Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens
The Full Moon on March 5 glows radiant in the sign of the winged Virgin, and her presence can help us tend the fiery trine between Jupiter retrograde in Leo and the new conjunction between Venus and Uranus in Aries. What’s more, the flames of the exact trine between Jupiter, Venus and Uranus are further ignited by Saturn in Sagittarius and an exact conjunction between Mars and the South Node of the Moon in Aries. Virgo is an internally contemplative sign, and so this Full Moon appearing with Jupiter in the depths of its retrograde journey will reveal the self-absorbed delusions of grandeur we have been harboring that need mitigating. As a result the inspiration of the grand fire trine of transits can spark realization of how to shed ego obsession and re-align to serve the larger whole of our reality, a helpful course of action considering the multitude of people angrily operating without self-awareness currently. Yet we do not want to hold ourselves back with self-criticism to the extent that we rationalize away the possibility of pursuing our dearest desires, or avoid examining pressing issues out of fear of wounding ourselves. Instead, like the woman in the alchemical image above minding the fire cooking her cauldrons, it will be best to take action aligned with our vision and withstand the heat to remain actively mindful of the ever-changing point we are enacting in our process.
Mercury in Aquarius rules the Full Moon and is our guide to how to infuse spirit into our work and inspired vision into daily grounding. Crucially, Mercury at the time of the Full Moon is closely conjunct Vesta in Aquarius and so integrates the focused, sacred fire sustaining priestess into a greater clarification of Aquarian perception. In the classic Hermes: Guide of Souls, Karl Kerenyi described the connection between Hermes (Mercury) and Hestia (Vesta):
Hermes’ connection to the center of the house, to the goddess of the hearth, is attested by a Homeric hymn to Hestia . . . He guides souls out of his realm- the world of paths and roads- back into the warm life of the household, which in Greek signifies the “family.” In his official capacity as mediator between the worlds of night and day, spirits and men, and (standing before the temple) between the worlds of gods and mankind, he is . . . closely related to door hinges and therefore to the entrance but also to a middle point, to the socket, about which revolves the most decisive issue, namely the alternation life-death-life . . . Through Hermes, every house became an opening and a point of departure to the paths that come from far off and lead away into the distance. Standing at the doorway, he indicates that here is a source of life and death, a place where souls can break in, as through he were pointing out a spring of fresh water. — Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls, pages 102-103
Being centered at “home” will accentuate our ability to receive the light of this Virgo Full Moon, and the revelation could guide us into how best to house the vivifying spirit or soulful desires we feel deeply and wish to experience manifested. We do not need to be living in our ideal home or even necessarily have a home, but rather we need to claim a personal space to feel secure within and create an outlet through which to express ourselves. Since Mercury was recently exactly opposite Jupiter in Leo, our Hermetic guide brings an objective analysis of our developing truth to its conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius. Vesta unveils the importance of focused, determined action and concentration we can wield with discipline to cut through any fogginess or cacophonous clutter in our environment. With the illumination of this Virgo Full Moon, Mercury has finally exited its retrograde shadow zone and so the mental processing we have been engaged in since the recent Mercury retrograde cycle began on January 21, 2015 can now more fully elucidate the relevant issues. Since Mercury and Vesta in Aquarius are also now sextile to the Uranus and Venus conjunction in Aries, the full reflected light of this coming full moon can bring breakthrough insight to help solve our recent dilemmas.
Sardonyx cameo of a nymph riding a centaur (Hellenistic, 1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D.)
Our two great lights of this Full Moon are each conjunct symbols of wounding, rejection, and heroic salvation, with the Sun in Pisces conjunct Chiron, and the Moon in Virgo conjunct Black Moon Lilith. Since Mars is also conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, we could experience amplified feelings of anger and frustration if we become overwhelmed by shadow side connections to Virgo such as guilt, lack, emptiness, and perfectionism that leads to self-criticism for falling short on our ideals. However, Mars affixed to the South Node in Aries can also coincide with an impulsive or instinctual release of an essential element of our nature that will be vital for us to reflect upon. In this atmosphere the full light of the Virgo Moon will spiral deep within our core, and the reflected awareness will sharpen our discernment on which practical strategies will be best to focus on to modify our behavior and goals to flow more harmoniously with the chaotic changes erupting in our surroundings. The key is to tune into the spirituality we can find in the ever changing moment of our mundane livelihood, and to listen to the messages found in the soul material of our environment. A Virgo Full Moon is perfect for shining light on a prudent path to follow that will help us utilize our essential gifts if we keep our consciousness focused on self-acceptance rather than harsh self-judgment.
In this way it is important to realize this Virgo Full Moon is in a harmonious aspect to Pluto in Capricorn and is connected to the seventh and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that will occur in a couple weeks in the waning phase of the current Moon cycle. The Virgo Moon will be in trine to Pluto and the Pisces Sun will be in sextile to Pluto, meaning that instead of resisting or being in denial of the deep pull of our Plutonic soul desires, the Full Moon can help us realize the changes of necessity we will need to surrender to that we can no longer avoid experiencing. With the Sun conjunct Chiron and the Moon conjunct Black Moon Lilith, we can then not only uncover and embody more of our deepest nature, we can also foster the courage to assert our beliefs and passions in the face of surrounding criticism, knowing that by pursuing our deeply felt passion we will in turn manifest a creation that will be meaningful for others of like-mind.
The Passing of Venus (1898) Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Indeed, the burning fires of passion that can coincide with Venus being conjunct Uranus in Aries and in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Leo is the great gift of this Full Moon to open. In the sequence of zodiac signs that begin with Aries and end in Leo, there is a journey of our personal development from a sense of essential individuality in Aries to it’s ultimate creative actualization in Leo. The brilliant light of Jupiter illuminating our night these days is like the traditional wishing star that pulls forward our unique gifts and talents (Venus conjunct Uranus in Aries) into such a strong desire to make them real that we discover a way for us to make our sense of destiny actually happen.
Virgo is the sign that follows Leo and tempers the Lion’s delusions of grandeur so that we can interact harmoniously in our intimate partnerships and effectively in our collaborative relationships. Virgo also makes the tense and awkward 150° inconjunct aspect to Aries, and this Virgo Full Moon will be closely inconjunct the conjunction of Venus and Uranus in Aries. In evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, this waxing inconjunct aspect is associated with the Virgo archetype and correlates to a feeling of special destiny or vision that we feel deeply called to pursue, and yet simultaneously brings a sense that we are not ready to achieve our ambition. A potential negative consequence is that instead of taking action toward our desire we instead make excuses through rationalization why we should not bother asserting ourselves toward our dream, all the while observing with tremendous envy other individuals successfully actualizing the same desired path, ambition, or vocation. The conjunction between Venus and Uranus that is also in trine to Jupiter in Leo is so full of great promise that it would be a huge missed opportunity to follow this line of thought and talk ourselves out of making liberating choices forward. A solution is to focus on understanding why we do not feel ready to successfully manifest our dream, and then actively engage in strategies and actions to improve and work on the areas of our Self we realize we need to enhance in order to be effective.
The Mirror of Venus (1875) by Edward Burne-Jones
We are filled with a sense of magic and lightness when we stare into a luminous Full Moon, and this lustrous dazzlement is a moment to seize in remembrance of what we hold dear to our hearts, in contrast to the heartache caused by the disappointments felt in our day-to-day existence. For those tuned into the news cycle of current events, there is no end to the horror show of savage murders, betrayals, and mass killings berating our perception. In our personal lives, the huge influx of Mars, Venus, Uranus, and the South Node of the Moon combined in Aries has likely made us need to confront anger from others or feelings of anger wanting to erupt from within ourselves. The South Node of the Moon is often connected to either our past lives or habitual complexes in astrology, but remembering that all of the planets have nodes and not just the Moon, we can also think of it as signifying the entire past arc of the Moon archetype in our lives. Mars and Venus having initiated a new cycle of relationship and desire for us around the time of the past New Moon, at this Full Moon we can feel a burning sense of all our past desires we have not yet experienced, or confront issues from our past that did not turn out the way we had originally hoped.
Instead of feeling guilty or mired in lack, wanting to distract ourselves with meaningless busyness, gaze into the mirror reflection of this Full Moon with the awareness of how beautiful it is also to be simply alive and incarnate in your body. In the space between our current self and societal position and the sense of where our higher nature wants us to be, open your mind with discrimination toward practical, simple steps you can begin to take today to bridge the distance. There is a Mercurial discernment of Venusian refinement into our essential nature available now that will lead to discovery of key ingredients in our process of creating our desired work of beauty.
by Pamela Colman Smith
Opening our mind to new visions found along our daily path can bring true inspiration now. Instead of searching far and wide for an imagined ideal Muse, sometimes we need to remember that we already have Muses surrounding us and we simply need to invite them to lay down with us in our field of awareness. When the Moon is full in Virgo in opposition to the Sun in Pisces, we receive signs of how we can align our personal will with a higher will, how we can align our thoughts and behavior with the soul of our surroundings. This current Virgo Full Moon is in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and so brings in productive, fertile earth energy into an otherwise stormy mix of planets in fire, air, and water signs. A personal sojourn into the green world, removed from as much of the modern excess of electronics as possible, will be a fantastic activity for this Full Moon time if you can manage it. Connecting with trees and birdsong on wild paths of untended decomposition and burgeoning growth is a perfect setting to contemplate the concerns coinciding with a full lunation in the mutable Earth sign of Virgo.
9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith
This Virgo Full Moon by zodiac degree falls within the Virgo II decan which is ruled by Venus. The associated tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith displays a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure lifting her trained falcon within a grapevine estate. This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces astutely analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it is a bird of prey that feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes. In this way, Coppock stated that when we delight in the end product of a glass of wine, “The beauty of the finished product of the process conceals the pain and toil utterly necessary for its creation . . . It is only through heat, force and sweat that the most delicate and elegant works are created” (p. 145). Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:
Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus. On an emotional level, the visions that stain this face teach one not to be repulsed by process, nor to be glamoured by the apparent perfection of a finished thing. On a practical level, this face brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof. The residents of this decan oversee the ever-transforming world, guiding and shaping the Great Work on a microcosmic level.
–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 146
There is nothing easy about this time we inhabit, but the hard work we exhibit today, the monstrous emotions we feel temporarily overwhelmed by, the radiant glow of bliss we contact in a perfect moment, it all feeds the form we are breathing within in this moment. Discard feelings of anxiety over not being in the exact job or relationship you want right now, or having not enacted your envisioned plan yet. This is an important Full Moon to listen to, as it prepares us for the upcoming eclipse season that stretches from the March Equinox into the month of April, pointing us in the direction of necessary modifications needed in our current process. In the end we will all benefit from the final product you create out of your present dilemmas and circumstances.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.
Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.
In February 2015 the asteroids Psyche (#16) and Eros (#433) will be conjunct Venus and Mars.
From February 6 through February 20, 2015, Psyche and Eros will be conjunct Venus and Mars in Pisces.
February 17, 2015: Psyche and Eros are conjunct at 23 degrees of Pisces. Venus will be at 26° Pisces and Mars will be at 28° Pisces at this time.
February 18, 2015: in between the beginning of new cycles between first Psyche and Eros and then Venus and Mars, there will be a New Moon at the final degree of Aquarius with Mercury in Aquarius sextile Saturn in Sagittarius.
On February 20, 2015 by the light of a sliver moon, Venus and Mars will be together in the Sunset sky near the crescent light
February 21, 2015: Venus and Mars will be conjunct and beginning a new cycle at 1° Aries. Psyche will be at 25° Pisces and Eros will be at 26° Pisces.
When in love, when under waves of desire whether erotic or otherwise, when struck with the pang of separation and unfulfilled desire, experience intensifies and we can feel the full fabric of soul within and surrounding us. It can be easy to cynically dismiss the true love of fairy tales or scoff at the romantic excess of Valentine’s Day, yet there truly is nothing like Love and the full spectrum of associated emotions that can make us feel alive, one with the stars above and earth below, and Whole. Currently there is an intense Dark Moon in Capricorn and Aquarius that leads to a New Moon at the final degree of Aquarius on February 18. This lunar clearing to prepare for a new cycle mirrors current balsamic cycles between Venus and Mars and the asteroids Psyche and Eros that are occurring at the same time in the final decan of Pisces. Psyche and Eros being conjunct simultaneously in the same section of the zodiac as Venus and Mars amplifies a time of re-seeding our relational desires and the vision we each hold for the relationships we wish to exist within.
In the story of Eros and Psyche we explore their sacred union and the path to becoming whole through love, as well as the journey of Psyche from mortality to divinity. Just as we associate Eros with desire and Psyche with soul in modern language, the tale of Psyche’s merging with Eros reveals how pursuit of our desires can ultimately bring us to a union with our soul. According to Demetra George, a pioneer in the use of asteroids in astrology, Psyche is a higher octave of Venus and Eros is a higher octave of Mars. As a result it is incredible synchronicity that as Venus and Mars are now closing their cycle that began in April of 2013, Psyche and Eros are also closing and beginning a new cycle in the same sign of Pisces. The connection with Pisces is further augmented by the mythic connection between Venus and Cupid, also known as Eros, and the constellation of Pisces. The Greeks and Romans saw the two fish of Pisces as representing the escape of Venus and her son Cupid from the monster Typhon by transforming themselves into fish that could swim safely away. Both Greek and Roman tradition eventually saw Venus/Aphrodite as the mother of Eros/Cupid by way of her lover Mars. Yet in older Greek tradition, Eros was seen as one of the primordial manifestations of form in the story of Creation who was beyond gender divisions. In this way Eros has always been seen as an actively direct, progenitive force that is at the root of creation, and eventually as a result was connected with the masculine energy that seeds new birth in the receiving feminine.
Cupid and Psyche (1794) by Antonio Canova
Within the ascending Psyche, rooted in human matter, merging with the descending Eros, connected to heavenly light, we find a true soul communion. According to Demetra George, the Psyche asteroid illuminates our capacity to be sensitive on a psychic level to an Other and is about our desire for a soul mate, a union with a lover under the guidance of divine energy through the path of conscious relationship. Yet Psyche is not only about a spiritual and sexual union with an Other, but also can be about a union within the Self. Through Psyche, erotic energy is akin to the procreative life force when we are swept away in our body by bonding with a lover or other desire. In this way Eros is the primal, procreative force of our passion that underlies our vision and desires, as well as indicates our sexual attractions and vitality.
