The Jupiter and Uranus Cycle

harlequin-at-a-table-1919

Harlequin at a Table by Juan Gris (1919)

  • Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries at 15 degrees on September 25, 2014.
    • Grand Fire Trine of Mars in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries: from October 1 through October 15, 2014 between the degrees of 12 and 21 in the Fire signs. This is with about a two degree orb for Mars with either Jupiter or Uranus.
    • Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries will again trine March 3, 2015 at 14°35′. Jupiter will be retrograde.
    • Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries will again trine on June 22, 2015 at 20°03′.
  • Jupiter in Cancer square Uranus in Aries included the Cardinal Cross of April 2014 with Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Cancer, and Mars in Libra. Actual dates:
    • Jupiter in Cancer was square Uranus in Aries on August 21, 2013 at 12°04′ with Uranus retrograde.
    • February 26, 2014 at 10°33′ with Jupiter retrograde as Mercury was stationing direct.
    • April 20, 2014 at 13°34′ of Aries and Cancer.
  • The current Jupiter and Uranus cycle began in 2010, when Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at the zero degree Aries point and at the end of Pisces:
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 0°18′ Aries on June 8, 2010.
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 28°43′ Pisces on September 19, 2010. Both Jupiter and Uranus were retrograde at this time.
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 27°02′ Pisces on January 4, 2011.
  • The previous Jupiter and Uranus cycle began on February 5, 1997 at 5°53′ Aquarius.
    • The opposition point of this cycle was on August 30, 2003 with Jupiter at zero degrees of Virgo and Uranus retrograde at zero degrees of Pisces.

The cycle and interplay between Jupiter and Uranus connects us with transformative breakthroughs in thoughts, behaviors, and events that can feel unsettling and liberating.  Here the word “transformative” is not used lightly, as Uranus is force that can enflame Jupiter beyond the boundaries of Saturn to grasp insight unavailable in our former framework. Now is a time to light your creative fire from within, as Jupiter in Leo is entering a trine with Uranus in Aries and unfolding a revelatory opportunity for a new vision of our purpose in life.  As the next month develops we will have an especially potent fire to cultivate as Mars in Sagittarius will create a Grand Fire Trine with Jupiter and Uranus.  Things may get steamy, as this fire trine will occur within the dense atmosphere of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio.

To Dane Rudhyar, Jupiter is the soulful function of our purpose within the form of our Saturn structure.  Removing patriarchal religion associations, in this way Jupiter is like our High Priestess receiving, managing, and initiating within the boundaries of Saturn as our Great Mother.  Jupiter organizes the chaos within the structure of our consciousness through love and yearning, through our senses and feelings, through our intuition and imagination.  Jupiter helps us integrate what the external world has to offer that will contribute to our inner structure, just as Jupiter needs the same protective structure of Saturn in order to operate within.

Rudhyar astutely cautioned that “the inertia of Saturn always tries to pull back to old forms and to old techniques the Jupiterian flights toward the beyond and the vaster wholeness,” and yet it takes strong Saturnian walls bolstered by Jupiter to prevent us from becoming overwhelmed and lost by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, archetypes that Rudhyar called the “messengers of the beyond.”  Though Jupiter in this upcoming time period will not reach an exact square with Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter is only six degrees away from a square and closing now, evoking the crisis of consciousness that can come when Jupiter urges us to breakthrough the gates of Saturn to an immense beyond:

Often it is said of Jupiter that he is the polar opposite of Saturn. This however is true only insofar as Jupiter represents a trend of development that leads in the opposite direction from that of the Saturn process. But Jupiter operates always in terms of Saturn’s prior determination of the form of the being. Saturn contracts, while Jupiter expands. But what Jupiter expands is that to which Saturn gave form. A small sphere may expand into a large sphere; yet it remains always a sphere. . . The basic form thereof is not changed by the Jupiterian action, even though its outer shape may be distorted or distended as it expands. Jupiter cannot change radically the structure set by Saturn. It can only “modify” its outer appearance and the quality and balance of the organic forces which operate within that structure.

Uranus, on the contrary, deliberately and directly challenges Saturn’s power: its exclusivism, its particularity, its rigidity. It “pierces through” Saturn and throws upon the inside walls of the conscious ego images of the more universal and freer world which extends outside of these walls. Thus a two-fold operation: the piercing through — then the projection of images. The first phase may manifest in many ways; perhaps through slow stages of progressive thinning out of the Saturnian shells — so that these become finally like translucent window-panes through which the consciousness centered within the shells may behold vistas of the beyond. In other cases, the Uranian action is sharp and explosive. It bores, through the walls of the ego, holes, telescopes, microscopes, channels through which the “flashes of intuition”, the “inspiration of genius”, may suddenly reveal themselves to the Saturn-bound consciousness. Then there is also the most general process, to which the most vivid and convincing of our dreams bear witness.

–Dane Rudhyar, Uranus- Master of Transformations

Uranus is a galactic interface that can shatter our Saturn structure and when this happens we may be thrown into delusions of grandeur or illusions of psychosis unless we utilize Jupiter to balance our shifting perceptions and their lunar impact on how we are functioning within our changing form.  As Dane Rudhyar imagined, “where the walls of consciousness are strong, the Jupiterian urge opens the gates, that caravans loaded with Uranian gifts from the farther lands may enter.”  While the trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries is happening in the next month, we will have a Mercury retrograde phase occur from the beginning of Scorpio back into the middle of Libra.  This will create potential for us to go deep within and integrate the wild perceptions entering our mind through a more symbolic approach resonant with the dreams of our psyche.

On a global level, our personal epiphanies will be happening within the whole of the paradigm shifts associated with the first quarter square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  Leading up to December 15, 2014, we will experience a ripening of the sixth out of the seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto (look to twelve to thirteen degrees of the cardinal signs in your chart to see how you can be dramatically impacted by this transit).  In Cosmos and Psyche Richard Tarnas spent years thoroughly researching cycles of world events associated not only with the catalytic cycle between Uranus and Pluto, but also the intermediary cycle between Uranus and Jupiter that appeared to inspire creative actualization and liberation within the far-reaching cycles Uranus has with Neptune and Pluto:

In world transits, the cyclical alignments of Jupiter and Uranus correlated consistently with condensed waves of celebrated milestones of creative or emancipatory activity across many fields.  The conjunction of the two planets occurs approximately every fourteen years. During each of these, as well as during the intervening oppositions, decisive crests of remarkably synchronous breakthroughs and innovations appeared to take place within a brief period of time in many areas of human activity.  The evidence suggested that the continuing long-term cultural developments that we saw associated with the longer Uranus-Pluto cycle (and with other longer outer planet cycles . . . such as Uranus-Neptune) consistently burst forth in a more frequent cyclical efflorescence in coincidence with the Jupiter-Uranus alignments.  These cyclical waves of creative and emancipatory cultural activity occurred either as intervening crests between the longer, less frequent Uranus-Pluto alignments or as climactic moments during or just after the period of the longer alignment.”

–Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 294

As the Jupiter and Uranus cycle can be an emancipatory one, being emancipatory necessitates oppressive conditions one must liberate oneself from in the first place.  On the global stage, we do not need to listen to current events broadcast from any source for very long without hearing about tragedy of the most oppressive nature.  In the context of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, we are not at one of it’s “peak” periods like the conjunction that occurred in 2010, or the square that began occurring a year ago and lasted through this past May.  This past April, the astrology world was abuzz with warnings regarding the Cardinal Cross that formed with squares between Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter, and Mars, and while many chaotic and traumatic events occurred at that time, events continued to develop with greater severity as Mars crossed into Scorpio and across the scythe of Saturn.

Now, with Mars in Sagittarius and approaching a grand fire trine with Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, it is time to reclaim our sense of will from wherever we have realized we lost it or gave it away to someone or something else.  Now we can envision our future free from the obstacles we have allowed to restrict our intensifying growth, and take the risk to seize the moment in pursuit of our deepest passions and sense of what will bring our entire being alive with electrical life.

Creation_Prometheus_Louvre_Ma445

Creation of humanity by Prometheus as Athena looks on (3rd century AD)

Richard Tarnas has previously established a strong archetypal link between Uranus and Prometheus.  In myth, Prometheus is a Titan who initially supported Zeus (Jupiter) in his revolution against Cronus and the ruling Titans, only to become a trickster foil to the power grabbing strategies of a Zeus who grew into a tyrannical power not unlike the Cronus he had overthrown.  This trickster energy of Prometheus was directed to help liberate the humans Zeus could delight in controlling through manipulation, since in creation stories Prometheus was the artist who manifested the human race out of clay.  The fact that Prometheus ultimately stole the fire that Zeus was attempting to withhold in order to empower humanity with this flaming resource, can be seen in the emancipatory archetypal force generated by the Jupiter and Uranus cycle.  To Richard Tarnas, in the interplay between Jupiter and Uranus in their cycle, we can discover “Jupiter’s principle of expansion and growth supporting the Promethean impulse of new beginnings” (p. 300).

Indeed, in the many folds of myth Prometheus not only created humans and gave them the gift of fire, he has also been said to be humanity’s benefactor of the arts of civilization such as writing, mathematics, science, agriculture, and medicine.  In the Platonic view that a high esteem for justice is vital in order to manage civilization, we can see how significant the etymology of Prometheus was to their culture:  the Greek pro meaning before, combined with manthano meaning intelligence, forged together with the suffix -eus to create a symbolic meaning of forethinker or foresight. This meaning is in contrast to the twin of Prometheus named Epimetheus, who was associated with hindsight and being an after thinker because he tended to think about events after the fact, or lacked the ability to successfully strategize action beforehand.  In contrast, Prometheus had the ability to not only strategize action in advance, but to successfully strike back at the oppressive powers in control in order to create a liberating impact.

While this dynamic ability to think of how to create radical change can lead one operating with the Promethean impulse to become impassioned with peak experiences, it can also lead one to suffer the consequences of enraging the power structure, just as Zeus attempted to not only punish but torture Prometheus for eternity.  Yet this is the nature of the trickster and the romantic hero who is willing to risk all for their ideal, their true love and calling, no matter the consequences.  When Jupiter and Uranus come together in their cycle it can not only give one courage to pursue their ideal, it can also correlate to times in which one’s perception is opened to receiving a message showing how the ideal will be achieved. This is the sudden flash of insight famous throughout history, like the story of Nikola Tesla seeing an image of a waterfall as a young boy and becoming filled with the knowing that he would one day figure out how to harness its power as electricity, as he did decades later.

It is worth remembering that while astrologers have known about the planet Uranus for a few centuries now, in the expanse of astrology’s history it has been a relatively short time of existence.   Richard Tarnas found through his exhaustive research into historical patterns correlating with the Uranus cycle that it’s nature was similar to Prometheus because it encompasses “sudden radical change, creative breakthroughs, rebellion against constraints and the status quo, the impulse for freedom and the new, sudden openings and awakenings, a tendency to constellate the unexpected and disruptive” (p. 294).  In contrast, thought regarding Jupiter stretches back as far as the entire expanse of time astrology has existed within.  Richard Tarnas gave a brilliant synopsis of Jupiter’s meaning in the context of it’s more ancient use in astrology in Cosmos and Psyche:

As with the other planets known to the ancients, the archetypal significance of the planet Jupiter seems to have been established in the earliest origins of the classical astrological tradition. Linked with specific qualities of the corresponding mythic figures- the Greek deity Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods, the Babylonian Marduk, the Roman Jupiter- it received as well certain symbolic amplifications that emerged in the various contributing traditions:  Platonic, Hermetic, Arabic, and Renaissance. Throughout this historical development, Jupiter has been associated with the principle of expansion and magnitude, providence and plenitude, liberality, elevation and ascendancy, and with the tendency to experience growth and progress, success, honor, good fortune, abundance, aggrandizement, prodigality, excess and inflation.  It also has a frequent association with the realm and aspirations of culture, especially high culture:  high principle, higher learning, breadth of knowledge, liberal education, cultured erudition, a wide and encompassing vision. In general, it seems to impel a movement towards encompassing greater wholes and enlarging one’s world, embracing higher principles of order, higher orders of magnitude, broader horizons of experience (p. 294).

Combined with Uranus, we can see how this expansion toward a greater whole and a higher order of magnitude may appear on the surface as paradoxical when linked to the shattering change wrought by Uranus that can feel like chaos or the dismantling of an old secure order or framework.  Yet this is the necessary urge for creation and change underlying our reality, and the change brought by Jupiter and Uranus take us beyond our previous restricted worldview into a new reality giving us goosebumps with the surge of electricity available from the new surroundings. We realize that our previous conception of the greater whole was a minuscule fraction of our potential existence, and a more expansive whole holding our radically shifting perceptions emerges.

Dove of the Inner Eye by Morris Graves (1941)

For a different perspective on Uranus, in the evolutionary astrology taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green Uranus is the long-term memory mind of our soul- meaning not just all of the memories from our own lifetime beyond the ones we consciously remember this moment, but also all of the memories from all of the past incarnations of our soul. Green explained this is similar to how we do not even consciously remember every single thing that happened to us yesterday, and our long-term memory becomes even more imprecise every following day, week, year, and decade.  Yet those memories are still there held by Uranus, and a memory we had forgotten can suddenly come like a bolt of Uranian lightning into our consciousness. This phenomenon also accounts for why some people can suddenly feel like they are remembering something that has to do with a past incarnation of their soul.

It is primarily our Saturn, our structure of consciousness, that to Green filters out these soul memories covering immense periods of time, so as not to overwhelm us.  As we have all collectively through ages experienced great trauma in past incarnations, this also serves a purpose of protecting us, yet there can also be a phenomenon wherein parts of us freeze as a result of unprocessed and unresolved traumatic soul memories.  Thus we can have a feeling like being struck by lightning by a moment that triggers a deep soul memory- yet this triggering can lead to an awareness that can ultimately liberate us in the true Uranian way.

In his recently revised and re-published Uranus: Freedom from the Known, Jeff Green analyzed the meaning of a natal Uranus in Aries that has some resonance with the current transit of Uranus through Aries:

Mental trauma can occur to these individuals because of an inability to accept physically, psychologically or karmically prescribed limitations that create the effect of blocking them  from achieving their inner sense of special destiny, of not being able to do anything or everything that they feel they could do. Typically, these individuals have a “superhuman” complex that requires circumstantial restraint in order to realign the ego into a state of balance or equality with other individuals. The natural power of leadership and breaking new ground exists within these people, yet they must learn how to integrate this capacity within the “system” as currently defined so that these intrinsic abilities can be actualized. (p. 91)

This natal interpretation of Uranus in Aries to me fits the current transit of Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn, as we are all being confronted with how we can manage to integrate the ideal vision we have for our life into the current reality of the power structure, such as economic and political conditions in our surroundings.  Jupiter in Leo in trine to Uranus in Aries, with Mars in Sagittarius forming a Grand Fire Trine in the next month, is a perfect time to embody the heart of the lion and push past the fears we have had of not being able to manifest our vision in our current circumstances.  For some of us this may look like dynamic outward action, for others this may be an intense inner journey opening immense new worlds within: no matter the method, we must also be aware that we are only one of many in our collective, with a vision as important but no more important than anyone else’s dream.  We will need to discern what aspects of our ideal we can compromise to fit into the current system while maintaining the essential meaning of purpose.

A further interesting aspect of the current first quarter trine phase between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, is that Jupiter in Leo is conjunct the North Node of Neptune.  I recently saw a talk given by astrologer Mark Jones in Seattle in which he expressed his feeling that the North Node of Neptune correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  This is a worthy idea, and one of the possible meanings found within this fiery vastness.  With Jupiter conjunct the North Node of Neptune, and Uranus in Aries in trine, with Mars in Sagittarius also coming in for a trine, the entire evolutionary trajectory of Neptune will be electrified in the next month.  This is another sign of a beautiful opportunity to seize for creative visualization and corresponding action.

And so a trinity of fire unfolds before us, with an individuating force beckoning creative actualization. As we sense our collective history of trauma and tyranny in world events, and from within feel how we judge and tyrannize our own personal power, we gain the awareness necessary to light the spark that will burn it all down into ash.  Purified, what do you want to create?  What do you believe has been holding you back? What if it were no longer there? Who would you be? What would you do? Who are you now?  What will you do?

References

Green, Jeff. (2014). Uranus: Freedom from the Known. The School of Evolutionary Astrology.

Rudhyar, Dane. Jupiter: Organizer of Functions.

Rudhyar, Dane. Uranus:  Master of Transformations.

Tarnas, Richard. (2006). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Wikipedia. Prometheus.

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The Jupiter and Saturn Cycle

Graves-Chalice

Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

“If you know the Saturn in your chart,
it will become Jupiter.”
–Edith Wangemann
  • July 17, 2013:  Jupiter in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 5 degrees.
  • December 12, 2013:  Jupiter retrograde in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 19 degrees.
  • May 24, 2014:   Jupiter in Cancer was in the final trine in this cycle with Saturn retrograde in Scorpio at 18º59′ degrees.
  • The last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 22º43′.  They reached their opposition first on May 23, 2010 at 28 degrees, with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo.  Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 at 3 degrees, with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra.  Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition at this time on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.  In the calendar shift from 2011 into 2012, Jupiter stationed direct at zero degrees of Taurus while Saturn began to station retrograde at the end of Libra- however, although they got within a couple of degrees of one another they did not reach an exact opposition at this time. In 2012 Jupiter moved away from the opposition.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will enter into the last quarter square phase on August 3, 2015 at 29 degrees of Leo and Scorpio.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will again reach an exact last quarter square on March 23, 2016 at 16-17 degrees at the same time as a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  Jupiter and Saturn will complete the final exact last quarter square aspect on May 26, 2016 at 13-14 degrees with Jupiter direct and Saturn retrograde.
  • The next Jupiter and Saturn conjunction will be on December 21, 2020 in Aquarius at 00º29′.

