Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

psyche and cerberus bertel thorvaldsen

Psyche and Cerberus (1838) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

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

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 / What’s thus withdrawn is most your own.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hermes Argus Bertel Thorvaldsen


Mercury about to kill Argus (1818) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, ’tis thine thro’ air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse:
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine:
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain, of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

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

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

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

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

viridarium-05


from Viridarium Chymicum (1624)

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury transit of the Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology

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

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

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

hilm af klint group VI evolution


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

Morning Star of Hermes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Full Moon in Aries

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

Full Moon in Aries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

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

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

Aries 3 Decan by Francesco Del Cossa

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

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

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

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

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

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References

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

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

New Moon in Libra

Chicago_Hrosvitha Test Plate, 1979

Judy Chicago (1979)  Hrosvitha Test Plate

New Moon in Libra

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

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

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

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

pelican brass 15th century

15th Century brass Pelican plate from Netherlands

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

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

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

judy-chicago-in-the-shadow-of-death_8x10-at-300-dpi-jpg

Judy Chicago (2015) In the Shadow of Death

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

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

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2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

Full Moon in Pisces

the unicorn is found

The Unicorn is Found (1495 – 1505)

Full Moon in Pisces

The silvery glow of the Full Moon in Pisces will stir imagination and set flight to fantasy with the enchanting trance of Neptune. The waxing Pisces Moon will conjoin Neptune on September 13 while also forming catalyzing aspects with Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto. While the actual peak illumination of the Pisces Full Moon will occur on either September 13 or 14 depending upon your time zone, the thrust of emotions and passions corresponding with its light will be deeply felt on both days. Pisces is a nocturnal sign well suited to dissolving dualistic distinctions between the rational and irrational, bridging awareness between our conscious conditioning and the unconscious urges of soul that compel us from within. The Full Moon in Pisces will be revelatory and revealing, opening perception to a more expansive vision of circumstances. Like the inspired musing that comes from close encounters with the ocean, we may feel accumulated stress and anxiety wash away enough to envision new potential where we had feared none existed.

The waxing Moon’s journey through Pisces on its way toward fullness will be in range of a major aspect with every other planet, in particular connecting the cycles between Jupiter and Neptune as well as Saturn and Pluto that have been the most dominant longterm transits of 2019. With the Pisces Moon passing through a trine aspect with its North Node in Cancer and a sextile with its South Node, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn there is an opportunity to discover ways to connect creativity and imagination with the grounded structure and focused discipline needed to manifest inner visions. Rather than feeling unproductively restrained by restrictions and barriers, we can realize how to utilize whatever limitations we have been facing to artfully create results that make the most out of our available resources. As the Pisces Moon also moves through a square aspect with Jupiter on its way toward a conjunction with Neptune, we may also receive a jolt of inspiration that brings forth exciting new ideas to develop as well as insight into how to improve projects already under construction.

On a deeper level the Full Moon in Pisces is a calling to explore the underbelly of dreams, lifting up the fabric of ideals to see what is subsisting in the shadow of whatever you desire to attract into your life. The propulsive force that the Full Moon uniting with Neptune unleashes from subjective senses can bring realization regarding whatever has been driving actions and goals for achievement from hidden realms within. It’s a good time to contemplate where you have been looking to find wisdom, who you have been listening to, which influences you have been allowing to shape you and which ones you have been shielding yourself from. If feelings of disillusionment arise over old dreams of who you aspire to be in the world, allow yourself to release attachment to them in order to create space for a vital new vision of your future growth to emerge.

Gustave_Courbet_the wave

Gustave Courbet (1869) The Wave

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the Pisces Full Moon while in the midst of intense aspects from Mars and Neptune.  In the week leading into the Full Moon, the fiery natures of the Sun and Mars volatilized Jupiter through forming change inducing square aspects with the star of Zeus. When we become fully activated in correspondence with Jupiter in Sagittarius we can become overwhelmed by desire to journey far in search of knowledge or expand aspirations beyond previous constraints. Yet before leaping into the unknown, it will be best to let the light of the Pisces Full Moon illuminate whatever underlying myth or personal narrative has been shaping plans and goals. Before writing the next scene of the story you want to live, take time to consider the quality of life you truly wish to cultivate for yourself and others through your endeavors. What core values and priorities will serve as your guiding star forward?

