New Moon in Cancer

New Moon in Cancer

La Nascita (The Birth) by Marc Chagall (1911)

Cancer New Moon

New Moons are a time of visioning and nurturing the intentional seed we plant in the hidden depths of fecund darkness.  Cancer is a sign associated with birth, the creation of new life from the wombs of mothers, the arising of a new season at solstice, and the development of our personal identity from the matrix of our soul.  The New Moon in Cancer on July 15, 2015 falls in the final decan of Cancer and brings to our awareness a sense of separation from sources of past comfort and a vague dawning of realization into the new direction arising out of this dark genesis.  Creating a new lunar cycle following a Full Moon in Capricorn that was conjunct Pluto on July 1, this New Moon in Cancer resurrects the potency of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus we have lived through in the past several years, as it is square to Uranus in Aries while Mars and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer and directly opposite Pluto in Capricorn.

As an infant must bravely breathe in air separated from the sheltered nurturing of the womb, so must our identity shed the comfort of past security attachments if we wish to embody the full radiance of our potential in the moment.  Amplifying the air with instinctual individualism is a Uranus currently stationing in Aries, standing still by zodiac degree from our earthbound perspective and preparing to turn retrograde in less than two weeks.  Since the New Moon in Cancer is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries, it triggers the discomfort, insecurity, anxiety, or fear that can strike from within when we realize that the burning force beckoning us to embody a liberated presence creates the possibility and even likelihood that we will become disconnected in the process from our ties to family, culture, and other elements of the accustomed reality we take comfort in.

We may find it necessary now to create a sacred space of some sort to nurture the vulnerability we feel in the unfolding of our current creativity.  Even when we consciously have desire to free ourselves from the conditioning of culture and the way we felt our family of origin limited our full creative actualization, a fear of losing the security we gain from our relationship with these same influences can still overcome us.  In addition, due to sensitively observing authorities in positions of power taking advantage of the more vulnerable, we can also come to fear the potential impact of expressing our full power into the world around us.  Synthesizing together the strength that can come from hard aspects between Cancer, Capricorn, and Aries, we can ultimately learn to take the responsibility for expressing our personal power in a way that protects and empowers ourselves and our relationships.  Yet the calamitous aspects held by this New Moon of Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn, with Saturn in Scorpio in square to Venus and Jupiter in Leo, means that there will be a number of oppressive power dynamics between people on display in our surrounding environment to observe and mediate.

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

Image of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 13, 2015

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

It is simply incredible that as the first images of Pluto enter our consciousness through the completion of the epic journey of the New Horizons spacecraft, Mercury is exactly conjunct Mars and in opposition to Pluto, while Saturn shapes structure in the Plutonic sign of Scorpio.  It is further fitting that this binary planet named for the Lord of Souls and the Ferryman of the Underworld claimed center stage in mainstream media in the dark of a balsamic Moon that was opposite Pluto.  Whatever shift in collective consciousness happens as a result begins to build in accordance with a potent New Moon that places the messenger (Mercury) and will-force (Mars) of consciousness in a full polarity to Pluto.

Due to a number of astrological factors, in the past couple of months there has been an emphasis on a new quality of Mars to exert through an influence of Mercury.  Mercury is an unstable planet of wild extremes and variation in speed, and so while on the one hand it can bring challenges in our ability to focus our Martian drive, on the other hand when we align instinctually with their unified energy it brings the eloquent cleverness of Hermes to our life force of desire.  With Mercury and Mars unified in polarity to Pluto, we need to be ready for the possibility of extreme power conflicts and emotional confrontations occurring around us.  Yet on a personal level, there is also an initiation found in this aspect to journey into our core depth to discover a regenerated treasure of gifts from within to begin to integrate and express in the cycle ahead.  There is a purification involved in this process, as Mercury is now under the beams of the Sun and preparing to enter into the heart of the Sun a week from now around the first quarter Moon, while Mars is also under the beams having already united with the Sun and beginning to get some clarified separation away from the fiery center of our solar system.  Emotions may feel raw and overly sensitive, but are the material through which we can now gain penetrating insight into the core emotional patterns and compulsions most in need of attention.