Jupiter and Saturn since the dawn of astrology stood at the outer rings of the known solar system, rulers of the last four signs of the zodiac, gatekeepers to the realm of Spirit. Today in modern astrology, they still stand as gatekeepers between the more personal planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) and the transpersonal (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto), at an intersection between the archetypal asteroid realm of the dwarf planet Ceres and the centaurs like Chiron and Chariklo, and all of the other more recent celestial discoveries with far out orbits.  One of the biggest popular trends in current astrology, however, is actually traditional astrology and there are many young, gifted astrologers focused upon ancient theory involving the sacred seven more so than the modern psychological astrology that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  No matter your astrological philosophy, however, Jupiter and Saturn are unquestioned as pre-eminent points of focus in every astrology reading in every astrological tradition.  Working in tandem together on your behalf they create the necessary structure enabling you to express the full light of your consciousness into the world around you.  As my dear friend once wrote to me regarding her Saturn, “I have actually learned to like it more and more.  If I find a purpose, an aim to shoot my arrow at (Jupiter), then I am able to persevere and have extraordinary discipline.”

In the moment in which I am writing this, mellifluous Venus has passed through a conjunction with magnanimous Jupiter in the majestic sign of Leo.  It is always a good idea to honor Venus and Jupiter, but right now is an especially auspicious time. Interesting from a traditional astrological perspective, at the same time the two benefics of Venus and Jupiter are joining, the two malefics, Mars and Saturn, are approaching a conjunction.  In fact, on the next New Moon of August 26, Mars and Saturn will have reached a conjunction that is in square to Venus in Leo.  By the time of the Libra Equinox on September 24, Jupiter in Leo will be five degrees away from a square with Saturn in Scorpio.  However, Jupiter in Leo never quite reaches its exact last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio this upcoming season, as Jupiter will station retrograde and move back within its current disseminating phase.  In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will not leave the disseminating phase and enter the last quarter square phase for good until August of next year, 2015.

The terms “benefic” for Jupiter and “malefic” for Saturn are part of the protocol for Hellenistic, Medieval, and other forms of traditional astrology, as they help guide astrologers in predicting fortunate or unfortunate events, as well as help to pinpoint the challenges and obstacles on the horizon most in need of a remedy if the client desires to be successful.  However, getting wrapped up in thinking that Jupiter is “good” and Saturn is “bad” can mislead one into both overreaching on an undeveloped plan as well as fearfully retreating from a golden opportunity (though it does make sense to pay attention to whether or not Jupiter and Saturn are afflicted or supported in the natal chart or by transit).  Just as Jupiter in the chart and by transit can correlate with generosity, good fortune, gregariousness, and gorgeous gifts, the expansive archetypal force of Jupiter can also lead into quixotic egotism, greed, and an attitude enveloped in delusions of grandeur that lacks the disciplined effort necessary to turn starry-eyed visions into matter manifested with purpose.  In comparison, just as Saturn can correlate with times of darkness, solitude, suppression, and grief, so can Saturn in the chart or by transit help one give birth to transcendent experiences through applied focus and effort, through a letting go of what is ready to be released in order to strengthen what is ready to ripen.  We are in a constant balancing act between Jupiter and Saturn, and while some time periods call for more of the synthesizing growth of Jupiter, other times require more of the methodical approach of Saturn.  Yet the more we can unify their attributes together in our being, the more we will persevere in our endeavors.

The courageous nature of both Jupiter and Saturn can be traced all the way back into the myths and astrology of Babylon, as Michael Baigent revealed in his book From the Omens of Babylon that in ancient Mesopotamia the mythic representations of both Jupiter and Saturn embodied heroic qualities that could defy any odds or challenging crisis.  Indeed it was Marduk, the Babylonian Jupiter, who saved humanity by defeating the great serpent of chaos, Tiamat.  At the crescent moon closest to the Spring Equinox every year, a new year’s celebration was held in which the people ritualized the fear of chaos overwhelming the city with the imprisonment of Marduk, as chaos was given space to express itself before Nabu, the Babylonian Mercury, rescued his father Marduk to re-establish order:

During those eleven days of rituals, both public and private, the rights of the king along with the stability and strength of the civilization itself were first called into question and then symbolically reasserted- as though disintegration were so close to the surface that only a deliberate and conscious regular revocation could hold chaos at bay.  And so, symbolically, within prescribed limits, this festival allowed the primordial chaos a chance to emerge once again, briefly; to tear aside the fabric of civilization built by order and hierarchy. It emerged to be again defeated, for another year. (Baigent, p. 141)

Similarly, Baigent also showed through his research that the Babylonian Saturn, Ninurta, was also a hero of the people who retrieved the “tablets of fate” which “conferred the power over fate upon the owner” from the clutches of Zu, a “winged dragon of storms . . . who was in league with the great sea-dwelling dragon of chaos” (Baigent, p. 128).  Well, to be more accurate, apparently Ninurta nimbly nabbed the tablets from the nest of Zu, becoming a hero who was given custody of the tablets when he returned them to the people.  Therefore, similar to how in astrology Saturn is seen as a ruler of time who confronts us with the limits of time and space, so was Ninurta seen as a ruler of fate who confronted one with their destiny.  By also showing how Ninurta was connected with law and order in a similar way to Saturn in western astrology, Baigent takes us to what in the end may be the core meaning for us on an archetypal level of Jupiter and Saturn:  how to manage the chaos of life.

While the mythic link between figures associated with Jupiter and Saturn beating back goddesses of chaos to establish order make many of us associate them with the horrific oppression that arose along with the order of hierarchical patriarchy, it is important to remember that at heart the archetypal Jupiter is a divinely creative intelligence.  Robert Bly’s book on modern masculinity, Iron John, was helpful for me in breaking down my negative feelings regarding patriarchy that impacted my self-image of my own masculinity, especially with regard to his illumination of the significance of Zeus:

There’s a general assumption now that every man in a position of power is or will soon be corrupt and oppressive.  Yet the Greeks understood and praised a positive male energy that has accepted authority.  They called it Zeus energy, which encompasses intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will, generous leadership.  Zeus energy is male authority accepted for the sake of the community. (Bly, p. 22)

This idea of Zeus energy being in service to the community is important when considering the meaning behind the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, as Jupiter and Saturn are the planets that are less concerned with personal matters like Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and more concerned with society, culture, beliefs, customs, and how we fit in and find our own role to play.

Zeus,_altemps

Zeus

Dane Rudhyar in his 1958 article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle wrote that the meaning behind Jupiter and Saturn involves how human beings interact in groups and form societies that create shared culture, language, laws, values, ideals, religions, needs, and institutions.  Rudhyar also listed memories as another manifestation of the community produced by Jupiter and Saturn, and this feeling of belonging, or nostalgia, that can come from shared memories with others is an especially poignant aspect of Jupiter and Saturn to bear in mind.  Along these lines Rudhyar connected Saturn with how people participate with embodied boundaries in the role they function through and act from in society.  The particular boundaries one develops for their role often has to do with a shared sense of consensus expectations a particular culture develops for the role, often linked to the shared memory of tradition.  For example, how one may parent a child or teach a classroom in one culture may tend in general to be dramatically different from how one parents a child or teaches a classroom in a dramatically different culture.  As a result cultural taboos can be formed to define what is outside the lines of consensus expectations for a behavior or role in society, and this is very important to realize as we are now mid-way through the transit of Saturn in Scorpio.  Since an important aspect of the Scorpio archetype is a willingness to breach taboos and break free of cultural codes of conduct, the unique cultural taboos getting in between our desires being unfulfilled and fulfilled have been in the process of being revealed to each and every one of us.

In contrast, Rudhyar wrote that Jupiter is less about the boundaries of behavior we express in our role, and more about the quality of feeling generated for us through a role that brings us a sense of being connected and belonging to a community or culture.  And yet, for Rudhyar here is the place where we can pivot into the shadow side of Jupiter that can too easily conform to cultural expectations in order to be rewarded by feelings of validation from others.  Rudhyar was interested in intergalactic evolutionary growth and being a seed of future visions, and this type of evolutionary development in one’s self is unlikely to happen if one is tied into being accepted and understood by a great many people in the populace.  Often it takes going alone, and going misunderstood by most except one’s tribe of affinity in order to do groundbreaking and dynamic work in the world.  To Rudhyar, “conforming is not taking the next evolutionary step” but rather, the new step will involve “an initial loss of balance, a fall, immediately followed by a recovery” (para. 24).  With Neptune in Pisces dissolving what is left of our past attachments to what Uranus in Aries has been shattering, we can use the transformative nature of Saturn in Scorpio to help us ultimately recover from whatever has knocked us off balance in this past year.  Jupiter spent a long time in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn while being in square to Uranus in Aries, eventually creating a cardinal grand cross with Mars in Libra.  This was a time of dislodging making space for not just chaos but a vision of our evolutionary path forward. Today, though Jupiter is still within range of a square from Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in the sign of Leo has the fiery nature of a pioneer who can blaze a trail forward for us, especially if we focus with the intensity of Saturn in Scorpio.

In evolutionary astrology as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, Jupiter as an archetype correlates with the type of belief and vision needed by an individual to nurture their development and self-realization.  Here Jupiter is the intuitive aspect of consciousness that is non-linear, image-based, and able to perceive in the starry sky at night that we are connected to something much larger than the human societies we live within.  Since the nature of our beliefs is fundamental to what we perceive and how we experience our world, and since each soul incarnates into a culture with a dominant consensus belief system, Jupiter in evolutionary astrology is a key to understanding the relationship between the vision of life we are drawn to as a result of our soul desires and needs, and the beliefs of our culture and family that surround us from birth.   Through this astrological lens, Jupiter’s epic journey through the sign of Cancer, featuring a long opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries, brought up numerous issues and events leading us to examine the beliefs we were living from and whether or not we were living from a sense of conformity to the inherited values of the family, society, friends, or associations surrounding us.  For many of us this transit sparked a critical reflection upon the core meaning of our experience and a re-formulation of the personal philosophy we live life from. While working with Saturn in Scorpio at the same time, as a result we could realize which cultural taboos restricting us were in reality not something we believed needed honoring with conformity.  Now, with Jupiter in Leo, we can take the wisdom gained from the past year of intense reflection to fuel our drive forward in pursuit of the sense of destiny we found inside our ruminations.

In the Hellenistic tradition of astrology an intrinsic concept is the Joy of the Planets, a fascinating theory that seems to be the source of many aspects of our entire western astrological framework, and in various ancient writing is ascribed to a source text by the legendary Hermes Trismegistus.  After listening to a webinar by Chris Brennan on the Joys of the Planets (I’ve posted a link to his pdf paper under references below) in which he discussed how Saturn has its Joy in the house of Bad Spirit (the 12th house) and Jupiter has its Joy in the house of Good Spirit (the 11th house), I found myself continuing to reflect upon Brennan’s observation that the houses above the horizon of the natal chart, the solar hemisphere, have to do with “the realm of the Sun, which the author of the scheme seems to have associated with the spirit (daimōn),” (Brennan, p. 26).  In contrast, this means that the houses below the horizon, the lunar hemisphere, are the “realm of the Moon, which the author of the joys associated with the concept of fortune (tuchē)” (Brennan, p. 26).  Throughout Hellenistic writing, the solar hemisphere of Spirit was associated with the soul, the mind, and the intellect, whereas the lunar hemisphere of Fortune was associated with the body, physical incarnation, and matter.  Brennan showed how this illuminates the meaning behind the 11th house, where the benefic Jupiter has its Joy and we  can experience things beneficial to our soul and mind, such as the Aristotelian connection between friendship and the affinity of souls.  In contrast, the 12th house where the malefic Saturn has its Joy took on a meaning of experiences that can cause our soul and mind to suffer.

However, keeping in mind the more heroic depiction of Saturn, many of us know that it can require passing through the darkness of difficult “12th house events” in order to cultivate our ability to transcend our past “karma” or attachments, and move us out of repetition of past patterns onto a trajectory taking us toward the zenith of our life, represented by the movement of the 12th house above the horizon into the 11th house and beyond to the Mid-heaven of our chart, just as the Sun rises above us every day of our life.  Saturn having its Joy in the 12th House is also illuminating to me from the perspective of moving counter-clockwise through the houses around the chart, beginning with the first house and ending with the 12th.  In this way Saturn rejoices in the final house of the cyle, in the place of letting go, and this concept is paramount in line with keeping our Jupiter energy focused upon dynamic growth instead of conforming growth that leads to stagnation.  A Saturn that is afraid of the limitations of its own time, that is stuck in a depressive cycle of withdrawal is going nowhere, or if it is going somewhere Jupiter is most likely taking us to a place of escapism and overindulgence in one way or another.  However, a Saturn that is open to the change of chaos, the pain that comes with loss and death that leads to the birth of the new, is a Saturn that can work with Jupiter to constantly re-structure and move with the flow of life, into the flow of Good Spirit toward our zenith.

Saturn moving through Scorpio resonates with bearing witness with brutal honesty to all of the pain and challenges swirling within and around us, as we are still within the intense series of seven squares between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and Neptune continues to move deeper into the mystifying nature of Pisces.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to go as deep into our core as we can, and though the loss of anything we have grown attached to can make us become fearful, anxious, or depressed, Saturn in Scorpio is also a fitting placement for solitude, grief, and shadow work if necessary.  The more we can burn off the better, and we will likewise want to utilize the inspiration and courage of Jupiter in Leo to lift ourselves out of any doldrums we have fallen into as we will want to avoid getting stuck at this time as much as possible.  And remember, going into a cave like a hermit is not necessarily being stuck, as what may be a tomb to some is a womb for others, a sacred space to birth a new sense of burgeoning being.

saturn by cristoforo de predis

Saturn by Cristoforo de Predis

It is of further importance to realize that we are in the disseminating phase of the Saturn and Jupiter cycle at this time, as Saturn is the slower moving planet and so from that perspective Jupiter has already moved past the polarity point of opposition, through the disseminating trine aspect, and now for the next year will be moving back and forth within the latter part of the disseminating phase.  The strong connection of meaning between Jupiter and Saturn and the societies we create to live within is very fitting for the disseminating phase, as during this phase we want to live out the values we have developed in this cycle in order to share our message in our community and distribute our meaning through networks of communication.  Using the metaphor of the plant cycle that Dane Rudhyar brilliantly developed for his lunation cycles, in the disseminating phase our ripened fruit is ready to eat and it is time to live our discovered life purpose and communicate our vision not only through activities like teaching, but also simply through living a conscious, intentional life.

And where was the seed of this cycle?  On May 28, 2000 the current cycle of Jupiter and Saturn began at 23 degrees of Taurus.  As a result, we are in a cycle of Jupiter and Saturn with a strong affinity with Venus, and the inner side of Venus associated with the sensual sign of Taurus.  Despite the popular view of our current culture numbing its connection to its environment through technological gadgets and other material possessions, to me the purpose of this current Taurus seed cycle is not to be in possession of the latest technology or satiating ourselves with other material comforts, but rather to go within and get in touch with our bodies, with our subconscious, with our light body, our soul body, to deeply feel and sense our own nature and our surrounding natural environment.  Of course, Taurus also has to do with survival, and indeed this has also been a major theme of this cycle as our global community has had to survive numerous wars and economic collapses.  As we continue to come to grips with widespread environmental devastation, another Taurus theme of the right use of resources has also come to the forefront.  The more we can go within, the more we will be able to sense what is surrounding us, leading in the end to a more highly tuned ability to respond to what needs help in our environment.

Previous Saturn-Jupiter conjunctions in Taurus were on August 8, 1940 at 14º27′ and on October 20, 1940 with both Jupiter and Saturn retrograde at 12º28′ of Taurus.  And before that time, there was a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Taurus on April 18, 1881 at 1º36′.  Among other themes, the previous decades following each of the last two times that Jupiter and Saturn started a cycle in Taurus coincided with dramatic shifts in energy resources.  In the 1880s there was a dramatic increase in electrical power and many inventions coinciding with the Industrial Age coming into full power;  in the 1940s humanity experienced the onslaught of nuclear power, including nuclear bombs and the fear from awareness that nuclear warfare could potentially obliterate humanity from the face of the earth.  Our current Jupiter-Saturn cycle rode an economic boom from the acceleration of Internet resources in the economy into greater warfare across our planet that climaxed into a global economic crisis as Jupiter and Saturn reached their opposition point in 2010.  On a wider time scale, the opposition timeframe of 2010 into 2011 of this current Jupiter and Saturn cycle revealed the devastating impact on earth’s environment since the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus in 1881, as our global community realized stark facts regarding the destruction to our ecosystem wrought by the Industrial Age, and potential danger we must now take responsibility to mitigate.  Since the opposition between Jupiter and Saturn in 2010 and 2011 occurred along the Pisces-Virgo, and Aries-Libra axes, it makes sense that an ultimate understanding of what is in need of healing in our global environment would be polarized and revealed, as well as how we can form relationships with others to initiate efforts at collective reform.

