Taurus Full Moon and Uranus

Signe (La Vente) by Victor Brauner

“Hallowe’en developed from the Celtic feast of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-in’), which marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. For the Celts, Samhain was the beginning of the year and the cycle of the seasons. Samhain was a time when the Celts acknowledged the beginning and ending of all things . . . For the Celts, Samhain was a time when the gates between this world and the next were open. It was a time of communion with the spirits of the dead, who, like wild autumnal winds, were free to roam the earth. At Samhain, the Celts called upon their ancestors, who might bring warnings and guidance to help in the year to come.

Samhain was a time of change and transformation where both the past and present met with the uncertain tides of the future yet to come. It was a time for magic and divination, when Druids and Soothsayers would forecast the events of the coming year . . . For the Celts, Samhain was both an end-of-summer feast and a time of communion with the realm of the spirit.”

— Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun

Full Moon in Taurus

The Full Moon in Taurus on October 31 will illuminate the night of Samhain, the traditional holiday of augmented access to the otherworldly realm of spirits and ancestors. With the lunation forming an exact conjunction with Uranus in Taurus, we can expect sudden announcements and revelations that radically reshape storylines. Though potent activations of Uranus can ultimately create an emancipatory effect, the rush of its lightning strikes upon impact can feel disorienting and unsettling. We will be well served by feeding and communing with our ancestors, drawing from their deep well of experience and resources. No matter how much fear or anxiety we are harboring due to current collective crises, we can rest assured our ancestors have traversed even bleaker circumstances in the past. We may draw upon the light of the lunation to kindle faith and strength of heart that we may carry into the unknown future before us.

It’s further fitting that Samhain is a traditional time of endings and beginnings, as the propulsive force of the lunation united with Uranus will unleash events that will carry us into the new astrological era coming at the end of the year that will be a pivotal influence over our future ancestors. At the same time, the nonlinear nature of Uranus can activate memories that pull us back into contemplation of old stories that need to be felt and processed. There are so many threads of intersecting ancestral and personal issues weaving and reweaving into the tangled knot of collective crises we are experiencing, our only hope for unraveling it all will come through learning from our past. As Uranus will be animating the mysterious, nonlinear realm of memory and dreams, make time to explore the deeper meaning of the images and experiences that emerge, listening to the larger message they are bringing about where we have come from and how it spirals into the path ahead.

The influence of Uranus over the Taurus Full Moon is especially potent due to it occurring at the midpoint of the retrograde phase of Uranus, when Uranus forms an opposition with the Sun and comes as close as the distant planet can get to Earth in its orbit. The liberating impact of Uranus on the lunation can bring awareness to beliefs and patterns we have been fixated upon due to our hunger for security in an ever changing reality. We may not only gain realization for ways ways we have been complicit with problematic systems for a sense of comfort, but also the impetus to disentangle ourselves from structures that make a societal impact out of alignment with our values. With Uranus unleashing its shattering effect during the Full Moon, see if there is a more authentic presence and perspective ready to slip out of your old identity and attachments like a serpent slithering away from its shedded skin.

Stonehenge I by Henry Moore

Stonehenge I by Henry Moore

The volatility pulsating underneath the Taurus Full Moon is further shown by Mercury stationing direct in Libra a few days later on November 3. Mercury stationing will saturate the astrological landscape with its presence and necessitate focused mindfulness due to it forming a sequence of catalyzing square aspects with Saturn in Capricorn that will become exact on November 1 and November 6. Thus the entire week following the Full Moon will be dominated by the friction built between Mercury in Libra and Saturn in Capricorn.

Since Mercury will be slowing down to pause in stillness before slowly beginning to move forward again, its aspect with the solid stone of Saturn will necessitate taking things slow with a plodding pace and sharply thorough mental focus. We will be called to question matters as delays force us to further contemplate the revivified presence and direction emerging for us out of the recent three week period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra. Instead of impatiently trying to force things out of frustration, keep a steady and alert focus and be ever ready to spontaneously shift directions or flexibly make alterations as needed.  Saturn and Mercury will point to utilizing Necessity as the mother of invention, guiding us toward what needs to be modified or further developed whether we like it or not.

Crucially, Mercury will be re-emerging from its period of invisibility to become visible as a Morning Star before sunrise in the days following the Full Moon. As Mercury will be delivering major announcements and sharing its oracular light, we may bridge its creative potency and openness to new visions with the discipline, pondering, and traditional lineages of Saturn.  It will be possible to conduct deeply penetrative research or make significant progress on projects by working through issues step by step with devotion. It will be the time of the tortoise in which slow and steady wins the race.

Gundestrup cauldron

The Gundestrup cauldron (silver vessel), thought to date to the 1st century BC

Venus rules the Full Moon from its airy home of Libra. The return of Venus to a sign where it can express itself directly and fully is notable due to the past few months having been dominated by the two planets that tend to stir up the most trouble, Mars and Saturn, residing in their own zodiacal homes of sovereignty. While Venus entering Libra will not magically rebalance the innumerable injustices and inequities that have been erupting across society, it does bring a surge of restorative air into the volatile astrological mix. Venus sharing the sign of Libra with Mercury will also help mediate the aforementioned tension taking place between Mercury and Saturn through grace, charming communication, and the art of critical thinking.

Venus directly expresses its essence of beauty, style, and harmony in Libra, yet will be traversing difficult astrological terrain between the Taurus Full Moon on October 31 and the Scorpio New Moon on November 14. In the week following the Full Moon, Venus in Libra will be heading straight into an opposition with Mars retrograde in Aries that will become exact on November 9 with Venus at 15°21′ Libra and Mars at 15°21′ Aries. With Venus sovereign and securely at home in Libra facing off with an agitated Mars slowing down to station direct in its fiery home of Aries, the tension jarred loose by the propulsive Taurus Full Moon will be unleashed within amplified conflicts. The way forward lies with Venus, as the star of Aphrodite will be able to draw upon the strength of its own resources to help mediate and mend whatever becomes torn apart.

Rather than further imploding already polarized conflicts, Venus sharing the sign of the Scales with a stationing and heliacal rising Mercury can facilitate discourse that balances differing points of view, recalibrating our response so that we may better navigate the minefield of trigger points that will exacerbate conflict if set off. Through deep listening and mindful consideration we can remain sensitized to the power dynamics and triggers of tension within relationships, leading to insights for how to mediate conflicts and facilitate cooperation or support from allies when needed. Venus in the cardinal sign of Libra will be able to make quick adjustments and initiate new movements when required.

After Venus moves through its opposition with Mars, it will flow into an intensifying square aspect with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn as Jupiter and Pluto complete their third and final conjunction of the year on November 12. Although Venus will not complete its square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto until after the Scorpio New Moon on November 14, the friction between Venus with Jupiter and Pluto will be building throughout the waning half of the current lunar cycle. It’s notable that Venus will be in the superior position of being in the tenth place from Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn in Capricorn, a hopeful sign for addressing issues of injustice and inequity that have been exacerbated and exposed by Jupiter and Saturn ending and beginning new cycles with Pluto during 2020.

The final conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto on November 12 will correspond with momentous events that reshape narratives due to Mars finally stationing direct at the same time on November 13. Previously in 2020 there were conjunctions between Jupiter and Pluto on April 4 and June 30, and so there will be resolution and deepening development of storylines connected with those previous dates. The archetypal meaning of Jupiter and Pluto uniting is multivalent, including corrupt power grabs manipulated by power structures as well as the exposure of corruption that empowers direct action by social justice movements. There is immense potential for volcanic eruptions of conflict due to Mars stationing direct at the same time, a fact that has been a concerning forecast for a long time by astrologers in relation to the presidential election in the USA since both sides of the political spectrum believes that the other side will be fraudulently manipulating the outcome.

While many collective events will be out of our control as Jupiter and Pluto unite and Mars stations direct, we will be able to take responsibility for our own response and remain steadfast and accountable to our essential values and concern for the well being of our community. With Venus in Libra simultaneously moving from an opposition with Mars into a square with Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as Mercury in Scorpio applying to its third opposition with Uranus, it will be imperative for each and every one of us to help out those in need and to take action rooted in our moral compass.

pents05

Taurus 1 Decan

The first face of Taurus where the Full Moon in Taurus culminates is connected with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Five of Pentacles is often associated with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources. Yet the poverty stricken figures in front of the stained glass window of a cathedral suggest that resources can be found in both the realm of spirit as well as in charitable communities. Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile, earthy nature of the sign of the Bull.  Mercury makes the connections we need for our livelihood, and in the first decan of Taurus we discover our capacity not only to gain enough resources for our own survival but to also contribute assistance to those in greater need so they are not left out in the cold.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first face of Taurus, noting the “face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land.” Coppock stated “the power this decan grants is that of understanding how to create growth,” adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated.” Coppock further noted that the emphasis the first decan of Taurus puts on using available resources to increase gain also brings up the shadow of fear that bleak times may arise if we disengage from constant planning and hard work. Yet ultimately Coppock concluded that “the true work of this decan is in the equilibriation of work and pleasure,” as there are also many sensual delights to be encountered in the first face of Taurus.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Charis to the first decan of Taurus, linking the Charites of mythology to the charity we can find in the image of the Five of Pentacles card and the meaning of the first face of Taurus. The Charites are the same as the three Graces you are most likely familiar with, commonly known as Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, though various traditions have additional names as well as numbers for these charming, fertile beings. Fittingly for the Shining Samhain Moon, the Charites were also associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

As Mercury stations direct in the days following the Taurus Full Moon, amidst the volatility within current events it will be important to cultivate your inner agriculture of soul that will align you with the good graces. Just like the chthonic Charites loved to bring their blessings of fertility to ancient banquets, so will your ancestors enjoy feasting with you this Samhain while attending to your concerns with their guidance. Make sacred space for centering and receiving the grace of heartfelt faith in finding your way through the tumultuous ending of 2020.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

Hutton, Ronald. (1996). The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford Press.

 

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio and Libra

Ships in the Dark (1927) Paul Klee

Someday, at the end of the nightmare of knowing,
may I emerge singing praise and jubilation to assenting angels.
May I strike my heart’s keys clearly, and may none fail
because of slack, uncertain, or fraying strings.
May the tears that stream down my face
make me more radiant: may my hidden weeping
bloom. How I will cherish you then, you grief-torn nights!
Had I only received you, inconsolable sisters,
on more abject knees, only buried myself with more abandon
in your loosened hair. How we waste our afflictions!
We study them, stare out beyond them into bleak continuance,
hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas they’re really
our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one
of the seasons of the clandestine year—; not only
a season —: they’re site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode.

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

Mercury retrograde in Scorpio

As night and its unknowing darkness envelopes us on October 13, Mercury will be cloistered in their cave of pungent roots, fungi, and herbs stirring a cauldron of mysterious brew hung with an iron hook over fire. Mercury has outdone themselves, really, as it’s a concoction into which we may pour all of our laments of loss, grief, vulnerabilities, and fears, cooking and transfiguring their essence into medicine. As Mercury tends to the dissolution, swirling it into a spiral with their spoon, we will be offered a taste.

Mercury will station retrograde on October 13, 2020 at 11°40′ Scorpio, pulling us into a twenty-one day period in which the star of Hermes will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on November 3 at 25º54′ Libra. Uranus and Saturn will be in the role of threshold guardians, as Mercury will begin its retrograde in an opposition with Uranus and will end it while in a square aspect with Saturn. Mercury will thoroughly inspect the zodiacal terrain from twenty-five degrees of Libra to twelve degrees of Scorpio in natal charts, digging up material in need of release, rehabilitation, rejuvenation, or reintegration. Mercury first crossed 25º54′ Libra on September 23 and will not finally move beyond 11°40′ Scorpio until November 19.

While 2020 has been dominated by the grave lineup of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn, 2021 will be fundamentally shaped by three shattering square aspects formed between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius on February 17, June 14, and December 23, 2021. Mercury’s retrograde journey through Scorpio and Libra will bridge the astrological themes streaming from this year into next, since it will begin by triggering issues related to Uranus and then penetrate into the core dynamics of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter. Mercury is at home in liminal states of being in between, and while retrograde will guide awareness into exploration of the issues that require deeper attention so we may more fluidly pass from the way things have been into the way of what is to come.                     

Mercury transitions from being visible in the evening twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase into an invisible phase for most of its retrograde passage, re-emerging into visibility at the end of its retrograde phase at dawn. In between Mercury descends into the darkness of the underworld to be regenerated by the Sun, reseeding our consciousness with new ideas and a refreshened presence. The apparent backward motion of Mercury is due to it orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to its closest proximity with us in orbit. We thus experience an intensification of Mercury during its retrograde phase, as its descent calls for a purging and purification of our mental constructs and the way we process and communicate information and ideas.

Mercury retrograde has a reputation for trouble that it will play at full tilt this time around. Crucially, Mercury will not only station in opposition with Uranus, it will also be under rulership of Mars retrograde in Aries in its full phase with the Sun. This means that after the Sun sets and Mercury shares its final light as an evening star in the few days after it stations retrograde, Mars will be arising over the eastern horizon in its brightest phase of fiery redness and proceed to glow down upon us all through the night. Since Mars will be operating at an extremity of symbolic heat, we can expect the three week period of Mercury being retrograde to be more disruptive and disorienting than normal.

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity will be the kind of medicine we will need to digest. Yet we must also bear in mind that Mercury will utilize sleight of hand trickery while dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The building square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that Mercury will bridge during its retrograde journey is a waning one, signifying that across our global collective the clash between Saturn and Uranus will demand a radical altering of how we perceive and approach the dismantling of societal systems underway. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize the experience of Mercury retrograde for sifting through the unraveling of our inner multiplicity, reintegrating fragmented aspects of ourselves that essentially need to be returned, finding new angles of perception in problem solving in the process.

While we are often called to revisit old issues while Mercury is retrograde, the influence of Mars combined with the hard aspects Mercury will make with Uranus, Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter over the course of its three week retrograde passage has the potential to dredge up core patterns that feel like they have been festering in the deepest recesses of our subconscious for ages. Rather than becoming angry and frustrated over having to re-engage with something from the past, ask what the spirit of the presenting issue is bringing as an underlying lesson. Allow the star of Hermes to guide awareness to the old issues that need to be laid to rest, the repairs and reparations that need to be enacted, and the emptying of what needs to be released in order to more effectively welcome an influx of new developments at the end of 2020.

Walpurgis Night 1935 by Paul Klee 1879-1940

Walpurgis Night (1935) Paul Klee

And so we press on and try to achieve it,
try to contain it in our simple hands,
in our brimming eyes, our voiceless heart.
Try to become it. Try to give it— to whom? Best of all,
to hold on to it all forever . . . Ah, but what can one carry across
into that other relation? Not the art of seeing,
learned so slowly here, and no event that transpired here. Not one.
The pain, then. Above all, the hard labor of living,
the long experience of love, —all the purely
unsayable things. But later on,
among the stars, what then: there the unsayable reigns.

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

Mercury typically will spend about two years being retrograde in the same element- since March 2019, Mercury has been shifting retrograde in water signs. This will be the final Mercury retrograde in a water sign in the current sequence, as Mercury will be retrograde in the air signs of Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra in 2021. During the past two years the periods of Mercury retrograde in water signs have plunged us into the depths of emotional undercurrents so we may excavate buried treasures of insight. It’s wise to slow down and allow for dreams, synchronicities, and omens to work through us when Mercury is retrograde in water signs, and that will be especially the case while Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio from October 13 until it returns to Libra on October 27.

Mercury will be visible in the liminal hues of twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase, transitioning around October 18 into its phase of invisibility in which it facilitates purging and shedding.  The closer Mercury comes to uniting with the Sun on October 25, the more the cauldron of Mercury will feel the Sun’s calcining fire that can dissolve rigidity and open deeper attuning with needed messages from our unconscious. From the stationing of Mercury on October 13 until its conjunction with the Sun on October 25, let the watery nature of Mercury in Scorpio pull your feelings into the places that need release and resolution within.  After the New Moon in Libra forms on October 16 and the waxing Moon shares its first crescent light while conjoining Mercury in Scorpio on October 17, it will be possible to gain greater clarity for what needs to be emptied and shed with intention. 

As Mercury disappears into darkness it takes on the role of Chthonic Hermes, the psychopomp who was given souls to guide by Persephone. Mercury will descend into the underworld while forming an opposition with Uranus that will become exact on October 19. The emancipatory and jolting wattage oscillating between Mercury and Uranus will not be new, for Mercury first formed an opposition with Uranus on October 7 after having spent a week building up tension with Uranus. On the most simple level the extended interfacing between Mercury and Uranus will bring unexpected announcements and events that radically upturn narratives and plans. Combined with Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be a deeper side of soulful and ancestral patterns becoming volatilized that will feel disorienting but can lead toward fundamental growth and development.   

While it’s best with Mercury retrograde in a water sign to go with the flow, the fixed nature of Scorpio can lead to being stuck on compulsive feelings or consumed with trying to maintain control in getting our way. The lightning strikes from Uranus will force release and surrender to the currents, and while we may have to experience strife we may also listen to what message the sleight of hand of Mercury is delivering through the tumult. When it doesn’t feel possible to let go of wounds or loss, the ineffable depth of Scorpio’s waters can help dislodge feelings of grief that need to be released.  Make space for rest and time for descent into incubatory darkness so you may better attune to the inner guidance needed.

the green candle jorge camacho

The Green Candle by Jorge Camacho

With all its eyes the animal world
beholds the Open. Only our eyes
are as if inverted and set all around it
like traps at its portals to freedom.
What’s outside we only know from the animal’s
countenance; for almost from the first we take a child
and twist him round and force him to gaze
backwards and take in structure, not the Open
that lies so deep in an animal’s face. Free from death.
Only we see death; the free animal has its demise
perpetually behind it and before it always
God, and when it moves, it moves into eternity,
the way brooks and running springs move.

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

Chthonic Cazimi

Mercury will become reanimated and reseeded by its conjunction with the Sun on October 25 at 2°48′ Scorpio. Known as its inferior conjunction, Mercury aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. During the time that Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so while Mercury is within sixteen minutes of its solar conjunction, there is enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence,” as Hermes discovers fortune through “accidental happenings” and windfalls that he crafts with “intelligence and the art of living,” shaping every find into “a theft that is put into better use.” Wherever you find yourself in your journey on October 25, invite Hermes to help you make inventive use of your circumstances. Indeed, Kerenyi illuminated that the journeyer in communion with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world.” This “middle domain” of Hermes has resonance with Mercury at the point of its chthonic conjunction with the Sun because, as described by Kerenyi, “a person in this volatized condition has access to everything.” It’s a moment to enter the primordial in the present.