Venus stationing

La Paresse by Felix Vallotton (1896)

Venus stationing

Meanwhile, our Queen of pleasure, luxury, and glamour, Venus in Leo, is slowing down and preparing to station at the time of this New Moon in Cancer.  Venus is now at the final degree of Leo and in a few days will enter Virgo where she will station retrograde on July 25- meaning that basically for the next few weeks Venus is not going anywhere and holding space at the first degree of Virgo and final degrees of Leo.  This would be intense under any circumstance, but is so even more as Venus is conjunct Jupiter and in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio.  As Saturn is stationing direct at the beginning of August and will also be standing still then, this means that from now through the beginning of August we get to experience the seriousness of Venus in a last quarter square to Saturn, while simultaneously buoyed with a sense of expansive vision by Jupiter.  Venus now in Leo, soon to be in Virgo, in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio, brings about a reorientation of our inner values that at times could feel severe as the scythe of Saturn cuts away the old value structures that must now be released.  At this moment, we are only at the precipice of a deep transformation with many dramatic experiences coming our way.

Thus, while we may feel a burning sense of desire through the union of Venus and Jupiter, their last quarter square to Saturn brings a constricting sense of an obstacle or major challenge standing between us and the full manifestation and experience of our desire.  Powerful work on an inner level and on an outer level through our vocation and creative expression can come about through this aspect, but we are being asked to be disciplined, focused, organized, and thorough in our approach if we wish to realize the full potential available to us.  This is not a lighthearted skip through the woods singing without a care in the world, but rather a courageous and focused trek into a deep region of the forest we have previously avoided exploring.   This is not to say that it will not be possible to experience moments of pure pleasure and luxuriation, as in fact bringing a sense of joy to our daily experience will be a vital help.  It is only to suggest that if we bring passion into our work with a sense of disciplined persistence to work through the upcoming obstacles, on the other side of these aspects we can experience a deep sense of fulfilled desire.

Cancer III Decan

4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer III Decan

The third decan of Cancer is ruled by the Moon and so is a potent place for a New Moon, a particularly auspicious new lunation to set intentions toward the new direction sensed from within.  In the image of the 4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered out of thin air by an otherworldly hand.  The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, and appears to either not notice the fourth cup or be dismissive of it.  In fact, this protagonist’s stance of crossed arms, crossed legs, and eyes cast down suggests someone unwilling to go after what is being offered, perhaps until after completing an inner exploration.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces found that the third decan of signs are synonymous with the “Solve” phase of separation in alchemy in which “the constituent pieces must part ways,” similar to “the spirit forced to separate from the matter,” and “those factors which press for an abandonment of the balance created in the second” decan of the sign (p. 264-265).  Along this line of thought Coppock gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the Cancer III decan, declaring that it “juxtaposes the advantages and dangers of luxurious excess with the truth of scarcity” (p. 115).  Our cherished sense of luxury we desire is shown in contrast here to a sense of scarcity rooted in “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 116).  Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the 4 of Cups tarot card with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.

Importantly, Coppock additionally linked the karmic significance of further investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works, so as “to be a conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” (p. 116).  Furthermore, he brought up the spiritual dimension of luxury:

While this face has much to teach about the material dynamics of scarcity and excess, not all matters relevant to it can be confined to matters of food, wealth and shelter.  Our world also provides gifts not so easily exhausted. The ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things- is an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain.  Likewise, the spirit offers cups ever-refilled.  This decan thus offers a vision not only of hoarding the finite, but the endless luxury of the limitless.  (p. 117)

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the great goddess Hekate with the Cancer III decan.   Hekate  ruled over the three phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, and also crossroads, magical craft, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  In short, we could not have a better spirit to associate with the dark richness of this Plutonic New Moon than Hekate, and it is worth remembering there is a long tradition of praying to Hekate in order to receive wealth.  Hekate is also a goddess of midwives, and therefore an apt ally for us in the intense birthing process that will follow this Cancer New Moon.

