Leo New Moon

from the Rosarium Philosophorum

Leo New Moon

The monthly unions of Sun and Moon purify and impregnate meaning for the lunar cycle ahead, initiating new growth and movement within the fertile blackness of moonless night. The Leo New Moon on July 28 is particularly potent as a threshold guardian that will lead us into one of the most volatile astrological months of 2022. Fortunately, the Sun and Moon in Leo are applying toward a close trine aspect with Jupiter in Aries, constellating a harmonious flow of uplifting spirit that can inspire creative solutions and expressions. With Jupiter in the exaltation of the Sun, there is a passionate, resonant interplay between the Leo New Moon and the star of Zeus that kindles faith in the unknown to come. The radiance of Leo with its indomitable fire that resiliently persists in the face of adversity is at the heart of the lunation.

The longstanding volatility across societal structures that has correlated with the catalytic square aspect formed between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus has been exacerbated during 2022 due to the presence of the North Node of the Moon in Taurus and the South Node of the Moon in Scorpio. With the friction between Saturn and Uranus amplified by eclipses taking place in the signs of Scorpio and Taurus, the missing fixed sign within the dynamic has been Leo. Call it a “grand square,” “fixed cross,” or whatever term you prefer; the Leo New Moon initiates us into a period in which all four fixed signs have a notable occupant: Mars, Uranus, and the North Node in Taurus, Saturn in Aquarius, Mercury and the Sun in Leo, and the South Node in Scorpio. As a result, the political and economic turmoil of recent current events will likely become even more amplified over the course of the forthcoming lunar cycle, with popular unrest in reaction stoked into even greater magnitude.

While the activation of Leo within the dynamic is not enough to solve issue of food shortages and economic collapse occurring in some regions of the world, it will be capable of facilitating significant growth and dynamic movement for many. As the missing fire element within the cross of fixed signs, Leo supplies the inspirational spirit necessary to fuel movements of political resistance so they may endure across times that feel bleak with little hope. The enormous activation of fixed signs also means that the changes occurring now are for the long haul and will have longterm ramifications. Although fixed signs are the most resistant to change, once they are set into motion they are able to conduct total overhauls of systems with focused thoroughness that brings things to completion in the end. Leo as the domicile of the Sun nurtures a sense of sovereign agency in taking the responsibility to creatively actualize and direct life in desired directions. There may be a need to strike a balance between enduring certain difficulties patiently while in other instances bringing mindfulness to rapidly changing dynamics that require quick, sharp responses.

by John Duncan

The Leo New Moon is resonant with the stage in Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey in which supernatural aid comes to the hero as they prepare to cross the first threshold from the known into the unknown. The key aspect of this phase is the willingness of the hero to accept the call of their own destiny and venture forth from the stability of the familiar into the volatility of the unfamiliar and uncertain outcomes. As the crossing of the threshold involves entrance into treacherous terrains where the hero may encounter fearsome foes, the hero’s decision to accept the trials that will occur by claiming their destiny invites the appearance of a mentor or magical helper of some form who usually delivers a talisman or magical gift that will become a crucial key to their journey ahead. The trine aspect between the Leo New Moon with Jupiter in Aries resonates with not only the willingness to fully accept the responsibilities of one’s destiny but also reception of beneficial aid in following the call wherever it leads.

The flowing trine between the Leo New Moon with Jupiter in Aries is extremely powerful not only because Jupiter is in the exaltation of the Sun, but also because Jupiter is stationing retrograde. When planets station they saturate the astrological landscape with their influence, as their divine presence takes on an amplified impact in daily events. Jupiter has a life-giving numinous presence, an archetypal force which nourishes growth, coheres, affirms, and inspires generous actions and leadership capacities. Jupiter also can facilitate reverence for the divine and communing with the sacred, as well as opportunities for material growth. Jupiter stationing retrograde at 8º43′ means that the star of Zeus has travelled as far into Aries as it will in its present synodic cycle, and so the trine between the lunation with Jupiter is an opportune time for reflecting upon gains in material as well as spiritual growth since Jupiter formed a conjunction with the Sun in Pisces on March 5, distilling whatever wisdom can be gained from events that have transpired over the past five months.