The Gregorian calendar system ruling many lives today has been moving in synchronicity with the Jupiter and Saturn cycle in this past century, as the opening and close of each decade has coincided with either a Jupiter and Saturn conjunction or opposition.  For example, the years 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, and 2000 roughly line up with the new cycle conjunction, while the years 1910, 1930, 1950, 1970, 1990, and 2010 line up with the polarity of the full phase opposition.  In this way, just as the new cycle of economic growth in the 1920s led into the economic collapse and Great Depression of the 1930s, so did the economic growth of the shift into 2000 lead into the global economic collapse of the 2010 time period.

graves joyous young pine

Joyous Young Pine by Morris Graves (1944)

One of the biggest issues on the global stage emerging during the current disseminating phase between Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Leo concerns the right use of power.  James Hillman in his 1995 book Kinds of Power questioned and investigated cultural assumptions regarding power, in particular in connection with our economy that dominates world views, as to Hillman “it is the Economy where the contemporary unconscious resides and where psychological analysis is most needed” (p. 4).  As part of his deconstruction of power, he analyzed the way in which in the past century or so we have considered the word growth, which to me connects well in a similar manner to how in astrology we have come to define the growth associated with Jupiter on an archetypal level (p. 45):

  1. Increase in size (expansion or getting bigger)
  2. Evolution in form and function (differentiation or getting smarter)
  3. Progress (improvement or getting better)
  4. Conjunction of parts (synthesis, integration or wider networking)
  5. Temporal succession in stages (maturation or getting riper, wiser)
  6. Self-generation (spontaneity or becoming creative, independent)

Writing at the end of the 20th Century, Hillman saw this dominant idea regarding growth to be connected in a widely held belief in unending improvement through expansion, and that this was one of our culture’s biggest problems.  Hillman knew that continual expansion is not natural to life, for as there is a yin to every yang so there is a Fall to every Spring and a Crescent Moon to every Dark Moon.  In connection to the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, it is also worth noting that Hillman was writing this book in the waning half of their cycle, the same point we are at now.  Since the last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in 2000, and their opposition in 2010, his thoughts on the damage caused to our planet and ourselves by the dominant idea of growth connected to economic power have become even more obvious and explicit in our surroundings.

Also applicable to the Saturn and Jupiter cycle, Hillman came up with a new list of ideas to associate with growth to correlate with the changes he saw happening at the end of the 20th Century, ideas that to me also correlate well with the meaning of the waning half of the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, as well as anytime we unify the power of Jupiter and Saturn into concentrated effort (p. 50):

  1. Deepening 
  2. Intensification
  3. Shedding
  4. Repetition
  5. Emptying

To Hillman, deepening is a “growth of soul” that “brings ugly, twisted things out of the soil” (p. 52), an idea of staying power that is about “staying in the mess,” cleaning up the mess, and staying “planted,” with “no avoidance and no escape” (p. 50).  In comparison, intensification to Hillman is about “a devotional focus to what you are doing- an intensive concentration that seems like obsession,” like “the love brought to the art of your work and the love in which the work is done” (p. 54).  Ultimately, intensification is a different sort of efficiency, one more focused upon the greatest level of quality in every part of the process, like how poetry “intensifies by packing lots of implications and references into the small space of a word or a phrase” (p. 52).

Furthermore, Hillman’s conception of “shedding” is well-suited to the limits of time and space we are often tested with through Saturn, times of crisis carrying extraordinary challenge with the potential for profound transcendence if we can face them despite our fears.  To Hillman, “radical shedding happens in those crises that move in on the soul and cannot be easily fixed,” that come “unannounced” with “a specific and immediate cause . . . or no apparent cause at all” (p. 55).  The importance to Hillman is that “the crisis which forces shedding also forces a philosophical re-visioning, as if the crisis were demanding a discrimination between what must be held and what can be let go” (p.  57).  Interestingly, this is the exact type of language used by Dane Rudhyar to describe what happens at the opposition point of a planetary cycle as the cycle shifts into the waning phase, particularly as we reach the last quarter phase.  As we are still in the disseminating phase and not quite at the last quarter phase, this is important to keep in mind. Furthermore, since in this past year Jupiter was caught up in an opposition with Pluto, first quarter square with Uranus, and the cardinal grand square with Mars, we have already been experiencing this concept of “shedding” in relation to Jupiter this year.  Hillman’s advice is to use imagination in the process of facing the fears of “shedding” crises:  he suggests imagining as realistically as possible the consequences of catastrophe scenarios and to let go “of all security structures, comforting identities, realized achievements, forward planning.  See what remains, for only what remains can truly be relied on for growth” (p. 58).

My main aim in quoting James Hillman so much here, is that through his deconstruction of consensus conceptualization of words like power and growth, we can become more aware of how we can potentially conform and condition ourselves to outdated ideas that do not resonate with our ever changing reality.  Through actively working with the movement of Jupiter and Saturn, we can gain insight into how we can work within a collective effort to serve the changing needs of our world, in a manner artfully encapsulated by Hillman:

Our problems are inside our lives, yes; but our lives are lived inside fields of power, under the influence of others, in accord with authority, subject to tyrannies. Moreover, our lives are lived inside the fields of power that are our cities with their offices and cars, systems of work and mountains of trash. These too are powers impinging on our souls. When the wider world breaks down and is sick at heart, the individual suffers accordingly. Since he and she are not the underlying cause of their suffering, neither can they be its cure. The collective power failures in government bureaucracies, education, institutions and corporations, the ineffective transmission of power downward to the disenfranchised, oppressed and impoverished, and the sputtering generators of acrid heat below the streets of America’s cities require attention to the transformers and dynamos beyond the personal fuse box in your basement.  Attention has to be paid to the overhead power lines, those mainline ideas that are the archetypal wirings which energize our individualities. Personal recovery cannot substitute for national recovery. At best, they go hand in hand (p. 15).

Now that we are in the disseminating phase of this Jupiter and Saturn cycle that began in Taurus in 2000, it is time to glean the personal gift we each have to offer our global community and put it forth into our environment with all of our heart like the lion of Leo and the eagle of Scorpio.  It is time to express our message and to listen to the message of others:  at the next stage of this cycle Jupiter in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and Saturn in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, await us to provoke the philosophical debates necessary to bring about the crisis of consciousness found in the last quarter square.

Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

References

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

Bly, Robert. (1990).  Iron John: a book about men.  Addison Wesley.

Brennan, Chris. (2012). The Planetary Joys and the Origins of the Significations of the Houses and Triplicities.

Hillman, James. (1995). Kinds of Power: a guide to its intelligent uses. Doubleday.

Noelle, Richard. (1999). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.  http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/geo/ju-sa/ju000sa.html

Rudhyar, Dane. (1958). The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle. Horoscope Magazine.

The Neptune and Jupiter Cycle

Love Angel

Grand Water Trine of July 2013:

Trinity in the Neptune-Jupiter cycle

Angelic grace or imaginal joviality may be evoked by the conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter, but their cycle has a deeper relationship with the evolution of consciousness.  In July 2013 we are now in the first quarter trine phase of this most recent cycle, and this current trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces has demanded a great deal of attention as it has been part of a grand water trine with Saturn in Scorpio (Saturn in Scorpio is in a disseminating trine to both Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces).  I recently came across a copy of  Dane Rudhyar’s 1958 article about The Jupiter and Neptune Cycle, originally published in Horoscope magazine, and have been thinking about it in relation to the current phase involving Jupiter and Neptune.

Rudhyar believed the Neptune and Jupiter cycle is one of the most important planetary cycles to contemplate because it is the only one with a consistent pattern of successive conjunctions between the planets occurring in successive signs of the zodiac.  As a result, Rudhyar placed it with the Jupiter-Saturn cycle and the eclipse cycles to be one of the most important cycles to ponder in relation to historical analysis.  Rudhyar also highlighted the lunar phase quality of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle because it occurs in relation to the number 13, with the entire cycle lasting for 166 years (adds up to 13) and each successive conjunction happening every thirteen years.   The fact that Neptune functions as the Sun in this analogy, and Jupiter as the Moon, is interesting in light of Rudhyar’s analysis because he viewed Jupiter as corresponding to societal beliefs and attitudes we may conform to for security purposes, and Neptune as corresponding to more of an evolutionary Soul path forward for us to follow, albeit a more disorienting one that can be difficult for many human beings to integrate in a grounded manner.

In his article Rudhyar stressed the fact that Jupiter and Saturn as planetary archetypes both connect to the concept that human beings interact in groups and form societies and cultures, producing communities within these that have shared values, ideals, needs, and memories.  As a result there also ends up being a shared language, laws, religions, institutions, and cultures. Rudhyar further reasoned that while Saturn correlates with the boundaries a person embodies in their participation through the role, function, and place they act from, Jupiter gives each individual person the feeling that they belong or are connected in a community through shared knowledge and belief.  Rudhyar explained that Jupiter does this because it “deals particularly with social-cultural-religious feelings and the expansion that comes to the individual who operates warmly in terms of these feelings, reiciprocated (usually) by others, either emotionally (happiness) or in terms of concrete values (wealth)” (Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraph 18).

In connection to the Neptune cycle, and how we tend to think of Neptune as corresponding to our connection to Goddess/God/Spirit, we can thus infer that Jupiter and Saturn deal with the shared societal aspects of organized religion, and the ways in which one should behave in society as a follower of the particular organized religion one follows.  In case one is not religious, Jupiter and Saturn would thus connect with the shared societal aspects of how one “should” or “should not” act if one would like to be viewed as “successful” by the consensus culture with which one belongs.  Yet as we know from experience, sometimes what the consensus culture defines as normal, such as ignoring a homeless person on the street or keeping a secret about a wound from person in authority over us so as not to damage the associated institution, may not feel inside us like it is how we truly want to act in the moment.  As a result, Rudhyar made the astute observation that although Jupiter is usually described as the “great benefic” among astrologers, in reality it often can correlate with conformity and resisting the call of an evolution in consciousness:

Astrologers are haunted with the idea that Jupiter is “the greater fortune” and a symbol of all that is “good.”  But good and fortunate for what-  for the easy way of complacent and nearly automatic repetition of the past!  Jupiter gives good fortune to those who conform, who follow the rules of the social game, the political game, the religious ritual, the way of the “classical” great masters in the arts.  Truly, there is nothing wrong in conforming; and there are vast practical benefits in doing so.  But conforming is not taking the new evolutionary step.  This step-  this new transformation or “mutation”-  requires, like the taking of any walking step, an initial loss of balance, a “fall,” immediately followed by a “recovery.”  To walk is constantly to lose one’s balance, then recover it as the foot again touches the ground a yard or so ahead.

The Jupiter-Neptune cycle is very much like a walking process.  Every 13 years-  and, even more, every 166 years-  mankind should take a step forward, even if only a tiny one.  It should be a step ahead of our past traditional, social, cultural, and religious sense of human relationship.  Unfortunately, such a step tends to lead at first to confusion, disarray, dismay, perhaps temporary blindess and panicky escape “back to the womb” of what may be thought to be a secure and familiar institution or religious organization.  However, progress is only through the confusion and the glowing mist over the hills, yonder.  There is no way ever of going ahead, except through!

–Dane Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraphs 23 and 24

The connection between Jupiter and Saturn with what can fall within the boundaries of consensus thought links to the fact that for a long time Jupiter and Saturn were the outermost known planets of our solar system.  With each successive planetary discovery, first Uranus, then Neptune, then Pluto, and now we know that there is a vast array of celestial objects even beyond this, with each new discovery a new collective evolution in consciousness occurred, such as Uranus being discovered during revolutionary times in the United States and France, and Neptune being discovered during a time of spiritual movements in the 19th Century.  In his article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle, Rudhyar described that along these lines Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are galactic ambassadors for us connecting us to another level of reality, a “stage of transition between the solar system unit and the vaster cosmic whole, the galaxy; more precisely, they refer to certain basic modes of activity by which this galactic whole constantly impresses its powers upon our tiny solar system, ‘feeds’ (in a sense) this solar system and works toward its closer integration into the galactic field” (Rudhyar, paragraph 19).

However, these outer planets prove difficult for us to integrate and more often than not impact us in a manner that reveals how we are not wholly integrated with our true soul path and work in the world.  While Uranus can be an awakener that unexpectedly shocks us and shakes us free from the Saturn role or Jupiter belief we have identified our ego and personality with in society, Rudhyar illuminated that it is Neptune that then dissolves the shattered remnants of this formerly crystallized identity, exposing our consciousness wide open with the potential to feel  vulnerable and disoriented.  When we respond to this heightened sensitivity and openness by clinging to escapist pursuits in order to grasp at a sense of security or familiarity, we bring in the side of Neptune described as being illusionary, foggy, glamorous, or unfocused.  Yet Neptune is a universal archetype of unity and unconditional love, and as Rudhyar described “an agent of the vast galactic field of cosmic existence . . . an emissary of the greater to the lesser” that “dissolves the obsolete narrowness of the Saturnine focus” because of the deep compassionate nature of its archetype (Rudhyar, paragraph 21).  This is how Neptune represents the future in relation to Jupiter.

Rudhyar concluded that the Neptune and Jupiter cycle therefore symbolizes the steps we can take as an individual in transforming our established social beliefs, and the manner in which as a society of people we are moving forward in our collective evolution.  Rudhyar emphasized that the Jupiter-Neptune cycle by itself does not necessarily correlate with startling events, but instead emerges more as a change in feeling regarding what our human interactions mean.  The following chart image is taken from the Rudhyar Archival Project’s republication of his article that was originally published in September 1958 in Horoscope Magazine:  you can see that the conjunction happened in a successive sign of the zodiac every cycle except for the cycles of 1984 and 1997 that each happened in Capricorn, and the cycles of 1779 and 1792 that each happened in Libra.

jupiter_neptune_dates

In his article Rudhyar analyzed how you can compare the previous cycle of Jupiter and Neptune conjunct in a zodiac sign in order to help understand the meaning of the new cycle.  For example, when he wrote this article in 1958 Jupiter and Neptune were having their conjunction in Scorpio, which connected to the previous Scorpio conjunction in 1804.  Rudhyar noted that 1804 found Napolean Bonaparte an Emperor of France following the previous conjunction in Libra in 1792 that found the monarchy abolished and France declared a republic.  And just think of what occurred alone in the United States of America between the Scorpio conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1958 and their next conjunction in Sagitarius in 1971!  Thus, from this viewpoint while the tumultuous events of the 1960s are often associated with the conjunction between Pluto and Uranus that occurred in Virgo, we can also connect them with the theme of Scorpio that was introduced in 1958 through the Jupiter-Neptune cycle.

Similarly, while we associate the intensity of events occurring today with the square occuring between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, we can also interpret them through the Jupiter-Neptune archetypal theme of Aquarius that was introduced in 2009.  Looking back to the last Aquarius conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in 1843 could possibly give us some guidance (for example, in the realm of philosophy I noticed that Kierkegaard’s Either/Or and other writing was published in this year and that Friedrich Nietzsche was born a year later- two of the “fathers” of Existential philosophy which objectified and analyzed in an Aquarian manner the individual’s role in society and religion), but events of today are obviously very different from events in 1843.  When we consider our current cycle between Jupiter and Neptune that began on May 27, 2009 in Aquarius, one major news event happening in the United States was the first phase of newly elected President Barack Obama’s administration attempting to successfully establish itself following the infamous “first hundred days” period.  The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the USA was an Aquarian event that liberated the U.S. presidency from past patterns, as he was the first African-American to be elected, as well as the son of a single mother who had a compelling story that resonated with many of the U.S. people.  One of his administration’s first intentions was the Aquarian ideal of reforming the U.S. Health Care system through opening up health care to citizens with pre-existing health issues, among other reforms.  This action had a parallel to a previous Jupiter-Neptune cycle initiated during the first term of a presidency- the 1932 cycle in Virgo that saw Franklin Roosevelt (born a half year later than the  Jupiter-Neptune conjunction of 1881) elected, and then his “New Deal” passed a year later.  Similarly, after a process of excessive political gamesmanship between political enemies and competing interests which connected more with the conforming aspect of Jupiter that Rudhyar referenced in his article, the Obama administration was able to pass an imperfect compromise.  In connection to the recent first quarter trine, it is nonetheless interesting that in the same week as the exact trine happened, President Obama finally made a new public stance and push in order to promote the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or what has now been commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”

Of course, much more has been going on in this time period than attempts at health care reform, as we have been in an intense Aquarian storm in the sense of dramatic events and crises that have evoked a collective emphatic response from humanity.  One of the most obvious connections to the Aquarian themed archetype of this phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle has been issues and ethical questions surrounding the world-wide web, the Internet, and social media.  For example, we have had the Wikileaks scandals, the Bradley Manning leaks, and now the “Snow Man” leaks in which we have learned the U.S. government can access all of our social media and Internet communication anytime it wants.  There have been a lot of attempts from activists and others seeking to liberate (Aquarius) information to the public, with a sharp backlash from power players/institutions (Leo) wanting to keep control.  For example, academic institutions have prosecuted people, at extremely high monetary value, they have labeled as being hackers for attempting to open public access for free to academic journals one would have had to pay a fee for in the past.  This has been in contrast to the “open source” movement that has been popular among many at the forefront of technology in which they have intentionally made all of their information public and free in order to receive “outside the box” criticism and feedback from members of the public who would normally not have the access.  With regards to the current NSA control of cell phone and Internet records, to the wide array of issues that have come up through the instantaneous manner in which the global community is now connected through social media, we have been in a Neptunian fog so to speak with how exactly to work out these issues.  However, the potential power of these forms of communication have become very clear, as one of the greatest Aquarian uses of social media in this time period has been through the use of it in organizing revolutions such as the Arab Spring.  Looking back upon the last year of intense events that are far too many to even begin to document here, it is also important to remember that with regards to Jupiter and Neptune, we also experienced a first quarter square between Gemini Jupiter and Pisces Neptune that first occurred in June through July of 2012, and then in a wider aspect again in January through March of 2013 after a retrograde phase of Jupiter in Gemini.