CancerNewMoonWRIGC1

References

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

Solar Eclipse Clearing on a Hekate Moon

owl in the waning moon ohara koson, woodblock

Samhain Threshold

Samhain is the ancient Celtic celebration of the mid-point between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice that is traditionally celebrated on the night of October 31 or dawn of November 1, our traditional Halloween holiday in Western culture, similar to how Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1. If you want to get all Virgo on this Pisces astrologer, you could also look at the time when the Scorpio Sun reaches 15 degrees of Scorpio (which will not be until next week around November 6th), but since we continue today to celebrate Halloween on October 31 and the Day of the Dead or All Saint’s Day on November 1, we have already entered the time to focus with our Samhain intentions. Samhain traditionally is the night in which the veils between our material dimension and the “other” dimensions become more thin and open, a threshold that is more easily crossed at this time than any other:

Samhain (prounounced sow-en), the Celtic New Year, now celebrated as Halloween, is a night that falls in neither the old year nor the new one. It is a “time outside of time,” when the veils between the worlds are lifted and much trafficking takes place between spirits and mortals. Boundaries are eliminated, spirits are afoot. In Scotland it is called a “night of mischief and confusion” . . . Property can be damaged, food and treats can be demanded, hospitality overrules the locked door and gated fence, boundaries between what is mine and yours are temporarily repealed. Tricksters seek admittance to others’ homes, even as spirits from the Otherworld seek entry into this world. On Samhain we are reminded that doorways are open, thresholds are bridgeable, and the ordinary and nonordinary intermingle . . . Traditionally Samhain is a night for divination . . . The reason divinatory practices are so successful on this night is that the boundaries between time are lifted. On November’s Eve the present and the future merge, and what lies ahead can be foreseen on the present moment.

–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, p. 55

On Halloween the Washington Post published an excellent and concise article on the past and present meaning of Samhain by Starhawk in which she writes, “The time of death is also the year’s rebirth,” “Halloween tells us to connect, to forge bonds of love that death cannot sever, to support one another as we face those things that are hard to face alone,” and “Know that you are an ancestor of the future, and your choices, your actions, your human hands can turn the wheel of fate.”

In astrology, the times of eclipses are also considered threshold experiences, as well as Mercury retrograde time periods, particularly when Mercury has it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun. Dark Moons in general also have an association with threshold experiences such as disorientation and Great Mystery that can source a rebirth for our being while in reception with otherworldy transmissions. Amazingly, all of these occurrences are happening simultaneously on Samhain this year, at the same time as an exact square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, the fourth of the current cycle of seven squares ending in 2015.

Recent news events have continued to be intense and cataclysmic, even reaching to the apocalyptic such as the Japances plans to clear radioactive used fuel assemblies that could trigger unprecedented radiation explosion and exposure if mishandled. On a personal level, we may have been receiving invitations from our environment to enter into drama by impulsively reacting to triggers on our emotions. The more we can release, clear, and let go of at this time, the better we will be able to navigate through the portal of astrological intensity and use the upcoming Solar Eclipse to help birth a new vision for ourselves rather than drown inside currents of past despair. Of course advising someone to let go, or even saying to yourself that you are letting go, are all much easier said than done as most of us human beings grasp to our personal status quo or comfort zones with all of our might.  Indeed, many astrologers have taken a cautionary stance of trepidation toward the energy symbolized within the chart of the November 3 Solar Eclipse you can see below, which does indeed contain many signs of intensity:

SolarEclipse110313WRIGC1

However, although in the outer world there may indeed be some tragic tales we will hear about, on a personal level this need not be a doom and gloom time. The Great Awakener Uranus is shaking things up, but if we can clear the space to receive, channel, and direct this energy, we could catalyze ourselves forward into unprecedented dimensions from our previous experiences.  Our consensus reality is shifting into the unknown, and part of the great fear and paranoia visible in commercial media and social media could be tied to the inability of many to fully reckon with the changes set in motion.  If we are resisting the implications of our changing reality, if we have been fixated on an entrenched belief system or thought pattern from our past, if we have become overly attached to possessions or people against all signs that a letting go aligns with our actual growth, then the square to Uranus from Pluto could bring some cataclysmic crisis that could force us to lose what we have been resisting releasing. Yet if we can move into a space to let go of and release aspects of our past identity, relationships, and beliefs, branches of our tree of life that are ready to be blown off by the impending ecliptic storm, then we will be able to integrate the regenerative aspect of Pluto into our life and find the gem inside of what could otherwise feel like a disruptive and rocky experience.