Le Désir, Remedios Varo

The inspirational force held within the trine from the Leo New Moon to Jupiter will be especially helpful for finding creatively productive ways to work with the most impactful configuration within the lunation: the triple conjunction forming between Mars, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon in Taurus. There are multivalent meanings involved in their alignment, including an intensified acceleration within current events of the numerous economic crises, food shortages, and political conflicts already under development. Yet while it is easy to see how the combination of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node can be disruptive in chaotically challenging ways in world events, its worth remembering how extremely powerful their union can be in our personal lives. Their shattering impact liberates within the disruption, like the chaos at the origin of all creation stories. Their union happening within the sign of Taurus points to the longterm impact of the changes brought by their combination, breaking us free from past patterns we have been overly attached to identifying with into a more authentic presence. The strife that comes in their wake, though difficult, may also simultaneously put us into palpable touch with our own essentiality in need of emergence.

As the triple conjunction of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node is occurring within the exaltation of the Moon, and the signs of Leo and Taurus also share sympathy due to being antiscia to one another, there is extremely creative resonance between the catalyzing impact of the square aspect occurring between the Leo New Moon with the triple Taurus conjunction. When Uranus entered Taurus in 2018, I wrote an article linking the meaning of Uranus being in the exaltation of the Moon to the work of Peter Kingsley, a scholar of ancient philosophers such as Parmenides and Empedocles, and his emphasis on incubating within your own inner sensations. Kingsley described inner sensations as “sacred ground” akin to the sacredness of the underworld to the ancient Greeks, yet in this case sacred ground you bear everywhere. Kingsley described the practice of lying down with full immersion within inner sensation a “practice of abandonment, the practice of giving up . . . when nothing else worked.”  Kingsley described how ancient people would seek a shrine to lie down within and be as close to death as possible when doctors were not able to diagnose a cure, and how through this process a healing remedy would emerge through submergence within inner senses.

To Kingsley the ancient Greeks had a fundamental need for the wisdom and understanding that comes through the incubation of inner sensation, stating “there was fundamentally no difference between a body that is sick, a mind that needs understanding, and a city that needs new laws.” Kingsley described that just as personal imbalances could be remedied through incubation, so could new systems of laws be brought to civilization by those who had entered and come back from “another state of consciousness by practicing incubation.”  Through incubation we become  “drawn into the underworld, into the depth . . . into that mysterious access point which is available in the underworld that gives you access to every level of existence.” With Mars and the North Node of the Moon amplifying the impact of Uranus in Taurus, it may be necessary to traverse dark nights of soul which force us to let go of old attachments. Yet as Kingsley described, the alchemy of incubation reveals the midnight Sun and that “the real light is found at the heart of darkness” and realization that “the source of light is inside.”

It’s worth noting how rare this exact alignment of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node is, as it has not happened in many centuries. The last time that all three came into somewhat of a hard aspect was not a conjunction, but rather an opposition: in November 1915 there was a wide opposition between Mars with Uranus, with Mars in Leo on the side of the south node of the Moon and Uranus conjoining the North Node in Aquarius. The last time there was somewhat of a close alignment between all three was December 23, 1458 with Mars at the beginning of Virgo and Uranus conjoining the North Node at the end of Leo; yet in this case Mars had moved on to a different sign when Uranus conjoined the North Node.

Fortunately, Venus in Cancer is in a harmoniously collaborative sextile aspect the Mars Uranus North Node union and is further more the planet responsible for its care. Mars will form a conjunction with Uranus on August 1 followed by Venus forming a sextile with Uranus on August 2, a few days after the lunation. With all three entities in the earthy home of Venus, and Venus occupying the watery exaltation of Jupiter and home of the Moon, there is increased potential for finding creative ways of working with the alignment. The presence of Venus in Cancer can help in making space for nurturance within relationship or within private places of solitude, creating the time needed to work through whatever disruptive issues emerge. It can be an extremely productive period of time for any work of creativity as a result of the synergy between Venus with the triple alignment of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon.

TEJIDO ESPACIO-TIEMPO by Remedios Varo

Meanwhile Mercury is in position to receive a sense of nonlinear time within whatever linear processes become set off by the friction of the fixed cross of planets, gaining a sense for how the events of the upcoming time period have larger implications that will stretch out across the years ahead. Mercury is emerging into visibility as an evening star during the Leo New Moon, bringing the divine presence of the star of Hermes strongly into our lives. Moreover, Mercury is setting off the dynamics of the fixed cross, forming a square aspect with the Mars, Uranus, and the lunar nodes, as well as an opposition with Saturn. As a result, Mercury can help in deeply attuning to the volatile dynamic forming with the fixed cross as it forms a square aspect with Uranus on July 28 and then moves through an opposition with Saturn it will complete on July 30.