As the Full Moon peaks, Mars in Virgo will be separating from a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter while applying tightly toward a tense opposition with Neptune in Pisces. Mars in Virgo is moving at its fastest speed at the beginning of a new cycle with the Sun, but remains combust and vulnerable in its regenerative underworld phase as it faces off with Neptune. The impact of Mars on the lunation can incite self righteous crusades and dogmatic diatribes in those unwilling to question their beliefs. Conflicts will erupt in which each side of the opposition feels certain they know what is best, unable to see past the illusions encircling their anger and rage. In certain cases it will be best to avoid confrontation due to the unlikelihood of being able to facilitate compromise out of a genuine exchange of perspective.

On the other hand, there is also a constructive side to the invigorating impact of not only the Sun and Mars setting off the square between Jupiter and Neptune during the Full Moon, but also the fact that within the present lunar cycle that both Venus and Mercury in Virgo previously did so as well. It is remarkable that Mercury, Venus, and Mars have all begun new cycles with the Sun recently while simultaneously forming a square aspect with Jupiter and an opposition with Neptune. If you have felt disillusionment regarding yourself or others during this time, the putrefaction of past perception can fertilize a revitalized sense of self in the light of the Pisces Moon. Allow yourself to find acceptance for past mistakes and lay them to rest, gathering the wisdom of the lessons you have learned to inform your presence in the moment. As the destructive storms stirred up by Mars opposing Neptune clear, there can be a new sense of potential to embrace through dislodging yourself from the constraints of old beliefs that have been dictating what you feel is possible to achieve.

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Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

The Full Moon in Pisces will serve as a threshold gateway to pass through en route to the final last quarter square aspect that will occur between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces on September 21. This will be the third square aspect between Jupiter and Neptune this year, with the first occurring on January 13 and the second occurring on June 16. It will be wise to take time to reflect on significant insights and events that emerged around the time of January 13 and June 16 when the square between Jupiter and Neptune previously intensified. The present cycle between Jupiter and Neptune began in 2009 in Aquarius, which means we are now entering the final quarter phase of their cycle which will come to an ending and beginning in 2022 at 24º Pisces. It will thus be revealing to consider what new creative or spiritual directions were initiated in 2009 that have now reached a stage of development for us to harvest and share with others, as well as how we may be realizing a need to shed old beliefs while engaging in a change of direction from what was begun in 2009.

At its heart the intensified relationship between Jupiter and Neptune beckons us to consider possibilities and potential rooted in soul more so than our material circumstances. Jupiter and Neptune in combination become visionary planets connected with spirituality, imagination, as well as attuning to the interconnected soulfulness of our world more so than the limitations of our mundane life.  The last quarter square ripening between Jupiter and Neptune can pull perception far beyond the distant horizon toward our most idealized dreams and fantasies of what we desire to create. We may receive glimpses of a future self to grow into, or a different facet of our identity we have been neglecting that now demands attention and engagement. Since the visions incited by Jupiter and Neptune may feel at odds with our present responsibilities, it will be important to find ways to begin manifesting them rather than pulling back into the comfort of the status quo and known security. Jupiter and Neptune can direct awareness toward the cutting edge of our potential and following alternative paths into an unknown future where we have not already established stability.

Fortunately, due to the Pisces Full Moon also moving through harmonizing sextile aspects with its South Node, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn there is greater likelihood of sensing a way forward that combines a grounded appraisal of necessary responsibility with imaginal inspiration. The severe gravity of Saturn and Pluto coming together in Capricorn within four months can cast a large shadow which includes fears of being at the mercy of larger societal forces. There is nothing easy about dealing with experiences related to Saturn and Pluto, but the cathartic intensity they force us to endure aids in developing inner focus, determination, and courage. The Full Moon mixes together the uplifting qualities of Neptune and Jupiter that can see the bigger picture and sustain belief in our capacity to help build new forms that can take the place of the societal structures currently in a state of decay and breakdown.

