Interview on Mercury & Gemini

hermaphrodite from rosarium philosophorum

from Rosarium Philosophorum

I am excited to share an interview I did with astrologer Mary Jo Wevers about the sign of Gemini and its ruler Mercury on her radio show “Astrology: The Theory of Everything.”  We spend a lot of time speaking about Mercury retrograde, and this show was in fact recorded right before Mercury stationed retrograde in Taurus this past April.

During the show I mentioned that when Mercury transited the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction it was conjoining its Heliocentric North Node.  I learned this information from Dane Rudhyar and other astrologers, and astrologer Gary Caton corrected me (after this interview was recorded) by pointing out that if you actually look at the orbit of Mercury you can see that its Heliocentric South Node is actually Taurus.  So, point being that when Mercury conjoined the Sun in May it was conjunct its Heliocentric South Node in Taurus, not its North Node.

Click the link below to listen to the show on the official site:

http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/91928/gemini-bridging-connections-and-navigating-changes-with-retrograde-mercury#.V2H311duLzI

Click the player below just to play the show:

Advertisements

Gemini Full Moon

scott young FirstExperience

First Experience by Scott Young (2015)

Full Moon in Gemini

The Full Moon in Gemini on November 25, 2015 catalyzes the crescendo of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that becomes exact in its intensity on the following day.  There are numerous aspects at the time of this Gemini Full Moon signifying tumultuous change:  the Gemini Moon is square to Neptune and opposite Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun, while Venus in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Libra is applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, Jupiter in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Chiron and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  With the Moon fully illuminated in the sign of Gemini, our minds will be charged with new connections and thoughts that metamorphose pre-existing beliefs and conceptual frameworks regarding reality.

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, as the two brightest stars of the constellation are named after Castor and Pollux in Greek myth, one of two sets of twins Leda gave birth to after Zeus mated with her as a swan.  One set of twins is male (Castor and Pollux) and one set is female (Helen and Clytemnestra), yet each set also has the unique characteristic of containing one divine twin descended from Zeus (Pollux and Helen), and one mortal twin descended from the human monarch Tyndareus (Castor and Clytemnestra).  Gemini as a result holds a sense of having a divine twin, a twin soulmate other, a soul presence we desire to more fully embody, and a sense of having contrasting selves within.  Gemini is an archetype of dyads through which our minds construct meaning in the creation and commerce of language and abstract systems of thought.  Within this binary, dualistic awareness of Gemini on a deeper level, is also the concept made famous by Carl Jung that what we call God, Goddess, Gods, or Spirit is not only the source of the good and beautiful but also the source of evil.  This leads further to the awareness that within each of us we can find both the potential of our highest good  and love, as well as the potential to create horrible acts from a place of evil or disregard for life.

We can choose to act from love and heart-centeredness.  We can choose to put our passion into collaborative efforts to bridge community and meet the needs of others.  We can choose to explore our depths of darkness within, so as to refrain from projecting upon others what we are in denial about regarding ourselves.  Yet when the global collective erupts in war and conflict, when bombs drop from the sky and terrorists rain bloodshed from the earth, we can feel the paradox of cherishing our life and loved ones while simultaneously falling into waves of disillusionment and depression regarding the senseless stupidity of humanity.  A Full Moon in Gemini unveils the power of our mind to create works of anything imaginable, from arts that inspire love and healing, to arts that inspire fear and wounding.

Mercury is the ruler of the Full Moon far from home in the sign of Sagittarius.  Not only is Mercury estranged in Sagittarius, being opposite it’s domicile of Gemini, it is furthermore combust the Sun and separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Full Moon.  Mercury in Sagittarius is also applying very widely to a square with Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury being in the sign of Jupiter while Jupiter is in the sign of Mercury, means that there is a more unpredictable element at work regarding the way we create meaning out of our experiences.   Mercury’s recent union with Saturn in Sagittarius could have led to disciplined study or other methods of expanding our mental awareness or philosophical understanding, yet it also could have led to further fixation on dogmatic beliefs entrenched in systems of thought that lack grounding in the flux of the moment.   We are at a moment in which a fruitful reorientation of our vision and ability to discover meaning in life could occur, yet to receive this potential wisdom we must be open to releasing our attachment to old conditioned thought forms that are now getting in the way of us opening to the new insight available.

scott young Waitingwithangel

Waiting With Angel by Scott Young (2015)

In addition to the importance Mercury plays with a Full Moon in Gemini, Mercury is also important to consider as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo.    Mercury in Sagittarius  by itself is fast, fiery, philosophical, and can take leaps of thought aligned with belief that may disregard other approaches to the situation.  Yet Mercury in Sagittarius is freshly separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius that could have cooled the heels of the fleet footed messenger enough to slow down thoughts and engage in the Virgo nodal mission of discerning new inner insights and areas of our life that require focus and problem solving.  In the midst of the great destruction occurring in our global collective at this Full Moon, there is enormous potential for new creation infused with integrity.   Our birth process is now occurring in a chaotic climate of sharply shifting astrological tides, yet through Mercurial focus we can make multitudinous connections of meaning that fully flesh out the essence of what we are manifesting.  If it seems the mental energy is too overwhelming, make the space for practices that put you in your body, bring you into nature, and ground your sense of inner rootedness.

As Mercury is also separating from a square with Neptune in Pisces, there is a message being fully illuminated at this lunation concerning the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune that will be dominating the astrological atmosphere in the year ahead.  If we are wiling to shed identification with past attachments now causing disillusionment, we can more readily open to the sources that will be supporting our burgeoning identity.  As things may not be going exactly according to prior plans, it is vital to remain open to possibilities rather than closing oneself off due to frustration or fear.  The shadow side of this aspect can be witnessed in the overabundance of violent rhetoric based in fear and exclusion being proliferated on the world media stage today, as many are communicating from a tight Saturnine grip on dogmatic beliefs in the face of the unknown.  A historical example is that the Salem Witch Trials took place during a transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, and we can notice similar strands of religious persecution and projection going on today that lacks grounding in objective analysis.  In many ways it is now easier than normal to notice the interplay of belief systems and personal expression and reaction in those surrounding you.

It is important to remember that while atrocities based upon belief systems were committed during the Salem Witch Trials, it also ultimately led to massive disillusionment and revelations regarding the ignorance of those in power who are lost in religious illusions.  Similarly, there are countless power structures in conflict today that are mired in ignorant dogmatism, further perpetuated by a corrupt media.  In the end the horrors of this time will be fueling a mass break down and reorientation of belief around the world, hopefully in the direction of ultimate understanding signified by Neptune in Pisces rather than misunderstanding sourced from escapist illusions, delusions, and addictions of one sort or another.  However, in the moment we are only at the beginning of entering into the tumult that will coincide with this catalytic aspect between Saturn and Neptune, bringing up initial crises we will be sorting out over the next year.  On personal inner levels we can reorient in accordance with our essential truth, yet in our interactions in our collective we must be ready to navigate volatile conflicts over competing ideologies.

Full Moon in Gemini

Svanen (1914) by Hilma af Klint

A harmonious and stabilizing aspect involved with the Moon waxing full is a Grand Air Trine that will form between the Moon in Gemini, Mars in Libra, and Ceres in Aquarius.  Ceres in Aquarius is a nurturing force on behalf of individuation and humanitarian concerns in a positive sense, while her shadow side involves cold fixation on past beliefs behind a wall of separation from the needs of those in the surrounding environment.  To me, how our consciousness responds to this air trine between the Moon, Mars, and Ceres depends to a large extent on which of these sides of Ceres we are coming from.  If our sense of Ceres is opening us to de-condition from cultural forces attempting to manipulate us toward selfish greed and grasping for power that harms life, Mars in Libra can be on the side of social justice and meeting the needs of others, and the Gemini Moon can break us out of past rigidity of thinking through insightful connections.