Within the forthcoming lunar cycle after Mercury moves through its opposition with Saturn, the Sun in Leo will move into a square with Uranus on August 11 followed by an opposition with Saturn on August 14. The upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius on August 11 will deeply trigger the dynamics by forming a close conjunction with Saturn while also forming a square aspect with Uranus, Mars, and the lunar nodes. During a year of especially volatile eclipses that ignite the fracturing friction of Saturn facing off with Uranus, the present lunar cycle places us at the midpoint between the eclipse seasons, as well as deeply sets off the longstanding tension between Saturn and Uranus that has dominated the astrological landscape since the beginning of 2021. As s result it will be even more important than normal to pay attention to the changes taking shape and the directions they may lead us within the lunar cycle to come. Thankfully, about a week before the upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius, Mercury will enter Virgo on August 3 and become a fortunate point of focus for clarifying now to mediate and navigate through the changes occurring on both personal and societal levels.

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon in Leo strides forward in the first face of Leo, associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. T Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets wrote that it’s worth remembering that the “Strife” associated with the Five of Wands “is just another way of saying ‘Striving.’ No matter how daunting the task, there is always a prize to be won. It may not be something we can polish and display on a shelf; it may not even be something we’d choose- but it might just be the making of our personal legend.”

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature. The need to align one’s persona with one’s authentic nature in relation to the responsibility that will result fits well with Saturn and the Sun being the rulers of the first face of Leo.

Saturn ruling the first face of Leo suggests the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and connect with a receptive audience. As the upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius on August 11 will be conjoining Saturn, we will do well by using Saturn’s gifts for slow and steady contemplation to consider whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona through which we have been engaging the world. The alignment of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node can force changes suddenly, but it may bring about the exact set of circumstances necessary to help shed the old aspects of your identity and ambition that need to be released in order to make space for more vital passions to emerge you may follow forward.

While the New Moon in Leo is in the first decan of Leo, it is also within the Egyptian bounds of Jupiter, meaning that Jupiter will be setting the terms of the lunation while forming a flowing trine with the lunation and stationing retrograde. Thus the potency of Jupiter stationing can help guide us in contemplating how to remake the mask we wear in public, drawing us into interior depths to discover inspiration attuned to our soul. Fittingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down our old mask that can now be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results in August, letting our creative process align with the changes of nature taking shape within us and outside us.

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References

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

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

Full Moon in Leo

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future 1955 by Joseph Beuys

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future (1955) by Joseph Beuys

Full Moon in Leo

Cast the emptiness from your arms
into the space we breathe: perhaps the birds
will sense the increase of air with more passionate flying.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the First Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

The fiery Full Moon in Leo on January 28 will set events in motion that have been building in tension, enflaming the underlying astrological aspects that have correlated with volatile events as well as major changes in storylines during the past month. The Full Moon is separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying to an opposition with Jupiter in Aquarius as well as a disruptive square aspect with Mars in Taurus. With the Moon fully illuminated in the zodiacal home of the Sun, find your center within the immense changes taking shape around and within you. Like a calyx protecting and nurturing the flaming colors of the bloom ready to open, within heart space you may deepen into the glowing meaning that is emerging from whatever difficulties you have been through recently.

There is stunning timing at play between the peak radiance of the Leo Full Moon with the synodic cycle of Jupiter, as Jupiter is at the very end of its solar cycle when the Moon forms its exact opposition with the Sun. Jupiter in Aquarius is in the underworld, experiencing both the putrefaction of its past cycle as well as the purifying regeneration of being reseeded by the Sun. Jupiter will be reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun about six and a half hours after the Moon forms its opposition with the Sun, giving an amplified charge to the inner illumination we may experience with Jupiter being reborn.

As Jupiter signifies hope, prosperity, and optimism, we may experience a renewal of faith regarding the path we are following into the unknown as Jupiter is revivified by the Sun. Jupiter will continue to be gestating the new meaning of its cycle while invisible until re-emerging into the visible light of its Morning Star phase in mid February. As Jupiter helps with creation of new growth and life, synthesizing meaning and wisdom from our experiences, so may we gain greater understanding of the shifting structures within personal and collective movements during the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

We are also at the beginning of a new Saturn cycle with the Sun, as the Sun formed a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on January 23. Thus the Leo Full Moon is also illuminating how the new solar seeds of Saturn are beginning to gestate, as Saturn continues to make its way through its invisible underworld phase. We are only at the beginning of Saturn’s journey through Aquarius that will stretch into March 2023, and so the Leo Full Moon is also shining a spotlight on the tests and challenges that Saturn will be bringing to our attention.  The solutions to larger problems may not be ready to emerge, but the dazzling light of the lunation can help us realize what areas of life need our focus in the month ahead.