I do not want to take up the space here going into the plot of Psyche and Eros in detail, but I did previously write about their story last year during the Venus retrograde in Capricorn. If you want to know their story, I recommend reading the distilled summary and deep analysis of the Psyche and Eros myth found on the Symbol Reader blog, lovingly told in three parts: beginning, middle, and end. The essential information is that Psyche was born as a beautiful princess who received so much admiration that she aroused the jealousy of Aphrodite/Venus. Determined to remove this threat to her status as the goddess of love and beauty, Venus ordered her son Eros/Cupid to prick Psyche with one of his arrows to make her fall in love with an abominable monster. However, Eros instead fell in love with Psyche and intervened so that Psyche ultimately found her way into his secure, secretive, and sensually luxurious palace where he lustfully merged with her in dark abandon. A plot detail that echoes the current balsamic conjunction of Venus and Mars in Pisces is that after Psyche’s father consulted an oracle and was told that she was destined to marry a monster who aroused fear in even Zeus himself, Psyche’s father coordinated a ritual sacrifice for her that was at the same time like a funerary rite and a giving away to marriage. This intersection between death and burial, marriage and a new beginning, is resonant with the current close of the past two year cycle of Venus and Mars that will give way to a new cycle between these archetypes of love and desire.
Psyche with the Lamp by Max Klinger
There are those who analyze a lack of perspicacity in Psyche through intellectual interpretation of the myth, yet who has not been under the throes of cloistered, secretive passions felt in the dark of night where clarity is not even a potential. Psyche in the end brings the full light of conscious awareness to her union with Eros after her sisters warn her that she could be sleeping with a serpentine monster. Once Psyche brings fire to light her vision of Eros, falling even further in love with him in the process, her story suddenly shifts in a radical direction not unlike a Uranus transit or the impact of the current square between Pluto and Uranus we are experiencing in astrology. This shift begins by the wound caused by burning lamp oil on Eros that provokes him to flee from his lover, in part because of his secret being unveiled.
As we have been experiencing the close of the cycle between Venus and Mars in Pisces, similar to Psyche in the palace of Eros we may have felt burning desire more so than clarified realization. The balsamic phase is a time of re-visioning in which premonitions of our coming vision enter our field of awareness without full consciousness of how or when it will manifest. Simultaneously the balsamic phase is a period of releasing past patterns and relationships, a letting go to make space for the new. Our attractions can be on a more primal and unconscious level, and as we had a Mercury retrograde ending less than a week ago, numerous images of past relationships we now wish to release could have been circulating within the same space as images of the new relationships we now want from our current presence. The upcoming New Moon on February 18 features a Mercury moving direct that is in sextile to a Saturn that is still direct, and so we will have greater capacity to clarify with the light of consciousness the passions we have felt in the dark.
In the story of Psyche and Eros, once Psyche has lit her perception of the truth that she has fallen in love with the divine Eros, his ensuing separation from her pulls her into a Heroine’s Journey of numerous trials and tribulations that take her to the extremity of the Underworld and back. Through her yearning for love’s embrace and the pain of separation in space from it, Psyche opens her psychic field to the soul of the world around her and the potential to unite her personality with her own soul.
Pan comforting Psyche by Max Klinger
In the wake of her separation from Eros, Psyche leapt with desperation into a river, ready to surrender her suffering and release herself from control of her life. Yet in a foreshadowing of natural intervention, the flowing water protects her from ending her life and delivers her to the shore and the goat hooves of the wild nature god Pan. Pan lends Psyche his full sympathy, inspiring her to follow her love toward Eros instead of giving up her life in defeat. So begins the solitary quest of Psyche that has served as an allegory for the necessity of finding and uniting with our Self before we are able to fully enjoy and sustain a soulful union with our beloved. Pan is a different mythic figure than Chiron, yet shares the similarity of integrating human and animal parts in his unified form. As a result I feel this crossroad of the story resonates with the astrology we began February 2015 with, when there was a conjunction between Chiron in Pisces with Psyche, Eros, and Mars, and by the end of the first week of February, Venus had also entered into a conjunction with Chiron.
After realizing that Psyche is determined to reunite with Eros, Aphrodite begins giving her a series of seemingly impossible tasks to complete. However, in each one Psyche succeeds through her openness to nature and her ability to communicate and listen to the soul of her environment. Ants, reeds, an eagle, and a man-made tower all communicate with Psyche and come to her aid at pivotal points in her tests. Psyche’s psychic empathy is her heroic strength, and similarly we can utilize the recent transits of Venus and Mars with Chiron in Pisces to draw from our own unique gifts in pursuit of our desire, while listening intently to messages from our surrounding environment to help us find the the unique solution to each dilemma we face. The recent transits to Chiron may have intensified our experience, yet this heightened magnification has demanded an enhancement in our ability to respond with the focus necessary to ultimately manifest our desired outcome.
Psyche on the Cliff by Max Klinger
Although Psyche manages to succeed in her initial tests, Psyche feels the full force of a dark night of her soul while literally peering over a perilous cliff into the deathly water of the River Styx. The great strength of Psyche is that she bravely feels all of her emotions and does not shirk from her suffering or attempt to deny it, distract herself from it, or numb it. She feels all of the torment of being separated from her Eros, and the magnetism of her emotive vibration time after time inspires the sympathy of elements in her environment that come to her aid and ensure her survival and success.
Indeed, each hardship and challenge faced by Psyche ennobles her character to such an extent that she is able to follow the pathless path into the Underworld in order to appease Aphrodite’s demand of a sampling of Persephone’s beauty ointment. Psyche wins the favor of the Queen of the spirit world, as Persephone presents Psyche with a share of her restorative beauty balm. Miraculously, Psyche manages to re-ascend to the upper world and it is at this point that she decides she will no longer surrender to the directive demands of Aphrodite. Although Psyche had been warned that applying Persephone’s beauty ointment to herself will result in death, Psyche chooses to apply the magical medicine anyway. Whether this was an act attempting to make herself more attractive to Eros, or a consequence of an emboldened sense of Self, the beauty ointment of Persephone leads to the resurrection of her union with Eros and transformation into divine presence. This is because after the application of the ointment causes Psyche to fall into a death-like sleep, Eros becomes incapable of restraining himself any longer and soars to embrace Psyche in his arms, pressing his lips against her lips and in the mingling of his breath within her awakens her with his true love’s kiss. Their marriage and ascension of Psyche from mortal to goddess follows, and from their union a beautiful daughter is born from the womb of Psyche, in Greek known as Hedone and in Roman known as Voluptas, both words meaning “Pleasure.”
Eros finds Psyche by Max Klinger
The sign of Pisces is an appropriate place to hold all of the archetypal drama of Psyche and Eros, Venus and Mars. In Pisces we find a yearning for eternal, ultimate meaning and a surrendering to the ineffable bliss of love. The deep waters of Pisces reflect images imbibed with symbolism connected to the world of myth and the source of the collective unconscious. Notice and be present for what has been arising within your deepest recesses, and what aspects of your past patterns and relationships no longer link with your personal truth. It is helpful to realize the current cycle of Venus and Mars closing now began on April 6, 2013 at twenty degrees of Aries, and so relationship issues since that time are especially poignant to reflect upon and release what feels pertinent to clear. We are at a time to both let go of the past and to set intentions and invitations in place to welcome our new presence in relationship. If it feels deeply connected to us on a soul level, it is time to focus on it moving forward with full presence. If it seems more like a pattern we have picked up through collective conditioning in one way or another, whether it be from media exposure, family influence, or consensus societal beliefs, if it is not rooted to our deep nature then it is time to release it. There is more than enough pain and suffering going around and around our planet these days for all of us: like a determined Psyche, stay centered on the desires that will bring you joy, fulfillment, and affirmation.
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
— W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939
Psyche and Eros by Max Klinger
George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.
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.
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
Ceres 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.
Vesta 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.
Pallas 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.
Juno 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.
George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.
The painting “Bringing Light without Pain” above is by Roberto Matta, an artist with a Scorpio Mercury and Sun (11/11/1911), and so an apt painter to showcase in this time when Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio and headed toward it’s “inferior” conjunction with the Sun in Scorpio. While being able to bring light “without pain” during this period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is perhaps unlikely, the goal of connecting with more light, integrating more light into our lives by the end of a deep process of shedding burdensome past patterns or identities is a reachable potential over the next month. Roberto Matta first came to my attention when I saw astrologer Gonzalo Romero present a lecture on Mercury in 2011 in which he drew attention to the artistic perception, expression, and communication of Matta. Gonzalo described Roberto Matta as having a mercurial ability to “make the invisible, visible” through his artistic expression of aspects of phenomenal reality he could perceive. Among other things, Mercury is a function in astrology aligning with what part of reality we choose to perceive and order within our consciousness in order to structure such aspects of our life as how we communicate with others through speech, writing, sound, or art. As a result, when Mercury goes retrograde we have a unique opportunity to investigate what we have been choosing to focus on in our perceptions, and what sorts of habitual mindsets and thought cycles may have been dominating our mental space. With awareness then comes the potential to transform the way we are choosing to think about aspects of our reality that have been leading us toward greater negativity or suffering, in order to shift our mindset to help us create more of what we want to experience in our lives.
Mercury retrograde time periods have gained a negative reputation in popular culture and sometimes make people wary or fearful of what could happen with mishaps in communication and technology, but in reality Mercury retrograde periods offer many gifts and opportunities to change and reset deep rooted patterns in our being. This upcoming Mercury retrograde periods promises to be one of the most potentially regenerative and transforming retrograde cycles in memory, as it involves three passes with Saturn in Scorpio and happens at the same time as an exact square between Uranus in Aries and Capricorn in Pluto. Moreover, there are eclipses occurring at the same time, with a Lunar Eclipse occurring shortly before Mercury stations retrograde, and a Solar Eclipse occurring shortly after the powerful moment of the retrograde cycle in which Mercury and the Sun become conjunct. Mercury aka Hermes is not only the God of Communication but also a God of Thresholds and Liminality, a Guide of Souls who is a Psychopomp able to move between the underworld and the upperworld. The term “liminality” is from the Latin root meaning “threshold” and is an appropriate description for the eclipse and Mercury retrograde period of time we are in since one of it’s meanings from Anthropology is “the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete” (wikipedia).
In Depth Psychology, liminality has also become a descriptive word used in the process of Individuation when an individual experiences feelings of disorientation and darkness as an old identity breaks down, all the while in a fluid process of becoming more whole or authentic, an “in-between” space of being that can persist for great lengths of time. Now, in the liminal space we are entering in between eclipses and during a time of intense astrological transits, we may feel confused, what we feel may turn out to be very different than it first appears in the moment, and where we are headed may be unclear, but it is good counsel at this time to realize that simply breathing, and allowing ourselves “to be” with whatever is happening in the moment will be a strategy useful to navigate our upcoming experiences. Of course, sometimes experiences suddenly demand that we quickly respond and initiate action, but no matter how intense experiences may become, if we can keep ourselves in the flow of things and persevere, eventually we will begin to realize why we are on the new path events led us to. The alignment of celestial bodies above us is too astounding for it to be any other way.
Indeed, this Mercury retrograde cycle and other surrounding transits will be taking us to the heart of many of the astrological themes I have been writing about over the past year on this blog. At the heart of this Mercury retrograde cycle we will have the opportunity to open our hearts to a greater extent, as the fourth of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn occurs on the same day as the inferior conjunction between Mercury retrograde and the Sun in Scorpio. As there are seven squares between Uranus and Pluto occurring between 2012 and 2015, the fourth one occurring on November 1, 2013 has been linked by many to issues around the 4th Chakra, or Heart Chakra. In order for us to reach a greater heart opening in our lives, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio will align with not only our ability to transform the way we are perceiving and communicating, but will give us the opportunity to go the depths of our core soul issues on all levels, meaning in a manner impossible for me to describe with the limitations of language. At the same time, there will be a real opportunity for us to take action to help us transform, as there will be a mutual reception occurring between Mars in Virgo and Mercury in Scorpio (this is because Mars is the traditional ruler of Scorpio, and Mercury is the traditional ruler of Virgo), with an exact sextile between Mars and Mercury on the same day that Mercury is conjunct the Sun in Scorpio and Uranus is exactly square to Pluto. Since these intense astrological transits on November 1 come with the dawn of the day following Halloween or Samhain, a night in which the veil between the worlds is traditionally viewed as being more open, we will be in a truly magical night to celebrate Halloween and Samhain in 2013, a liminal space to don our archetypal masks and costumes.
In order to refrain from delving into astrology geek terminology that could lose all but the most obsessively astrological among my readers, I have summarized below several important time periods in October and November of 2013 in connection with this time period of Mercury’s retrograde cycle in Scorpio:
October 5 – October 9, 2013
Mercury in Scorpio conjunct first the North Node of the Moon, and then Saturn between 7 and 11 degrees of Scorpio.
At this time Mercury was also at its greatest distance in elongation from the Sun in its cycle, being 28 degrees ahead of the Sun.
October 18 – October 25, 2013
10/18/13: Lunar Eclipse at 26 degrees of Aries and Libra
10/19/13: Mars in Virgo in opposition to Neptune in Pisces at 3 degrees
10/21/13: Mercury in Scorpio stations retrograde at 18º24′
10/25/13: Heliacal set in the West at Sunset for Mercury in Scorpio- Mercury is at the phasis point of being 15 degrees away from the Sun, meaning that Mercury now descends to theUnderworld in mythic terminology and will correspond with a more subjective, reflective, and intuitive perception.