Aquarius 2009 Cycle

Trayvon Martin by Rudy Shepherd

The above image of Trayvon Martin and his father was made by the artist Rudy Shepherd, an old college friend of mine who attended a private and religiously-affiliated university with me in the Southeast of the United States of America.  Being from the South in the USA (I grew up outside New Orleans, Louisiana and then Atlanta, Georgia) I am very familiar with the racial dynamics that recently exploded here surrounding the verdict on George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin.  The Grand Water Trine involving the Neptune-Jupiter trine coincided with a cathartic emotional release and rage from the African-American community and other people of color who have lived under the constant threat of racial profiling from the American criminal justice system.  In addition, there has also been a lot of bickering between people who consider themselves to be “White allies” and people who appear to be either ignorant or nonreflective of the “White privilege” they intrinsically possess as being a member of society in the USA.  Whether you agree with the verdict or not, the indisputable facts are that George Zimmerman believed (Jupiter) he had the community-sanctioned authority of being in a “Neighborhood Watch” role (Saturn), and chose to focus on Trayvon Martin, an African American youth wearing a hoodie and buying skittles, he did not recognize as being suspicious and a potential criminal threat.  A response from someone with a different set of beliefs may have been to walk up to Trayvon and have a brief friendly conversation, but instead Zimmerman chose to follow him with a gun, call the police, and continue to stalk Martin despite being told not to by the police.  There is in fact no way to separate out the racial profiling aspect of this situation, and whatever altercation between these two individuals that followed does not change the fact that the entire situation was rooted in racial profiling.  Racial profiling is a serious and well-documented aspect of American culture, and this particular event drew a collective emotional connection through Aquarian aspects of social media technology and group mind connection.  The quick manner in which a story like this can circulate throughout social media, and the strong emotional response it can manifest that then can quickly turn into a massive emotional reaction  (perhaps in this case having a stronger than normal correlation to the grand water trines between Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn and Mercury-Chiron-North Node of the Moon) is to me a perfect example of this being an Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle.

The opportunity presented by the grand trine between Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Neptune, and Scorpio Saturn that happened at this time inside of the larger Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, is for a new dialogue concerning issues of race to occur in the United States of America with the hope to throw off and liberate consensus thought from some of it’s past limitations of mainstream belief concerning racism.  There is also the opportunity now for people outraged by racial profiling and other aspects of racism in America to re-organize themselves into more productive groups and organizations to do something pro-active about this situation in an Aquarian manner.  In the community college classes I have taught to many members of the Neptune-Uranus generation born in the 1990s, many students of this generation do not believe that “race” even exists and can be initially reluctant to examine dynamics between oppression and race in the USA.  In class I would respond that while I agree with them that “race” does not necessarily exist besides the idea of a “human race” (Neptune), the fact that there is a strong cultural belief in “race” and “racism” (Jupiter) means that it is an issue in need of examination.  Despite some talk from some people of us existing now in a “post-racial” society because we have an African-American President for the first time, the Trayvon Martin killing now stands as a historical landmark clearly revealing to everyone the extent of racism that still exists in this country.  If we hope to move forward as a people and a collective and survive on this planet in the looming Age of Aquarius, it is imperative for us to initiate new conversations and work at healing the gaping wounds individuals and groups carry with regards to racism and a lack of equity and inclusiveness.  This is not easy work, and during a time of incredibly destructive religious wars occurring across the planet, it may seem impossible.  However, the 2009 celestial partnering of Neptune and Jupiter in Aquarius indicates that working on our group dynamics as a people is one of our tasks in our collective evolution.

With regards to our current President Obama, a leader who has a Pisces Chiron currently conjunct transiting Neptune and in trine to transiting Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio, the Trayvon Martin story finally either pushed him or gave him the inner strength to publicly talk openly to the American people about the racism and judgment he has experienced as an African-American male in this country.  While some think this was a politically motivated talk or want to demean it on account of various transgressions enacted by his administration, the fact that a President of the United States openly talked to the press about hearing car doors locked as he walked down the street and being followed by clerks in stores when he has been shopping is a huge monumental event in the history of the United States.  With regards to President Obama on a personal level, the grand water trine coincided with an opportunity for the issues of his Pisces Chiron in his first house, issues that in part relate to his identity as a mixed race son of a single white mother, to be released- watching video of his “speech,” you can visibly see how energetically confining his public role has been for him and the incredible amount of restraint he has carried in completely avoiding talking about his identity as an African-American male to the American people.  With regards to the effect of this speech, it gave an opportunity for many African-Americans and people of color for the first time to hear the ultimate public authority in the United States speak from direct experience of experiencing racism in the USA.  Maybe it is my own Aquarian ideals speaking here, but I strongly feel it is important to not discount this moment and the potential opening that could result.  However, for productive growth to occur it will important to focus on how to most effectively utilize the Aquarian concepts of collectivity, technology, communication, inventiveness, protest, and liberating thought in order to most effectively create new change.

Keeping in mind that the grand water trine of Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn is occurring within a first quarter square between Uranus and Pluto, we can directly connect these events to the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus first came into range of the conjunction in Virgo they are now in a square to each other from in the signs of Aries and Capricorn.  Fittingly, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Bernice King, gave a public statement on social media following the verdict in the Geogre Zimmerman case that connected these events with the civil rights movement her father helped lead in the 1960s.  Again, remember events in the 1960s can be connected to the Scorpio cycle of Neptune and Jupiter that was initiated in 1958, so it is also interesting that Saturn is in Scorpio today:

It’s ’63 again.  NOT GUILTY.  Just like those who got off for the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham back in ’63.  I’m stunned and disappointed.  It’s a sad day in the history of American jurisprudence that our justice system continues to fall short of the truth, especially when a person can be going about their daily business and ultimately be killed because of a false assumption.  In the words of a friend, “any law that justifies the actions of Zimmerman is an unjust law.” In the words of my father “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” Let us seek God for his guidance during this time. God is a God of Justice, mercy and grace. All protests against the verdict must demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to Nonviolence, to honor the dignity of Trayvon Martin’s life and not add further tragedy to what his family and the people of Sanford have already experienced. Now is the time to create a culture of Nonviolence.

–Dr. Bernice King, facebook post on July 13, 2013

Dr. King’s call for a nonviolent protest again connects these events with the Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle we are currently in.  Her reference of God is also interesting as an example of the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune as archetypes.  During the Zimmerman trial, the prosecution played a video tape of George Zimmerman also invoking God in relation to his actions.  In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, in response to being asked if he could go back in time if he would have done anything differently that day, Zimmerman replied not only that he would not do anything differently, but that in fact it was God’s plan that he did what he did.  These contrasting uses of God in relation to this situation is a good example of how human beings can get themselves to believe anything, or another way of saying that is we can create and believe any illusion that we want to.

Although in his article Rudhyar pointed out the “lower” side of Jupiter that can be not only conforming but also fanatical about consensus beliefs that may not truly reflect the evolutionary trajectory of the moment, when we examine the glyph for Jupiter, a half circle sitting on top of a cross, we can see how the half circle representing higher mind or Soul being above the cross of matter corresponds to the potential of Jupiter to help transmute human consciousness above attachment to matter.  Therefore, Jupiter as an archetype is receptive to a close connection with awareness from the Neptune archetype, but the trick is in the discernment and spiritual or esoteric discrimination one employs in navigating these energies.  Again, just because Jupiter can correspond to what one “should” or “should not do” is not intrinsically an issue- however, it can become an enormous issue of our psyche if we have refrained from acting in accordance with how our true heart would call us to act for fear of breaking or going against a Jupiterian belief or taboo associated with consensus thought, religion, society . . .  In this way we cut ourselves off from our true perception, communication, interaction, and Self.  Alan Oken has taught about how one can employ esoteric discrimination through intuitively aligning with certain energies or vibrations without the need to label them as “good” or “bad,” because if our hearts are open, we do not need someone to tell us that we want to nurture a baby instead of harming a baby.

In Evolutionary Astrology, Jeffrey Wolf Green taught that Jupiter corresponds to beliefs and is a key factor in helping us align with Natural Law to a greater extent.  Green taught that the Jupiter archetype corresponds to how human beings form beliefs, and that there also can be a difference between what one believes and what the ultimate Truth of the situation is.  Green also defined the knowledge we can gain with Jupiter as not being a result of our beliefs, but instead is a result of our direct experience with the actual truth of anything.  In comparison, Green taught that Neptune as an archetype correlates with the ultimate meaning of anything, including the meaning of the nature of our ultimate Source of Creation.  As a result, Green taught that through the combination of Jupiter and Neptune humans can create any illusion, delusion, or belief that they want, including a connection to the ultimate meaning of God/Spirit/Source.  Furthermore, Green taught that because there is a natural square between the archetypes of Sagitarius and Pisces, zodiac signs commonly associated with Jupiter and Neptune, a crisis of consciousness can result when we discover that our beliefs do not align with the actual truth of a situation we realize through direct experience.  As a result, Green taught that the evolutionary purpose of experiencing disillusionment is so that we can ultimately align ourselves to a greater extent with the actual truth of anything, including the ultimate meaning of anything.

Perhaps it can be helpful for any of us experiencing profound disillusionment at this time to consider this evolutionary purpose of disillusionment described by Jeff Green.  This concept of a crisis in consciousness also hearkens back to who I believe is the originator of the term “crisis in cosciousness” in astrology, Dane Rudhyar, and his analysis that experiences connected with the cycle of Neptune and Jupiter will most likely involve a “fall” that is full of “disorientation” and “confusion.”  But instead of running “back to the womb” of our comfort zone and habitual comforts, we can draw up the strength to recover and step forward on our evolutionary journey.  In connection with the potential for profound collective soul work that could come from this Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, it is also important to remember that it sometimes takes intense crises to liberate the hearts and minds of people into a united focus upon a cause.

Poseidon

Owen Barfield

Jupiter first quarter trine to Neptune at Birth

As a way to come at an additional understanding of how the Jupiter-Neptune cycle can play out in birth charts, I thought it would be interesting to give a historical example.  When considering a conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in the birth chart, the individual could in many ways be instinctively tapped into the wave of the future, without perhaps being as consciously aware of the new vision as someone with a different aspect between the planets.  One example of this would be the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, born during the Libra conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1792.  While Shelly did achieve a level of fame in his meteoric lifetime, he was also criticized as a dilettante and crazy political radical by contemporaries living from the consensus Jupiter-Saturn thought patterns of the time.  However, in connection with the future-oriented meaning of this cycle in Libra,  in the successive generations following the death of Shelley he became a major inspiration in not only the field of poetry, but also in activism through his written proclamations concerning non-violent resistance in political protest and a vegetarian lifestyle.

In Evolutionary Astrology a first quarter trine aspect between Pluto and a planet is connected with the individual being “full” of their evolutionary purpose, and I feel in a similar fashion an individual with a first quarter trine aspect between Neptune and Jupiter could also be full of a new vision to manifest, including a conscious awareness of how to actualize a personal reality aligned with the vision.  A profound example of a birth chart containing a first quarter trine between Neptune and Jupiter is Owen Barfield, who was born on November 9, 1898 in London, UK.  The previous conjunction between Neptune and Jupiter would have been at 14 degrees Gemini, and is the place where Barfield has his Pluto.  So being born five years after the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction here, Barfield also has his Gemini Pluto conjunct his Gemini Neptune.  He also had a Mercury conjunct Chiron conjunct Uranus on the Scorpio/Sagitarius cusp, among many other fascinating natal chart aspects.  However, for our purposes here of examining a first quarter trine aspect between Jupiter and Neptune, the life and work of Owen Barfield is a beautiful example.  The following video is summarizes many of the innovations in thought provided by Barfield:

The fact Barfield has been held up as one of the most innovative thinkers, writers, and teachers of the 20th Century aligns completely with him being born with a trine between Neptune and Jupiter following their conjunction in Gemini in 1894.  With a Jupiter in Libra he formed relationships with and inspired two of the most influential novelists of the 20th Century, Tolkien and Lewis, the authors of The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories, and he was able to create channels through which to express his Neptunian-informed thought. We can see the influence of Neptune on his thinking in his ability to discover aspects of the evolution of consciousness through his Gemini exploration of the history of the English language.  He perceived how metaphors reveal a significance beyond a materialistic outlook, and how the fact that metaphors can only be understood by the imagination but not by logical reasoning does not mean they are not real.  As the video above quoted, he saw how a butterfly and a flower are a “material manifestation of an immaterial unity from which both the butterfly and the flower sprung, an invisible common ancestor if you like.”  His writing and thoughts on “thinking about thinking,” the “evolution of consciousness,” “collective representations,” and “original participation versus final participation” are all lovely examples of a human chanelling Neptunian thought through Jupiterian expression.

It may be of interest that I recently discovered Owen Barfield during this time of the Jupiter-Neptune trine through a social media (Aquarius) post by the Seattle astrologer Kate Petty and so for me coming across Barfield’s writing has been a great synthesis of many aspects of my recent thinking.  In particular I am drawn to his concept of participation and how humans became cut off from nature with a feeling of being isolated and enclosed in their physical bodies, but by developing our imagination we can return to an awareness of our participation with Nature without losing our independent self-consciousness.  He further described our consciousness as being more enclosed within the world as a whole than within the confines of our skin and skull.  He invited us to release our attachment to viewing our minds as having evolved from a material and unconscious universe, to seeing that in the history of our world that matter has emerged from mind, and not mind from matter.  The following poem is quoted among others at the end of the video:

Meditation

Light in the world-

World in the mind-

Mind in the heart-

Heart in the night-

Pain in the day-

Strength in the pain-

Light in the strength-

World in the light.

–Owen Barfield, from Orpheus:  A Verse Drama

It is also interesting examining the life of Barfield, in connection with the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, that he chose to take on a more consensus Jupiter-Saturn role at one point in order to help out with his family business.  However, he eventually returned to his true Soul work of communicating liberating thought through a prolific period of writing and publishing books that took up the rest of his lifetime.  As the video quoted at the end, Barfield’s work served the Jupiterian and Neptunian purpose of revealing that there is a meaning of meaning, that the world has deep meaning, and that if we learn to properly listen we will hear its meaning.   May we likewise have the courage to continue forward on our own evolutionary journey of consciousness.

References

Rudhyar, Dane.  (1958).  The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle.  Horoscope Magazine.

Sirius New Moon in Cancer

Chagall - so i came forth of the sea

New Moon in Cancer

The image above is by my favorite painter, Marc Chagall, a Cancer who is enjoying his birthday today wherever he is, as I write this.  It is called, “So I came forth of the Sea and sat down on the edge of an island in the moonshine,” and to me it encapsulates the watery astrological energy of the moment and the possibility of intuitively moving with the flow of it all, finding some sense of stillness within.  In case you haven’t heard, this is going to be a very potent New Moon in the midst of a grand water trine involving  Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.  Saturn is of particular prominence in the moment, having stationed direct yesterday.  Saturn being in Scorpio, ruled by a Pluto in Capricorn undergoing a square from Uranus in Aries, has the sort of energy that makes the more squeamish of astrologers run for the underground.  However, why not invite this energy in and have it help resurrect our truest path from within, just like the Moon itself emerges from its dark phase at this time to new light?

Examination of the Sabian symbol of this New Moon, as we astrologers love to do (if you haven’t noticed) bears in this case the repetition of you maybe having already read this one by Dane Rudhyar:

Cancer 17:  The unfoldment of multilevel potentialities issuing from an original germ.

Keynote:  The life urge to actualize one’s birth potential.

What is pictured here is simply the process of germination. As it unfolds from the sundered seed the plant pierces the crust of the soil and reaches up toward the light. This is a dynamic process turned outward, in contrast to the more static or introspective process of integration-through-understanding depicted in the preceding symbol. Germination is the crucifixion of the seed . . . The expanding process of self-actualization- which may mean nothing more than ego-expansion through conquest- contrasts with the introspective study of the structural relationship between, and the meaning of, the various energies and potentialities of one’s nature (svarupa in Sanskrit). The keyword is GROWTH.

from An Astrological Mandala, p. 121-2

The “preceding symbol” Rudhyar references is from sixteen degrees of Cancer, “A man studying a mandala in front of him, with the help of a very ancient book” and so is about more of a deep internal process of personality integration, in contrast to the outward expression of the potential of the individual found in the symbol associated with this New Moon at seventeen degrees of Cancer.  Rudhyar’s analysis that this self-actualization process may appear to be an “ego expansion through conquest” links with the tumultuous process we undergo through individuating ourselves, and how part of this can look like narcissism or self-absorption because of the need to figure out who we are, as part of the process of then being able to move out into the world embodying more of our multilevel potential. Again, though, this symbol points to this being more of a time of germination, or feeling the urge of our potential, not necessarily that we would actually be already living the vision at this phase of our process.