When Mercury becomes revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light on October 25, its ruler Mars will remain retrograde but will have finally finished forming exact square aspects with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. We may draw from the absorptive potency of Mercury in Scorpio to soak in all the feelings that have been stirred up by Mars catalyzing Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn, grounding into a deeper sense of our circumstances. Open your awareness to the seeds of new ideas and visions germinating within your inner darkness.

Victor Brauner origin of the word

Origin of the Word by Victor Brauner

But suppose the endlessly dead were to wake in us some emblem:
they might point to the catkins hanging
from the empty hazel trees, or direct us to the rain
descending on black earth in early spring.-

And we, who always think of happiness
rising, would feel the emotion
that almost baffles us
when a happy thing falls.

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

Mercury Station in Libra

Mercury slides backwards into Libra on October 27 only eight minutes before Venus enters Libra. This brings a major change in tone that switches the focus of Mercury from Mars retrograde in its fiery home of Aries to Venus in its airy home of Libra, with both Mercury and Venus gaining increased essential dignity on the same day (Venus entering its own domicile and Mercury entering its own triplicity). Mercury will also be in the exaltation and triplicity of Saturn, and will test this relationship immediately by applying to an intensifying square aspect with Saturn. The square between Mercury and Saturn is a double edged scythe, as on one hand there could be rejection to contend with while on the other hand there could be a solidification and harvesting of insight and results.

As the tension between Mercury retrograde in Libra and Saturn direct in Capricorn builds to a peak, there will be a cathartic Full Moon in Taurus on October 31 that forms an almost exact conjunction with Uranus. Notably, the Taurus Full Moon combines the monthly polarity of the Sun and Moon with the yearly opposition between the Sun and Uranus retrograde, the heart of the retrograde cycle of Uranus when it is closest to Earth. The lunation’s alignment with Uranus can bring the electrified spark needed to finally change a deep seated pattern as well as incite far ranging vision that brings a sudden reformulation of whatever we have been planning and working on. The mysterious, nonlinear realm of memory and dreams will be invigorated with activity.

A day after the Full Moon in Taurus unites with Uranus, Mercury retrograde in Libra will form an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 1. As Mercury retrograde in Libra clashes with Saturn under the full light of the Moon, we may encounter extremes in current events as well as interpersonal encounters, bringing a need for balancing within experiences full of tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. Fortunately, the timing of these transits with the Samhain holiday can make for potent rituals, spiritual experiences, and communion with ancestors that can bring pivotal guidance. 

As Mercury slows down to station direct on November 3 while forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, the star of Hermes will also be returning to visibility as a Morning Star sharing its light amongst the birdsong that comes just before sunrise. In the United Sates of America, Mercury will station direct in the vicious political climate of Election Day that will likely be full of conflicting reports and contested results. Mercury will make major pronouncements during the first week of November in global events, and likewise in our personal life we will receive an influx of new vision and an activation of imaginative ideas.

After Mercury stations direct and begins moving forward in Libra, it will form its third exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 7. The final square between Mercury and Saturn brings to completion a process that began on September 23 when Mercury and Saturn formed the first square in the sequence. The meaning found in the relationship between Mercury and Saturn across this time brings to mind the description given by Liz Greene regarding Carl Jung’s understanding of their interplay in her book The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus. Greene wrote that the “shadowy, potentially destructive prima materia of the unconscious, represented by Saturn, bears a secret unity with the mysterious mediating agency in the psyche, represented by Mercury, that fosters the conscious recognition of meaning and teleology.”  One aspect of the realm where Mercury and Saturn may meet is in the imagination, and so it will be worthwhile spending time incubating within the living symbolism of whatever emerges to glean the deeper significance for your life.

Mercury will return to the dark waters of Scorpio on November 10, the same day it also reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star and begins to move faster than the steady course of the Sun. At the same time, Venus in Libra will be forming an opposition with Mars in Aries as the red planet begins to slow down to station direct. The tension between Venus and Mars will intensify the entrance of Mercury into its explorative solar phase that Gary Caton has compared to the rubedo phase of alchemy, as it demarcates the period for manifesting the inspired ideas and revivified presence gathered during the period of Mercury retrograde into our daily routines and reality. Make space for deep listening and delving into your relational dynamics with others, taking note of the underlying patterns and crafting ways to create healthier, mutually supportive dynamics.

Altogether, the period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra will play a crucial role in transitioning us into the finale of Mars retrograde in Aries and comprehending whatever emerges. It will also provoke a vital reorientation to the issues that need our attention in the final stretch of the year as we approach an eclipse season and the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21. After traversing the boggy landscape of Scorpio where we will experience decomposition of past issues, Mercury will retrieve the golden scales of Libra that we may utilize in recalibrating whatever new growth is becoming fertilized. Moving back and forth between the dissolving water of Scorpio and the intellectualizing air of Libra can facilitate the understanding of surrounding relational dynamics we need in order to navigate the social unrest and disruption to societal power structures that will be taking place.

Angel! O take it, pluck it, that small-petaled herb of healing!
Create a vase, preserve it! Place it among those joys
not yet open to us; in a delicate urn
let an ornate inscription praise it: “Subrisio Saltat.”

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

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

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

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2000). Duino Elegies. translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

New Moon in Virgo

 
paul klee the gate of night

The Gate of the Night (1921) by Paul Klee

New Moon in Virgo

The New Moon in Virgo on September 17 draws a season to a close, initiating us into the final season of 2020. While the heat of Summer transitions into the crisp coolness of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere the lunation demarcates the end of Winter and the dawning of Spring. It’s a time of seasonal balancing, with the amount of light and darkness we experience in a day temporarily reaching an equilibrium on the Libra equinox which will occur five days later on September 22. The darkness of the Virgo New Moon is ideal for centering within one’s inner light, sensing surrounding circumstances with full awareness. 

The Virgo Moon is separating from a trine with Pluto and applying toward a trine with Saturn in Capricorn, providing an opportunity to slow down and ground into deeper presence with whatever challenges and difficulties we have been contending with. After completing a trine with Saturn, the Virgo Moon will form a quincunx with Mars retrograde in Aries as the slowly moving red planet intensifies in the tension that it will continue to build with Saturn for the rest of September. The astrology of the next couple of months will not be getting any easier, and so we need to lean into any trouble brewing with discernment rather than trying to escape from problems through denial or distraction.

The strength of the Virgo New Moon is found in the dark caves and black stones of Saturn. The trine from the lights in Virgo with Saturn in Capricorn may feel melancholic due to the tumult of current events, yet the pondering contemplation of Saturn will be what we need to cultivate in the forthcoming lunar cycle. We need to engage with the side of Saturn open to the mystery of the unknown and willing to reflect upon the fullness of the moment, rather than being overly defensive, rigid, and righteously insisting on control or trying to force what we want to have happen. As Saturn begins to slow down en route to stationing direct on September 29, we will be most effective through deep reflection in decision making and taking the time necessary rather than rushing.

Mercury in Libra rules the New Moon and is forming an exact square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Mercury is in the bounds of Jupiter and on the superior side of the square aspect, enabling a thorough questioning of our beliefs about what has been happening so we can make adjustments attuned with the reality of the moment rather than wishful thinking. Mercury will next form a square with Pluto on September 20 followed by a square with Saturn on September 23 as it simultaneously moves into a tense opposition with Mars. With Mercury in the exaltation of Saturn, we can combine the nuanced flexibility of Mercury with the reflective depth of Saturn to come to terms with how we need to handle whatever volatility is being stirred up by Mars retrograde in Aries.

the third shape kay sage

In the Third Sleep (1944) by Kay Sage

The New Moon is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. This means that we are at the midpoint in between eclipse seasons, as the Sun last formed a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon when there was a Solar Eclipse on June 21 and will be forming a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon when there is a Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14. Like the view gained from climbing mountainous peaks, the Virgo New Moon offers a far ranging perspective to help mediate whatever turning points in narratives are arising. Since Mercury and Jupiter, the rulers of the lunar nodes, are colliding in an exact square there is likely a significant twist in your story occurring that will need your undivided attention.

Furthermore, Neptune retrograde in Pisces is five degrees away from a square with the lunar nodes at their southern bending. The square between Neptune and the lunar nodes will be slowly getting tighter during the rest of 2020, with Neptune forming an exact square with the lunar nodes in January 2021. Neptune is more than halfway through its retrograde phase that stretches from June 22 to November 28, having formed an opposition with the Virgo Sun on September 11. With the Virgo New Moon separating from Neptune, the lunation contains more of a movement away from the mists of Neptune rather than into its otherworldly fog. It will be especially important to sift through any lessons learned from recent experiences of disillusionment to help in reorienting toward a more realistic assessment of your situation.

The Philosophia Hermetica

from The Philosophia Hermetica (1790) by Federico Gualdi

While the incendiary heat of Mars retrograde in Aries is only at its beginning stages, the week following the Virgo New Moon will bring a critical juncture of Mercury moving through square aspects with Pluto and Saturn into an opposition with Mars on September 24. A balance will need to be struck between opening to new desires being stoked by Mars while patiently working through whatever obstacles and tests are being set in place by Saturn. It’s a period for laying the foundation of long-term goals rather than grasping for short-term gratification. Yet despite setbacks, it will not be a time to forsake our most authentic and essential desires but rather to allow them to be reshaped and reforged by the crucible of Saturn and Pluto. 

In addition to forming a square with Saturn on September 23 and an opposition with Mars on September 24, Mercury also will be crossing into the “retrograde shadow” degrees of its upcoming retrograde motion that will occur from October 13 until November 3. As it will be an especially volatile and disruptive retrograde phase for Mercury, it will be wise to begin sensing what challenges are coming your way and what needs to be remedied while Mercury is still visible in its evening star phase. Mercury colliding with Pluto, Saturn, and Mars in sequence can be helpful for noticing what is beginning to come out of balance so you can begin rethreading whatever is fraying before it becomes torn apart. 

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 3 Decan

The New Moon in Virgo arises in the third decan of Virgo associated with the Ten of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Fitting for an image of a family enjoying the fruits of their ancestral legacy, the third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury and Venus. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of “the pensive nature of the elder” in the Ten of Pentacles card with a fundamental question this face asks about wealth: “What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?”

Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third decan of Virgo, writing that “the spirit gazes upon its inevitable separation from matter here, contemplating the consequences of its brief union.” A decan of decay and death, old texts such as the Picatrix and Liber Hermetis contain images of mummification, while Abraham Ibn-Ezra pictured a woman praying with leprous hands. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” It’s a decan that asks us to come to terms with the legacy and value we wish to leave behind for our future ancestors, a face of learning to embrace the moment due to the death that awaits all of our loves in the end.

Doubling down on the long game during the Virgo New Moon, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo. Hestia is a sublime guide for the New Moon, as she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the essential value we wish to invest into our relationships, work, and community. Hestia is the devoted one with roots in a legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath for the living force of creation. Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service that does not abandon.

Fittingly for Hestia being associated with the third face of Virgo, Venus in Leo is applying toward a conjunction with Vesta in Leo during the New Moon in Virgo. Earlier in the year there was a conjunction between Venus and Vesta on May 15 when Venus was retrograde in Gemini, and so we may now re-center within our core values that have been reforged since then.  Compared to the other planets engaged in tense aspects, Venus will have smooth sailing through Leo as it heads toward forming a trine aspect with Mars at the end of September. The essential values passed down to us from our ancestors that we wish to pass on to our future ancestors deserve our full commitment and embodiment within the darkness of the Virgo New Moon.

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References

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

 

Full Moon in Pisces

the great impossible

The Great Impossible (1961) by Kay Sage

O you tender ones, step now and then
into the breath that takes no heed of you:
it will part as it brushes your cheeks
and then tremble behind you, united again.

O you who are blissful, you who are whole,
you who seem the beginnings of hearts.
Bows for arrows and arrows’ aim, through tears
your smile will glow more eternal.

Don’t be afraid to suffer- take your heaviness
and give it back to the earth’s own weight;
the mountains are heavy, the oceans are heavy.

Even the trees you planted as children
have long grown too heavy; you couldn’t bear them.
But the breezes . . . and the spaces . . .

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Full Moon in Pisces

Some years are more pivotal to the course of history than others, some periods of time so fertile with potential that the reverberations of choices and actions create a more far reaching impact than others. Astrologers predicted in advance that this would likely be such a year due to the epochal symphony emanating from the astrology of 2020, and the trajectory of world events that have unfolded have left no doubt that this is the case. The Pisces Full Moon will unleash a flood of feelings related to how we are situated within the currents of collective change and upheaval, how well we are following our path and purpose, and to what degree we are claiming the role and place through which we may serve others through the cultivation and sharing of skills and resources. 

The Pisces Full Moon on 1 September 2020 is applying tightly toward a stimulating sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus, while it is also being received by a harmonizing sextile aspect by its ruler, Jupiter in Capricorn. The Full Moon is also heading toward a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces that it will form on September 2 after completing its sextile with Jupiter. The silvery light of the Pisces Moon will beam forth from the Virgo Sun like the Hermit’s lantern, seeping into the underbelly of our overarching plans and visions. Pay attention if you are guided to change course or make modifications to your goals, but also allow the watery inspiration of the lunation to reveal the resources and support you have within reach that have been previously unseen or unrecognized. 

There is also a supportive, mutual reception between the Full Moon and Venus, as the Full Moon is in the exaltation and bounds of Venus and is heading toward a flowing trine aspect with Venus, while Venus is in the watery home of the Moon. Yet the pleasurable reception between the Moon and Venus must be tempered by the ponderousness of Saturn, as Venus is applying to an exact opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. Venus is taking us into the chthonic roots of the alignment between Saturn and Pluto, as Venus is separating from an opposition with Pluto as it faces off with Saturn. What we desire and wish to create must be set against the titanic clashes across civilizations and dismantling of societal structures that have intensified during the past year of Saturn and Pluto ending and beginning a new cycle together.

Allow whatever challenges, limitations or constraints you feel to hone your purpose, shedding or laying to rest the parts that have met a wall of resistance with no place to go. The contraction brought by Saturn has its own kind of fertility that requires patience, endurance, and openness to the mystery of the unknown at work. Venus in Cancer will most effectively meet Saturn from a place of inner security that can enact healthy boundaries capable of fluidly adapting to what is necessary while remaining grounded in the values aligned with your purpose. It’s not a time for saying yes to every opportunity, but rather having discernment regarding how to most effectively utilize your available time and space.

Amplifying the creative tension of the Pisces Full Moon, Venus will subsequently form a catalyzing square aspect with Mars in Aries a few days after the lunation on September 4. The waxing square between Venus and Mars will correlate with friction between our relationship dynamics and our desires to freely pursue our goals. This phase between Venus and Mars is about establishing the new direction in our relationships that began when Venus and Mars initiated their current cycle a year ago on August 24, 2019. At this stage we can feel anger when facing limitations especially when they reflect the same old issues that have led to suffering or heartbreak in the past. There is a need to hold the tension of courageously standing up for our authentic values while mediating relationships that may or may not align with our values to varying degrees. It can also be an opportune time to collaborate with those aligned with our values as well as forming new alliances and friendships with those who share our purpose. 

The waxing square formed by Venus with Mars is especially significant due to it being the final installment of three waxing square aspects that Venus has formed with Mars in 2020. Venus  first formed a square aspect with Mars on 26 January 2020, with Venus at 16º02′ Pisces and Mars in Sagittarius. Next, Venus formed its second square aspect with Mars on 2 June 2020, with Venus retrograde in Gemini at 14º02′ and Mars in Pisces.  During the final square aspect between Venus and Mars, Venus will be direct at 27º55′ Cancer while Mars will be stationing retrograde at the same degree in Aries.  The fact it has taken almost nine months for Venus and Mars to finally finish the waxing square of their cycle is yet another indication of the immense change brought by the astrology of 2020 that has been full of incubatory creative tension and the need to confront issues of systemic oppression that impact our relationships with others.

Notably, Venus was forming a conjunction with Neptune during the first square aspect between Venus and Mars on January 26, and Mars was heading toward a conjunction with Neptune during the second square aspect on June 3. Now as they complete the final square, the Full Moon will be illuminating the ineffable mystery of Neptune in Pisces. The influence of Neptune combined with the volcanic aspects being formed by Venus point toward the necessity of confronting internal dynamics within our subconscious shadow. Neptune can connect sacrifice with spirituality in positive ways, yet Neptune can also cloud our perception with feelings of being a victim or martyr as well as a scapegoating crusader fixated on dogmatic beliefs. The dissolving influence of Neptune can be both constructive and destructive, and so rather than becoming inflated with righteousness be curious about exploring the inner and outer tensions at work in your life.

Full Moon in Pisces fountain

from the Rosarium Philosophorum

When tossing a coin into the fountain of the Pisces Full Moon to make a wish, bear in mind that your dreams have supportive resources available that go beyond the visible and measurable sources and structures in your surroundings. While being lost in wishful thinking will not be helpful, it’s also important to not discount support and guidance available from immaterial sources such as in the realms of spirit and ancestors. There is a balance to strike between realistically working with the support available versus being careful not to restrict yourself from pursuing meaningful goals and visions that are actually in reach.

Fortunately,  Mercury in Virgo is in position to provide supportive, clarifying discernment. The Full Moon will illuminate the oracular light of Mercury in Virgo, as Mercury is rising into visibility at sunset as an Evening Star in its nocturnal home and exaltation of Virgo. Mercury was reseeded in the heart of the Sun just a day before the recent New Moon in Leo, and so just as we are discovering the meaning of the present lunar cycle, so will we be receiving messages regarding what the new Evening Star phase of Mercury has in store for us. Mercury in Virgo has been cleansed and purified and is ready to help in digesting and breaking down our daily encounters into nutritive insight and medicine.  Major announcements will be made in current events.

Mercury in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune in Pisces, while the Full Moon is applying to a conjunction with Neptune. Moreover, the ruler of the Full Moon, Jupiter in Capricorn, is engaged in a collaborative sextile aspect with Neptune.  Neptune has long been viewed in modern astrology as having a disintegrative effect on our sense of individuality, with its tidal force capable of sweeping us up within collective idealism with inspired fervor. Within current events we can witness the influence of Neptune through the numerous conspiracy theories and paranoia emanating from both sides of polarized conflict. The increasing light of Mercury in Virgo can help in sifting through the numerous illusions and distractions being stirred up to ground awareness, reorient from any disillusioning experiences, and bring methodical focus to researching support and completing whatever work is required for our present process. 