Mars in Libra is not only in trine to the Gemini Full Moon, but also sextile to Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun and applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn. Mars is also co-present with Venus in the sign of Libra and in coming weeks will be coming into an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Libra can coincide with unpredictability and coercive manipulation in mundane affairs, but on a personal level it could spark desires to improve and expand our relationships and social connections.  As Mars comes into a last quarter square with Pluto, it will amplify the already tumultuous environment triggered by Saturn and Neptune also being in a last quarter square.  The growth offered by this tension can come from reorienting our relational dynamics within our partnerships and society so that our own needs will be better met on the one hand, and we can realize where we have been neglecting the needs of others on the other hand.  This is a time to confront our past beliefs regarding relationships and discover which aspects are illusions that need to be released now so that we can more readily create the life we want going forward.

Further increasing our capacity to liberate ourselves from past relationship beliefs is a Venus in Libra that is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon.  Venus is also applying to a conjunction with Juno and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Libra, meaning that there are essential aspects of our relationship needs to now discover and actualize that we may have formerly felt judgment over.  It is likely that Venus in Libra will dislodge something significant as her opposition with Uranus perfected with the waxing Moon in the days leading up to this Full Moon.  The Full Moon is as a result illuminating the aftershocks of Venus opposite Uranus, and since Venus is at home in her beloved sign of Libra there is potential for important insight into our relationships no matter how challenging recent experiences may have been.  Venus opposite Uranus can strike like lightning, so if we have recently taken a leap without much forethought allow this Full Moon to give you a sense of whether or not any impulsive choices appear to be harmonious or not with your well-being.

Gemini I Decan

8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini I Decan

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini where the Full Moon occurs, a decan associated with the 8 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  It is one of the most intense images of the Rider-Waite deck, and at first glance it may seem difficult to link the bound and terrorized feeling of the image to either Jupiter or Gemini.  Yet when we realize that Jupiter signifies vision and the meaning gathered from experience, and Gemini is connected with the power of our mind to help shape reality, we can sense here the suffocating shadow cast by trauma.  Traumatic experiences such as being a victim of abuse or any form of oppression can envelope us in paralysis and hopelessness.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore interpreted this card as a frozen mental state that eclipses “one’s very sense of free agency and self,” leading to the vital importance of not blaming the victim:

When you pull this card, it is most important to exit that fictive Karmic loop of cause and effect, of blame, of the notion of an economy on pain . . . You may feel persecuted, flawed, or exiled. But feelings are not the measure of reality nor, for that matter, do they indicate what you will feel tomorrow. You will survive this, and if you transmute it properly, you stand to be a force of great healing and compassion in the lives of others… for victimization sometimes happens, with no reason, no rhyme, and no warning. Don’t blame yourself in an attempt to retain the illusion of mastery. Forgive yourself and let yourself open to your own vulnerability. In doing so, you will slowly open up to others, yet again. It’s OK.

— Kelsey Lynore, The Tarot Nook

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, symbolizing the explosion of awareness that struck Eve when she bit into the ripe apple born from the earth.  In contrast to the nightmarish image of the 8 of Swords card, Coppock wrote that traditional images for this decan display “the full power of the mind” including abstract thought, mathematics and the sciences, magic, and the art of the scribe and the seamstress (p. 87).  Coppock found a link between the static found in the 8 of Swords card and the first decan of Gemini in the power of the mind to both enliven as well as immobilize, as seekers of this face can become paralyzed by the overwhelming amount of information available in the world that is ultimately impossible to fully process:

The division of the world and the naming of its parts in this decan generates all arts, crafts and sciences, and gives rise to a bewildering profusion of selves.  It is therefore a face of tremendous curiosity and intelligence.  Within it lies the power to discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities.  It provides clever methods and opens numerous pathways, yet this very profusion de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.

–Austin Coppock (p. 87)

Jupiter, the ruler of this decan, is now in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Jupiter is at the same time the traditional ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Since Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon are both in the sign of Mercury, it is important to consider that their ruler Mercury is residing in Sagittarius, the sign of Jupiter.  Furthermore, in the waning cycle of this Gemini Full Moon we will experience Mercury becoming an Evening Star that enters into a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  All together, these astrological placements further increase the likelihood of feeling a pull to expand our knowledge and assimilation of information, while also risking a feeling of paralysis over biting off far more than our mind can fully process, integrate, and express with understanding.

If we can keep ourselves open and curious, making the space to get out of our minds and back in our bodies when mental frequencies become too intense, there is also a huge opportunity presented by these transits for fundamental change in our ability to find meaning in our life and live in accordance with an authentic vision of values.  Yes, we are going to need to deal with incredible conflict, discord, and destruction in our surroundings, but out of this falling apart a more enriching vision for our lives may arise.  This doesn’t mean things will be easy at all, and in fact we need to be ready to confront many difficulties and obstacles, grieving losses and consoling others.  Nonetheless, these astrological aspects suggest that important meaning can be found in the difficult experiences of this time.  May we share the love and light we discover within with those around us.

References

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

New Moon in Gemini

Emblem 10 as New Moon in Gemini

Emblem 10 in Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier. “Da ignem igni, Mercurium Mercurio, et sufficit tibi. (Give Fire to fire, Mercury to Mercury, and you have enough.)”

New Moon in Gemini

The New Moon in Gemini on June 16, 2015 has a charged atmosphere of enlivened desire, an intensification of feeling that can bring clarity to the direction we are choosing to initiate and follow.  Mars in Gemini is closely conjunct this New Moon, and just as we experience a new lunar cycle with our Sun, we also have entered a new cycle between Mars and the Sun.  It follows that both our identity and consciousness (Moon) as well as our will-force and ability to focus our consciousness on a desired goal (Mars) are simultaneously being purified and regenerated by our Sun in the sign of the Twins.  Just like the ruler of Gemini, Mercury, bridges dualities such as light and night, conscious and unconscious, so in Gemini we have the mortal twin and the immortal twin, the rational twin and the irrational twin, the magical twin and the mundane twin, and an inquisitive spirit that can connect us with the underlying source that unites and transcends binary dichotomy.  There is extraordinary depth to the sign of Gemini that is sometimes glossed over by astrologers, a quality of inquiry that can see through to the essential and thus holds this same potential for us at this New Moon.

Further electrifying the cosmic environment is the trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries that is almost exact (and we can also add in the goddesses Eris in Aries and Juno in Leo). Since the Gemini New Moon is in sextile to both Uranus and Jupiter, these aspects are a gift to seize and open awareness to sense the full spectrum of options available to choose from in the path ahead, without any restrictive limitations of perception present.  If you have been reading my blog and feel like you have been hearing me write about this concept repeatedly, over and over again, it is because this first quarter trine between Uranus and Jupiter has been building for months and we now only have less than a week left of it applying before it begins to separate for good in this cycle.  In other words, from now through the upcoming Solstice in Cancer is the most powerful time left to take advantage of this dynamic, inventive aspect of procreative force- and it is making a sextile to this New Moon.