One supportive New Moon aspect going with this symbolic meaning is the fact that Venus in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries.  Another one is Mercury moving in retrograde in Cancer conjunct this New Moon, perfect for helping us perceive and reveal our inner potential- also, Mercury retrograde energy can be utilized in outer expression like this symbol suggests more so than you may realize from the pop astrology stereotypes about the dangers of it’s retrograde movement.    However, I cannot think of a more harmonious change in planetary movement to support such a symbol than Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio on the day before the New Moon.  Saturn being a boundary planet that is more about the collective and our role in society than a personal planet like Mercury, it’s stationing direct or retrograde can often coincide with major global events.   This is particularly the case in connection with modern Egypt, as the Arab Spring there began in 2011 with Saturn stationing retrograde, and the new phase of the Egyptian revolution that took effect this past week happened with Saturn stationing direct.  July 3 being the date of this most recent phase of Egyptian revolution is interesting because it is a date in which the Sun in Cancer is conjunct the fixed star Sirius, an important star in the ritual and myth of ancient Egypt.  In fact, conspiracy theorists believe the Founding Fathers of the USA chose the date of July 4 to be the date of “America’s Independence” because it is a date in which the Sun is aligned with Sirius.  The shifting of Saturn corresponding to major global events is also a symbolic correspondence to the power available to us on a personal level to revolutionize aspects of our lives when it stations direct.  The fact that Saturn is doing this now in the sign of Scorpio, in a grand trine aspect to Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces, is an extraordinary symbol of transformation available to us on the deepest level of our being, if we are brave and honest enough to avoid denial and take accountability of our actions, release what is holding us back, and invoke what will propel us forward.

Today’s New Moon also happens to be conjunct Sirius, a beautiful star to behold in the sky and a star that carries a deep well of myth and tall tales encircling it from the most ancient of days, among the widest variety of indigenous cultures imaginable.  One mythic figure who is especially connected to Sirius through myth is Isis (to read my archetypal analysis of Isis click here). I was reading recently about the Isis and Osiris myth in Carl Jung’s revised version of his Symbols of Transformation, thinking there could be something there about Isis to connect with this New Moon energy.  The following quote I found I feel is a perfect addendum to the sabian symbol cited above by Dane Rudhyar:

But it is far from clear, because a new adaptation or orientation of vital importance can only be achieved in accordance with the instincts.  Lacking this, nothing durable results, only a convulsively willed, artificial product which proves in the long run to be incapable of life.  No man can change himself into anything from sheer reason; he can only change into what he potentially is.  When such a change becomes necessary, the previous mode of adaptation, already in a state of decay, is unconsciously compensated by the archetype of another mode.  If the conscious mind now succeeds in interpreting the constellated archetype in a meaningful and appropriate manner, then a viable transformation can take place.  Thus the most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood state is indicated.  One such succesful interpreation has been, for instance, Mother Church, but once this form begins to show signs of age and decay a new interpretation becomes inevitable.

Even if a change does occur, the old form loses none of its attractions; for whoever sunders himself from the mother longs to get back to the mother.  This longing can easily turn into a consuming passion which threatens all that has been won.  The mother then appears on the one hand as the supreme goal, and on the other as the most frightful danger- the “Terrible Mother.”

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation (2nd edition, with corrections, 1967) , p. 236

Isis giving milk

Carl Jung’s interpretation of the Isis and Osiris myth in Symbols of Transformation has an almost obsessive attachment to viewing it through the lens of incest as a taboo.  Jung focused on the sibling sexual relations between brother-sister Osiris and Isis, as well as Osiris and Nephthys being connected to the marriages between brothers and sisters that were common among the aristocracy of ancient Egypt.  Jung then connected the concept of cultural taboos to the repressive effect they can have on human instincts, and then how the separation humans developed with their instinctual natures led to cultural prohibitions associated with various taboos.  Jung believed that when children are bound to unconscious attachment to their mothers they are “still one with the animal psyche,” but that  “development of consciousness inevitably leads not only to separation from the mother, but to separation from the parents and the whole family circle and thus to a relative degree of detachment from the unconscious and the world of instinct” (p. 235).  This is the source of why in the quote above Jung reasoned that as consciousness develops away from the instincts of childhood, we are forever tempted “to make evasions and retreats, to regress to the infantile past” (p. 235).  We can look for other new sources or mother archetypes to compensate for our detachment from our mothers, but this can at times also take us down the road of illusion and addiction as coping strategies.

The fact that Sirius is known as the dog star makes me think of the instinctual strength of dogs, and the significance Jung drew to the idea of us not being able to transform ourselves only through reason, but that the process to be successful would require a transformation in accordance with our instincts.  This makes me think that if the star Sirius could symbolically embody a sense of instinct like a dog, it could be a guide at this time for helping us germinate a new level of potential from within ourselves that is aligned with the deepest levels of our instinctual nature.  In Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung connected the myth of Isis and Osiris to Sirius, the dog star, because of the role of Annubis, the jackal-headed deity of death, in helping Isis to reanimate Osiris after he had been dismembered into many pieces by Set, and how Sirius as the dog star played a major role in ancient Egyptian ceremony:

. . . the deeper meaning is connected with the astral form of the dog ceremony, i.e., the appearance of the dog-star at the highest point of the solstice.  Hence the bringing in of the dog would have a compensatory significance, death being made equal to the sun at its highest point.  This is a thoroughly psychological interpretation, as can be seen from the fact that death is quite commonly regarded as an entry into the mother’s womb (for rebirth).

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, p. 238

These themes connect strongly to me with the zodiac sign of Cancer in general, and how in mundane astrology it is ruled by the Moon, and how in esoteric astrology it is ruled by Neptune.  With the associated astrological symbolism of the Moon and Neptune, such as themes of family, mother, Spirit, Source, . . . many of us are on the wheel of spinning through stages of desire to separate from these as well as a desire to return to them, with all sorts of ramifications of this separation/return theme impacting our daily life and actions in connection with our relationship to our unconscious and instincts.  The esoteric rulership of Neptune makes me think of the birth-death-rebirth theories of Stanislav Grof, in which he connected the stage of the womb with Neptune.  This womb stage evokes the imagery of Neptune not as the wrathful Poseidon, but as the Divine Mother, the mother of matter. It also connects the sign of Cancer to the complications of connection to the oceanic psychic realm of Spirit in a manner that goes along with Neptune currently being in the sign of Pisces.  Having psychic urges or inclinations, or a desire to connect with God or Spirit or what have you, requires a strong sense of self in order to avoid drowning in the numinous ocean.  At times we may think we are engaging in a psychic experience, or a communion with the divine, when in fact we ultimately realize we were off on some sort of illusory folly.  In Soul Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated the connection between Cancer with the Moon and Neptune:

The waters of the Soul/Neptune wish to pull the individual into the ocean of the collective life experience. Yet the individual cannot “swim” safely in these universal waters without first having anchored its own sense of psychological independence and particular focus of self-expression.  It is here that we come to understand that the more individualized a person becomes, the more universal he can be.  Through the expanding consciousness, the many is seen as a reflection of the One, and the Ones is seen as whole in each of Its parts.  This revelation (which some would rightly call “mystical”) is the gift of Neptune, as well as the product of a Soul-centered consciousness.

The Moon relinquishes its control to Neptune when attachment is released from those facets of life ruled by the Moon on the personality level.  Then the root chakra- the center wherein dwells the unconscious urge for self-preservation . . . loosens its dominance as the driving force behind life.  The removal- or, at the very least, the objectification- of the desire to be attached to form frees the individual in increasing stages toward the identification with the Will-to-Be at the crown center . . . The root center can then be utilized for the externalization of matter which has become consciously linked to Divine Cause . . .

The connection to Neptune as the Soul-centered ruler of Cancer is very profound.  Neptune “unveiled” is not the same influence as it is when masked by the unconscious waters of the emotional life.  It is by her actions on the unredeemed lower self that Neptune earns her reputation as the primary force behind self-destructive addictions.  If the personality is not safely anchored through a strong, integrated, and aligned ego structure, the magnetic force of the waters of the psyche will indeed try to pull the struggling individual back into unconscious and undifferentiated beingness.  One has to work incredibly hard to unmask the mirages of Neptune (as focused through the Moon) to arrive at the illumination of Neptune as a vehicle for the Sun!

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 182

Saturn stationing direct at this time in trine to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer corresponds to an increased ability for us to discern what sorts of mirages or illusions could have been impacting us in this recent time period. It is no coincidence in this way that Saturn in this cycle stationed retrograde back in February during an incredibly intense time period of planets lined up in Pisces.

An additional enlightening element of Cancer I have come across from looking more into esoteric astrology is the stage of incarnation it symbolizes, following the mental birth of incarnation in Aries, the solidifying of form and desire in Taurus, and the movement between the mental and emotional in Gemini.  Cancer along these lines represents a new cycle of physical incarnation that synthesizes the three previous stages of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini.  This does not mean incarnating for the first time in form, but rather means that “an incarnation in Cancer indicates that this is the first cohesive anchoring of the Soul in a physical body for a particular cycle of unfoldment”  (Oken, p. 179).  For me this brings us back full-circle to the sabian symbol interpretation by Dane Rudhyar I brought up at the beginning-  this New Moon in Cancer amid all of the other aspects of this time, calls our attention to the “particular cycle of unfoldment” we each are here on planet Earth in this moment to enact.  This is a time of germination of that multi-level potential we have within ourselves- and with the upcoming magical yet heavy astrological aspects on the horizon, it will be a time in which we can manifest our potential into tangible results.

Below is a link to a video of a dynamic drawing of the zodiac sign of Cancer developed by Wolfgang Wegener.  I learned of this technique from Evelina, an astrologer and translator of ancient texts who lives in Bulgaria, and appears to be a star sister of some sort to me, or someone whose thoughts on astrology give me a jolt to my own thinking.  I somehow managed to find her blog pretty much as soon as it was published through a link to the Chiron archetype, and I recommend reading this post here that she made, for I feel it encapsulates the larger context of what I am writing about this New Moon and the current “above” our “below.”

At this time may we be still enough to hear the birdsong, the wind, and the streaming of water ahead of us on our path, and may we have the courage to follow it.

References

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

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

Rudhyar, Dane. ( 1973). An Astrological Mandala: The Cylce of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic phases. Vintage.

Gemini and the Ugly Duckling

Aphrodite_swan_BM_D2

Gemini New Moon: meetings of Mercury & Venus

The Lunar Eclipse on May 24 occurred at the same time that Mercury and Venus were conjunct at 19 degrees of Gemini, also in range of being conjunct Jupiter.  In June the cycle continues, as Venus and Mercury will be conjunct again, magically, at the time of the Summer Solstice.  There is some incredible synchronicity in their cycle of the moment, as the same degree of Gemini at which they were conjunct during the Lunar Eclipse on May 24 is the same degree as the New Moon in Gemini that will be occurring this week on June 8.  In his book An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyhar’s analysis of this Gemini degree is intriguing in connection with intentions we can set for ourselves at this time (p. 102):

Gemini 19: A LARGE ARCHAIC VOLUME REVEALS A TRADITIONAL WISDOM.

Keynote:  Contacting the all-human planetary Mind underlying any cultural and personal mentality.

Occult tradition tells us that all cyclic manifestations of the human mind have had a primordial revelatory Source. It speaks of ancient books made of especially treated papyrus leaves and conveying through symbols the archetypal processes at the root of all earthly existence. Such volumes, said to remain in the possession of certain Adepts, constitute the “exteriorization” of archetypal knowledge and wisdom. They contain the “seed-ideas” from which the human mind grows, cyclically producing cultures of various types.

What sorts of archaic volumes of traditional wisdom are accessible to people today? With the Internet, people have more access to ancient sources of wisdom than ever before.  In our earliest development, however, one of the first sources of traditional wisdom we experienced were found in Fairy Tales and picture books read to us when our language comprehension was first developing.  Through Fairy Tales we gained an archetypal sense and understanding for a number of important lessons in life, but especially in how to individuate, evolve our consciousness, and find our true path in the world.  As toddlers we could sense the great truth of these stories, and it is why the “hero’s journey” is so widely popular in analysis of myth- because it is true.  There is timeless wisdom integrated into each unique hero and heroine’s journey that appears in Fairy Tales.  Telling stories is a Gemini association, and a function of Gemini spirituality.  In Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, author Tom Cowan relayed some of his research into the spiritual role played by storytellers in Celtic culture:

Alwyn and Brinley Rees note that the Latin word historia, from which the word story derives, is also the root for the word history, a term originally meaning “knowing,” “learned,” and “wise.”  In old Welsh the word for story meant “guidance,” “direction,” and “instruction.”  The stem for the Welsh term meant “sign,” “symbol,” “omen,” and “miracle.”  The Rees’s conclusion to this etymological puzzle is that the ancient Welsh  storyteller was indeed a seer and teacher “who guided the souls of his hearers through the world of ‘mystery’.”  Thus we find the Celtic storytellers fulfilling one of the important roles played by classical shamans, the guider and instructor of souls.

–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head, p. 99

A Fairy Tale that has re-emerged for me in the midst of the intense astrological energy of the moment is The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson.  This is in part due to some synchronicity of events at my daughter’s elementary school.  Every year, the students observe the hatching of ducklings from eggs, that then spend some time growing up in the garden on school grounds that is tended by parents, community volunteers, teachers, and students.  In the past, my daughters and I have been part of the duckling caregiving team.  This year, something inexplicable happened:  a chick, baby chicken, was hatched among the ducklings.  The students gave her the endearing name, “Chuck,” and this chicken growing up among ducks brings up one of the most famous fairy tales of identity crisis: The Ugly Duckling.

I feel the story of the ugly duckling connects with this time and the reflection of this time in the transits of the celestial heavens, because the Uranus archetype wants us to find our own unique role, being, vibration, and behavior in the world at this time that can bring us most alive and so will help bring our collective the most alive in the process.  We are being tested in the face of authoritarian control and suppression, oppression visible in every direction we turn.  We can think of the energy needed being like the piercing call of a hawk streaking across the sky, but in reality it can be as gentle as a swan gazing at itself in the reflection of the water.  The symbolism of seeing your authentic reflection in the water is the same as the symbolism of mirrors that can be connected to the seasonal archetype of Gemini we are living in.  The idea of the twin searching for it’s other twin in the world, its soul mate- is connected ultimately for our search for our authentic self we long to find one day when looking at our self in the mirror.

Gemini Dreaming

This potential for the excitable Gemini mind of the personality to contemplatively connect with it’s authentic self and soul connects with the symbolism of The Ugly Duckling as well as the current cycle of conjunctions between Mercury and Venus.  This is because there will be another conjunction between Mercury and Venus in the next couple of weeks as Mercury begins to station to go retrograde, giving Venus the opportunity to “catch up.”  Like magic, this next conjunction will occur on our Summer Solstice of this year, at the same time there will be a grand water trine between Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.    The Sabian Symbol for 22 degrees of Cancer, the degree of the next conjunction between Mercury and Venus, also fits perfectly with the meaning of the seminal swan story by Hans Christian Andersen:

Cancer 22:  A young woman awaiting a sailboat.

Keynote:  The longing for transcendent happiness in the soul opened to great dreams.

Here the symbol pictures the imaginative youthful person who basically cannot be satisfied with what his or her ordinary social environment offers, and who instead is longing for the unknown visitation of which he or she has dreamed.  From the unconscious beyond, the concretization of a spiritual image- spiritual because impelled by the “wind” (pneuma, spirit)- is hoped for and expected.  The Beloved may come- not in a glittering opera house, but in the silence of the inner sea of consciousness.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 125

Indeed, finding symbolic meaning in water birds like swans can be especially resonant now, as we are wading into a water time of the zodiac with Neptune in Pisces currently stationing in preparation to turn retrograde this week, at the same time as the upcoming New Moon in Gemini on June 8.  In addition, Mercury and Venus are both in Cancer now, with Mercury currently in the position of forming a grand water trine with Pisces Neptune and Scorpio Saturn, and Venus preparing to enter a grand water trine with Neptune and Saturn soon. However, we can not expect this current water trine involving some personal planets, as well as the upcoming grand water trine involving Jupiter to be “easy,” as each water trine will be incredibly activated by the square between Uranus and Pluto.  This is especially true now in the moment, with Mercury and Venus in Cancer and slipping into the empty degree of the t-square with Pluto and Uranus, being opposite to Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The image of water birds, beings at home in the air, on land, or in water, could be helpful guides for us at this time.  In the Celtic spirituality, water birds are sacred because of their grace in navigating all three of these elements: earth, water, and air.  Think of a swan gliding gracefully across the surface of the water with all of the external turbulence of the world around it.

duckling_clarke1

The version of The Ugly Duckling written by Hans Christian Andersen was originally published in 1845, fittingly enough in the same time period that Neptune was discovered, and a few years before the last time that Neptune entered Pisces.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes his story as being about “the archetype of the unusual and the dispossessed,” and a timeless lesson at that:

“The Ugly Duckling” has been one of the few stories to encourage successive generations of “outsiders” to hold on till they find their own.  It is a psychological and spiritual root story.  A root story is one that contains a truth so fundamental to human development that without integration of this fact further progression is shaky, and one cannot entirely prosper psychologically until this point is realized.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 167

In Han Christian Anderson’s story The Ugly Duckling, a swan egg gets mixed in with a duck’s nest, and so the mother duck raises the baby swan along with her ducklings and everyone thinks the swan is a duck.  The ducks ostracize the young swan because of his differences, forcing him on a journey where he experiences devastating setbacks over and over again.  During his difficulties the immature swan sees graceful adult swans flying above him and feels a deep calling rise up from inside.  After growing up through his trials, and while resting for a moment in water, he glances down and sees in the water’s reflection that he is in fact a swan, leading him to find a new home in a swan community.

