July 2019 Eclipses with Cassandra Tyndall

July Eclipse titlecard

July 2019 Eclipse Video

We are on the threshold of a particularly potent eclipse season. Unlike our last eclipse season in January, these eclipses hone in on a specific area of your birth chart due to the solar eclipse on July 2 being in Cancer, and the lunar eclipse on July 16 being in Capricorn. This leads to the eclipses activating opposing houses in your birth chart, such as your 1st and 7th houses or your 11th and 5th houses.

In this video, my good friend Cassandra and I explore the themes of the eclipses and what to expect over the coming weeks, as well as some of the other major transits occurring in the month of  July.

If you like this video, please feel free to subscribe to follow my site with your email address, subscribe to Cassandra’s youtube channel,  or discover more about Cassandra’s stellar work at her website.

New Moon in Taurus: Plowing Fields

John_Roddam_Spencer_Stanhope_-_Robin_of_Modern_Times

Robin of Modern Times (1860) by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Taurus New Moon

The New Moon in Taurus on May 4 initiates a new lunar cycle from the middle of Taurus, the cross quarter point of Spring in the northern hemisphere otherwise known as Beltane. Pollination, burgeoning blooming, and the steady patience and diligent tending needed for cultivating gardens intersect with magical notions of veils being thinned between our usual reality with that of fairy spirits and intermediary daimons. Whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere, the fertility focus of Taurus and its plodding pace that savors every second of sensual satisfaction is the ground in which to plant the seeds for what you wish to cultivate in the month ahead. However, we can hear in the wind forewarnings of challenging weather and changing fortune on the horizon that demand necessary preparation. Indeed, both traditionally benefic planets, Venus and Jupiter, are involved in challenging aspects with both traditionally malefic planets, Saturn and Mars, as Sun and Moon conjoin in the sign of the Bull. Fortunately, the Taurus New Moon is making aspects that support devising a successful strategy for making sure the seeds you are planting will eventually produce a worthy harvest.

The Taurus New Moon is in range of harmonious aspects with the intense union of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as with the imaginal potency of Neptune in Pisces. Since Saturn stationed retrograde within the week prior to the New Moon less than three degrees away from Pluto, their combined influence along with the South Node of the Moon has been forcing awareness to contend with whatever is necessary for us to confront, rather than whatever we wish we could be focusing on. This can include shadowy aspects of our subconscious or issues involving external relationships we had previously been ignoring, denying, or have been simply unaware of. Unions between Saturn and Pluto have a long historical track record of corresponding with global crisis and instability, and though Saturn and Pluto do not exactly align until January 2020, we are presently being initiated into an intensification of the tension that will be corresponding with the ending and beginning of their cycle.

As the Taurus New Moon is in a stabilizing trine aspect with the Capricorn trio, it brings the gift of making the necessary adjustments and modifications and being able to implement strategies for enduring present challenges. Since the New Moon is also in a creative sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces, there is even something magical to be found in using common sense to address practical issues with grounded presence open to possibilities found in the moment. It will be necessary in the coming lunar cycle to actively cultivate the fertility of whatever ground we are working on and then follow through with sustained effort toward completing needed tasks. In order to access the full potential of the Taurus New Moon, however, we need to enrich our process with the full range of our imagination and creative visioning.

John_Roddam_Spencer_Stanhope_-_Thoughts_of_the_Past_-_Google_Art_Project

Thoughts of the Past (1859) by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Venus in Aries rules the New Moon and is applying toward a square aspect with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn as well as the transiting lunar nodes. The tension between Venus and Saturn will be building until their aspect completes on May 7, bringing Venus into a complex relationship with both Pluto as well as Jupiter in Sagittarius.  On May 9 within hours Venus will move from a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter into a catalytic square aspect with Pluto, making the week following the New Moon pivotal as the Moon increases in light. Indeed, on May 9 the Crescent Moon will be in Cancer applying toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon opening awareness to important future-oriented choices to make. During this time there may be difficulties and stress to handle, but these aspects also suggest we can utilize the tension for our own benefit. Keep the larger vision of what you wish to manifest in mind as you work under the pressure of these aspects, sustaining belief in being able to achieve aspirations as you simultaneously apply effort and discipline to get the job done.

Yet, focusing too much on work and what we wish to build into the structures of our life can also distract us from another important side to these crucial aspects that Venus in Aries is passing through. Part of the story involves Mercury, as in the week before the New Moon the star of Hermes crossed the same terrain and teased open our psyche to the necessary issues that Venus needs to now mediate. There will likely be a lot of unconscious material stirred up, including vital memories from our past, that need to be reflected upon and sifted through in order to glean and integrate the needed lesson. As a result we will also need to make time and space for contemplation and allowing ourselves to set aside the demands of work so we may arrive at a deeper understanding of the present dynamics at play in our life. Venus in Aries engaging the intensity of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn suggests that while we will need to be shedding and clearing certain issues, there is also something essential and vibrant to uncover, protect and nurture within ourselves, something with a life force that will endure whatever obstacles are in the way now.

Mercury will be a key figure within the astrology of the coming month to track, as it can serve as a liminal guide through the transitions on the way. During the Taurus New Moon, Mercury in Aries is separating from a square with Pluto, a trine with Jupiter, and a mutually receptive sextile with Mars in Gemini, giving the star of Hermes a significant message to carry forward into the coming lunar cycle.  A couple of days after the New Moon on May 6, Mercury will enter Taurus and immediately begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus. May 6 through May 9 will be important days to pay close attention for signs of larger shifts opening up on the horizon. Mercury combined with Uranus can facilitate a liberated perspective able to receive insights that change our relationship with and understanding of our developing life narrative.  This is the first time Mercury will form an exact conjunction with Uranus in Taurus and so will likely bring additional clarity to whatever life events have been volatized by Uranus in Taurus.

kurt seilgmann knight in armor

Knight in Armor (1943) by Kurt Seligmann

Yet another dramatic aspect central to the dynamics of the Taurus New Moon is an applying opposition between Mars in Gemini with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will complete on the day after the lunation. The opposition between Mars and Jupiter is dynamic, propulsive and carries a double edge sword of inciting action while demanding caution toward pride that comes before a fall. The flames of ideological warfare and conflict will be stoked underneath the friction of Mars polarizing Jupiter, and so in personal realms be aware of when it is better to walk away and de-escalate conflict before it becomes more amplified. There may be arrogant accusers and cocky crusaders to contend with, and in the end the tension of this opposition can help clarify what beliefs we hold are worth fighting for and rising to defend and protect.

The opposition between Mars and Jupiter can also incite breakthrough decisions to move beyond previous boundaries, barriers or restraints. The liberating potential of their tension will be increased on May 6 once Mercury enters Taurus and initiates an emancipatory conjunction with Uranus that will complete on May 8.  While we will need to be careful of excessive actions and hubris, there will also be important lessons to learn from the experience of taking a leap to go after what we want during this time. Rather than passively surrendering to the intensity of the other astrological aspects previously mentioned, the opposition between Mars and Jupiter will encourage being an active co-creator with the catalyzed dynamics.

The Taurus New Moon is building toward a passionate and emotional Full Moon in Scorpio on May 18 that will have a Dionysian impact of loosening and dislodging.  Before the waxing light of the Moon becomes full, Mars in Gemini will receive Venus in Aries through a creatively dynamic sextile aspect on May 14. This is one day before Venus will enter its home of Taurus and Mars will enter is fall of Cancer on May 15, and so the sextile aspect between Venus and Mars will form at the final degrees of Aries and Gemini. There will be stress and tension present to manage within the surrounding astrology, but the receptive sextile between Mars and Venus holds the potential of using the friction for innovative creative manifestation. Work initiated during the Taurus New Moon may receive a propulsive jolt of development as Venus and Mars come into relationship in the middle of the month.

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6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The New Moon in Taurus will be seeded in the fertile darkness of the second decan of Taurus, associated with the Six of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money.  The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch.  The unifying theme is that there is receiving found in the giving, and giving found in the receiving; the image of the scales could further be interpreted as signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity in the process.  Through inner harmony transmitted through collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm. This is a key concept to bring into the meaning found with the New Moon in Taurus, as reaching out for support from others, as well as reaching out to support others, can bring us exactly what we need to endure present challenges.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action. Notably, Coppock advised that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides” (p. 75).  Indeed, the fertile potential of the darkened Moon in Taurus is evident as the Moon rules the second face of Taurus, giving the Moon essential dignity through face, exaltation, and triplicity.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horai to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time who are the daughters of Zeus and Themis, goddess of divine law and order. Diodorus of Sicily wrote in the 1st century BC that each of the “Horai was given a responsibility named after her for the ordering and arranging of life for the greatest benefit of mankind” and “furnishing a prosperous life” through “lawfulness {eunomia}, justice {dike}, and peace {eirene}.” In keeping with the Taurean metaphor of cultivating crops, the Horai were worshipped by those planting and tending their field of harvest in alignment with the rising and setting of stars. The presence of the Horai with the New Moon in Taurus suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time and season for action. Within the darkness of the New Moon, let yourself let go of the plans whose time is not now, while mobilizing the force of your conviction and integrity behind those goals whose time have arrived.

References

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by S.M. trzaskoma, R.S. Smith, and S. Brunet. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

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

 

 

Libra Full Moon: Balance in the Bending

Notre Dame North Rose Window

North Rose Window, Notre Dame Cathedral

Full Moon in Libra

The Full Moon in Libra on April 19, 2019 brings illumination as we arrive at a crossroads. We have a choice of which direction to follow, a choice of whose guidance to follow, a choice to push forward with ambitious initiative or to pause in contemplation, incubating recent insights before taking new action. The Libra Full Moon culminates at the final degree of the Scales, resulting in its waxing light building across the entirety of Libra as it forms a volatile square aspect with the lunar nodes as well as the shadowy conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. The Libra Full Moon will dramatically amplify chaotic forces of change already set in motion during the past week in which the fiery Sun in Aries also formed a disruptive square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes. Libra is a cardinal air sign of dynamic change oscillating between extremes that calls us to find balance in the center of its vortex, arranging elements of space and time as needed to find a sense of harmony within forces of discord. Fortunately, Jupiter in Sagittarius is in a harmonious sextile aspect with the lunation, with the retrograde motion of Jupiter prodding us to go within to cohere understanding.

Once the Full Moon peaks at the final degree of Libra, its lunar light will illuminate the  beginning of Scorpio and then apply immediately to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. In addition, the day after the lunation on April 20 after the Sun enters Taurus it will immediately begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus. The impact of the lunar opposition and solar union with Uranus can coincide with rapid acceleration of developments or propulsive inner forces making it feel like there is no choice but to take a certain action or approach to situations. As a result the more we can take time and space to center and find as much inner balance as possible, the better we can adjust to whatever becomes activated by Uranus in Taurus in the days following the peak of the lunation’s full light. Uranus in Taurus opposing the Moon and then conjoining the Sun can also correlate with innovative insights that suddenly lead to a solution to difficulties or to an ingenious idea to improve whatever we have been working on.

The Libra Moon forming a square to the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and South Node of the Moon in Capricorn means that it is at its northern bending, its maximum peak of northern latitude within its orbital cycle. This is a dynamic point of volatile change in the Moon’s orbit in which it reaches its greatest height to then descend back toward the ecliptic where its orbit intersects with Earth’s orbit. Demetra George in her tome Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice wrote that “the Moon at the bending suggests both a state of objective awareness between the lunar body and solar soul, but can also indicate the potential for disassociation and lack of connection” (p. 354). Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote that when the Moon forms a square with its own nodes its “lunar function operates with a minimum degree of focalization in earth-nature and in all bio-psychic organisms.” Rudhyar continued that since the Moon at its northern bending “is as far withdrawn from the Earth as she can be,” that the Moon is also “most active in her own sphere” (p. 23).

The astrological volatility stirred up by the Libra Full Moon is interesting considering that it is occurring in the fourteenth Lunar Mansion known as Al Simak (“The Unarmed”) which centers around the fixed star Spica. Donna Woodwell has ascribed the image of “The Harvest” to this mansion, writing that it is about “separating the wheat from the chaff,” overcoming fear in order to end, leave, or move on from relationships and circumstances that are not fulfilling or delivering what we need. Chris Warnock in Mansions of the Moon described the Al Simak mansion as being about breaking apart “restrictive or inappropriate bonds,” and that while we need to be “wary of the impulse to fight with those whose temperament is opposite to our own,” this mansion of Spica “might also indicate that we need to remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation that goes against our nature.”

Thus rather than impulsively rushing ahead with plans during the time around the Libra Full Moon, it can be best used to create protected personal space for reflecting upon one’s place within changing material circumstances. Listen to messages from the environment and the inner guidance you receive in moments of grace in order to adjust and make modifications as needed. Since Libra is the outwardly directed, airy home of Venus, it can also be a powerful time for creative brainstorming and experimenting with ways to further develop projects especially since Uranus in Taurus is involved in catalyzing the lunation’s force. Be open to looking at things from a completely different perspective, liberated from previous conceptions.

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Earliest Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral, west facade

Venus in Pisces rules the Libra Full Moon only a degree past her exact exaltation degree. Thus Venus in Pisces is on her throne of exaltation and capable of facilitating soothing self care and imaginative, inventive creativity in any art. Venus in Pisces is forming a quincunx aspect with the Libra Full Moon, suggesting the importance of finding ways to connect our creative ideas with the actual needs of our community. Rather than self centeredly focusing on whatever we think is the most interesting way to do things, instead bring the exalted status of Venus in Pisces into devising ways to make ideas helpful to others in practical ways that can make a difference. As we are also at the beginning of a new Venus and Neptune cycle, there could otherwise be a tendency for Venus in Pisces under a Libra Moon to put imagination into abstract conceptions that never fully materialize in reality.