Mercury in Gemini is the ruler of this New Moon and has now emerged from its time in the underworld to herald our dawn as a Morning Star again.  Mercury in this position has a strong capacity for rational analysis combined with inquisitiveness, and ability to focus on the setting and achievement of goals.  Mercury here is curious and likes to explore, and can integrate the new level of perception gained from this past Mercury retrograde period.  Whatever we discovered during the Mercury retrograde we had to realize about our circumstances, no matter how difficult it could have been to acknowledge past mistakes, misfires, or miscues, we now have an opportunity to set intentions informed with the wisdom gained from our recent experiences.  As Mercury in Gemini begins to move direct again, it also begins to apply to a sextile with Venus in Leo that will be gaining in strength over the next three weeks, eventually also coming into range of a sextile with Jupiter in Leo.  As a result, out of the dark, hidden depths of its recent travels, Mercury is now regenerated and able to facilitate our awareness of opportunities and receive support for deeper creative actualization.

Mars conjunct New Moon in Gemini

Bird in the Spirit by Morris Graves

Mars conjunct Sun in Gemini

The synodic cycle of Mars creates the atmosphere of this Gemini New Moon, as the New Moon is conjunct Mars.  Two days before the New Moon on June 14, 2015 the Sun and Mars united at 23°17′ Gemini.  The previous cycle between Mars and the Sun began on April 18, 2013 at 28°08′ Aries.  If you are like me, life has completely transformed since that time, and the great desire that arose then and may have seemed out of reach today is closer to manifestation or has already been experienced. When Mars unites with the Sun, Mars is infused with the solar force and the symbolic arrow shooting out of the circle of spirit in the Mars glyph is revivified to shoot off with focused desire in a new direction. In the past weeks with Mars under the beams of the Sun, the Sun has been burning off whatever has needed to be released in relation to Mars in our life.  This could have felt like an agonizing process at times, engulfed in the fires of our own discontent in moments, but if we have been doing this work we now can be present with a more authentic use of Mars in our life. We have shed the inessential and our desires are now rooted in the essential.

Understand that in the coming weeks you will most likely feel vulnerable in this new direction you are wanting to take, and that it will take time to build the forms and structures in your life to support this new Mars direction.  If you have felt called to pursue a new course or project in some form, this is a great sign that is in sync with the Mars and Sun cycle.  In case you have not felt a new sense of direction yet, wait for it because it will be on it’s way.  In any case, this all means that this is an especially auspicious New Moon for intention setting.  And who is that arriving now to facilitate a re-structuring in support of our new path?  Why, if it isn’t that dark and devilish master, Saturn in Scorpio.

crow japanese

Crow and Reeds by a Stream, by Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, ca. 1887)

Saturn in Scorpio

Saturn returns to the sign of Scorpio just in time for this New Moon in Gemini.  Saturn was previously in Scorpio from October 2012 through December 2014, and as we retrograde back into it’s dark waters, we gain a final opportunity to process these years of tumultuous transformation.  Moving from Sagittarius to Scorpio can be jarring, as our taskmaster Saturn shifts from a fiery, expansive, optimistically visionary sign into a watery, intense, secretive, condensed, and decomposing sign of depth. With Saturn freshly retrograde into Scorpio at the time of this New Moon, it means that our initial impulses, feelings, and experiences associated with the shift into Scorpio inform this Gemini New Moon. So just as the Sun and Mars are adding a shifting tone, so does Saturn, and Saturn moving retrograde with this shift means it is fitting to set New Moon intentions to restructure the aspects of our life demanding attention, as well as restructuring our consciousness at a bottom-line level.  With Saturn moving into Scorpio we will be realizing the why behind not only the recent experiences from Saturn in Sagittarius but also dating back to 2012 and the transit of Saturn through Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to be a witness without escapism and denial.  As we witness our own inner motivations and realize what the underlying patterns of our motivation have been, we will likewise gain penetrating insight into the motivations driving those we have been in relationship with.

There is a natural sextile between the signs of Capricorn and Scorpio where Pluto and Saturn currently reside, and Saturn retrograde in Scorpio is now in a balsamic semi-square aspect to Pluto retrograde in Capricorn.  This is a strong indication of a lot of material surfacing from past years to be processed, decomposed, and then ultimately used as fertilizer for new growth.  Saturn in Scorpio is in a quincunx by wide orb to the New Moon in Gemini, meaning that this Gemini New Moon gives us an opportunity to adjust to the shift of Saturn into Scorpio by creating a Mercurial bridge that links the root qualities of Gemini and Scorpio.  While the natural quincunx between the signs of Gemini and Scorpio are ignored by astrologers focused on traditional Ptolemaic aspects in astrology, there is nonetheless a deep connection between these signs that can be seen in the fact that Gemini is the eighth sign away from Scorpio.  It is the deeper, penetrating side of Gemini that connects with Scorpio, and the ability of Gemini to connect across boundaries can stimulate the Scorpio talent for merging at a core level with everything from bodies of knowledge to bodies of intimate partners.  While Gemini and Scorpio at first glance may seem to lack common ground, this New Moon initiating Saturn’s return to Scorpio is a strange gift that can utilize the Gemini talent for synthesis and shifting to dislodge any fixation we are feeling from Scorpio such as our fears, so that we can open ourselves to experience a deeper level of Scorpio transformation in the end.

10 of Swords

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini III Decan

The image of the 10 of Swords as illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith took on new meaning for me when I read Austin Coppock’s book on the decans, 36 Faces, and realized that since Egyptian culture is the source of the decans in astrology, it is significant that ancient Egyptian traditions as well as the Hellenistic astrological tradition viewed Cancer as the first sign of the zodiac in some of their astrological arrangements.  For example in the Thema Mundi the Hellenistic chart said to represent the birth of the universe, it is Cancer that occupies the first house and Gemini that occupies the twelfth house.  Therefore, if we conceive the zodiac as beginning with the Cancer Solstice, or the first decan of Cancer, it means that the Gemini III decan would considered to be the end of the cycle, the final of the 36 faces of the zodiac.

Since the 10 of Swords is the tarot card connected with the third decan of Gemini, it is therefore fitting that the image is of a dead man who has surrendered to death, with ten swords plunged into his back- representing the death of the cycle.  While the card embodies dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky, as well as an upturned hand that seems to indicate contentment with this release from bodily form.  In addition, there is a deep body of water behind the body, resonant with the symbolism of lakes as a portal to the underworld, as well as the current transit of Saturn returning to the sign of Scorpio.   Austin Coppock linked the death of the Gemini III decan with the necessary death or sacrifice of one of the twins of Gemini:

It is important to understand the precise nature of the death which occurs here properly, for it is not the self-sacrifice of Jesus, nor the cognate immolation and rebirth of the Phoenix. The third decan of Gemini sees Castor fall, Cain slay Abel and Set slay Horus.  It is the climax of a story of polarity.  The death which occurs here reduces a warring pair back to a stable unity . . .

For by the third decan of Gemini, dualities have permutated far beyond the shades of grey previously explored.  The ultimate extremities are present here, taken to the point that they cannot truly coexist.  Day and night must split time-  they cannot take place simultaneously.  Good and evil must do the same.  In the end, the conflicting wills of the body and spirit cannot be wholly equilibrated.  While the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices-  judgments that must be made.  To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed.  Though such burnt offerings are a necessary inevitability, it does not spare those who walk this face difficult decisions  (p. 98-99).

The Sun is the ruler of the third decan of Gemini, and so it is further fitting that the recent new conjunction between the Sun and Mars initiating a new cycle also occurred in the third decan of Gemini.  At this New Moon we are experiencing the death of an old self and the emergence of a new self, in an atmosphere of intensification thrusting what was previously undifferentiated into sharp relief and realization.  In this burgeoning gale of a Gemini New Moon we set our new course with faith in the unknown before us.