Finding your calling and being brave enough to follow it is a plot that has dominated myths and folktales across time and still to this day is widespread in popular and cult storytelling. As children we are enchanted with the idea of having a Fairy Godmother, a guardian angel, a guiding star, or other magical being, who will help us find our path.  What if a spirit guide is actually inside each of us? Our culture is quick to label the agonizing awkwardness we can experience like the ugly duckling to be mental health issues.  We can be led to believe we are crazy from following the intuitive insight that can come from watching the flight of a bird.  But there is a guide inside each of us that will resonate with experiences that help us find our true calling- the more you try to get in touch with this inner vibration the more clear its advice to you will be.

In my own life I have had times of feeling like I was aimlessly wandering just like the young swan, when now from a distance I can see how that sense of aimlessness was an illusion; I can see how that difficult time was a gift to develop new strength.  I may have felt like I wasn’t making enough money or producing something that would be praised by my culture; I may have felt like I was mired in darkness.  However, I was really in a process of transformation due to facing myself on a deep level.  When we are willing to dive into the depths of our being we create the possibility that we can re-surface with a transformed perspective that can help manifest fulfillment.  Whenever we intuitively experience the rush of excitement that the young swan felt when seeing adult swans, we should follow it.  To interpret the sight of our own majestic swans to be the illusion is tragic.  In the moment when we choose to view reality as being about only the difficulties we are facing, we neglect the fact that we may be in the process of transforming into something transcendent to our current troubles.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes sums up the meaning for her of The Ugly Duckling as follows:

The duckling of the story is symbolic of the wild nature, which, when pressed into circumstances of little nurture, instinctively strives to continue no matter what.  The wild nature instinctively holds on and holds out, sometimes with style, other times with little grace, but holds on nevertheless . . .

The other important aspect of the story is that when an individual’s particular kind of soulfulness, which is both an instinctual and a spiritual identity, is surrounded by psychic acknowledgment and acceptance, that person feels life and power as never before.  Ascertaining one’s own psychic family brings a person vitality and belongingness.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 172

So I invite you to listen- to truly listen to the world around you and the wisdom that can be found everywhere on your path.  Inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime.  If you listen without the filters you have developed on account of others in your culture or a family of origin that did not resonate with your inner self, you will discover significance in places you otherwise would have overlooked.  You will gain a sense that whatever is happening to you right now is just part of your process, part of your calling, part of your story.

swan

References

Cowan, Tom. (1993). Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit. HarperSan Francisco.

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola (1992). Women Who Run with the Wolves:  Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype.  Ballantine Books.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases.

Taurus and Incarnation

scenes from Buddha's life

Taurus and Being Human in Form

What do you desire?  What do you value?  You may have noticed others, including astrologers, asking you these questions recently as we have been experiencing an incredibly intense time period of Taurus energy these past couple of weeks, but especially now.  Unrelated to astrology, in the community college class I teach recently students have been creating projects and writing exploring what they want to attract into their life, what their current purpose in life is, what they desire to have in their life, and what they value.  There have been as many different responses as there are different people, differences in human personalities and backgrounds, with some wanting to possess material items and others more immaterial qualities.  There has been a wide range of material desires, from wanting a more simple type of a pet or a house, to more outlandish possessions such as a private jet, exotic animals, and millions of dollars; there has also been a wide range of immaterial desires, from wanting to have happiness and provide service to the local community, to wanting to provide service to the global community and to explore a higher level of consciousness.  What all of their responses have had in common, however, is desire, human desire, and the fact that human beings have desires, and that we also tend to develop a sense of values that are important to us, and that some of us live from.  This brings up the question, what is desire?  Where do our desires and values come from?  Why do we desire and value what we do?

I was recently listening to a taped lecture by astrologer Alan Oken and gained a new sense of understanding for the sign of Taurus by hearing him break down the etymology of Incarnation.  Incarnation means “embodied in flesh” or “in the flesh,” “in the meat (carne),” and so connects with Taurus as being the second sign of the zodiac since in Taurus we incarnate into form the new impulse of celestial life connected with the first sign of the zodiac, Aries.  We can further link this concept of being in the flesh to our thoughts and emotions, and indeed the sign of Taurus is connected to not only our physical form and sensuality, but also the crystallized form of our thoughts and feelings that make up the value system we live from.  The image of the Buddha above may not be the first one that comes to mind when you think of Taurus, the sign of the bull, until you begin to consider how his teachings connect with the conflicts we encounter in our physical incarnation in a body, and the suffering we cause ourselves through the crystallized patterns of thoughts and emotions we view our world from.

In contrast to thinking of the Buddha when we think of Taurus, as a result of Venus traditionally ruling Taurus in astrology many tend to visualize the sign as a sensual Goddess enjoying her physical incarnation and all the pleasures that can come through it.  And of course, since Taurus is the sign of the bull, we also associate Taurus energy as being embodied by a bull who can be fully engrossed in the presence of the moment in its natural setting, again soaking in the physical delights of its physical form:

MoreauEuropa_and_the_Bull

Taurus is all about being in our body and feeling the sensations of our world  upon our flesh.  The connection to Venus can be felt in the sensuality of our flesh merging with the flesh of our lover, the scent of our lover’s sweat, the taste of their skin.  The crystallization of thought and desire in Taurus can be seen in how we become possessive of this feeling, possessive of our lover, how some can become obsessed more with the intensity of past romantic experience more so than manifesting love into their current life.  This is the shadow side of Taurus, and we can have karmic consequences for our possessiveness.  For example, the image above is one of the most significant catalytic events in myth:  Zeus desiring to possess the beautiful Europa, so transforming himself into a bull to lure her away, and carry her off to the land that became Europe.  The desire of Taurus to possess and hold onto objects or values is where we can apply the expression of “being stubborn like a bull,” and the angry emotions that can erupt out of the normally calm Taurus when a desired object or value is lost is when Taurus can be described as “being like a bull in a china shop.”  The strong sensual desire of Taurus can be applied to anything in our life, such as the taste of food or the more nurturing touch of a friend or family member.  It can vary from culture to culture, especially where material items are concerned: to some possessing a high octane mechanical vehicle with plush interior made up of the skin of a cow could be important, whereas to someone else owning the cow itself could be important.  With Taurus it can come down to possessing what we desire, and this is where we can come down into our suffering.  This is because if anything is true in life it is change.  And since everything is constantly changing, if we are consumed with possessing something we can suffer when it goes away.

Hopefully you can sense by now how in addition to the Goddess Venus, the Buddha clearly connects with the sign of Taurus as well, and not only because he is believed to have been born, reached enlightenment, and have died during the time of Taurus.  When we consider the historical life of the man who became the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, we can imagine that he grew up in a constant state of hedonistic delight, having his every desire attended to, as the popular version of his story indicates his father the King attempted to shield him from the suffering of the external world.  The fact the Buddha grew up in such a materialistic state mirrors the lower nature of Taurus, the side of Taurus that has a desire for material possessions that can never be satiated; the more it possesses, the more it continues to desire more materialism.  In contrast, the higher nature of Taurus mirrors the spiritual development of the Buddha away from attachment to matter and desire, into freedom from materialism, gaining the freedom to connect with Spirit.  In Soul-Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated this connection between Taurus and the Buddha:

The Buddha taught that the path of detachment from desire is the vehicle for the entrance of Light; that is, the Creative Will . . . He did this through those methods which imparted the means to awaken the Third Eye- the “Eye of the Bull.”  This awakening brings into one’s daily life a consciousness in which the expression of the Soul is centered in the intuitive or “Buddhic” plane.  Such an awakening brings forth the potential for the fullest expression of our humanness.  In this respect, the dual horns of the Bull become the single horn of the one pointed spiritualized being, as symbolized by the Unicorn . . . As we open our hearts and Higher Minds, we externalize those aspects of ourself which correspond to the Christ and the Buddha.  This opening is at the core of all of our efforts at self-realization; this is the realization of the Self.  The work to free ourselves from possessiveness and materiality so that through these lessons true Wisdom may emerge is very definitely at the center of the Taurean phase of the turning of the wheel.

— Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, pp.  167-168

It is traditionally said that at the age of 29 Siddhartha finally journeyed beyond the confines of his controlled life, and was able to witness the old, the sick, the dying, and the dead, causing an expansion of consciousness from within.  In astrology, the age of 29 is significant for being the time of the first Saturn return, a transit that embodies the karmic meaning of this turning point in the Buddha’s life.  He left his princely palace life in order to follow his own Path of Spirit, a journey which took him into many turns leading within himself.  In contrast to the hedonism of his youth, he went to the extremity of abandoning all sensory delight into a lifestyle of ascetism, learning in the process that a Middle Way was the True Path.  Out of this insight came his Four Noble Truths:  the truth of dukkha (translated as suffering, stress, anxiety, or dissatisfaction), the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering.  The Buddha next elaborated upon an Eightfold Path that leads to enlightenment:  Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.  These can perhaps become more manageable to think of grouped into three categories:  “Right View (encompassing Understanding and Thought), Right Relationship (consisting of Speech, Action, and Livelihood), and Right Meditation (Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration)².”

The astrology of the moment suggests we can be gaining a lot of information into the root causes of our current wounds this lifetime, no matter your beliefs concerning past lives, with the potential to notice how our perception of reality and our attachment to forms could be causing our suffering.  It brings up the question of whether or not learning more about how we have been wounded can even be useful.  Is it useful to go into our wounds? Mark Epstein, who studied and practiced Buddhism before becoming a psychotherapist, explored these questions deeply in his book Going on Being:  Buddhism and the Way of Change, recounting this story of the Buddha:

Talking one day in the forest environment that he favored, he suddenly held up a handful of simsapa leaves and asked the attentive bhikkhus (or monks) to tell him which was greater, the leaves in his hand or the leaves in the surrounding grove . . .

“Very few in your hand, Lord. Many more in the grove,” they replied with unsparing simplicity and none of my taste for duplicity.

It was the same with his psychological and spiritual knowledge, responded the Buddha. Like the many leaves of the simsapa grove, his knowledge far exceeded the handful of his teachings.  Out of the vastness of all possible understanding, he taught only that which in his view led to freedom.  When asked why he would not reveal other facts about reality, he gave the following reply:

“Because, friends, there is no profit in them; because they are not helpful to holiness; because they do not lead from disgust to cessation and peace; because they do not lead from knowledge to wisdom and nirvana.  That is why I have not revealed them.”

The Buddha’s teachings were always direct and to the point.  In coming up against the world of psychotherapy, I have tried to use his words from the simsapa grove as a guide.  “How much of this analytic wisdom is actually helpful?”  I have wondered.  “Does it lead to wisdom, cessation, and peace?”  In the Buddhist view, knowledge is never envisioned as an end in itself but only as a beginning, useful as a means of getting oriented.

–Mark Epstein, p. 119-121

Mark Epstein explored important questions in this book, bringing up the fact he had many friends and associates who gained insights through therapy and yet remained as unhappy, dissatisfied, and egocentric after being in therapy as they were before.  He felt a place where Buddhism, meditation, and psychotherapy can all be helpful is the concept of “going on being,” which he first read about through British child analyst D.W. Winnicott.  The idea of going on being is having “an uninterrupted flow of authentic self,” similar to the pure action displayed most often in our culture by young children.  According to this idea of going on being, it “does not need to connote any fixed entity of self; but it does imply a stream of unimpeded awareness, ever evolving, yet with continuity, uniqueness, and integrity.  It carries with it the sense of the unending meeting places of interpersonal experience, convergences that are not blocked by a reactive or contracted ego” (p. 30-31).  Epstein connects this non-attachment to a “fixed entity of self” to the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, since the Buddha taught that the first type of clinging is for “pleasant sensory experiences,” and is “equivalent in many ways to the Freudian sexual drive and involves the seeking after sensory gratification” (p. 10).  Later in the book, Epstein shows how this dukkha of the Four Noble Truths relates to our suffering, and to me this connects with the strong energy of Taurus we are currently experiencing:

We want what we can’t have and don’t want what we do have; we want more of what we like and less of what we don’t like.  We are always a little bit hungry, or a little bit defensive, anticipating the slipping away of that which we have worked so hard to achieve.  Behind every suffering, Buddhist teachers say, is the desire for things to be different.  This attempt to control or manage what cannot be changed interferes with our going on being.  We worry about the past and anticipate the future or worry about the future and anticipate the past.  Our self-centeredness causes us to create an uneasy relationship with the world in which we try to fend off any threats to our hard-fought security.  This sets up an indefensible position; we become like a fortress:  a self within a mind within a body that is threatened from all sides.  (p.55-56)

Epstein also connects this issue to being a therapist, and how his “desire for control, in the form of being a helper, is as much of an obstacle to healing another person as it is to healing oneself” (p. 56).  These aspects of dukkha related to self-identity are the other two types of “clinging” taught by the Buddha:   clinging for “being” and for “nonbeing.”  This is an important aspect I don’t have the space or time in this blog to properly explore, but it is sometimes the idea of being “empty” or lacking ego that draws some to Buddhism in order to get away from their egocentric perspective; however, to the Buddha, in either case it is the “mind’s need for certainty” that shortchanges reality (p.22).  The Buddha taught the middle path because the self concept of being a “somebody” or a “nobody” are both mistakes, having a “self-centered attitude is as much of a problem as the self-abnegating one” (p.22).  It is “our sense of self-certainty” in either case that is the issue, because since life is always changing, if we are clinging to any sense of self too strongly we are not being fully in the moment, fully going on being (p.22).  Epstein also brings up insights taught by his friend and teacher Ram Dass in his book, including that it is also a mistake to try to get rid of unwanted parts of ourselves in an attempt to gain greater freedom.  Instead if we can develop a practice of mindfulness and awareness, the “more we bring our attachments into awareness, the freer we become, not because we eliminate the attachments, but because we learn to identify more with awareness than with desire.  Using our capacity for consciousness, we can change perspective on ourselves, giving a sense of space where once there was only habit.  Discipline means restraining the habitual movement of the mind, so that instead of blind impulse there can be clear comprehension” (p. 71).  Since we are in a time of such tremendous Taurus energy, and Taurus has a strong tendency to want to hold onto past habits of comfort in order to gain a sense of self-security, it will be especially important now to practice greater awareness and mindfulness of our attachments.

So in this time of great Taurus energy, we can perhaps use our powerful sensory abilities to become more aware of our desires.  This is somewhat similar to the “diamond approach” of A.H. Almaas that involves sensing one’s body in an ongoing basis, with focus on a point in the belly, helping one to become more grounded in physical body and physical reality, and eventually bringing with it the potential to become more in touch with a spiritual essence.  To me, this is also somewhat similar to “gut wisdom” and the danger that if we are not practicing awareness, we can end up reacting to events from our guts that are more rooted in our past wounding than from a place of heart-centered awareness of the moment.  The potential of using Taurus sensory awareness to develop greater connection with Spirit and presence in the Now of the constant flux of life, also reminds me of the wisdom contained in Taoism.  In particular the following quote from the Tao Te Ching translation by Stephen Mitchell (45), brings up for me the perspective we can gain from losing attachment to form so that we can truly use the form of our life in greater alignment with what is actually happening around us:

True perfection seems imperfect,

yet it is perfectly itself.

True fullness seems empty,

yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.

True wisdom seems foolish.

True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.

She shapes events as they come.

She steps out of the way

and lets the Tao speak for itself.

bull in lascaux cave

Current Transits in Taurus & Scorpio

As I am writing this, the Sun and all of the personal planets are in Taurus:  Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus is literally in the final culminating minutes of her most recent pass through Taurus.  This Taurus energy is even more intense today as later we will experience a Solar Eclipse in Taurus, with the Sun and Moon within a few degrees of the South Node of the Moon in Taurus.  The fact that the South Node of the Moon is  in Taurus means collectively, all souls on our planet are processing and synthesizing past issues connected with Taurus, including past life issues that could be buried in our unconscious.  The image of the Bull above in the ancient caves of Lascaux, France represents just how long the archetypal image of the Bull has been significant to humans- we are talking over 17,000 years ago most likely!  Once we step into belief in the possibility of us having a soul, a soul that has had previous incarnations on this planet, we step into the possibility that we could be impacted somewhere in our psyche by events from even as long ago as when this bull above was painted on the wall of a cave.