Remedios Varo creation of the birds

The Creation of Birds (1957) by Remedios Varo

At the time of the exact Full Moon in Pisces, Mercury and Venus will be barely separating from a conjunction in the final degree of Virgo.  Mercury blending its nature with the unifying and harmonizing significations of Venus at the end of Virgo brings a piercing awareness into our present relational dynamics with others as well as the state of our own creative processes. As Venus and Mercury remain hidden under the beams of the Sun, continuing to regenerate strength, so may we feel an instinctive impetus for change and a rebalancing of both our relationships as well as our use of creative focus. The last time that Venus and Mercury formed a conjunction was on July 24 with Mercury retrograde at the end of Cancer, and so there may be many issues that were stirred up by the eclipses in July that we can now discern ways to mend or resolve.

Following the culmination of the Pisces Full Moon, both Mercury and Venus will enter Libra on September 14 where they will soon be opposed by the waning Moon in Aries. Since the air element has been absent from recent astrological transits, the return of Venus to its airy home of Libra while accompanied by Mercury will bring a boost for increasing harmony and effective communication within social interactions. Significantly, Venus and Mercury will continue to remain within five degrees of one another in Libra for most of September, making it an ideal month to revitalize our sense of style and arrangement of aesthetics. It can also be a fruitful time for constructing collaborative arrangements that bring together disparate talents and gifts into a unified, artful whole of creative expression.

During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, the most pivotal period of Venus and Mercury’s transit through Libra will occur between September 22 and the New Moon in Libra on September 28, as Venus and Mercury will pass through change inducing square aspects with Saturn and the lunar nodes, followed by a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter and then another square aspect with Pluto. During the week of the Libra Equinox we can gain a stronger sense for however we need to rearrange our priorities and goals in light of whatever deep changes have been happening this year. Whatever has come out of balance will be obvious, and we will feel driven to make reparations in personal as well as collective spheres of engagement.

cups10

10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the third face of Pisces associated with the Ten of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An archetypal image of wish fulfillment and idealized happiness, it’s form of a joyous couple enraptured by a rainbow, their children blissfully dancing in front of their picturesque home in the countryside is merely one possible manifestation of the countless images that could be used to capture a sense of the inspirational vision underlying and driving inner motivation. An earlier image for this face is found in Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which a nude male is present near a beautiful maiden whose head is decorated in flowers. Other older images show the other side of having a great dream through the terror of loss, such as Ibn Ezra’s The Beginning of Wisdom in which another nude male is armed with a lance and yelling for fear of thieves and fire. The Full Moon in Pisces ripening in this face asks us to contemplate the inner images of inspiration that have been motivating all of our work in the world, the full implications of our dream as well as how well it truly fits our sense of soul purpose.

The rainbow pregnant with abundant cups in Pamela Colman Smith’s image for the Ten of Cups evokes the great daimon of Hope found in the ancient story of Pandora’s box in which Elpis, the spirit of Hope, is the only presence left in the box after its many ills and evils were unleashed into the world of humanity. It’s the spirit found in cultural ideals such as a young Judy Garland wistfully singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” musing that somewhere exists where the most precious dreams you dare to dream really can come true. Fittingly, the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributed the figure of Elpis, the daimon of Hope, to the third decan of Pisces. The guiding star we wish upon, the guardian angel we pray to for assistance, the hope we are able to muster in even the bleakest and most desperate of times, is essential to the meaning found in the third face of Pisces, the final face of the zodiac full of the passion required to move through the end and rebirth of the entire cycle.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to the third face of Pisces, describing it as a place revealing one’s willingness to “sacrifice everything” for the “attainment of one’s greatest desire, no matter the cost.” Noting the images of romantic happiness found in the Ten of Cups card as well as in Agrippa’s masterwork, Coppock wrote that the third face of Pisces “inspires the lust and desire implied” by the images, “but the true object of the passions is a merger with the universe itself . . . The face and body of the beloved are a mask, an entry point into the experience of all-as-bliss.” Coppock noted that “the third face unfolds as the quest for true and perfect love,” yet the willingness to sacrifice all for the dream leads to the third face of Pisces becoming “littered with broken dreams and failed martyrs- those who sacrificed themselves for an illusion.”