Full Moon in Pisces

Finale from Sonata of the Sea (1908) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis

Although Mars in Aries is not in a major aspect with the Full Moon, its presence will dramatically increase the emotional intensity of the lunation. The influence of Mars will dominate the astrological landscape in the week following the Full Moon, as it will be slowing down to a standstill and then stationing retrograde on September 9. Mars will form a jolting square aspect with Venus on September 4 and will remain engaged in a harsh square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn for the rest of September. 

As Mars and Saturn have already been clashing in the week before the Full Moon, you may already have become exhausted by being stretched too thin, upset by feeling rejected, or infuriated by feelings of being stifled or confined. However, the stationing of Mars can further enflame anger that has been repressed, leading us to become enraged with explosive force as our anger erupts from stagnation. The threat of increased violence is real and something we need to be on guard for- unfortunately, this threat has already been realized recently in the USA with citizens fighting and killing one another amidst protests.

At the same time, we can utilize the anger being stimulated by Mars to activate and motivate us to be assertive where we need to take action, becoming enlivened with purposeful drive and determination. We will need to be ready to remediate our defensiveness being provoked so that we do not react impulsively in damaging ways we will later regret. New life will emerge from whatever is burned down by the fiery heat of Mars, so be curious about whatever is brewing within, finding ways to bring your freshly emerging desires into your life creatively rather than destructively. Whatever energy is coming from Mars will demand movement and expression, so it will be necessary to find productive and creative outlets. 

Since Mars has ancient significations for disease and pestilence it has been a key aspect of the astrology underlying the pandemic of 2020. Yet Mars can also put us into touch with symptoms of our psyche that reveal the storyline of our present journey. Jason Holley in the 2020 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) gave a talk on Mars entitled Red Planet, Black Planet: The Initiation of Mars in which he described how the appearance of symptoms, illness, and vulnerabilities through Mars can carry the whole story we need to come to terms with to bring about our healing. We are collectively entering a period of being initiated by Mars in the next few months, and so while we know it will be messy at times and combative, we can also utilize it for reclaiming exiled or suppressed aspects of ourselves as well as more fully embodying and pursuing newly emerging desires. 

Second Decan of Pisces 9 of Cups

9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 2 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the second decan of Pisces, a face associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a pleased figure in a scarlet cap with a showy plume, signifying his passionate mind dressed with the Eros of his desires. The Nine of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, with the golden cups behind the figure signifying the resources needed to gain greater abundance being found within the unconscious and unseen realm of Spirit. The Nine of Cups has also been associated with happiness on both external and internal levels, enjoying feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  Fittingly, Jupiter is supremely powerful in this face, as it is not only the domicile ruler of Pisces but also the ruler of its second decan.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan in honor of Indra’s net with its many mutually reflective jewels, an overhanging cosmic net that has been interpreted as signifying magic and illusion as well as the interconnectedness of our universe. Coppock wrote that the luxurious satisfaction of the figure in the Nine of Cups card is the product of engaging the process of maintaining “a harmonious relationship between material and spiritual layers of life . . . [such as in] the art of following the Tao itself . . . at play in the material world but not beholden to it.” Coppock declared it to be a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals, and the way things are.”

The link between the second face of Pisces with the depths of the underlying source of our visible reality is especially relevant given that the Pisces Moon will be moving from a sextile with Uranus and Jupiter into a conjunction with Neptune. The 12th century philosopher and astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described an image of a beautiful woman sitting on a ship at sea for this decan, wishing to come to land. Similarly, Coppock described the figures of the second face of Pisces as being “anchored in the invisible, yet step forward to play important roles in the visible world.” Make space during the Pisces Full Moon to discover if there any aspects of your inner beauty that have been patiently waiting in the oceanic realm of your unconscious, ready to come to shore to be realized. 

Coppock concluded that the crux of this decan centers on fulfillment coming from the harmonizing of one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, as torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds. Seeking fortune for fortune’s sake will not bring happiness if our visible goals are misaligned with our invisible priorities. As older forms of astrology prioritize the relationships between Daimon and Fortune as well as Eros and Necessity, we must enact Daimon and Eros from our depths rather than only responding to the Necessity and Fortune of our times.  The satisfaction and joy that can be reached through the second face of Pisces comes from a deeper success that is aligned with our soul purpose and embodying the meaning of why we are here at this time. 

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the daimon Dolos to the second face of Pisces, a spirit of deception and trickery. Dolos was an apprentice to Prometheus who famously attempted to duplicate a statue of Aletheia (Truth) that had been perfectly constructed by Prometheus, yet ran out of clay before being able to complete its feet. In Aesop’s version of the tale, the duplicate statue was called Pseudologos (Falsehood) and brought the moral that something false can start off successfully, but with time the real truth will be revealed. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that the “protean” figures of the second face of Pisces can be “tricksters, liars who try to paint the portraits of their understanding and sculpt the form of their visions,” yet they necessarily fall short as “form utterly fails the profound,” and “the truth cannot be copied.” In fact, Coppock concluded that their creative acts are essential to the meaning of this face, as their “flawed copies are the only manner in which dreams can become real.”

The co-presence of Neptune with the Pisces Full Moon makes the tricky and cunningly crafty side of the second face of Pisces important to consider. We normally do not realize we are lost in an illusion until undergoing a disillusioning experience that wakes us up to the deeper truth we need to reorient ourselves around. There is also presently a deluge of conspiracy theories and false information to navigate through on social media that hold a hypnotic and manipulative effect on many. Yet with the Moon and Neptune in Pisces and the Sun and Mercury in Virgo, the silvery light of the Moon can facilitate cutting through the static of the times to the heart of what truly matters to you. Let the Pisces Moon’s light pour down upon your deepest dreams and desires, nourishing their imaginal roots so that they may bloom within your living reality.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

Ibn-Ezra, Abraham. translated by Meira Epstein. (1998). The Beginning of Wisdom. Arhat. 

 

Full Moon in Aquarius

Vakaras

Evening (1905) by M.K. Ciurlionis

Full Moon in Aquarius

The Full Moon in Aquarius on August 3 illuminates the torch of the reclusive seer, the fire at the core of the hermit’s lantern, and messages received from those that have strayed far off the mainstream path. The airy and humanitarian sign of Aquarius will provide a remote space for the lunation we may utilize for incubating insight regarding the many dramatic changes taking shape in current events. While revelations may be received from the unorthodox who are removed from dominant cultural paradigms, rather than stubbornly insisting on an individualistic path we can use the silvery light of the lunation to increase awareness of those who share our intention and purpose. It’s an opportune time to deepen bonds with those we can collaborate with and mutually support through the shattering, dismantling astrological transits coming in the next few months.

In the northern hemisphere, the Aquarius Full Moon is glowing during the time of Lughnasadh or Lughnasa, the ancient Gaelic holiday of harvest festivals that occurs at the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox. Similarly, the Aquarius Full Moon is occurring at a midpoint along the timeline of 2020 astrology that is in between the volatility of the solstice eclipse season of June and the enflaming initiation of Mars retrograde in Aries that will intensify at the Libra Equinox on September 22 when Mars will be engaged in conflict with Saturn. The slow burn of Mars retrograde in its fiery home of Aries will dramatically disrupt the societal structures already being reshaped by the alignment of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, and so the Aquarius Full Moon can shed light on areas of life in need of focus to prepare for the deeper changes on the way.

Since the Aquarius Full Moon is closely separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward an activating sextile with Mars in Aries, we may experience events or insights that propel us rapidly forward or lead to a significant change in direction. It’s the third lunation in a row ruled by Saturn retrograde in Capricorn slowly moving closer to Pluto, inciting the titanic forces of gravity, contraction, division, and polarized judgment that have been constellated repeatedly throughout history when Saturn and Pluto begin a new cycle together. In many places the economic fallout from the pandemic of 2020 is being more acutely felt, and so the peak light of the Aquarius Moon can spur action in response to forces of necessity.

Crucially, Mercury in Cancer is applying closely toward a tense opposition with Saturn in Capricorn that may feel extremely constraining depending upon your present circumstances. Constructively, Mercury’s opposition with Saturn will make it obvious where we need to weigh our options to make adjustments, mediation, deals, and a rebalancing of priorities in order to mediate the pressing demands of Saturn and Pluto. In addition to inspecting one’s material conditions, it’s also an excellent time to conduct an inner exploration of shadowy internal dynamics in order to refrain from excessive projection and scapegoating of others. There will be more than enough victimization and persecutory othering going on in the wider collective without adding more fuel to the fire.

It is further significant that Mercury is setting under the beams of the Sun, sharing its final light as a Morning Star as it disappears into its invisible phase during which its accumulated debris and excess waste will be burned off under the radiating fire of the Leo Sun. The solar phase ending for Mercury now was reseeded during Mercury retrograde in Cancer on June 30, so there will be a shedding and purifying process of regeneration concerning whatever Mercurial ideas have been developing since early July once Mercury enters Leo on August 4. Mercury will be reanimated during its superior conjunction with the Leo Sun on August 17, a day before the upcoming New Moon in Leo on August 18, and so the waning half of the present lunar cycle will be ideal for releasing whatever we need to let go of in order to gain clarified focus.

unusual-thursday-kay-sage-1951-f2bd22a8

Unusual Thursday (1951) Kay Sage

While the catalytic square aspect between the Aquarius Full Moon and Uranus in Taurus can bring a sudden twist in our story through unexpected events and revelations, it may also reveal premonitions regarding larger changes that will become more significant over the course of the next year and a half as Saturn in Aquarius forms a series of three exact square aspects with Uranus in Taurus during 2021. Additionally, the Aquarius Full Moon may return awareness to themes and narratives connected with the square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus that became activated from March through June of 2020, as the waxing Moon will form a conjunction with Saturn en route to forming a square with Uranus during its peak illumination. Pay particular attention to any new ideas, projects, or goals you are feeling inspired to develop as they may turn out to become significant points of focus over the course of the next year or two.

Some of the major themes associated with the last quarter square phase between Saturn and Uranus include irrevocable dismantling and restructuring of societal systems, the necessity of invention to address whatever is falling apart, as well as finding inspiration within some ancient traditions to address present dilemmas while other traditional lineages become rejected for being outdated. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the periods of Saturn and Uranus in hard aspect as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.”

During the waning half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, Uranus will station retrograde on August 15 a few days before the New Moon in Leo on August 18. As a result, the influence of Uranus will become intensified in the week surrounding August 15 especially if you have important natal placements in between seven and thirteen degrees of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius). It will be wise to remain flexible and ready to alter plans and goals as needed in the next couple of weeks due to the unpredictable nature of Uranus. Most importantly, by cultivating a readiness to receive breakthroughs and activate new creative directions, you will be more likely to clarify the intentions and visions that you are most authentically aligned with and which deserve your full focus and commitment.

Marso_pasaulis

The World of the Mars (1905) by M.K. Ciurlionis

While the Aquarius Full Moon is applying toward a creatively engaging sextile aspect with Mars in Aries, Mars is closely applying toward a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Mars combined with Jupiter can inspire ambitious campaigns and idealistic striving that can be further amplified by the Full Moon in Aquarius. There is a risk of being overcome with hubris through a stubborn fixation on one’s own idealistic beliefs with an unwillingness to make compromises or listen to other viewpoints. The fiery willforce of Mars can be utilized to separate ourselves from situations causing us harm, protect those who are vulnerable, and assert our desires for change, yet we must be careful that the reckless side of Mars does not lead us into causing unnecessary division and destruction in the process.

This will be the first of three square aspects that Mars will form with Jupiter between now and January 2021 due to stationing retrograde in the first week of September, and so we are entering an extended period of time involving friction between Mars with Jupiter as well as Saturn and Pluto that we will need to endure and resiliently navigate. During the waning half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, Mars in Aries will be applying toward an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that it will complete on August 13. Mars will not complete its first square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn until August 24, but the tension between them will be building in potency each day.

Though Mars is known as an archetype that severs connections with an individualistic impact, it is also capable of working toward shared goals as part of a team while also putting us in touch with the enlivening life force and passions that want to emerge into expression. Since we know that Mars will be facing off against barriers and restrictions coming from Saturn in the months ahead, we can bear in mind that there will be potential for Mars to incite a self-righteous rage that wants to burn everything down when faced with opposition. While taking a courageous stand in the face of opposition may be necessary at times, it will also be important to be curious about how our inner desires are being reshaped and reforged by the flames of Mars. By gaining clarity now regarding the intentions we want to direct the focus of Mars toward, the ideals and values we want to defend and assert, we will be better able to conserve our energy for our priorities rather than getting drawn into needless conflict that exhausts us. Mars in Aries will need to exert is force within the containment brought by the Capricorn trio of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter, yet within the pressure of their configuration important and significant work can be created.

kurt seliggman moon flower

Moon Flower (1858) by Kurt Seligman

The Full Moon in Aquarius also demarcates the final days of Venus transiting Gemini, as Venus will enter Cancer on August 7. Venus has been in the airy, mutable sign of Gemini since April 3 and so it will be a major change for Venus to exit Gemini and enter the watery, lunar landscape of Cancer. Moreover, Venus will be closely applying toward a vivifying conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini as the Aquarius Full Moon culminates. Ever since the true calculation of the North Node of the Moon entered Gemini on May 5, Venus has been occupying the same sign and so it is especially significant that Venus is finally completing its conjunction with the North Node in Gemini.

Due to the passage of Venus retrograde in Gemini from May through June, we have already experienced a necessary disordering of desires that has been bringing about a reordering of values. The passage of Venus across the North Node of the Moon as Selene shines her full light can draw awareness toward opportunities and choices available to make productive use of whatever the long passage of Venus through Gemini has opened up for us.

However, the influence of the North Node of the Moon upon Venus can also pull us into the shadows of illusory material desires and so it will be important to make space to consider whether or not the desires emerging are aligned with your authentic path and purpose or not. This is especially the case since Venus recently finished its long series of square aspects with Neptune in Pisces that took place on May 3, May 20, and July 27. The Aquarius Full Moon can bring deeper insight into the storylines that played out between Venus and Neptune, as their tension likely brought waves of confusion and inspiration to navigate. Let the lessons learned from any associated disillusionment as well as enlightenment continue to guide your choices as Venus completes its union with the North Node and heads into Cancer where it will form a series of pivotal aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn, and Mars at the end of August and beginning of September.

swords06

6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Aquarius is in the second decan of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The six swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounded focus. Yet the swords are also staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory. The ferryman is in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury, which is fitting since Mercury is the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is also a need to surrender to being along for the ride.

As the ferryman in the Six of Swords is creating a network in between shores, linking the known with the unknown, he is an apt symbol for Mercury being the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom,” as well as that the fixed nature of this face “stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth” while also establishing “independence between multiple worlds.” Coppock declared it to be a decan “of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles” so that one may “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them.” Like the ferryman and Hermes, those who occupy this face mediate a “steady commerce between heaven and earth” according to Coppock, allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown” as well as “the ideal and the practical.”

Furthermore, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Phobos to the second decan of Aquarius, the divine son of Ares and Aphrodite who is associated with the fear evoked in battle and war. Austin Coppock noted that as Phobos is connected with the etymology of “phobia,” its presence in this face also reveals “the fear that people have of what lies outside their small worlds.” It also brings to mind the double edged sword of fear, in that it can lead to poor choices rooted in paranoia as well as the kind of inspired action that erupts when we have our backs against the wall and the odds stacked against us.

There are many fears being enflamed around the world as societal systems continue to be disrupted by the pandemic. Just as the second face of Aquarius facilitates communication between the known and the unknown, so may we tend to the places in us that feel scared and overwhelmed regarding the unknown future. The astrology of 2020 has been serving as a bridge in between eras, and while it may feel like we are close to falling off a precipice we may in those moments gather our inner knowing that can guide our way forward. We will need to rely upon the support and transport of others just as we will also be required to lend assistance and guidance to others. Let the light of the Aquarius Full Moon quench the flames of fear so that your pathway forward may be illuminated with clarified focus.

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References

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

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

 

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

charles white sound of silence

Sound of Silence by Charles White

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

Mercury shifts retrograde at least three times a year, yet some are positioned at more pivotally important times than others. Mercury will station retrograde at 14º45′ Cancer on the night of June 17 in Pacific standard time, only a few days before the Moon will eclipse the Sun on the solstice. It is a peak moment of light, the time of the longest days in the northern hemisphere and the longest nights in the southern. As the star of Hermes pauses, twinkling in the liminal space of sunset, the air will be saturated with transmissions from Mercury that deserve deep listening and discernment.

The week surrounding the stationing of Mercury is always a time to bring as much mindfulness as possible to your daily interactions, listening for signs of what needs your attention. Mercury has a gift for playing the wildcard that upturns expectations, delighting in the twists and turns that change everything. Mercury is the one planet that defies rigid categorization, able to shift between expressions of day and night, masculine and feminine, capable of bringing insights and riddles from unconscious depths into conscious awareness. Above all it points to the importance of being flexible, of being curious about the shifting of parts emerging internally and externally, rather than cursing the tricks of the cunning Hermes. Although Mercury retrograde is known for coinciding with delays and miscues in communication, it is an essential phase of Mercury’s cycle that delivers necessary messages.

With Mercury stationing just before an extremely potent solar eclipse, with the Sun in Gemini forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, there will be a momentous surge of events and emotions erupting around the motionless intensity of Mercury. Part of Mercury’s core purpose when retrograde is to destabilize dynamics in order to loosen control, break up accumulated dross, and bring about a turning point in narrative and meaning. Since Mercury is stationing retrograde at the same time as a powerful solar eclipse, it means we are crossing a threshold into a passage of amplified putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart before being brought back together through purifying reassembly. The presence of strong eclipses will make the usual shedding process of Mercury retrograde more dramatic, with unexpected events catalyzing pivotal changes.

We are in a year of Mercury being retrograde in water signs, places where Mercury is more attuned to the unconscious, the nonlinear realm of memories, and the ceaseless flow of feelings dissolving and coagulating. Mercury retrograde in Cancer and under rulership of the Moon’s receptive light will pull perception into the inner realm of thoughts, emotions, desires, and the messages emerging into awareness through our dreams at night. It will be necessary to succumb at times to the subjective sway of our senses and an inward turn toward intuitive impressions and imagination. Fortunately, Mercury is stationing retrograde within its own bounds and face, giving Mercury greater potency in being able to help guide us toward the information and ideas we need to absorb, digest, and begin to integrate during the initial phase of its purgative descent.