October 29 – November 3, 2013
10/29/13: Mercury in Scorpio retrograde and conjunct Saturn at 14 degrees Scorpio
11/01/13: Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn at 9º26′
11/01/13: Mercury retrograde in Scorpio inferior conjunct the Sun at 9º34′
11/01/13: Mercury in Scorpio in sextile to Mars in Virgo at 10 degrees
11/03/13: Solar Eclipse at 12 degrees of Scorpio conjunct Saturn in Scorpio; Mercury retrograde in Scorpio conjunct the North Node of the Moon at 8 degrees Scorpio
November 7 – November 15, 2013
11/07/13: Jupiter in Cancer stations retrograde at 20º31′
11/09/13: Heliacal rise in the East at Sunrise for Mercury in Scorpio- Mercury is once again at the phasis point of 15 degrees behind the Sun, meaning that Mercury now ascends to the Upperworld from the Underworld in mythic terminology and will now correspond with a more objective perception as Mercury stations direct and moves forward as a Morning Star.
11/10/13: Mercury in Scorpio stations direct at 2º32′ in trine to Neptune in Pisces
11/13/13: Moon in Aries conjunct Uranus at 10 degrees
11/14/13: Neptune in Pisces stations direct at 2º35′ in trine to Mercury in Scorpio
11/15/13: Venus in Capricorn conjunct Pluto at 10 degrees
November 18 – 27, 2013
11/18/13: Mercury direct conjunct the North Node of the Moon at 7 degrees Scorpio
11/20/13: Chiron in Pisces stations direct at 9º07′ in trine to Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio
11/26/13: Mercury direct in Scorpio conjunct Saturn in Scorpio at 16º33′
11/27/13: Mercury in Scorpio moves beyond its retrograde shadow zone of 19 degrees, while in a wide Grand Water Trine with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron in Pisces.
Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio
The most obvious aspect of the current retrograde cycle of Mercury in Scorpio is that it will be conjunct Saturn in Scorpio three times, and that it occurs in between eclipses. Just the fact that a Scorpio Mercury in retrograde would conjunct Saturn three times, station retrograde a few days following a Lunar Eclipse, and then have its inferior conjunction with the Sun occur a couple of days before a Solar Eclipse, is amazing timing. When we consider that the Lunar Eclipse initiating the Mercury retrograde is the first Aries/Libra cardinal eclipse that will become more prevalent in 2014, it gets more interesting, especially since the day of the Uranus-Pluto square and inferior conjunction between Mercury retrograde and the Sun occurs on a dark moon before a Solar Eclipse. However, when we take in all of the other myriad transits occurring during this time period, outlined above, it becomes even more extraordinary. If you have planets in your chart around the degrees of 8 to 10 or so, you will especially want to investigate how the upcoming transits will impact your chart.
In addition to the prominence of Saturn in Scorpio in relation to Mercury, the next planet that becomes prominent upon a closer look is Neptune in Pisces. This is because when Mercury in Scorpio eventually stations direct on November 10, 2013 it will be in trine to Neptune, and then Neptune will also be stationing direct a few days later on November 14, 2013, meaning that Mercury and Neptune will both be stationing direct at the same time in trine to one another. The connection between this Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle and Pisces Neptune is deep rooted, and will be important for those of us doing deep processing because the next Mercury retrograde cycle that will happen will be in Pisces and then Aquarius in February of 2014, aligned with Neptune in Pisces to such an extent that when Mercury stations retrograde it will be conjunct Neptune in Pisces. Thus, at this time and across the next five months, the universe is displaying clear signs of the significant relationship between Mercury retrograde and Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is a planet of illusion, and while one may argue that all of life is an illusion, it is through our perception of reality and what we choose to focus on through observation or belief that often pulls us into illusory thinking leading to behavior misaligned with how to navigate at an optimal level. Since the current Scorpio Mercury will conjunct both Saturn and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio three times during this time period, our greatest growth will come through taking a brutally honest look at ourselves in the mirror and facing our fears and past wounds in a way that helps transform them like a Phoenix in the fire, so that we can more fully experience the now and be more fully alive in the present moment of our current reality. However, since we will be experiencing this potential at a time of Mercury being retrograde, we will gain awareness of a path toward transformation less through rational analysis and more through following omens, signs, intuition, and images from dream that arise before us.
In contrast, if we act from a place of past fear or wounding, victimize ourselves or focus on blaming others, it takes us into a greater likelihood of the lower nature of Scorpio, the more manipulative side that will use illusion in order to try to manipulate, control, or shame others. Even if we are doing our own hard work of authentic and honest processing at this time, it will be important to remember that many people around us will not be doing deep internal work, and that many people may continue to act out or throw tantrums of one kind or another from a state of mind of believing that they understand reality in a way that is not actually connected to the deep, regenerative shifts in reality that will be in process at this time. Those fixated in belief of one kind or another, unwilling to examine the underpinnings of their beliefs or their judgments toward others, most likely will end up coming into conflict with others to a greater level of intensity than normal as the square between Uranus and Pluto comes into exactness on November 1, 2013.
Traditionally, November 1 is known as the “Day of the Dead,” a time to honor family ancestors through artistic expression and symbolic perception that are perfect for a time of Mercury being retrograde in Scorpio. However, the Day of the Dead this year will be an especially auspicious time to also release past family karma that we may discover is a source of limitation for us, as November 1 will be a Dark Moon prior to a Solar Eclipse in which there will be a conjunction in Scorpio between the Sun and Mercury retrograde, in addition to the square between Uranus and Pluto. A great help will be the Grand Water Trine that has been occurring between Scorpio Saturn, Cancer Jupiter, and Pisces Chiron, the transitional celestial bodies of astrology that help bridge the more personal energy of Mercury, Venus, and Mars with the more galactic and “out there” energy of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. In fact, Jupiter will be stationing retrograde around the time of the Mercury retrograde cycle when Mercury becomes a Morning Star (this will be discussed in more detail below), and Pisces Chiron will be stationing direct at the end of November at the same time that Mercury will be picking up speed in its forward movement and leaving the retrograde “shadow” zone, meaning that Mercury will be moving past the point of its retrograde stationing at the same time that Chiron in Pisces stations direct. Among other themes, the stationing of Cancer Jupiter and Pisces Chiron during this time reveals that part of our Scorpio Mercury work will be about ancestral memories, family karma, family dynamics of our early childhood as well as all of the “family” dynamics of one sort or another we have created through relationship in our lifetime. The more we can sit with and sense the feelings that come up, without moving into a stagnant mindset of victimizaiton or negativity, the more we can work on releasing some habitual thought cycles that have been limiting our full potential and expression.
Finally, it is also significant that this Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle will feature sextiles between Mercury and both Mars and Venus, meaning that there will also be important opportunities to work on our personal issues and behaviors at this time. As already mentioned, Mars being in the sign of Virgo and so in mutual reception with Mercury during this retrograde phase is a perfect use of the Virgo Mars energy, an archetype that can utilize various healing techniques and tools to problem solve and fine tune personal issues and patterns. At the same time of the Lunar Eclipse and the stationing of Mercury retrograde, Mars in Virgo was in direct opposition to Neptune in Pisces, adding even further drive and potential to our ability to deeply examine what sorts of illusions or misguided beliefs or judgments may be operating in our personal sphere of interaction with the world around us. The exact sextile between Virgo Mars and Scorpio Mercury will come at the same time of the inferior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun on November 1, the same day as the square between Uranus and Pluto- this is an extraordinary moment to align our actions and desires with the shift of feeling and perception we could be experiencing, in order to lead us onto a more fruitful path going forward. However, on a cautionary note again with the aspects between all of this and Neptune in Pisces, with Scorpio Mercury moving retrograde, we also must remember that what we could be sensing at this time may be existing in the more ethereal or astral realms than in the physical and concrete reality around us. It is a perfect time, however, to plant the seeds of bright dreams and great visions for our future.
In comparison, Venus will shift into Capricorn and come into an exact sextile with Mercury around the time that Mercury stations direct in trine to Neptune in Pisces. Within a week, Venus in Capricorn will then become conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus in Aries. Again, if we have been processing and releasing we could come into an opportunity to gain a greater capacity to begin manifesting greater abundance for ourselves and others in our life at this time. However, if we are still clinging to past beliefs and conceptions about our life and reality at this time, we could just as well face a great personal crisis or come into conflict with others. Since there are so many intense transits occurring during this time, there is no doubt that all of us will be stepping into challenging circumstances that test our mettle, and for those working on developing a more authentic identity for themselves, this newfound sense of identity will also surely be tested. However, Venus coming into contact with Pluto in Capricorn will also be in sextile to Saturn in Scorpio and the North Node of the Moon, and so the difficulties could also be part of a great transformation we will eventually be grateful occurred in our life.
Guide between the Upper and Underworld
Despite a wealth of mythic support for the role of Mercury as being a Guide of Souls, the majority of astrological writing focuses on Mercury as being about communication issues rather than the relationship between our conscious and unconscious perceptions and the core issues of our psyche that connect with our ability to rebirth a more fully actualized Self. Demetra George has two lectures I recently listened to entitled “Hermes: Guide of Souls” and “Hermes: Guardian of Thresholds” that are available for a total of fifteen dollars on her website, lectures that are well worth the money for anyone interested in gaining a deeper mythic understanding for the Mercury cycle in astrology. In these two lectures Demetra illustrated how Mercury is a figure who can mediate between the upperworld and the underworld in myth in a similar manner to how in the retrograde cycle we are currently experiencing, Mercury also guides us to a descent into the underworld in order to ascend again back to the upperworld with the potential for a reborn Mercury to utilize in our daily life.
Mercury never goes more than 28 degrees away from the Sun, and fascinatingly enough at the beginning of October 2013 Mercury reached its greatest degree of elongation from the Sun at the same time it became conjunct the North Node of the Moon and Saturn in Scorpio. This first pass of Mercury across Saturn and the North Node at the time it began to shift into its slower phase that leads to stationing retrograde, set the theme for this cycle as being about taking total responsibility for our responses to and beliefs about life with the type of intensity demanded by a triple conjunction in Scorpio between Mercury, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon.
During the time from this first conjunction between Mercury, Saturn, and the North Node until now, Mercury has been an evening star and so operating on more of a subjective, instinctual, intuitive, and reflective level of perception. On October 21 Mercury stationed retrograde as an evening star, deepening and intensifying the intuitive sense of Mercury. However, an even more important date to focus on is October 25, when Mercury retrograde reaches its phasis point of being 15 degrees ahead of the Sun- this is the Heliacal set in the West of Mercury at Sunset, when Mercury will shift from a visible evening star to becoming invisible, the day in which Mercury descends into the underworld. From this first day of Mercury’s descent into the underworld up until November 1 when Mercury reaches its inferior conjunction with the Sun, we will be experiencing the most mystical and mysterious Mercury manifestations, a time in which we will more readily receive messages from our unconscious, intuition, dreams, omens, and signs. As Demetra George has taught, Mercury at this time will be a guide to our subjective and inner realms, and will be able to perceive through symbols more so than the articulation of words. This period of the Mercury retrograde cycle is similar to the Dark Moon phase, a time in which we gain a greater capacity to release old thought forms and concepts in order to prepare for an integration of the new visions on the horizon ahead of us. The ability for deep transformation will be facilitated at this time by Mercury retrograde in Scorpio becoming conjunct with Saturn on October 29, a few days after entering the underworld. This will be a powerful day for intention and to become aware on an intuitive level of what needs to shift and what we can allow to be- we will want to open ourselves at the same time to the possibility that some of the things we are called to shift at this time could be some of the very same things we have drawn great strength and pride from in our past.
Next, on November 1 we will experience the square between Uranus and Pluto at the same time of the inferior conjunction between Mercury retrograde and the Sun in Scorpio. The inferior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun is like the potent moment of conception of the Mercury retrograde cycle. Whatever circumstance we find ourselves in on this day, an experience which could be intense as we ride the wave of the Uranus-Pluto square, remember to take the time to do something symbolic, even if only for a moment, to honor the rebirth of Mercury and the potential the moment will offer for us to plant the seeds of a new vision aligned with our passion and purpose. Remember, as this pivotal moment occurs a couple of days before a Solar Eclipse, we may be in a very disoriented and confused state of mind, so any practices we can take into this time period to help us relax, ground, and be present will be helpful.
Finally, following the Solar Eclipse of November 3, a conjunction between Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and the North Node of the Moon, and then Jupiter in Cancer stationing retrograde on November 7, Mercury will enter its next significant phase of being reborn as a Morning Star and becoming visible again at Sunrise in the East on November 9 when it reaches the phasis point of being 15 degrees behind the Sun. At this time Mercury will ascend to the upperworld again and become more curious to gather new information with a slight shift to a more objective, logical, and conscious perception as Mercury will station direct on the next day. In the weeks following November 10, Mercury will begin picking up speed as it moves direct enthusiastically as the fleet footed messenger again, finally moving out of it’s retrograde zone on November 27, 2013.
The phase of Mercury retrograde we will enter on October 25 when the Heliacal set at Sunset occurs not only corresponds to Mercury descending into the underworld, it also corresponds to Mercury functioning as the archetypal Magician. Hermes in ancient Greek myth performed magical acts at various times, and then in Hellenistic Egypt the ulitmate magician, Hermes Trismegistus was created through an alchemical combination of the mythic figures of Hermes and Thoth. In tarot, however, Mercury has always been connected to The Magician and linked to an ability to use all of the elements, all resources and techniques at one’e disposal, to completely transform one’s life through a clear and strong intention, vivid invocation of a new vision, and the channeling of universal energy. In the image of the Magus above painted by Joyce Eakins from the Tarot of the Spirit deck, one can see the elemental tools of the pentacle, wand, sword, and cup: the use of elemental tools to transform our lives not only corresponds to the Scorpio Mercury retrograde phase we are entering now, but also to the mutual reception with Mars in Virgo that will be ripening to an exact sextile on the day of the inferior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun, the day of conception for our reborn Mercury. Mars in Virgo is a tool user, so it will be wise at this time to center within ourselves through each of our own unique creative gifts, tools, and techniques.