The grandiose dreams of ecstatic bliss as well as the agony of loss that comes from misguided investment in ideals that Coppock attributed to the third face of Pisces are further shown through the fact that Mars is the ruler of this decan. As previously mentioned, during the Pisces Full Moon the fiery red planet will be occupying the opposite place of Virgo and forming a perfect opposition to the planet of dreams and illusions, Neptune. Mars in Virgo is at the earliest stages of its synodic cycle, having recently been reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2, a few days after the inception of the present lunar cycle. Open yourself at the Pisces Full Moon to the unveiling of the inner dream driving everything you sacrifice yourself for, questioning whether the vision’s source is from external conditioning or from inner sources of soul. Rather than rearranging the surface elements of daily goals and to-do lists, it may be necessary to go to the heart of your inner storyteller to re-conceptualize and rewrite the source of the story you are living in the moment.

References

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

Virgo New Moon

Virgo 1 decan-Agosto,_cosmè_tura_e_maestro_di_ercole,_03

Virgo 1 Decan image by Cosimo Tura from Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia (1476-84)

Virgo New Moon

Following the radiant and raging fire set by the Leo Sun during August in which the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars were all occupying the sign of the Lion, the New Moon in Virgo on August 30 initiates us into a month dominated by the cool calculations of Virgo. As the Moon unites in darkness with the Sun in Virgo, they are joined by the co-presence of Mercury, Venus, and Mars in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  It was written long ago that the lack of bright stars in the head of Her constellation is why so many various figures have been identified as the starry Virgin with Wings, including Demeter, Isis, Fortuna/Tyche, Justice/Dike, and Erigone. Mythic themes shared by these figures include facing the grief of loss, whether over the loss of a beloved or the loss of justice, ideals, and integrity within humanity.  Mercury joins the Sun and Moon in Virgo, the home and exaltation of Mercury, saturating the lunation with its capacity for weaving in between and bridging polarities such as spirit and matter, the rational and the emotional. In the forthcoming lunar cycle we will need to rely on the ability of Mercury to serve as a psychopomp guiding us into and out of underworld experiences, gathering the meaning found within the dark.

Underlying all of the changes in 2019 has been the pivotal relationship between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune are at the waning square aspect of their cycle that began in 2009 and have been calling us to deeply question the beliefs, philosophy, and vision of meaning we have been living life from. Within the waning square of Jupiter and Neptune we can experience a harvesting of wisdom, a gathering and sifting through of ideas and experiences from their cycle through which we can discern meaning and resources to share with others. Yet the final square of their cycle can also incite a dramatic confrontation with how we have been shaped and conditioned by the surrounding culture, realizing where we have been led astray by illusory ideals or beliefs. Though disillusionment brings difficulties, it ultimately guides us to realization of what needs to be released and let go. The Virgo New Moon brings an influx of planets in Virgo that will volatilize Jupiter and Neptune, as the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Sun, and Mars will be forming a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in the coming month followed by a tense opposition with Neptune.

The Virgo New Moon setting off the charged dynamic between Jupiter and Neptune is an invitation to make time and space for inner contemplation, digesting and processing the changes that have been taking shape within personal and collective spheres during the past year. Vitally, the Virgo New Moon is forming a square aspect with Ceres in Sagittarius and a flowing trine with Uranus in Taurus.  There may be loss to process, anger over acts of injustice, frustration over plans not working out as had been hoped, yet it is only through descending into the depths of inner sensation that we will unearth the necessary insight that will lead to making substantial changes. The Virgo New Moon in Virgo brings gifts for finding solutions that will be wasted by attempting to deny or escape from whatever has been happening. Since Mercury, Mars, and Venus are invisible in transition from old and new cycles with the Sun, the lunation brings the opportunity to descend into inner darkness in order to bring about a metamorphosis of our presence in the months ahead. Yet as part of this process we will need to make space for mending and nurturance, keeping in mind that visible results may take time to form.

In addition to the influx of archetypal forces in Virgo mediating the dynamic between Jupiter and Neptune, the waxing Virgo Moon as well as Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Sun will be forming a trine aspect with Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto in Capricorn in the month ahead. This means that the Virgo stellium is forming whole sign aspects with all of the other planets as well as the lunar nodes, bringing the focused gaze of the Winged Maiden into analysis of whatever has been working effectively as well as ineffectively. The New Moon will promote taking action and doing the necessary work, being in service to whatever needs to be taken care of as well as whatever inspiration strikes. In the midst of handling daily responsibilities, set aside some personal time in which to open your imagination towards new ways to approach old issues as well as reception of inner vision and purpose that can guide you toward the next steps to take.