Our capacity for choosing what to let into our environment and what to keep out will be crucial, as Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Walled Garden” to the second face of Cancer where Mercury is stationing. Coppock stated that processes associated with the second decan of Cancer ruled by Mercury need a boundary of protection like the sealing required by alchemy, so that we can bring about a process of cultivation and refinement of whatever we wish to create and grow without being contaminated by poisons or toxicity. When possible it will be helpful to create protected space and time for the projects and work you feel are most essential, so that the intensification Mercury experiences while retrograde can be utilized productively.

Hokusai Femenine_wave

by Hokusai

Around the same time as the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21, Mercury will descend from visibility into its invisible, chthonic phase of laying to rest and releasing whatever elements of its past cycle need to be shed. As we begin to deepen into the decay, emptying and putrefaction of this purgative phase in the week following the solar eclipse, Venus in Gemini will station direct on June 25 bringing an end to its retrograde phase that began on May 12.  Since Venus is in the airy, mutable home of Mercury, its slow shift into forward motion will be under the influence of Mercury retrograde in Cancer. Thus while the stationing of Venus will demarcate a new chapter in storylines, its rulership by Mercury retrograde will invite an inner descent to integrate the meaning of its retrograde phase before beginning to implement forward movement. This may be a tricky balance to maintain, as powerful solar eclipses bring a tidal wave of new events and relationships to the shore of awareness while old patterns and relationships recede back to the distant sea.

While the world continues to come to terms with the collective crisis of the COVID 19 pandemic, in the United States of America there has been a necessary crisis around systemic racism in law enforcement that has erupted during the past month of Venus being retrograde in Gemini. When Venus stationed retrograde in mid May it crossed paths with Mercury during the twilight hour, with Mercury increasing in light in its evening star phase just as Venus began its descent toward its underworld passage of invisibility. The murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis took place just as Venus was entering its invisible phase, and so the fact that Venus will be increasing in visible light in its Morning Star phase as it stations direct will likely spark significant developments with protests and efforts at making substantial reforms within the criminal justice system in the USA.

It is telling that Mercury is stationing retrograde close to the degree of the Cancer Sun in the birth charts most commonly used for the USA, as well as that the date given for the creation of Black Lives Matter has Mercury retrograde in Cancer less than a degree away from where Mercury is stationing retrograde in Cancer. Within European American communities there has been more widespread focus on exploring white privilege and how to engage in anti-racist action than ever before. The passing of Mercury through its underworld phase can be particularly powerful for coming into deeper connection with feelings and emotions around racism for those whose privilege has enabled them to be disconnected from its oppressive impact. As Mercury retrograde deepens while Venus picks up forward movement, there can be increased realization for direct action that can be taken on local and national levels to protect and support those who are targets of systemic racism.

Just before Mercury reaches the regeneration of its inferior conjunction with the Sun, it will form a conjunction with the asteroid Vesta in Cancer on June 28, while it is also applying toward a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Vesta’s union with Mercury can help take us to the heart of whatever material has come up to be processed and digested during the initial phase of Mercury retrograde. Vesta’s presence with Mercury retrograde can help with centering and becoming focused on what needs to be burned off and released when Mercury conjoins the Sun on June 30, as well as what new ideas and visions will be seeded by Mercury passing through the heart of the Sun. Listen for what new aspirations want to emerge that you will be able to commit to devoting your energy and focus toward bringing into being.

william blake the soul exploring the recesses of the grave

The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave, From the Grave (1813) by Luigi Shiavonetti after William Blake

On June 30, Mercury will unite with the Sun at 9º44′ Cancer, becoming reanimated with the creative potency of our solar light. During this moment of solar re-seeding, Mercury will be purified and regenerated within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” As a result, June 30 is a powerful day for planting the seeds of whatever ideas you wish to cultivate during the coming cycle of Mercury. It can also be a potent time for reflection and contemplation regarding whatever material or events were volatilized by the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21. By bringing light into inner shadows, we may become aware of certain fears or projections that have become triggered and need our focused attention to tend and mediate.

The inferior conjunction of Mercury will be forming a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and will also be close to the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Alhena in the constellation of Gemini. Alhena is the heel of the immortal twin Pollux, described by Bernadette Brady as symbolizing “the heel of an immortal or sacred one who touches the earth with great pride.” Brady further described Alhena as the “Proudly Marching One” who “is associated with the following of a cause, a belief for which one will march.”  In the United States of America, it is likely that the protest movements around systemic racism will become revivified and focused with increased determination to achieve tangible results in the cycle ahead for Mercury.

In contrast, both Reinhold Ebertin and Vivian Robson connected Alhena with artistic inclination and eminence, while Ebertin also described it as bringing a spiritual orientation and interest in the sciences. Combined with the influence of Uranus upon Mercury’s solar reseeding, it will be helpful to set aside space to express however you feel inspired and to allow the muses to lead you into the discovery of new passions and desires you can cultivate and explore more deeply in the forthcoming cycle of Mercury.

It is further significant that on the same day that Mercury conjoins the Sun, Jupiter retrograde will be uniting with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn. The conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto on June 30 will be the second of three conjunctions formed by Jupiter and Pluto during 2020, and so Mercury being reseeded with solar light can help us deepen into relationship and awareness with whatever deep rooted issues and external shifting have been taking place in correspondence with the beginning of a new cycle between Jupiter and Pluto. While there are often power struggles over issues of justice in collective events as well as exposure of corruption among those with extreme ambitions for power when Pluto and Jupiter come together, amidst the collective catharsis and upheaval within our personal lives the union of Jupiter and Pluto can bring new opportunities for growth that expands vision beyond previous restrictions.

The asteroid Pallas Athena in Capricorn is also applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter and Pluto when Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun on June 30. The co-presence of Pallas Athena highlights the importance of utilizing the regeneration of Mercury to bring awareness to ways you have been complicit in the forms of systemic oppression being exposed by the union of Jupiter and Pluto so that you can instead work to bring about their dismantling. The presence of Pallas Athena with Jupiter and Pluto can not only help in envisioning ways of contributing to tangible reforms of the societal structures that are falling apart, but also in devising cunningly effective strategies so that plans of renovation may be received and implemented. I recently  was on the Kosmic Tonic Podcast talking about the significance of Pallas Athena aligning with Jupiter and Pluto in 2020, a conversation you can listen to here.

General Moses Harriet Tubman by Charles White

General Moses (Harriet Tubman) by Charles White

Morning Star

Following the inferior conjunction of Mercury on June 30, there will be a partial Lunar Eclipse on July 4 involving Mars in Aries applying to a square with Mercury retrograde in Cancer that it will eventually complete on July 8. Since Mercury is retrograde in the fall of Mars, the friction and conflict incited between Mercury retrograde and Mars could be messy and emotionally eruptive. The transit of Mars through Aries will become increasingly important during 2020 and so the square between Mars and Mercury retrograde will bring an early clue to what areas of life will be volatilized by Mars in Aries. To work with the adversity brought by Mars constructively, be curious how the challenges you must face during this time can help you to become not only more determined and resilient, but also creatively innovative in finding ways to navigate conflicts. It will also be important to discern when it is necessary to stand your ground in the face of contention versus what situations are not worth fighting over.

At the same time that Mercury retrograde and Mars come into conflict, Ceres will station retrograde at 12º49′ Pisces on July 7. In an article I previously wrote about the importance of Ceres in 2020, I asked astrologer and therapist Jason Holley to share what he has noticed from his practice in correlation with periods of Ceres being retrograde. Though I asked him for his thoughts at the end of March, they still feel relevant so I will share them again here:

“In my work as a therapist, I have seen that retrograde Ceres periods seem to correlate to times when unconscious and implicit material comes forward in what are called in relational psychoanalysis ‘enactments’. These are experiences where a person or group, unable to meaningfully articulate or symbolize particular traumatic experiences, instead re-enacts them with whoever happens to be around. There is often a serious rupturing of the relational fabric, sometimes unrecoverable, but often recoverable with perseverance and leading to profound gifts such as those Ceres gave to humankind at the end of the story: Agriculture (a new relationship with the earth) and the Mysteries (a new relationship to spirit).

The upcoming Ceres retrograde in Pisces feels to me like the tsunami of collective grief, anger, and emotional overwhelm that will follow and accompany the seismic level of loss of human life and economic instability of the coming weeks and months. It is in the midst of this wave that we will be challenged to find the deep and embodied groundedness that Ceres represents. Those of us who can access this, even if only transiently, will be called upon to help the even greater numbers of individuals whose coping resources are quite simply overwhelmed.”

Thus while Ceres will be stationing retrograde and facilitating a process of grieving and discovering ways to tend and nurture the inner places where we carry old wounds and grief, Mercury will be slowing down in speed to station direct. Altogether this can open a potent window of time following the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn to come terms with all of the hopes and plans for the future that the pandemic has dissolved, and embracing the uncertainty as well as powerful potential of being in a liminal collective space of leaving an old reality behind for a new and unknown future. Laura Nalbandian gave a talk at NORWAC 2020 called “Nourishing the Soul: Ceres in the Birth Chart” that illuminated ways our Ceres placements can reveal the manner in which we seek external solutions to internal issues leading to co-dependent attachments. Laura stressed the importance of finding connection with your own center you didn’t realize was there in grief, a process that can be facilitated as Ceres stations retrograde while Mercury stations direct.

Mercury will finally return to visibility again as a Morning Star at the same time it will station direct on July 12 at 5º30′ Cancer. As Mercury begins to slowly generate forward momentum in the following week, make the space and time to gather, coalesce, and weave together whatever new sense of presence and awareness wants to emerge out of the retrograde. Mercury slowly shifting direct as a Morning Star will initiate a period of searching for new opportunities to set plans into motion and generate productive growth. In some case you may be ready to launch plans soon after Mercury stations direct, while in other cases there may still need to be a process of integration completed before fully setting things in motion.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star on July 22 at eleven degrees of Cancer, returning once again to the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Alhena, the “Proudly Marching One.” This demarcates the phase when Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

A few days later on July 26, Mercury will return to the degree where it originally stationed retrograde and bring to a close its extended process of moving backward and forward from five to fifteen degrees of Cancer. One day later on July 27, Mercury in Cancer will form its second square aspect with Mars in Aries, a catalyzing aspect that may bring tests or contention requiring increased focus and determination in response. This also means that Mars in Aries will be engaged in a superior square aspect with Mercury in Cancer for all of July. There will be much more intense drama and destructive battles emanating from Mars in Aries during the second half of 2020, making the period of Mercury stationing direct vital for gaining a sense of how to nurture yourself so that you can cultivate and sustain resiliency in the face of increased adversity. Constructively, the heat and fire brought by Mars in Aries can help focalize intention on what matters most and where we need to assert our own will, where we need to be protective and supportive of others who are vulnerable.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I am currently offering a 50% discount on all natal consultations for patrons until further notice.become_a_patron_button

References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

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

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

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

Mercury retrograde in Pisces & Aquarius

Mercury retrograde in Pisces

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1860-98) The Seascape Painter

Mercury Stations Retrograde in Pisces

We paused amid the pines that stood / The giants of the waste, / Tortured by storms to shapes as rude / As serpents interlaced, / And soothed by every azure breath / That under Heaven is blown / To harmonies and hues beneath, / As tender as its own; / Now all the tree-tops lay asleep / Like green waves on the sea, / As still as in the silent deep / The Ocean woods may be.

— from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To Jane. The Recollection

Mercury is at home in the liminal, in between thought and expression, in threshold experiences of leaving one state to enter another. Mercury is the only planet that defies definitions fixing it to a singular category, as it can be benefic or malefic, nocturnal or diurnal, masculine or feminine, depending upon whatever surrounding influences it is mixing with. Mercury delights in transitions within storylines, the unexpected twist or turn, and the loss that catches you off guard and brings awareness to a necessary lesson. Just as Mercury corresponds with stones of many colors, so does it rejoice in the changing hues of sunrise and sunset where it fleetingly shares its light with us. It’s thus ironic that so many hold a rigidly negative judgment against Mercury when retrograde.

When Mercury stations retrograde on February 16, it will twinkle in the sky one last time as the sun sets. After Mercury follows the sun into the darkness of night it will enter its invisible retrograde phase, taking on the role of psychopomp guiding us into the underworld of our unconscious. Mercury shifting retrograde is not an abhorrent aberration, but rather a natural phase of dissolution, purification, and regeneration that is essential to the meaning and function of Mercury. Perhaps it is the cultural emphasis on progress, future goals, and linear processes that leads people to complain about the nonlinear, magical reality Mercury activates when retrograde.

Mercury when retrograde possesses the logic of symbols and poetry more so than instruction manuals, especially when in its fall in Pisces. Mercury retrograde in its fall will compel awareness into incubatory darkness and places of low lying depth rather than exalted heights, especially since it is also under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. Mercury is ready to take us on a deep dive into boundless oceanic depths where we may excavate long lost fragments of ancient secrets harbored in sunken treasure. Mercury stations retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces near Neptune at 17º37′ Pisces, with Jupiter at 17º02′ Capricorn and applying to a harmonious sextile with Neptune.

The visible, evening star phase of Mercury that will end after it stations retrograde was seeded on January 10 during a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer and a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The retrograde movement of Mercury will test and temper aspirations that arose in correspondence with the potent Capricorn seeding in January, loosening our control so as to reveal any unstable elements in need of shedding or shoring up. Furthermore, since Jupiter in Capricorn is receiving Neptune through a waning sextile aspect, we will be called to reorient our beliefs and perspective with the deep, underlying changes that have started to take shape. The disintegration and breakdowns brought forth by Mercury retrograde will incite a shedding of illusions that have accumulated, purging and purifying understanding.

As Jupiter will complete its sextile with Neptune on February 20 and then eventually move within three degrees of its first conjunction with Pluto by the end of Mercury’s retrograde passage, the amorphous perception of Mercury retrograde in Pisces can dissolve the culturally conditioned boundaries that will become volatilized through the catharsis of Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto coming together. If we can fluidly engage with Mercury’s capacity for dislodging stuck, habitual patterns we can gain increased flexibility in responding to the wider societal changes that will be happening. Yet since Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, Mercury’s sleight of hand within its watery landscape can blur distinctions and cause confusion through focusing on larger visions rather than practical details.

Mercury’s retrograde journey will not take place entirely within the ocean of Pisces, however, as Mercury will backtrack into Aquarius on March 4, station direct in Aquarius on March 9, and remain inside the fixed sign of air until March 16 when it returns to Pisces. Since Aquarius is the intellectually oriented, airy home of Saturn, the creative chaos stirred up by Mercury in its first seventeen days of being retrograde will give rise to clarifying insight once Mercury climbs out of the waves of Pisces in order to contemplate and distill wisdom within the sign of the Water Bearer.  Until then, Mercury will need to utilize the extrasensory perception of Pisces and the divinatory tools at its disposal to chart our course along a deep sea expedition.

Baro_Urbigerus_—_Filius_noster_—_1705

Baro Urbigerus (1705)

“Mercury . . . has such power over the animal spirit that he is said both to put minds to sleep and to wake them up with his caduceus, that is to say, by any aspect of his, disposed this way or that, he can miraculously either blunt the wits or sharpen them, weaken or strengthen them, agitate or calm them.”

–Marsilio Ficino, Book III, Chapter XI of Three Books on Life

Our astrological ancestors such as Marsilio Ficino and William Lilly viewed Mercury as ruling the animal spirit, a term we can connect in modern terminology with the interplay between our nervous system responses and our emotional sensations. Although the planet Mercury is not classically viewed as having dignity in the astrological element of water, William Lilly linked Mercury with the element of water through its watery role in alchemy in which it is the fluid mediator between spirit and matter. As Mercury pauses in stillness to shift retrograde, it signals that we are crossing a threshold into a passage of putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart in order to bring about a process of purifying reassembly.

Mercury retrograde in the water triplicity will be one of the key astrological themes of 2020, for the next two subsequent Mercury retrograde periods this year will also be in water signs. Mercury will be retrograde in Cancer from June 17 through July 12, and then will be retrograde in Scorpio from October 13 until October 27 when it will move backwards into Libra, stationing direct in Libra on November 3. The water signs are traditionally known as being mute, places where Mercury’s caduceus transmits feelings, the deeper meaning behind language, and the indescribable significance of visual images and symbols. Pay attention to the three houses of your natal chart ruled by water signs and the sequence of topical significations that will unfold as Mercury moves retrograde through each one this year. Although the astrology of 2020 has a lot of emphasis on the elements of earth, wind, and fire, Mercury through its retrograde motion in water signs will be calling for us to purify and regenerate our emotional presence and ability to share and receive feelings with others.

Mercury is known for its dissolving and blending capacities which mediate polarities such as between conscious and unconscious, day and night, solar and lunar, the sacred and mundane, and so on. Yet Pisces is known to be challenging terrain for Mercury where emotional receptivity and extrasensory perceptions are accentuated more so than skill in clear articulation of ideas through linear language and logic. Being a mutable sign ruled by Jupiter where Venus is exalted, Pisces is a watery landscape of fishponds, rivers, and springs that inspires us to daydream, unifying elements of thought through synthesis and harmony.  Due to its exceptional sensitivity, however, Mercury in Pisces is at risk when emotional flooding disrupts its capacity for discernment and clarity.

Thus when the trickster role of Mercury retrograde rears its head to pull the proverbial rug out from under you, find ways to recover and restore your nerves such as through a hot bath soaked in calming herbs and salts. Rather than cursing the fate of being gripped by the cunning Hermes, it is advisable to keep an open and curious mind regarding whatever unplanned changes occur, as Mercury retrograde is known for making changes in plot that will lead to unforeseen fruit in the future. It’s also wise to use Mercury retrograde in Pisces for what it is good for: being receptive to omens within nature, listening to and exploring the meaning of your dreams, and utilizing whatever forms of divination you can access for guidance.

William Lilly in Christian Astrology, Book Three declared that Mercury in Pisces “makes [wo]men given to Magic, either in hope or dissemblingly.” There is a compelling asteroid connection with not only the capacity of Mercury in Pisces for magic, but also Neptune’s co-presence in Pisces looming over the retrograde journey of Mercury: the Circe asteroid is applying within one and a half degrees to a conjunction with Mercury as it stations retrograde in Pisces, forming an exact conjunction on February 19. We can therefore integrate the mythopoetic meaning of Circe into the opening phase of Mercury retrograde in Pisces.