If you have planets in between seven and fourteen degrees of Scorpio you will need to pay particular attention to how this solar eclipse is impacting your chart, but in general it is helpful to pinpoint where in your chart this eclipse at twelve degrees of Scorpio is occurring and any aspects it is making. Combined with the other transits of this time, you will be especially impacted if you have any planets in between seven and fourteen degrees of fixed or cardinal signs, but people with planets between seven and fourteen degrees of mutable signs will also be impacted by the role of Mars in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces in this witches brew of celestial spheres.

At a recent talk my astrology teacher Rosie Finn described the square between Uranus and Pluto during this Dark Moon as being about the fourth chakra and giving us the opportunity between now and the next square between Uranus and Pluto to work on bridging the work of our lower chakras with the transmissions from the upper chakras we could potentially integrate from Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. To do this lower chakra work means working on our personal issues represented by the personal planets of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, all of which will be extremely active in the upcoming time period: the Moon with these eclipses, Mercury with its current retrograde and rebirth, Mars being sextile to Mercury retrograde and the solar eclipse, and Venus as a bright evening star that will eventually station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013. At this time of a Dark Moon leading into a Solar Eclipse, I want to focus on the lunar aspect of our personal clearing, and the synchronicity that two of the most powerful Goddesses of myth, Hekate and Artemis, are both active at the time of the Solar Eclipse through their manifestations as asteroids in astrology.

William-Blakes-Hecate

Hekate Dark Moon

. . . Hecate, crow black and with a shining crown . . . No woman knew the paths that linked earth and underworld better than she.

— Roberto Calasso The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, page 221

It is during this final waning phase [of the Moon] that the Goddess manifests as the crone or wise old woman. Hecate, the so-called goddess of the witches, represents this phase. She had knowledge of herbs and magic elixirs, folk healing and the control of weather . . . Hecate was also the goddess of the crossroads (where witches were believed to perform their rituals), and this is reminiscent of the neolithic, for the cross of the four directions was a lunar symbol in those days.

–Ariel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson, Mythic Astrology, page 68

The synchronicity of asteroid transits with their mythic meaning within the larger context of celestial patterns continues to astound me anytime I begin to question whether or not paying attention to the asteroids is important. A perfect example at the moment is that the Libra Dark Moon that occured on the night of Halloween in the Pacific time zone where I live was conjunct the asteroid Hecate (#100) at the exact time it was opposite Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn. The exact square between Uranus and Pluto occured exactly five hours later after they were each triggered by this Hekate Dark Moon. At the time of the Solar Eclipse on November 3, the Hecate asteroid will still be in opposition to Uranus and in square to Pluto.

Hekate is a goddess of the Moon and crossroads who is associated chiefly with the Dark Moon phase by modern astrologer and mythologists. Some of us may be obviously facing an important decision between different paths at this time, whereas for others the fact that you are at a crossroads may feel more subtle on the surface. Yet the deep Scorpio and Plutonic transits at this time means that all of us are going to be experiencing core shifts of our circumstances in the upcoming time. A sense of divination, the feeling that one can intuit the path into the future at this time of crossroads is fitting for Hekate, as she is one of the most ancient goddesses with a myth saturated in Mystery. If you are interested in reading more of an analysis of Hekate’s mythic meaning, please check the following link to a recent article written by Monika of the Symbol Reader blog: http://symbolreader.net/2013/10/27/hekate-the-goddess-of-the-crossroads/

As Monika pointed out in the blog article linked above, there is a clear affinity that both Hekate and Hermes share for navigating between the upper and underworlds and to transmit messages divinated from signs, symbols, and omens. This is especially the case now, as Mercury is invisible and in the underworld phase of its retrograde journey, reaching its conception point for rebirth (or inferior conjunction with the Sun) on November 1 about ten hours after the exact square between Uranus and Pluto. In order to rebirth our Mercury function and vision at this time we need to effectively do the dark moon clearing and releasing of Hekate, and in case you are having trouble figuring out what to release make sure you are opening your mind to what sorts of symbols, signs, synchronicity, and omens are pointing you toward in your environment. Change is extremely difficult for most people, but there are most likely significant shifts occurring under the surface of your reality even if on the surface it may seem in the moment like your normal routine. The more we let go of who or what needs releasing now, the more we open to ourselves to the potential of a profound and catalytic growth we can seed at the Solar Eclipse on November 3.