Mercury in Virgo rules the New Moon while applying to a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Mercury is in both its home and exaltation of Virgo, but is also in its invisible and regenerative phase of transitioning from being a Morning Star to an Evening Star. Since Mercury is at the end of its cycle it amplifies the capacity of the Virgo New Moon to transition us from old endings toward new beginnings, yet patience will be needed regarding the seeds we plant. During its present phase Mercury is moving at its fastest speed toward a solar conjunction on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit. The speed of Mercury during this phase can bring an overwhelming sense of needing to sift through an overabundance of ideas, yet since Mercury is in its home and exaltation we have enhanced capacity to shed the inessential in the days following the Virgo New Moon. As Mercury unites with the Sun a few days after the New Moon on September 3 at 11º16′ Virgo, we can experience a regeneration of clarity and insight that will help with discernment as well as synthesizing meaning. This is a powerful day to meditate, reflect, and seek inner guidance for not only the beginning of new cycles for the Moon and Mercury, but also for a new Mars cycle.

Indeed, Mars is being regenerated by the creative potency of the Virgo Sun at the same time as Mercury. Mars will enter the heart of the Virgo Sun on September 2 at 9º39′ Virgo, and so the Virgo New Moon occurs during the final days of the Mars synodic cycle which began at 4º12′ Leo on 25 July 2017. Mars holds a strong influence over the Virgo New Moon in the archetypal form of the blacksmith who can melt down old martial patterns while reforging our relationship with Mars for the cycle ahead. In contrast to Mercury and Venus being in transition toward their Evening Star phases, Mars is in transition to being seen again as a Morning Star in mid October. Take time to reflect upon the past two years of themes in your life related to Mars, while simultaneously revisioning how you would like to change and evolve the expression of Mars in your life. Consider what is worth fighting for or protecting, areas you need to be more courageous and assertive, places you feel pulled toward directing your passions and vigor.

With Mercury and Venus also beginning new cycles at the same time as Mars, the month of September will be a powerful period of revivification regarding the values and ideas we wish to embody and express in the world. Mercury will unite with Mars on September 3 about ten hours before it forms its exact conjunction with the Sun, bringing the guidance of psychopomp Mercury into the underworld rebirth of Mars. Mercury will then quickly begin to separate from Mars and the Sun into forming a flowing trine with Saturn in Capricorn on September 5, a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius on September 6,  followed by an opposition with Neptune in Pisces on September 7 and a trine with Pluto in Capricorn on September 8. Since all of these connections being made by Mercury will occur while it is still in its invisible phase, Mercury’s sequence of aspects could help in becoming aware of hidden dynamics that have been impacting us without our conscious awareness; yet there will also likely be a powerful unconscious shaping force due to Mercury, Venus, and Mars remaining invisible.

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Gustave Courbet (1865) Girl with Seagulls

While Mercury and Mars are at the end of cycles with the Sun during the Virgo New Moon, Venus is at the start of a new cycle with the Sun and is beginning to return from being in the depths of the underworld. Not only is Venus in an underworld solar phase, it is also in a place of underworld initiation due to Venus being in its fall of Virgo. Venus in Virgo calls for descent into inner senses and discernment, a willingness to be brought down low to the ground rather than struggling to ascend to exalted heights. While dwelling in low lying places Venus can incubate insight from within, inspecting the foundations and the underbelly with a willingness to get dirty and get to the root of the matter. Under rulership of the psychopomp Mercury, Venus can gather resources from subterranean places like Persephone. Although in its fall of Virgo, Venus has essential dignity at the time of the New Moon due to being in its own bounds, decan, and triplicity and so can use its critical eye to ascertain what needs our focus for reform and improvement.