Moreover, since the Sun formed a square with Uranus in Taurus on January 26, the Full Moon will heighten awareness of whatever breaking points or innovative changes are emerging with the discordant square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that will be intensifying in the next few weeks. Since the Full Moon is separating from Saturn and Uranus and applying to Jupiter and Mars, the lunation is setting off all of the dynamics between Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars that have correlated with numerous protests and cacophonous volatility in global events during the past month.


Dawn Moon and Tumbling Snow (1889) by Kobayashi Heihachirō, from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

The catalyzing square between the Leo Full Moon with Mars in Taurus may bring stressful events or conflicts to mediate, but on a constructive level can also provide the impetus to make a needed change happen. If it’s necessary to create separation from a troubling source or inject motivated passion into making a certain movement happen, the triggering of Mars by the lunation can supply an amplified boost in the desired direction. It will also be important to pay attention to whatever symptoms of difficulty we experience, as they may indicate deeper issues below the surface of events that we will need to focus on to repair and heal in the month ahead.

While the Leo Full Moon will enflame the friction between Uranus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, it also demarcates the beginning of Mars and Jupiter slowly moving away from the shattering square aspect taking shape between Saturn and Uranus. The first exact square between Saturn and Uranus will take place on February 17, and so from now until then the rupturing emanating from their clashing dynamic will continue to intensify. However, since Mars and Jupiter have recently set off the volatility building between Saturn and Uranus, we are already gaining a sense of what sorts of collective and personal disruptions are developing in correlation.

When the slow contractions of Saturn come into conflict with insistence from Uranus on rapid innovation, we need to come to terms with the elements of life we previously relied upon for security that need to be released to make space for the new forms emerging. We also need to keep in mind the longview that the radical shifts and breaking apart in personal foundations and systemic structures that will correlate with the tension between Saturn and Uranus will be taking place over the next two years. We are only at the beginning of the story, and since we know that Saturn and Uranus will be bringing irrevocable change we can begin to deepen into the internal shifts we are experiencing and make space to sort through the visions of expansive growth we receive. In the short term, there will be a need for rapid responses to address immediate concerns and cultivate the stability needed to navigate the liminal passage ahead.

Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau

Although not in an exact aspect with the Leo Full Moon, Mercury in Aquarius is a major underlying influence of the lunation due to it stationing retrograde two days later on January 30. As a result, the intensification of all things related to Mercury in the days following the Full Moon will necessitate being as mindful as possible and paying attention to whatever early signs are emerging regarding the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Mercury will be retrograde from January 30 until February 20, backtracking from 26°29’ Aquarius to 11°01 Aquarius. Mercury while retrograde will pull us back into the volatile tension between Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus and so there will be opportunities to continue to address whatever issues are emerging with the Leo Full Moon in the month ahead.

When Mercury stations to begin shifting retrograde it can be especially helpful to pay close attention to your dreams and any omens or synchronicities you experience in daily life that can help you better understand the message that Mercury will be delivering during its retrograde. This is especially the case now due to Neptune in Pisces also forming an exact square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  The disorienting square between Neptune with the transiting lunar nodes can be confusing and make crisp clarity difficult to grasp, but can be powerful in terms of imaginal activation. While the conspiracy theories running rampant in collective events is one side of Neptune forming a square with the lunar nodes, at the same time in our personal life we may receive otherworldly insight that can unveil illusions we had been holding as well as important new perspectives to consider. With Mercury shifting into retrograde movement for the rest of the waning lunar cycle, the psychopomp nature of Mercury when retrograde can facilitate descent into inner mysteries to gather important understanding that will ultimately help us in navigating external events.

profile of shadow by Odilon Redon

Profile of Shadow (1895) by Odilon Redon

The other major astrological aspect embedded within the Leo Full Moon is the conjunction between Venus with Pluto in Capricorn. When Venus is uniting with Pluto during a Full Moon, there is a greater intensity of depth within relationships, with volcanic and volatilizing feelings breaking through awareness. The potency of Pluto’s influence on Venus penetrates under the surface of relational dynamics, bringing the potential for honest communication and the cultivation of greater intimacy or mutual empowerment if both sides are able to listen and share. Since Pluto dramatically amplifies compulsive and obsessive feelings, it will help to sift through the feelings being stirred up to contemplate what truly needs to be communicated versus what does not.