Venus leaves her exaltation of Pisces to enter Aries, the fiery home of Mars, the day after the Full Moon on April 20. Venus in Aries will be ruled by Mars in the swift air sign of Gemini, promoting creativity in arts and following wherever curiosity guides us.  Unlike Pisces where Venus exalts, Aries is not comfortable zodiacal terrain for Venus to traverse in terms of indulging in the pleasures of Venus. Instead, the fire of Aries pushes Venus to claim and assert independence, take bold action in pursuit of desires, and find ways to bring people together over inspirational ideas that speak truth to power. Under the influence of Mars in Gemini, Venus in Aries will excel at multi-tasking and can wield its fire to cut through the multiple perspectives stirred up by Mars in Gemini in order to coalesce a direct creative expression.

Notre Dame cathedral rose window dageurreotype

Notre Dame Cathedral Rose Window daguerreotype (1841) by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

Casting an imposing shadow across the Libra Full Moon is the intensifying union between Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Both Pluto and Saturn will station retrograde by the end of April, with Pluto stationing retrograde on April 24 and Saturn stationing retrograde on April 29. The south node of the Moon has already passed over Pluto and will be forming a conjunction with Saturn as it stations retrograde at the end of April. When planets station, their significations saturate the astrological landscape: thus Pluto in particular is looming large over the Libra Full Moon. Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche linked the archetypal impact of Pluto in mundane events with the mythic archetype of Dionysus, as it carries an eruptive life force that cannot be resisted, shattering and loosening structures and beliefs that had been bringing a sense of security.

When Pluto erupts from the depths, transmutation is in process and as new forms arise and old forms break apart, we need to allow ourselves to also let go of the way things have been in order to reorient with the changing forces taking shape. The union of Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of Capricorn is particularly challenging due to the emphasis Capricorn has on the ancient, the traditional, the structures and beliefs that have endured across time and the figures who have gathered strength and skill through a wealth of experience. On the one hand we need to recover and cultivate the aspects of our myriad civilizations that bring stability and order in ways that meet the needs of people, yet on the other hand numerous aspects of the old order also must now break down or decay in order to begin clearing space for new forms and structures to take shape. The tragedy of the Notre Dame cathedral catching fire in Paris reveals how gut wrenching the structural regeneration underway will be for those emotionally and spiritually invested in forms now breaking apart.

Saturn and Pluto will not form their exact conjunction until January 12, 2020 but with both of them stationing at the end of April only three degrees apart, while simultaneously conjoining the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, the end of April and beginning of May will bring an amplified initiation into the meaning of their new cycle. Making it more intense is that the heliocentric south nodes of Saturn and Pluto are in the same area of Capricorn, meaning that the movement of Saturn and Pluto around their entire orbital arc is now descending to intersect with the orbit of our Earth around the Sun. Dane Rudhyar likened this type of archetypal process we are experiencing with Saturn and Pluto to both the death and decay of the Autumn season, as well as the importance of incubating and gestating the seed that will bring forth new life. There is a sacrifice necessary, a release of what must die in order to bring forth what needs to be born. We simultaneously will be experiencing the extremes of Saturn and Pluto, the putrefaction of their poisonous toxicity as well as the empowering discipline and reordering of their more ideal significations.

Notre Dame allegory of alchemy

Allegory of Alchemy from central portal of Notre Dame Cathedral

The Libra Full Moon also brings illumination to the recent ingress of Mercury into Aries. Mercury had been in Pisces since February 10 before finally entering Aries on April 17. At the time of the Full Moon, Mercury is applying to a close conjunction with Chiron in Aries and is applying toward a mutually receptive sextile aspect with Mars in Gemini. In the past month we have had a lot happening in the signs of Pisces and Capricorn, inwardly directed signs that tend to work receptively with material at a patient pace more so than with frenetic speed. Mercury in Aries combined with Mars in Gemini will speed up events and facilitate taking direct, impactful action to shape matters that have become volatilized and ready to change.

Mercury in Aries is firmly within its Morning Star phase in which it heralds the rising Sun at dawn with its light. Mercury’s Morning Star phase resonates with being curious and explorative, reaching out for new connections and weaving new meaning and ideas together. Dane Rudhyar called this phase Promethean due to its strong capacity for foresight, and I also think of it in relation to the Magician arcanum in tarot due to its capacity for helping us reshape matters in line with our developing vision. Whatever shifts occurred for you during the long Mercury retrograde in Pisces transit that lasted through March, it is now time to integrate the lessons into your daily communication and movement through your community.  Mercury will form its exact sextile with Mars in Gemini on April 30, and so their mutually receptive relationship bears gifts to infuse into research, communication, promotion, and mercantile activities for the rest of April.

As the Moon continues to wane in light for the rest of April, Mercury will get closer each day to forming a volatile square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the transiting lunar nodes at the same time that Saturn and Pluto are stationing retrograde. Simultaneously, Mars in Gemini will be getting closer each day to forming a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, becoming exact on April 27. This brings a much deeper, ineffable influence into the receptive relationship between Mercury and Mars. Mercury in Aries forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes will penetrate awareness into unconscious material  and patterns, as well as insight into the larger structural changes occurring in society. Though Mars and Mercury will want to incite action and swiftness, it will be important to make time and space to recenter in reflection, listening within to unconscious messages that can bring guidance. The influence of Mars forming a square with Neptune can bring inflation and fixation on dogmatic perspectives in some people, while for others this same influence could help unveil illusions that have been operating under the surface of perception.

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4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Libra culminates in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces linked the presence of Nemesis in this decan to her role as “a force which restored balance to life’s chaotic wheel,” acting “to consciously correct the injustices whirl of blind forces” by “restoring right proportion.” One way Nemesis restores balance is through bringing retribution against those carried away by hubris who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence with the Libra Full Moon emphasizes the need to rebalance whatever has become out of proportion in our life. We may recognize aspects of our shadow we have been denying, or realize we have been suppressing desires that need to be accepted and cultivated. There are many crises coinciding in collective events calling for action, but in addition to playing a role in creating the change we wish to see in external events, we likewise need to bring attention to tend to the changes occurring internally.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

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

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

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

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces

rene magrite fair captive

The Fair Captive by Rene Magritte

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces

“All I have is a voice / To undo the folded lie, / The romantic lie in the brain / Of the sensual man-in-the-street / And the lie of Authority / Whose buildings grope the sky: / There is no such thing as the State / And no one exists alone; / Hunger allows no choice / To the citizen or the police; / We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night / Our world in stupor lies; / Yet, dotted everywhere, / Ironic points of light / Flash out wherever the Just / Exchange their messages: / May I, composed like them / Of Eros and of dust, / Beleaguered by the same / Negation and despair, / Show an affirming flame.”

—from September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden (born with Mercury in Pisces conjoining Saturn in Pisces)

The twinkling light of Mercury initiates us into the regenerative, retrograde phase of its cycle in sunset.  In Greek mythology sunset is the realm of the Hesperides, divine daughters of primordial Night and Darkness who tend a garden and grove bearing the golden apples of Gaia. Charming nymphs who delight in singing songs of the numinous, the Hesperides have granted the gifts necessary for heroes to complete their quests, such as lending Perseus the winged sandals of Hermes. Yet in their company resides an ever wakeful dragon symbolizing the potent fertility of chthonic chaos pulsating under our perceptions of reality. The otherworldly sunset realm of the Hesperides is located in the farthest reaches of the West, at the outermost reaches of the encircling Oceanus from which the fixed stars and Helios rise and set each day.

As Mercury stations retrograde at the final degree of Pisces on 5 March 2019, its Evening Star light will still be visible as the sun sets, transfiguring the sky in changing colors. Whenever planets station in astrology, their archetype dominates the astrological landscape in the surrounding week. Many astrologers focus upon rational analysis and linear logic amongst the many significations of Mercury, yet there is a type of excessively linear Mercury that is more of a dominant cultural construct than the reality of magical and shamanic processes that Mercury also tends. The work of Peter Kingsley is interesting in this context, as he has argued against what he calls a misguided academic approach to the history of logic in Western civilization, since the figures who gave birth to logic such as Parmenides and Empedocles were actually involved in deeply mystical and irrational processes.

In the case of Mercury stationing retrograde, it’s the influence of the underworld, psychopomp side of Mercury that claims prominence due to it disappearing at sunset into its invisible phase in the days following its stationing. Though periods of Mercury retrograde provoke alarm amongst astrologers, it is in fact an essential aspect of Mercury necessary for the natural expression of the Star of Hermes. While breakdowns and disintegration of all things mercurial can happen during Mercury retrograde, it simultaneously brings the opportunity for necessary shedding, cleansing, purification, and reorientation.

The numinous realm of the Hesperides bearing otherworldly gifts as well as a dangerous dragon to face connects well with the particular Mercury retrograde phase occurring in March 2019 as it begins on the same day as the ingress of Uranus in Taurus. The Sun is setting in conjunction with ethereal Neptune as Mercury stations, and its retrograde phase will be taking us into the disillusionment and revelations at the heart of the square aspect between Neptune and Jupiter in Sagittarius that is another one of the most important astrological aspects of 2019. The other major astrological aspect of 2019, the coming together of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn (while also conjoining the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto), will also be interfacing closely with Mercury’s retrograde phase in Pisces through a harmonizing sextile aspect. We will be pulled to release and rebirth deeply personal patterns as well as disentangle ourselves from the dominant constructs of power enforced through societal institutions and hierarchies.

Here are some key dates:

  • February 19: Mercury conjunct Neptune at 15°35′ Pisces first time
  • February 22: Mercury in Pisces square Jupiter in Sagittarius (21°06′) first time
  • February 26: Mercury at maximum elongation as Evening Star
  • March 5: Mercury stations retrograde at 29°38′ Pisces
  • March 6: New Moon in Pisces as Mercury descends at sunset into invisible phase and Uranus enters Taurus
  • March 14: Mercury conjunct Sun in Pisces at 24°11′
  • March 15: Mercury square Jupiter (23°19′) second time
  • March 20: Full Moon in Libra on Aries Equinox
  • March 23: Mercury retrograde reemerges as Morning Star
  • March 24: Mercury conjunct Neptune at 16°49′ Pisces second time
  • March 26: Venus enters Pisces
  • March 28: Mercury stations direct at 16°05′ Pisces
  • April 2: Mercury conjunct Neptune at 17°08′ third time
  • April 5: New Moon in Aries
  • April 10: Jupiter stations retrograde in Sagittarius
  • April 11: Mercury square Jupiter (24°20′) third time with Mercury at maximum elongation as Morning Star
rosmerta and mercury

Rosmerta and Mercury

Pisces is the fall of Mercury and the exaltation of Venus, and as this is given great prominence within Indian astrology its interesting that Mercury is stationing retrograde in both tropical as well as sidereal Pisces. On the other side of Mercury’s retrograde when it is stationing direct, Venus will enter her exaltation of Pisces. Thus we can imagine Mercury clearing, cleaning, and preparing the watery, nocturnal temple of Jupiter for the arrival of the goddess, Venus, at the end of its retrograde. In fact, Mercury will be stationing retrograde near the exaltation degree of Venus (27º) and then stationing direct near the fall degree of Mercury (15º).

Moreover, the date of March 5 when Mercury stations retrograde is the traditional date of Navigium Isidis, an ancient Roman festival honoring the great goddess Isis and involving an elaborate procession.  Fittingly for the meaning of Mercury retrograde in Pisces, the procession of Isis also served as a prayer for the protection and safety of seafarers. Whether or not you have an oceanic voyage planned during March, we will all be embarking one way or another on a metaphorical sea crossing into realms of imagination and fantasy that will make clarified objectivity difficult to sustain. Yet within the tidal forces of Mercury we can dislodge ourselves from stuck, fixated perspectives into a more enlivening perceptual presence.

While there is mystery involving a definitive answer to the question of why Mercury has its fall in Pisces, there are many reasons that have been deduced that would take up too much space to explore here. One aspect to remember is that the categories of exaltation and fall are status symbols in a way, something one receives from others. There is often something of the unconventional found with Mercury in Pisces that goes against the established, favored doctrines of society. For example, the brilliantly unorthodox writers Maya Angelou, Stephane Mallarme, Langston Hughes, Charles Baudelaire, and James Joyce were born with Mercury in Pisces, as well as empirical scientists who shattered dogmatic worldview such as Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Charles Darwin. There is also a quality of having to not only fall into the suffering of the material world with Mercury in Pisces, but furthermore needing to traverse underworld experiences as part of retrieving soulful insight to share with others.

Vitally, Mercury in Pisces is ruled by the uplifting influence of Jupiter, and thus during the forthcoming Mercury retrograde its extremely significant that Jupiter is in its fiery home of Sagittarius and receiving Mercury through a catalyzing square aspect.  These connections bring the potential to uncover a deeper realization of personal truth within whatever difficult, disorientating, disintegrative, and disillusioning experiences may occur during the month of March.  The more we can let go of dogmatic beliefs we have been clinging to for whatever reason, the more we can open ourselves to the dissolution needed for essential rebirth that Mercury retrograde in Pisces can bring.

Magritte__Le_Baiser-3

Le Baiser by Rene Magritte

“We move up a spine of earth / That bridges the river and the canal. / And where a dying white log, finger-like, / Floating off the bank, claws at the slope, / We stumble, and we laugh. / We slow beneath the moon’s eye; / Near the shine of the river’s blood face, / The canal’s veil of underbrush sweats frost, / And this ancient watery scar retains / The motionless tears of men with troubled spirits. / For like the whole earth, / This land of mine is soaked….”