Like many other tarot decks, the Tarot of the Spirit deck from which The Magus image above is from connects tarot with not only Astrology, but also the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Mercury as The Magician card reveals the primal role Mercury plays in our process of manifesting form in our life through the Tree of Life, as The Magus connects the first path of Kether or “The Gate of Potential,” with the third path of Binah, or “The Gate of Form.” Kether corresponds with the aces of the deck and the concept of Source, the Source of all existence, whereas Binah corresponds with the divine feminine and mother, the realm of receptivity. The only other major arcana directly connected to Kether are The Fool and The High Priestess, so in this way Mercury as The Magician is able to help us transform our lives through wielding the elemental tools because it is the direct conduit between Source and Form in our reality. During this Mercury retrograde time in Scorpio, a time period that may correspond with great calamity around us, may we each take the moment to ground and realize our potential to transform not only our thinking, perception, and communication, but also the very fabric of our lives.
Eakins, Pamela. (1992). Tarot of the Spirit. Weiser.
George, Demetra. (2008). Lecture on Hermes: Guide of Souls.
George, Demetra. (2012). Lecture on Hermes: Guardian of Thresholds. UAC.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Haas, Elson. (1981). Staying Healthy with the Seasons. Celestial Arts.
Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron
Imagination can be the source of our pleasure, perhaps is our most important human gift, and yet it can also be our downfall when we choose to hide from the challenges life is presenting us for growth and greater strength by sealing ourselves off in an isolated fantasy of safety. Grand Water Trines like we have been experiencing are often described as beautiful opportunities to experience ecstasy, but unless we are in a position to do little else than drift off in relaxation, we will have a hard time adequately responding to the harsher life events appearing in our life if we do not have a handle on managing our feelings. This has been particularly the case this Summer, since there has also been a square aspect occurring between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and our intense experiences that have correlated with this could have transformed that same blissful hope of the Grand Water Trine into a feeling of drowning in a flood of unconscious emotional turbulence. In a sense we are learning to swim in a new way for a new time, and as the current Grand Water Trine between Cancer Jupiter, Scorpio Saturn, and Pisces Neptune eventually shifts into another Grand Trine between Pisces Chiron, Scorpio Saturn, and Cancer Jupiter, our current experiences will hopefully help us develop a more effective ability to manifest what we truly want to have happen in our lives. Since we are experiencing a Saturn in Scorpio during this time, any crises or intense emotional connections we are experiencing are forcing a realization within us of vitally important aspects of our feelings to not only recognize, but also to investigate and attempt to purify or transform.
When examining birth charts with Grand Water Trines, the general rule is that it takes some stressful aspects like we have been experiencing collectively with Pluto and Uranus, in order to activate an effective use of the trine’s potential by the individual. A powerful example of a person with these aspects in his birth chart is Kurt Cobain, who was born with a Grand Water Trine between Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, and Saturn, Chiron, and Venus conjunct in Pisces, activated by a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus in Virgo in opposition to his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron. In Kurt’s biography, we can see the isolated imaginative aspects of this astrology in his devotion to spending hours everyday building intricate sculptures out of clay and thrift store purchases that would amaze the people he had let into his life, only to destroy them upon completion. As far as cleaning his house or organizing aspects of his living environment, Kurt was always described as being a lazy dweller in clutter, yet at the same time we can also see how his Grand Water Trine was effectively activated by Pluto and Uranus in his obsessive desire to practice music with his band every single day, and in his ability to infuse extraordinary Soul power into his musical expression.
To be honest dear reader, I’ve been looking for an astrological excuse to write about Kurt Cobain for quite some time. However, now that the Grand Water Trine between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune has been activated by Jupiter in Cancer coming into an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, I genuinely think that Kurt can be a helpful point of focus in working with these energies. This is especially the case recently since the dark moon phase this past weekend had a Cancer Moon combined with Jupiter in forming the trine with Neptune and Saturn, as well as the opposition and square with Pluto and Uranus. Kurt Cobain was born with a water trine of a different sort, with a Scorpio Neptune and a Pisces Saturn, but he did have currently relevant natal placements of Jupiter in Cancer, the Moon in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces. His life trajectory reveals the positive power available with the grand water trine to manifest inner visions into reality that can help dissolve the very structures of that consensus reality, as well as the negative potential that can come from an unintegrated and unprocessed shadow side of the water element. It is sad to think that he would be experiencing a nodal opposition at this time (this happens when the transiting South Node of the Moon conjuncts your birth chart’s North Node of the Moon, and the transiting North Node conjuncts your South Node) if he were alive, since he is no longer with us. However, with the mark he left behind he will always be with us, similar in a generational way to the figure of John Lennon who also left a body before becoming an elder. His birth at the time of the Pluto-Uranus conjunction (the same time John Lennon released “Strawberry Fields Forever” as a Beatle) helps to seal his fate in this manner, as research by Richard Tarnas has shown that many key figures born at conjunctions and oppositions of Pluto and Uranus come into later prominence during astrologically resonant eras. For example, Kurt became famous during the conjunction between Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn in the early 1990s with Pluto in Scorpio, and he has remained popular with the generation that was born at that time.
I am writing this post from my parent’s home near Atlanta, Georgia which is fitting because it is the same house I lived in when attending high school and discovered the work and life of Kurt Cobain. Hearing Kurt Cobain’s music was an aesthetic epiphany for me, but not really any different on a pure musical level than the first time I heard the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur, Jr (the Lou Barlow You’re Living All Over Me version). What set Kurt Cobain apart from the rest for me was the quality of his voice, and especially reading his interviews. Listening to the voice of Kurt Cobain at the time felt like coming into contact with someone from the same planet or star system, a voice that gave a calming effect to my imposed sense of alienation that I was not alone in my perspective. Kurt had this effect on many people, on a deeper level especially with others who also had a feeling of not fitting in, or were incredibly socially withdrawn like I was in high school. But even with people who were considered “popular and normal” in one way or another in their social sphere, the primal scream of Kurt Cobain represented a feeling of outrage against societal abuse that seemed to unify an entire generation in appreciation. Although he had his own personal issues with the fame he achieved, this same level of fame he achieved gave him a platform that reached youth across all channels of the United States, into places that were previously unaware that underground musical figures even existed.
Nirvana became famous at a time of mainstream radio in which it appeared that rock may have been dead. There were countless incredible bands playing a form of “rock” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but most of this music was considered “underground” and did not get major radio play. There was something shattering and paradigm shifting about the appearance of Nirvana in the mainstream, and Kurt decided to bring as many punk, underground, and independent musicians with him into prominence as possible, constantly naming and referencing bands for youth to search for in interviews. Astrologically, it was a perfect ascendancy for the time period of the Uranus and Neptune conjunction in Capricorn that occurred at the end of the 1980s and continued through the early 1990s, with Pluto in the sign of Scorpio. As Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth said at the time, “When a band like Nirvana comes out of the underground, it really expresses something that’s going on in the culture and not a commodity” (Azerrad, p. 3).
Kurt’s life revealed the difficulty that can correlate between a Grand Water Trine and the navigation of powerful unconscious forces, as he eventually became a heroin addict who committed suicide. At the time of his passing, his own Grand Water trine was being activated by transiting Pluto and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct his natal Scorpio Neptune, the transiting Pisces Mercury and Mars conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron, and his progressed Sun and Chiron conjunct in Pisces and also conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn and Venus. Yet, his life also reveals the extraordinary imaginative power of a Grand Water Trine to dissolve what was formerly considered possible by society: seriously, would anyone have believed in 1990, a time in which there was no dynamic rock music occurring in mainstream culture, that within a couple of years a high school dropout who had experienced homelessness and played Kurt’s style of music, would change the face of popular music completely? Do we even tend to listen to homeless heroin addicts who have not graduated high school today? Kurt Cobain revealed the brilliant mind and creative genius that one can find amongst the outcast of our society, and the tragedy of his life also shows how this same brilliance like a strike of lightning or the burning of quicksilver can be too much for an individual to handle when they become addicted to a destructive substance like heroin, instead of developing a more purifying release of energy. Sadly, the potential radiance of a grand water trine can instead lead people into an isolated existence of withdrawal from the world in which they are overwhelmed or confused by the unconscious side of their emotional nature. Most people flooded by feelings that feel out of control lack the skills, understanding, or even interest to process and integrate unconscious shadow material into a more whole presence of Self, and so they become at risk of entering a self-imposed exile that eventually leads to sickness of one form or another. And yet, Kurt also proved the potential visionary power of the grand water trine, that by having a dream and pursuing it with relentless passion, we can create a form for it in the reality of our personal lives, against all odds of what society tells us is possible.
Looking at Kurt’s chart, and the significance of his Pisces Saturn in his seventh house (it is conjunct a Pisces Venus, Chiron, Mercury, and Descendant, as well as an Aries Black Moon Lilith, in trine to a Cancer Jupiter and Scorpio Neptune, and in opposition to a Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo) drew me to exploring the old Liz Greene classic, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil. Also relevant to the transit at this time of Saturn in Scorpio, in this book Liz connected Saturn in water signs and houses to the esoteric perspective of the mind, imagination, and emotions being the source of events and experiences, and the challenges Saturn in water signs can bring to the individual through the forms of blocks to this psychic energy:
No event or mundane circumstance can occur without having first been set in motion by an idea, charged with emotion, and then manifested as an action. Beyond these three stages of an experience lies the meaning of the experience in relation to the whole, which it is the function of the intuition to perceive. The world of feeling lies directly behind the world of events, and it is this world with which the watery signs and houses are concerned . . . [Humans are] largely unaware of the potency of this feeling nature, particularly at the present juncture where emphasis is placed on external behavior rather than on the quality of desire. As long as something is not “done,” the individual will convince himself that he has no desire to do it; consequently, the power of the feelings increases because they are forced underground, into the realm of the unconscious. From this subterranean position the feelings will force a man to action or attract certain kinds of illnesses or behavioural patterns which he does not understand, and which may hurt him, and which appear to be coming from somewhere else. Psychic energy, like physical energy, cannot be destroyed; in fact they are the same, both kinds of energy, and will merely follow a different channel of expression if the usual one is blocked. Blockage on the level of the feeling nature is symbolised by Saturn in a watery sign or house, and true to form the psychic energy which would ordinarily seek release through expression of feeling must take another channel of expression- frequently through the body or through certain kinds of events.
— Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, (p. 16-17)
This access to deep reservoirs of psychic power that can be released into magical and artistic forms, or when blocked manifest as deep wounds in the body, reminds me of Frida Kahlo (who had a Pisces Saturn at 28 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Pisces Saturn; a Sun-Neptune conjunction at 13 degrees Cancer conjunct Kurt’s Moon; and a Cancer Jupiter at 21 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter), a painter who created art and lived from a place of constant, tortured pain in her body. Kurt also lived and created art from an intense feeling of pain in his stomach that baffled the medical professionals he sought help from, apparently located according to him in the same region of his body he generated his singing voice from. The bodily pain that Kurt and Frida both experienced reminds me on an archetypal level of the poisoned phase in the mythic life of Chiron (a very significant astrological archetype in Kurt’s chart), and both Frida and Kurt created art on a deep Chirotic level of release through exploring and expressing the darkest recesses of the psyche. Like Frida, Kurt was able to transmute this pain into an artistic expression that touched the soul of many on this planet- a transcendent and immanent power that emanated from his voice and physical presence on stage.
The song “Even In His Youth” is a good example of the simple and repetitive lyrics Kurt would sometimes write, that still managed to carry a deep message to many youth because of his compelling expression of their emotion: “Even in his youth / Even in his youth / Even in his youth / He was nothing / Kept his body clean / Kept his body clean /Kept his body clean / He was nowhere / Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / He was something / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / He was something . . . ” This particular song could be somewhat autobiographical, as in interviews Kurt has said of his father, that “He wanted me to be in sports and I didn’t like sports and I was artistic and he just didn’t appreciate that type of thing, so I just always felt ashamed. I just couldn’t understand how I was a product of my parents because they weren’t artistic and I was. I liked music and they didn’t. Subconsciously, maybe I thought I was adopted . . . ” (Azerrad, p. 18). Kurt was on the receiving end of both emotional and physical abuse from his father at times, an Aberdeen car mechanic who had some anger management issues; furthermore, Kurt’s mother became involved with incredibly abusive men following her divorce with Kurt’s father, scenes of abuse that Kurt witnessed.
In this footage below of “Even in His Youth” being performed in 1989, Nirvana was on a European tour with the band Tad and discovering for the first time that they had a huge following in Europe. At this time, Nirvana was still playing with Chad Channing from Bainbridge Island, one of their early series of drummers who stuck around a little longer than others. You can see that the later addition of Dave Grohl on drums accelerated their dynamic energy on stage, but that the Kurt and Chris combination was still very compelling nonetheless:
Below is the iconic footage from “19991: The Year Punk Broke,” aka Pisces out of control on a Rock God Trip. Again, note the very simple lyrics that somehow through his delivery transmitted huge emotional content across our planet. The lyrics are also so simple they can be interpreted in a universal context if you have been in High School in a situation with social cliques, and then experienced that again: “Won’t you believe it just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / No recess / No recess / No recess . . . You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again.” Kurt was artistic in high school and very withdrawn socially, a pattern he continued when moving to Olympia, Washington. Although he was fairly withdrawn socially from the more communal punk and hipster social circles of Olympia, I feel these lyrics relate more to the cliques and socio-politics of the Seattle music scene that Nirvana joined through Sub Pop records, a music scene that was at its early stages of being marketed by Sub Pop on its way to becoming the celebrated “grunge” movement in popular music.