In addition to Venus catalyzing descent into the underworld desires of Pluto, in the week following the Full Moon we will also experience the heliacal setting of Venus as the star of Aphrodites shares its final light as a Morning Star before disappearing into the shadows of its invisible, underworld phase. Venus will continue to be visible as she makes her way through the rest of the sign of Capricorn, but will begin disappearing from view once she enters Aquarius on February 1. This amplifies the importance of whatever messages you are receiving from the union of Venus and Pluto, as Venus may awaken important desires that will need to be tended and nurtured as she makes her way through her underworld phase in the months ahead. Venus will eventually re-emerge into visible light as an Evening Star in early May.

5 of Wands

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the first decan of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature.

Saturn and the Sun are the rulers of the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and radiate meaning to a receptive audience. The meaning of the lunation in this decan is especially notable for those who were born with Saturn in the first decan of Leo, as they are not only experiencing their Saturn opposition but it also being illuminated by a Full Moon in square with Mars and Uranus. Whether you are dealing with a Saturn opposition or not, it will nonetheless be wise to use the slow and steady contemplation of Saturn to consider the ways in which your engagement with the world has felt inauthentic. As Saturn in Aquarius was recently regenerated by the Sun, allow whatever aspects of your old identity and ambitions need to be shed to make space for a more authentic presence to emerge.

It’s further compelling that the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down old structures that can be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results as we transition from a volatile month of January into a month of February that will be dominated by Mercury being retrograde in Aquarius with Venus, the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn also occupying Aquarius. Let the light of the Leo Full Moon guide your creative process so it may align with the changes of nature taking shape within internal and external realms. As the Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos sings:

Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:  /  Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:  /  All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow’r, ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:  Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.  /  To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffus’d thro’ mortal bodies bright and strong.  /  Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:  /  Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Leo & Cancer

Chagall BetweenDarknessandLight.jpg

Marc Chagall (1938-43) Between Darkness and Light

Mercury Retrograde in Leo & Cancer

It’s the main highway leading in, / the sun soon down. / Traffic backs up, creeps along, / it’s a torpid glittering dragon. / I am a scale on that dragon. / The red sun all at once / blazes in my windshield, / pouring in, / and makes me transparent. / Some writing shows / up inside me- words / written with invisible ink / appearing when the paper / is held over a fire. / I know that I have to go far away, / straight through the city, out / the other side, then step out / and walk a long time in the woods. / Walk in the tracks of the badger. / Growing hard to see, nearly dark. / Stones lie about on the moss. / One of those stones is precious. / It can change everything. / It can make the darkness shine. / It’s the light switch for the whole country. / Everything depends on it. / Look at it . . . touch it . . .

— Further In by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

The stillness of Mercury when it stations retrograde demands attention. The fleet-footed Star of Hermes which is capable of questioning and curating with quicksilver speed, ever cunning in its capacity to incite changes in perspective, stands still in contemplative pause. In the liminal transition of twilight, Mercury shares the final light of its cycle before descending into its invisible phase of rebirth. It is always advisable to pay closer attention than normal when Mercury stations, as well as making space for reflection regarding inner shifts beginning to take shape. When Mercury stations retrograde on July 7 at 4º27′ Leo, however, it will be even more important than normal due to it stationing in range of a conjunction with Mars in Leo and a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. These aspects indicate more than the usual amount of unexpected twists and turns in storylines suddenly appearing, even more so since it is also happening within the mysterious vortex of change that comes in between eclipses.

It’s common to hear warnings from astrologers to not sign any contracts or make major purchases during periods of Mercury retrograde, due to it being associated with delays and erratic volatility, but the fact remains that life for most cannot go on hold for the rest of July while Mercury is retrograde. It is possible to successfully initiate new enterprises, sign contracts, and make purchases during Mercury retrograde periods, but it is important to recognize it possesses a different quality of time than when Mercury is moving at its usual speed while direct. The slow, churning, backward motion of Mercury calls for introspection and paying close attention to inner guidance and intuition in relation to whatever is undertaken. While Mercury is retrograde we can become aware of numerous signs indicating it’s not the right time to do something we have been consciously fixated on making happen. However, if  everything is lining up well to embark on a new initiative, there is no reason to refrain from acting just because of fear over the fact that Mercury is retrograde.

