century astrologers who have taken great leaps of thought with our ancient study of astrology, with the exception of Demetra George and others of like-mind, Ceres has not been developed to a great extent as an astrological archetype.  Astrologers do use her, but I find that she tends to draw less attention as a general rule, and many question the validity of even paying much attention to her in the first place.

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One reason many question using the asteroids (although again, Ceres is not even an asteroid! She is now a dwarf planet on the same level of Pluto!) is why we should integrate the myth of a particular culture with a particular myth, to an asteroid that some astronomer just chose to give a certain name to.  However, in answer to this argument Ceres has a knowing smile.  At the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology conference near Portland, Oregon I witnessed Demetra George giving an electrifying talk about the mythology and astrological significance of Ceres, following a trip Demetra took taking astrology students to the specific locations of the myth.  Demetra shared with us that when Ceres was discovered in 1800 by the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, she was discovered in an astro-lab that was near the exact site of Persephone’s abduction in myth.

In actuality, although Ceres has still not generated a tremendous amount of astrological writing, since the 2006 astronomical controversy in which Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status, and Ceres was elevated to dwarf planet status, Ceres is today on the same level playing field as the other celestial bodies that modern astrologers tend to obsess over since Pluto isn’t going anywhere in terms of astrological significance.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George presented an ingenious thesis for the astrological meaning of Ceres that I have found is deeply compelling and typically makes sense in the context of natal birth charts.  In this book Demetra associated Ceres with the signs of Cancer (nurturing issues), Virgo (productivity issues), and the Taurus-Scorpio axis (issues of attachment and letting go for transformation).

Again, as I spent time outlining the subjugation of the Great Mother for a reason, it is important to take our Ceres placement in our birth charts in consideration of the context of the oppression of women in our global culture and the effect this has had on our individual growth and development.  For example, Demetra George brought up the fact that hospital births in which the infant is separated from the mother in a sterile and isolated hospital crib first came into dominance in the 1930s, and as a result contributed to the plethora of relationship issues that have been handed down to ensuing generations since that time.  If we do not receiving the nurturing we need as an infant, a child, and/or an adolescent, we in turn have difficulty nurturing others in relationship, including our own children, and as a result a psychological complex such as an “attachment disorder” can be transmitted down the line of generations of family karma.  It is possible, however, with deep work and processing, to overturn complexes like attachment disorders we can become stuck to in our development, and as we each do our own unique personal work in this manner, and support others in their own deep work along these lines, we can help add to a great paradigm shift of anti-oppression work in the world around us.

When we talk about integrating our Shadow into helping us actualize our unique Self, this is exactly what we are talking about:  becoming aware of the rejected feminine aspects of ourselves (even if we are a macho dude) that have been cast off or suppressed in the face of cultural conditioning.  With Ceres lined up with the Sun and Mercury in Leo at this time of a Full Moon in Aquarius, we have a clear sign from above that a more authentic version of our actualized creative Self could become available to us at this time.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George wrote the following about having Ceres in the natal birth sign of Leo:

Ceres in Leo people identify nurturance with self-expression.  Ideally, the parents will foster in the child a sense of pride, confidence in his/her abilities, and an appreciation for the creative efforts of others.  These people can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity-  thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.  Self-acceptance is based upon one’s ability to create and share something he/she takes pride in.  The inability to do so may bring self-rejection and a lack of self-confidence.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p.  64

Since we are at a Leo-Aqurius lunation, it brings up the natural square to the Taurus-Scorpio axis that Demetra George wrote about Ceres ruling, associating it with issues of abandonment and attachment.  The reason people enacted Eleusinian rites of death for so long based upon the myth of Ceres and Persephone was to overcome a fear of death in the collective, as well as perhaps to gain a sense of the transformation and regeneration available in the process of death.  In Esoteric Astrology, Alan Oken and others have talked about the significance of the Taurus-Scorpio axis involving a death and destruction of form that helps humans open themselves to the heart-centered opening of the fixed cross.  It is through death of form, of learning to let go of attachment and experience rebirth, that we learn to open our hearts as well as come into closer contact with our Soul nature:

To prepare for the moment of death, one must learn to experience “little deaths” every day through the process of letting go.  While letting go may seem frightening at first, it is actually a necessary part of the cycle of life/death/renewal.  In this transformative process, nothing new can be reborn until something old first dies.  Thus, whenever we cling to a person, thing, or situation that has outlived its purpose, we only prevent ourselves from experiencing the abundance of renewal.  At this point, a Ceres transit will inevitably come along, denoting our need to confront our fears of dying and to realize the truth of the Ceres-Scorpio death secret-  that release is the precursor to rebirth.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 55

Back in February of 2013 during a time of incredible planetary Pisces energy, Mercury and Ceres both stationed retrograde in square to one another-  Mercury around 20 degrees of Pisces, Ceres around 20 degrees of Gemini.  Since Mercury is now conjunct both Ceres and the Sun in Leo at this time, if we have been doing the work to let go of what has served its purpose, we may be experiencing a renewal of energy.  In contrast, if we have held on tightly to something that has outlived its purpose, we may be experiencing an intense climax of energy requiring us to make a definitive decision to let go of what is clogging up the process of transformation that could otherwise be available.

This point of 20 degrees of Gemini that Ceres previously stationed retrograde at this year is significant as it is the Heliocentric north node of Ceres.  During her talk on Ceres at the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, Demetra George pointed out that Ceres has Heliocentric nodes in square to the nodes of Juno and Pallas Athena, all on the mutable cross:  Ceres at 20 degrees of Gemini (north) and Sagitarius (south), Pallas Athena at 23 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south), and Juno at 20 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south).  As in traditional astrology this means that all three of these Godesses have Heliocentric north nodes ruled by Mercury, and south nodes ruled by Jupiter, Demetra synthesized that the evolution from “faith to reason” is at the evolutionary core of the feminine in our solar system.  At first I was surprised to hear this, as it seemed to suggest the divine feminine should become more rational and less intuitive, and then upon more thought I realized that this would be exactly the evolutionary point.  Thus the divine feminine could gain strength through developing its rational side while drawing upon its great powers of faith, not neglecting its intuitive abilities.  Becoming more rational, developing the ability to objectify our experiences instead of being overridden by emotional responses to our experiences, ultimately will help all of us come to a better understanding of the oppression the Shadow side of our Self has experienced.  As a result, we can ultimately realize and actualize more of our whole Self in the world, coming into a stronger embodiment of our unique power of creation and expressing more of the full Virgo sense of productivity associated with Ceres.  This also means carrying the Leo-Aquarius meaning of this Full Moon out into appreciation and sharing in joy of the work of other creators around us, instead of viewing other creators with envy, jealousy, or competitiveness.  Enjoy this Full Moon and soak up its lunar rays!

Ceres statue

References

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

Jung, Carl. (1967 edition revised from original 1912). Symbols of Transformation. Bollingen.

Shlain, Leonard. (1998).  The Alphabet versus the Goddess:  the conflict between Word and Image.  Viking.

Persephone: Queen of Soul and Spirit

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Persephone conjunct Saturn in Scorpio

  • Persephone asteroid (#399) is conjunct Saturn in Scorpio on May 28, 2013 and has about a two degree orb of a conjunction with Saturn from May 1, 2013 through July 21, 2013.
  • Persephone asteroid (#399) also had about a two degree orb of a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio from February 27, 2013 until April 22, 2013, and will be again from August 1, 2013 until August 20, 2013.