Circe is a magical solar goddess who is the daughter of Helios and plays a pivotal role in the ancient tale of the mercurial hero Odysseus enduring the retribution of Poseidon/Neptune. In fact, Hermes mediates the enchantment of Odysseus by Circe through precise instruction for how Odysseus may successfully navigate through this rather retrograde episode of his journey. Crucially, Circe ultimately advises Odysseus regarding his destiny, similar to the ancient tradition across numerous cultures in which a hero descends into the underworld in order for the destiny they need to claim to be illuminated by the Goddess. Indeed, Circe not only tells Odysseus that he needs to descend into the underworld, she tells him how to do so as well as how to successfully reascend. Similarly, there will be a deeper layer of our destiny to discover, claim, and embody during the underworld journey of Mercury moving retrograde.

the night prowlers

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1865-98) The Night Prowlers

Into the Black

“Wisdom’s beginning is to give up on the endless fuss of looking hopefully into the future for some final solution to our ignorance, some perfect correction to the mess we’ve made so far.

It starts the same way it ends– with looking back, exactly as Jung recommended, and into oneself. Instead of stepping forwards we have to walk backwards into the place inside us all where the answers already lie and have always been waiting.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

There will be a jolt of inspiration when Mercury stations retrograde on February 16, as the Moon will be at 11º38′ Sagittarius and applying to a superior square aspect with Mercury as well as Neptune, signifying that the irrational side of rationality may take prominence. From sunset on February 16 when Mercury disappears from view until February 25 when Mercury is regenerated through its conjunction with the Pisces Sun, you can align with Mercury’s solar phase by letting go and breaking things down, releasing old patterns and storylines ready to be composted. Since the Moon will be waning in light until forming a New Moon in Pisces on February 23, the lunar cycle during the first week of Mercury retrograde will accentuate the putrefaction of Mercury getting closer each day to being burned up in the Sun.

Mars will enter its exaltation in Capricorn on the same day that Mercury stations retrograde in Pisces, demarcating February 16 as a critical turning point in the year. Mars will generate an intense, catalytic force as it transits through Capricorn at the same time as the South Node of the Moon, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn are co-present in the sign of the Sea Goat. Mars in Capricorn will immediately begin applying toward a flowing trine with Uranus in Taurus followed by a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, amplifying the volatility already being stirred up by Mercury stationing retrograde. While an exalted Mars in Capricorn brings increased drive in working hard to achieve aspirations, as it approaches its union with the South Node of the Moon while Mercury simultaneously deepens into its retrograde, we will be invited to peel back the surface layers of our ambitions to explore the undersoil feeding the roots of our striving.

The days between February 18 through February 20 will be particularly potent as the waning Moon in Capricorn will pass through conjunctions with Mars, its own South Node, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn as well as forming sextile aspects with Mercury retrograde and Neptune in Pisces. Pay attention to whatever emotions become activated by your experiences on these days, as key insight may be received regarding what you have been desiring to achieve, why you have been desiring it, and whether or not the way you have been using your time and energy has been serving your higher purpose.

The New Moon on February 23 will occur at 4°28′ Pisces, two days before Mercury will be reseeded through its conjunction with the Sun. Within the darkness of the Pisces New Moon, Mercury retrograde will be in close proximity with the Sun and therefore will be embodying solar qualities that can burn off whatever is ready to be purged. Since Venus in Aries will be forming a square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn during the Pisces New Moon, making space to explore our own inner darkness can lead to the realization of old relationship patterns we are ready to release, while regenerating our desires for creating what we want to receive in relationship.

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Felix-Hilaire Buhot Midnight Revel

Chthonic Cazimi

Gie me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire, / That’s a’ the learning I desire; / Then, tho’ I drudge thro’ dub an’ mire / At pleugh or cart, / My Muse, tho’ hamely in attire, / May touch the heart.

— Robert Burns (from Epistle to J. Lapraik: an Old Scottish Bard, April 1, 1785

On February 25, Mercury retrograde will unite with the Sun at 6°55′ Pisces during its inferior conjunction. This is an ending and beginning, a rebirth moment for Mercury that deserves time set aside for contemplation and consideration, as Mercury will align in between our orbit with the Sun as close to our Earth as it is possible for Mercury to be. Astrologers have named the union between Sol with the wandering planets cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun: the moment in which Mercury is revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light. During its solar re-seeding, Mercury will be regenerated and purified within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” We can imagine Mercury reverent in ritual, enclosed in a grotto moistened by sweet spring water, ready to cleanse us with the holy water of Pisces.

Fascinatingly, Mercury will unite with the Sun on February 25 during roughly the same time that Mars in Capricorn will be forming a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Furthermore, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will form an exact sextile aspect with Mars and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. There is deep potency here for descent into inner realms of shadow and exploring our relationship with the ideals we use to generate our force of will in the external world. Turning away from the force exerted on the present by the future, turning toward the light in the darkness of the living dead, abandoning ambition to lay down low, within our incubation a healing insight may emerge from our subconscious.

There is resonant living symbolism for this sacred opportunity being offered by the star of Hermes that can be found in the ancient tale of Odysseus. As previously mentioned, Mercury stations retrograde while conjoining the asteroid Circe, the solar goddess who directed Odysseus to descend into the underworld. Thus it is fitting that in the greatest depths of its underworld journey, in between life and death as it melts into the fires of the Sun, Mercury retrograde will be mutually applying to a conjunction with the Odysseus asteroid at 2º08′ Pisces. After the mercurial hero Odysseus follows the advice of the Goddess and descends into the living underworld, he encounters not only blood ancestors such as his mother but also the collective realm of mythic heroes and heroines in the forms of Heracles, Orion, Minos, Sisyphus, Tantalus,  Agamemnon, Leda, Ariadne, and Achilles among others. While Odysseus also learns from a blind prophet the degree to which he has been subject to treachery from Poseidon, a plot line within astrology we could connect to our present relationship with Neptune, the great mystery of what he received from the collective realm of ancestors was the deeper wisdom.

We know that astrology has its roots in philosophies that bind our inner nature with the outer radiance of the stars that shine above us. That we wish upon stars, search to know and realize our guiding star or guardian angel, and that most commonly this deeper process is reflected in the way we use celebrities from the present and heroic figures from the past to serve as our role models and sources of inspiration. The days surrounding the chthonic cazimi of Mercury retrograde in Pisces will be fruitful for exploring the ideals and values under sourcing the role models we have been mentored and guided by. As we deepen into our relationship with the ideals we have clung to in the past, so may we better regenerate a sense of meaning to guide us into the unknown future.

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Alexei Savrasov (1875) Monastery Gates

Mercury Stations Direct in Aquarius

Under the self same bough, and heard as there / The birds, the fountains and the Ocean hold / Sweet talk in music through the enamored air. / And then a Vision on my brain was rolled . . .

— from Percy Bysshe Shelly’s The Triumph of Life

After passing through its purifying conjunction with the Sun on February 25, Mercury will continue to move retrograde through Pisces until it enters Aquarius on March 4. Mercury’s backward movement into Aquarius also marks its return to visibility as a Morning Star heralding the rise of the Sun each morning. Pay close attention to the days following March 4 for important messages, signs, and omens as the re-emergence of Mercury into visibility is an oracular moment in which Mercury delivers significant messages as well as insight into the meaning we can gather from its recent underworld phase of invisibility.

Amazingly, Mercury will station direct on March 9 at 28°12′ Aquarius during a Full Moon in Virgo in which the Sun will be conjoining Neptune in Pisces. Making the surrounding lunation even more catalytic, Venus will also be conjoining Uranus in Taurus while Chiron in Aries will be forming a square to the transiting lunar nodes. This means that Mercury stationing direct as well as the Virgo Full Moon will occur one day after Neptune’s solar cycle will be regenerated through a conjunction with the Pisces Sun. To say that Neptune’s influence in astrology is multivalent is an understatement, and it’s influence over the stationing of Mercury direct will be seen in many ways. Most simply, it is likely that the full light of the lunation combined with Mercury stationing will simultaneously coalesce imaginal insight that can be directed into creative expression as well as will reveal illusions that have been clouding our perception.

Following the Full Moon in Virgo, Mercury will slowly begin moving forward and will remain in Aquarius until March 16. Pay attention to what whole sign houses in your natal chart are signified by Pisces and Aquarius in order to reflect upon the associated life topics and how they may become activated and then reactivated as Mercury moves back and forth in between Pisces and Aquarius in the first couple of weeks in March.

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Maximum Morning Star in Pisces

After Mercury returns to Pisces on March 16, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on March 23 at seven degrees of Pisces. This demarcates the point in which Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

Just days before Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star, there will be an incredibly powerful Aries equinox (on March 19 or 20, depending upon time zone) seeding themes for the year ahead.  As the Sun ingresses into its exaltation of Aries, Mars will be forming an exact conjunction with Jupiter and applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. Meanwhile, Saturn will be at the very end of Capricorn preparing to make its grand entrance into its airy home of Aquarius two days later on March 21 or 22, depending upon your time zone. Mars exalted in Capricorn mixing it up with Jupiter and Pluto will inject the full force of Spring erupting from the underworld into Mercury reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star. Combining this with the enormity of Saturn entering a new sign for the first time will create an atmosphere of immense change for Mercury to mediate.

Mercury will finally return to the same place it originally stationed retrograde at on March 29 at the same time that Jupiter and Pluto are on the cusp of finally completing their first exact conjunction of the year in Capricorn, while Mars is simultaneously applying toward an exact conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius. At this point the magnitude of immense change promised by the astrology of 2020 will be fully set in motion, with Mercury fully activated as a Morning Star and lending us its light in the liminal shade before sunrise. The more we work with the internal processes Mercury seeks to guide us toward during its retrograde motion, the more fully awake we will be to creatively engage with the great collective changes taking shape at the end of March.

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References

Burns, Robert. (1897). The Complete Poetical Works. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

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

Ficino, Marsilio. (1998 edition). Three Books on Life. A Critical Edition and Translation with Introduction and Notes by Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.

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

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque. Catafalque Press.

Shelley, P.B. (2002). Shelley’s Poetry and Prose. WW Norton & Company.

 

Full Moon in Leo

lion head 4th centurcy bc

Achaemenid Gold (6th – 4th Century B.C.)

Full Moon in Leo

Leo is the place of fixed fire, the indomitable flames that endure and resiliently persist in the face of extinguishing forces. The Full Moon in Leo on February 8 (or 9th, depending upon time zone) is an invitation for sustaining focus on the creations you most dearly wish to forge from your inner furnace, no matter how dire the collective crises of the time appear.  The Full Moon is applying toward a flowing trine with Mars in Sagittarius, inciting passionate heat and radiant inspiration that can enliven any downcast spirits. Since 2020 began with the intensifying conjunction of Saturn and Pluto combined with volatile eclipses, the Leo Full Moon can stoke movement driven by the undercurrents of whatever deep material has been stirred up in the past month.

Heroism and courage are character traits associated with Leo we will need to embody in 2020, as it is a year that promises immense collective change with numerous cycles within astrology coming to endings and beginnings. Yet while heroines will be needed, the trine between the forthright Leo Moon and crusading Mars in Sagittarius also warns against hubris and righteously exerting your will in conflicts in which you think you know best.  The Leo Full Moon is ruled by the Sun in Aquarius, giving it the unique characteristic of being the only Full Moon in which the polarity between Sun and Moon is mitigated by the Sun receiving the Moon into its fiery home. The cool, contemplative nature of the Aquarius Sun can help in detaching from emotional reactivity, discerning choices for authentically contributing the skills we are excited about developing within the wider community.

While the trine with Mars is the only aspect the Full Moon is making with other planets, if we are willing to welcome the dwarf planet Eris into consideration there is a fire triangle formed by the Full Moon, Mars and the distant trans-Neptunian entity named after the goddess of discord. While there hasn’t been a lot of time to compile astrological research concerning the meaning of Eris since her discovery in 2005, astrologers have begun to construct significations based in large part upon her meaning in mythology and wildly eccentric orbit. The chaotic strife Eris delights in instigating can be witnessed clearly in current events, and so it is fitting that the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 formed a harsh square aspect with Eris. The fiery triangle between Eris, Mars, and the Full Moon can propel breakthroughs that have their source within the volatility of collective breakdowns and personal tensions that have sharpened awareness of what matters most to us.

The Full Moon is also engaged in aspects with asteroid goddesses, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square aspect with Vesta in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Juno retrograde in Libra. As we become clearer about what gifts we wish to cultivate from exploration of our inner darkness, we will need to form mutually beneficial relationships with collaborators who can help bring the imaginal potency we have been developing into the light in ways that can be received by a resonant audience. We also need to reflect upon the balance of power and responsibility within our relationships, making adjustments so that there is a fair distribution of tasks and reciprocal attention to having emotional needs met. There is stormy astrology on the horizon we will be able to navigate more effectively by addressing relational imbalances that the Leo Full Moon illuminates.

John_Duncan_-_007

by John Duncan

There will likely be important relational issues brought to attention by the passage of Venus in Aries forming conjunctions with Chiron and the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith. Allow the full light of the Moon to expose whatever material has been harbored in your shadow and projected into your relationships. It’s a good time for the practice of reflecting upon how not only those you desire but also are repulsed by can reveal key patterns about yourself you have not been consciously aware of.  Venus expresses ardor directly in Aries and once struck by the arrow of Eros, Venus in Aries will claim the agency required to draw closer to the source of attraction. With Venus continuing to shine brightly in twilight as an Evening Star, though impulsively following desires can lead to trouble it will be the kind of trouble that can also trigger vital lessons.

Venus is also applying toward a sextile with Ceres in Aquarius as Ceres is in an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Venus in Aries is not afraid to fight for whatever it considers to be true, good, and beautiful, and so one way this configuration may show up is through increased interest in social activism and protest movements building around issues of environmental and social justice. The square between Ceres and Uranus can feel upsetting and enraging regarding any personal or collective events in which greed and power dynamics harm or threaten life, yet the invigorating sextile between Venus and Ceres will stoke intrinsic motivation to take action as needed. In some cases this may mean taking the risk to initiate direct movement toward goals, in other cases there may need to be a staking out of space and time in which to actively contemplate the next course of action.

In the week following the Full Moon, whatever issues surface that involve Venus in Aries will continue to demand attention as Venus will be applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes that it will complete on February 13. Venus in Aries delights in the creation of movement, and so if facing dilemmas related to Venus it will be helpful to be physically active such as taking hikes in nature while reflecting upon the next steps to take. Interestingly, although Venus is at the zodiacal point of being at the southern bending in relation to the lunar nodes, it is simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with its own geocentric north node and so will be passing across the ecliptic in the next week from southern into northern latitude (fittingly on February 14 aka Valentine’s Day). This means that the instinctual, subjective emotions and desires that Venus in Aries stirs up will be absolutely essential to integrate and can serve as important guidance in how to more fully engage in the larger changes that want to take shape in our life.

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John Duncan The Turn of the Tide

Just like Venus, Mercury in Pisces is also visible during sunset and in fact will reach maximum elongation as an Evening Star on February 10 at ten degrees of Pisces. The maximum elongation of Mercury as Evening Star demarcates a shift in speed as it slows down to match the steady course of the Sun. Although Mercury will continue to be visible in the week following the Full Moon, it will increasingly become slower until stationing retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces. This means that issues that will become deeply involved in the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase that will last from February 16 until March 9 will be more obviously rising to the surface in the week following the Full Moon. If you notice old patterns and storylines emerging that could be laid to rest, they can serve as worthy compost during the initial putrefying phase of Mercury retrograde that will last from the stationing of Mercury on February 16 until the inferior conjunction of Mercury on February 25 that will occur two days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

It is notable that not only is Mercury in its fall in Pisces, it is further under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. This does not signify doom but does invite contemplation of ambition and desires for greater power and status within society. Rather than insisting on having our expectations of higher achievement fulfilled, Mercury and Jupiter are in position to facilitate descent into the depths of inner darkness and shadow. There is wisdom and depth to gather in our unconscious underworld if we are willing to undergo the trials we must necessarily encounter when journeying there. From now through the back and forth of Mercury retrograde, we will have the opportunity to regenerate our beliefs and visions of meaning and what we want to create with our life.

Mercury is also mediating the polarity between the lunar nodes, forming a sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a trine with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. Furthermore, Mercury is applying to an exact sextile with Pallas Athena in Capricorn, as Pallas Athena is beginning to separate from a recent conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. The collective wounds associated with the misogyny of patriarchy that has its roots in the ancient times that astrology itself was developed have been on full display in the current events that have corresponded with a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Since Mercury in Pisces is more about feeling than articulation, symbol more so than thesis statement, we will have opportunities to deeply feel and reckon with how our thoughts and ideas are systematically conditioned by the times we are living in. These insights will go far beyond words, yet by opening to the possibility of making the inner changes we are capable of making we can begin to strip away however we have been inauthentically conditioned by dominant cultural forces.

Pallas Athena in Capricorn will be an overlooked player in the great planetary drama that will be enfolding in February and March after Mars enters Capricorn on February 16. Pallas Athena will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Capricorn that will last all the way through the Aries Equinox into April, with Pallas Athena being present with Jupiter and Pluto when they form their first conjunction on April 4. Pallas Athena is ultimately a symbol of sacred feminine wisdom, and though her mythology has had her wielded as a weapon in the hands of empires of the past, so may she side with the forces of liberation in the present.

paul klee ghost chamber with tall door

Paul Klee (1925) Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (New Version)

The major outer planetary aspect that will form during the waning half of the current lunar cycle will be Jupiter in Capricorn receiving Neptune in Pisces through a waning sextile aspect that will complete on February 20. This will be the first of three sextile aspects that will form between Jupiter and Neptune during 2020 (the others will be on July 27 and October 11), making it a key aspect for the year. The harmonious interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can be helpful in realigning our vision of life this year to be more congruent with all of the changes that have been taking shape in the past year, especially changes corresponding with the last quarter square formed between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Neptune in Pisces during 2019.

Within the volatile breakdown of societal structures during 2020, Jupiter and Neptune’s relationship can inspire imaginative ideas for coalescing new growth from whatever dissolution and shedding we have been undergoing personally. In particular, we can gain awareness of old beliefs we need to release that have been interfering with our capacity for more deeply understanding our present circumstances. During the Leo Full Moon, Jupiter is applying within two degrees to an exact sextile with Neptune, as Neptune is simultaneously conjoining the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith. The combination of Neptune with Black Moon Lilith is a potent symbol for how we can become distracted and seduced away from our true authenticity by the myriad forms of illusory media surrounding us and the polarizing political conflicts that have become further exacerbated through manipulative media.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Leo Full Moon is in the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a figure bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination.  We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present.”  For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”

There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed. As the peak illumination of the Leo Full Moon wanes in the week ahead, open yourself to discovering a symbol of your most soulful purpose to carry through the challenges to come in 2020. Not as a banner to use in imposing your will upon others, but rather as a guiding star you may follow through whatever difficulties and darkness arise.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

gabriel orozoco extenstion of reflection

Gabriel Orozco Extension as Reflection

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

“Here is the medicine:

That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also. And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going . . . Perhaps our planet is for learning to appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life that surrounds even our suffering, and to say Yes, if through the thickest of tears.”