We are often called to revisit an old issue or pattern while Mercury is retrograde, but rather than becoming angry and frustrated over having to rework or re-engage with something from the past, it’s better to utilize the opportunity for resolving old issues, making reparations and repairs where needed, and coming to terms with whatever needs completion in order to more effectively welcome an influx of new developments.  In the week following Mercury stationing retrograde on July 7, take time for reflection regarding whatever you have outgrown and feel that the time has arrived to release. Mercury retrograde periods are always powerful in terms of purging and breaking free from old habits, but this particular Mercury retrograde will be even more powerful than normal due to Mercury stationing in strong aspect with both Mars and Uranus, while also happening in between a solar and lunar eclipse. There is an old way of expressing ourselves in the world that is ready to be shed, while at the same time a potent new form or source of creativity is ready to be embraced.

Dragon ouroboros Hermetic Sun and Moon

From The Hermetic Child of Sun and Moon (1752)

The Fixed & Volatile Fire of Leo

The dwarf pine on marsh grounds holds its head up: a dark rag. / But what you see is nothing compared to the roots, / the widening, secretly groping, deathless or half-deathless root system.

I you she he also put roots out. / Outside our common will. / Outside the City.

Rain drifts from the summer sky that’s pale as milk. / It is as if my five senses were hooked up to some other creature / that moves with the same stubborn flow / as the runners in white circling the track as the night comes misting in.

A Few Moments by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

As Mercury stations on July 7 to begin slowly shifting retrograde on July 8, we will experience the unusual occurrence of Mars applying toward a conjunction with Mercury that completes on July 8. While Mars will continue to charge forward into a volatile aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will complete on July 11, Mercury will turn around and head backwards before completing an exact square aspect with Uranus. As Mars completes its catalyzing aspect with Uranus, Mercury will be disappearing from view in twilight and entering its invisible, psychopomp role of pulling awareness into subconscious depths. In combination these aspects portend extreme volatility with mental unrest and overwhelm at times overcoming us, as well as sudden conflicts arising that could provoke frustration and anger. There may also be a connection of events back to the period of June 18 when Mercury previously formed a conjunction with Mars for the first time in this series.

Yet the volatile, destructive quality of time signified by Mercury stationing retrograde while engaging both Mars and Uranus can be utilized in breaking free from situations that have been limiting or stagnating us. There is a highly charged dosage of liberating creativity and courageous determination within these aspects that can spur us to act on desires for new growth and dynamic exploration. However, it will be vital to keep in mind the tendency of Mercury retrograde periods to bring delays, so be patient and do your best to not add fuel to fires of frustration when events do not move as quickly as you had expected. Positively, Mercury retrograde periods can help cultivate incredible focus directed toward research, writing, and other mental pursuits when we are able to make time and space free from distractions. As long as we don’t insist on making fast progress, Mercury in its retrograde path through Leo can facilitate work on creative projects that can eventually manifest powerful results in the months ahead. Rather than cursing Mercury retrograde when we lose track of something or are surprised by a sudden twist of fate, see where the unexpected turns take you and discover whatever revelations your mind becomes opened to receive.

Mercury will remain retrograde in the first decan of Leo until July 19 when it will return to the watery sign of Cancer. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power to focus massive attention through the role, mask, or persona we bear in public performance for an audience. Since Mercury retrograde will be stoking the flames of the first face of Leo as the Sun forms a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on July 10 and then eclipses the Capricorn Moon on July 16, take time to contemplate whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona you have been engaging the wider world through. What aspects of soul and psyche have you been neglecting in your pursuit of worldly ambition or insistence on doing things a certain way to conform with external expectations?

Mercury retrograde in the fire of the first face of Leo can be utilized to burn off and purge however we have allowed ourselves to stray from our essential purpose, or however we have been restricting ourselves from pursuing and achieving what we want to create.  In particular, whatever fears and blockages have arisen as barriers during the recent months of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon aligning in Capricorn will become triggered during the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. While we will need to face and deal with issues of necessity during this time, the sleight of hand offered by Mercury retrograde can help open a new awareness for how to handle responsibilities while also nurturing the life we desire to cultivate. After Mercury moves backward into the lunar-ruled sign of Cancer on July 19, a few days after the lunar eclipse, we will need to sift through irrational feelings and messages from our depths that will be able to ultimately help guide us forward into a more fulfilling direction.

Remedios Varo-Personaje-En-Lancha-1957

Remedios Varos (1957) Personaje En Lancha

From Flames to Waves

“We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us.”