Persephone remains one of the most widely known mythic figures in our collective consciousness because of the vital connection we can feel with her journey from an “innocent” maiden into the underworld, merging with the Lord of Death in order to become a Queen of Spirit ruling over souls making the transition between life and death.  We can feel Persephone with us whenever we descend into a dark or difficult experience that strips us of any feeling of innocence, yet offers us opportunities to cultivate greater knowledge, wisdom, and consciousness for ourselves through our persistence and resiliency, like Persephone for taking responsibility over becoming the Queen of the Underworld.  Persephone has been entering greater astrological significance recently as her asteroid has been moving conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and on May 28, 2013 the asteroid Persephone is conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, following a Lunar Eclipse in Sagitarius four days earlier.  This Lunar Eclipse was the last of the series involving Gemini and Sagitarius, with this final one having the Sun in Gemini and the Full Moon in Sagitarius.

Persephone has been moving retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon for the past few months, first becoming conjunct the north node of the Moon around February 27, 2013 and remaining in range  ever since.  The archetypal meaning of this has great synchronicity with the turn of the seasons in our hemisphere, as we are in the full blooming of Spring, a time in which Persephone would have returned to us after completing another cycle in the underworld as the Queen of Spirit.  However, the mythic image of Persephone descending to the underworld to rule over the dead is a more fitting mirror for the movement of the asteroid during this time, as the Persephone asteroid has been moving retrograde since March 23, 2013 (18 Scorpio) and will station direct near the Summer Solstice- June 21, 2013 (5 Scorpio).  The Persephone asteroid will remain in range of a conjunction with Saturn and the North Node of the Moon into September of 2013, with Persephone and the North Node being exactly conjunct again around August 10, 2013.  Up until then, in June and July, there will be a triple grand trine in water signs that Persephone will be part of, with Persephone and Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter in Cancer, and Neptune in Pisces-  as a result, now through the next couple of months could be a magical time of transformation when working with Persephone as a personal archetype.

Persephone joining with Saturn in Scorpio at this time while staying connected with the North Node of the Moon for so long, is very signficant in connection with the sextile between this area of Scorpio and the area of Capricorn that Pluto is occupying in its current square to Uranus in Aries. We can take the responsibility (Persephone-Saturn) to structure our life more in accord with our soul longings (Pluto in Capricorn) in a way that will lead to more freedom for us to individuate from our past conditioning (Uranus in Aries) and actualize more of our soul calling- of course, this is easier to say than manage amid chaotic times.   Persephone is a symbol for our self empowerment in this process, because in the reality of Myth, Persephone is not some innocent maiden who is abducted and raped by the Lord of the Underworld- she is a Queen in her own right that is the reason Hades was able to become the Lord of the Undersworld in the first place.  In Finding Our Way Through the Dark, Demetra George explained the significance of Persephone in the Archetypal Pantheon:

In the Olympic pantheon Pluto, called Hades by the Greeks, was awarded dominion over the Underworld by his brother Zeus/Jupiter, supreme king of all the gods.  This was a province that previously had been the dominion of various dark goddesses of matriarchal cultures.  It was through the rape and abduction of Persephone, daughter of Great Mother Demeter/Ceres who had ruled over both birth and death, that Pluto secured his kingdom.  With Persephone at his side as the Queen of the Underworld, Pluto took over rulership of the realm of the dead.  Many of the qualities of the dark feminine that some astrologers have correlated with Pluto are actually aspects of Persephone and other dark goddesses who preceded her.

–Demetra George, Finding Our Way Through the Dark, p. 105

The connection between Persephone and ancient dark goddesses is further evidence to the archetype of Persephone being one of the strongest symbols in myth of our soul and passage through incarnation after reincarnation.  Demetra George in Finding Our Way Through the Dark also beautifully explored the link between the Persephone of myth and the meaning of the Persephone asteroid (#399 in astrology programs) in our natal birth charts:

In the archaic form of Demeter as a triple goddess, her full moon mother aspect was known by the name of Ploutos.  In the pre-Hellenic version of her myth, Persephone voluntarily went into the Underworld for part of each year to tend to the dead.  The story of her rape and abduction was a later adjunct to the myth first recorded by Homer in the 8th century BC which spoke to the patriarchal takeover by the God Pluto of the Great Mother’s rulership over death and rebirth.

In the birth chart Persephone, as a daughter of the patriarchy, symbolizes the process of a child’s separation from its mother.  Persephone can indicate how and where, either physically or psychologically, we may be abducted and plunged into an underworld experience (sometimes at an early age) where we encounter terror, loss, and confusion, and feelings of abandonment. This descent can enable us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.  Some individuals who experience Persephone as a tragedy from which they have never recovered may react by developing patterns of distrust, withdrawal, fear of sexuality and intimacy, fantasy life, depression, chemical addictions, separation anxieties, victimizaiton, passivity and powerlessness, and being acted upon by the strong will of others.

–Demetra George, Finding Our Way Through the Dark, p. 100-101)

This time of Persephone stepping into greater prominence in the consensus collective as her asteroid moves into an exact conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio, the ruler of our consensus reality and boundaries, comes immediately following a series of eclipses.  This recent series of eclipses included the finale for the signs of Gemini and Sagitarius, with the May 24, 2013 Lunar Eclipse being the final eclipse of the Gemini-Sagitarius series of eclipses that have been occurring since the lunar eclipse on December 21, 2010 (12/21/10 was lunar at 30 Gemini; 6/01/11 was solar at 12 Gemini; 6/15/11 was lunar at 25 Sagitarius; 11/25/11 was solar at 3 Sagitarius; 12/10/11 was lunar at 19 Gemini; 5/20/12 was Solar at 1 Gemini; 6/04/12 was lunar at 15 Sagitarius; 11/28/12 was lunar at 7 Gemini; 5/25/13 was lunar at 4 Sagitarius).

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A Gemini to Sagitarius time like now can be about transmuting our duality of light and shadow, yin and yang,  having the dilemma of integrating our connection to the underworld and upperworld just as Persephone must have struggled with.  The star twins who make up the constellation of Gemini in Greek myth, Castor and Pollux, were one of two sets of twins Leda gave birth to after Zeus mated with her as a swan, one set male and one set female.  In each set of twins, one twin is divine (Pollux and Helen: the children of Zeus) and one set mortal (Castor and Clytaemnestra: the children of the human King Tyndareus).  As a result, the Gemini archetype embodies our awareness of having a divine twin, a twin soulmate other, or in the end what we are really talking about may be our own Soul presence we desire to more fully embody.  Through the science of Astronomy, we know that what we call Castor in the constellation is actually a binary system consisting of two stars in close proximity that revolve around one another.  As a result, the myth of the twins, one divine and one mortal, is an apt metaphor for the Gemini archetype and a symbol of how no matter what we do, we cannot escape the fact that the Self we identify ourselves through as our “ego” is bound to a Soul carrying deep memories of our psyche cutting across years and years of incarnations.  If we are unaware of our Soul nature or actually try to avoid it, or hide from it through illusory distractions, our Soul will make it’s presence known through difficult life events that force us to confront our Soul nature.

In his book The Soul’s Code:  A Search for Character and Calling, James Hillman elucidated a developmental theory I feel is absolutely perfect for this topsy turvy time of eclipses and a square between Uranus and Pluto in the celestial skies.  Hillman’s developmental theory turns all other developmental theories on their head, by positing that the signficant point of departure is where we end up and growing down, in contrast to focusing on growing up and where we began, and how the events that happen to us in childhood determine where we end up going.  Instead, Hillman writes of a daimon concept that is like the calling of our unique soul pattern, and instead posits that what has happened to us has happened because of the formed soul we already have within us at birth, the special gift we have to give the world that needs to be developed, and so we experience what we experience in order to strengthen and expand this unique soul talent or skill, and if we self-actualize this gift of our soul we will have found our calling in the world around us.  This is also the realm of Persephone.  The daughter of Demeter and Zeus, she felt the call to become perhaps the most powerful Queen of all, one who could enjoy the fruits of the upperworld as well as mediate in the afterlife and world of Spirit.  She was meant to descend into the underworld, and she took responsibility to ensure that she would be a success in her role.