— Alice Walker, from the Foreward to Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Astrologers have been talking about 2020 for a long time. Not only because of the definitive conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius at the end of the year, but also due to the union between Saturn and Pluto that begins the year. I cannot remember the date of when I first looked at the chart for the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, only that when I did many years ago I needed to talk to about it with my astrologer friends. It wasn’t only that Saturn and Pluto were forming their conjunction at the same time they were uniting with the Sun in Capricorn, but also that Mercury as well as Ceres were in the same degrees, along with Jupiter conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn simultaneously. Then I realized this would be happening two days after a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer, a few weeks after a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn. Since conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto are known to correspond collectively with periods of extreme division, contraction, and gravity, I wondered what would be happening. We know what is happening now.

The United Kingdom recently experienced a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, with plans to leave the European Union. Donald Trump is the president of the United States and ordered the killing of Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani, sparking missile strikes in retaliation and widespread fear of more militaristic violence to come. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has annexed Kashmir, leading to increased tension in the region, while many Indian citizens have been protesting his nationalistic and anti-Muslim agenda. There have been riots in Hong Kong. Australia is on fire.

These events and others have led many people to be afraid of experiencing a tragedy as Saturn and Pluto come together, fearing the kind of catastrophic crises that have previously corresponded with Saturn and Pluto conjunctions such as the first World War. While there are many reasons to have grave concerns about the current state of the world, rather than becoming frozen in fear we need to come into relationship with our fears so that we can participate and creatively bring about a reordering from whatever has been falling apart. The tests, trials, and tempering we will need to face as a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto commences will ultimately enable us to reforge a purified presence. Yet we must first traverse the realm of shadow and dissolution brought by the Cancer Lunar Eclipse.

The Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 is not a total eclipse and will not result in the Moon turning rosy red in shadow. In fact, it is the weakest category of lunar eclipse with minimal shadowing in places of visibility such as Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia since the Moon will be about twelve degrees past its own North Node. During the maximum eclipse, about ninety percent of the Moon’s disc will be partially shaded by the Earth with subtle effects to witnesses. However, it is nonetheless a penumbral eclipse occurring in opposition with the Saturn and Pluto conjunction and thus signifies an intensification of volatility in collective events. As the face of the Moon becomes consumed by shadow momentarily before having the discoloration peeled off to reveal its luminescent light, we are invited to descend within our inner darkness of memory, both personal and ancestral, and explore our inner multiplicity for what newfound presence wants to emerge from all of our past.

Yet this is not a normal Lunar Eclipse, for seated upon the solar chariot of Helios casting the shadow is none other than Hermes. Mercury, the star of Hermes, is experiencing its exact superior conjunction during the Lunar Eclipse, its celestial cazimi when it is moving fast on the other side of the Sun from our orbit. At the exact alignment of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will be a mere six arc-minutes past the Sun meaning it will be barely beginning to emerge from being regenerated by the creative potency of our solar light. With Mercury seated upon the throne of our solar chariot, its capacity for mediating polarities will be needed medicine. Mercury can help open awareness to a different way of perceiving current dilemmas and will be our guide in holding the tension of polarized conflicts until the necessary lesson and message emerges into our conscious perception.

After a new cycle of Mercury is seeded on January 10 with the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will move forward on January 11 and January 12 to form a conjunction with first Ceres, then Saturn, and then Pluto just before the exact alignment of Saturn and Pluto on January 12. On mundane levels we can see how this strongly connects the role of technology and commerce into the inception of Saturn and Pluto, including the attention that Edward Snowden, who was born with Saturn conjoining Pluto, brought to the systematic tracking and storage of everything you do on the Internet by global powers that has now become perhaps the most profitable resource on the planet. Recently there have been new revelations regarding the manipulation of personal data by Cambridge Analytica and how it was used to manipulate unconscious tendencies of voters in the elections that led to both Brexit in the UK and President Trump in the USA.  Part of the importance of exploring inner darkness during these times is to cultivate the self realization necessary to avoid being manipulated by Plutonic powers, as well as separating yourself from the cultural conditioning of the past that can be released during this upcoming year of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all coming to the end and beginning of new cycles together.

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Gabriel Orozco (1999) Nina En  Homaca

Lunar eclipses call for us to fully participate with both sides of the polarity being activated by the nodal axis. Since November 2018, the transiting South Node of the Moon has been in Capricorn with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer, and so although the related themes have been playing out in our lives for awhile, they become stirred up and volatilized when eclipses set them off and introduce new events, relationships, and developments within our story. With Saturn and Pluto having been in Capricorn the entire time the nodes have been in Cancer and Capricorn, the South Node side of Capricorn has been overwhelmingly emphasized. The Cancer Lunar Eclipse triggers the North Node side, with the waxing Cancer Moon forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on January 9. In contrast to the themes of harvesting, shedding, and emptying emphasized by the South Node side of Capricorn, the North Node side of Cancer emphasizes growth and discovering new choices, desires, and ambitions to pursue.

The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn centers around the antithetical meaning of the rulers of each sign, the Moon and Saturn. Since the Moon is ruling the eclipse from its home in Cancer while applying to an opposition with Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, the polarized tension between Cancer and Capricorn will be extremely exacerbated. The Moon and Saturn are total opposites within the traditional seven rulers in astrology, with Saturn being the outermost planet serving as guardian to the vast unknown realm of celestial stars, while the Moon is the innermost and fastest moving who tends to the constant flux of generation and corruption within the material, sublunar realm we inhabit. As the constantly waxing and waning Moon corresponds with our constantly changing emotions and thoughts, we can expect the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer to be especially emotional. The inner emotional processes we need to pay attention to will demand our awareness, and we will similarly be made aware of vital emotions occurring within our most important relationships we will need to listen to and nurture.

The eclipsed Cancer Moon setting off the side of its own North Node, while forming an opposition to the colossus conjunction of Saturn and Pluto, will uproot whatever complexes, conditioning, and emotional patterning have been intersecting with any tension between desires for new growth and fear over the unknown future. In order to holistically move forward, however, it will be necessary to go back within memories of past wounds, past identities and parts of ourselves we released or erased for one reason or another. We need to face not only the material reality of circumstances but also deepen our exploration of our inner expanse so that we may retrieve a more essential presence to align with the path forward, rather than making choices purely from a place of conforming to the systematic structures we need to engage for our material security. As collective structure collapse under the weight of Saturn and Pluto, we can imagine what enduring forms we would like to help create to take their place.

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Gabriel Orozco (1998) Building and Birds

The long anticipated conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 will occur as part of a sequence of pivotal conjunctions within a few days. After the Cancer Lunar Eclipse forms an opposition with Saturn and Pluto on January 10, Mercury will complete a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto on January 12 before Saturn and Pluto come together, and then Ceres will form a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto after they unite. Then on January 13 both Saturn and Pluto will enter the heart of the Sun to be regenerated within its fiery celestial light. The presence of Ceres with Saturn and Pluto as all three experience the purging and purification of their solar union together evokes the mythology of Ceres needing to purge her grief over losing her daughter to Pluto before returning to fruitful productivity and bringing her gift of mystery initiations to humanity. The complex combination of Mercury, Ceres, Saturn, and Pluto all coming together in conjunctions with one another and the Sun within a few days brings a quality of underworld initiation into the reseeding and revisioning of this time period.

Saturn and Pluto periods can make us realize what core ideals and values are so important to us that we are willing to die for them. We may need to enact a sacred process of making a sacrifice of something so that its death can bring about the growth of an essential new form in our life. The first century CE astrologer Manilius in Astronomica described Vesta as tending the fires of Capricorn from her shrine, and similarly it may be helpful to envision the sacred guardian of your own inner fire that can reshape and reforge new callings and skills from within. Saturn has long been associated with contemplation in astrology, called “profound in imagination” by William Lily and signifying the “power of thought” according to Ibn Ezra. Allow for a period of reflective gestation with any new ideas or plans, letting them develop and fully emerge with all the time they need.

Furthermore, Jupiter in Capricorn is closely aligned with the South Node of the Moon during the Lunar Eclipse.  In combination with the inception of a new Saturn and Pluto cycle, Jupiter passing through the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn can pull us into questioning how aspects of our surrounding culture have been influencing our motivations, stripping away or shedding whatever is inauthentic. Jupiter is not so much in position to facilitate a linear version of progress or evolution, but more so a nonlinear process of spiraling into the past to rediscover vital aspects of ourselves we had previously let go of, finding nourishment in the putrefaction of the past. There may also be old dreams and desires from the past we realize we need to release to make space for the new potential that will be arising along with the collective changes happening as Saturn and Pluto begin a new cycle.

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Gabriel Orozco (2004) Untitled

Amplifying the revelatory nature of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse will be the additional factor of Uranus stationing direct on the same day at 2°38′ Taurus. Uranus has been retrograde since August 11, 2019 when it stationed retrograde at 6º36′ Taurus. The stationing of Uranus saturates the astrological atmosphere with the liberating and volatilizing impact of Uranus in Taurus, increasing the potential for dramatic new storylines and developments to materialize. Uranus in general can bring disruption but also can shatter or shake things up in a way that makes us wake up to a more authentic presence and desire to pursue goals and activities that make us feel fully alive. For those with Uranus or any other important natal placements in the first three or four degrees of the fixed signs, this stationing of Uranus will demarcate the final phase of Uranus in Taurus catalyzing major developments in the associated area of your life. Uranus will remain direct in motion until eventually stationing retrograde on August 15, 2020 at 10º41′ Taurus.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Since the Moon rules the third face of Cancer, the potency of this face will be in full effect during the eclipse. In the image of the Four 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 by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice. It’s an image that also fits well with the fact that Mercury will be exactly conjoining the Sun in opposition to the Lunar Eclipse, as the alchemic antenna of Mercury may receive an important insight or change in perception for us to consider in the weighing of options.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “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.” Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, questioning the choice of the extra cup of luxury or what we should do with any material excess we accumulate. Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things” that can be found within this face.

Another living symbol indicating the immaterial resources available in the third face of Cancer is found in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs which ascribes Hekate to the third face of Cancer. Finding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hekate for guidance. Hekate connects with the luminosity of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hekate can also be viewed as the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn. Hekate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations. For ages Hekate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul, making her a fitting guide for this period of Saturn and Pluto beginning a new cycle. Wherever or whomever you turn for guidance, make the space to align your breath with the divine and claim the authority to speak the words and make the choices that further align with your core purpose. We are at a time of endings and beginnings, new patterns emerging from the old, a time that is well deserving of contemplation and clear intent.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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In addition, I recently participated in an online astrology panel for Nightlight Astrology on the Saturn and Pluto conjunction along with the astrologers Samuel Reynolds, Leisa Schaim, Jason Holley, Becca Tarnas, Patrick Watson, Rebecca Gordon, and Acyuta-bava Das. Here is a link to watch it:

References

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

2020 Astrological Forecast on the Energetic Principles Podcast

I joined Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles Podcast for a thorough discussion of the astrology happening in 2020. We discuss each quarter of the year, from solstice to equinox, equinox to solstice in just under three hours. This will hopefully help you prepare for the year ahead, and can also serve as an episode to come back to later in the year to listen to again as we move through each quarter of the year. The astrology of 2020 is the most impactful we have had in over a decade, making it a dramatic initiation into a new decade.

If you enjoy Melissa’s work, check out her site where you will find a Patreon page set up to support her with a monthly subscription.

If you enjoy my work in astrology, please consider supporting me through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page.  Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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New Moon in Sagittarius

Ultimum+Conjunction Marlene Seven Bremner

Ultimum Conjunction: Jupiter and the Royal Eagles of Projection (2019) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Sagittarius New Moon

The cosmos works / by harmony of tensions, / like the lyre and bow.

— Heraclitus, fragment 56, translated by Brooks Haxton

The New Moon in Sagittarius on November 26 brings us to the final days of Jupiter’s time in its fiery home of Sagittarius where it expresses its full essential nature. As the tension of the Centaur’s bowstring readies to launch inspired arrows of targeted will, a bonfire warms the cold, encroaching darkness where a bard sings songs celebrating heroic deeds and gathered wisdom. While there are unknown perils and conflicts waiting to be enacted beyond the horizon, as the Moon darkens there is star fire to kindle within and carry forward on the journey ahead. Use the New Moon to consider your core purpose and the top priorities you need to focus on to create the vision of life you wish to live in the year ahead.

The Sagittarius New Moon initiates us into the lunar cycle that leads toward the eclipse season demarcating the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. The next New Moon will be an Annular Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26 conjoining Jupiter in Capricorn, followed by a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 which will occur two days before Saturn and Pluto unite on January 12. The tightening conjunction between Saturn and Pluto will bring increased tension and pressure in the next couple of months, but within the fracturing and disintegration we can already witness occurring in collective events we can begin to sense how we will need to be revisioning plans in response. The intentions lit today with Sagittarius fire will be honed into sharper focus in December and January, separating essential goals and desires from the inessential.

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the New Moon while occupying 28º38′ of the Centaur’s zodiacal terrain, giving the star of Zeus less than two degrees to cross before entering its fall in Capricorn on December 2. Jupiter at this point is seasoned in the symbolism of Sagittarius and ready for a change in fortune. It will be worthwhile to reflect upon your experience of Jupiter in Sagittarius during the past year for lessons you can apply toward Jupiter’s approaching journey through the wild woods and mountainous landscapes of Capricorn. What aspects of your beliefs have you needed to shed in order to align with a more authentic truth, and where has your faith deepened? Where did inflated hopes lead you astray, and what risks did you take that led to increased creativity, abundance, gratitude, or fellowship? While 2020 contains challenging and difficult astrological transits, it also will bring opportunities for dramatically increasing strength and skill through pursuing the vision you have cultivated during the past year of Jupiter in Sagittarius.

[Note: if you are interested in learning more about Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn, I am conducting a webinar on December 8 exploring the meaning of Jupiter in Capricorn you can sign up for here.]

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Giulio Bonasone (1550-60) Etching of Pan, Nymph, & Cupid in front of a Herm

As the curtain opens on the change in scenery brought by the Sagittarius New Moon, Venus shining bright as an Evening Star is playing a pivotal role. Within the darkness of the lunation, Venus has made a dramatic costume change into the carefully arranged aesthetics of Capricorn while applying to a conjunction with productive Ceres. Since Venus is receiving Uranus in Taurus through a flowing trine which will complete on November 28, she is bringing the inspired revelations gathered from her recent union with Jupiter into contact with the electrifying and experimental influence of Uranus. As Venus is also forming a receptive sextile with Mars in Scorpio, there is a vivifying potency for Venus to direct toward innovative solutions that possess a grounded and realistic creativity.

The entrance of Venus into Capricorn initiates us into a time period of intensified Capricorn influence, as Jupiter will follow the path of Venus through Capricorn in the weeks ahead. Jupiter will enter Capricorn on December 2 as Venus applies to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a harmonizing sextile with Mars. The combined influence of the South Node of the Moon, Mars, and Uranus on Venus favors a frugal and efficient use of assets, finding inventive ways to artfully harvest value from available resources. As Jupiter will be simultaneously descending into the material concerns of Capricorn, growth will be found through tending to the roots of matters and wisely working within the constraints of time and space.

Venus will be getting closer to conjoining Saturn each day of the forthcoming lunar cycle, forming an exact conjunction with Saturn on December 11 as the Full Moon in Gemini reaches peak light. Although the passage of Venus through Capricorn will not be pleasantly easy, Venus can help us bring enlivening Eros into circumstances of Necessity through a measured approach that steadily builds step by step. The challenging sequence of conjunctions Venus will form with the South Node of the Moon (December 3), Saturn (December 11), and Pluto (December 13) will coalesce a deeply felt sense of what needs our attention, care, and nurturance as we approach the monumental shifts that will come with the new cycle of Saturn and Pluto forming in January 2020.

Remedios Varo Los-Reinos-Combatientes-1961

Remedios Varo (1961) Los Reinos Combatientes

Providing an underlying jolt to the lunation is the lingering effect of Mars in Scorpio  separating from an opposition with Uranus in Taurus that occurred on November 24. While the opposition between Mars and Uranus corresponded with amplified conflicts and mass protests in world events, on personal levels there likely was an unexpected change or rapid acceleration in events that forced buried issues to the surface. Since Venus is applying toward a receptive sextile with Mars during the Sagittarius New Moon, there will be opportunities to mend any difficult material that was stirred up by the opposition between Mars and Uranus. There is also enormous creative potency within the aspects between Mars, Uranus, and Venus that begs for taking creative risks within design and implementation of any projects being worked on.

After Jupiter exits from Sagittarius on December 2, the two strongest transiting planets in terms of essential dignity will be Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Capricorn until Mars enters Sagittarius on January 3. Moreover, Mars will be applying toward a receptive sextile with Saturn that will eventually complete on December 19. The strengthened positions of Mars and Saturn during the forthcoming lunar cycle emphasize the need for hard work and courageously persisting with resiliency through whatever obstacles, opposition, and setbacks we must endure. It will be necessary to take action and mix it up with others in order to access the potential available, but it will also be important to make sure we are investing energy into worthwhile enterprises that are aligned with our core purpose. As long as we are following our authentic path, any strife we experience will ultimately make us stronger.

Remedio Varo-Personaje-1960.jpg

Remedios Varo (1960) Personaje

The other major aspect of the Sagittarius New Moon involves Mercury strongly applying to a flowing trine aspect with Neptune stationing direct in Pisces. When Neptune stations it saturates the astrological atmosphere with insight that can be found in the imaginal realm or when entering liminal spaces of a spiritual practice or artistic process. Meanwhile, Mercury is not only direct and visible again as a Morning Star, it is also picking up speed as it reaches its maximum elongation on November 28. During this phase of Mercury’s cycle it’s important to implement and take action on whatever new ideas were cultivated during the past month of Mercury retrograde, as well as embracing the new presence that Mercury retrograde guided us to embody. With Mercury in Scorpio, we can cut through the superficial to penetrate into the core meaning we need to receive or communicate.

After Mercury completes its trine with Neptune it will next form a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 29 followed by another sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 2. Thus, Mercury is in prime position to transmit the otherworldly emanations of Neptune into tangible, creative vision we can manifest with disciplined determination. With Mars co-present in Scorpio and joining Mercury as a Morning Star heralding the rise of the Sun each morning, there will be amplified potential to exert focused effort and make significant progress on goals.