GeminiNewMoonWRIGC1A

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini Dream Shifting

A Measure of Dreams (1908) by Arthur B. Davies

—When I die, I will see the lining of the world.

The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.

The true meaning, ready to be decoded.

What never added up will add up,

What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.

−And if there is no lining to the world?

If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,

But just a thrush on the branch?  If night and day

Make no sense following each other?

And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?

−Even if that is so, there will remain

A word wakened by lips that perish,

A tireless messenger who runs and runs

Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,

And calls out, protests, screams.

Czeslaw Milosz (1991) MEANING

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

On May 18, a day after a New Moon in Taurus, we enter the second of our thrice yearly Mercury retrograde spells, this one occurring in Gemini.  As the Mercury retrograde periods in 2015 all occur in Air signs, this chapter is significant for being in the mutable sign of Gemini where Mercury makes its home and lifts our minds with winds of inspired language.  Mercury retrogrades are not a time to fear, though being aware that Mercury is setting a different tempo can help us orient to how to make productive use of its potential.  When Mercury appears to move backward from our perspective during its retrograde, it is closer in orbit to us and creates the effect of moving slower.  In correspondence, we gain access to a more magical perception that can decode messages from symbolic patterns in our daily experience.  Following Mercury’s retrograde station, Mercury disappears from our view of it hovering over our horizon and moves into the underworld and the role of guiding us into pivotal inner insights of soul.  In Gemini, Mercury plays up his mischievous trickster side that unveils the folly of those taking themselves too seriously, as well as amplifies our capacity to synthesize a multiplicity of perspectives, philosophies, and observations into shared meaning and unified vision.

Muse,
sing Hermes,
son of Zeus and Maia . . .
. . . [Maia] produced her child,
the very crafty,
the super-subtle
Hermes:
thief,
cattle-rustler,
carrier of dreams,
secret agent,
prowler,
and soon to show his stuff

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury is the in-between archetype capable of seeing both sides of a duality, while mediating the tension of opposites in order to unify meaning.  Mercury in Gemini has been stereotyped as scattered and distracted, yet this curious mental quality continually finds new connections between concepts superficially viewed as disparate.  Mercury is a phallic god of fertility with a fully developed femininity that can take it beyond gender categories, a networker in the upper world of matter who can descend into the underworld and guide souls toward their next incarnation.  There is a depth to Mercury retrograde that is simultaneously full of humorous and serious exploration.  No one in society can escape the tricks Mercury plays, whether they be the chief executive of a large corporation hoarding societal rewards or an alienated, unemployed drifter struggling to survive from day to day.  When Mercury strikes with his flash of light and clever grin, the joke he pulls on you holds a profound lesson to glean in meaning.

This youthfully handsome, friendly, and thievish guide, who possesses magical golden shoes that transport him over earth and sea and a magical staff with which he puts people to sleep and awakens them again- has he not all the characteristics and attributes of a seductive and lethal guide of souls, the gentle Psychopompos of the later monuments?

–Karl Kerenyi (p. 28) Hermes: Guide of Souls

During this Mercury retrograde from 14° to 5° Gemini, one of the most significant themes is the unveiling of the archetype of Neptune in Pisces.  A little over a week before stationing retrograde, Mercury in Gemini formed a square to Neptune in Pisces, and during it’s retrograde phase Mercury will square Neptune again, ultimately stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune.  The day after Mercury stations direct at 5° Gemini, Neptune will station retrograde at 10° Pisces, leading to Mercury creating a third square with a retrograde Neptune in Pisces after moving direct again. Since Neptune in Pisces represents our collective tapestry of consciousness and the unconscious, the square from Mercury in Gemini can lead us to penetrate into the connective details found in the interwoven threads of meaning within the Neptunian fabric surrounding us.  If we open ourselves to the possibility of shifting our future visions, we can experience a re-alignment that sheds what has been disillusioning and re-centers us on the dreams that are most deeply felt and authentic.

As Mercury is also a boundary marker whose presence at entryways and borders is especially illuminated during Mercury retrograde time periods, it is further significant that Saturn, the planet of boundaries, is also retrograde when Mercury shifts direction and in range of an opposition to both the Sun and Mars.  This very same sense of restriction we could feel from Saturn toward the Sun and Mars at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde is the very fuel Mercury will consume in order to stimulate our thoughts beyond previous limitations:

Archetypally, we can see in the image of Hermes a mythical statement of the psyche’s innate tendency to give definition to perceptual and mental horizons, to mark edges, to define spaces. Originally Hermes stood at the edge of known space . . . His sign marked the limit of consciousness. Beyond the boundary lies the unknown, the uncanny, the dangerous, the unconscious. When markers are created and limits set, however, curiosity and explorativeness are also excited and new spaces for exploration and discovery invite the bold and courageous traveler. If Hermes marks the boundary between conscious and unconscious, we have to realize that this boundary is always shifting and in flux; it is mercurial. Background and foreground may instantaneously reverse too, and generate new perceptions, novel insights.

Within the area of the known, containers take shape which are reserved for specific types of human activity, while beyond them lies the “other,” the foreign (even if only temporarily), the taboo, the forbidden, the unclean. Hermes standing at the boundary marks a psychological and sometimes a moral limit and calls special attention to the space being entered or left. When he first appears, he may create a new space by dividing a vast horizon into the “here” and the “beyond,” and thus he creates both consciousness and a new unconscious. His intervention in the perceptual and psychological field creates new possibilities for consciousness, also new edges and boundaries beyond which lie the mysterious “others.” When he disappears, there is a loss of identity and definition.

— Murray Stein from Hermes and the Creation of Space (1999)

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini passage

Two Trees (1875) by Odilon Redon

When I ran barefoot in our gardens by the river Niewiaza

Something was there, that I didn’t then try to name:

Everywhere, between the trunks of linden trees, on the sunny side of the lawn, on the path by the orchard.

A Presence resided, I didn’t know whose.

The air was full of it, it touched me, it held me close.

It spoke to me through the scents of grass, the flute voice of the oriole, the twitter of swallows.

Had I then been taught the names of gods, I would easily have known their faces.

But I grew up in a Catholic family, and so my surroundings were soon teeming with devils, but also with the saints of the Lord.

Yet in truth I felt their Presence, all of them, gods and demons,

As if rising within one enormous unknowable Being.

Czeslaw Milosz (2002) PRESENCE 

Once Mercury has stationed retrograde he ushers us into a darker, deeper, underworld phase of our path, a stage during which our Mercurial perceptions function most strongly with intuition and symbolic awareness of patterns perceived in our journeys by day as well as at night in our dreams.  We enter a liminal space of shifting speed that slows things down enough to take in a deeper examination of the underlying patterns we have been living from.  This is a time in which our minds can be more free than normal to take in new insight, and we can ultimately emerge from the period with a revitalized perception.  In a Mercury retrograde it matters less that you have constructed a rationally balanced argument to support your position, and matters more that you have described your perspective with poetic imagery that can strike at the hearts of your audience.

Mercury retrograde is also a time of synchronicity, and in this way we are fortunate that this Mercury retrograde in Gemini begins with the Moon applying to a conjunction with Mercury in the sign of the Twins.  The Moon uniting with Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde increases our capacity to orient ourselves to the changes that will be coinciding with the Mercury retrograde and to begin to attune to the meaning that will be taking shape for us.  There is also an expansive quality to the stationing of Mercury found in the sextile between Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and since Jupiter in Leo is also in trine to Uranus in Aries it signifies that this coming Mercury retrograde could coincide with dramatic breakthroughs in thought that take us to a new level of thinking in whatever realm we have been exploring.  The less we can be tied and bound to rigid, fixed belief systems, and the more we can liberate ourselves from past dogmatic thinking, the better we will be able to access the potential of this Mercury retrograde that appears to be very impressive in the field of creative thought and communication.