As the Virgo New Moon begins waxing towards its first crescent light, Venus in Virgo is applying closely to a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius and a flowing trine with Saturn in Capricorn and the South Node of the Moon. Venus will trine Saturn on September 1, form a square aspect with Jupiter on September 2, and then form a pivotal opposition with Neptune in Pisces on September 4.  As a result our newly revivified relationship with Venus will be shaped by the two major planetary cycles of 2019, the Saturn and Pluto cycle and the Jupiter and Neptune cycle. We may feel stress and anxiety within relationships or have to deal with difficulties in other Venus related areas of life, yet there is a necessity in Venus in Virgo taking us down to confront the underlying factors at play in our present circumstances. Venus and Virgo brings a gift for analysis, details, and craft with a magical capacity for productive distribution of whatever can be harvested from experiences.  In particular the opposition between Venus with Neptune can be useful in stripping away illusions and utilizing the strength of Venus in Virgo for unifying and weaving together meaning from disparate threads of experience.

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8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

The New Moon arises in first face of Virgo, associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Eight of Pentacles we see a craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment. This image evokes 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. Coppock wrote that the first face of Virgo inmates us “into the mysteries of incarnation . . . the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe.” While Coppock noted the first decan of Virgo involves “humility” at a core level, “it results in works of surprising glory.”

A maiden is seen in the images for the first face of Virgo in several ancient texts, wearing an old dress while holding a pomegranate in the Picatrix, holding a jug while standing in myrtle in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra. The 36 Airs ascribed the ancient goddess Themis to the first decan of Virgo, a Titaness of divine law and order who was present at oracles to have her voice transmitted to querents for divine guidance. The chthonic wisdom and divination of this decan is further revealed in the image appearing in Liber Hermetis: “a serpent put together awry,” whose “head is the likeness of the Moon.” There is a unique quality of inducing growth in the first face of Virgo which has resonance with its description in the Picatrix of being a place of “sowing, plowing, the germination of plants, of gathering grapes, and of good living.”

The Sun is the ruler of the first face of Virgo, and so since the Sun is in its own face it will seed the New Moon with the creative potency and symbolism of this decan. There is a grounding and self-assured humility that is part of the solar quality to embody in this face, and as the Sun continues to move through the rest of Virgo in the month ahead there will be ample amounts of creative potency to harness into our work.  As the Moon waxes in light we will be able to receive a more realistic perspective regarding the deep seated changes happening as well as configuring ways to find solutions to dilemmas. It’s especially notable that the forthcoming Full Moon in Pisces on September 13 will be conjoining Neptune and opening awareness to potential directions we had not previously considered. With Mercury also co-present in Virgo, remember that Virgo is not only a place of analysis and organization but also a lucid transmitter of imaginal revelations.

References

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

Eratosthenes and Hyginus. (2015). Constellation Myths. A new translation by Robin Hard. Oxford World’s Classics.

Aquarius Full Moon

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William Blake from The Song of Los

Aquarius Full Moon

“To be real about the sacred is to see not just what inside us is not sacred- but what it is inside us that’s against the sacred. What is it in our civilization that’s systematically, year after year and minute after minute, mile after mile and inch by inch, gutting everything sacred it touches: devouring it inside ourselves at the same time as irresistibly, inevitably, eating it up outside us in the beauty of landscape and nature?”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

The Full Moon in Aquarius on August 15 illuminates explorations of inner darkness and contemplation regarding the path to follow into the great unknown ahead. The astrology of the past month has been missing the element of air (besides the Moon briefly traveling through each air sign) and so the fullness of the Moon’s light in the clarifying, objectifying, and visionary sign of the Water Bearer brings a needed dosage of the synthesizing and integrative capacities of the air element. Let the light of the Aquarius Full Moon nourish the seeds of rebirth in creativity and underlying values you have been tending during the past couple of months of liminal, mysterious transition. The fixed, persevering quality of Aquarius can help in discovering the inner as well as external resources needed to endure a journey into new terrain, facilitating inner resolve to overcome whatever barriers we have previously felt were preventing us from following a more authentic calling.

The Aquarius Full Moon serves as a gateway out of the complex and challenging astrological transits of the past couple of months, which included two eclipses connected with Saturn as well as a Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer period that deeply stirred up material dislodged by the eclipses. Not only are we now clear of eclipse season, but the Full Moon also brings the final resolution to the Mercury retrograde period that began in the beginning of July when Mercury stationed retrograde while conjoining Mars and forming a square to Uranus. As the Full Moon ripens, Mercury will be moving past the degree at which it stationed in July while also reforming its square aspect with Uranus. As a result, Mercury will be inciting revelations which will bring sudden and startling clarity to whatever questions have remained murky and mired in the mystery of the recent eclipse season.