— from Take this River  by Henry Dumas

The day after Mercury stations retrograde we will experience both the ingress of Uranus into Taurus as well as a New Moon in Pisces conjoining Neptune. While the Pisces New Moon seeds meaning for the coming month, the entrance of Uranus into Taurus is seeding meaning for the next eight years. There is in addition the compelling symbolism that just as the waxing sliver of crescent lunar light emerges the following day, the Pisces Moon will be uniting with Mercury retrograde at the same time Mercury is descending into the darkness of its invisible phase at sunset. Thus we will be experiencing the waxing, increasing light of the lunar cycle at the exact time the light of Mercury wanes and descends into the darkness of its underworld phase.

Marsilio Ficino in Three Books on Life wrote that as the Moon “receives a life-giving power” from the Sun each time it forms a union, “she receives from Mercury in the same place [Mercury is always near the Sun] a force which blends her moistures,” since Mercury has “the virtue of his own transformation into all other planets and by virtue of his many revolutions.” On March 6 and 7, we will have a syzygy seeding of the Pisces Moon with potent imaginal influences from Neptune, followed by an alchemical mixing by a psychopomp Mercury. There is incredible imagination and fantasy within these aspects that will be able to be utilized in any field involving creativity. It also means that we will need to apply extra attention to detail, such as repeatedly reviewing steps in any process for miscues. While intuitive capacities will be heightened with Mercury retrograde in Pisces, we can also overlook a small detail that leads us astray.

It will be worth being willing to wander in March, bringing the possibility of becoming temporarily lost. Sometimes we have to become lost or pursue the wrong direction at first in order to ultimately arrive at the place we need to be. With Uranus entering Taurus, there will be dramatic developments within personal narratives, with some people having to cope with unexpected shocks shattering their former reality. Moreover, with all of this happening at the same time that Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of the Moon will be getting closer together, there will be immense breakdowns and power struggles erupting within societal structures to contend with.  The influence of these Capricorn placements also means new ideas and remedies may be found amongst old traditions and ancient lineages. The tricks and subterfuges that come with Mercury retrograde can tease us into bending perception enough to receive the necessary guidance or change in direction.

Georgia O'Keefe music - pink and blue

Georgia O’Keeffe (1918) Music – Pink and Blue No. 1

The week of March 6 through March 13 beckons us into a cavernous depth of disintegration, a period that Gary Caton likened to the Nigredo phase of alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. During this week we may feel forced to release attachments to connections that previously brought security, or we may choose to consciously breakdown old material. The underlying meaning is to align ourselves with a process of separating elements in order to ultimately synthesize a new understanding by the end of the retrograde period. Interestingly, during the first week of Mercury retrograde it will form an exact sextile aspect with the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, and a trine aspect with the transiting North Node of the Moon in Cancer. The interface with the lunar nodes increases the likelihood that the circumstances we will be facing and needing to alter will guide us into a vital change of heart or shift in what we feel is most important to focus on going forward.

Making it all more disorienting is the strong influence from outer, transpersonal planets. On the one hand there is the serious gravity of Pluto with Saturn and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn that is demanding a stripping away of the inessential and honoring the honing of what endures across time. While the Capricorn emphasis prods us to persevere with dedication toward developing goals, there is also a heavy karmic aspect of having to face the shadow side of ambition and its effects. In addition, there is also the earth shaking volatility of Uranus entering Taurus that can dramatically amplify feelings of disruption, destruction, and revelation, requiring a rearranging of beliefs and expectations in order to accept and receive whatever rapid developments are unleashed.

Yet on a core level Mercury’s retrograde is most of all centered around the last quarter square phase between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Neptune in Pisces. The current stage of the Jupiter and Neptune cycle is about clearing or clarifying outdated, misleading beliefs while simultaneously receiving intimations of the course to follow into the future. As part of this process we will have to withstand external emotional dynamics at times, as Mercury retrograde in the mutable and watery Pisces can correlate with amorphous personal boundaries that are more susceptible to emotional influences. Yet the sensitivity of Mercury in Pisces to surrounding emotions can be utilized as a gift for discerning the underlying feelings behind what is spoken, as well as the meaning behind what is unspoken.

During the first week of Mercury retrograde make sure to pay attention to the symbolism of dream images, the oracular appearances of animals and other signs within daily travels, and any other omens giving guidance into the regenerative change underway. This is a period to listen to the voice of your inner senses and unconscious messages with a willingness to begin aligning external changes with internal promptings. Whenever awareness brings realization of illusions that have been influencing you, instead of being upset over uprooting a delusive pattern, embrace the opportunity to clear out or compost whatever you have outgrown in order to help fertilize the new vision to come.

pegasus and bellerophon

Odilon Redon (1888) Pegasus and Bellerophon

Chthonic Cazimi

The heliacal setting of a star corresponds to its death and its passage into the underworld. Remember, the word synodic, or “union,” is derived from sunodos, and also means “sexual union.” The protected space at the heart of the Sun is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations. Here, the union of a planet or star with the Sun represents the seminal impregnation and regeneration. The rebirth occurs at the heliacal rise, as the planet emerges from the womb of the solar rays.

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology, Vol 1

A new cycle of Mercury will be seeded by its conjunction with the Pisces Sun on March 14. This is the inferior conjunction of Mercury when the Star of Hermes is purified and regenerated while aligned in orbit between Earth and the Sun by zodiacal degree. Though the full meaning of the coming cycle of Mercury remains unclear at this point, one can experience clarifying reflection and reception of key insight on the day Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun. This particular inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde in Pisces is especially potent as Mercury is applying closely to a square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius. As a result, Jupiter is receiving Mercury in the sacred heart of the Pisces Sun into its fiery home of Sagittarius, inciting a vision of future meaning to manifest. Thus Mercury will be seated upon the throne of the Sun with all of the resources of inspirational and expansive Jupiter at its disposal.

There is also a stellar influence to the inferior conjunction, as the solar seeding of Mercury will occur at 24°11′ Pisces near the fixed star Markab in the Pegasus constellation. Markab is the alpha star of Pegasus located in the wings of the horse, also known as being the saddle of the Winged Horse. Bernadette Brady described Markab as representing solidity and reliability,  “a point of steadiness or the power to maintain stability under pressure,” something we need if we wish to ride a soaring Pegasus. Brady noted the symbolism of Markab can be positive in the sense of having the leadership skills to handle crises, as well as negative when becoming overly stubborn and refusing to consider alternative perspectives. It’s a fitting star to be aligned with this moment of Mercury’s retrograde when we can recenter in the seat of the sun, riding the inspirational forces of Jupiter.

The Pegasus constellation has also been connected with inspirational intellect and strident, groundbreaking initiative.  The ambitious striving of Pegasus and the potential of both insightful breakthroughs as well as falls from lofty heights is found within the mythology of the Winged Horse. There is a duality of light and shadow with Pegasus:  on the one hand Pegasus is felt as a fount of inspiration and the seat of heroes, while on the other hand Pegasus was born from violence and betrayal and tied not only to the slaying of monsters but the monstrous egotistical hubris that could overcome those who rode Pegasus.  We find here the binding in which there is no good without evil, no heroes without monsters, and the concept that the path forward for our growth necessitates encountering the darker elements of self.

The link between the inferior conjunction of Mercury with Pegasus suggests the flights of vision and invention we wish to launch must simultaneously involve a purification and purging of excessive pride and the corruption that can come with ambitious striving. Interestingly, the sabian symbol for the degree of the inferior conjunction compellingly aligns with all of its surrounding astrological aspects: a religious organization succeeds in overcoming the corrupting influence of perverted practices and materialized ideals. Dane Rudhyar gave the following elaboration that fits extremely well for the solar seeding and purification of Mercury:

(PISCES 25°) KEYNOTE: The power of the Soul to intervene in the personal life and to induce necessary catharses.

Every man is a Church that has the Soul as its god, but most men forget the Soul and live according to dogmatic rules and habits which not only have become empty of inner meaning, but very often have been perverted by the demands of the senses and the emotional nature, and by the ego with its rationalizing intellect. A purging or catharsis is needed to restore not only fresh and creative spontaneity, but even more the contact with the Soul and the God-ordained dharma.

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

Astro-Errante-1961 Remedios Varo

Astro Errante by Remedios Varo

Full Moon Equinox

In the week of March 15 through March 22, while Mercury retrograde has been purified and reseeded by its union with the Sun, it remains invisible and so we will still be immersed in a process of discovering and exploring the new forms of meaning and understanding taking shape. An incredibly illuminating part of this process will occur on March 20, the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere, when the Sun will ingress into Aries and a Full Moon in Libra will culminate. Considered to be the astrological new year, the Aries ingress this year is extra potent due to the moon waxing full on the same day.  With Mercury simultaneously retrograde and on the cusp of reemerging into visibility as a Morning Star, we will feel like new shoots of green are ready to burst forth from within, cracking open whatever has previously been constraining. Let yourself receive whatever vision of potential dreams and goals arise without restriction or repression.

The challenge during this phase of the Mercury retrograde is that we may sense new vision and meaning without having everything fully in place in order to successfully manifest and embody the change within the reality of our current circumstances. It’s also likely that we may not have all the information we need to make a final decision at this time, in part due to Mercury still being retrograde but also due to it applying closely to another conjunction with Neptune. If major decisions have to be made this week, do your best to repeatedly review the details and listen closely to your intuition regarding whether or not it feels like the direction to pursue. If major decisions can be put off for another week, let things settle and reformulate before you make a final judgment. This week can be best used for brainstorming and creative exploration and experimentation.

Magritte_Wonders-of-Nature

Wonders of Nature by Rene Magritte

The Trident and the Caduceus

All truths wait in all things, / They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it, / They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon, / The insignificant is as big to me as any, / What is less or more than a touch?

Logic and sermons never convince, / The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so, / Only what nobody denies is so.

A minute and a drop of me settle my brain; / I believe the soggy clods shall become lovers and lamps, / And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or woman, / And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other, / And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific, / And until every one shall delight us, and we them.

— from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (published with Uranus in Taurus)

After Mercury retrograde reemerges in light as a Morning Star in the liminal moistness of dawn, heralding the return of sunrise, it will form its second conjunction with Neptune in Pisces on March 24.  At this point Mercury will be visible again, and in correspondence we should gain greater clarity regarding whatever changes have been taking shape over the past month. However, Mercury will be enveloped with the fogginess of being in close proximity with the otherworldly Neptune for an extended period of time: after it finally stations direct on March 28 at 16°05′ Pisces, it will not be until April 2 that Mercury will complete its final conjunction with Neptune at 17°08′ Pisces.

As a result, with Mercury stationing direct in conjunction with Neptune the feeling of waking up from the dream of Mercury retrograde may feel more like a waking dream. Whenever Mercury stations, we need to be as fully alert as possible to the details of our daily work and responsibility. With Mercury united with Neptune, there is an added feature of extrasensory perception and symbolic awareness that will be capable of picking up additional messages in unexpected places. It will be helpful to engage in whatever sorts of reflective practices can help you ground in the reality of your circumstances so as to not become swept too far away by fantasy. This can be a dreamy time of poetic inspiration, artistic expression, and fertile creativity, just don’t let feelings of blissful revelry distract you from taking care of a necessary responsibility.

Indeed, Mercury is stationing not only in union with Neptune, but also in range of a harmonizing sextile with Saturn in Capricorn. While we will need to handle our daily responsibilities, there is also potential playfulness within these aspects that can be a soothing remedy for any overworking from Saturn. Saturn is in its nocturnal, earthy home of the Sea Goat, and so this is an ideal time for the Mer-goat to dip its tail into the water to dissolve the stress of old expectations. As Mercury begins to move forward again while engaging both Neptune and Saturn, we can reorder our priorities so that our dedication and work is being guided more towards whatever brings intrinsic happiness and joy.

At the same time Mercury is stationing direct, Venus will enter her exaltation of Pisces on March 26. Venus will then pursue a union with Neptune that will culminate on April 10, the same day that Jupiter stations retrograde in Sagittarius. Amazingly, this is also the same time that Mercury will be reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star and completing its final square aspect with Jupiter on April 11. As outlined by Gary Caton in Hermetica Triptycha, this is the rubedo alchemical stage of Mercury’s cycle in which we are challenged to fully bring the meaning we retrieved during the retrograde phase into our daily life. With the interplay between Venus and Neptune as well as Mercury and Jupiter, there is enormous potential at this time for heart opening and expanding beyond previous constraints. However, breaking out of old shells and embracing a more enlivened presence is not always easy, and we will likely need to navigate volatility as we engage in our own inner process of volatile change.

Ultimately, it will be worthwhile to persist in following the new vision rather than retreating back to the comfort of the previous status quo. In the legendary words of Devo, “Twist away the gates of steel / Unlock the secret voice / Give in to ancient noise / Take a chance on a brand new dance / Twist away the gates of steel.”

the black pegasus

Odilon Redon

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Tejedora Roja

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Hailed across media platforms as the super blood wolf moon, the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo on January 20/21 will be a magical visual experience for those able to view it. The astrological aspects surrounding the eclipse are also intense and complex, making the media hype an intriguing instance in which mass public attention has been brought to a celestial event which truly has significant ramifications. All of the planets are direct in motion and in aspect, yet the total eclipse brings a warped and strange atmosphere for their interactions to occur within.  These aspects include Venus and Jupiter uniting in square to Neptune, Mars and Saturn in a square aspect, and Mercury moving from a conjunction with Pluto toward union with the South Node of the Moon and a square with Uranus.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse is simultaneously closing a chapter of our lives while opening a new door, as it is the final eclipse to occur in the signs of Leo and Aquarius, signs we have been experiencing eclipses within since February 2017.