The Sun and Mars joining Mercury in Gemini is another important theme, and at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde the Sun and Mars are in range of an opposition to Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, with Mars separating from an opposition to Saturn and the Sun applying to an opposition with Saturn.  Mars in Gemini is full of mental activity, and it’s inquisitive nature could spark us to intellectually challenge authorities in our field of interest.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is retrograde, we could experience a de-conditioning from belief systems that have not been authentically resonant for us through exploring exciting new sources of knowledge.  As Mars separates from it’s opposition to Saturn it will begin to form an exact square with Neptune in Pisces, and so this tension can compel us to go deeper into metaphysical study of our subject.  In particular, the combination of Mercury retrograde in Gemini uniting with Mars direct in Gemini will feed our ability to create new categories and definitions of meaning that will both expand and intensify any subject we sustain focus on.  If we are full of hubris or living in an illusion, the square between Mars in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces could result in a great Mercury retrograde joke being played on us that reveals the foolishness of our ways.

Also during the initial phase of Mercury retrograde, transiting Venus in Cancer will claim center stage by triggering the Uranus and Pluto square with an opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and a square to Uranus in Aries.  These stressful, growth-oriented aspects to Venus will give Mercury retrograde a lot of material to work with, and if you are a writer there could be incredible depth to access and process through your craft.  Venus triggering the Pluto and Uranus square will uncover our emotional needs and insecurities we have been overcompensating for in one way or another.  Significant memories could arise to process that connect back to any point within the series of seven squares between Pluto and Uranus that have been in range since 2011.  This is fortuitous in both the healing and creative realms, as memory is a fertile source from which the Mercury retrograde can weave new meaning from the release of old thought forms.  The connection between Mercury with memory and creativity can be found in the Homeric hymn to Hermes, where it is revealed that Hermes is a follower of the Titaness of memory, and mother of muses, Mnemosyne:

Suddenly [Hermes] started playing the lyre
louder, reciting a prelude-
and the sound accompanying him
was lovely-
about the immortal gods
and the dark earth,
how they were in the beginning,
and what prerogatives each one had.
And the first of the gods
that he commemorated with his song
was Mnemosyne, Mother of Muses,
for the son of Maia
was a follower of hers.

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury Retrograde Inferior Conjunction

Vision (1883) by Odilon Redon

That boundless substance,

different, in any case, from

the flight of a crane, the gait of a tiger,

the underwater gambols of sperm whales.

In dreams I saw cities of gas and metal,

unceasing fabric of the mind.

Music of the spheres, music of violins and flutes.

That, which endures,

while they are born and die.

Higher than the blind energies of matter,

higher than currents running in the body

of eel, piranha, shark, so they may open

their jaws and devour their catch.

A temple full of little gods and demons,

with a vast number of nicknames and tails.

Czeslaw Milosz (2003)

The Inferior Conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Gemini, the point of conception for a freshly synthesized vision, occurs at 9:56 am Pacific Standard Time on May 30, 2015 at nine degrees of Gemini.  Gemini is one of the mutable, double-bodied signs, perhaps through the image of the twins being the most exemplary sign of the human tendency toward dualistic thinking.  Just like the heaven of connecting with another human we consider to be a kindred spirit, soul mate, twin flame, . . . etc . . . it can be the deeply felt experience of our own personal patterns being mirrored back to us through another that sparks an epiphany of self-realization, and demonstrates how the interplay between twins can coalesce transcendent thought.  At the inferior conjunction we have a magical moment to achieve a one-pointed focus of the unity that holds duality within it, that bridges a multiplicity of meaning to a unified perspective, and that guides us into an insightful realization about our soul and associated patterns.  This is a time to meditate or surrender to Hermes the Psychopomp, as we allow the message of the moment to soak into our core and revivify our perception.

The Sabian Symbol for 9° Gemini where Mercury’s inner union with the Sun occurs is “A QUIVER FILLED WITH ARROWS,” and fittingly had a double meaning to Dane Rudhyar.  On the lower level, this symbol represents the human capacity “to extend the scope of his conquest of nature and kill enemies in order to build a larger base for the collective development of a culture and an organized society” (p. 95).  Since a quiver of arrows suggests the existence of a target to aim at, this symbol also represents the penetrating potential of the human mind to go through the target toward which it aims, destroying the obstacles on its path.  At a higher level, Rudhyar likened this symbol to the “Zen practice of archery” in which “the obstacle is the ego” (p. 95).  The unifying concept of this symbol to Rudhyar is “CONQUEST,” whether it is applied to conquering the external world or the restrictive influence of the ego on our inner world. During this Mercury retrograde, it is best to remember Rudhyar’s conjecture of conquest, as the moment our ego grabs hold of us in order to win a debate at all costs, is the moment that the staff of Hermes could suddenly strike and enfold us in a joke of which we are the punchline.  The more we can sustain a collaborative, creative air between us and those holding sharply contrasting opinions, we will be better able to avoid the pitfalls of dispute that stresses more so than enlivens.  The inspiring potential we find here is that by listening to opinions coming from drastically different perceptions to our own, we can fertilize tremendous growth of knowledge from within.

With the Sun and Mercury exactly conjunct in Gemini and in square to Neptune in Pisces, with Mars in Gemini in sextile to Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, we have a regenerating, liberating well to drink from within us even though the current events dominating the global stage are filled with instability, violence, discord, and oppression.  An image that comes to my mind in association with the strong Gemini energy of the Sun, Mercury retrograde, and Mars is that of a WITNESS to life in all of its complex depth, a witness who is then willing to serve as a messenger to inform the surrounding society about what is going on in secrecy behind the proverbial locked doors Mercury can open for us.  When we express the full story we are witnessing within and around us, we beam our light into the collective matrix and move others with the emotive, wakening wind of Mercury.

“World” can be a comprehensive idea if as an autonomous entirety it accommodates the observer as if he were moving about in the world he normally is surrounded by.  The world of the Iliad or that of the Odyssey accommodates us in this way.  Every such world, however, is at the same time a worked-out idea of the world that existed already prior to this expression of it and that lent itself to the finished expression of the idea.  There can be no “world”- even if it is the purely spiritual epiphany of an intellectually luminous god- which is not “worldly,” that is, which does not function as a space to contain the content of the revelation in a fitting way.  If a god is “idea” and “world,” he remains nonetheless in connection with the world that contains all such “worlds”; he can be only an “aspect of the world” while the world of which he is an aspect possesses such idea-aspects. Indeed, it has the ability to shine forth in its totality as idea, it possesses the light of the idea, and is itself in its own way lighted and clear . . . “Light” and “clear” in the sense of “world-like” – and therefore convincing – could also be the idea of Hermes.

— Karl Kerenyi (p. 69) Hermes:  Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini stationing direct

Germination by Odilon Redon (1890-96)

To find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. Not to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in prosperity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness.