— Marcel Proust from Within a Budding Grove volume two of In Search of Lost Time 

Mercury will return to Cancer on July 19, making the incongruous transition from the hot and dry fire sign of Leo into the cold and moist water sign of Cancer. Whereas the scorching, fiery light of the Sun rules Leo, Mercury will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

While Mercury will station direct and return to visibility as a Morning Star at the end of July, it will remain in the third decan of Cancer from July 19 through August 11 when it will finally return to Leo. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, linking it with both the endless energy of the natural world as well as the danger of facing scarcity within societal systems in which people compete for limited material resources. The importance Coppock noted for being a “conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” through investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works relates well to the societal upheaval which will likely correspond with eclipses volatilizing the combination of Saturn and Pluto with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. As Mercury moves retrograde and stations direct within the third face of Cancer, consider how its regenerative process may reshape your work to not only be more personally fulfilling but to also provide resources to benefit others.

Mercury retrograde will reenter the third face of Cancer only a couple of days before it becomes regenerated through its conjunction with the Sun on July 21, placing it at the end of a cycle similar to a Dark Moon. Fittingly, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs named the lunar goddess Hecate as presiding in the third face of Cancer. Hecate has always been honored at the crossroads during the dark phase of the Moon as well as when facing the darkness of the unknown. The wise crone and dark goddess who rules over all lunar phases and all realms of the upper and underworld, Hecate for ages has been available to call for regenerative guidance and assistance during dark nights of the soul. With Mercury going through a death and rebirth process in the inner, watery home of the Moon, we will need to discern inner guidance from the deep stirring of our emotions. Old memories that bear a soulful message will likely demand attention and call us to re-integrate them into the way our regenerating perspective is reshaping our life narrative.

“When from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”

— Marcel Proust from Swann’s Way volume one of In Search of Lost Time

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

Remedios Varo (1945) Icono

Chthonic Cazimi in Cancer

“On the way there a couple of startled wings fluttered, and that was all. One goes there alone. It is a lofty building made entirely of open spaces, a building which sways all the time, but is never able to fall. The sun, changed into a thousand suns, drifts in through the open slivers. And an inverse law of gravity takes hold in the play of light: this house floats anchored in the sky, and what falls falls upward. It makes you turn around. In the woods it is all right to grieve. It’s all right to see the old truths, which we usually keep packed away in the luggage. My roles down there in the deep places fly up, hang like dried skulls in an ancestor hut on a remote Melanesian island. A childlike light around the terrifying trophies. Woods are mild that way.”

– A Place in the Woods by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

On July 21, Mercury will unite with the Sun at 28º28′ Cancer during its inferior conjunction in which Mercury aligns in between our orbit with the Sun, as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mercury to be. Astrological texts named this time of rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun, when Mercury is seated upon the throne of the solar ruler and revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light. This is a moment of solar re-seeding in which Mercury is regenerated and purified within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” As a result, July 21 will be especially potent in terms of turning within for reflection and contemplation regarding all of the material stirred up by the eclipses of July. We may not only set intention for release and to manage whatever is demanding our attention, we may also plant the seeds of whatever we wish to cultivate during the coming cycle of Mercury.

At the same time that Mercury is being reborn in the heart of the Sun, the disseminating Moon in Pisces will be conjoining Neptune. The Moon’s union with Neptune supports setting time and space aside to luxuriate within your senses and imagination, to meditate away from the monotony of daily responsibilities when possible. It will also be a potent time to pay attention to dreams or actively work with any recent dream images, as well as contemplate messages received from signs and synchronicities in your environment.

There is a compelling connection between the conjunction of Neptune and the Moon with the Sabian symbol for the degree where the chthonic cazimi of Mercury occurs. The Sabian symbol for Cancer 29° is “a greek muse weighing new-born twins in golden scales,” a symbol which Dane Rudhyar described as involving “the intuitive weighing of alternatives.” Rudhyar wrote that since it’s “the Muse that is doing the weighing, it is apparent that forces deeper or higher than the intellect are actually at work- the intuitive mind, or what Jung calls the anima, i.e. the psychic function which relates ego-consciousness to the collective Unconscious.” Rudhyar further noted this symbol can also imply that we need to sort through what “may be more a dream or ideal than a practical reality” within choices needing to be made, an important warning to keep in mind when the Moon is under the sway of Neptune.