At the time of this footage below in August of 1991 or so, Nirvana was now beyond the level of Sub Pop and were signed to a major corporate record label, on tour in Europe with Sonic Youth, following their completion of recording the material for the Nevermind album and awaiting the release of the album a month later. As I will discuss further below, in Kurt Cobain’s chart this was a significant time period because in his progressed chart, his progressed Mercury stationed direct at five degrees of Pisces (it had been retrograde since he was a toddler) around August 10, 1991. Fittingly for a stationing direct progressed Mercury, this time was a huge shift for Kurt as he was able to play huge festivals for the first time alongside musical peers he looked up to such as Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, following the recording of a major label studio release. In this footage below, as he had a charged Pisces Mercury by progression, he did not yet realize the extraordinary media attention that would soon become focused upon him:
The footage below is the moment they were becoming famous on an extraordinary level: I always think of this clip as sort of their “Beatles” moment, around the same time they performed on “Saturday Night Live.” They were becoming very famous at this point, and this was filmed live in an MTV studio in front of a studio audience, as the crescendo of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was building and building. Kurt is direct and honest in his lyrics about his co-dependent relationship pattern, and of course that was exactly part of his appeal: “One baby to another says I’m lucky to met you / I don’t care what you’re thinking as long as it is about me / It is now my duty to completely drain you”
Someone without prior astrological knowledge may think the image of Kurt’s chart looks like a kite (that’s the “official” label for the major visible aspect pattern), but I also think the image of a bow and arrow about to fly would come to mind. With the bow and arrow image, it is fascinating to me that it is Pluto and Uranus holding the trigger, with the arrow prepared to shoot through the master marksman Chiron, in Pisces. For any Kurt Cobain fans reading this who do not have previous astrological knowledge, I hope this post makes you more interested in astrology because Kurt’s chart is such a spellbinding and perfect representation of the mark he made upon the world as well as his self-undoing.
I feel we must start with the extraordinary fact that Kurt was born at the time of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction in Virgo, with his Ascendant splitting them directly up the middle, with Pluto at the very end of his 12th House, and Uranus at the very beginning of his 1st House. If you are wondering why this would be significant, an extraordinary read on the subject is Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas in which he analyzes various historical periods that occurred during a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus, for example the 1960s (1960 – 1972) and the 1850s (1845 – 1856). Among other themes, Tarnas found that historical events that occurred in the sequence of conjunctions and oppositions in the Pluto-Uranus cycle related to “epochal shifts in the rise and fall of imperial powers and dynasties and turning points in world history that mark tectonic shifts in the global balance of power . . . the sudden rise and empowerment of countercultures and youth cultures; eras marked by the emergence and flourishing of historically significant bohemian and countercultural districts, communities, and demimondes (the Left Bank, Bloomsbury, Soho, Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, Berkely, Harvard Square) . . . periods that brought the rapid emergence and proliferation of ecological, environmental, and nature-oriented movements of various kinds; and eras marked by cultural trends and movements advocating sexual revolution and erotic emancipation in society and the arts” (Tarnas, p. 164-5). Tarnas distilled the Pluto and Uranus cycle down to an archetypal synergy between Dionysus and Prometheus:
The planet Uranus appears to be correlated with events and biographical phenomena suggestive of an archetypal principle whose essential character is Promethean: emancipatory, rebellious, progressive and innovative, awakening, disruptive and destabilizing, unpredictable, serving to catalyze new beginnings and sudden unexpected change. The planet Pluto, by contast, is associated with an archetypal principle whose character is Dionysian: elemental, instinctual, powerfully compelling, extreme in its intensity, arising from the depths, both libidinal and destructive, overwhelming and transformative, ever-evolving. –Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 142
With both Pluto and Uranus in Virgo on his ascendant, the deep Soul that many have a hard time coming into contact with would have been impacting Kurt very much on a moment to moment basis, no matter how conscious he would have been of it. Moreover, the ruler of his Ascendant and chart, as well as the ruler of his Pluto and Uranus, is a Pisces Mercury in direct opposition to his Pluto and Uranus, albeit a Gibbous more so than a Full phase. His Pisces Mercury also being at the end of his 6th House conjunct his Descendant is another perfect symbol of how he was able to communicate his Soul nature through his art and music, and that in this lifetime he was coming into more of a courageous place to communicate some of the ultimate meaning he had accumulated across lifetimes, a purpose that gave his music the incredible power that was felt by so many listeners.
Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is very significant, as it rules his chart as the Ascendant ruler, rules his Virgo Pluto and Uranus, and rules his Gemini Ceres, with the Gemini Ceres forming a t-square to the opposition between his Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Mercury-Chiron-Venus-Saturn. Any Mercury in opposition to Pluto and Uranus would be intense, but Kurt’s Mercury being in Pisces at the very end of his 6th House on his 7th House cusp makes the relationship between his perception and his communication even more complex and difficult to handle. Pisces Mercury perceives phenomenal reality on a level beyond the confines of language, and so normally can make a more powerful impression through artistic, symbolic, musical, and poetic expression- this is because it seems next to impossible for an individual with a Pisces Mercury to communicate what it is sensing through straightforward language description, and it can seem even more difficult to find an audience who can listen to their language choices and fully grasp their meaning. Kurt Cobain often said he wrote lyrics at the last moment because he was lazy, but in the end the actual words he used were less important than the emotion he expressed through his music and the sound of his voice.
In Kurt’s progressed chart, his Mercury becomes even more important as it stationed retrograde in his toddler years and did not station direct until August 10, 1991 at the midpoint of his natal Pisces Sun and Persephone asteroid (which happens to also be his Vertex), following the recording of Nevermind when Nirvana was playing European festivals with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and other well-established bands, a real career peak for Kurt. This career peak was only the beginning, however, as his progressed Mercury moving direct coincided with the release of Nevermind and his extraordinary rise to rock stardom. The fact Mercury moved retrograde for so long in his lifetime leading up to his achievement of fame coincided in part with his artistic, withdrawn, and rebellious nature, a high school student who was talented enough to win artistic scholarships to college, but had such a hatred for his high school culture and the perspectives of many of his culturally conforming teachers, that he decided to drop out of high school before graduating. This progressed retrograde movement of Mercury supported the counter-cultural development of his mind, and also could have given him greater capacity for a re-membering of pertinent Soul feelings that could have had the double-edge of making his art more powerful but his emotional life also more difficult to handle.
Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is also an entrance point into his Grand Water trine, with a Pisces Mercury-Venus-Saturn on his 7th House cusp, a Jupiter Cancer in his 11th House, and a Scorpio Neptune in his 3rd House that is also conjunct Vesta. As I wrote in my last post on the Neptune and Jupiter cycle, the 1960s had a Scorpio influence across the decade due to Neptune and Jupiter starting a new cycle at 4 degrees of Scorpio in 1958, and Kurt had a connection to this point in Scorpio as it is the midpoint between the conjunction of his Scorpio Mars and Scorpio South Node of the Moon. The sex, drugs, and rock and roll that came into prominence during the 1960s, the sexual revolution, as well as the spiritual seeker movement to merge with Source all have a connection with this Scorpio Neptune theme, and in Kurt’s chart Scorpio rules and Neptune is found in his third house of communication. His Scorpio Neptune also being tightly conjunct Vesta in Scorpio, Kurt was able to focus on channeling this transformative Neptunian energy into his creative expression. A Scorpio Neptune here is also a perfect symbol for how he often destroyed the art he created, as well as destroyed his guitars and other band equipment when performing on stage. Even though at one point Kurt in an interview said he felt the name of Nirvana was “too esoteric,” he in fact seemed to have mastered the esoteric concept and significance of the destruction of form in the process of reaching a more heart-centered and Soul-infused consciousness.
Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is in a disseminating trine to his Scorpio Neptune, and so Kurt had the evolutionary task of modifying his visionary qualities into a form that would be accepted and widely disseminated in society. He found this form in music, and his Jupiter being in Cancer and the 11th House is perfect for how he became obsessed with the culture of punk rock. Cancer in Jupiter, like we are experiencing today, correlates to the intuitive perceptive quality of Jupiter, and the corresponding generation of beliefs, being filtered through the Cancer themes of roots, memories, and origins. Kurt first became obsessed with punk rock before he even knew what it sounded like- he came across photographs of the Sex Pistols and other punk rock stars, and through his intuition became convinced that this was the exact music he needed to play, without having heard what it actually sounded like. He went to his room and played three chord progressions with a lot of screaming (Azerrad, p. 23):
“It was definitely a good release,” says Kurt. “I thought of it as my job. It was my mission. I knew I had to practice. As soon as I got my guitar, I just became so obsessed with it.” “I had this feeling all the time- I always knew I was doing something that was special,” says Kurt. “I knew it was better, even though I couldn’t prove it at the time. I knew I had something to offer and I knew eventually I would have the opportunity to show people that I could write good songs- that I could contribute something musically to rock and roll.” Kurt Cobain in Come As You Are, p. 23
Even though Kurt lived in the outskirts of Aberdeen, Washington, fortuitously there was a well-known punk band there called the Melvins, giving Kurt an opportunity to join a punk rock culture. The culture of punk rock also correlates with the 11th House placement of Kurt’s Jupiter, as well as the fact he was able to manifest this rock and roll “wish” of his into his personal destiny. Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is also conjunct Juno at the beginning of Leo in his 11th House, another perfect symbol in how Kurt was attracted to romantic partners he met through the punk scene: his first girlfriend Tracy he met through the Melvins, his Olympia infatuation with Tobi Vail of Bikinni Kill, and his ultimate union with Courtney Love who actually had a cameo in the film Sid and Nancy. The final side to Kurt’s Grand Water Trine may be the most key point of all, with a Pisces Saturn conjunct Venus, Chiron, and Mercury in Pisces, as well as a Black Moon Lilith in Aries. Depending upon your astrological school of thought, you may consider Kurt’s Saturn to be ruled by either his Cancer Jupiter or his Scorpio Neptune, and both actually make a lot of sense in his case. Just isolating this stellium to his Saturn and Venus being conjunct is enlightening from the perspective of Liz Greene:
We have all encountered those children who because of their fear of being unwanted can only express their need for affection through destructive actions, or an attempt to inflict pain, or sulking and weeping; if we transfer this rather extreme picture to the adult body and mind of the Venus-Saturn individual, and include the skill at portraying surface coolness which he has usually developed, we will hold the key to his peculiar and often misunderstood emotional nature. — Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 112
This sense of being unwanted seemed to be a deep issue for Kurt, and is even stronger archetypally when you consider that his Venus-Saturn conjunction was in Pisces, in his 7th House, and was also conjunct Black Moon Lilith and Chiron. As we know Lilith is the ultimate symbol of the rejected feminine in myth, and Chiron in myth was also unwanted by his parents, transforming this wound into a capacity to foster countless other youth into greater embodiment of their heroic qualities. Similarly, as Kurt Cobain found his way into fame, he attempted to highlight and bring into prominence as many other musicians he admired who had been ignored by mainstream media into the limelight. With the asteroid Lilith also conjunct Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, Lilith also seems to be a significant archetype in relation to his Anima, or inner feminine soul nature. In Kurt’s case, it wasn’t entirely the case that he was unwanted, as he had to suffer through an intense custody battle between his parents after their divorce, but after his father gained custody he re-married and Kurt felt neglected in comparison to his new step-siblings. In contrast, his mother experienced a series of abusive relationships and apparently did not seem up to the challenge of raising Kurt, who acted out in numerous destructive ways. Throughout his adolescence, however, Kurt pleaded with his mother to take him back in, and she did at various points. However, at other times Kurt was left with no home to live in, and had to fend for himself. The connection between these difficult life circumstances and his Grand Water Trine was masterfully described by astrologer Bill Tierney in his essential Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology:
There tends to be shown [in the Grand Water Trine] an exaggerated need for dependency, general mothering, safety from threat or harm, and psychological insulation from the harsher facets of reality. And the more subtle these needs express themselves, the more potentially insidious. In my opinion, this is the only Grand Trine that readily can become problematic, since the emotional self-containment it represents makes this individual hard to get to know intimately. Negatively, he may feel he is disconnected with the outer world (since water is a unifying element which, when blocked, can feel out-of-tune with its surroundings). He then may lose touch with his conscious awareness of himself and may passively allow unconscious forces to take over. — Bill Tierney, p. 76-77
With a South Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct a Scorpio Mars in his second house, Kurt knew how to rely on his inner resources for survival, and so he figured out creative solutions for his homelessness like sleeping under a bridge and fishing (until discovering the water was polluted), hanging out in public libraries as much as possible, and pretending to be family of hospital patients so he could hang out in hospital waiting rooms for extended periods of time. Yet even though he knew internally how to physically survive on a material level, his emotional nature was clearly wounded, leading into more difficult relational patterns with his female romantic partners as an adult. For example, his mother tried to show him “tough love” by not letting him continue to live with her after dropping out of high school without a job, and later in his marriage Courtney Love also tried to show him “tough love” by confining him to a residential drug rehabilitation center. However, no matter what trouble he may have felt women in relationships caused him, in the end this Pisces Saturn stellium was more about him learning to take responsibility for his own emotional dynamic in relationship. Just having a Saturn in the 7th house with nothing else according to Liz Greene indicates a need for him to balance his masculine and feminine sides in order to come to relationship more out of free choice than emotional need and compulsion, but with Lilith, Venus, Chiron, and Mercury also conjunct his Pisces Saturn, this powerful unconscious need would be even greater for Kurt to navigate relationships successfully and release relational co-dependency patterns stemming from past emotional wounding:
When Saturn is in the seventh house, the opportunity for an inner integration or balancing of opposites is offered, for it is unlikely that the individual will find the qualities he seeks happily expressed by a partner. It is more likely that he will attract to himself situations which involve some degree of pain, isolation, rejection, and disappointment until he begins to reorient himself toward an inner search. This placement is analagous to the coniunctio or mystical marriage of alchemy, which in psychological terms suggests an inner integration which results in a new centre for the psyche and new balance and meaning in life. In alchemical symbolism this marriage is always accompanied by darkness and death previous to the distillation of the elixir, and the darkness which often accompanies a seventh house Saturn is matched only by the brilliance of the gold which is also promised. –Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 62
Kurt was able to alchemize gold from his Pisces Saturn signature in the form of the music that brought him widespread acclaim, but sadly Kurt went so deep into the darkness that he never came back out. Kurt ended up passing away before he got to his exact Saturn return, with transiting Saturn in Pisces conjunct his Sun but more closely conjunct his Pisces Persephone asteroid. So although Saturn was in Pisces when he died, it had not come into range of being conjunct his natal Saturn, and so he never made it to his first Saturn return, a time which would have correlated with an opportunity to make internal progress on these issues. However, Kurt had such an intense Saturn signature in his birth chart it indicates it would have taken him years past his first Saturn return to begin to fully resolve all of his issues. In fact, as he would have been getting closer to experiencing his Chiron return if he were alive today, it more than likely would have taken him at least as long as living to this point in time to come to a clearer resolution of his unconscious make-up.