We can again bring the Buddha into our discussion of these times of Taurus because part of his spiritual awakening involved knowledge of his many previous incarnations, bringing the awareness that we all have a soul we have been re-incarnating in many different forms in many different lifetimes or incarnations.  In astrology, two of the approaches I am most drawn to are deeply connected with the Soul:  Evolutionary Astrology and Esoteric Astrology.  It is fascinating that both of these astrological approaches have a channeled background:  the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green originally came to Jeff in a dream, in Sanskrit from Sri Yuketswar, the guru of Yogananda;  in comparison, the Esoteric Astrology material was channeled by Alice Bailey from the Tibetan Master D.K., and is currently being taught and made popular by Alan Oken and his work in astrology.  In her book Esoteric Astrology, Alice Bailey described the connection between Taurus and incarnation:

As the individual descends into incarnation and when he takes an astral shell (emotional body), he definitely comes into a Taurian cycle, for it is desire which impels to rebirth and it takes the potency of Taurus to bring this about.

–Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, p. 380

This link between desire and re-incarnation is part of the answer to my question at the beginning of this article concerning the origins of our desires, and why we have them.  The Evolutionary Astrology paradigm taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green also places great importance on the connection between our desires, our Soul, and our past incarnations.  Green teaches that the placement and aspects of Pluto describes the types of desires the soul has had in previous lives that have a direct connection to the current evolutionary intentions of the current lifetime- in Sanskrit this archetype is called Prarabdha Karma.  As a result of Pluto correlating with our soul desires, Green teaches that it also correlates with our deepest sense of security, meaning that by connecting with the sources of our soul desires, we can maintain a sense of self-consistency and security- so we tend to have a hard time moving beyond our desires as they are connected with our soul, our previous incarnations, and our comfort zone.

With regards to the South Node of the Moon, Green describes it as correlating to the kind of ego identities that the soul has created in past lives in order to actualize the evolutionary desires of the soul.  Since the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus will be conjunct the Solar Eclipse today, all of our soul desires on a collective and individual level could be triggered.   Amazingly, the Sabian Symbol for the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus at 17 degrees is connected with the story of Gautama Siddhartha in his process of becoming the Buddha.  In An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyar links the symbol for 17 Taurus to the Buddha in this way:

When Gautama, having sought in vain for the answers to his questions among the teachers of tradition, sat under the Bodhi Tree, he had to fight his own battle in his own way, even though it is an eternal fight.  The spiritual light within the greater Soul must struggle against the ego-will that only knows how to use the powers of this material and intellectual world.  There is no possibility of escape; it is the energy that arises out of the present moment- the inescapable NOW- that the daring individual has to use in the struggle.

The symbol is A SYMBOLICAL BATTLE BETWEEN “SWORDS” and “TORCHES,” and according to Dane Rudhyar, “suggests that salvation is attained through the emergent individual’s readiness to face all issues as if there were only two opposed sides . . . a stage of POLARIZATION OF VALUES” (p.  81).  Tied into this symbol is a “seeker” who has transformed into a “warrior,” “refusing to depend upon the past,” and “fighting anew the eternal Great War” (p. 81).  Polarity is an important concept in Evolutionary Astrology as well, for example integrating the polarity point of Pluto (Cancer to Capricorn; Scorpio to Taurus) is connected to our evolutionary development similar to integrating the North Node of the Moon.  Taurus being the sign of the South Node of the Moon at this time makes us even more magnetized than usual to past patterns because of the comfort Taurus finds in the stability, and so it will take the intense transformation energy of it’s archetypal polarity, Scorpio, to force us onto a path of greater evolutionary growth.

Since eclipses often correlate with sudden and unexpected events that can be uncomfortable, this Sabian Symbol of Gautama becoming the Buddha suggests we could experience spiritual growth through facing the events without attachment to our past, and through welcoming the struggle between the will of our soul and the will of our ego personality- achieving growth in consciousness through the conflict.  Rudhyar’s description of the Buddha in this Sabian Symbol is also a timely image for the current South Node of the moon because it brings a sense of an active warrior energy to the traditional image of a calm, peaceful Buddha-  this is because we will need to actively move beyond our ties to past patterns of desire into greater freedom and a new life of meaning amid the flux of changes that will most likely occur in this time period of eclipses.  Today’s eclipse correlating with greater awareness of spiritual forces is further shown through the Sabian Symbol of the Solar Eclipse at 20 degrees Taurus:  “Wisps of winglike clouds streaming across the sky,”  described by Dane Rudhyar as a sign that an “individual who has taken a new step in his evolution should look for the ‘Signature’ of divine Powers confirming his progress . . . The ‘winglike clouds’ may also symbolize the presence of celestial beings (devas, angels) blessing and subtly revealing the direction to take, the direction of ‘the wind’ of destiny” (Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 83).  If we make the difficult or uncomfortable choice to move out of our comfort zone into accordance with our evolutionary growth- again, this could feel like a polarity to the desires and values we feel secure with- we will hopefully receive guidance or signs of synchronicity showing we are on the correct path.

It will not be easy to be move beyond patterns of desire associated with the South Node of the Moon because of the large number of transits currently impacting it:  on May 6, the Sun was conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Taurus, and on May 7 Mercury and Mars became conjunct in range of a conjunction with the South Node (the third conjunction of Mercury and Mars in 2013:  they were conjunct twice in Pisces in February).  So our soul purpose (Sun), perception and organization of reality (Mercury) and sense of Will (Mars) will all be connected with the South Node at the time of the eclipse.  The recent Mercury and Mars cycle is connected with the intense Pisces energy we experienced in February (which then became the intense Aries energy of April, the intense Taurus energy of May- more so than normal just so you know!). On February 8, Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces (also conjunct Neptune and Chiron in Pisces and square Jupiter in Gemini), and then once Mercury stationed retrograde, they were conjunct again on February 26, 2013 in square to Ceres in Gemini (I wrote about this here:  https://esotericembers.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/an-angel-watches-over-an-argument-between-ceres-and-mercury/).  Now, three months later, they are finally conjunct once again, conjunct the South Node of the Moon at the same time as a Solar Eclipse conjunct the South Node of the Moon!  In the time of Pisces we were able to open to some sense somewhere of greater vision and possibility in our life- now is the time to manifest, and work with our mind to change the way we are thinking, to align our mind and our perceptions with not only our Will but the Divine Will of the Universe.  The Buddha and Buddhism teaches that we are what we think, that we become what we think, and that it is possible to change who and what we become in form, through changing the form of our thoughts.

In addition, with Jupiter continuing to be in Gemini and Venus moving into the beginning of Gemini at the time of the eclipse, we could experience a flood of information concerning the desires we have that are linked with past incarnations, more information than could even seem useful because of the overwhelming feeling it brings.  It again brings up the issue of whether or not all this information, this going into our past problems can help us- and again, the advice of the Buddha to train mind, discipline mind, in order to disentangle ourselves from our past thoughts and desires, in order to change through changing the way we think, does feel helpful to me.  Indeed, if we look at the Sabian Symbol for the North Node of the Moon, 17 degrees Scorpio, at the time of today’s Solar Eclipse, we will see that we do indeed have this power of divine thought within us:

Scorpio 17:  A Woman, fecundated by her own spirit, is “Great with child.”

Keynote:  A total reliance upon the dictates of the God-within.

. . . here we see the result of a deep and complete concentration reaching to the innermost center of the personality where the Living God acts as a fecundating power.  This reveals the potency of the inward way, the surrender of the ego to a transcendent Force which can create through the person vivid manifestations of the Will of God.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 202

So even though the strong Taurus energy in this time period could potentially correspond with us falling into even more of a comfort zone than normal, we can use the deep rooted centering of Taurus to help us be present to the transformations occurring around us with our full being.  But in order to do this in connection with our evolutionary intentions, we will need to do it while integrating the polarity of Taurus: Scorpio.  Scorpio is the polarity to Taurus, and the location of our collective focus of evolutionary growth in the form of the North Node of the Moon, as well as the current location of Saturn, the great karmic master of our three dimensional reality here.

mahakala

At the time of today’s eclipse, the North Node of the Moon and Saturn will be widely conjunct in Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio to me is like the karmic taskmaster Mahakala, seen in the image above.  Mahakala is always depicted with five skulls, the five skulls standing for the transmutation of desires into wisdom.  Mahakala destroys ignorance, confusion, and doubt, he is the Lord of Time and the Lord of Death, and to me is like Saturn in Scorpio in that he may seem intense and even wrathful, but in his intensity he purifies and protects.  At this time of Saturn in Scorpio standing in opposition to the extreme magnetic desire energy of Taurus, it is a time for us to face our desires and places we are acting out of confusion without fear.  It is a time to go through death, because death is our friend in transformation-  like Mahakala, we can make friends with our own personal “demons” and integrate ourselves into greater consciousness, as Mahakala turns demons into protection.  It is like how Taurus rules our desires for form, and in Scorpio we transcend or transmute our desires beyond attachment to form.  It is like the phoenix rising from the flames.  We do not fear death, we step into it and experience our freedom.  In another passage from Going Into Being, Mark Epstein explains his understanding of Nirvana and how it is not really about death, it is about the freedom we gain from releasing the fear of death:

Nirvana is the Buddha’s word for freedom, not for death.  It is his answer to the problem of common unhappiness, to the anxiety that is encapsulated most clearly in the fear of death.  Nirvana, as the late San Francisco Zen master Suzuki Roth put it, is the capacity to maintain one’s composure in the face of ceaseless change.  The key, from the Buddha’s perspective, is to find nirvana through overcoming one’s own self-created obstacles to that composure.  The path to nirvana means working with one’s own reactions to the change that surrounds us, to the change that we are.

–Mark Epstein, Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change, p. 125

Joseph Campbell and others have elaborated upon the significance of ritualistic deaths in myths and in the reality of cultures around our planet, in that the important thing is that the participants believe they are going to die, and so experience a death of their infantile ego.  Some of the most widely practiced ancient rituals were connected with myths of the underworld, resurrection, and transcendence of form, such as the myth of Demeter and Persephone, and the myth of Isis and Osiris.  Going through a near death experience, or a ritualistic experience in which we believe we may die, helps us destroy our ego perspective that feels dependent upon society or the expectations of others to validate our authority, and helps us step into our own inner authority in an authentic manner without fear of judgment.  I do not mean to suggest that we need to go through a death experience at this time in our lives, just that the symbol of death and transformation associated with the archetype of Scorpio is very important right now, being the polarity to so much Taurus energy.

In fact, this transformation we could experience at this time could be quite peaceful, calm, and meditative, if we are using some of the wisdom teachings of the Buddha.  The Sabian Symbol for the current placement of Saturn in Scorpio is especially illuminating in this way:

Scorpio 8:  A calm lake bathed in moonlight

Keynote:  A quiet openness to higher inspiration

One could stress the romantic suggestions such an image evokes, but even at the level of a love relationship what is implied is a surrender of two personal egos to the inspiration of transcendent feelings which are essentially impersonal.  Love expresses itself through the lovers, for real Love is a cosmic undifferentiated principle or power which simply focuses itself within the “souls” of human beings who reflect its light.  The same is true of the mystic’s love for God.  Man strives hard to achieve great things through daring adventures, but a moment comes when all that really matters is to present a calm mind upon which a supernal light may be reflected.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 196

To quote one of my favorite wise womyn on planet earth, master herbalist Carol Trasatto, this “balm of calm” could be quite helpful in these intense days ahead.  If we can reach within for this calm state of mind and being, we can be like the reflective surface of a tranquil lake receiving the glow of the full moon, like our calm mind receiving the Light of Spirit.  A helpful meditation for these upcoming times can be found in this translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell (63):

Act without doing;

work without effort.

Think of the small as large

and the few as many.

Confront the difficult

while it is still easy;

accomplish the great task

by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;

thus she achieves greatness.

When she runs into a difficulty,

she stops and gives herself to it.

She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;

thus problems are no problem for her.

Buddhist_Vajravarahi_Yantra

Harmony through Conflict

Times of eclipses are usually never easy, but when exactly is life easy for humans on our planet these days?  If we look at the symbol above, a six pointed star or what is often commonly referred to as the “Star of David,” we can see a symbol to meditate upon for guidance.  Similar to the symbol of the cross, the six pointed star meets in the middle, in the heart.  The triangle pointing upward symbolizes the transmutation of our lower nature into our higher nature, and the triangle pointing downward symbolizes the integration of our higher nature into our lower nature:  they meet in the middle, the heart.  Just as the cross meets in the middle, the heart.  The heart is the fourth chakra (the middle chakra, with three above and three below), just like humans are the fourth kingdom (three kingdoms below- mineral, plant, animal, and three kingdoms above- the soul, and the more “angelic” realms).  Sound like the middle path?  Using the number seven as a symbol for consciousness in these ways, we find that the number four is in the middle, and the number four stands for being heart-centered.  This connects with the Fourth Ray of Esoteric Astrology:  as Alan Oken teaches, what is the conflict?  Meat!  Being in the flesh, being incarnated in our physical form on this planet in the middle of extreme energies!  And what is the harmony?  Consciousness, and living a heart-centered life.  Fittingly for this Taurus eclipse season, the two main signs of the 4th Ray are Taurus and Scorpio- Taurus, the sign of being in form, beauty and art, and “the creation of the various forms of life and the ultimate release of consciousness from them that constitutes the lessons of daily living” (Oken, p.120), and Scorpio, the archetype of transcending attachment to form, ruled by Pluto on our ego level because of bringing about the death process of our desire nature.  Alan Oken has already written a brilliant summary of this dynamic, that could relate to intense events corresponding with these series of eclipses while the third Pluto-Uranus square is happening at the same time:

There is a common rhythm for those crises brought on through the urgency of Fourth Ray energy.  It may be outlined as follows:  A person finds herself in a relative state of harmony, but then a certain change enters her life, shifting the status quo.  Such a change brings on the tensions of the struggle between the past and the unfolding future, between the urge for things to stay the same and the inevitability of transformation.  A battle ensues between the two opposing forces, which leads to a passing and a death of the form of the situation.  She is left with the struggle to reconstruct a new form out of the experiences of the battle that has just taken place.  This new form consolidates and settles, and once again there is harmony– until the entrance of the next change!  Is this not the rhythm and movement of Scorpio?  The Fourth Ray, the human state, forces the resolution of conflict, the harmonizing of the pairs of opposites, and the eventual evolution from the focus of instinct and desire to the release into consciousness and pure, essential love.

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 121

In these times of eclipses, with the third intense Pluto-Uranus square fast approaching on May 20, may we be heart-centered, heart-focused, and live from the heart.  If we can combine this with the guidance the Buddha brings to us in this season of Taurus, to train our minds to disentangle from the desires preventing us from sensing our true being in the world without interruption, we will have a heightened ability to shift and flow with whatever intense events may be on the horizon of our lives.

Hathor as a cow, from the papyrus of Ani

References

1. A.H. Almaas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._H._Almaas

2. Epstein, Mark. (200. Going on Being:  Buddhism and the Way of Change. Broadway Books.

3. Mitchell, Stephen (1988). Tao Te Ching. Harper Collins.

4. Oken, Alan.(1990). Soul-Centered Astrology:  A Key to Your Expanding Self.  Ibis.

5. Rudhyar, Dane. (1974).  An Astrological Mandala:  The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.

Aries and Individuation

the-birth-of-aphrodite-by-sandro-botticelli

The Birth of Archetypes

In Botticelli’masterwork The Birth of Venus we can sense the initiatory impulse of Aries:  a Goddess arising out of an oceanic expanse, naked and primal, radiant and yet revealing an inclination to slightly cover up her exposed beauty.  Or perhaps that slight insecurity is coming from the woman rushing in to cloth her, a woman who seemingly is from consensus culture because she seems to be frantically attempting to uphold the consensus rule that a woman should not be revealing her full glorious form so openly in public.  In popular astrology we are familiar with linking the sign of Aries with the sort of bravado that could lead one to skinny dipping in public, but the deeper astrological symbolism of the sign links it with the courage necessary to fully individuate ourselves, open ourselves to exposing our pure Soul and living our True Path in the world, despite influences of societal conditioning that would have us conform to consensus expectations of behavior rooted in the past and present.  In this way Aries is linked to the initial impulse to emerge in the process of Individuation developed by Carl Jung, a transformative process in which we develop an identity of our true Self through integrating different elements of our psyche into a functioning whole and holistically healing ourselves as a result.

The image of The Birth of Venus is reflected in the Sabian Symbol for the very first degree of the zodiac, the first degree of Aries:  “A woman just risen from the sea” who is embraced by a seal, and represents the “Emergence of new forms and of the potentiality of consciousness” (Rudyar, p.49).  Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Mandala works with the Sabian Symbols originally written about by Marc Edmund Jones, re-interpreting them as an American I-Ching in which there is a symbolic image and description for every one of the 360 degrees of the zodiac, “considered as a cyclic and structured series which formalizes and reveals the archetypal meaning of 360 basic phases of human experience” (Rudhyar, p.5).  Rudhyar gives this analysis of the first degree of Aries:

This is the first of the 360 phases of a universal and multi-level cyclic process which aims at the actualization of a particular set of potentialities.  These potentialities, in the Sabian symbols, refer to the development of man’s individualized consciousness- the consciousness of being an individual person with a place and function (a “destiny”) in the planetary organism of the Earth, and in a particular type of human society and culture.