In addition to the Moon conjoining Neptune at the time of Mercury’s union with the Sun, Venus in Cancer will be forming an opposition with Pluto. The presence of Venus less than six degrees away from the rebirth of Mercury is pivotal, for Mercury has turned backward in order to complete an additional union with Venus on July 24. The mutual application of Mercury retrograde with Venus signifies a sudden insight or turn of events. Both Venus and Mercury are in the middle of a regenerative process of purification, with the opposition from Venus with Pluto dredging up unconscious patterns that have been impacting relationships from hidden realms within. There is incredible depth within these aspects that will be worth the time made for reflection and sifting through the intensification of desire that will be stirred. Though both Mercury and Venus are not at full strength during their union, their meeting can bring healing and nurturance to whatever needs tending.

Remedios Varo-Trasmundo-1955

Remedios Varo (1955) Transmundo

Morning Star of Lunar Tides

One March day I walked down to the lake shore to listen. / The ice was blue as the sky. And breaking up in the sun. /  The sun whispers into a microphone under the ice. / There’s a seething and burbling. Far out it sounds like a sheet / being snapped. / The whole thing is like History: our present. We are lowered / into it, we listen . . .

Radical and Reactionary live together as in a miserable marriage, / diminished by each other, leaning on each other. / But we, their children, have to find our own road. / Each problem cries out in a private language! / Walk down any path where there is a trace of truth.

In a field not far from the subdivisions / a newspaper has been lying for months, full of news. / It is aging because of days and nights, rain and sun. / It’s on its way to becoming a plant, a cabbage head. It’s starting / to join the field, / like an old memory gradually changing into you.

– from About History by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

From July 22 through the end of July, Mercury will remain invisible until it returns to visibility as a Morning Star around the same time that it stations direct on July 31. The return of Mercury’s light will bring important messages to receive and integrate, highlighting the importance of making time and space for reflection and paying close attention to the signs we receive in our daily travel. The date of July 31 signals a major transition from the eclipse season of July, as a New Moon in Leo will occur within the same hour in which Mercury will station direct. This will be a potent date to deepen the understanding gained during Mercury’s movement retrograde, as well as setting intentions for the forthcoming lunar cycle, yet the stationary presence of Mercury suggests we will remain in a liminal state of recovery for a time before moving stridently forward with progress in August.

While Mercury will station direct at 23º56′ Cancer, Pluto will be moving retrograde away from an opposition with Mercury at 21º28′ Capricorn. Although Mercury will not reach an exact opposition with Pluto, its intensity will be deeply felt as the transiting Moon in Cancer will pass through an opposition with Pluto and a conjunction with Mercury on July 30. As Mercury stations in the final days of July in opposition with Pluto, we can expect a final upsurge of information to enter our awareness from subconscious depths and unexpected sources, one more installment of whatever material was stirred up by the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. The tension between Mercury and Pluto can facilitate penetrating underneath the surface of conventions, probing beyond societal boundaries to understand the essence of whatever you have been exploring.

Significantly, Mercury will be stationing direct in range of a conjunction with the North Nodes of Saturn and Pluto. This is of vital importance due to the fact that the alignment of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in recent months has ben occurring in alignment with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto, a configuration that has been dredging up intense societal issues that have roots within the oppressive cycles of civilized history. With Mercury activating the North Node side of Cancer, it may feel like peeling off the dead skin of perception you have been attached to using when interpreting meaning, especially those aspects heavily conditioned by external influences within your surrounding civilization. While you may initially feel vulnerable due to releasing perspectives that have brought security to your identity, you can simultaneously begin to feel revitalized by embracing a more authentic way of understanding.

Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 9 at 29º Cancer, marking its entrance into what Gary Caton named the rubedo phase of its alchemical, retrograde process in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make the shift into a new way of being as Mercury picks up speed and moves through its Morning Star phase. After Jupiter in Sagittarius stations direct on August 11, Mercury will return to Leo and begin applying toward a harmonious trine aspect that will facilitate taking ownership over creating what you want to bring into the world free from the weight of however you have held yourself back in the past.

By the time of the Aquarius Full Moon on August 15, Mercury will be crossing the threshold of the degree in Leo in which it stationed retrograde at the beginning of July, finally completing its catalyzing square aspect with Uranus on August 16. The month of August holds dramatically different astrological meaning than the month of July, with a strong focus on fiery inspiration and creativity. The more we can utilize July for clearing and reshaping our perspective, the more we will be able to manifest powerful changes and productive results in August and September.

References

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

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

Tranströmer, Tomas. (2001). The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer. Selected and translated by Robert Bly. Graywolf Press.