Czeslaw Milosz (1981-1983)

After Mercury separates from its inner merging with the Sun, the Sun moves on to initiate a conjunction with Mars in Gemini, as Mercury begins its shifting ways again and starts to station direct. The Sun conjoining Mars in Gemini constellates images of a warrior of words, a passionate poet, an intellectual activist who refuses to collude with oppressive powers and instead expresses her voice in defiance to surrounding injustice.  The Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini as Mercury stations direct germinates our desires with inquisitive thoughts that can reveal new meaning for us through the juxtapositions of language and philosophies we encounter.  At the same time the Sun and Mars are coming together in Gemini, Mercury is stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune that is also stationing retrograde simultaneously.  We have had four years so far to experience the meaning of Neptune in Pisces by transit, and in the first couple of weeks in June 2015 we can receive illumination of any Neptunian illusions that have been sourcing our conditioned beliefs.  As an illusion of Neptune is unveiled, in the winged steps of Mercury we will be able to experience a sharper sense of clarity and direction to follow forward.

In this final phase of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Gemini, one of the most significant transits is the ingress of Venus into the fiery, solar sign of Leo during the first week of June.  Venus in Leo ignites a creative actualization of the mental contents the Mercury retrograde has been brewing, and by the time Mercury stations direct Venus in Leo will have passed through a beautiful sextile to Mercury in Gemini.  There is a potent re-integration available at this upcoming stationing direct of Mercury at five degrees of Gemini, that can unbind and untether us from restrictive thought patterns.  This potential release can be seen in the transits of the Moon conjoining Uranus in Aries at the time of Mercury stationing direct, with the Moon-Uranus conjunction in Aries being in sextile to the Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini and in trine to the Jupiter-Juno conjunction in Leo.  Within this magical mix of astrological aspects, Mercury will arise from the underworld at dawn and with a flash of light illuminate our waking horizon as our Morning Star again.

Hermes, draw near, and to my pray’r incline,
Angel of Jove, and Maia’s son divine;
Prefect of contest, ruler of mankind,
With heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
Celestial messenger of various skill,
Whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill.
With winged feet ’tis thine thro’ air to course,
Emblems of Mercury O friend of man, and prophet of discourse;
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine
In arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine.
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain,
Of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,
Corucian, blessed, profitable God.
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find,
Emblems of Mercury And in necessities to mortals kind.
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,
Be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace,
Give graceful speech, and memory’s increase.

–from the Orphic Hymn translated from the Greek by Thomas Taylor (1824)

MercuryStationRetroWRIGC2A

MercuryInferiorConjunctWRIGC1A

MercuryStationDirectWRIGC3

References

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2011). Selected and Last Poems, 1931-2004. HarperCollins.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Stein, Murray. (1999).  Hermes and the Creation of Space.

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.

Persephone: Queen of Soul and Spirit

Throning_goddess_(Persephone)_480-460_BC_(Sk_1761)_3

Persephone conjunct Saturn in Scorpio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0250

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pamela Colman Smith the wave

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

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

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

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

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

the_lovers_rws_deck2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HadesPersephone2Locri

References

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

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

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

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

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

Pleiades in midst of Midspring Eclipses

pleiades

Pleiades:  Seven Sisters

Whenever Mercury enters the sign of Gemini as it did on 5/15/13, it  is thought of as Mercury returning “home,” since Mercury rules Gemini.  Yet this is even more true according to myth, as Hermes is the son of the Pleiadian sister Maia (the Pleiades are seven sisters in Greek Myth), and the Pleiades star constellation is located at the end of Taurus and the beginning of Gemini in the zodiac.  Thus, every time Mercury heads into Gemini, he is coming home to his mother and aunts, as the Pleiades bridge Taurus and Gemini, and the main star of the Pleiades, Alcyone, is located at 0-1 degrees Gemini.  However, there is even more reason to honor the Pleiades right now than the fact that Mercury has come home to them in the zodiac, as the Pleiades star constellation is being hit with a lot of major transits connected with eclipses.  During the recent Solar Eclipse on May 9, Venus was moving across the Pleiades star constellation, with the Moon soon to be conjunct Venus and the Pleiades on May 10, 2013.  Furthermore, on May 15 today Mercury is currently conjunct the Pleiades and in range of a conjunction with Venus, en route to being exactly conjunct Venus at 19 degrees Gemini on May 24 (Mercury-Venus will also be four degrees away from Jupiter at this time).  When Mercury and Venus are conjunct on May 24, there will also be a Lunar Eclipse occurring in which the Sun will be conjunct the Pleiades by four degrees, and the Moon will be opposite the Pleiades.  If that isn’t enough intense Pleiadian energy for you, the Sun will be conjunct the Pleiades on May 20 when we will have another exact square between Pluto and Uranus.  So much Pleiadian energy being stirred up in between two eclipses is fitting, because in between these eclipses we have entered a vortex of time and space out of which deep change can manifest in our life, and the visual of the mesmerizing star constellation of the Pleiades in the night sky looks like a spiral vortex we could transport ourselves through.  When the Pleiades came in with the recent Solar Eclipse through Venus transiting it at the same time as the eclipse, my astrology teacher Rosie Finn wrote the following interpretation for 5/10/13 in her monthly newsletter, Plants and Planets:

The Pleiades are so good at teaching us how to live a beautiful life on this planet, how to love and enjoy life, how to get the most out of our trip here and how to evolve just enough to stay and just enough to not feel stuck here.  The world is full of possibility and there is abundance- in this world at this time and it is accessible to us, when we vibrate with abundance possibility, open our inner eyes to see, and can recognize the resonance of our true longing in alignment with that which matches that longing in the world.

–Rosie Finn, Plants and Planets, May 2013

I still remember the first time I was struck by the beauty of the Pleiades, in a starry night sky above the Appalachian aka Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia in the Southeast USA.  There is something alluring and magical about the shape of this spiral constellation to the human eye, and it does have a strong resonance with human beings as the Pleiades have been channelled into books by a number of authors, including the Pleiadian Agenda by astrologer Barbara Hand Clow.  Clow in this book describes the bond and connection between the Pleiades and Earth as resulting from a karmic obligation initiated by Pleiadian entities in ancient times on Earth, and this is similar to other channelled work in the sense of the Pleiades being able to have a direct connection with human beings.  In many interpretations of Pleiades energy, as in the passage above by Rosie Finn, the Pleiades are described as having an energy that resonates with life on earth for humans and has wise beneficial  guidance for how humans can survive and thrive on a higher level on this planet.  As in the quote above, this resonance is often described in terms of aligning the desires of Taurus with the thoughts and expressions of Gemini, aligning our minds and bodies so that we are more truly in alignment with what we want to truly manifest in our lives, and being mindful of the vibration we are emanating with our being.  According to many authors, the Pleiades hold the belief that we can manifest abundance in our lives through our intention and vibration, as well as communicate with one another instantly and telepathically without the use of cell phones or instant messaging (cell phones and instant messaging serving as signs revealing our actual potential in this case).  The Pleiades are also here to help spark and facilitate human evolution according to many of the channelling authors, and so to me this connects them with the Esoteric Astrology development of the sign of Gemini from a subjective mind relating others to self, through a more objective mind that is able to relate the self to others, and ultimately to a wholistic mind that is able to relate the One (Spirit/Source/God) to self and to others, synthesizing “lower” mind issues to serve the “higher” mind (Oken, p. 177).

pleiades_ukschmidt_clean_names

It would be wise to keep in mind that the Pleiades will be associated with one of the most intense and significant astrological events of this time period on May 20, 2013 when the Sun will be conjunct the Pleiades at the same time that Pluto and Uranus will be in an exact square aspect.  This will be the third of seven squares between Pluto and Uranus (from June 24, 2012 until April 4, 2015), and so has been associated with third chakra issues by many astrologers, including my astrology teacher Rosie Finn who believes it will connect with us aligning our personal Will with divine Will.  Some Third Chakra issues from Anodea Judith’s book Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self that could be helpful to keep in mind at this time are as follows (p. 166-7):

Balanced Characteristics:  Responsible, Reliable, Balanced effective will, Warmth in personality, Playfulness, Confidence, Appropriate self-discipline, Able to meet challenges, Sense of one’s personal power.