Persephone is a bridge between the world of Soul and Spirit and the world of flesh and Human Being, and becomes the High Priestess who mediates between both worlds.  However,  at first she most likely would have had mental and emotional conflicts with stepping into the role of a figure who spends part of the year ruling over the kingdom of the dead and spirits, and the rest of the year in the upper world full of blossomming flowers and flowing rivers with her mother, the Great Goddess of the Earth.  This early struggle of hers mirrors our younger self who struggles with the dualistic perception of our physical form and etheric soul form, between the longings we are led to believe we should have from our physical environment and the longings we sense from deep within us.  As Persephone steps more fully into alignment and integrity with her role as Queen, she serves as a role model for how we can become less split and fragmented and more whole in the way we integrate our awareness of our soul nature into our daily life and responsibilities.

Persephone being connected with the north node of the Moon at this recent lunar eclipse could have correlated with us experiencing events connected to our own soul issues with the Dark Goddess, an opportunity to become more aware of the Shadow sides to our nature.  I am not meaning that there is anything especially “evil” or “bad” about dark goddess energy, only that it is associated with the “shadow” because the issues we have connected with the dark goddesses are issues we have that are not “normally” accepted or acknowledged in our dominant culture or our social sphere (unless we spend our time with dark goddess invoking anarchists).   Issues or aspects of ourselves we tend to be in denial of, that we pretend are not really there, may have recently been emerging in our reality for us to deal with.  This is because- surprise- these issues really are something we must acknowledge and take responsibility for, and most likely they are also connected with past life karma or patterns.   In her book Finding Our Way Through the Dark astrologer Demetra George stated that at the time of a lunar eclipse “it is the past, symbolized by the Moon, which is obscured and can be released.  In the absence of the conditioning of the past, the possibility emerges of meeting experiences in a new manner” (p. 113).  Demetra George in this same book further explained that during a lunar eclipse in which the Sun is on the South Node side, like this recent one, “growth can come from focusing upon, resolving, revisioning and releasing old karmic issues” (p. 113).   Any situations we may have been drawn into recently, no matter how difficult, are most likely connected with our soul path and for whatever reason on a soul level we are meant to have faced whatever difficult trials and tests we have been experiencing.  In fact, there may have even been a side to the difficulties that called out to us like a siren, something about our future direction calling to us from the events surrounding the experience.  This feeling is similar to the idea of Persephone being drawn into following Hades into the Underworld in some way.

When the earth split open and Hades’ chariot appeared, drawn by four horses abreast, Kore was looking at a narcissus.  She was looking at the act of looking.  She was about to pick it.  And, at that very moment, she was herself plucked away by the invisible toward the invisible. Kore doesn’t just mean “girl,” but “pupil” too.  And the pupil, as Socrates says to Alcibiades, “is the finest part of the eye,” not just because it is “the part which sees” but because it is the place where another person looking will find “the image of himself looking.”  And if, as Socrates claims, the Delphic maxim “Know thyself” can be understood only if translated as “Look at thyself,” then the pupil becomes the sole means of self-knowledge . . .

Kore, the pupil, was thus on a threshold.  She was on the brink of meeting a gaze in which she would have seen herself.  She was stretching out her hand to pluck that gaze.  But Hades burst upon the scene.  And Kore was plucked away by Hades.  For a moment, Kore’s eye had to turn away from the narcissus and meet Hades’ eye.  The pupil of the Pupil was met by another pupil, in which it saw itself.  And that pupil belonged to the world of the invisible . . .

For it was in that eye, as he carried her off, that Kore saw herself reflected.  It was then that this girl within the eye became the pupil for us all.

–Roberto Calasso, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, p. 209-210

Never forget how powerful and primordial Persephone is, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and so it is not surprising she could see something of herself in the powerful presence of Hades, the Lord of the Underworld.   Persephone’s name means “she who is to be feared” (Guttman, p.176), and it is possible to view her abduction into the underworld as more about her destiny than a tragedy, for the unalterable shift she created in the cosmos through becoming a life partner of Hades who would descend and ascend back and forth between the upperworld and the underworld, was a calling that fit the unique gifts she held within her soul.  The time had come for the Spirit world of Souls and the material world of Human Beings to become more connected, with Human Beings beginning to feel more of their soul life and memories through their lifetime in flesh and physical form.  Persephone was the woman who could step into the role of managing this paradigm shift, the daughter of the Sky God (Zeus) and the Earth Goddess (Demeter) who was chosen by Hades because the implications of his desire for Persephone would be that the “invisible would now reassert its rights over the body of the visible more strictly than before: their dealings with each other, long diluted and mingled together on earth, would find a new center of gravity” (Calasso, p. 208).

Persephone, who transforms her abduction experience into wisdom and empowers herself with the mysteries of life, death, and the spirit world.  Persephone alternates between two worlds- the living and the dead, the light and the dark, the conscious and the unconscious- in order to bring balance and equilibrium into her being.

–Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson, Mythic Astrology, (p. 174)

In our adolescence when some of us face our first trials of intensity brought about by the shadow side of our soul nature, it coincides with the events that lead to our first return of our lunar nodes at the age of nineteen approximately, when we often get a stronger sense of our karmic callings in connection with our soul nature (the north node, our evolutionary soul direction, returns to it’s placement at birth while the south node, our past life pattern, also returns to it’s natal placement in our chart; this happens again around the age of 38 and every nineteen years henceforth, with nodal oppositions occurring 9-10 years in between).  As we age with each subsequent nodal return (at age 19, 38, 57, . . . ) our ability to more fully integrate and embody our soul nature increases, just as once the maiden Persephone grew into being the Queen of the underworld, she ruled the soul’s journey from being in a body through the death of the body, through the soul’s release through her underworld kingdom, and then back again incarnated into a new body.  When we come across Persephone in our life, we are often dealing with issues that have been encircling us for more than one lifetime.

Pamela Colman Smith the wave

The current time of Neptune being  in Pisces will coincide with up-swellings of human emotion across our planet that will begin a process of dissolving the paradigms of belief currently limiting the perception, awareness, and understanding that we are one people surviving on this planet.  Deep and at times dark emotions will help to dissolve the dualistic perception that we are separate from one another, and we will begin to feel on a more tangible level how we are all One, and that nurturing a greater empathic connection between all people could help all of us survive to a greater extent heading into whatever could be coming our way in the future.

I heard astrologer Patricia Walsh give a talk at NORWAC 2012 on the grand water trine of the zodiac in Evolutionary Astrology being about Spirit, the Soul, and the Ego, with Pisces/Neptune being the Spirit, Scorpio/Pluto/8th being the Soul, and Cancer/Moon/4th being the Ego.  Patricia further linked the myth of Persephone into this water trine, with Persephone being Neptune/Pisces at first as the undescended innocent Maiden, Demeter as the Cancer/Moon conditioned Ego-self, and Hades as the Scorpio/Pluto Lord of the Underworld.   During this current time period there has been a trine going on between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio, and now Pisces Neptune is also trine to Persephone in Scorpio.   This correlates with the Persephone archetype through opportunities for us to transform the undescended and more innocent aspects of our psyche into a presence that has descended into it’s own shadow in order to re-ascend with a more whole consciousness.  The process of this integration of our undescended and descended being is intense and alchemical on a psychological level, but brings the possibility of previously unconscious soul desires becoming integrated into our awareness and eventually with discipline into a more balanced expression in our daily life and communication.