The Leo Moon will be glamorously garbed in red, as the shadow cast by the earth creates the deep reddening visual effect known as a blood moon. The Sun is on the side of the South Node of the Moon, while eclipsed luna is on the side of the North Node of the Moon, indicating a confrontation with past patterns and issues necessitating a letting go into a more visceral engagement with the present. As red shadows consume the Leo Moon, our desires to pursue new opportunities will become engulfed in the shadowy realm of our aspirations, our need for recognition, validation, or acclaim. There is an opportunity here to explore the shadowy subconscious material underlying your ambitions, in particular whatever has been building since the first Lunar Eclipse in Leo that happened in February 2017.

Prior to the eclipse, the waxing Moon in Cancer conjoined its own North Node in Cancer while also applying to a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Aries. This places Uranus at the southern bending of the lunar nodes at the time of the eclipse, amplifying the activation of unconscious material in a way that can feel extremely volatile. Moreover, Mercury is conjoining the South Node of the Moon while applying to a square with Uranus, magnifying our perception of previously hidden issues. Gaining awareness of whatever crashes through dissolving interior boundaries also brings the potential gift of Uranus for liberating us from old patterns that have been restricting us without our full realization of their impact. However, in this process of coming to terms with our past and its intersection with where we feel pulled into a future unknown, we will need to have patience and compassion, and do our best to communicate with responsible integrity. It will help to not only take the courage of Leo into this experience, but also the playful creativity that can be lit by the fires of Leo.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Despedida

Within the reddening of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, we will be experiencing the amazing timing of the two malefic planets of astrology confronting one another while the two benefic planets of astrology unite together at the same time. The change inducing square formed by Mars and Saturn can correspond with separations and severing yourself from something or someone whose time has passed, but it can also correlate with seizing determined resiliency in working through present obstacles with disciplined hard work. This is in contrast to the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter which indicates fertilization of something pleasurable and of great inner value, a stoking of desire to pursue our most expansive dream of what we can create and build together.

Yet there is also the underlying influence of Neptune in Pisces to consider within these aspects. Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius are forming a catalytic square with Neptune, while Saturn in Capricorn is also applying to a harmonizing sextile aspect with Neptune. As a result the resolutely realistic pragmatism of Saturn in Capricorn is loosened to consider a reordering of goals bathed in imaginal vision of broader potential. While this can correlate with opening to take action on desires we previously did not allow ourselves to follow, Neptune’s influence upon Venus and Jupiter means the scythe of Saturn will also be required to clear perception of any foggy delusions out of alignment with the reality of current circumstances. We could be unrealistic about available time, space, and resources or new information could come into awareness that changes everything. If possible it will be better to refrain from initiating significant new action for now and discern next steps as things settle in the week following the eclipse.

Since Venus and Jupiter are separating from a superior trine to Mars in Aries as well as holding a superior square to Neptune, there is an emphasis upon their positivity being able to ultimately uplift us out of present predicaments. Venus having completed its trine with Mars is especially significant considering their tense relationship in the second half of 2018 in which first Mars and then Venus went through retrograde phases that led to fracturing, shedding, and rebirthing for many. We are now at a point in which it is possible to make significant progress and reparations regarding whatever breakdowns or breakthroughs came about in the past six months, especially in the realm of personal relationships that both Mars and Venus relate to. Yet in the reddening shadows of the eclipse, we may be haunted by passing fears and feelings it will be better to let pass through us.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Llamada

The transiting lunar nodes are no longer in Leo and Aquarius and will not be again until the year 2026. Since the Leo eclipse is demarcating a finale to the corresponding narrative that has been developing since the first Leo Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 10 February 2017, it will be worthwhile to reflect upon whatever has come to fruition as well as has passed away since that time. In particular, with Leo impacting the transiting North Node of the Moon, we have been given opportunities to enhance our creative actualization with life. Where have you been willing to take risks on behalf of heartfelt dreams and aspirations? What lessons have you learned in terms of going too far with excessive ambitions or need for attention? Though the lunar nodes in Cancer and Capricorn are seeding new lessons in new areas of our life, the encircling red shadows of the Leo eclipse will draw us toward a final lesson with regard to the choices we have set in motion to express our authentic nature and creativity through.

There are so many enormous societal issues causing problems around our global community, one way to access a higher potential of the aspects surrounding the eclipse is to collaborate with others who are also willing to devote effort and commitment toward shared ideals. Within the crimson cloaking of the eclipse, err on the side of choices and actions that make your blood flow more viscerally and your heart beat true. As the Leo Moon begins to wane within its full phase, it will begin applying to a grand fiery triangle with Mars in Aries and the union of Venus with Jupiter in Sagittarius. It’s an eclipse for releasing whatever is keeping you back from claiming the inner integrity to live fully according to your ideals, honoring the ancestry of those that have come before you on the path cleared by your most soulful desires.

wands05

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The Total Lunar Eclipse ripens within the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A card associated with conflict and competition, there is a fitting symbolism for the blood red eclipse in the form of the dashing central figure dressed in crimson. The strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position amongst external competitors, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity, and in this way we could view the central red figure in the image as our essential nature rising up to take control.

Saturn is the ruler of the first face of Leo in the descending rulership scheme of the decans, while the Sun is its ruler in the triplicity rulership scheme. Since Saturn in Capricorn is the ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn as well as the transiting Aquarius Sun, it is vital in the wake of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to discern how well our work in the world is aligned with our inner values and authentic nature, shedding and releasing whatever aspects conflict.  The year ahead will witness Saturn slowly moving toward a union with Pluto in Capricorn that signifies massive decay, dissolution, and ultimate regeneration of innumerable societal structures and institutions. It will be up to each and every one of us to do our best to contribute toward the world we wish to create out of the destruction that will be coming in many collective fields. Rather than acting from fears of survival, the best guide for our determination moving forward will be from the courage of the heart, from the primordial light of eros felt within.

References

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

 

Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo

Lion Hermetic Child of Sun and Moon

from The Hermetic Child of the Sun and Moon (1752)

Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo

On 11 August 2018 we experience a Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo, the final solar eclipse in the series of eclipses in Leo and Aquarius we have been experiencing since 2017. Although it is not a “total” eclipse as we experienced a year ago, meaning that the Moon will not completely cover the face of the shining Sun in total blackness, the impact of the partially eclipsed Sun is more than enough to open gates to hidden, unconscious, or otherworldly visitation. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote that “the past tends to obscure the present” during a solar eclipse, rooting interpretation in the living symbolism of the Moon obscuring the illuminating rays of our great solar star. This also means that all lunar content, which can relate to not only memories but also irrational thoughts and feelings, as well as previously unrecognized subconscious desires, will invade conscious attempts to keep them at bay.

Due to the Leo eclipse occurring on the side of the North Node of the Moon, these emerging desires and feelings may be linked to hunger for growth and development, as well as all sides of ambition including needs for recognition. As this is the final solar eclipse in Leo of the series, it will be wise to use the messages received through contemplation to reflect back upon one’s trajectory of development over the past year and a half. We may not only learn more about our path of development, but also discern a deeper underlying level of motivation behind why we have been doing what we have been doing.

The last time we experienced a solar eclipse in the saros series of this eclipse path was on 31 July 2000 at 8º Leo. Bernadette Brady in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark analyzed this series as bringing difficult information in relationships, including ideas of separation, but that it also brings the capacity to respond effectively in a way that “can bring good results.” Her interpretation in part is due to the original eclipse in the series (24 June 792) occurring in conjunction with Jupiter while being on the midpoint of Mars and Uranus. Interestingly, the 11 August 2018 eclipse has a lot of meaning connected with Jupiter, Uranus, and Mars.

Vitally, the Leo Eclipse happens a few days after the inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde in Leo. Thus a newly reborn Mercury retrograde is close by the eclipse, only four degrees away. This influence of Mercury amplifies our capacity to pick up, interpret, and transmit unconscious awareness and messages that are normally out of range without deliberate attempts to penetrate inner depths. On a practical level this means that many people in our environment who are not used to working with their shadow or rarely attempt to clarify unconscious feelings will be projecting and acting from their shadow without realization they are doing so. Again, because all of this is occurring on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Leo, there are many growth opportunities to be found in the awareness that can be gained from hidden material coming out to be processed in relationships. It doesn’t make the experience necessarily easier to deal with in the moment, but keeping in mind the larger picture and the passing nature of this time can help keep things in a larger perspective.

The other element of the eclipse significantly amplifying subconscious dynamics is that Uranus in Taurus stationed retrograde four days before the eclipse. Whenever a planet stations it saturates the astrological atmosphere with its influence in the surrounding week, and since this is the first time that Uranus has stationed while being in the sign of Taurus, it means that impactful events and messages will be arriving in our life that demonstrate what the transit of Uranus in Taurus is initially meaning for us. The saving grace of this stationing is that Uranus in Taurus is in a stabilizing, flowing trine with Saturn in Capricorn. As a result no matter how difficult the associated experiences are, the harmonious interaction with Saturn in Capricorn will facilitate responding and adjusting effectively as needed. Moreover, if the stationing of Uranus is coinciding with breakthrough thoughts and innovative ideas, the trine with Saturn in Capricorn will help bring visionary ideas into eventual manifestation.

Jack Whitten broken plane

Jack Whitten (1972) Broken Plane #3

Another major factor in the Leo eclipse is that it is in range of a catalytic square with Jupiter in Scorpio, while applying toward an uncomfortable quincunx with Pluto in Capricorn. There is strong visionary capacity to be found within these aspects coupled with the difficulty of bringing the full vision into reality due to current responsibilities and limitations of time, space, and currently available resources. There is also a shadow of ambition to look out for here, and so it will be wise to reflect upon and investigate one’s underlying motives for whatever one becomes called to create and work on. If one’s ambitions are for the greater good, such as helping to empower others rather than have power over others, it will further be worth the time to reflect upon how to best go about achieving one’s goals, again keeping in mind the greater good of the collective and our relationship dynamics. Though there is a lot of emphasis on the North Node of Leo at the eclipse, we still must work with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius as part of the process.

An additional star within the eclipse drama we must pay attention to is Venus in Libra.  At the time of the eclipse, Venus in Libra is separating from a square with Saturn in Capricorn (after recently completing a trine with Mars retrograde), and is applying toward a sextile with the North Node of the Moon in Leo and a trine with the South Node in Aquarius. Venus then heads toward a sextile with Mercury that will occur at the same time that Mercury stations direct on August 19. Venus is at home in Libra, yet she had her work cut out for her in the week leading into the eclipse as she engaged with first a wild Mars and then an overbearing and resolute Saturn. However, Venus in Libra can bring what we need to mediate relationship conflicts and harmonize whatever has been coming out of balance. In particular Venus in Libra will be able to facilitate creative actualization of whatever insights are gained as Mercury finally stations direct in Leo a week from now.

Jack whitten black monolith II

Jack WhittenBlack Monolith II: Homage to Ralph Ellison The Invisible Man

The Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo is the beginning of a new lunation cycle, and in particular demarcates a significant shift in the astrological atmosphere due to Mars leaving Aquarius and entering Capricorn a day after the eclipse on August 12. Mars entering its exaltation of Capricorn will lower levels of volatility somewhat due to Mars no longer occupying Aquarius, the sign opposite Leo that contains the transiting Mercury retrograde and the Sun. Mars is cooler and more effectively calculating in Capricorn, and as it settles into the same place that Pluto and Saturn are also occupying, Capricorn becomes an incredibly potent section of the zodiac for the rest of the month. There is incredible power in the place of Capricorn to reshape matter from the realizations of inner guidance we have been gaining over the course of Mars being retrograde since June.

Mars left Capricorn on May 15, the same day that Uranus entered Taurus. Previously, Mars had been in Capricorn from March 17 through May 15, and so the return of Mars to Capricorn brings added desire and willpower to return to any work we began to formulate then that for one reason or another we had been experiencing setbacks or difficulties in completing or further developing. Ideally, after sifting through all of the realizations coming into our awareness from the recent series of eclipses as well as Mercury being retrograde in Leo, we can then direct our clarified perception into productive work and effort worthy of the empowering strength Mars, Pluto, and Saturn bring to any endeavor.

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Six of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 2 Decan

The partial solar eclipse is in the second face of Leo, associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. We find here an image of triumphant victory, a strident champion riding a white horse and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  The pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, a complex that deserves attention since the Leo Sun will be partially covered in lunar shadow.

Jupiter rules the second face of Leo in both the Chaldean as well as the triplicity rulership schemes. Jupiter in Scorpio is forming a square to the eclipse and calls us to look at the hidden elements under the surface of the prideful hero in the Six of Wands image. For example, we can observe that the very horse being ridden is concealed, as well as elements of the triumphant crowd bearing three of the six wands. As Austin Coppock wrote in 36 Faces, the spirit of this decan can help guide us toward realizing any elements of our public persona that are out of alignment with our inner integrity, or instead how we may need to embody more humility within experiences of recent praise or glory. Coppock astutely made the point that “recognition of one’s virtues does not dispel the reality of one’s vices,” since many images of the decan in ancient text show it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan.” Coppock declared that the promise and power of victory is so strong in this decan we must guard against becoming blinded by the solar light of success.

Thus it is imperative to search within during the shadowy time of the Leo eclipse, using insight gained to help refine the manner in which we project the indomitable light of our inner soul into the world around us. Fascinatingly, it is none other than the great goddess Isis who resides in the second face of Leo according to the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Isis became syncretized as the goddess containing all goddesses in the Hellenistic era, and just as she weaves many spiritual traditions together in her history, so does she weave a web of love through times of trauma to bring about an eventual healing and retrieval of our Self. Isis brings the courage needed to resiliently persist on inner journeys to reanimate whatever aspects of our essential self have become fragmented. As we regain communion with the eternal, indestructible nature of our soul within, so can we more effectively find ways to align our action and work in the world with our inner authenticity.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1999). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser Books.