So what exactly is some of the unconscious Soul material Kurt was working with? I have seen astrologer and past life regression therapist Patricia Walsh give a talk in which she said many Pluto in Virgo people come from the burning times, and Pluto in Virgo is often associated with relevant past lives in our “A.D” time period using the geodetic system. Whether Kurt was burned at the stake or not, there are very clear signs that his Soul has been deeply wounded by the hierarchical power structure of the dogmatic Christian Church that has dominated the past couple of thousand years, often associated with the “Patriarchy.” The burning of witches is one example of this, the Inquisition is another. Part of Kurt’s evolutionary purpose with his Grand Water Trine was to integrate his anima or bring his feminine side into balance with his masculine side. His Cancer Moon in his 10th House is one symbol of a sensitive feminine side hardened by cultural conditioning to make sure he gets his needs met, and another powerful female archetype of persecution in his chart is Lilith. Kurt has the Lilith asteroid #1181 conjunct his South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, and he has Black Moon Lilith in Aries conjunct his Pisces Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in his 7th House. Since the asteroid Lilith that is conjunct his South Node or past life ego identity is associated with the original wounding and rejection Lilith experienced in myth according to Demetra George, this means that Kurt is acting from Soul desires that are connected with the persecution and rejection of strong, independent women. Since this South Node is in Scorpio, this persecution could have been associated with cultural taboos such as those involving sexuality, and with a Scorpio Mars also conjunct Lilith and his South Node there could have even been extreme rage and violence associated with this persecution.
In addition, during his high school years his progressed Mars would have stationed retrograde, staying retrograde for the rest of his life- again a symbol of not only his rebellious nature but also an instigator to deep unconscious material. In any case, all of this strong Scorpio in his second house means that Kurt would have deep Soul desires linked into being familiar with relying on his own resources for survival through merging with a relationship or another external source of power. As a result, the evolutionary purpose for him would have been to gain a stronger sense of internal security and integrated Self that would allow him to truly merge with others from his own place of power. Since the placement of Black Moon Lilith according to Demetra George is a point of integration in the chart where we can work on coming to resolution of our Lilith issues of rejected femininity, it means that Kurt would have had the purpose of resolving these issues in his 7th House, in his relationships, in connection with his Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in Pisces. As there haven’t been many female celebrities who have been culturally rejected as much as Courtney Love has, as much of a Lilith in the level of rejection, upon reflection of these Soul history signatures of Kurt it may make more sense for you why he chose to marry Courtney Love, if that was a scenario you previously did not understand. Kurt has symbols in his chart indicating a need to integrate a strong Lilith aspect of his Anima into his Self, and so merging with Courtney Love in a relationship would have given him ample material to work with along these lines.
Since Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio is conjunct Mars, the traditional ruler of Scorpio, and the modern ruler of his South Node is his 12th house Pluto in Virgo that is conjunct Uranus and his ascendant, he has an extremely intense birth signature of having experienced extreme crises and cataclysms of epic proportions in his Soul’s history. His navigation of this unconscious emotional makeup in his Soul’s incarnation as Kurt Cobain is shown through his Cancer Moon being in his 10th House, a house placement that emphasizes the impact of societal conditioning on his feeling nature. The impact of cultural conditioning on his soul is most likely ancient, however, as can be seen from the fact that he has a conjunction of the Isis and Osiris asteroids in Capricorn in his 4th House, in opposition to his Cancer Moon. I wrote about the significance of the Isis and Osiris cycle in an earlier post about Osiris, but in relation to Kurt it is a further symbol of his need to do intense alchemical inner work on his unconscious make-up and work on coming into a more whole and integrated presence of his Self. This is not easy work for anyone, but would be especially intense for someone with the birth chart signatures that Kurt embodied.
In the end, Kurt simply has “crisis” written all over his birth chart, and so in many ways the intensity of the pain he experienced was part of his Soul’s evolutionary journey- we just never got a chance to see how strong he could have turned out in the end by persevering to a longer life. For example, he had a Gemini Ceres in a t-square to an opposition between Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Lilith conjunct his South Node of the Moon, Persephone conjunct his Sun, Osiris-Isis in opposition to his Moon, and a 12th House Pluto conjunct his Ascendant that is also conjunct a 1st House Uranus. Chiron as an archetype especially stands out to me, as at the time of his death transiting Chiron in Virgo was in his 12th House and in opposition to his natal Pisces Sun, his progressed Sun was in Pisces conjunct his progressed Chiron, both of which were then conjunct his natal Saturn, Venus, and Black Moon Lilith. Furthermore, at the time of his passing Pluto and the North Node of the Moon were conjunct in Scorpio and transiting conjunct his natal Neptune, and transiting Venus was conjunct his North Node of the Moon. Meanwhile, transiting Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces and further activating his water trine through being conjunct his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Saturn was in Pisces conjunct his Pisces Persephone and Sun, and the Moon on the day of his death was moving through Pisces and would have also passed over the significant Pisces celestial bodies in his chart.
In short, although none of these transits explains really any reason why Kurt was meant to die when he did, they are simply further examples of the extreme intensity present in his birth chart. We will never know what would have happened if he had lived longer and had the opportunity to attempt to heal himself from his past wounding, but we do have a recorded legacy of his being, his Soul pouring out, his pure Soul expression that saturated his music and voice. Finally, below is is a fairly long (23 minute) interview with Kurt in August of 1993 where one can get the opportunity through the Pisces illusion of computers to sit with him for a bit:
Azerrad, Michael. (1993). Come as you are: the story of Nirvana. Main Street Books.
Greene, Liz. (1976). Saturn: a new look at an old devil. Samuel Weiser, Inc.
Tarnas, Richard. ( 2007). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a new world view. Plume.
Tierney, Bill. (1983). Dynamics of aspect analysis. CRCS.
Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees Pisces on June 17, 2013.
Chiron and Neptune have been widely conjunct during the first half of 2013 in Pisces, and will remain together within a wider orb of nine degrees for the next year. Chiron and Neptune began their current cycle in 2009 when they were exactly conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius.
Neptune in Pisces is trine Saturn in Scorpio and both are retrograde. Saturn will be the first to station direct on July 7, 2013.
Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 conjunct Venus in Cancer. Mercury will station direct on July 19 at 14 degrees Cancer in trine to Chiron in Pisces.
Chiron is the teacher and the healer of our inner Hero, the guide to our Hero’s journey. It is common to limit discussion of Chiron in astrological circles as “the wounded healer,” and while there is truth to that statement, there is also more to Chiron than a healer with a wound. The Chiron archetype will be an important guide for us during the Summer of 2013 in between the Pluto-Uranus square of May 2013 and the upcoming square of November 2013. There is a fascinating connection between Chiron and the current Pluto-Uranus cycle because in the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, Chiron was not only in Pisces, it was in the same vicinity of Pisces as it is now.
Just as the square between Pluto and Uranus connects the current time period with events of the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct, so does the transit of Chiron in Pisces. There was even a grand water trine in 1966 when Pluto and Uranus were in range of being conjunct and Chiron was in Pisces, with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Pisces, and Neptune in Scorpio. Although this 1966 trine had seven degrees separating Scorpio Neptune from Pisces Saturn and Cancer Jupiter, and so not nearly as significant as the grand water trine happening this Summer with the Pluto-Uranus square happening, it is still a fascinating parallel of the same planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune) being in the three water signs, with Chiron strongly in Pisces amid an intense aspect between Pluto and Uranus. In the Autumn of 1966 Chiron was conjunct Saturn in Pisces: it’s interesting to ponder how differences between the mid to late 1960s and our current time period could correspond to the differences between Saturn in Pisces with Neptune in Scorpio from Saturn in Scorpio with Neptune in Pisces. Although there is more and more talk of the Age of Aquarius, we really are still in the Age of Pisces today. The idea of an approaching Age of Aquarius first took hold of mass consciousness in a big way in the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, and during this time period in which they were in range of a conjunction in Virgo, Chiron at times was in range of an opposition to their alignment in the sign of Pisces. Now that Chiron has returned to this same area of Pisces as the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus is occurring from that alignment, it makes me think of Chiron in Pisces being a very important archetype in the shift of the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.
Chiron in Pisces today is holding more harmonious aspects to the Pluto-Uranus intensity, forming a sextile to Pluto in Capricorn and a semi-sextile to Uranus in Aries. This time period of collective upheaval can be viewed in large extent through the socially liberating energy of Uranus in Aries being in conflict with the energy of Pluto in Capricorn, which has a shadow side of control and manipulation from the dominating power structure. With Neptune, the planet of illusion, being in the sign of Pisces that can also connect with illusion, it brings the potential for the dominating power structure to attempt to use Neptunian illusions in order to ward off the force of collective liberation that could come with the Uranus in Aries energy. In the recent news cycle in the USA for example, we can see the veil of our national media removed and that our major news services are commiserate with the power structure as they attempt to spin the coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden away from an investigation into the actual issue into more of a criminality case against Snowden. In general, all one has to do is turn on cable television or pick up a copy of a product of the national corporate “journalism” services to find a gluttony of superficial coverage of celebrity scandals, arguments between political “adversaries” that are not even offering solutions to argue about, and other gossip more than investigative coverage of any of the actually important news events occurring. It is further interesting that in the USA we have a Pisces Chiron in the White House, as President Obama has a Chiron in Pisces and experienced his Chiron return during his re-election to his second term in office. It doesn’t take of course an astrology analysis of Chiron to realize President Obama is facing and incredibly complex, intense, wounding, and karmic situation at the moment as being the figurehead leader of the USA during current events, but it is a further interesting astrological layer of the current situation to observe.
On a personal level, the societal upheaval on an economic, political, and structural level has the potential to increase fear and anxiety within individuals, making each person more open to being manipulated on an unconscious level by power players in control of media and mass distribution of information. This has been especially the case during the last year with Chiron and Neptune conjunct in Pisces, because these archetypes combined magnetise the issues of duality connected with the Pisces archetype that has been such a strong influence during the Age of Pisces. This duality is connected to the symbolism of the two fish connected by a silvery cord, one fish standing for the “lower nature” of our ego personalities, the other fish standing for the “higher nature” of our Soul that incarnated into our current form.
One reason Pisces have the stereotype applied to them of being addicts and escapists is that it can be even harder for Pisceans than others to escape awareness of their Soul, no matter how much they try to hide from it through drugs and other various escapist activities. Pisces is also often the target of the “victim” and “martyr” labels, and again this can come from a sense of their timeless Soul nature that can lead to an illusory perception of being trapped in their physical form on the planet, with so many difficult and destructive forces surrounding them in three dimensional consensus reality. And so while Pisces energy can go along with feeling a sense of connection to Soul, it also has the duality of a sense of separation from Soul and Source, which further increases Piscean tendencies for illusionary pursuits that further contribute to a sense of separation from Source, Spirit, God, . . . This is one area in which Chiron, a half human and half animal grounded in the physical earth plane, can help us shift our perspective toward seeing the magic around us in our physical form and environment, and that everything we are experiencing and seeing also is connected with the same divine Source.
The previous conjunction cycle between Chiron and Neptune in the 20th Century occurred during great world calamity, toward the end of World War II after the United States of America dropped atomic bombs on Japan to force a surrender (September of 1945 at 6 degrees of Libra). Chiron and Neptune’s latest cycle began in 2009 when they were conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius, another period of global conflict that had some connections to the global power status the United States of America claimed during the previous conjunction between Chiron and Neptune. Many astrologers connected the conjunction between Chiron and Neptune toward the end of Aquarius with the Age of Aquarius that could be felt approaching at a distance, but a further interesting connection with this section of the zodiac and Neptune is that Neptune was discovered in 1846 when it was at 25 degrees of Aquarius, and Saturn was also at 25 degrees of Aquarius at the same time. Neptune being discovered when it was conjunct Saturn points to the importance of bridging the two archetypes in order to gain a stronger grasp of Neptunian energies, and Chiron is one of our strongest guides and mediators between the energy of our personal and collective Saturn and Neptune archetypes.
The connection between Chiron, Saturn, and Neptune has been handed down to us through myth, long before the technology of astronomers were able to locate the outer celestial bodies. Chiron is the son of Kronus in Greek myth, so he is literally the son of Saturn just like Neptune, Jupiter, and Pluto. Chiron’s link to Neptune, however, goes much farther back than merely sharing the same father. Chiron is literally a matriarchal descendant of an ocean deity even more primordial than Neptune: Oceanus. Chiron’s mother was a sea nymph named Philyra who was not only the daughter of Oceanus, according to some accounts she was the second oldest of all the sea nymphs that were borne from Oceanus. Saturn/Kronus became consumed with desire for Philyra, and in some versions transformed himself into a stallion in order to chase her, and in other accounts after forcing himself upon her sexually, he transformed himself into a stallion in order to disguise himself when he was discovered ravaging her body by his wife, Rhea.
In all mythic versions, this coupling of Saturn as a stallion with the sea nymph Philyra is how the birth of Chiron, half man and half horse, occurred on Mount Pelion. One of the first wounds of Chiron occurred by him being spurned by his parents for his unorthodox, animalistic form, and he stayed on Mt. Pelion as somewhat of a recluse, one of the original wise hermits in the cave. Furthermore, there is an even deeper link between Chiron and the ocean realm, because Chiron eventually took another sea nymph as his lover and partner, Chariclo, who was the grand-daughter of Neptune. Thus Chiron is both the son and the lover of water goddesses, and has as a result a stronger feel for Piscean energy than may be expected without exploring his myth.
The special sense Chiron embodies for the water element and in being a skilled mediator between the energies of Neptune and Saturn is of supreme importance in this moment, as Saturn in Scorpio is moving retrograde in trine to Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter is entering the sign of Cancer, and Mercury and Venus remain conjunct in Cancer. We can draw upon the Chiron archetype to help us activate the harmonious potential of the developing water trine aspect, as trines in astrology do not guarantee harmonious events and can in fact coincide with lethargy if we do not consciously activate them. There will be a lot of retrograde energy in water signs before Saturn stations direct in a couple of weeks on July 7, since Chiron and Neptune are retrograde in Pisces, Saturn is retrograde in Scorpio, and Mercury is stationing retrograde in Cancer.