In my last astrology class, my teacher Rosie Finn said that she sensed that the upcoming grand water trine of this Summer (Neptune in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter in Cancer- most exact from the middle to the end of July) could involve a release of karmic attachment for many souls to the burning times, to the trauma that many of carry within our soul of having been burned or put to death due to a charge of being a “witch” or performing “magic.”  I have personally sensed this underlying trauma in many souls I have encountered this lifetime, so if there could be some healing and release of this trauma this upcoming Summer, it truly will be a magical time in which new potential relationships could be built between all of us toward breaking cycles of oppression.  When I first heard Rosie say this, it sounded to me like the sort of “out-of-the-box” thought I have difficulty tracking or making sense of, but now that I am thinking about Persephone being connected to Saturn and the upcoming water trine, this idea of releasing unconscious attachment to past life trauma sounds very possible to me.  So be it!

In her lecture on the relationship between the grand water trine and the myth of Persephone, Patricia Walsh described the undescended Persephone being like a “New Age Princess” who expresses her psychological soul complexes into her environment because she is unconscious of them.  In this way it becomes a problem for her to cling to a sense of a purity of Spirit while avoiding the descent into the darker aspects of nature- in truth everything is not light and purity in the world.  As a result, the side of Spirit must descend into the Ego in order to learn how to ascend.  Ultimately, through this work of integrating our shadow and dark goddess sides we bring about the possibility of becoming mature spiritual beings.  Persephone in this way embodies both of the major feminine archetypes of the tarot, the Empress and the High Priestess, once she has become her mature spiritual self.

rider-waite-empress nk_high_priestess_waiteIn contrast, before we become our mature spiritual self, the Persephone archetype can link us to the shadow sides of these two cards, through our undescended ignornace of the depths of our being, or our inability to figure out how to integrate the descended side of our self.  In this situation, an undescended Persephone could be like a sterotypical New Age Empress traipsing about proclaiming an abundance of rainbows and unicorns in the world so to speak, and yet since she has not dealt with her own dark side, her behavior often comes off as overly controlling, smothering, emotionally needy, or emotionally barren.  In contrast, an over emphasis on the descended High Priestess side of our nature could lead us to having difficulty ascending back into the earthy love of the Empress, having us come off as more cold, intellectual, secretive, dreamy, or escapist.  Yet if we can access our unconscious reality, our soul nature, through the loving awareness of our Empress in the moment, being patient enough to nurture greater understanding of our deep soul desires that influence our actions and responses in the world-  we then have greater access to the potential of making ourselves whole, integrating our light and shadow, our yin and yang, the animus and the anima, and other symbols of the duality of our past perception.  This process of making a decision to become whole, and following through with choices in our daily life to align to a greater extent with our soul nature, makes me think of another tarot card, The Lovers.  This is because The Lovers can be about us making the choice to merge with our other, but this other does not have to be another lover, this merging can occur within our soul in order to become more whole.  The Lovers can also relate to any major decision for us to make, so along these lines of soul thought, the card would relate to this time if we are faced with a significant choice to make to come into more alignment with the integrity of our soul.  And perfect for this time at the end of May in which Persephone is conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, correlating with an increased capacity for us to follow through in this endeavor, the astrological sign associated with The Lovers is Gemini.

the_lovers_rws_deck2

In this time of incredible Gemini energy, with Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter all conjunct in Gemini, Persephone calls on us to  merge ourselves to a greater extent with our divine other, the soulmate we have within ourselves, our own soul nature.  In Esoteric Astrology Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter all connect with Gemini through the 2nd Ray of Love and Wisdom, with Venus being the esoteric ruler of Gemini.  Venus rules Gemini on a soul level because “Venus seeks to unite and blend, merge and harmonize all of the dualities in life . . . tak[ing] these conflicts of duality (as indicated by Mercury, personality ruler of Gemini . . .) and transform[ing] them into a higher octave of expression” (Oken, p. 173).  With Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn squaring right now with so many conflicts of polarity occurring in the world all around us, it is helpful to remember that Gemini “reveals the relationship between any pair of opposites . . . to create a greater awareness of the pair of opposites, so that a more harmonious relationship may evolve” (Oken, p. 174).  A mutable sign, Gemini in this way helps us modify and mutate “everything that is necessary for the evolution of the Soul, both in our individual lives, and in our collective life as humanity” (p. 174).  Thus, while we may like to idealize the conjunction of Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter above us right now as being about us experiencing abundance and happiness, and as a result feel disappointed if we are experiencing conflicts, polarities, or other difficulties, remember Persephone-  remember Persephone as an archetype who embodies the esoteric nature of Gemini to make the necessary changes for the evolution of our Soul.

The Lovers card also connects to the myth of Persephone because of the shocking paradigm shift that occurred in the Olympic Pantheon when she became the lover and partner of Hades:  the entrance of Eros, of passion, love, and desire, into the kingdom of the dead.  In his masterwork The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Roberto Calasso described the significance of Persephone descending to become the bride of Hades like no other can:

When Hades asked his brother Zeus for a living woman, he upset the simple world order that had pertained hitherto:  life abounded, was marked and scarred by raiding gods, then consigned to an empty, inert, incorporeal afterlife.  Zeus wouldn’t have his mortal mistresses vanish.  He would possess them, then abandon them.  But Hades wanted Kore as his bride, wanted to have a living person sitting on the throne beside him.  We could say that with this demand death aimed to inflict a further outrage on the earth above.  But it is precisely now, in its insolence, that death deceives itself.  With the abduction of Persephone, death acquires a body, acquires body:  in the kingdom of the shades, there is now at least one body, and the body of a  flourishing young girl at that.

. . . But now, along with Kore’s body, Eros penetrated the kingdom of the dead.  The slender-ankled Persephone was the supple arrow Aprhrodite ordered Eros to let fly at Hades . . .

When Persephone took her place on Hades’ throne and her scented face peeped out from behind the spiky beard of her partner, when Persephone bit into the pomegranate that grew in the shadow gardens, death underwent a transformation every bit as radical as that which life had undergone when it had been deprived of the girl.  The two kingdoms were thrown off balance, each opening up to the other.  Hades imposed an absence on earth, imposed a situation where every presence was now enveloped in a far greater cloak of absence.  Persephone imposed blood on the dead:  not, as in the past, the dark blood of sacrifice, not the blood the dead used to drink so thirstily, but the invisible blood that went on pulsing in her white arms, the blood of someone who is still entirely alive, even in the palace of death.

–Roberto Calasso, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, p. 211-212

So let us drink to Persephone tonight- that is if you drink- or if not, let us honor Persephone through ritual or intention today.  In these times of great changes and cataclysm, Persephone is a role model who shows us how we can descend to the very depths of being in order to ascend with our own authentic integrity.  In fact, she points to the necessity of needing to descend to our depths for our ascension to occur in the first place.

HadesPersephone2Locri

References

Calasso, R. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.  Knopf.

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

Guttman, A. & Johnson, K. (1993). Mythic Astrology:  Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope.

Oken, A. (1980). Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology. Ibis.

Oken, A. (1990).  Soul Centered Astrology. Ibis.

An angel watches over an argument between Ceres and Mercury

Euphoria winged heart

In Pisces Time

  • Venus is conjunct Neptune in Pisces at 2 – 4 degrees.

  • Sun is conjunct Chiron in Pisces at 9 – 10 degrees.