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

 

Mercury Retrograde in Leo

Mercury from Hermetic child of Sun and Moon

from Hermetic Child of Sun and Moon (1752)

Mercury Retrograde in Leo

Flower-muscle, slowly pulling open / the anemone’s vast meadow morning, / until the loud sky’s polyphonic light / comes pouring down into its womb,

muscle of infinite reception / flexed in the quiet flower star, / sometimes so overwhelmed by fullness / that the sunset’s call to rest

is scarcely able to give you back / the wide-sprung petal edges: you, / resolve and strength of how many worlds!

We violent ones, we last longer. / But when, in which of all these lives, / are we finally open and receivers?

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

When Mercury stations retrograde its best to honor the stillness of the quicksilver messenger, bringing focused presence to our day and open receptivity to the multiplicity of night. Being ever watchful as Mercury stations helps direct awareness toward opportunities appearing on the horizon as well as previously unnoticed matters on the edge of disarray that need remediation. Mercury is always powerful when stationing and typically dominates the astrological discourse when it does; however, when Mercury stationed retrograde on July 26 it was overshadowed by Mars  being opposite the Sun at the heart of its retrograde phase, as well as the anticipation of a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius climaxing the next day. Being in the middle of eclipses, with a partial solar eclipse in Leo coming on August 11, we can expect more than the usual amount of change in coming weeks. Mercury twinkling in the cooling of sunset, standing still by zodiacal degree, offers us the gift of potent awareness.

Of course, Mercury shifting retrograde really means that Mercury is passing in between our Earth and its orbit with the Sun. Since Mercury becomes closest to us in orbit when retrograde, the star of Hermes becomes a more dominant force to contend with amongst the daily transits. Though Mercury retrograde has taken on overly negative projections in popular culture that are false exagerrations, it is true that there is a cunning, elusive quality of Mercury that can be difficult for many to negotiate with. The star of Hermes becomes a crafty, artful leader in life when retrograde, with a wily and procreative quality that was deftly teased by Karl Kerenyi in the following passage:

With Hermes as leader in life- so the classical tradition teaches us- the world receives a special nuance, the Hermetic accent as we have become acquainted with it. This Hermetic aspect is thoroughly empirical, and it remains within the realm of a natural experience of the world. The sum total of pathways as Hermes’ playground; the accidental “falling into your lap” as the Hermetic material; its transformation through finding-thieving- the Hermetic event- into a Hermetic work of art, which is also always something of a tricky optical illusion, into wealth, love, poetry, and every sort of evasion from the restrictions and confinement imposed by laws, circumstances, destinies- how could these be mere psychic realities? They are the world and they are one world, namely, that world which Hermes opens to us.

The reality of the Hermes world proves at least the presence of a standpoint from which it is revealed; more than that, it testifies to something active that is not merely revealing itself from that standpoint, but that is ever again suddenly present and drives the world to give concrete expression to the Hermetic works of art and illusion. The source of this experience and configuration of the world … is Hermes himself. It must possess the complete Hermetic breadth, from the phallic to …  the guidance of souls, an activity that stretches even beyond life.

— Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls

Though people often curse blunders, mistakes, and the falling apart of possessions linked in the mind with Mercury retrograde, its worth considering the realm opened by Mercury retrograde is not an anomaly but rather something already there, awaiting activation. Indeed, Mercury stations retrograde at least three times a year for three weeks or so, and so the guidance it offers when retrograde is intrinsic to its nature. It’s what makes Mercury, Mercury.  In fact when retrograde Mercury brings an amplified, penetrating focus to research, inner exploration, and the changing of habitual patterns.

Visually, Mercury transitions from being an Evening Star visible at sunset into an invisible phase in which it descends below the horizon, too close to the Sun to be seen. This oracular disappearance from light is called the heliacal setting of Mercury, and will occur on July 30. From this day until Mercury eventually reemerges again into visibility on August 19 as a Morning Star at dawn, Mercury will be taking on its underworld role as a guide of souls, or psychopomp. Mercury is less the fleet footed, super curious social networker in this phase, becoming more plodding, penetrative, intuitive, and facile with symbolic interpretation of the signs we encounter in life. As Marsilio Ficino wrote in Opera:

Mercury has the power to put souls to sleep or waken them with his staff; that is, in some way or another by putting himself into a certain shape, he can dull or sharpen the mind, or weaken or strengthen it, or upset or calm it.

The tricks of changing mind we can feel while Mercury is retrograde may feel frustrating, but if we can stand back and contemplate the bigger picture we will begin to sense an insight we actually needed to bring into our awareness. Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that Mercury “gives mental formulation to the solar will,” seeking “to impersonalize and provide a conceptual foundation- a raison d’etre – for the often unclear (because emotional) urge the would-be individual experiences to live his or her own life.” With Mercury retrograde in the home of the Sun, during a time in which the Leo Sun will become partially eclipsed (August 11), and Mars retrograde will continue to deeply stir desires, the capacity of Mercury to help us discover a purpose within the tumult will be needed medicine.

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from The Crowning of Nature

Though the world change swiftly / as the forms in clouds, / all perfected things fall back / to age-old ground.

Over what changes and passes, / wider and freer, / your deep song still hovers, / O god with the lyre.

Pain has not been understood, / love has not been learned,  / and what in death removes us

remains undisclosed. / Alone over the land / song hallows and heals.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury retrograde in Leo is the second of three retrograde phases in fire signs we will experience in 2018. Previously we experienced Mercury retrograde in Aries from March 22 through April 15, and later in the year Mercury will station retrograde in Sagittarius on November 16. Within a year of regenerating our relationship with the fire signs (consider what houses the fire signs occupy in your chart and related topics), the retrograde of Mercury in Leo is not only at the dead center of the process, but occurs during the most volatile period in astrology this year.  As a result, Mercury retrograde can facilitate breaking down and releasing whatever aspects of our life need clearing to create more space for new growth to take root. The purgation that can come with this Mercury retrograde is amplified due to it occurring in Leo, the sign of the upcoming eclipse as well as the sign forming a polarity to Aquarius, the sign of the recent Lunar Eclipse and the place Mars is currently retrograde in.

One of the advantages Mercury retrograde periods bring is increased capacity to look at things from a new perspective, helping us gain insight toward old issues and realize what aspects of life need support and attention.  The combined influences of Mars retrograde with eclipses makes it more likely than normal that storylines are changing dramatically, and so the extra stirring provided by Mercury retrograde brings to mind the delight Mercury takes in the twist that moves the plot in a surprising direction and creates needed change. Thomas Moore in his book about the Italian Renaissance astrologer Marsilio Ficino brilliantly summarized Ficino’s perspective toward the protean imagination intermixed by Mercury:

Mercury reveals an inner realm of things without depriving them of their concreteness… The most common mode of interpretation, in some circles the only way, is to dissect and analyze, freezing the components of an insight into brittle pieces which are then easy to manipulate. But the crafty sleight-of-hand of Mercury interprets without killing, transforming our view of one image through another…  Since interpretation consists chiefly in discovering new images among the old, the surprise Mercury brings is a new image or a new idea, a gift from the cunning god who knows how to stir the soul…

In Mercury, words are like crystals whose facets are revealed in their turning, in the various perspectives brought upon them. Whatever keeps our ideas and fantasies turning and shifting, eluding our rational grasp and defying conclusive definition, is Mercurial. When we are the deft, interpretive, eloquent secretaries of our own actions and ideas, then we are Mercury; for then we interpret our own minds.

— Thomas Moore, Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino

With Mercury retrograde in the fixed fire sign of Leo, opposite the sign of Aquarius where Mars is retrograde, we are journeying into the subconscious shadow of however we have been creatively self actualizing. Have we been holding back on going after what we want, or have we been taking on too much? What lies at the heart of our ambition, is it a need for attention or power? Or are we passionately in service to an ideal or message we wish to share with others, without need of extrinsic reward or recognition? What sacrifices on behalf of our ideals and community are we willing to make, and how will this impact our personal relationships? How much attention needs to be directed into our intimate relationships, personal space, and private creativity, rather than expressed through mediums into the collective?

In the end all of the challenges faced during Mercury retrograde in Leo will help us not only refine the vision we have of a healthy and fulfilling life, but begin enacting the modifications needed to rebalance whatever has been imbalanced. Whatever inauthentic patterns we have been engaging in will become obvious, opening the opportunity to separate from what we no longer want to engage, realigning in a direction resonant with our core values.

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Transfiguration of Thoth [Squaring the Circle] by Marlene Seven Bremner (2018)

Into the Heart

Here, among the vanishing, be, in the realm of decline  ⁄  be a ringing glass that shatters even as it rings.  ⁄  Be—and know as well the terms of nonbeing,  ⁄  the infinite ground of your inmost vibration,  ⁄  so that, this once, you may wholly fulfill them.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury will be reborn through its union with the Sun on August 8 at 16º27′ Leo. At this moment of regeneration within Mercury’s synodic cycle, efforts made in contemplation can be rewarded with clarifying insight. Mercury within a degree of the Sun was described by the ancient astrologer Rhetorius the Egyptian as being in the heart of the Sun, and this became known as moment in which Mercury is seated upon the solar throne, strengthened in all things mercurial. Typically we get can get a boost with our Mercury work at this time, or powerful realizations through inner reflection, but overall this is a time to emerge with a purified perspective from all the putrefaction of mind we’ve been experiencing since Mercury stationed retrograde on July 26. This particular inferior conjunction of Mercury is especially powerful and volatile, due to it occurring in between eclipses with Uranus in Taurus stationing retrograde a day before on August 7, and Mercury applying to a square with Jupiter in Scorpio that will perfect a couple days later on August 10.

As Mercury is a mutable planet that takes on the qualities of its aspects in astrology, Mercury near the Sun in Leo likewise takes on the potent heating, drying, clarifying, and inspiring qualities of the Leo Sun. Yet the current Mercury retrograde finds it in the strange climate of eclipses occurring during the Sun’s time in Leo. More significantly, Mercury will unite with the Sun for its fiery rebirth only three days before the Sun is partially eclipsed by the Moon. The shadow that will partially fall across our great solar light is therefore transmitted directly by the quicksilver messenger, just as Mercury is at a “newborn” phase of its cycle more susceptible than normal to other influences.

Marsilio Ficino in Three Books on Life wrote that as the Moon “receives a life-giving power” from the Sun each time it forms a union, “she receives from Mercury in the same place [Mercury is always near the Sun] a force which blends her moistures,” since Mercury has “the virtue of his own transformation into all other planets and by virtue of his many revolutions.” At the time of the inferior conjunction of Mercury, the Moon will be at home in Cancer within the closing, balsamic phase of its synodic cycle.  On August 10/11 the Moon will conjoin Mercury only six hours before the Moon then partially eclipses the Sun on August 11. This brings the regenerated Mercury into deep, stirring contact with whatever hidden material is emerging from the opening and closing of the eclipse gates, including the Total Lunar Eclipse of July 27.

As Mercury moves from 17º Leo where it unites with the Sun back to 12º Leo where it stations direct on August 18, Hermes will be playing its role of alchemical mystic with pleasure, diverting and then refocusing perception on a multiplicity of images and messages to help us sort through the insights revealed by the eclipses. An extra shift coming in the wake of the Leo Eclipse on August 11 will occur when Mars retrograde transitions from Aquarius into Capricorn on August 12. Mars retrograde leaving a whole sign opposition with Mercury retrograde will not make things easy all of a sudden, but it will lower the levels of volatility to a degree. With Mars retrograde in Capricorn while Mercury finishes the final week of its retrograde, we can begin taking action in accordance with whatever insights arose with the rebirth of Mercury.

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El Trovador by Remedios Varo

Mercury Stations Direct

And their feet move  /  Rhythmically, as tender  /  feet of Cretan girls  /  danced once around an  /  altar of love, crushing  /  a circle in the soft  /  smooth flowering grass

— Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard

Mercury stations direct on August 18 or 19, depending upon your time zone, at 11º32′ Leo. Not long after Mercury stations direct, we will also experience the heliacal rising of Mercury on August 19 when it becomes visible again at dawn as a Morning Star. Since ancient times in astrology this has been seen as an oracular moment of Mercury transmitting a message for us to receive. Fittingly for such an ancient spiritual context, Mercury will be stationing direct in Leo closely conjoining the North Node of Neptune.

The planetary nodes of Neptune began shifting back and forth from Cancer (North) and Capricorn (South) into Leo (North) and Aquarius (South) by the 10th century, but by the time of the 1100s they began stabilizing in Leo and Aquarius where they remain today. I was recently watching Joseph Campbell interviewed in The Power of Myth television series, and realized when he waxed poetic about the significance of the shift to the age of the troubadour that he was also speaking about the shift of the North Node of Neptune moving into Leo. Campbell said that the shift that came about in the age of the troubadour was monumental in terms of creating a human ideal for pursuing an authentic life rather than one dictated by the dogmatic authority of church, family, and culture. With the troubadours came the ideal of person to person love that continues into the modern era. Instead of conforming to the dictates of arranged marriage, the sway of the troubadours inspired the ideal of being seized by the soul’s counterpart in a romantic other. People became willing to risk literally burning in the fires of hell, as they were told they would do by authorities, in order to be with their beloved.

With Mercury stationing direct on the North Node of Neptune, the message we receive will involve an essence to embody in our creative actualization. We may feel inspired to sing a new song of heart centered inspiration. We will need to begin finding ways to work with the fecund creative potency emerging from within, integrating it into our identity and relationships. Sweetly, Venus will be at home in Libra and passing through a sextile with Mercury as our valiant messenger finally completes its underworld voyage. Moreover, not only Venus by sextile, but the Moon in Sagittarius by trine will be there to bolster reception of a new creative spirit as Mercury stations direct.