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8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The Sagittarius New Moon is in the first face of Sagittarius associated with the Eight of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Eight of Wands signifies a multiplicity of developments as well as the speed of thought and imagination applied to a passionate goal, which fits well with Mercury being the ruler of the first face of Sagittarius. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Poisoned Arrow” to the first decan of Sagittarius, writing that “the essence of this decan entails the swift emergence of a motivating vision and the attainment of a vehicle to move one toward the pictured goal.” Coppock also remarked on the attribution of daimons of plague by the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to this face, noting this decan also involves “the secrets of propaganda” and other viruses that can “infect the psyche” and hijack our bodies, emotions, and minds.

Indeed, traditional texts on the first decan of Sagittarius are filled with images of armed figures capable of striking and overcoming their target with speed. While Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy described an armored man holding a sword, Ibn Ezra’s The Beginning of Wisdom contained a shouting centaur holding a bow and arrows. Similarly, the Yavanajataka described a golden man with drawn bow and “instruments for the sacrifice” who knows about chariots and weapons and possesses “speed as violent as a horse’s.” And in Liber Hermetis we find the image of “a man having the head of a dog” who is holding a small, sharpened weapon in his left hand. Though capable of causing havoc and destruction, the forces within this decan can also be powerful allies when aligned with our true path.

Thus, while the Sagittarius New Moon can facilitate swift application of targeted effort and will toward envisioned goals, we need to be mindful about the sources behind our  inspired dreams.  Are we clear that the desires we are pursuing come from our authentic self, or are they instead being shaped by the thoughts and values we have been encountering in the media, in movies, on social media, or within the social networks we interact with? Have we also taken the time to consider the full implications of what we wish to set in motion and how it can impact us and others far into the future? It will be worth taking the time needed to gain clarity, so that our imagination and effort will be focused on building the foundation of where we truly wish to call home.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page.  Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

 

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

psyche and cerberus bertel thorvaldsen

Psyche and Cerberus (1838) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

Call me to that one among your hours / that incessantly resists you: / beseechingly near like a dog’s face, / yet ever again turned away

just when you think to grasp it. / What’s thus withdrawn is most your own. / We are free. We were dismissed / at the very place where we expected welcome.

Afraid, we yearn for some handhold, / often too young for what is ancient / and too old for what has never been.

And yet: only just when we praise, / since, ah, we are the branch and the axe / and the nectar of ripening risk.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 23)

On October 31 within the liminal space of twilight, with the setting Scorpio Sun descending into it’s underworld journey of night, the twinkling star of Hermes will pause to prepare for its retrograde journey backwards through the putrefying waters of Scorpio. As Mercury in its retrograde phase takes on its chthonic role of a psychopomp who guides us into and out of underworld experiences, it is fitting for its stationing to take place on the holidays for honoring and communing with ancestors and the living otherworld. Mercury is known for its dissolving and blending capacities which mediate polarities such as between the solar and lunar, the conscious and unconscious, the sacred and mundane, and so on. The dark watery climate of Scorpio will nurture and amplify the ability of Mercury retrograde to absorb atmospheric undercurrents and penetrate under the surface of dynamics to reveal what has been hidden in the root of the matter.

Although Mercury retrograde has been demonized by many, it is in fact an essential phase within the totality of Mercury’s entire solar cycle that delivers necessary messages. Rather than cursing the fate of being gripped by the cunning Hermes, it is advisable to keep an open and curious mind regarding whatever changes begin to take shape. Part of Mercury’s core purpose in astrology is to destabilize dynamics in order to loosen control, break up accumulated dross, and bring about a turning point in narrative and meaning. When Mercury is stationing retrograde, it signals that we are crossing a threshold into a passage of putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart in order to bring about a process of purifying reassembly.

Mercury delights in gray areas between fixed categories of meaning, as it is a gender bending planet that moves easily between states of day and night, good and bad, reason and imagination, depending upon its surrounding influences. It is therefore pivotal that Mercury is stationing retrograde while forming a conjunction with Venus in Scorpio. The impact of Venus in Scorpio upon Mercury is complex, for while Venus brings a unifying and harmonizing influence to Mercury, their union in Scorpio means that death, decay, and decomposition will be necessary in order to fertilize and produce the fruit we can eventually savor from their conjunction. In fact, we may discover it is the difficult experiences we must persist through that ultimately brings us closer to others. As Haruki Murakami once wrote:

“One heart is not connected  to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”

— Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage 

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity can be helpful in dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize Mercury retrograde for sifting through our many inner parts in order to reintegrate fragmented aspects of ourselves. The influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde can open receptiveness to insightful ideas to be curious about and investigate as Mercury moves retrograde in the weeks ahead. In addition, the Moon will also be inciting inspiration through forming a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius as Mercury stations retrograde. Pay attention to not only the events happening around October 31 when Mercury stations, but also the signs and omens that cross your path and bring premonition regarding the liminal process you are entering. It can be a particularly powerful period to intensely focus on research applied to creative output, so notice what grabs your interest in exploring to a deeper level.

Hermes Argus Bertel Thorvaldsen


Mercury about to kill Argus (1818) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, ’tis thine thro’ air to course, 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.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Chthonic Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Despite the unifying influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be strife and conflict to contend with since Mercury will be retrograde in a sign ruled by Mars. Moreover, Mars in Libra will be forming an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn at the same time that Mercury stations. The square between Mars and Pluto can stoke inner drive and ambition, with a willingness to persist through obstacles or break free from constraining influences.  While Mars will be forming a harsh aspect with Pluto, however, Mercury will begin moving backward toward a harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto once it shifts retrograde. As a result, it will be vital to listen to messages from the stationing of Mercury with regard to where we will need to alter plans to avoid unnecessary discord, versus where it will be important to lean into the difficulty and tread into uncertain ground. Mercury’s stationing can help clarify what will be worth fighting for to protect and cultivate in the weeks ahead, as well as what instead needs to be laid to rest.

Mercury retrograde under rulership of Mars wields weapons which disarm fixated viewpoints, nudging us off guard enough to deliver insight that cuts through old defense mechanisms. In myth, Mercury played the role of slayer at times, such as lulling the giant Argus to sleep in order to go in for the kill. When retrograde, the magical wand of Mercury may charm us with seeming distraction, yet eventually as we regain our bearings we can realize there was a larger purpose behind the enchantment no matter how frustrating it felt in the moment. Although Mercury retrograde in Scorpio may lead us into strife and experiences of separation, it will be worth the risk to resiliently accept and work through the difficulties in order to comprehend the message that Mercury’s sleight of hand is delivering. When it doesn’t feel possible to let go of wounds or loss, the ineffable depth of Scorpio’s waters can help dislodge feelings of grief that need to be released.

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from Viridarium Chymicum (1624)

Mercury’s retrograde phase occurs during the part of its orbit in which it is as close to us as possible, moving in between the orbit of our Earth and the Sun. The close proximity of Mercury intensifies its presence in mundane matters, which can be beneficial when focusing on research or writing, difficult when experiencing mental overwhelm. As Mercury shifts backwards while the Sun moves directly towards it, Mercury mutates from being a visible Evening Star into its chthonic invisible phase. Mercury will be visible in some localities as an Evening Star when it stations on October 31, but by November 4 it will definitively move into its invisible phase by getting within fifteen degrees of the Sun. As we can no longer see Mercury in the sky at this point in its cycle, Mercury symbolically takes on the role of a psychopomp guiding our soul into a liminal, underworld period of regeneration.

During the week from November 4 when Mercury disappears until November 11 when Mercury will be revivified through its conjunction with the Sun, we will experience the most intense process of putrefaction, decomposition, and release. During this week you can align with Mercury by mindfully purging whatever from the past is ready to be burned off by the fiery Sun. As Mercury gets closer and closer to the Sun during this week, it will simultaneously take on more of the hot and drying qualities of the Sun that can aid in separating us from whatever needs to be released. It can also be a powerful time of receiving imaginal inspiration that will seed ideas to nurture and work on during Mercury’s journey through darkness.

The watery landscape of Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also a place in which decay nourishes and feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that can eventually produce fruit. The day after Mercury stations retrograde, Venus will enter Sagittarius on November 1 and will begin her pilgrimage to conjoin Jupiter that will occur on November 24 just after Mercury stations direct. The co-presence of Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Mercury retrograde period can be helpful in lifting vision to expansive heights whenever we feel like we are getting stuck in the quagmires of Scorpio.

It’s worth considering that while popular astrology dogma warns to not sign any contracts or begin initiatives during Mercury retrograde, it is in fact possible to sign contracts and begin enterprises that will turn out to be successful during Mercury retrograde periods. However, it is important to listen closely to your intuition, bodily senses, and synchronous signs that illuminate inner guidance.  If something about a new project or move seems off for some reason, it will be wise to investigate further before making a commitment. If all evidence points toward making a positive change in direction, there is no reason to prevent yourself from acting due to worry over Mercury being retrograde. If a decision can wait, however, clarifying insight can be received after Mercury is regenerated through its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) The Swan, No. 10, Group IX

Mercury transit of the Sun

Will transformation. O be ravenous for the fire / in which a thing boastful with change forever eludes you; / that designing Spirit which plots earth’s flourishes, — / it loves most in the figure’s élan the moment of turning.

What shackles itself in survival already is rigidity; / does it feel itself safe in the shelter of nondescript gray? / Beware, from afar the hardest is warning the hard. / And woe–: an absent hammer is lifting!

Whoever pours forth as wellspring, Recognition greets; / and she guides him enthralled through the serene Creation / that often ends with beginning and in ending begins.

Every happy space through which they walk marveling / is child or grandchild of Separation. And the transformed Daphne, / feeling so laurel-like, wants you to change into wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 12)

Mercury will be revivified and reseeded by its chthonic conjunction with the Sun on November 11 at 18º55′ Scorpio. During its inferior conjunction Mercury becomes purified and regenerated while aligned in orbit between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mercury to be. During the time that Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so while Mercury is within sixteen minutes of its solar conjunction, there will be enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Old astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun, when Mercury is seated upon the throne of the Sun and revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light.

“The protected space at the heart of the Sun is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.”

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology

All inferior conjunctions of Mercury are not equal, however, and in fact the one on November 11 has a special quality. Due to Mercury’s union with the Sun being within a degree of the heliocentric North Node of Mercury, visually a small black form of Mercury will be able to be seen transiting across the face of the Sun during its solar alignment. This is similar to what happens during a Total Solar Eclipse in which a New Moon forms close to one of the Moon’s nodes, but the difference is that Mercury is visually too small from our perspective to eclipse the light of the Sun in blackness. This means Mercury will literally be in the heart of the Sun, making it an intensified rebirth for Mercury befitting its placement in Scorpio.

Make sure to create space for inner contemplation on November 11, for Mercury’s transit of the Sun only happens thirteen or fourteen times a century. The last time there was a Mercury transit of the Sun was in May 2016 with Mercury retrograde in Taurus conjoining the heliocentric south node of Mercury. It will not happen again until November 2032. Mercury’s chthonic cazimi aligning with its North Node will amplify penetration into inner depths to discover self realization of material that had been hidden from our awareness. Whatever inner space was cleared through emptying and shedding during the first half of Mercury’s retrograde can now be seeded with new ideas and desires to nurture in the forthcoming cycle of Mercury. Adding to the potency, Mercury will be entering its own Egyptian bounds as it enters the heart of the Sun, giving Mercury greater capacity to redirect insight into material manifestation.

Furthermore, there will also be an underlying influence of Uranus in Taurus on Mercury’s rebirth, as the waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus will be conjoining Uranus as Mercury forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11. This is especially significant since Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 31 in the week following a New Moon in Scorpio that was opposite Uranus. The effect of Uranus on Mercury’s solar conjunction can incite unexpected events and revelations which lead to dramatic changes as the Full Moon in Taurus brings further illumination on November 12. The impact of Uranus can also manifest through forging deeper connection with allies and collaborators who share similar passions and interest in forming supportive communities, whether in person or through long distance technology.

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Hilma af Klint (1908) Group VI, Evolution, No. 9

Morning Star of Hermes

Behold the flowers, those true to the earthly, / to whom we lend fate from the edge of fate,– / yet who can say? If they regret their fading, / it is for us to be their regret.

Everything wants to float. And yet we move about like weights, / attaching ourselves to everything, in thrall to gravity; / O what wearisome teachers we are for things, / while in them eternal childhood prospers.

If someone were to take them into his inmost sleep / and sleep deeply with them–: O how light he’d emerge, / changed, to a changed day, from the mutual depth.

Or perhaps he’d stay; and they’d bloom and praise him, / the convert, become now like one of their own, / all the quiet brothers and sisters in the meadow’s wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 14)

From the Full Moon in Taurus on November 12 until Mercury stations direct on November 20 at 11º55′ Scorpio, Mercury will move retrograde through its final phase of invisible darkness. During this week Mercury retrograde will form a harmonizing sextile with Saturn in Capricorn on November 13 and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces later on the same day. Moreover, at the end of November after Mercury stations direct and is visible again, Mercury will complete an additional trine with Neptune and sextile with Saturn. As a result, in the afterglow of the Full Moon in Taurus make space and time to imaginatively explore the insights and ideas seeded during Mercury’s chthonic cazimi to the fullest extent possible, without worry of making them fully manifest until Mercury returns to visible light. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio this year bears the gift of providing not only the imaginal support of Neptune, but the tempering and practicality of Saturn in Capricorn that will help facilitate finding ways to transfigure imaginative vision into tangible forms that can meet the needs of others in your wider community.

Mercury will finally return to visible light again as a Morning Star at the same time it stations direct on November 20. As Mercury undergoes a process of recovery from its retrograde motion, it will gain an added dose of vitality from the entrance of Mars into its watery home of Scorpio on November 19. Mars at the beginning of Scorpio is in a place of extreme strength as it is in its own home, bounds, and triplicity. It’s co-presence with Mercury stationing direct will supply ample fuel to begin moving forward with implementation of the ideas developed during Mercury’s twenty day journey retrograde. Just as it is important to pay close attention to Mercury when stationing retrograde, so it as well extremely important to be mindful when Mercury stations direct in order to receive necessary guidance.

In addition to the ingress of Mars into Scorpio brining an extra charge of resilient determination into the stationing of Mercury direct, Venus will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius and providing a fount of providential inspiration. Venus will complete its exact conjunction with Jupiter on November 24 as Mercury is finally beginning to move forward again. If you have become motivated to make dramatic changes during Mercury’s retrograde motion that also makes you fearful due to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of following through, the union of Venus and Jupiter will provide uplifting support for taking the risk to break free from whatever restrictive influences have been holding you back. As Mercury returns to visible light in the pre-dawn sky, so may we experience ignition of an inner fire to strike out in pursuit of revivified passion and desire.

Copper alloy sculpture from Sumer (ca 3000 BC) of figure with ibex horns and raptor wings

The final phase of the Mercury retrograde process begins as Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star, which will occur about eight days after Mercury stations direct this time around. The threshold of Mercury reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star demarcates the stage at which Mercury returns to matching the speed of the Sun and then shifts into moving faster than the Sun as it continues to travel through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha compared this phase of Mercury with the rubedo stage in alchemy (Caton also compared the opening stage of Mercury retrograde to the nigredo stage, and the time following the inferior conjunction to the albedo stage of alchemy). As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make the shift into a new way of being as Mercury picks up speed and moves through its Morning Star phase.

Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on November 28 at seventeen degrees of Scorpio, at the same time that Neptune is stationing direct on November 27 in an exact trine aspect with Mercury. Furthermore, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star at the same time that it will form its third and final sextile aspect (since the middle of October) with Saturn in Capricorn on November 29. A few days later, Mercury will complete its third and final harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 2, the same day that Jupiter leaves its fiery home of Sagittarius in order to enter its fall in Capricorn. Finally, Mercury will leave its retrograde shadow zone and pass through the same degree where it originally stationed retrograde on December 7.

As a result, Mercury will be engaging with supportive aspects from Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto as it picks up speed and heralds the rise of the Sun with its morning light. The beginning of 2020 will be dominated astrologically by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, and so Mercury will be in position to help with attuning and adjusting to the larger changes in collective structures taking place. More importantly, Mercury will also be supportive in melding imaginative vision with the disciplined determination needed to fully manifest creative expression into forms that can offer solace and support to others in need of what we have to offer. As the coming astrology of 2020 suggests monumental, tectonic shifts in collective events are on the way, it will be up to each and everyone of us to claim the responsibility to do our part in cultivating our skills and talents to share with others in mutual support.

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Full Moon in Aries

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Hilma af Klint (1915) Group X, No. 2, Altarpiece

Full Moon in Aries

The Full Moon in Aries on October 13  amplifies the polarity between Eros and Necessity, our most passionate desires for what we wish to manifest versus the constraints of our circumstances. Whether you are facing difficulty surviving materially or simply frustrated over past effort not manifesting what you had hoped, on a deeper level the vast inequities embedded in the present forms of culture and civilization will be amplified and highlighted. While the propulsive force of the Aries Full Moon can incite anger and anguish over witnessing injustice inflicted on others or ourselves,  it also will illuminate what needs our persistent attention and focus to address and remedy.  There are no easy answers to be found in the light of the Aries Full Moon, but there is a resilient and inspirational quality within its aspects that can help in bringing the unifying force of Eros into relationship with the demands of Necessity.

The Aries Full Moon weaves together the dominant astrological themes of 2019, namely the uplifting striving brought by Jupiter in Sagittarius and the intensification of shedding and honing brought by the combination of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. As the Aries Moon waxes toward fullness it forms a square aspect with its own nodes as well as Saturn in Capricorn, and will be tightly applying toward a square aspect with Pluto during its moment of peak illumination. This means that the Aries Full Moon is also forming a square aspect to the sequence of eclipses in the past year in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn (Capricorn Solar Eclipse on January 5; Cancer Solar Eclipse on July 2; Capricorn Lunar Eclipse on July 16), and so will force awareness to contend with the events and stories stirred by the eclipses this past July and how they have mutated in form in the past few months.

Yet the Aries Full Moon is not only illuminating the trajectory of past events, but also bringing premonition with regard to the waves of change coming in 2020. On January 12, 2020 a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto will begin as they conjoin at 22º46′ Capricorn while also within a degree of conjunction with Mercury, Ceres, and the Sun in Capricorn. Though there will be many unexpected developments between now and then, take time to reflect upon the current status of whatever you have been cultivating with an eye toward how you want things to develop in 2020. The Full Moon in Aries is intrinsically action-oriented and can be helpful in making a rapid response to however you may need to make personal adjustments as well as how others may be in need of your assistance.