  • Mercury retrograde is conjunct Mars in Pisces at 19 -20 degrees.

Pisces is always on our minds at this time of year, the end of Winter in our northern hemisphere, with green shoots soon to be Narcissus poking through the dark earth.  This February and March, however, has more Piscean energy than normal.  The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Chiron, and Neptune are all in Pisces, with Mercury retrograde combined with Mars, Venus combined with Neptune, and the Sun combined with Chiron now at the end of February.  The Pisces-Virgo full moon that just occurred on February 25 was within a couple degrees of Chiron in Pisces.

Pisces is an archetype of the infinite and timeless, of the higher Spirit, God, or Goddess interconnecting all of life, in all dimensions and realms.  Moving in time with Pisces means moving in rhythm more with kairos time, the opportune or intuitively correct time to do something, more so than chronos time, the chronological time we “should” do something.  In Pluto: An Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Jeff Green links the Taoist concept of Wu Wei with the Pisces and the 12th House archetype.  Green explained that wu wei is an important Piscean development of awareness to act in accordance with the needs of the eternal now, more so than the needs of our egocentric point of view.  Therefore, if decisive action is required, we act directly; if it is a harmonious time to become more internal and self-reflective, we can enter a more contemplative state of being.  My cousin, who has been studying the Tao through acupuncture and qi gong, told me that  wu wei is “actionless action,” “action without action,” or “doing without doing” because if you are in line with the Cosmos, “then all of your actions are completely in integrity and you influence the world without trying.  The political idea (from ancient China) would be a ‘sage king’ who is so attuned with the Universe that the kingdom and all the subjects benefit without him doing anything. The simplest image . . . is to flow like water.”

Now that Mercury is moving retrograde in Pisces, it will take extra effort for us to keep up with chronos time and the deadline-bound demands, expectations, and responsibilities of our daily work and life.  It will be harder to make it to work on time or have an expected project completed by a specific deadline unless we place a lot of conscious focus there to make it happen.  In contrast, it could be easier to drift off into a more creative, artistic, and reflective pursuit that may on the surface appear to be escapist and not make much sense to the expectations of others around us.  We must be careful, however, of escapist desires that are masking deeper wounds in our psyche we do not want to face;  the Mercury retrograde and Mars conjunction in Pisces right now is in square to Ceres in Gemini, which could reflect addictions and compulsions we fixate on such as over-eating, drug use, or co-dependent relationships in order to provide for our nurturing needs in a grasping manner, instead of finding ways to nurture ourselves that keep us on a healthier path.  Also, remember that Mercury and Mars were traveling together direct in Pisces for most of the month of February before only recently coming into a square with Gemini Ceres; earlier in February Pisces Mercury and Mars were conjunct Chiron in Pisces and squaring Jupiter in Gemini.  Thus, throughout February the Mercury and Mars conjunction in Pisces could have reflected us stridently acting and perceiving events from an emotional perspective that could be either distorted by limiting beliefs or past unhealed wounds.  In contrast, if we have been working on facing past patterns and issues with intention of transformation, we could make choices from a more intuitively feeling place we have helped cultivate through a mindful practice of some sort that helps us heal and purify our inner psyche to create a healthier root foundation for our actions.  Now that Mercury has shifted into a retrograde phase, there could arise more discrepancy between our internal desires for what we want to do with our time and energy versus the external demands of our environment for our time and energy.  The strong squares from Gemini Jupiter and Gemini Ceres, the ultimate divine sister and brother team, to all of the intense Pisces energy of the moment could place us in fast moving and shifting situations full of turmoil and chaos.

From my personal experience during this time period, the universe has been asking me to embrace a higher level of frequency and speed in my daily life, a need to attune to quickly shifting needs relating to my daily work responsibilities.  My Mercury and Midheaven are at 4 degrees of Pisces and have been especially struck with Pisces transits recently, as well as my Pallas Athena at 9 degrees, and Sun at 28 degrees of Pisces conjunct Jupiter, all in my 10th House.  The difficulty has been balancing the myriad needs of my work environment with my own needs for personal time and the needs of loved ones in personal relationship with me.  I have felt, however, that the Universe has been asking me to think, process, make choices, and act at a faster rate and a higher frequency, not so much as multi-task as being able to focus on one thing and then shift focus to another. It has felt like an important time of preparation to be ready to face greater responsibilities and challenges in the near future.

The Venus-Neptune conjunction just coming into manifestation at this time can help with a greater heart opening and awareness of where we need to direct our love and energy moment to moment.  Venus and Neptune combined in Pisces can certainly lead us down illusionary paths, make us more prone to be lost in a fantasy world.  However, if we have been on a path of intention recently to connect more with our true Soul path in life, then this current conjunction of Venus and Neptune can help our heart pierce the shell of crystallized patterns, habits, and emotions we protect our true vulnerability with, for us to open to the potential of expressing unconditional love and faith in our daily life.

In the greater cosmic context of the ripening Pluto-Uranus square, with Saturn in Scorpio moving retrograde, the potential heart opening of Venus and Neptune together in Pisces could even feel shattering.  In current events, it is symbolically fitting that the Pope resigned earlier in February with the intense Pisces conjunctions of Mercury, Mars, Neptune, and Chiron, as the structure of the Catholic church is being shaken in a Uranian way for a potential Plutonic transformation.  Pisces, an archetype in line with the true message of Jesus, fittingly has intense energy being expressed at the same time a bright light is being shone upon the “viper’s nest” of political intrigue amongst Cardinals and other catholic power structure elite who have been covering up sexual abuse and other corrupt practices within the Church.  Whether or not Catholic officials choose to take this moment of “divine intervention” to truly attempt to reform and remake their structure,the opportunity has presented itself.

In our personal lives, the Sun currently being conjunct Chiron in Pisces, the recent conjunctions of Mars and Mercury with Chiron, as well as the conjunction of Venus and Chiron in Pisces in the near future, point to the combined archetypes of Chiron with Pisces being important in this time.  The Chiron archetype is often described as a wounded healer ability we have to heal and transform others as a gift from having done the hard work of facing our own wounds.  However, Chiron is also the trainer of heroes, and we are being asked to step more deeply into our special heroic identity and destiny at this time.  The call of our heroic journey has been more piercing recently because Chiron in Pisces has been in the process of being tested by a square from Jupiter in Gemini.   Integral to this process of stepping into our “Hero’s Journey,” as Joseph Campbell so famously illuminated, is the archetype and function of Mercury.  Mercury first moved direct conjunct Chiron while being conjunct Mars in Pisces at the same time at the beginning of February.  This was a time to begin to harmonize our force of Will (Mars) with how our sense of perception (Mercury) is shaped in relation to our Chiron issues: our wounded past, our special gifts and talents buried in our psyche, and the tremendous strength we can mine from going deep inside to confront our personal demons and fears, gaining the ability to re-emerge with gifts we can share with the people we attract into our life.  Recently Mercury stationed retrograde and became conjunct with Mars once again in Pisces, and now Mercury has embarked on his retrograde journey into our personal underworld, eventually becoming conjunct Chiron again moving retrograde, stationing direct around the Spring Equinox, and then moving direct to conjunct Chiron a third time in the Spring of 2013.