As Mercury resumes forward motion through zodiacal degrees again, Mars will begin stationing direct in Capricorn. Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 26 at 16 degrees of Leo, a point in its synodic cycle that Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha demarcated as an ending to the alchemical retrograde process of Mercury that began on July 11 when Mercury was at maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 17 degrees of Leo. Mars then stations direct two days later on August 28, and as Mars begins to generate some forward momentum, Mercury will leave the “shadow zone” of the degrees it formed its retrograde within on September 2 when it crosses over 24 degrees of Leo.

This means at the end of August we will be wrapping up both the Mercury and Mars retrograde periods, with awareness needed that we will still be dealing with the aftermath of Mars retrograde into October as it makes its way back toward the degree it originally stationed at. When we look back at these months in future years and decades, we are likely to remember it as a time of significant turning. Bear this in mind if things become overheated and rough, for you will have found new strength and realization on the other side of these transits. As a fragment of Sappho, who wrote in the 6th century B.C., still sings:

You may forget but

Let me tell you / that someone in / some future time / will think of us

-Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard

References

Barnard, Mary. (1958). Sappho: A New Translation. U of California Press.

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

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

Moore, Thomas. (1990). The Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino. Lindisfarne Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. A Quest Book.

Uranus in Taurus

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Bull by Pablo Picasso

Uranus in Taurus

The light and shade – the curious sense of body and identity the
greed that with perfect complaisance devours all things – the
endless pride and outstretching of man – unspeakable joys and sorrows,
The wonder every one sees in every one else he sees . . . and the
wonders that fill each minute of time forever and each acre of
surface and space forever,
Have you reckoned them as mainly for a trade or framework? or for
the profits of a store? or to achieve yourself a position? or to fill
a gentleman’s leisure or a lady’s leisure?

Have you reckoned the landscape took substance and form that it
might be painted in a picture?
Or men and women that they might be written of, and songs sung?
Or the attraction of gravity and the great laws and harmonious
combinations and the fluids of the air as subject for the savans?
Or the brown land and the blue sea for maps and charts?
Or the stars to be put in constellations and named fancy names?
Or that the growth of seeds is for agricultural tables or agriculture
itself?

— Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass (Song for Occupations [3]) published with Uranus in Taurus

The ingress of Uranus into tropical Taurus transfigures the astrological atmosphere and strikes a chord inciting a new movement in our collective chorus. Uranus enters Taurus on May 15 and will sustain it’s rupturing, liberating presence until November 6 when it re-enters Aries while retrograde. After revisiting Aries during the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, Uranus will return to Taurus on 6 March 2019 where it will remain until 25 April 2026. Uranus will only make it to 2º33′ of Taurus before stationing on 7 August 2018, and so will be most impactful this year for those with natal placements in the first five degrees of fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius). Regardless of whether or not you have natal placements in close aspect to the trajectory of Uranus across the next six months, however, you will soon notice its impact. Though life is always in flux, Uranus entering Taurus denotes a coming period of volatilizing change felt from the roots, altering dynamics at core levels. While we can explore archetypal patterns resonant with Uranus in Taurus to get a sense of what this transit could bring, it’s vital to realize that Uranus brings the unexpected to such a degree that its manifestations in Taurus will go far beyond expectations.

Many astrologers have been writing and speaking about the impact Uranus will make in Taurus in terms of earth being the most dense and stable element in astrology, and Taurus being the earth sign most resistant to change. Uranus brings the necessary alchemic fire required to shake and reshape matter, signifying that Uranus impacting the fixed sign of the Bull will bring deep-seated, tectonic shifts in personal and collective events. Uranus brings a whirling vortex of change when it enters a new sign, yet in the current transition it is moving from the fast moving, change inducing sign of Aries into the plodding, patient pace of Taurus that can sustain thorough resolve for long periods of time. Ever since Uranus entered Aries in 2010 it has been under the influence of Mars in a fiery sign ideal for separating us from past attachments and boldly embarking in new directions. With Uranus in Taurus, we can deepen the dynamic changes we initiated with Uranus in Aries as Uranus will be under the influence of Venus in a grounded sign known for its cultivating prowess.

Taurus is the sign of the Bull, and this apt symbol highlights how the calm presence of a bull luxuriating in a field can turn into a raging force thundering the ground once provoked. Uranus will electrify, vivify, and fully awaken the sensualness as well as the stubbornness of Taurus, and just as it can be extremely difficult to slow down a bull once it is racing forward, we also will need to be aware of how events triggered in correspondence with Uranus in Taurus will obstinately persist with inexorable steadiness. We can imagine this to be a good thing when contemplating the emergence of an inspirational, idealistic movement focused on the greater good, but we also know from history and current events that many inspirational movements promote the benefit of proponents at the expense of oppressing others. For example, it is a well known fact that the last time Uranus entered Taurus the world experienced the trauma of destruction caused by Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany. Other past transits of Uranus in Taurus have involved the crusades, the conquering of America by Spanish conquistadors, and the initiation of direct shipment of slaves from Africa to the conquered Americas where the indigenous population was being displaced.

There has been a long historical pattern of the deep foundational changes brought by Uranus in Taurus erupting into frenzied volatility once Uranus leaves Taurus for Gemini.  In part this could be due to the fact that the North Node of Uranus is in Gemini, as well as the fact Gemini is a volatile sign to begin with. In the United States of America, the revolutionary war broke out with Uranus in Gemini yet all of the necessary events that brought it about occurred with Uranus in Taurus (1767 – 1775). The next time Uranus entered Taurus (1850 – 1859) was the decade of the 1850s that led into the eruption of the civil war with Uranus in Gemini; though there was a “great compromise” that delayed the outbreak of civil war, this compromise also involved aspects such as the fugitive slave act that inflamed conflict.  Finally, while war raged across Europe when Uranus was in Taurus last time (1934 – 1942), it was not until the very end of Uranus moving through Taurus that the Pearl Harbor bombing occurred that led to the USA entering the second world war (the USA combat in the war then occurred with Uranus in Gemini). In current events in the USA as well as all across the world, we can witness how fundamental change is once again rippling throughout the fabric of civilization as Uranus enters Taurus.

This time around, the core changes brought by Uranus in Taurus will be exacerbated by Saturn and Pluto coming together in Capricorn in January 2020. The conjunction of Saturn and Pluto has a long historical correspondence with the fall of powerful civilizations and the rise of new powers, and the coming conjunction in 2020 is even more notable than normal due to Saturn and Pluto uniting close to the degrees of each of their own South Nodes. Yet civilizations are part of the natural environment, and in fact are completely dependent upon nature no matter how much technology is invented. There is an obvious reckoning coming in the time period of Uranus transiting Taurus in which global civilizations will need to face the realities of population growth and the resulting drain on natural resources for energy. It’s also easy to see how the increasing devastation wrought by natural disasters, coupled by the increasing evidence of climate change impact, will become intensified as Uranus in Taurus will force societies to figure out how to survive and adapt. Uranus in a fixed earth sign suggests the voice of the earth will be heard loud and clear, and that human civilizations will need to listen.

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Fresco from palace at Knossos on Crete (1450 B.C.)

Unlike the past eight years of Uranus moving through Aries in which it formed a harsh, catalytic square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Taurus will be spending the next few years forming a whole sign trine to Pluto in Capricorn. In addition, Uranus in Taurus will be forming a whole sign sextile with Neptune in Pisces, and a whole sign trine with Saturn in Capricorn as it approaches its union with Pluto. These harmonious whole sign aspects on one hand suggest that power structures have supportive aspects to continue amassing increased levels of power and control, but it also means that individuals taking responsibility to collaborate in collective movements will also be able to create structures to bolster the expression of emancipatory ideas and actions. Uranus and Neptune coming into aspect again is especially notable and brings potential to open up a deeper dimension of Neptune in Pisces spirituality for some, amplifying addictive escapism through technology for others.

As Uranus enters Taurus our world population is engaged in unprecedented levels of immersion in virtual technologies and electronic platforms connecting people all across the planet through the touch of fingers on keyboards. This airy age of rapid, interconnected communication is signified by the coming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the first degree of tropical Aquarius on 21 December 2020.   The union of Jupiter and Saturn in mundane astrology for ages has helped define trends in historical time periods, and so its significant we are now at the beginning of a 200 year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions in air signs (after previously being in a cycle of conjunctions in earth signs that began in 1802- for an excellent article on this complex topic, read Benjamin Dykes).  Uranus in tropical Taurus will only be six degrees away from an exact square with Jupiter and Saturn when they begin their upcoming cycle at the end of 2020, signifying the transit of Uranus through Taurus will be a monumental influence shaping unfolding events.

Taurus is a nocturnal, inwardly directed sign in contrast to the diurnal nature of Aries that has an outwardly directed essence.  The other fixed signs, especially Scorpio and Leo, are commonly seen as the places of immense power within the zodiac, yet Taurus is every bit their equal in sovereign strength. The inward, Venusian power of Taurus that can nourish monumental creation may not seem as obvious as the inner martial force of Scorpio which broods and penetrates with intensity. What seems on the surface as calm stability in Taurus is similar to the unfathomable depths of subterranean life concealed by the green grass we lay our heads upon. As the goddess Inanna calls for someone to plow her fields, so will we be called to delve into the nature of our being as well as the natural world around us to discover the inspirational solution to whatever challenges arise. Uranus in Taurus illuminates our capacity to find ways to meld the wondrous magic of nature and all of its constant creation into our creative process and invention.

A native of Uranus in Taurus exemplary of its technological potential is Nikola Tesla, who as a youth transfixed with the wonderment of a crashing waterfall received a brainstorm that he could one day discern how to harness its power. As we know, Tesla not only helped develop the cultivation of hydroelectricity but numerous other inventions harnessing natural energy, including groundbreaking work in wireless power. There have been many historical examples demonstrating the capacity of Uranus in Taurus to birth technological inventions that dramatically transform culture, and the obvious need for technological advancement that can help us mediate environmental crises aligns perfectly with the potential of Uranus in Taurus. At the Northwest Astrological Conference in 2018, Caroline Casey spoke about animism informing technology with Uranus in Taurus, giving the example of Japanese bullet train design guided by the dynamics of kingfishers diving through water without a splash. This idea of biomimicry is not new, but seems fertile ground for new advancements with Uranus transiting Taurus.

Insight gained from the magic of natural creation will be felt from all fields of exploration during the transit of Uranus through Taurus. In science, there have been many examples of new theories in understanding natural laws manifesting with Uranus in Taurus, from the work of Isaac Newton with universal gravity and mechanics to Charles Darwin finally deciding to present and publish his long-standing, thorough research into natural selection that defied aspects of dominant church dogma. Newton and Darwin’s work both displayed the fixed quality of Taurus as their influence within the field endured for centuries. In astrology, the current movement toward a more embodied practice of astrology that connects us more intimately with our living sky will be strengthened. Marsilio Ficino was an astrologer born with Uranus in Taurus opposite his Scorpio Sun, and was a monumental influence on the artistic movement of the Italian Renaissance as well as its underlying philosophy. Ficino translated and brought back to prominence ancient Platonic and Hermetic text which helped him devise remediation practices aligning astrology with medicinal choices, including aesthetic ones such as sound and color.

As Uranus also signifies collective movements, despite the likelihood the mass population will continue to become even further entrenched within virtual realities, there is also a likelihood for movements centered within returning to nature gaining prominence. A past historical example includes Henry David Thoreau publishing Walden, or Life in the Woods with Uranus in Taurus, a work whose influence upon people seeking life lived within natural environments extends to this very moment. Interestingly, Thoreau published his essay Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) when Uranus was in the final year of its transit through Aries. Uranus in Taurus will bring both of these ideas together, with acts of civil disobedience being utilized to protect natural environments from consumption.

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Lascaux cave painting

Exaltation of the Moon

The Moon is exalted in Taurus and accustomed to being celebrated in the sign of the Bull Horns, yet will now find the strange instigator Uranus camping out there. Uranus entering the exaltation of the Moon suggests a radical awakening of soul through mindful descent into subterranean realms of inner sensation. I was recently struck by the link between enlivening inner senses with Uranus entering Taurus while listening to a workshop given by Peter Kingsley, a scholar of ancient philosophers such as Parmenides and Empedocles. Kingsley described inner sensations as “sacred ground” akin to the sacredness of the underworld to the ancient Greeks, yet in this case sacred ground you bear everywhere. Kingsley illuminated the value of the ancient healing practice of incubation, or lying down with full immersion within inner sensation, calling it a “practice of abandonment, the practice of giving up . . . when nothing else worked.”  Kingsley described how ancient people would seek a shrine to lie down within and be as close to death as possible when doctors were not able to diagnose a cure, and how through this process a healing remedy would emerge through submergence within inner senses.

To Kingsley the ancient Greeks had a fundamental need for the wisdom and understanding that comes through the incubation of inner sensation, stating “there was fundamentally no difference between a body that is sick, a mind that needs understanding, and a city that needs new laws.” Kingsley described that just as personal imbalances could be remedied through incubation, so could new systems of laws be brought to civilization by those who had entered and come back from “another state of consciousness by practicing incubation.”  Through incubation we become  “drawn into the underworld, into the depth . . . into that mysterious access point which is available in the underworld that gives you access to every level of existence.” I like these ideas in connection with Uranus entering Taurus since the disruptions that can enter our life with Uranus transits take us into dark nights of the soul and can force us to let go of attachments. It will be helpful to make time for meditative practices, remembering it can really be as simple as lying down in full immersion of senses. The alchemy of incubation to Kingsley reveals the midnight Sun and that “the real light is found at the heart of darkness” and realization that “the source of light is inside.”