With all of the watery energy and a powerful water trine to Neptune in its own sign of Pisces, we will have to be especially careful of escapist pursuits or illusions leading us to separate from our higher self or our connection to Source/Spirit. Chiron in Pisces carries this wound of connection to Spirit within it’s archetypes, and so at this time Chiron can help guide us to finding ways to connect with Spirit through healing techniques that can help us consciously move our higher self down through our body. With Saturn in Scorpio, we will have to be willing to face some deep aspects of ourselves, including shadow sides we may previously have been in denial of, if we want to authentically make our beings more whole in this way- but remember how Pisces Chiron is a perfect mediator between Scorpio Saturn, Pisces Neptune, and Cancer Jupiter. If we can ground in this manner, we will have an opportunity to evolve ourselves and our growth forward by following our own unique path and our special gifts and talents that may not typically fit in with the dominant culture. Chiron was the trainer of heroes and the guide in their hero’s journey, and so by developing and following through with practices at this time, such as creating time and a schedule for a daily journal practice, creative art practice, meditative practice, yoga practice, physical exercise practice of any sort . . . we can create structures to express the deep desires and emotions that could arise at this time.
The retrograde connection between Chiron and Mercury will remain of great significance in the next month, as Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 and then station on July 19 at 14 degrees of Cancer in trine to Chiron. After the upcoming retrograde movement of Mercury finishes when it stations in trine to Chiron next month, we may gain a greater ability to manifest tangible results of visions we planted back in February of 2013 when Mercury was in Pisces and conjunct Mars, Neptune, and Chiron. Aspects of the vision brewing inside us have been triggered in this recent time period, as Mars in Gemini has been in square to Chiron at the same time Chiron stationed retrograde. The full dates are as follows:
Around February 8, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Mars at 5 degrees Pisces and also conjunct Chiron at 7 degrees and Neptune at 3 degrees of Pisces. In the following days, first Mercury and then Mars became exactly conjunct Chiron in Pisces.
Around May 21, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Gemini and square to Chiron at 14 degrees of Pisces. This square happened immediately following an exact square between Capricorn Pluto and Aries Uranus.
Around June 10, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Cancer and in trine to Chiron in Pisces.
Around June 19, 2013 Mars in Gemini formed a square with Chiron in Pisces as Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees of Pisces.
These aspects between Mercury, Mars, and Chiron have been significant for everyone but especially anyone with planets or key chart aspects in mutable signs from zero to fifteen degrees or so (Gemini, Sagitarius, Virgo, Pisces). We may have had trouble recently finding a way to rationally understand our perceptions or sense of phenomenon in our dreams or waking states that do not fit into the neat categories of linear and rational thought aspired to by the dominant culture. We also may have been having difficulty communicating our experiences in a way that can be understood clearly by others, and with Mercury about to move retrograde we may need to let go of attachment to being understood and instead focus on understanding for ourselves what is happening inside of us.
The flood of emotions and extrasensory perception we could have been experiencing connected with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces could be better understood by withdrawing from external influences into the metaphorical cave of Chiron, but if we have been tapped into media sources of the dominant culture during this time or a participant in social media sites and sources, we instead would have been overwhelmed by a deluge of information thrown at us by authorities of all sorts, from genuine experts, to culturally appointed experts, to self-proclaimed experts utilizing the Internet to self-publish their thoughts. There have also been revolutions breaking out on the global stage in places as diverse as Turkey and Brazil during this time period, and while in the larger context these events correlate more with the square between Uranus and Pluto than personal planet aspects to Chiron, it is still important to consider Chiron was being aspected at the same time. In these revolutionary events the liberating force of individuals using social media to cover the news has been helpful as these events have had relatively small amounts of coverage by major news services. For example, I am fortunate to have a friend in Turkey through which I was able to gain access to a lot of images and news coverage of events there through his social media profile.
However we have been triggered by this flood of feelings and information recently, though, most likely is connected to important Soul work or issues for us to face. A perfect example of how to use the heroic gift of Pisces Chiron at this time is Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who is going through a Chiron return at the moment with a natal Chiron at fourteen degrees of Pisces, and is engaging in an attempt to pull off an all-day filibuster in the Texas state Senate to single-handedly prevent a passage of a controversial abortion bill that the Governor had to call a special session to attempt to pull-off in the first place. Her North Node of the Moon is also conjunct the current placement of Mercury in Cancer, and Mars in Gemini is square her natal Chiron, so her chart is being strongly aspected by the Chiron-Mars-Mercury cycle as she takes her heroic stand. Chiron does provide the sort of gift we can pull up from deep within ourselves at a time of crisis, and achieve success and rewards against all odds.
Similarly, the grand water trine we will experience this Summer between Neptune in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter in Cancer has the potential for euphoric and magical experiences, as well as the potential to coincide with watery chaos and emotional crises- however, if we can access our source of Chiron strength we can make heroic strides forward no matter what happens. Paying attention to the Chiron archetype and how his retrograde movement through Pisces can correlate to opportunities for us to take charge of our own heroic journey will be helpful.
Guru of Plants, Planets, and Spirit
Chiron in myth held the role of a guru of the heavens and the earth, as he was a teacher, trainer, and healer who was skilled in hunting, martial arts, gymnastics, music, medicine, herbalism, astrology, and the arts of prophecy, to name but a few of his talents. He was a master of channeling divine energy through these outlets, similar to a yogic or qi gong master, shaman, or a musician on the highest level of divine expression through their art. Chiron is a guide to the connection of our mind, body, and spirit because he understood the divine source of everything on our planet. He was an herbalist who was well-versed in medicinal uses and applications of plant beings, and he was also an astrologer who was well-versed in the medicine of the stars and their movements and interactions. Chiron lived from a sense of everything being connected to Source and Spirit, so stands as a teacher for us that our conflicts with life are often connected to our struggles with the external forms of matter in our environment, but that if we open our perception to the awareness that all of these forms we may struggle with also have the same divine Source as we do, we can persist in merging with love through all of our difficulties and help others in their own struggles as well.
The celestial body of Chiron was discovered on November 1, 1977 and it has been theorized by many astrologers that since that time we have had a greater capacity to connect our mind, body, and spirit as a collective species. The Saturn connection to Chiron is interesting because Saturn was at the very end of Leo when Chiron was discovered, so brings an energy of the culmination of the Leo hero’s journey to the Chiron birth chart. In Evolutionary Astrology, astrologer Rose Marcus has connected the significance of Chiron to “peak experiences” in our lifetime as well as the deep past life history of our Soul that are connected to our special destiny, legacy, and path. I saw her lecture on Chiron at the 2012 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, in which she described how Chiron carries a dense magnetic frequency that correlates with our most significant and lucid memories, how the Chiron archetype will be involved in our own peak experiences, and how we can also be a catalyst for activating other people’s key issues when we step into our own Chiron archetype. Rose explained that Chiron can connect with our wounding issues that have been repeating and devastating across lifetimes, but at the same time Chiron can also correlate with extraordinary resources we can find within ourselves to face the tests and challenges of our journey. In this way, Rose connected Chiron to the Virgo and Sixth house archetypes in the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm because of Chiron guiding us to use our crises as vehicles for our own growth.
Barbara Hand Clow, who wrote the pioneering and definitive classic text on Chiron, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets, also connected Chiron with the Sixth House and the Virgo archetype. There is also an interesting connection between Saturn and Chiron with the Virgo archetype in the time period that Chiron entered astrological awareness as a distinct celestial body, because although Chiron was discovered when Saturn was at the very end of Leo, after a couple of weeks following the discovery Saturn shifted into Virgo. As a result, most people born in the period following the discovery of Chiron, meaning the first people born who have a higher potential ability to integrate the lessons of the Chiron archetype, were born with Saturn in Virgo. Fittingly enough, this group of Souls went through their first Saturn return just in time for these cataclysmic times of the Pluto-Uranus square, again giving them a better chance to access the gifts of Chiron to help all of us on the planet at this time.
Virgo is the polarity to Pisces, and an important archetype to help understand how to access the gifts of the Chiron archetype at any time, but especially now with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces. One way Chiron can help everyone better understand their own connection to the Pisces archetype through Virgo is by making the famous “silvery cord” connecting the two fish of Pisces more tangible and conscious. One fish of Pisces of course represents the personality side of ourselves, while the other fish represents our Soul nature- they are connected in Pisces irrevocably through a silver cord, which is why Pisceans can never escape the challenges of our personality connection to our Souls and Source discussed earlier. Alan Oken gave a concise description of the deep esoteric significance Virgo brings to this aspect of the Pisces archetype in his book Soul Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self:
The string is the symbol of the Antahkarana- the silvery cord linking the personality and the Soul, the darkness and the Light. It is formulated out of the substance of the mental plane, thus requiring the discriminating focus of Virgo and Mercury in its construction. Once the Antahkarana/Rainbow Bridge is forged, one can then traverse the various planes and fields of consciousness and not lose one’s way. This is the Thread of the Warrior/Disciple, who goes forth in the act of self-sacrifice, in order to do battle for the unfolding purpose of the Plan.
–Alan Oken, Soul Centered Astrology (p. 243)
The Mercurial functions of discrimination and discernment can be developed into sharper focus for us at this time, even with Mercury stationing retrograde, through practice and daily ritual. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and other forms of spiritual practice are Virgo techniques similar to spiritual practices of the Chiron of myth, and can be helpful tools for us in this flooded time of Piscean emotional currents. Since there have been a series of squares to Chiron in Pisces from the sign of Gemini, with Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all moving through Gemini in square to Chiron this past Spring, we may have been distracted with a busy and hectic schedule or a mass of information to process in some way. However, even closing our eyes and meditating or just breathing with intention for ten or fifteen minutes, whatever we can manage, can be extremely helpful in this upcoming time period.
The vast expanse of knowledge held by Chiron is interesting considering how in this upcoming Summer, Jupiter will move into a trine apect through Cancer with Chiron (especially toward the end of July through August of 2013) giving us an opportunity to draw upon knowledge and resources found in recent challenges to propel us forward. This aspect is in stark contrast to what had been happening this past year, as from July 0f 2012 through April of 2013, Jupiter was in Gemini and in a square aspect to Chiron in Pisces. This square could have been felt in part by how our psychic sensitivities are impacted by the flood of information we can be bombarded with when connected to modern technology and social media platforms. On the one hand the social media outlets are liberating because anyone can start writing and publishing their thoughts on a blog, but on the other hand this liberation can be overwhelming when trying to sift through the sheer volume of information for what to focus on with the time available.
With Mercury about to station into a retrograde motion, developing and practicing techniques that will help guide us toward greater discernment with our intuition will be helpful for us finding our unique path to follow at this time. Most likely significant opportunities will present themselves, so it will be up to us to make choices aligned with our highest intention for the highest good for ourselves and other beings. If we have experienced crises or wounding during this past year of Jupiter in Gemini squaring Chiron in Pisces, or simply confusion over which direction to follow, through our own self-care, healing, and giving and receiving of love with others we will be entering a time in which we can find a gift or special skill to take from past turmoil.
The conflict between Jupiter in Gemini and Chiron in Pisces that happened this past year has its own divine source in the ancient myths of Greece. Jupiter and Chiron have had their issues before our day:
Entering the Cave of Chiron
Thetis was a sea nymph of great importance in ancient times. In some versions she is not given greater importance than her description of being a sea nymph, but other mythic researchers have found evidence that in ancient times she was much more important and an integral manifestation of the Great Goddess. She is widely known as the mother of Achilles, who gave her son to Chiron to raise and draw out his special skills and capacities. There was a prophecy regarding the greatness of the son of Thetis that made Zeus afraid that her offspring could dethrone him as he had dethroned his own father. Zeus helped arrange a marriage between Thetis and a mortal, Peleus, and their wedding happened outside the cave of Chiron on Mt. Pelion and was attended by most of the deities. However, one was not invited who goes by the name of Eris, and so this wedding outside the cave of Chiron is the scene upon which Eris threw her golden apple out of vengeance, an action that ultimately led to the decision of Paris and the Trojan War.
The cave of Chiron being the scene of the source of the vengeful desire of Eris is a core wound of our collective culture. I remember being in an 8th Grade English class near Atlanta, Georgia in the USA in which we analyzed this mythic scene, and it seems to still be a widespread mythic scene in our collective educational backgrounds if you are from a “Western” influenced or culturally dominated background. It’s also a wound we as astrology students and teachers need to figure out in a Chiron manner, as Eris is the a recent addition to our astrological paradigm and her full meaning is still being worked out by astrologers.
The cave of Chiron is an apt symbol for the training ground of our hero’s journey, as Chiron was famous for training the most praised heroes of ancient myth, having the ability to draw attention to their unique talents and help them develop their natural gifts into extraordinary strengths that would help them persist through unfathomable difficulties that became the stuff of legend. Chiron was not only the trainer of warrior heroes, however, but also medicinal ones. Asclepius, considered to be the mythic master of medicine, was his most famous pupil in the healing arts, and so Chiron in this way is also considered to be a father of medicine and surgical practices. The mind-body-spirit connection of Chiron is evident in the holistic healing practices associated with Asclepius, which included patients going to sleep in special chambers in which the act of dreaming itself healed their wounds, or at other times the healing could be helped through dream interpretation made by healers trained in the methodology of Asclepius.
We enter the cave of Chiron whenever we enter a space in which we have the opportunity for self-transformation, healing, and gaining greater awareness and access to special skills and resources we have to offer the world. If we have ever been in a classroom with a powerful teacher who struck us on a deep level to our core, we have been in the cave of Chiron. Being a teacher is one of the most obvious outlets for Chiron energy, and this connection was illuminated in literature by John Updike in his novel The Centaur, in which he used myth in the way of James Joyce by re-telling the story of Chiron through a novel about a public school teacher in a mid-twentieth century small rural town in the USA. In this novel Updike also integrates the mythic connection between Chiron and Prometheus, and as I haven’t mentioned this widely commented upon connection yet in this article, allow me to remind you that another time Chiron mediated a conflict involving Jupter was when he gave of his own immortality in order to release Prometheus from the bondage of being punished by Jupiter for giving fire to humanity. As there are some versions of myth in which Prometheus is actually the creator of humanity, Chiron giving of himself to release a deity who in some myths is responsible for the creation of humanity and in others is the source of our knowledge of fire and all of the creativity that followed, is profound and is not unlike an action of a Christ figure. The fact that Chiron was drawn to do this in part because of being tormented by the pain of being an immortal who was struck by a poisoned arrow of Hercules, is one of the main reasons why the Chiron archetype has become associated with being a wounded healer for our humanity.