Due to the exact square forming between the Aries Full Moon and Pluto, there is an opportunity to penetrate under the surface of whatever you have been fixated upon achieving in order to come to terms with the underlying issues behind your motivations.  The friction between the Full Moon and Pluto will be most overwhelming for those engaged in power struggles or feeling a need to control a particular scenario, placing importance on making sure you are not acting out of alignment with your inner integrity when aggravated or threatened. The influence of Pluto on the Full Moon can be an aid in cutting through mental static to realize the essential purpose that is most important to focus time and attention on in the months ahead, as well as what has been getting in the way and needs to be eliminated.  There is an empowering side to the Aries Full Moon that can rekindle enthusiasm for making the most out of your present situation.

Beneficially, the flowing trine aspect formed between the Aries Full Moon and Jupiter in Sagittarius can help in coalescing a larger vision that takes account of present difficulties while also noting how to fertilize new growth. Aries is a place of pioneering initiative, described by William Lilly as signifying “Lands newly taken in, or newly ploughed.” The combination of the Full Moon being in harmony with Jupiter while in tension with Saturn and Pluto can ideally be utilized to envision how to expand in growth while also realistically taking account of the resources you will need to be successful. While the sign of Aries is not known for encouraging tact and sensible estimation, the impulsive nature of the Aries Full Moon in trine with Jupiter can help lift vision up from stuck places and invigorate passion where things have become stagnant.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) Group IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 7

Mars in Libra rules the Full Moon, further inflaming the polarity between the Sun in Libra opposing the Moon in Aries. Both Mars and the Sun are known as hot and fiery archetypal forces that can find it challenging to express their full force in Libra, the airy, aesthetically and intellectually oriented home of Venus. Mars in Libra wields weapons of charisma and charm, strategy and diplomacy in order to manipulate power dynamics and achieve outcomes.  Positively, the influence of Mars in Libra on the lunation can promote interest in collaborative enterprises and discovering ways for your actions to benefit others and serve the needs of your broader community. Yet Mars is more likely to vacillate between options in Libra than in any other sign, and so it will be imperative to focus on responding promptly and decisively when necessary.

The Aries Full Moon marks an important threshold for Mars to cross as it will finally become visible again as a Morning Star in the days following the lunation.  Mars has been in its invisible, underworld phase in the past three months and so will bring awareness to fresh desires as it likewise returns to sharing its light again in morning skies. Take the time to consider and come into relationship with whatever shifts you notice taking shape from within. Whatever new desires corresponding with Mars that you notice will have to contend with the tests and limitations of Saturn, as Mars in Libra will simultaneously be heading toward a catalytic square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, the lunar nodes, and Pluto. Mars will form a square aspect with the lunar nodes on October 21 and a square aspect with Saturn on October 27, the same day as the New Moon in Scorpio.

As a result, during the waning half of the lunar cycle there will be increased conflict and contention within collective events as Mars volatilizes the lunar nodes followed by Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn.  There may be numerous personal dramas to deal with as well as having to change course due to barriers or restrictions in the way. There is nothing pleasant about Mars forming a harsh aspect with Saturn, but their tension can be utilized in working hard with resilience and tenacity.  Since Mars in Libra is acutely sensitized to issues of social justice, a productive outlet for energy can be found through  activist work on behalf of others in need. Mars in Libra also has strong propensity for exploring new desires in relationship, and so it will be more effective reaching out for help and support from others, or initiating greater personal involvement in community, rather than trying to take on all of the challenges coming from Mars and Saturn in the coming weeks on your own.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) Group IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 9

The final major aspect involved in the Aries Full Moon is the opposition between Venus in Scorpio and Uranus in Taurus which culminates on the day before the lunation. The back and forth tension between Uranus and Venus can feel like a wildly oscillating see saw out of control for those unaccustomed to reconciling the dissimilar natures of Venus and Uranus. Whereas Venus has an essential purpose to harmonize, please, and bring things together, Uranus does not care about whether others like what you are doing or not, only that you are doing what makes you feel the most authentically vital. The unpredictable nature of Uranus can also bring sudden changes that feel discordant to attempts by Venus to stabilize and carefully arrange the aesthetics of presentation. Easing the harsh aspect between Uranus and Venus is the fact that Venus is receiving Uranus due to Uranus inhabiting the inwardly directed, earthy home of Venus.

Uranus electrifies, vivifies, and fully awakens the sensuality of Taurus, volatilizing its fixed yet fertile earth with the stimulus needed to break free from past limitations and generate new growth.  Venus receiving Uranus while occupying Scorpio brings to my mind the description given by William Lilly in Christian Astrology of Scorpio being a place of not only “muddy, Moorish Grounds” and “ruinous houses near Waters,” but also the fecundity of gardens, orchards, and vineyards.  Venus in Scorpio will require placing old desires into the compost, putrefying and decaying old matters of relationship in order to bring forth the fruit of new growth.

Deep hunger for new desires within relationships, creative expression, and all things related to Venus will be felt strongly not only due to Uranus exciting and invigorating Venus but also due to Venus re-emerging into visible light as an Evening Star. While Venus was in the invisible, underworld phase of her superior conjunction with the Sun in recent months (since the time of the Cancer Solstice on June 21),  she was as far away from us in orbit as possible within her cycle. Now that Venus is visible again as well as beginning to move closer to our Earth in orbit, the power and virtue of Venus will likewise become more apparent within our material realm. Fascinatingly, Venus will be shining her light again in the darkly alluring attire of Scorpio where she may conceal feelings until gaining a sense of being in a secure dynamic she can trust.

During the journey of Venus through the quagmires of Scorpio she will also be mutually exchanging signs with Mars, since Mars is occupying the outwardly directed home of Venus and Venus is inhabiting the inwardly directed home of Mars.  Although both Venus in Scorpio as well as Mars in Libra are considered to be in detriment, the fact that they are occupying one another’s signs still means they will be able to support one another and so will cultivate greater congruence in pursuit of desires. While Mars in Libra will seek out new connections, Venus in Scorpio will focus on exposing hidden dynamics and penetrating into the underlying emotions of our relations. It’s certainly possible for Mars in Libra and Venus in Scorpio to lead us into messy situations or into obsession with a new attraction, but they can also be utilized to cultivate increased honesty and expression of emotional needs within relationship.

Meanwhile, Venus is not alone in the bogs of Scorpio, for leading her way through the watery terrain is Mercury who is also in its Evening Star phase and becoming more powerful in mundane matters.  In fact, Mercury will be waiting for Venus at the end of Scorpio, as Mercury will station retrograde at the end of October, sustaining stillness in order to unite with Venus in Scorpio on October 30 a few days after the New Moon in Scorpio.  Pay attention to whatever is signified by Scorpio in your natal chart, as this will be an area of life that will undergo intense reconstruction in the next couple of months as Mercury will move back and forth through Scorpio in its retrograde phase during November. During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus and Mercury in Scorpio will be guiding us directly into the material that will be part of this regenerative process.

4 wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The full light of the Aries Moon will peak in the third face of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A card that has been associated with completion, the perfection of work, and rituals celebrating the crossing of a new threshold, in the image we can observe two figures being honored on stage.  This card and image fits well with the place the Aries Full Moon occupies in the trajectory of 2019’s astrology, for the lunation is at the bending of the lunar nodes, the axis forming a cross with the places of the year’s eclipses and the intensified destruction and restructuring brought forth by Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Looking back on how far you have come this year and considering whatever you have had to overcome in pursuit of your desires, it is a fitting time to hold your own ritual celebrating the terrain you have crossed this year.

Venus rules the third face of Aries, which is interesting since Venus is considered to be in detriment in Aries due to Venus being placed in the home of Mars. This means that the third decan of Aries gives Venus the capacity to manifest success despite being in a sign  of the fiery, assertive ambition of Mars. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to the third face of Aries, attributing to it “the power of art to overcome hostility,” and “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions,” while also requiring “the martial heat of the battlefield.” Coppock noted that it is the battle-ready ferocity of Aries turned toward artistic performance and charismatic presentation that gives this decan its power “to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.”

Aries 3 Decan by Francesco Del Cossa

Third decan of Aries image from Allegory of March: Triumph of Minerva (1476) by Francesco del Cossa

The image above by Francesco del Cossa of a figure who resides within the third face of Aries encapsulates aspects of numerous images found in ancient text. The trinity of Three Books of Occult PhilosophyPicatrix, and Liber Hermetis all reveal figures dressed in red and holding a staff or sword. This passionate figure is wearing either a golden or wooden bracelet depending on whether you consult Three Books of Occult Philosophy or the Picatrix, but both texts indicate the figure embodies the unrest of not being able to do desired good. The reason for not being able to manifest these good wishes is not stated, but Three Books proclaims there is “talent, tameness, joy, and beauty” to be found here. The figure in the Picatrix is an iron worker and so has a medium through which to transfigure frustrated anger into works of vivifying creation.

In contrast, the figure in Liber Hermetis wears a gold crown with glistening emeralds decorating her belly. She is full of magic and her staff has the heads of four serpents facing a polarity of directions. Her garments of dark rose are lined with golden strings and she seems to possess the grace of the figure painted by Francesco del Cossa rather than the fury over constraints described by other texts. The focused countenance in del Cossa’s figure suggests they have an inner knowing of being able to make a targeted impact, as they seem to be summoning an inner force to project through the golden bracelet held delicately with their fingers. Francesco del Cossa placed an arrow in the other hand, evoking the mythic Eros or Cupid.

Eros is in fact resonant, as the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the figure of Eros to the third face of Aries: the capacity of Eros to arouse passions into creations that inspire collective forces lies at the heart of the decan’s meaning. While some spiritual lineages place Eros as a primordial, hermaphroditic deity at the dawn of Creation, later traditions made Eros into the cunning son of Aphrodite who constantly stirred up the troubles brought forth by lust in both mortals and gods with his bow and arrows. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces stated it is more likely that the 36 Airs had the son of Venus in mind with the third face of Aries as “Eros’ escapades make clear that the desire for unification is inflamed by separation, love by war, lust by forbiddance.”

Another version of Eros is found in Plato’s Symposium, where Eros is described by Socrates as the child born from the sexual union of the divine forms of Poverty and Resource. To Socrates, Eros or Love is always poor, always in a state of need, but is also always resourceful in being able to gain what it needs. Within the polarity between Poverty and Resource, the daimonic force of Eros weaves together awareness of the wisdom to be found through our earthly desires. As the light of the Aries Full Moon begins to decrease in the waning half of the lunar cycle, create protected space from whatever difficulties you have been experiencing in order to envision what you truly wish to create and contribute for the greater good in the year ahead. Let the restrictions of the established power structure and status quo serve as the stone that kindles the inner fire that will sustain your determination in the journey ahead.

If you enjoy my writing or have been helped in some way by my articles on astrology, please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page.  My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look at my Patreon page for more details.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

New Moon in Libra

Chicago_Hrosvitha Test Plate, 1979

Judy Chicago (1979)  Hrosvitha Test Plate

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon on September 28 arises in Libra, the airy home of Venus, the exaltation of Saturn, and the living image of the Scales. When gazing at scales, even if they appear to be still their form suggests the ceaseless, endless calibration going on within everyone, everything, in every moment. Libra as the sign of the scales is a place of perpetual balancing within all of our personal relationships as well as how we relate to our environment and arrange elements of time and space to meet our own needs as well as the needs of others. The Libra New Moon comes at a pivotal juncture of 2019, as the lunar cycle it initiates is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a catalyzing square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes as well as the zodiacal degrees of the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse that occurred in July.  As a result, numerous strands of stories that have been stirred up in recent months will become activated, and as we sense how things are settling and coalescing we will have the opportunity to make a measured response. Traditional Libra keywords such as rebalancing and recalibrating elements that are in a volatile state of oscillation will be needed.

The symbol of the scales also conjures the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of souls after death, at which time the heart would ideally be as light as a feather instead of heavy with the gravitas of unresolved issues.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of social justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior. As the Libra New Moon is separating from a tense opposition with Chiron retrograde in Aries, while also applying toward a harmonizing sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius, focus will be brought to how the societal conventions and laws created by humanity can often be at odds with natural law and order. For example,  it was estimated that approximately six million people around our planet took part in protests over the impact of human pollution on climate change in the week before the Libra New Moon as the Libra Sun formed an opposition with Chiron.

Fittingly for a Libra New Moon, both sides of the scales balancing benefic and malefic astrological influences are fully loaded. On one side, Pluto is in the process of stationing direct within the darkness of the Libra New Moon while Saturn is forming an exact conjunction with the true South Node of the Moon, bringing focus to whatever needs to be shed and released.  On the other side, both the New Moon as well as Venus in Libra are applying to a harmonious aspect with Jupiter, inciting visions of how to address whatever has come out of balance in order to fertilize and nurture productive growth forward.  It will also be important to not only find balance in our external work in the world however, but to also descend within one’s inner darkness to discover what is in need of mending within our psyche.

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality. The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state. Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow. The inherent restoration of balance to our system that results from this process will be important to pay attention to in the forthcoming lunar cycle. Insight will be gained by paying attention to signs indicating how our unconscious is mediating what we have been consciously attempting to achieve, such as drawing us to focus on an area of life we had been neglecting.

pelican brass 15th century

15th Century brass Pelican plate from Netherlands

Venus in Libra rules the New Moon while forming an exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius. Moreover, within a day of  the lunation the waxing Moon will form a creative sextile with Jupiter followed by a potent conjunction with Venus. At the same time, Venus is also in the middle of a process of separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Saturn and the lunar nodes while applying toward an intense square aspect with Pluto that will complete on September 30. Venus is sovereign and securely at home in Libra and so can draw on the strength of her own resources to mediate and mend the complicated dynamics she is engaging.  While in some areas of life we will need to realize that we need to let go of our attachment to things working out a certain way and instead surrender to the process of change at work, in other areas of life it will be possible to initiate important new stages of development.  Instead of resisting whatever change is being demanded from the stationing of Pluto on October 2, see how you can integrate the deep shifting into your creative engagement with the world.

In the week leading into the Libra New Moon, Mercury re-emerged into visibility as an Evening Star and brought numerous significant announcements in collective events. At the time of the Libra New Moon, Mercury is forming a conjunction with the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Spica.  Across diverse cultures, Spica is universally known as a supremely positive fixed star and marks the ear of wheat in the left hand of the Winged Goddess in the Virgo constellation. Spica has also been connected with images of lamps, pearls and other symbols of bringing knowledge like the wheat cultivating Ceres. Known as the Spike of the Virgin, it has been said that the light of Spica which symbolizes the wheat held by the Winged Goddess is a source of cultivating knowledge and bountiful gifts. Bernadette Brady wrote that Spica brings “a gift of brilliance, an innate talent, skill or ability which is out of the ordinary,” a “symbol of knowledge and insight.”  Brady wrote that the wheat sheaf symbolism of Spica “can be considered a symbol of her [the Goddess] gifts to humankind.”

Traditionally both Mercury and Venus have been associated with the nature of Spica, and so it is compelling that not only is Mercury forming a conjunction with Spica but also that in the following week Venus will form a conjunction with Spica on October 3 as she is finally re-emerging into visibility as an Evening Star. Doubling down on the symbolism of the goddess bearing the gift of wheat for humanity,  the dwarf planet Ceres is applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius at the same time.  While the transits of 2019 have been difficult, they will not be getting any easier in 2020 and in fact will bring increased levels of volatility into collective events. As a result, it will be vital for each and everyone of us to reach into our depths to bring out the gifts and talents we possess to share with others who are in need of what we have to offer.  As the Libra New Moon waxes into light, as Mercury and then Venus forms a conjunction with Spica, make a commitment to cultivating the skills you have to offer than can help shape the world to come for the highest good of all.

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Judy Chicago (2015) In the Shadow of Death

2019 has been dominated by the movement of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, and so it is not a surprise that they are also a primal influence upon the forthcoming lunar cycle. Since Pluto will station direct a few days after the Libra New Moon on October 2, its stillness will saturate the astrological atmosphere with its significations of being initiated into an underworld process of transformation. Furthermore, since Saturn is forming its final exact conjunction with the true South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, the Libra New Moon also serves as a threshold to cross of Saturn finally beginning to separate from the transiting South Node of the Moon.  While the influence of Saturn combined with the South Node of the Moon will persist in the month ahead, and the influence of Saturn and Pluto coming together in a new cycle will be intensifying in the year ahead, the influence of Ketu upon Saturn and Pluto will finally begin to lessen.

As a result, within the darkness of the Libra New Moon take the time to reflect upon what has needed to be released and what has been honed to a more essential form in your life during the past six months of Saturn traveling close together with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. In the past year of eclipses setting off the combination of Saturn and Pluto uniting with the South Node of the Moon, what can you now see more clearly has coalesced out of the dissolution that came with their influence? While Saturn in Capricorn promotes hard work, it will also be necessary to simply sit and reflect upon all of the destabilizing changes that have happened in correspondence. If things have felt too overwhelming to handle, as Saturn begins to separate from the South Node you will likely gain increased clarity for how to best respond.

swords02

2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon arises in the first face of Libra associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a blindfolded woman sits in front of an oceanic expanse while crossing two swords in front of her.  The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, and indeed this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find equipoise, resolving conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.  Austin Coppock in 36 Faces referenced Smith’s illustration by ascribing the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to the first face of Libra, describing it as a place which awakens awareness to injustice and disequilibrium within both societal and personal levels of interaction.

Since the Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra and the Moon is being regenerated in its own face, the meaning of the first decan of Libra will be amplified. Austin Coppock described the meaning of this face as not only illuminating dynamics of “fairness and reciprocity” based upon “core principles of ethical interaction with other beings,” but also inciting assertive attempts to address injustice.  It is further notable that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra. As the Erinyes are chthonic goddesses who serve natural law and punish transgressors, the first face of Libra is a place of becoming aware of previously hidden evidence that reveals inequities.  Thus it is likely that those who have been extremely out of balance will  be facing a karmic reckoning.

As a result, it will be important to reflect upon levels of equity within your interactions with others in the forthcoming lunar cycle and making sure you are acting with integrity. As the Moon waxes in light, Mercury will enter Scorpio on October 3 followed by Venus on October 8, with both immediately forming an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. Meanwhile, Mars will enter Libra and begin heading toward harsh aspects with Saturn and Pluto as the upcoming Full Moon in Aries on October 13 forms a catalytic square aspect with the lunar nodes, Saturn, and Pluto.  The combination of these aspects means that hidden dynamics within relationship are likely to be exposed. While there are supportive aspects in the coming lunar cycle for cultivating growth and making progress on goals, it will be necessary to make an honest appraisal and adjustment to the balance of giving and receiving in relationship.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

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