While Taurus correlates with inner wealth and riches, it can also correlate with possessiveness, excessive hedonism, and materialistic greed. Kingsley spoke about how exploration of inner sensation can also address the “dynamic of nothing being enough that this [Western] culture thrives on” through nourishing us from within. Kingsley described it as a “whole process of inner agriculture” in which we can become “a farmer in the unseen worlds.” Notably, farming and agricultural have been significations for Taurus since Hellenistic times. Just as we could experience innovations in cultivating our inner fecundity with Uranus in Taurus, so are we also likely to experience collective innovations in agriculture and food production, as well as increased influence from fields such as permaculture. As Vettius Valens wrote in the second century CE:

Within the great cosmic order and turning circle of time, the Bull brings acquisition of resources. It is entirely earthy in nature, acting on rustic and rural places. There is an affiliation between Taurus and farming. Because the Bull is so earthy, its action is carried downward . . . It is oriented towards work of the unending variety, the temperament being entirely unchangeable. The Bull is responsible for the building of foundations, inclining us to collect assets.

— Vettius Valens, Anthology Book One translated by Andrea Gehrz

Uranus glyph Aphrodite birth with Hermes

Birth of Aphrodite (4th Century BC) attended by Hermes, Himeros, and Poseidon. Athenian red figure pelike from the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. Uranus glyph by Bradley Naragon

Home of Venus

Taurus is the earthy, inwardly directed home of Venus with a fixed focus on cultivating enduring qualities. Uranus in Taurus will be influenced by Venus and her flavorful aesthetics, sense of harmony, and sensuality. As a result we can expect Uranus in Taurus to bring innovative changes to fashion, dietary considerations, bodily caregiving and anything else Venusian. There will be a reawakening in relationships, with a need for our partners, friends, and collaborators to accept and support our essentiality. Venus and Uranus do not share much common ground in archetypal meaning, and so we will need to open the Venusian areas of our life to allow for the revelatory flow of Uranus that can be unsettling in its rapid change. As Taurus and Venus both have a lot to do with our inner values, we can make allies with Uranus by engaging in relationships that resonate with our authenticity rather than those that conform to external standards.

Uranus in the home of Venus suggests exciting developments in the arts and inspirational artistic movements are on the way. When researching past historical correlations with the transit of Uranus in Taurus, a pattern that leapt out to me was the numerous examples of masterpieces in storytelling. While Uranus was in the sign of the Bull, the ingenious Don Quixote climbed upon his steed to engage in his fantastical chivalry. The original Globe Playhouse was constructed giving William Shakespeare a stage to write and perform such classics as Henry VJulius CaesarAs You Like ItHamletTwelfth Night, and Othello. The great white whale Moby Dick, a story paradigmatic as “the great American novel,” emerged from the ocean waves, inspiring obsessive quests. The “body electric” of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was also published with Uranus in Taurus, as was John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath which captured the trials of survival from the Dust Bowl crisis. Steinbeck wrote about survival with directness evocative of Uranus in Taurus:  “How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can’t scare him – he has known a fear beyond every other.”

We can also witness masterful storytelling within natives with Uranus in Taurus such as Dante Alighieri, the creator of the enduring, immortal Divine Comedy whose influence has been incredibly far reaching. Masters of modern myths Jim Henson and Hayao Miyazaki were also born with Uranus in Taurus, both capable of creating entire worlds of fantasy that reflected timely messages back to audiences. Among artists, Vincent Van Gogh was also born with Uranus in Taurus (as well as Saturn and Pluto in Taurus) and his works of passion resonate with Uranus in Taurus in the way they capture the soulful aliveness of the ground beneath as well as the stars above. Whatever challenges and difficulties arise with Uranus in Taurus, we can expect they will inspire art, music, and story whose influence will stand the test of time.

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El Greco (1596-1600) View of Toledo; Uranus entered Taurus in 1599.

The planet Uranus was named for the primal sky god Ouranos, father of the Titans and lover of the primal earth goddess Gaia. Ouranos was fond of stuffing his Titanic offspring deep underground, and so it is interesting that the other mythic figure usually connected with the planet Uranus, Prometheus, was a Titan who took the side of the Olympians in the Titanomachy that led to his Titanic peers also being driven deep into Tartarus. In astrology we connect aspects of Uranus to the unconscious forces that can direct our life suddenly from unseen realms within. In mundane events, Uranus also corresponds to unforeseen forces fracturing and bursting through the facade of consensus reality. Whenever Uranus enters a new sign, unexpected events often erupt with resonance to the zodiacal symbolism.

With Uranus entering Taurus, we can intuit that commerce and economic systems across the planet will be shaken. While there will likely be dramatic periods of instability, it’s also likely that economic innovations will emerge through the volatility. As numerous past transits of Uranus in Taurus have coincided with militarized fights over land rights and natural resources, we can also expect more of the same. As previously mentioned, we can also expect mass movements focused upon environmental concerns such as addressing the need for clean water sources and the protection of what remains of the wilderness. Demetra George has posted a lucid piece connecting environmental concerns and crises with the mythic Uranus giving birth to the Furies within the tumult of his downfall.

Uranus also relates to revolutions, rebellions, and social justice activism in mundane astrology. The past transits of Uranus through Taurus involve many of the threads currently knotted together in the gaping collective wounds polarizing conflict all across our planet. Social unrest, protest and activism is guaranteed in the next six months of Uranus initiating its transit in Taurus, as it will form a harsh aspect with Mars retrograde in Aquarius in June through August followed by a polarizing aspect with Venus retrograde in Scorpio in October. During this same period, Uranus in Taurus will re-enter the orb of a fifteen degree opposition with Jupiter in Scorpio, the orb used by Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche to define time periods containing the revolutionary fervor activated by Jupiter and Uranus in opposition (June through September 2018).

A previous time Uranus in Taurus was opposite Jupiter in Scorpio, Frederick Douglass gave the rousing speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” on July 5, 1852. Frederick Douglass was exemplary of the emancipatory force of Uranus due to rising from slavery to become a leading intellectual, inspirational orator, and human right activist. The words of Douglass still resonate today:

“. . . At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”

— Frederick Douglass, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

hathor cow goddess

Hathor

The Hierophant arcanum in tarot is traditionally associated with Taurus, an arcanum signifying belief systems, guiding faith rooted in belief, and the search for higher purpose and meaning. It can also signify conformity to established social orders of morality which aligns with its association to the fixed sign of Taurus. The word hierophant has roots in ancient Greek, meaning one who reveals what is sacred. Past transits of Uranus through Taurus have brought the shattering of static religious doctrine, including the 95 theses of Martin Luther that helped instigate the Protestant reformation, as well as Charles Darwin presenting his research into evolutionary biology that contradicted christian dogma. Saint Francis of Assisi was born with Uranus in Taurus and rebelled against the material trappings of religious institutions, devoting himself to a life of poverty. Saint Francis embodied Uranus in Taurus through viewing the natural world as a reflection of spirit, not only finding connection between living creatures and divinity, but also living and serving from this belief. The mystical participation of Saint Francis that rebelled against the christian duality which separated spirit from nature is likely to gain prominence as Uranus transits through Taurus.

In ancient Egypt the great goddess Hathor who was honored and celebrated by hierophants remains an archetypal force resonant with Uranus in Taurus. Hathor was a bovine divinity and sky goddess who emphasized the fertile nourishment of the starry heavens above, the celestial cow who lifted the creator Sun god up within her horns. A bestial goddess whose womb encompasses the stars above, Hathor’s link to Uranus in Taurus suggests spiritual meaning can come through connection with nature, alignment with natural cycles on earth and in the stars above, and ritually honoring the sacred. There is an old debate pitting the mind versus the body, with some arguing that the illusion of the material world means we can’t trust our senses and instead must find spiritual truth through the rationalizing mind. In contrast, others have sought the wisdom of the body, delving within subjective senses to discover higher truth from within. Uranus in Taurus can activate the potential of integrating mind, body, and spirit, bridging the wisdom of inner sensation with the clarification of mind through the tests that will arise in our worldly endeavors.

Tim Addey in his book The Seven Myths of the Soul used a passage from the Platonic philosopher Damascius to illuminate the journey of soul we experience through incarnation. Prometheus, a mythic figure who has become embedded within the archetypal meaning of Uranus in astrology, appears in the passage of Damascius in the line “Like Prometheus and the Titans, she is bound to body.” Addey linked the story of Prometheus to our soul’s incarnation in our bodily form where she must “undergo a series of trials in order to make sense of the world in which she finds herself.” To Addey, Prometheus is both “the inspective guardian of the rational soul” as well as “the descending arc of the cycle of the soul” whose path necessitates “the need to embrace the foundations of the mundane realm rather than reject them.” Addey suggests that “the initiation of Prometheus requires the soul to ask what am I not?” As we enter what promises to be a dramatic time period of Uranus entering Taurus, open awareness to what aspects of your life are ready to be liberated and changed. Analyzing how Taurus is involved in your astrology chart may be helpful, but most of all allow yourself to sense what parts of yourself you’ve been presenting to the world no longer align with your higher truth. It’s easier to ride with the force of Uranus rather than resist it.

References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

Kingsley, Peter. (2006). Return to Eternity: a transformational workshop with Peter Kingsley.

Vettius Valens of Antioch. Book One. Rendered from ancient Greek into modern English by Andrea L. Gehrz. (2016). Moira Press.

Whitman, Walt. (1986). Leaves of Grass. Penguin Classics.

New Moon in Pisces

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Baptism II by T Thompson

New Moon in Pisces

The dreamy vision reverberating in mind, the eyes catch the mirrored sunlight caressing the waves from the deep.  Colors transfigure the sky, undulating with hues bringing passing magic to the senses.  We call it a brainstorm, the inspiration of inhaling divine guidance.  What comes next reveals the intersection between internal and external realms, the circumstances of our lives and our motivation to dedicate time and effort into manifesting a fragment of what our soul beheld in quiet, secretive contemplation.  The New Moon in Pisces on March 17 is a gate through which we enter an intensified quality of time, one which demands focused follow through if we wish to bring the inner workings of psyche into reality.

The New Moon is united with Chiron in Pisces and forms a catalytic square with Mars at the very, very end of Sagittarius.  Mars will enter Capricorn only a few hours after the lunation, and so the freshly waxing Moon will be in Aries when it forms an exact square with Mars later in the day.  Mars will therefore receive the reinvigorated dark Moon into its exaltation of Capricorn, and as the Moon continues to build toward new light it will find itself contained within squares with both Mars and Saturn in Capricorn.  Mars and Saturn glow these days as Morning Stars, full of essential dignity to bring about their significations in the empowered sign of the Sea Goat.  These combined influences on the New Moon in Pisces bring the inner fortitude required to bear the challenges and wounds of temporal matter in order to work toward sturdy development of goals.

The waters of Pisces wash ashore a seed that needs tending care yet has the resiliency to put down roots and bloom in even the harshest conditions.  In fact it may just be the difficulties of the surrounding environment that help to foster a beauty of form more unique than could happen anywhere else.  Plans enacted now will necessitate the type of mutable flexibility the sign of Pisces has been long renowned for, a capacity for shifting with fertile readiness to the angelic guidance found in the moment.

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Black Sunsets by T Thompson

Jupiter rules the New Moon having recently shifted into slow retrograde movement in Scorpio.   Interestingly, at the very moment of the New Moon perfecting, Jupiter will be ruling the New Moon in Pisces as well as Mars at the very end of Sagittarius.  Significantly,  the New Moon is separating from a trine with Jupiter, signifying a cherished vision or illuminated wisdom we are carrying forward into the coming lunar cycle.  Jupiter these days has a slow, churning, inwardly directed focus and is applying toward a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn that will perfect April 14.  The month following the New Moon will be an intense brewing of Jupiter and Pluto supporting a purging of inauthentic influences and a deepening of feeling into innermost yearnings.

Jupiter in Scorpio is in the middle of its most intense engagement with Pluto in Capricorn, having first formed an exact sextile with Pluto on January 15.  Jupiter has been harmoniously engaging with Pluto for the entirety of 2018, and after they begin to separate from one another toward the end of April, they will return to engage a final time again in August and September.   As always with Pluto we may experience secrets being revealed, taboos tested, and an initiatory journey, yet the supportive sextile formed with Jupiter suggests the underworld treasure and richness also associated with Pluto can be discovered.

These influences on the Pisces New Moon signify the importance of persisting toward goals aligned with inner essence rather than external influences of acculturation that are out of alignment.  This is of supreme importance for just as Jupiter is slowly peeling back toward Pluto, Mars and Saturn are blazing a trail forward to Pluto in Capricorn.

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Red Hues by T Thompson

In the wake of the New Moon, Mars will both move out of bounds by declination and also enter into Capricorn. Mars out of bounds is wilder, fiercely more independent and willful than Mars would otherwise be in Capricorn, while also applying to a conjunction with Saturn.  Capricorn is the exaltation of Mars, the nocturnal and earthy home of Saturn that tempers the inflammatory tendencies of the red planet.   Mars out of bounds in its exaltation is the wandering heretic genius who not only operates outside the confines of status quo conditioning, but also embodies the savvy wherewithal to strategize and effectively organize timeframes for work.  Mars wants the freedom to act out dynamic potential and has the motivation to seek outlets for expression.  Finding channels for Mars expression will be essential.

Mars will remain out of bounds until the first week of April, and it is on April 1 that it will form its exact conjunction with Saturn.  Mars will not unite with Pluto until the end of April, and so although that alignment is over a month away, as soon as Mars enters Capricorn we will begin to feel the intensity of its eventual perfection. In terms of collective events, there is no sugar coating the numerous tragedies that will be told in correspondence.  However, within protected personal spheres there will be opportunities to initiate and develop vital work.  Projects built under the intense eyes of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto may develop at a slower pace but will ultimately possess profound persistence to survive over the long haul.