As is often the case, when an archetype like Chiron is prominent, other archetypes that connect with similar themes will also become prominent, and that is certainly the case right now. Lilith is another popular symbol of our wounding and in the larger context something Chiron could be holding space for us. The triple goddess aspects of Lilith in astrology are all going through significant transits right now:
Original Lilith (asteroid #1181) is currently at 13 degrees Gemini and so is square to Chiron as well as recently conjunct Mars.
Dark Moon Lilith (hypothetical celestial body) is moving through Cancer in range of being conjunct Mercury, Venus, and Vesta at the moment. At the time of the Summer Solstice it was opposite Pluto in Capricorn and in square to Uranus in Aries.
Black Moon Lilith, the Resolution Lilith (an energy vortex that is the “other” focal point of the Moon’s ellipitical orbit besides Earth) is at 6 degrees of Cancer and so is also in range of being in a T-Square with Pluto and Uranus, and was also strongly aspected by the Full Moon on June 23.
Demetra George in Finding Our Way Through the Dark gave a widely used description of these three phases of Lilith, in which the asteroid Lilith “describes the first stage of Lilith’s mythical journey where she is suppressed, humiliated, and flees in a fiery rage to the desolate wilderness,” the Dark Moon Lilith “depicts the pain of her exile where she plots and executes her revenge,” and the Black Moon Lilith “shows how she transmutes her distorted image back into its natural healthy expression” (p. 92). The fact the original Lilith has been squaring Chiron and was recently conjunct Mars could correlate with a core wound being activated in our psyche, and yet the healer side of the Chiron archetype is also present with Lilith at this time as the resolution aspect, the Black Moon Lilith, is also being strongly activated now.
And as if these intense aspects involving Lilith isn’t enough, there are also some fascinating transits occurring now that involve asteroid Goddesses associated with the Soul, working with the Soul, healing and retrieval of our Soul:
Isisis conjunct Uranus in Aries and so is square to Pluto in Capricorn.
Persephone is conjunct Saturn in Scorpio and in trine to Neptune in Pisces. Persephone has now stationed direct after moving retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon and Saturn in Scorpio this past Spring.
Psyche is also in Scorpio and moving retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon.
my friends, I have not written an article about Psyche . . . yet. However, there are a lot of resources available regarding her story to investigate.
In totality all of these transits involving such powerful feminine archetypes of the Soul mean that this is an incredibly deep time period of huge feelings and experiences. To me, one of the greatest tools we can use at this time, again keeping the archetype of Chiron in mind as a guide, is to create a practice of Art to move the energy.
Chiron holds the Art of our wounds
One of the connections between the Chiron archetype and the archetype of the artist can be seen in the following quote from an art review I found in The Chicago Reader about the above watercolor by Gustave Moreau from 1890, Dead Poet Borne by a Centaur:
The centaur often symbolizes Dionysian violence and intoxication, and here he bears the dead poet in his arms. Some have interpreted this image not as the union of warring opposites, however, but as a pessimistic reflection on the artist’s lot in modern times. As turn-of-the-century writer Ary Renan said about this work: “How many have perished without funerals at the bottom of solitary streams? To be sure, sometimes a charitable centaur gathers up the victim.
Chiron as a wounded healer archetype certainly connects him with all of the great artists throughout time who put all of their heart and soul into their art, posthumously inspiring a large audience drawn to the specific quality of their art, and facilitating healing for many people who could draw strength and compassion for themselves through experiencing their creative work. And yet the wound for these artists was that in the actual time-frame of their existence they often lived through pain and torment, lacking an audience or material rewards for their work. However, no matter what difficulty some of these artists could have experienced in their material life, through the act of creating their art they could reach a blissful state that would be it’s own reward. Moreover, the gift of healing and inspiration such artists leave for those with similar sensibilities to find and gain strength to continue on their own unique path is incalculable and has deep resonance with the quality of wounded healing associated with Chiron.
During these intense karmic times, we can work with our Chiron wounding through expressing our feelings through art and releasing the energy in the process. Unfortunately, for many of us the actual creation of art can be one of our Chironic wounds, and so we tend to hold ourselves back from creating. A beautiful book to work with during this time if you have not already is Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way in which she provides activities and questions to help the reader break out of any restrictive writer’s or artist’s blocks limiting their ability to express themselves. One of the basic techniques of the book is a daily journaling activity in which after waking up in the morning you write three pages of writing as quickly as possible, thinking about it as little as possible. It is amazing what can start to open up for you as you engage in this practice. I also like this book because Cameron connects the creation of Art with it being a spiritual practice: “We are, ourselves, creations,” she writes, “And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.” Her central theme in the book is that by opening ourselves up to our own creativity, we open ourselves to a greater connection with Spirit and the capacity to develop our unique gifts and live the full potential of our lives some of us merely dream of instead of actually actualizing. This lesson that making the creation of art a daily practice, habit, and ritual in our lives will open up a greater spiritual dimension and holistic feeling of healing in our lives is a very Chironic lesson to me. Any practice you can develop for yourself at this time that will provide an outlet for your sense of Spirit and expression of creativity will bring a smile to the face of Chiron and will be good medicine for your Soul.
Ah, that Hermes, a crafty fellow who causes much mischief, but at the same time often shows up to save the day in myths, such as braving the underworld to rescue Persephone. During much of this past Summer, the planet Mercury has gone through a long strange trip through the sign of Leo, an odyssey that will be culminating with the Full Moon and Blue Moon in Pisces this upcoming Friday: as Mercury reaches the final degrees of Leo during the Full Moon, it will be in range of opposing Neptune and will exactly oppose Pisces Neptune the next day.
I believe myths reflect the wisdom in the stars and can bring to life a lot of the complex interplanetary dynamics we astrologers love to discuss. With Mercury moving into an opposition with Neptune in Pisces this week, it brings to mind many of the Neptunian myths, the journey of Odysseus among them. In The Odyssey Odysseus primarily has the path of guiding his men back to their home, and himself back to the arms of his wife, Penelope, waiting at home for him. Odysseus and Poseidon (Neptune) square off at many points, but some of the greatest dangers Odysseus gets himself and his men into stems from his Neptunian trysts with the Goddesses Calypso and Circe. Each of these goddesses keeps Oddysseus in their arms as their lover for great lengths of time, Calypso keeping him as her lover for seven years on her island according to Homer! With each Odysseus seems incapable of breaking himself free, reveling in his ecstatic union with each Goddess, while temporarily neglecting his mission to guide himself and his men to their homeland. It is Hermes, or Mercury, who in each instance is able to appear and offer a solution for Odysseus to separate from his Goddess lover. Not that loving a Goddess is wrong in itself, it’s just Odysseus had a clear mission that was put in jeopardy of coming to fruition due to his choice of focusing on the fruits of his Goddess affairs.
In The Odyssey Hermes is able to talk Calypso into letting go of Odysseus through direct language. Calypso is portrayed as a lovely Goddess who plays enchanting music and wants to keep Odysseus as her lover, hoping to make him immortal in his love with her. Hermes negotiates with her to release Odysseus, and seems a little heavy handed with telling her that Zeus (Jupiter) will send repercussions otherwise, but this is sort of what can happen to us when we drift off our path into delights of our senses that begin to pull us away from the path that will lead us to the highest good for ourselves and all other beings- sooner or later something, at times even a crisis, makes us realize we are off-track. And Odysseus does realize he misses Penelope even though she isn’t a beautiful Goddess like Calypso, and he wants to leave to return home. In contrast, Circe is portrayed as more of a manipulating Goddess who casts spells and turns Odysseus’ men into pigs! Again, Hermes comes to the rescue by showing Odysseus the herb Moly that will protect him from the spells of Circe, and gives him clear directions with how to deal with Circe, at the same time warning him that she will become attracted to him as a result. Although Odysseus protects himself from her spell through the use of the herb, he still remains with Circe for a long time as her lover in her deep wooded setting. To me, this example symbolizes the Mercury function of being able to research and categorize healing protections as well as come up with strategies or disciplines to get out of difficulties. But at the same time, in the end we have to make the hard decisions for ourselves to break out of pleasant situations pulling ourselves off our path and get ourselves moving forward again on our path. Recently we have been experiencing astrological transits reflecting a lot of illusions and confusing experiences baffling many, pulling many off the track of their true path. Like Odysseus, many of us could use the help and skill of clear-headed Mercury at this time.
In the past month or so, in the midst of the intense Pluto-Uranus square, the new era of Neptune in Pisces has been ushered in more intensely with a square aspect between Pisces Neptune, Sagitarius North Node of the Moon, and Gemini South Node of the Moon. In times ripe with illusion, when many are feeling confused and disoriented about what is illusionary and what is true insight, while others are living an illusion in complete denial of it, one of the most helpful skills to hold is discernment. The planetary function of Mercury is involved with discernment, as it not only has to do with the way we communicate, it also has to do with the way we perceive phenomenal reality as part of our thinking, reflecting, and communicating process. Recently Mercury went through a retrograde phase and is now moving forward again and picking up speed, having moved out of it’s “shadow” period of retrograde motion last week.
The Sabian symbols can offer us some insight into how Leo Mercury can help us. On July 14, 2012 Mercury stationed retrograde at 13 degrees Leo:
Leo 13: An old sea captain rocking
This is a symbol of man’s great love for reliving his experiences in memory, and of his gift for achieving a mastery in advance of whatever new situations he may face by bringing all the ramifying relationships to a focus in a personal and competent grasp of their more pertinent potentialities.
—Marc Edmond Jones, The Sabian Symbols
So just as the “old sea captain” makes me think of Odysseus, more important is the emphasis on retrospect and reflection, reliving experiences from memory- a perfect symbol for any Mercury retrograde period, and a clue that part of our task has been to sort through Neptunian confusion, and to make an honest reflection about all of our relationships. Events may have been disorienting, and Mercury has asked us to confront our responsibility in the difficulties we have experienced, as well as our responsibility in bringing ourselves self-fulfillment.
On August 7, 2012 Mercury stationed direct at 2 degrees of Leo, while making a quincunx aspect with Pisces Neptune, trining the Sagitarius North Node and sextiling the Gemini South Node, while Pisces Neptune was intensely squaring these same nodes at the same time. Again the Sabian symbol described by Marc Edmund Jones in his book The Sabian Symbols is illuminating:
Leo 2: An epidemic of mumps
This is a symbol of personal capacities wholly out of hand, and of the momentary appeal of escapist ideas whenever the self fails to remain alive to its own immediate needs or ultimate interests. The reversed symbolism emphasizes the absolute necessity laid on every living spirit, that somehow it retain a passionate sensitiveness to the practical import or organic usefulness of everything it encounters in its everyday situation.
So, to help propel us forward toward our collective soul direction at this time (and the Sabian symbol for the North Node at this time fittingly was “The ocean covered with whitecaps”) we need to pay more attention than normal to our practical needs on a daily basis, what is truly feeding us in our day-to-day life— but to be clear this means what is practical in helping us live our highest good, in a way that will help bring light and love for the highest good of all beings in our world— what is feeding our Soul life our true soul development. Sometimes escapism can be more obvious like going out to a bar and getting drunk, or sitting around watching superficial television or movies, but other times we may think we are doing what we are called for, when what is calling us is truly an illusion. Take Paul Ryan, for example. During this time period Paul Ryan became the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party- he wholeheartedly believes what he believes, and it is portrayed as good home common sense. But in reality his philosophy is deeply rooted in the novelist Ayn Rand, who at the end of the day is more of an escapist read at the beach than a fully spiritually realized soul imparting deep wisdom on our planet.
Likewise many of us may have been wrapped up in a belief during this time period we felt was serving out highest good, only to experience the disillusionment of the universal truth of that belief falling apart. We are constantly being bombarded by images from our friends and strangers via social media networks, as well as manipulative images from the media aimed at manipulating our desires. As upsetting as periods of disillusionment can be, however, what is helpful about them is that they let us know we have gotten off track and that we need to re-center and find our true path again. How do we discern when we are following our true soul path, versus when we are thinking that we are but are actually following an illusion that is separating us from our true path? Today as I was contemplating the best words to choose to answer this question, I bought the new astrology report written by my astrology teacher, Rosie Finn, and I had to laugh, as Rosie answered this question very well in her own writing!
Also, desires are spread. We want something because our senses have been accosted, influencing us to want it and we lose track of our soul longing. When we are tuned into our soul longing we feel it on every level. A ringing vibration moves through us. Our hair stands up. We get a chill. We feel it all over. When a desire co-opts our longing, we feel agitated, like we are missing something. When we feel a true soul longing, the feeling itself satisfies us. It is our own unique journey that is being high lighted. We know our next step. We may feel loss but not agitation, not anxiety, not distress. We feel a direction when we feel our soul longing.
–Rosie Finn, from the September 2012 Plants and Planets
As the Pisces Full Moon this Friday approaches, Pisces Neptune is still in range of squaring the lunar nodes, and the disorientation of this could get all the more confusing once Mercury gets to the end of Leo and in range of opposing Neptune. To make things even more intense, this upcoming Full Moon will be conjunct Chiron in Pisces, meaning that some of our deepest emotional wounds could be triggered. While getting emotionally triggerred can make us even more disorientated than normal, if we have been clearing and letting go during this recent time, moving with the changes reflected by the Uranus-Pluto square, and doing or moving toward our soul work, this week could instead be a moment to connect with inner divinity, illumination, God, Goddess, Great Spirit, what you want to call it. If we can have the courage to face our deepest emotional wounds and not look for ways to escape our reality and our true path, it may not be easy, it may be extremely emotional, but at least the energy can ultimately be cathartic and propel us forward, instead of further into confusion and away from the path calling to us.