To be individually conscious means to emerge out of the sea of generic and collective consciousness- which to the emerged mind appears to be unconsciousness.  Such an emergence is the primary event.  It is the result of some basic action:  a leaving behind, an emerging from a womb or matrix, here symbolized by the sea (p. 49-50).

In Evolutionary Astrology taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, the cardinal archetypes like Aries have an energy of two steps forward, one step back.  This new initiation of energy that is prone to reenacting past patterns at the same time, can be found in the first Sabian Symbol of Aries in the form of the seal who is embracing the woman who has emerged from the sea.  According to Rudhyar, the seal symbolizes a “regressive step” since it is a creature of the ocean clinging to the woman attempting to emerge from the deep water.  Rudhyar illustrated this symbol as a representation that “every emergent process at first is susceptible to failure,” and that when initiating new changes we become surrounded by memories and “the ghosts of past failures during previous cycles,” and in danger of falling prey to “regressive fear or insecurity” (p. 50).  In the painting The Birth of Venus by Botticelli above, we can see this sense of insecurity even in the Goddess Venus herself, as she feels a need to slightly begin to cover herself.   However, this is exactly why the strong “impulse to be” of Aries is so important, to propel us forward into birthing our true selves into the world through actualizing new choices more aligned with our true desires, a sense of self that is not limited by past negative thought patterns or restrictive habits of behavior, and that carries the courage necessary to break free from outside expectations.

In Esoteric Astrology, Aries is directly linked to the idea of birthing new archetypal ideas into collective consciousness.  Alice Bailey in Esoteric Astrology described Aries as the “searchlight of the Logos” and the  “Light of Life Itself . . . where the Will of God is known” (p. 329-30).  Alan Oken expanded on this idea  in his  Soul Centered Astrology by claiming that this “initiating focus” of Aries makes it “the birthplace of ideas, according to the Ancient Wisdom Teachings, as all of manifestation has its beginnings as Divine Ideas” (p. 162).  Oken explained that Mercury is the esoteric ruler of Aries because “Aries is the fiery channel that provides for mercury’s expression, allowing for the birthing of a true Idea coming from the Mind of God . . . a spiritual impulse taking form” (p. 165).  In this way, Oken described  Mercury as linking “the Higher Mind with the lower so that the inner realization of one’s place in the Plan of Life may be recognized and then, through the use of applied logic, externalized” into the lower realms of our personality (p. 162-3). This esoteric view of Mercury is similar to the Hermes of ancient myth who was capable of crossing back and forth between the thresholds of the underworld and the upperworld.

Uranus being the higher octave of Mercury, and Uranus being in Aries and being triggered by numerous intense transits recently, it would seem we are in a period of time in which new archetypal ideas could be entering our collective consciousness.  On March 28, 2013 there were several incredibly potent conjunctions in Aries:  the Sun and Venus at 8 degrees of Aries, Venus and Uranus at 9 degrees of Aries, and the Sun conjunct Uranus at 9 degrees of Aries.  In addition, Venus, Uranus, and the Sun were also conjunct Mars within an approximate orb of four degrees.  Since this stellium conjunction also happened to be in orb of a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and also happened to form a yod with Jupiter in Gemini pointing to Saturn in Scorpio, the week of Easter this year has been fertile with fateful astrological energy.  If you lack extensive knowledge of astrology and do not really understand the significance of the astrological transits I just mentioned, just know that if ever Aries could be linked to the idea of birthing new forms of archetypes in our collective consciousness, this would clearly be the time.  At the time of this writing we still remain with the vortex of incredible Aries energy, as Venus at the moment is headed for her cyclic two year or so conjunction with Mars, which will happen on April 6 at 20 degrees of Aries, here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The term “archetypes” at this point in the history of astrology is usually tossed around by writers without reflecting upon the origins of the word, which in published authorship can be traced to one Carl Jung.  In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas explained that it was in part through his research on synchroncities that “Jung came to regard archetypes as expressions not only of a collective unconscious shared by all human beings but also of a larger matrix of being and meaning that informs and encompasses both the physical world and the  human psyche” (p. 82-3).  Tarnas goes on to explain that he believes astrology primarily effects our lives as humans through an archetypal process, noting that while “the original Jungian archetypes were primarily considered to be the basic formal principles of the human psyche, the original Platonic archetypes were regarded as the essential principles of reality itself, rooted in the very nature of the cosmos . . . Integrating these two views (much as Jung began to do in his final years under the influence of synchronicities), contemporary astrology suggest that archetypes possess a reality that is both objective and subjective, one that informs both outer cosmos and inner human psyche, ‘as above, so below'” (p. 85-6).

Recently, I have felt compelled to read some of Jung’s own original writing regarding archetypes and how he came to describe them.  In his book Man and His Symbols, Carl Jung criticized the connotation of the term “archaic remnants” created by Freud to describe dream imagery evoking ancient myths because it suggested that they were psychic unconscious elements collected by the conscious mind like a trash can.  Instead, Jung argued that his term “archetypes” carried the meaning that instead of being lifeless “remnants,” that these archetypal associations and images “are an integral part of the unconscious, and can be observed everywhere,” and that they “form a bridge between the ways in which we consciously express our thoughts and a more primitive, more colorful and pictorial form . . . that appeals directly to feeling and emotion” (p. 47-49).  Jung believed that archetypal images and associations connect our “rational world of consciousness” with our “world of instinct” (p. 49).

My views about the “archaic remnants,” which I call “archetypes” or “primordial images,” have been constantly criticized by people who lack a sufficient knowledge of the psychology of dreams and of mythology. The term “archetype” is often misunderstood as meaning certain definite mythological images or motifs. But these are nothing more than conscious representations; it would be absurd to assume that such variable representations could be inherited.

The archetype is a tendency to form such representations of a motif- representations that can vary a great deal in detail without losing their basic pattern.  There are, for instance, many representations of the motif of the hostile brethren, but the motif itself remains the same. . . .

Here I must clarify the relation between instincts and archetypes:  what we properly call instincts are physiological urges, and are perceived by the senses.  But at the same time, they also manifest themselves in fantasies and often reveal their presence only by symbolic images.  These manifestations are what I call the archetypes.  They are without known origin; and they reproduce themselves in any time or in any part of the world- even where transmission by direct descent or “cross fertilization” through migration must be ruled out.  (p.67-69)

–Carl Jung from Man and His Symbols (1964)

Thus according to the man who coined the term “archetypes,” they are not in fact locked in to rigid definitions or classifications, but are indeed open to being birthed into new representations like the Esoteric Astrology interpretation of Aries, as long as they retain their basic pattern.  In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas highlights the “factor of human co-creative participation” in contemporary astrology, and how “planetary archetypes . . . not only endure as timeless universals but are also co-creatively enacted and recursively affected through human participation” (p.86).  Tarnas emphasized that planetary archetypes “must be formulated not as literal concretely definable entities but rather as dynamic potentialities and essences of meaning that cannot be localized or restricted to a specific dimension,” and so archetypes should be “evoked” instead of “defined,” and are “better conveyed through a wide range of examples that collectively illustrate and suggest the enduring intangible essense that is variously inflected through the archetype’s diverse embodiments” (p. 89).

Fittingly enough, I had the opportunity to hear Alan Oken speak for the first time on Easter Sunday of 2012 at the NORWAC astrology convention here in the Pacific Northwest.  He spoke of the ancient battle between Kronus or Saturn, one who is frightened of the timeless and wants to create finite strucutres, and Ouranos or Uranus, one who wants to break finite structures up.  He referenced the mythology of The Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli, describing how when Saturn castrated his father Uranus, the Sky God who was the father of the archetypes, he threw his testes into the oceanic realm of Poseidon or Neptune, creating a fertile matrix in the process that gave birth to Aphrodite or Venus.  Oken said as the father of the archetypes, Uranus breathes new creative fields and has no more powerful place than its current residence in Aries, as new ideas will pour into the collective consciousness.  This influx of new images and insights, Oken elaborated, is due to the fact that Uranus individuates and is the place of the unexpected where you do not follow the norm.  Like I previously mentioned, the link between Uranus, Aries, and Individuation is fascinating from an esoteric perspective since Mercury rules Aries in Esoteric Astrology, and Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury.  With these dynamic descriptions of archetypes in mind, and in consideration of the intense Aries focalizing of energy at this time in the form of the Sun, Venus, Uranus and Mars, the time appears to be ripe to individuate a new sense of the archetypes for ourselves that can likewise be integrated into the greater collective consciousness.  For example, in our modern astrological context, we tend to view Saturn as being the representation of consensus rules, regulations, and expectations of behavior.  What this consensus reality looks like is constantly shifting in modern times, with each new generation ascending with all of its myriad fractals of individuation occurring inside.  In Evolutionary Astrology and other teachings, Uranus carries an energy of collective trauma that can be seen in the myth by Uranus being castrated by Saturn, while also carrying an unstoppable energy of individuation as a result of overcoming the societal conditioning of Saturn, as seen in this castration giving birth to the radiant Goddess Venus.  How each of us interprets this myth in our own time, the specific images that may come to mind as representations, will vary widely and will be shifting with time.  However, the basic pattern remains nonetheless.

800px-Sidney_Hall,_Aries_and_Musca_Borealis,_1825

Individuation

The archetype of Aries has been linked with individuation in many works of astrological literature.  In Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul,  Jeffrey Wolf Green describes the evolved Aries archetype as having the “intrinsic courage and capacity to break new ground in whatever aspect of life that they apply themselves to, and can give courage to others to do the same thing” (p. 51).  Green describes people with Pluto in Aries or the First House as sensing that they have a “special destiny on a very instinctual basis,” and that as a result they desire to have the “freedom and independence to initiate and fulfill any desire or experience they deem necessary, because experience is the vehicle through which they discover or become who and what they are” (p. 43).  Thus, in Evolutionary Astrology, Aries  embodies an instinctual “sense of personal self-discovery that is felt at every moment” (Green, p. 43).  Whether we have planets in Aries or not, when we follow our instinctual inner drive to fulfill our desires, we begin to set off on our own personal path toward individuation, much like the Fool in the tarot.

When terminology like “individuation” becomes so popular and commonplace in astrology and psychology that we talk and write about it like it is already understood by everyone in the same manner, it can be helpful to research the roots of the words and when it entered the mainstream of psychological literature.  In Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, Marie Louise von Franz wrote a series of articles brilliantly illuminating the definition and meaning of individuation.  Especially compelling to me is her use of a pine tree seed as a symbol for individuation, and how the totality of a full-grown pine tree lies latent within the being of the seed:

 The seed of a mountain pine contains the whole future tree in a latent form; but each seed falls at a certain time onto a particular place in which there are a number of special factors, such as the quality of the soil and the stones, the slope of the land, and its exposure to sun and wind. The latent totatlity of the pine in the seed reacts to these circumstances by avoiding the stones and inclining toward the sun, with the result that the tree’s growth is shaped.  Thus an individual pine slowly comes into existence, constituting the fulfillment of its totality, its emergence into the realm of reality.  Without the living tree, the image of the pine is only a possibility or an abstract idea.  Again, the realization of this uniqueness in the individual man is the goal of the process of individuation.

From one point of view this process takes place in man (as well as in every other living being) by itself and in the unconscious; it is a process by which man lives out his innate human nature.  Strictly speaking, however, the process of individuation is real only if the individual is aware of it and consciously makes a living connection with it.  We do not know whether the pine tree is aware of its own growth, whether it enjoys and suffers the different vicissitudes that shape it.  But man certainly is able to participate consciously in his development.  He even feels that from time to time, by making free decisions, he can cooperate actively with it.  This co-operation belongs to the process of individuation in the narrower sense of the word.

Man, however, experiences something that is not contained in our metaphor of the pine tree.  The individuation process is more than a coming to terms between the inborn germ of wholeness and the outer acts of fate.  Its subjective experience conveys the feeling that some supra-personal force is actively interfering in a creative way.  Once sometimes feels that the unconscious is leading the way in accordance with a secret design.  It is a as if something is looking at me, something that I do not see but that sees me-  perhaps that Great Man in the heart, who tells me his opinions about me by means of dreams.

But this creatively active aspect of the psychic nucleus can come into play only when the ego gets rid of all purposive and wishful aims and tries to get to a deeper, more basic form of existence.  The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth.  Many existentialist philosophers try to describe this state, but they go only as far as stripping off the illusions of consciousness:  they go right up to the door of the unconscious and then fail to open it (p. 162-163).

–Marie Louise von Franz, from Man and His Symbols 

Because of the dominance of popular astrology and the use of pop astrology stereotypes, for example associating an infantile, headstrong, or selfish egotist with the sign of Aries, people can make the mistake of assuming that Aries energy is meant to come off as pushy and aggressive.  Aries energy can be headstrong in the sense of being determined to follow an individuation process in the face of cultural pressure to conform, but the manner in which Aries energy can initiate this process can be more of a surrendering to one’s inner nature than a forceful assertion of one’s inner nature.  Again, in Man and His Symbols, Marie Louise von Franz uses the pine tree seed as an apt metaphor for this individuating process:

….in order to bring the individuation process into reality, one must surrender consciously to the power of the unconscious, instead of thinking in terms of what one should do, or of what is generally thought right, or of what usually happens. One must simply listen, in order to learn what the inner totality- the Self- wants one to do here and now in a particular situation.

Our attitude must be like of the mountain pine mentioned above: It does not get annoyed when its growth is obstructed by a stone, nor does it make plans about how to overcome the obstacles. It merely tries to feel whether it should grow more toward the left or the right, toward the slope or away from it. Like the tree, we should give in to this almost imperceptible, yet powerfully dominating, impulse- an impulse that comes from the urge toward unique, creative self-realization.  And this is a process in which one must repeatedly seek out and find something that is not yet known to anyone.  The guiding hints or impulses come, not from the ego, but from the totality of the psyche:  the Self.

It is, moreover, useless to cast furtive glances at the way someone else is developing, because each of us has a unique task of self-realization.  Although many human problems are similar, they are never identical.  All pine trees are very much alike (otherwise we should not recognize them as pines), yet none is exactly the same as another.  Because of these factors of sameness and difference, it is difficult to summarize the infinite variations of the process of individuation.  The fact is that each person has to do something different, something that is uniquely his own  (p. 162-164).

–Marie Louise von Franz, from Man and His Symbols

This idea of surrendering to the perhaps unconscious potential of the Self fits well with the current astrological time period and the acceleration of Aries energy occurring, having come after a time period with excessive astrological energy in Pisces.  The long Mercury retrograde in Pisces combined with Neptune, Chiron, Mars, Venus, the Moon, and the Sun all moving through Pisces may have coincided with us discovering at least a hint, if not a definitive calling, from our Soul purpose in the world, the latent potential of a glorious mountain pine tree that could grow from the seeds of our current thoughts and desires.

william blake angels appearing before shepherds

In ancient myths and spiritual texts such as the Bible, shepherds often receive divine messages, such as in the painting above by William Blake of angels appearing to shepherds.  The tending of sheep is important in all of the Abraham faiths, since Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, and Muhammad were all shepherds.  In his Complete Astrology, Alan Oken noted that the symbol of Aries, the ram, was always the sacficial animal in ancient works such as the Golden Fleece and Moses.  Moreover, Oken cites the fact that many believe that “Moses, the leader of the Exodus, was born under the sign of Aries” (p.59).   As the Christian version of Easter occurs during the time of Aries, it is fitting that we are used to associating the image of the “Lamb of God” with Jesus of Nazareth.  Alan Oken in his Complete Astrology brilliantly analyzes this connection between Jesus and lambs with the individuating purpose of Aries individuals:

In the Christian ethic, Christ was known as the “Lamb of God.”  The crucifixion was symbolic of the ancient sacrificial rites in which a lamb or a ram was offered to the Deity.  Jesus used his physical body to represent the ego of Man (the lamb) on the altar of sacrifice (the cross, representing the nature of the material world).  Through His death and resurrection, Christ illustrated that man must transcend the desires of his personality so that he can gain admittance into the Kingdom of Heaven (conscious immortality in the Spirit).

Thus the Aries individual, although always seeking to express himself in some new aspect of the life experience, is often obliged to disregard his or her own personal desires in order to make a bright future for others.  He must give of his own life-energy so that Mankind may be recharged by the force of life which the Ram embodies (p. 60)

In this time of Easter, with a potent conjunction of Venus, the Sun, Uranus, and Mars all occurring in Aries (not to mention that this Aries stellium is square Capricorn Pluto and forms a yod with Jupiter in Gemini pointing toward Saturn in Scorpio), we can resurrect our true Self or Soul, our true Genius or Juno, however you want to describe it, but the soulful callings of our life purpose we can hear in the wind, which may have fallen dormant in years past, now is burning like the bush calling out to Moses, calling on us to liberate our true being from within and actualize our true Path in the World at this time.

Agnus Dei or “Lamb of God”

by Gabriel Fauré

References

Bailey, Alice. Esoteric Astrology.

Green, Jeff. (1984). Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul. Llewellyn.

Jung, Carl and M-L von Franz, Joseph Henderson, Jolande Jacobi, & Aniela Jaffe. (1964). Man and His Symbols. Aldus.

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

Oken, Alan. (1990). Soul-Centered Astrology: a key to your expanding self.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases.

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