To put it all in a mystorical perspective, Mercury moving retrograde in Pisces at this time is like Hermes journeying into the underworld in order to negotiate a release of Persephone from Hades so that she can return to her mother Demeter.  The Gemini Ceres squaring the Pisces Mercury-Mars conjunction is like the anger and rage of Demeter over losing her daughter Persephone to the underworld and Hades.  She is furious at her brother Zeus for allowing it to happen, and so Zeus convinces Hermes to brave the underworld in order to guide Persephone back to the arms of her mother.  Taking my own creative license with the myth, I feel that Demeter as the Great Goddess of Earth and fertility would clearly have had strong opinions about exactly how Hermes should proceed and attend to the safety of her daughter; Hermes, being slippery and intelligent enough to negotiate not only the underworld but also the power of Hades, likewise would have had the ability to hold his own with Demeter in an intense debate about how he would have to negotiate with Hades.  Ultimately, Hermes is able to retrieve Persephone from the underworld, but it came at a price that Demeter would have to compromise in a Piscean manner of surrender:  Persephone would spend half of the year above ground with her mother Demeter, and the other half of the year presiding over the dead and guiding Souls in the afterlife in the underworld with her partner Hades.  The fact that this tragedy that befell Demeter ultimately resulted in our seasons of the year, the glorious fertility of Spring, and our corresponding conscious awareness of the rebirth from death element inherent to creation, means that her letting go of attachment to possessing Persephone has a fated quality linked to the guidance of the angelic realm.  This theme can be mirrored in our personal lives today anywhere that we are overly attached to based upon our nurturing needs, needs that often have to do with unresolved wounds from our childhood and later personality development.  If we are creating suffering for ourselves because of grasping to control or possess an object of desire, we may be forced to surrender and let go of it in order to find the Piscean faith that our lives will ultimately work out in a manner that will help us heal and rebirth ourselves in a manner for the greatest good.  Ceres and the Demeter myth have a lot to teach us about grief: our reactive ego parts of personality may feel like bitterly reacting with vengeance like Demeter, refusing to express our fertile love in our environment, metaphorically refusing to let flowers, life, and the harvest bloom around us.  If we keep in mind the wisdom that is often symbolized by the concept of Angelic guides, however, we can keep in mind that new life and creation will come out of the death and grief process, we can realize that new exciting endeavors await us.  Reflecting the recent transits of Chiron, Neptune, Mars, Mercury, the Sun, and Venus over the fixed star Fomalhaut, the Archangel available to guide us on our hero’s quest at this time is Gabriel.

Fomalhaut

The Archangel Gabriel

Archangel_Gabriel_(Gelati)

  • Fomalhaut is a fixed star at 3°52′ of Pisces, a reddish star in the mouth of the Southern Fish, Piscis Austrinus.

  • Neptune in Pisces is conjunct Fomalhaut from May 1, 2012 until February 22, 2014.

  • Neptune will be especially close to Fomalhaut from March 16 until March 31, 2013 (also August 20 until September 7, 2013,  and from January 15 until February 1, 2014).

  • Pisces Mars conjunct Neptune on February 4, 2013 was conjunct Fomalhaut

  • Pisces Mercury conjunct Neptune on February 6 was conjunct Fomalhaut

  • Pisces Mercury conjunct Mars on February 8 was conjunct Fomalhaut

  • Pisces Sun conjunct Neptune on February 20 was conjunct Fomalhaut

  • Pisces Venus conjunct Neptune on February 28 is conjunct Fomalhaut

  • Dark Moon in Pisces conjunct Neptune on March 10 is conjunct Fomalhaut

Fomalhaut is a fixed star at four degrees of Pisces, also known as the Archangel Gabriel star.   In the 3rd Century B.C., Fomalhaut marked zero degrees of Capricorn, the Winter Solstice.  It became associated with the archangel Gabriel as one of the four key archangel stars and the watcher of the South, along with Aldebaran (Michael, watcher of the East), Regulus (Raphael, watcher of the North), and Antares (Oriel, watcher of the West).  The temple of Demeter at Eleusis held daily sunrise worship of Fomalhaut around 500 B.C.¹  Thus, there is a herstorical and historical connection between the Angel Gabriel and the Goddess Demeter.

Gabriel is an angel who has made appearances in some of the most famous scenes of the dominant world religions of today:  in the Bible, he appeared to Daniel to aid in explaining the significance of his visions, he is the angel who appeared to the Virgin Mary in order to explain about the birth of Jesus, and he also appeared to Zechariah to foretell the birth of John the Baptist.  In the Qu’ran, Gabrielle is the angel who delivers the message of the Qu’ran to the prophet Muhammad³.  Thus, there is an otherworldly quality to Fomalhaut and Gabrielle that go well with the energy of Pisces: an ability to perceive beyond the limitations we often put upon our reality, to feel the meaning of visions and dreams, and to also have the ability to communicate the significance of these visions in a message that others can understand.

Fomalhaut seems to be a misunderstood star that is similar to the archetype of Pisces, known to reflect poetic, artistic, and spiritual gifts as well as propensity toward illusion and delusion².  Those who have the ability to perceive more of the phenomenal world than others who are more limited by consensus reality, run the risk of being labeled crazy by authorities of consensus reality.  Apparently, Ptolemy viewed Fomalhaut as having the nature of Venus and Mercury, and many astrologers today see it as combining the archetype of Neptune as well¹.  With Neptune currently being conjunct Fomalhaut as well as Venus, we can be guided at this time to write or create art, transform whatever difficulties or stress we are dealing with into poetry and art.  Gabriel is the most poetic, artistic, and magical of the four archangels, and the most peaceful as well².  The otherworldly quality of this star being transited by Neptune and Venus now could reflect a propensity of ours to become more spaced out, less grounded, and more inwardly focused upon ourselves and our spiritual or artistic interests–  ideal for a time period in which Mercury is retrograde in Pisces.

Similar to warnings about the Pisces archetype, we must be careful to not perceive ourselves, our reality, and others around us in relationship through the lens of being a victim when we are dealing with the Fomalhaut archetype.  Instead of using our perceptual abilities to see beyond reality in order to express spiritual visions or artistic depths, we distortedly filter everything through a victimizing perspective that sees or feels things that are not truly there.  We can become victim of our own thoughts and beliefs that lead us to our own suffering.  Put those hard feelings into some form of art instead!  Through the process of art and creativity, we can express a larger spectrum of our feelings and emotions, integrating greater meaning into the complex archetypal symbolism of a fairy tale or artwork than we could by trying to more logically explain what has been difficult about our experiences.

A famous example is the late Olympia singer songwriter Kurt Cobain, born with his Sun, his soul purpose, conjunct Fomalhaut. Kurt put his difficulties as a homeless youth with mental health issues into his art, his guitar playing, and channeled his heart through his voice into songs, lyrics, and a primal scream that connected with millions of youth crossing through their individuation process while expressing the message of the punk lifestyle deep into mainstream and consensus consciousness, temporarily taking over the corporate media outlets even.  He was able to attract widespread fame and a massive generational audience to his work, able to pierce through mass consciousness to a core feeling of Piscean empathy that crossed over many diverse audience backgrounds.  Fomalhaut is a Piscean and angelic archetype that knows how to navigate the avenues of fame and fortune, following illusion after illusion at times.

In our retelling of the Persephone myth, I can imagine the Archangel Gabriel watching over and helping a hurt and grieving Ceres come to a greater understanding of the great prophecy and mystery she is becoming a part of, a story that did indeed become embedded in the Eleusian Mysteries.  According to Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses, the Eleusinian Mysteries were enacted for two thousand years (1600 BC to 400 AD) and were the major initiation rites in the ancient world. George described “the esoteric level taught by the initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries…[was] the great transformation mystery- the cycle of birth, death, and renewal” (p.44).  Integrating esoteric knowledge into initiation rituals in which participants re-enact characters and events of ancient myths seems like a perfect use of the poetic Fomalhaut archetype.  From the mythic perspective, by releasing her daughter to become the Queen of the underworld who can help guide the Souls of the dead to their eventual rebirth, Ceres is able to contribute to greater collective spiritual understanding as well as gain the ability to spend quality time on Earth with her daughter in the Spring and Summer.