Thus the 2018 narrative takes a dramatic turn at the Pisces New Moon, as the forces of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto promise a meeting with our nemesis and a forging of inner fire in response. While being one of the most challenging periods of the year, it will also be a timeframe that can lead to immense growth in strength and aptitude.

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Black Sunsets II by T Thompson

Fire will be found in the twilight of sunset in the forms of radiant Venus and glittering Mercury glowing bright.  Mercury is beginning to descend from maximum elongation as an Evening Star at the Pisces New Moon, falling lower toward the horizon each day as it approaches its upcoming retrograde period. Mercury will station retrograde following the Aries Equinox on March 22, meaning that the Pisces New Moon contains both the rebirth of the equinox as well as the regeneration of Mercury retrograde within its lunar cycle.  As a result we must be ready for the numerous twists, turns, and unexpected events that will accompany a Mercury retrograde period that looks to be more volatile than normal.

Take pleasure in the sunsets surrounding the New Moon, for the lack of moonlight will darken the backdrop of Mercury and Venus shining bright together in twilight.  As delightful as Mercury and Venus appear together in the sky, within the aspects of the astrological atmosphere they are in a challenging position of forming a whole sign square to the intense Capricorn conglomerate of Pluto, Saturn, and Mars.  After the Sun enters Aries on the equinox, we can add our solar light to the side of Venus and Mercury facing off with the Capricorn heavyweights.  While the Sun, Venus and Mercury together in Aries incite desires for freely boundless expression, the tension coming from Capricorn planets demands channeling expression through contained forms.

We have been presented with an extended period to integrate the heartfelt values of Venus with the mental reasoning and expression of Mercury:  Mercury and Venus recently united on March 4 and will again on March 19. The present union of Venus and Mercury is forming a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Leo and a sextile to the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The fiery determination and willfulness of Venus and Mercury in Aries presents new choices to be made that are in greater alignment with our authentic path.  As Venus and Mars are in the home of Mars, and Mars will be applying to a conjunction with Saturn in the home of Saturn, it will be imperative to embody self-discipline and integrity of purpose in the process.  Challenges may feel overwhelming, yet sustaining focused determination will reap rewards in the end.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The New Moon arises in the third face of Pisces associated with the Ten of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image and card linked with emotional fulfillment of creative dreams, it also carries warnings of becoming lost in romantic fantasy.  The image of rainbows, happy lovers, and playful children captures the essence of an ideal goal for many, and serves as a striving symbol for those with different goals in mind.   Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to this decan, as he wrote “the third face unfolds as the quest for true and perfect love” that ultimately requires sacrifice.  Coppock rightly described this decan as a place in which we can experience the “heights of agony and ecstasy,” both the disillusionment of betrayal as well as the bliss of rich reception.

Mars rules the third face of Pisces, and it is significant that the New Moon is also occurring within the Egyptian bounds of Mars.  This binds the lunation to Mars even more tightly than would otherwise be suggested by the looming influence of the red planet previously described above.  The Sabian symbol for the New Moon is “The Harvest Moon Illumines a Clear Autumnal Sky,” to which Dane Rudhyar gave the keynote of “the light of fulfillment that blesses work well done.”  Rudhyar described this symbol as signifying reaping the harvest of what we have sown and cultivated, emphasizing that “the seed of the new cyclic manifestation is already latent.”

With Mars, Saturn, and Pluto present in Capricorn in the coming cycle we have the power of the scythe on our side. Be mindful of what you cultivate, and generous in the harvest you share with others.  The sharing of love and resources in partnership and within collaborative community will bolster resiliency in the face of coming challenges.

References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

Full Moon in Virgo

Anima Mercury

Woodcut by Leonhardt Thurneysser zum Thurn (1574)

The Full Moon in Virgo on February 22 illuminates the polarity of Pisces and Virgo,  a meaning synthesized in the image of a woman fully present in the moment, in touch with her soul and body, filled with the spirit of surrounding nature.  Virgo is the inwardly directed home of Mercury, the exaltation of Mercury and the place of self examination, analysis, and reflection.  In Virgo we grasp for language to express the ineffable, systemize and organize chaos into concepts, and through bridging soul and personality, mind and body, discern right choice and action that aligns with natural justice and law.  At this Full Moon, Mercury in Aquarius is weaving together the meaning of myriad issues that have arisen from internal and external sources over the past couple of months.  Ahead is the unknown outcomes of deep shifting signified by a strong activation of the mutable signs of astrology. Any sense of clarity that can be gained at this time will be valuable treasure to take into the eclipse season that follows this Full Moon, as the following two lunations will be a Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8, and a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Libra on March 23.

The Full Moon is anchored by the Sun in Pisces in range of conjoining Ceres and Neptune, while Pisces is further amplified through Chiron closely conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, further connected by modern astrologers with Neptune and the oceanic field sourcing our personal and collective consciousness.  Pisces is a sign of soul and spirit, imagination and vision, and yet in the face of unseen realms and the chaos of creation that Pisces can attune with, many turn towards obsession with identities, pursuits, and desires that bring a sense of security and control.  Rather than open to a realm with no boundaries, many instead hold tight to fixations which bring a sense of controlling and organizing chaos.  The month following this Virgo Full Moon will feature a plenitude of Pisces placements, and with the Sun applying to a conjunction with Neptune and Ceres now, we can expect many of our old attachments to dissolve and wash away. Standing on the shores of any receding disillusionment, this Virgo Full Moon will illuminate the new choices and desires that resonate with the current development of authentic growth being experienced.

The Sun, Neptune, Ceres, South Node of the Moon, and Chiron being in the home of Jupiter, with Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, means this Virgo Full Moon will trigger all underlying issues surrounding our desires for growth in the unknown future.  One of the biggest dangers of the Virgo side of the polarity is that we can easily resist the potential available for change, regeneration, and liberation from past patterns by resisting opportunities because of judging the circumstances to not be what we feel they should be for us.  Virgo can cling to an ideal or want things to look a certain way as a coping strategy in the face of the formless unknown signified by Pisces.  However, if we resist taking a dive and risk into situations that are not perfectly ordered the way we feel comfortable with, we can guarantee that we will be perpetuating the same old underlying patterns in the future.  Jupiter traveling in conjunction with the North Node of the Moon can open windows to a sense of destiny that if fulfilled would bring vibrant meaning into our lives.  Yet the choices available that align with our soul’s evolution are not necessarily in the circumstances that look and feel like our comfort zone, or that enable our old attachments and complexes.

Look to the house position and aspects made by the first five degrees of Pisces and Virgo to note how this Full Moon is directly impacting you. If you have any placements in the first ten degrees of water, earth, or mutable signs you will acutely feel its effects.

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World Press Winner of best Nature photograph in 2015 by Rohan Kelly of looming clouds above Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia

This Virgo Full Moon opens us to a long period of time in which the mutable signs of astrology will dominate, an atmosphere of tempestuous storms brewing that will completely alter reality.  Everything is shifting into unknown outcomes, and while it is natural to grasp for old attachments and the desires that have given us a sense of security in the past, clinging to our old ideas of what stability means will no longer guarantee stability.  It is vital to realize that so much is changing on such a deep level, that making choices based on our old security needs will lead to missing out on the opportunities that will bring the deepest fulfillment. In this transitional, mutable time period, the entire foundation is shifting and so what used to bring security is changing fundamentally.  Following desires rooted in the heart and soul hold the greatest potential for ultimate security, even if the circumstances surrounding them seem uncertain now.

The Full Moon is in the home and exaltation of Mercury, illuminating connections with our mind, mental expression and comprehension.  Mercury is in the middle of Aquarius at the time of the Full Moon, being received by Saturn in Sagittarius through a sextile.  In addition, Mercury is in a wider range of a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  However, the closest aspects for Mercury are with the asteroids Pallas Athene and Juno, being conjoined with Pallas Athene and in square to Juno in Scorpio.  Demetra George described Juno and Pallas Athene as galactic activators who help mediate the personal realm of astrology with the transpersonal, and so the myriad aspects Mercury is making at this Full Moon suggest a bridge between the personal and transpersonal is available to traverse.  There is a brand new, future-oriented path to take we can now envision, yet it causes friction with old relationship patterns to such an extent we could resist it.

With Venus also in Aquarius in range of a conjunction with Mercury and Pallas Athene at this Full Moon, there is liberation available from the old complexes that have caused us to repeat endless loops of certain relationship projections, going back all the way to early childhood.  Yet to experience this liberation we have to take risks sourced from our heart with a willingness to go into an unknown that does not appear to fit our perfect vision of how things should be set up.  Unfortunately, it is also easy to rationalize resistance to the liberated choices based upon the old attachments that have brought us comfort and security in the past. To receive the full potential of this Full Moon in Virgo, be open to opportunities that do not fit your ideal parameters, yet do resonate with your soul in the evolving moment.

With both Mercury and Venus in Aquarius, the home of Saturn, it is also important to realize that we are approaching a last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo.  At the Full Moon, Jupiter and Saturn will be within five degrees of an exact square, and they will ultimately form their exact square at the time of the Lunar Eclipse in Libra that is coming on March 23, 2016.  On the one hand, this signifies the deep “crisis of consciousness” developed by Dane Rudhyar that culminates myriad past issues into a crescendo that will require the release of what no longer serves our deepest meaning and purpose.  Mercury as the ruler of this Full Moon is in a mediating role now, however, as Mercury is in sextile to both Saturn and Uranus, while Saturn and Uranus are simultaneously in trine.  Furthermore, Mercury is the ruler of the second face of Aquarius where it now resides, adding additional support to our capacity to connect the known with the unknown.  Altogether, these aspects support the ability to create and find the resources we need to stabilize ourselves in unfamiliar directions, despite the current circumstances not appearing to already have the resources established.

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Winner of first prize in 2015 World Press photography awards by Warren Richardson of people seeking to cross into Hungary. Taken on 8/28/2015

The most exact, intense aspect of this Full Moon is Jupiter in Virgo conjoining the North Node of the Moon, opposite Chiron in Pisces conjoining the South Node of the Moon.  Jupiter will become exactly opposite Chiron a day after the Full Moon, forming the second of three oppositions they will make in the current cycle.  On November 3, 2015 Chiron and Jupiter were opposite at seventeen degrees, currently are opposite at twenty degrees, and on August 12, 2016 will form their final opposition at twenty-four degrees of Virgo and Pisces.  As a result we are in the middle passage of their oppositions, and this one in particular may be the most intense of all as it falls along the nodal axis of the Moon.  As a result, Jupiter in Virgo is aligned with the new choices and strong desires signified by the North Node of the Moon, and Chiron in Pisces is aligned with the letting go and release of old patterns and desires signified by the South Node of the Moon.

Chiron as well as Virgo becoming activated often can coincide with a crisis that necessitates readjustment and resiliency.  With Chiron conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces now, one issue that could come up is the level to which past rejection is influencing current reactions and responses to adversity.  There is nothing quite like the wound of rejection when you have opened your heart with complete devotion to another.  Feelings that you are not good enough, or overwhelming sorrow that the value you feel sure you inherently possess is not seen, desired, or respected, can seep into one’s perceptions and choices and cause restriction and restraint.  Yet the experience of distress, hardship, and tribulation can provoke us to push past limiting thoughts and awaken the unrealized potential from within.  Whatever wounds are being triggered, the opposition of Jupiter to Chiron signifies that vital vision and meaning in life can be regenerated through going into the feelings rather than denying them or distracting ourselves from them.

Pluto in Capricorn is currently mediating the opposition between Jupiter and Chiron, forming a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon, and a sextile with Chiron and the South Node of the Moon.  The shadow side of these Pluto aspects is about attempting to cope with emotional insecurity by controlling people and as many aspects of our surroundings as possible, or resisting the paths and choices that do not fit our controlled, idealized picture of the way we want things to be.  However, if we are able to nourish our own emotional security from within, the trine from Pluto to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon can coincide with opening to a soulful path forward that will ultimately bring us intrinsic validation.  If we stop resisting and instead open ourselves to receiving what will come by deciding to commit to the new direction, we will find Plutonic wealth and resources emerging along our trail that will be enough to get us through any difficulties arising.

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8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo I Decan 

This Full Moon falls in the first face of Virgo, associated with the 8 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see an artist and craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment.  This image resonates with the astrology surrounding this Full Moon in Virgo by evoking the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts:

The first decan of an earth sign, this face provides initiation into the mysteries of incarnation.  It teaches the difference between the touched and the untouched, and the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe.  It makes for careful craftsman, thoughtful merchants and wise farmers, though many other transformers of the prima materia are here as well.  Though the formulae of this face is one of humility, it results in works of surprising glory.  Creation ripens for those who can hear and heed its voice.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 139-140

The Sun rules the first face of Virgo, giving the Pisces Sun added emphasis at this Full Moon. The Pisces Sun conjoining Neptune and Ceres lends additional imagination and nurturance to this decans emphasis on humbly devoting oneself to creative manifestation.  This Full Moon can help us attune to a grandiose vision and dream for our future, while simultaneously drawing our focus to the next critical step needing to be addressed in its creation.  The more you can get away from others in your surroundings, including influences coming from media sources, the more you can center within and listen for naturally arising messages pointing toward the calling aligned with the highest good.  Focusing on the task at hand and pouring personal energy into artistry of one sort or another will also help to purify the old wounds and delusions toxic to perception.  There is solar insight into our current place in the intersection between the collective unconscious and our personal consciousness, lunar insight available into our mind and body in its current situation and what to prioritize with our time and attention.

References

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