ipogeo_di_via_livenza_diana_cacciatrice

Artemis Guides through the Dark

In contrast to Hekate, Artemis aka Diana is often associated with the Maiden or New Moon phase instead of the Crone or Dark Moon phase, with her bow symbolizing the early stage waxing of a Crescent Moon. The Solar Eclipse of November 3 will be one of the most intense New Moons imaginable, and it’s waxing into a Crescent phase will correspond with the last week of the current Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio, with the Sun becoming conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter stationing retrograde in Cancer. Artemis is further linked into this time through her asteroid #105 at the time of the Solar Eclipse being tightly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio at 13°44′, only nine minutes away from Saturn. Almost exactly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio by minutes, the Artemis asteroid is also conjunct the Solar Eclipse, only two degrees away, and also in range of being conjunct Mercury and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio.

Artemis being conjunct Saturn, the Solar Eclipse, Mercury retrograde, and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio carries the meaning of us re-connecting with our true instinctual Self, our inner Artemis who runs free through the forests of the night with a pure heart and her animal companions. In Mythic Astrology Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson describe the new and crescent phase of the Lunar Goddess as being “complete unto herself,” “apart from committed relationships,” “sexually active (the nymph) or virginal (the maiden), but in either case she is still pure, innocent, hopeful” (p. 67). Thus, the timing of us re-conceiving our Mercury into rebirth through the Scorpio conjunction of the Sun with Mercury retrograde is coinciding with us taking the responsibility to release the weight of our past in order to return to our pure instinctual Artemis Self, corresponding with the conjunction between the Artemis asteroid and Saturn in Scorpio.  I certainly do not mean by this that you should feel hopeful about life because of the trauma or oppression you have experienced, but instead mean the visceral and vital state of mind we can reach when we are fully done with a past issue that has weighed us down heavily, or maybe sometimes the tragedies just somehow make us feel more alive and in love with the future potential of the moment than ever before.  Instead of cynically rebuking life and refusing to live, through Artemis we courageously charge forward with an equine grace to our stride, like a deer effortlessly surmounting an obstacle.  Perhaps our rebirth necessitates us facing the End, or at least feeling like we are approaching Death; perhaps it is easier for us at times of chaos or crisis to access the kundalini current inside us and actualize our full creative, instinctual Self.  What may feel at first like the leaden weight of Saturn at this time may ultimately be what centers and opens us to the Artemis inside.

Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson in Mythic Astrology further analyze the mythic associations of Artemis by explaining that her link with the Moon came from the Romans connecting Diana with the Moon, as to the Greeks she was known more as the “Lady of Wild Beasts,” a mythic archetype that further links her with the astrological sign of Sagitarius (p. 63). Linking Artemis with Sagitarius further connects Artemis with Venus at this time, shining bright in the night as an Evening Star in Sagitarius. At the time of the Solar Eclipse, Venus will be near the end of her journey through Sagitarius and conjunct the Galactic Center.

Venus in Sagitarius burning so bright and so beautiful to behold in the night sky is a fitting guide through the darkness of this time. In connection with Artemis, we can sense how returning to nature at this time, making sure we make time to re-connect with the woods and the Earth perhaps on a solitary walk or run that Artemis herself would adore, could be an opportune way for us to clear and recharge our being. A fierce protector of wildlife and nature, the archetype of Artemis emerging at this time is a further sign of the importance of taking direct action to protect our natural environment during a time of great pollution and environmental degradation.  Artemis is a sign that we have the instinctual nature inside of us to make the choice at the crossroads to embark upon the path we are meant to take.

Ceres Sun Leo / Full Moon Aquarius

Venus of Laussel

Ceres at the Crossroads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 45

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

HekateHekate

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

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

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

ceres

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

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

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

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

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

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p.  64

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

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

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 55

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

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

Ceres statue

References

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

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

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