Traumas and Abuses:  Shaming, Authoritarianism, Volatile situations, Domination of will, Physical abuse, Enmeshment, Inherited shame from parent, Age inappropriate responsibilities (parentified child)

Deficiency:  Low energy, Weak will, easily manipulated, Poor self-discipline, Low self-esteem, Cold emotionally, Victim mentality, Unreliable, Poor Digestion

Excess:  Overly aggressive, Need to be right, Manipulative, Temper tantrums, Stubborness, Driving ambition, Competitive, Arrogant, Hyperactive

Healing Practices:  Risk taking (deficiency), Grounding and emotional contact, Deep relaxation and stress control (excess), Vigorous exercise, Psychotherapy or other methods to build ego strength, release or contain anger, work on shame issues, strengthen the will, and encourage autonomy

How exactly could the Pleiades help us at this time?  To me, that is part of the mystery of it all, and part of the great mystery I associate with the Pleiades.  No matter how many different interpretations, stories, and analyses I read regarding the Pleiades, I always feel that there is much more involved with them than is being communicated through language.  However, since they are located at a bridge juncture in the zodiac between Taurus and Gemini, it makes sense that they would integrate lessons that can come from the connection between Taurus and Gemini:  issues we have with our Mind-Body connection, since Taurus is the sign of human form, and Gemini is the the sign of human mind.  One interesting mind-body connection was described by herbalist Carol Trasatto in the May 2013 issue of Plants and Planets (she is the “plants” to Rosie’s “planets”), in which she references how scientists have now discovered a vast network of 500 neurons line our guts, so that our stomach is really like a “second brain” for us.  Carol wisely notes that similar to how we can be misled by the misperceptions of our minds, so can our guts mislead us at times due to previous issues, wounding, and trauma.  She writes:

Our perception- even somatic, gut-level perception- has been overlaid with imprints of previous experience, messaging, and sensation.  Our physical and energy bodies are repositories of impressions; we are dealing with layers of information when we tune into our body wisdom.  To most benefit from what our body can tell us, our work is to sensitize our awareness, refine our recognition of sensations, and then also to cultivate discernment regarding whether the messages reflect something true about the present moment or are an echo of habituated protection, now keeping us from experiencing the next level of intimacy with ourselves . . . For instance, physical intimacy with a new beloved may trigger gut sensations felt as fear, anger, shame, discomfort, anxiety, even panic in someone who was violated by touch in the past . . . Rather than rejecting the current lover, the person with such body memories could choose to use the safety of the present dynamic to first recognize and then explore these stored sensations- and work to heal them with the love energy presenting itself as medicine.  “Trusting the gut” in such an instance requires self-awareness, courage, and the willingness to understand one’s experience . . . and allow it to transform.

— Carol Trasatto, Plants and Planets, May 2013

The sort of wisdom cultivated by people who work closely with our Earth, such as the herbalist Carol Trasatto, is the type of wisdom I associate with the Pleiades, a star constellation that has had a large and diverse cultural following across our planet since ancient times, well beyond the confines of Greek or Mediterranean culture- especially among indigenous people of the “Americas.”  In the same edition of her monthly newsletter, Carol gave an illuminating description of Third Chakra issues that I feel is very timely in connection with the approaching Pluto-Uranus square and intense issues we could become potentially influenced by in the collective culture and collective consciousness, and its connection to the alchemy of plants on our planet connects it for me to wisdom offered through the Pleiades:

The Third Chakra, the solar plexus, is about fire and transformation.  In herbal alchemy, when we yield the plant body to fire after extracting its magic with fluids, the resulting salts in the ash- when returned to the liquid- make the remedy more potent.  The fire energy available to us via the solar plexus first of all can serve to illuminate and then incinerate those fears, habits, and beliefs that limit our potential.  The chakra’s energy can enhance our ability to skillfully exercise will and personal power- especially in the realm of cultivating our intuitive voice and our ability to stand in our own center, free from the influence of collective trance.  This freedom allows our actions and our voice to be guided from our inner authority, our relationship with spirit, our life purpose.  It is through the right use of will that we may heal the past and bring vision into form.

–Carol Trasatto, Plants and Planets, May 2013

One thing for certain, however, is that the Pleiades are associated with guidance for humans, as they were used in ancient times for agricultural cycles and for navigation.  In fact, although there is some debate upon the origins of the name Pleiades, it very likely came from the word meaning “to sail” because the Pleiades are visible in the Mediterranean night sky from the middle of May until the beginning of November, coinciding with ancient sailing season¹. Furthermore, through myth the Pleiades are associated with navigation and guidance through being the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas, who held the celestial spheres on his shoulders and was the God of Astronomy and navigation.  Being the daughters of a Titan links the Pleiades with Uranus in myth at this time of the Pluto-Uranus square- in fact, Uranus is their great-grandfather!  In case you don’t remember, Uranus was the Sky God mate of Gaia, the primordial Earth Goddess, who through her fathered the new archetypes of the Titans into the world: six sets of twins.  Iapetus was one of the sons of Uranus who later became the father of Atlas, who then became the father of the seven sisters of the Pleiades.

Interestingly, Iapetus is also the father of Prometheus- so Prometheus is like the uncle of the Pleiadian sisters.  This further mythic connection to another liberating Titan like Prometheus, the archetype of the trickster who brought fire to humans, makes me feel the Pleiades will be more on the side of the shocking yet ultimately liberating and individuating energy of Uranus in Aries during this time of the third Pluto-Uranus square.  Since the Pleiades seem to be connected with practices to help humans navigate at a higher level on planet Earth, whatever third chakra healing is required at this time would be wise to put into practice- this could range from needing to ground inside the body and performing relaxation exercises to needing to take greater risks from a warm and heart-centered will-force.  There will most likely be deeply destructive and shocking events occurring- I feel the connection of these times with the Pleiades is our need to ride the wave of energy occurring in the moment and focus on the fact we can still manifest abundance and prosperity in our lives through responsible responses to any intense experiences occurring.

Pleiades_Elihu_Vedder

The Pleiades are the daughters of the sea nymph Pleione, which also connects the Pleiades through myth to the other significant outer planet energy occuring now besides the Uranus-Pluto square, which is Neptune being in Pisces and in trine to Saturn in Scorpio.  The trine between Pisces Neptune and Scorpio Saturn is the silver lining to remember amidst the chaos of the approaching Uranus-Pluto square, and it’s harmonious aspects should be activated by the cacophony from Uranus and Pluto. This trine in water signs between Neptune and Saturn connects with the Pleiades because it goes along with the idea of developing a discipline or practice to help focus and release energies.  Our bodies are mostly made of water, and in many ways we are liquid beings possessing a high level of responsiveness to the vibration of our environments, but more importantly by the vibration of our own thoughts, emotions, and being.  As the research of Dr. Emoto has shown the transformative and purifying effect of human prayer and intention on water, so can we transform and purify our own being through the power of our mind, intentions, and the vibrations we radiate internally and externally.  According to Barbara Hand Clow and others who have “worked” with Pleiadian entities, this knowledge that we can transform our own beings as well as what we are co-creating in our life is part of what the Pleiadians are revealing to us.    The Pleiades are also connected with Neptune because two of the seven sisters had children with Poseidon.  The mating of the Pleiades with Gods is not uncommon- in fact, six out of the seven sisters did so:

  1. Maia, the eldest, was the mother of Hermes by Zeus.

  2. Electra was the mother of Dardanus and Iasion by Zeus

  3. Taygete was the mother of Lacedaemon by Zeus

  4. Alcyone was the mother of Hyrieus, Hyperenor, and Aethusa by Poseidon

  5. Celaeno was the mother of Lycus and Eurypylus by Poseidon

  6. Sterope was the mother of Oenomaus by Ares.

  7. Merope, the youngest,gained the admiration and attention of Orion.  In some myths she marries Sisyphus, becomes mortal, and gives birth to several sons.  As a result she is sometimes referred to as the “lost Pleiades,” and is associated with the least bright star in the constellation.