Ceres

Ceres statue

  • Ceres stationed direct on February 10, 2013 in Gemini at 20 degrees.  Gemini Ceres was inconjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio at this time.

  • The Heliocentric North Node of Ceres is 20 degrees Gemini

  • Pisces Mercury stationed retrograde in square to Gemini Ceres on February 23, 2013

  • Gemini Ceres squared the conjunction of Mercury retrograde and Mars in Pisces on February 26, 2013

  • Venus in Pisces will square Ceres in Gemini on March 18, 2013

  • The North Node of the Moon in Scorpio has been inconjunct Ceres in Gemini from Ferbruary 7 until March 1, 2013.

  • The asteroid Persephone is currently conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio and widely conjunct Saturn retrograde in Scorpio

  • The asteroid Persephone will station retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio at 18 degrees on March 14, 2013

  • The asteroid Persephone will be closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio at 18 degrees from March 24 until March 26, 2013

  • The asteroid Persephone will eventually be conjunct Saturn retrograde in Scorpio on May 28, 2013 at 7 degrees.

Ceres, also known as Demeter in Greek myth, recently stationed direct at 20 degrees of Gemini on February 10, 2013.  This zodiacal degree is especially significant because it is the heliocentric north node of Ceres:  meaning the north node from the perspective of the Sun (in contrast to the geocentric nodes, from the perspective of Earth, commonly used by astrologers).  At the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology conference, Demetra George gave a brilliant lecture on Ceres in which she illuminated the meaning of this heliocentric Gemini north node:  the development of the rational or logical mind in Femininity and Matriarchal consciousness.  When Demetra was speaking (in November 2011) I tried to write down as much of her message as possible, the fruits of which follow in the passages below.

Developing our rational or logical minds may seem unnecessary in this time period we find ourselves in, dominated by a cultural worldview that is overly rational and negates the feelings of the Anima Mundi that runs through all of life.  Instead of feeling the energy and messages in the trees, animals, water, and life around us, many in the dominant culture choose to view human beings and the narrow pursuits of humans as being the only viable life force to take account of.  However, while paying attention to our intuition is important, there can be something to be said for developing our logic when we fall victim to our emotions and feelings overwhelming us to such an extent that we begin to perceive things in distorted ways unconnected from reality and what the universe is providing for us to act upon in a moment of grounded presence.  We can also use our rational mind to analyze past patterns of behavior to see where we have been stuck or distorted with our thought patterns and work to begin to shift our perspective through mindful practices of gratitude, creative affirmations, or other techniques.

Thus, if the heliocentric North Node of Ceres is Gemini, it draws attention to an evolutionary development of the archetype away from the dogmatic beliefs of it’s heliocentric South Node in Sagitarius.  Sagitarius can be helpful at times through development of a strong value and belief system we can act from through intuition at any moment.  However, when we become stuck or fixated in a certain belief system, believe that others should also have the same belief system perspective that we do, attempt to convince or manipulate others to develop the same belief system as ourselves, or become stuck on a certain belief that is ultimately creating a limited perspective of reality for us, that is when we are heading into the dogmatic danger zone of Sagitarius.  There is a reason we humans developed the scientific method, after all, and there is good use the Goddess Ceres can make of it.  The logic and rational elements of the scientific method, the mutable nature of it that can shift perspective according to evidence manifesting in reality, is after all how humans such as Kepler and Copernicus were able to prove that our planet is revolving around a Sun in a greater universe, as opposed to the universe revolving around our planet.

Along these lines, in the myth Ceres is so devastated by the loss of her daughter Persephone that she loses connection with her passion and purpose to bring fertility to the Earth, and the Earth goes barren as a result.  Ceres uses opiates to escape from her pain and clearly views herself to be a victim in the scenario.  Unfortunately, events take an even greater tragic turn when she becomes raped by Poseidon, aka Neptune.  This event not only symbolizes the  oppression we are at risk of undergoing from the Patriarchy, especially women, it also symbolizes the indescribably tragic horrors that can happen to us when we become overwhelmed by our emotions to such an extent that we lose connection with our passions and purpose in life.  Lots of Pisces energy does not mean everyone is going to be mellow and meditative; instead, there is the potential for lots of anger, escapism, addictions,  and rage, especially with Mars and Mercury conjunct in Pisces.

However, the healing of Ceres from the rape of Poseidon reveals another Piscean avenue of healing:  purification from water.  Ceres releases and heals her anger and rage at Poseidon while taking a bath in a river.   Although she may have become angry or argumentative with Mercury for not being able to retrieve Persephone so that they could spend the entire year together,  in the end, through many trials and tribulations, Ceres is able to gain the logical perception that being able to have her daughter back with her for at least half of the year is better than nothing, and finally that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few in this case because of the multitudes of Souls her daughter will be able to help and heal through returning to the underworld to rule over the kingdom of the Dead.

Synchronistically, the asteroid Persephone at this moment in time is moving with the evolutionary journey of everyone on this planet, currently moving toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio.  This will become even more intense in mid-March when Persephone will station retrograde conjunct the Scorpio North Node, and then move backwards along with the retrograde motion of the North Node.  Eventually in late May of 2013, Persephone will have moved far enough back in Scorpio to be conjunct Saturn in Scorpio.  The amazing symbolism of these cosmic events clearly highlights the Scorpio power that Persephone ultimately claims for herself in the myth by owning her relationship with Pluto and becoming the Queen of the underworld who is able to help guide and heal the Souls of the dead.  In our own lives, we can step into this power no matter how difficult, tragic, oppressive, or cataclysmic our experiences feel: if we face the situation courageously we will activate a deep well of ability we may not normally utilize inside of our self.  Persephone does not end up being a victim: she becomes the Queen of Spirit.

Therefore, Persephone is connected with our evolutionary journey forward at this time.  According to Demetra George in Finding Our Way Through the Dark, the Persephone archetype in our birth charts involve issues surrounding our separation from our mother and “how and where, either physically or psychologically, we may be abducted and plunged into an underworld experience (sometimes at an early age) where we encounter terror, loss, and confusion, and feelings of abandonment” (p. 101).  Persephone in Scorpio is making this underworld feeling described by Demetra George even more intense:

This descent can enable us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed. Some individuals who experience Persephone as a tragedy from which they have never recovered may react by developing patterns of distrust, withdrawal, fear of sexuality and intimacy, fantasy life, depression, chemical addictions, separation anxieties, victimization, passivity and powerlessness, and being acted upon by the strong will of others (p. 101).

Persephone in Scorpio also reflects our potential to step into the eagle aspect of the archetype, taking responsibility and power in our own daily lives and being an effective guide for the transformation of others.  Scorpio Persephone could reflect a latent psychic gift inside our psyche awaiting our cultivation and development.