There are many versions in Greek myth of how the seven sisters became stars, but in most of them it is associated with some sort of trauma they experienced as a repercussion of the wars for power amongst ancient deities.  To review, Uranus was castrated by his Titan son Cronus (Saturn) who seized power; then Cronus was later taken down by Zeus (Jupiter) who likewise seized the power from his father, and assigned rulerships to his brothers and sisters, including the eldest brother Hades (Pluto), the one currently in a “fight” with Uranus above us today.  As a result of the war between the Titans and the Olympians, Zeus took action to ensure that Uranus would not be able to birth more threatening archetypes, so he made the Titan Atlas stand on Earth, or Gaia, and hold aloft the celestial spheres, or Uranus, so that Uranus and Gaia would remain separated.  The Pleiades, being the daughters of Atlas, would obviously have been saddened to see their father trapped into this role.

In one story, Orion began to chase the Pleiades after their father Atlas was forced to carry the celestial spheres, and so Zeus transformed the sisters into doves, and then into stars in order to appease Atlas.  This version has the interesting aspect of Zeus trying to do something nice for Atlas, when Zeus was the one who forced Atlas to carry the weight of the celestial spheres in the first place.  This to me is like a political figurehead making overtures to honor the dead or wounded, knowing full well that they were intricately involved in the complicated karmic stew of events that wounded or killed the person in the first place.  We certainly are seeing quite a bit of that these days here in the United States of America.  And speaking of the United States of America and our governmental “leaders,” Zeus or Jupiter being in the sign of Gemini during this time reminds me of how the U.S. government is not being very subtle recently about it’s shifting into a totalitarian police state in control of all media forms of communication, able to seize the cell phone records or email history of any individual it wants, at any time.  Up until now, many of us have been complicit with this- just look around at the vast number of people obsessively plugged into smart phones, tablets, and mobile devices they are literally carrying with them everywhere, all ultimately connected to the same funding sources that are controlling the media and the government.  This also goes along with the Gemini Jupiter use of the media by corporate powers hoping to force as much distracting crap on the American populace as possible on television and through all news outlets, hoping people do not realize what is actually happening right now.  Although this has been true for a very long time, the rate of this media deception is becoming extraordinarily alarming to me recently.  There will most likely be some significant events occurring in this upcoming time period of the Uranus-Pluto square, so hopefully we the people will start taking the responsibility to wake the hell up.  Hopefully, the trine between Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces will help dissolve the illusions underlying the perceptions and reality we are living, and align us more with the actual truth of our lives, giving us the courage to face the truth of our lives in the process and take accountability for being the change we wish to see in the world around us.

But I am getting off my point about how the Pleiades went from being sisters to stars in myth.  In the most tragic version I know of, the seven sisters decide to commit suicide because of the deep sadness they were carrying because of the fate forced upon their father Atlas to carry the celestial spheres, or in other variations because of losing their other sisters the Hyades.  In this version of the myth, Zeus again decides to honor them by immortalizing them as stars in the sky.  I feel this suicide story may be why you will traditionally see some astrologers link the Pleiades with sorrows, misfortunes, and tragedies.  However, I do not believe there needs to be such dark energy associated with the meaning of the Pleiades; at most I feel the connection has to do with how we can recover from sorrowful events and cope with our emotions.  Because the Greek myths have a clear link between the sorrow of the Pleiades with their father’s involvement in the war between the Titans and Olympians, I feel in particular the Pleiades can help us cope with the trauma of the collective oppression and trauma people around our planet have been subjugated to as a result of world leaders focused upon war, destruction, and manipulating events for gains of global power.  When we are facing intense and traumatic times in our collective, if we hope to facilitate and manifest the positive change we want to see happen, we need to be able to keep our own emotions and responses in balance so that we can effectively respond in way that is truly aligned with our inner integrity and authority.  These issues are vital to our ability to develop a healthy and balanced use of our Third Chakra, again a chakra likely to be stirred up at this time.

Indeed, the Pleiades have a positive life affirming meaning, and have been a significant star focus, for many groups of people around the Earth in addition to the Greeks, in particular with many indigenous cultures.  I know I often explore Greek myth in writing since their myths are the basis of the names we commonly associate with planetary archetypes in Western Astrology, but it is at least as fascinating to explore the mythic meaning of the star constellation labeled the Pleiades by the Greeks, through the mythic lens of other cultures (hopefully I will make the time to do so in a subsequent post).  The rising of the Pleiades before sunrise was used by many ancient people to mark their calendars, and by many indigenous people as a time telling device.  In the Americas, the Aztecs used the Pleiades as a basis for their calendar, and the Hopi built ceremonial spaces in which a hole in the ceiling would reveal the glow of the Pleiades at a specific time to begin a ritual.  Interestingly, in many diverse cultures the seven stars have been seen as seven sisters for ages, such as with the aboriginal people of Australia and the Nez Perce of the Northwest USA.  I sense such mystery about the Pleiades that I am hoping to center and sense what types of signs, symbols, and events end up being associated with this time period containing so many astrological connections to them.

Seven Sisters by Jennifer Sea

Last year at this time, on May 20, 2012 there was a Solar Eclipse conjunct the Pleiades.  And as I have already mentioned, this year on May 20 when the Sun is conjunct the star Alcyone of the Pleiades, there is going to be an exact square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries.  So to honor the date of May 20 and it’s solar connection to the Pleiades, I am going to share some musical work of two geniuses who have birthdays near May 20.  Perhaps it is because my natal moon is conjunct the Pleiades at 2 degrees Gemini, as well as the birthday of both of these musicians, but I feel that each of their energies incorporates some of the synthesizing skills of the Pleiades in weaving together musical styles.  And music is also a perfect example of the transformation offered through intentional vibration that the Pleiades are here to offer us.  The first is a genius of the popular music format, Fats Waller, who was born on May 21, 1904 and below can be heard singing one of his romantic jingles in the unique style that only Fats could deliver:

And Sun Ra, born May 22, 1914.  Sun Ra has his own resonance with being in contact with the energy of outer space, having a vision as a young man in which he was taken to a planet he identified as Saturn, where he was told he could respond to the chaos that was coming to his planet Earth through communicating through music.  Taking the name Sun Ra, he said he was from Saturn, and his music has an energy to it I associate with the Pleiades, for whatever reason:

References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades_(Greek_mythology)
  2. Oken, Alan.  Soul Centered Astrology

A Light in the Darkness

December 21-23, 2012

The times surrounding the Winter Solstice of 2012

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

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

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

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

Gemini 9: A Quiver filled with arrows

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

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

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

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

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

Scorpio 9: A Dentist At Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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