In contrast, Ceres in Gemini will be showing up in our lives as themes, issues, events, and people in which or with which we have a nurturing role or relationship.  Certainly anything that has to do with the birth or raising of our own biological children or issues with our parents, but also anywhere in our lives in which we are taking on a nurturing role with more of a collective family.  For example, anyone who is a teacher knows the caring vibration you develop for your students, and anyone who works in the social services, mental health field, or medical field, also is well aware of the caring vibration you develop for the people coming to you looking for healing.  Challenges with the people we are working with to help may be triggered at this time, calling us to devise more effective methods at meeting their needs, but more importantly helping them meet their own needs.  Our work with Ceres in Gemini at this time will involve the use of our Mercurial functions of perception, analysis, and communication in order to help nurture ourselves so that we can be come strong nurturers and advocates for others.  In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George described another Mercurial Ceres issue we may be dealing with now, as she explained that stressful aspects between Ceres and Mercury “indicate difficulties in communicating one’s nurturance needs to others, especially the family.  A common example is the person who expects others to know what he or she needs without having to say so, and becomes angry when the other person doesn’t ‘come through'” (p. 72).  George also described stressful aspects between Mars and Ceres as reflecting feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, or powerlessness and that the resolution is to balance “self-will with the desire to nurture and be nurtured” (p. 73).  We can use Mercurial functions to help with this such as creative affirmations or visualization-  in any case, George suggests that we  remember we have the opportunity to transform our “subconscious self-image and replace thoughts of fear and inadequacy with those of confidence, courage, and self-reliance” (p. 73).

Interestingly, this pairing of Ceres with Mercurial functions goes very nicely with the elevation of Ceres to dwarf planet status, the same planetary classification as her nemesis Pluto.  In the December/January issue of The Mountain Astrologer, Maria Kay Simms elucidated a logical argument for making Ceres the modern day ruler of Virgo.  Not only is the Goddess Ceres the actual constellation used with the Virgo archetype, going step-by-step through the assignment of modern day planetary rulership would make Virgo the next in line to receive a modern day ruler, which in synchronicity happens to be Ceres (Ceres was elevated to current planetary status in 2006;  since Eris was elevated in 2003, Simms in the same article argues that Eris should be the modern day ruler of Libra).

Mercury

Mercury and Pegasus

  • Mercury is retrograde in Pisces from February 23 until March 17, 2013

  • Mercury in Pisces moves direct beyond the “retrograde shadow” stationing point on April 6, 2013

  • Mercury and Neptune conjunct in Pisces on February 6, 2013 at 3 degrees.

  • Mercury and Mars conjunct in Pisces on February 8 at 6 degrees, in square to Jupiter in Gemini.

  • Mercury retrograde and Mars conjunct in Pisces on February 26 at 20 degrees, in square to Ceres in Gemini.

  • Venus conjunct Mercury retrograde in Pisces on March 6 at 12 degrees, in square to Jupiter in Gemini.

  • Mercury will have final square with Ceres in this cycle on April 16, 2013 with Mercury in Aries and Ceres in Cancer at 4 degrees.  The Mercury-Ceres square of this time will be within 5-7 degrees of the Uranus-Pluto square.

  • Mercury will have final conjunction with Mars in this cycle in Taurus at 14 degrees on May 7, 2013.

Pisces in Mercury may make some think of a poet, or an overly sensitive dreamer who lacks assertion, but during this time in which Mercury and Mars are traveling together in Pisces the energy will be more like a strident Pegasus stubbornly breaking free of any attempt to reign the energy in.  As I wrote about in one of my first blog posts in August 2012, I love the heroic quality of the Mercury archetype, who appears in myths as Hermes or Mercury over and over again to make truly miraculous acts of heroic rescue.  Mercury is the one God who is repeatedly able to travel down to the depths of the underworld and handle himself enough to rescue a Soul in order for a return to the upperworld.  In the myth of Demeter and Persephone, Zeus knows that the only being capable of negotiating a return of Persephone from Pluto back to her mother Demeter, is Hermes.

On an archetypal psychology level, we are able to use our Mercurial functions of perception to explore our dreams, visions, and unconscious patterns that can have great impact on how we are perceiving reality on a conscious level.  When Mercury travels retrograde, it is like the same symbolic movement of Hermes traveling into the underworld to communicate with Persephone.  Before Persephone was abducted by Pluto, or chose to go with Pluto as the more ancient versions before the invasion of the Patriarchy tell it, she was a young maiden who had not yet explored the dark depths of her psyche or come to an understanding of the unconscious elements of her psyche that influence her daily conscious choices.  For example, if she really chose to be taken by Pluto at that time, was she really aware of why she would have been attracting that situation to herself?  In the end, whether or not she chose to be taken by Pluto does not really matter because Persephone ultimately faced the reality of her situation of being trapped in the underworld and stepped fully into her power as the Queen of the Spirit world.  When Mercury finally reaches her, he is not able to negotiate a complete release of Persephone back to her mother Demeter and the lush green world of the Earth’s surface.  As a result, Persephone becomes a bridge between the upperworld and the underworld, between the unconscious and the conscious, and a powerful symbol of the human ability to explore archetypal patterns of our collective and individual consciousness, and to guide others toward a healing and holistic rebirth of their fractured and fragmented unconscious.

The heroic ability of Mercury in myth to travel back and forth from the underworld to the upperworld, from the unconscious to the conscious, mirrors the human ability to use our minds and perceptions to explore what can appear like otherworldy phenomenon that can be at the root of our perceptual nature.  When Carl Jung wrote and illustrated his Red Book, for example, he may on the surface have appeared to be lost and crazy to others.  However, the legacy of the work he was able to take from his Red Book explorations, his ability to also use his Mercury function to then logically structure writing and communication that could express some of the unexpressable knowledge he had received to a mass audience, ultimately caused a collective revolution in psyche that is being used today by countless healers to help others find and heal themselves.

This ability of Mercury to bring logical written form and structure to otherworldly perceptions and visions, to encode the meaning of the message in the form of a myth, story, or fairy tale, or more analytically organize the message into a more academic psychological or scientific theory, is the power of Mercury in Pisces combined with Fomalhaut, the archangel Gabriel.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George described how the myth of Ceres versus Pluto was used to transmit esoteric knowledge and healing to participants, and how this transformative process is reflected today in Mercurial explorations of our inner psyche:

Within the framework of this archetypal drama, the Eleusinian Mysteries led their initiates through the drama of Ceres and Persephone, of loss and return. First, the story was retold; then, in the Lesser Mysteries, the participants identified with the story’s action; finally, in the Greater Mysteries, they received a vision and revelation that the great mythic drama took place within themselves. These rites are still taking place today, as reported by psychotherapists who have observed the symbols of the ancient initiatory process emerging in their patients’dreams and fantasies. Thus, Ceres’ rites of passage are now being lived out on the inner planes as stages of psychic transformation (p. 45).

Just as the angel Gabriel brought the message of the Qu’ran to the prophet Muhammad, the message of the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary, so can we make sense and order out of perceptions we have during this time that may seem wild and illogical at first.  At the beginning of February, Mercury was moving direct conjunct Fomalhaut at the same time it was conjunct Neptune and Mars; days before the Spring Equinox when Mercury stations direct it will be in range of a conjunction to Fomalhaut once again.  And then Mercury will move direct and eventually be conjunct Mars for the final time in this cycle on May 7, at the height of Spring in full bloom, a potentially peak time to fully manifest the visions currently simmering inside. At this Spring Equinox, as Persephone returns from the underworld to her mother Demeter, as flowers rise out of the earth, and birdsong returns to the trees, we will likewise have the opportunity to bring form, order, and manifestation to new visions arising from within.

Demeter finds Persephone

References

  1. http://www.constellationsofwords.com/stars/Fomalhaut.html
  2. http://www.darkstarastrology.com/fomalhaut
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel
  4. George, Demetra. Asteroid Goddesses.
  5. George, Demetra. Finding Our Way through the Dark.
  6. Green, Jeff. Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul.

A Light in the Darkness

December 21-23, 2012

The times surrounding the Winter Solstice of 2012

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

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

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

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

Gemini 9: A Quiver filled with arrows

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

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

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

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

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

Scorpio 9: A Dentist At Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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