Moreover, the Full Moon is simultaneously illuminating the reseeding of Venus by the Leo Sun, putting us in touch with a deep process of regenerating the values that source our desires. While we may feel disgusted, angry, or upset over immorality and tragedy in current events occurring throughout external society, we have the opportunity to turn within to discover fertile richness to cultivate. The Full Moon in Aquarius brings the gift of utilizing Aquarian processes of patient, contemplative detachment to step back from emotional overwhelm in order to penetrate into the nature of current circumstances and discern how to catalyze necessary growth. While we may feel like rushing ahead with plans, the fact that the lunation is ruled by Saturn slowly moving retrograde alongside the South Node of the Moon points to the fact that we are in the middle of a drawn out metamorphosis that requires further rumination regarding longterm plans. The waning half of the current lunar cycle will be bringing important information we will need to consider and integrate.

The Aquarius Full Moon is conjoining the fixed star Deneb Algedi, the great star which marks the tail of the Sea Goat constellation in the living sky above. Old magical texts on the fixed stars declared that the image of Deneb Algedi brings prosperity and increases wealth, as well as enhancing one’s home and keeping it secure. As the Aquarius Moon waxes full near the star of the Sea Goat’s tail in the sky, we can turn awareness into the oceanic, immaterial expanse underlying our reality where the roots of form take shape. Rather than becoming overly focused upon external validation for achievement, see what visions from subconscious senses are ready to manifest without regard for external standards of judgment. It may not be clear how to bring new ideas into reality yet, but by setting intention to nurture and foster their manifestation we can begin the process of patiently discovering the best course of development for them.

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Odilon Redon (1899) A Woman Clothed with the Sun

The Aquarius Full Moon on August 15 is forming an opposition with the superior conjunction of Venus that occurred on August 14 at 22 degrees of Leo. Venus at this point in its cycle is invisible and in an underworld phase that can be likened to the descent of Inanna into the Great Below to be stripped of her worldly possessions and experience death followed by a metamorphosis of understanding. At the time of the Full Moon, Venus has just emerged from being revivified by the creative potency of the Leo Sun and is ready to begin her long journey back from the underworld which will occur at the end of September when Venus arises once again as an Evening Star. As a result, the Full Moon will bring light to however we are experiencing a transformation in values and aesthetics, the way we relate with others and the way we express our desires.

Venus in its current solar phase is as far away from the earth as it gets within its cycle as well as moving at its fastest speed, symbolizing increased capacity to let go of old personal fixations. As the Full Moon forms, Venus has been set ablaze by the radiant Leo Sun like a summer bonfire we can release old relational patterns into. As Venus begins to recover from being burned up by the Sun, we can likewise shed old issues that have been weighing us down or restraining our ability to seek or receive pleasure. In the next month, we can realign our external expression with our inner authenticity, deepening inner awareness of the fertile potential we possess to creatively actualize in the world around us.  Ultimately, Venus will be guiding us to manifest whatever we desire to create from within.

The superior conjunction of Venus on August 14 was the first solar reseeding for Venus since 26 October 2018 when Venus was retrograde in the deep waters of Scorpio. It may be time to bury and put to rest some desires and issues that arose in the past ten months, while fertilizing those we wish to cultivate going forward. As Venus forms its superior conjunction in the same sign every eight years as part of its synodic cycle, forming a five pointed star pattern, it may be helpful to consider the strange resonances that can be found between now and past superior conjunctions for Venus in Leo. There were previously superior conjunctions of Venus in Leo in August 2011, August 2003, and August 1995.

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William Blake from The Song of Los

The Aquarius Full Moon is also applying to an opposition with Mars in Leo, as Mars is about six degrees ahead of the union of Venus with the Sun as the Moon forms its exact opposition with the Sun. In contrast to Venus already having been revived by the Leo Sun, Mars is at the end of its cycle and experiencing the final release and purification from its cycle with the Sun which began at 4º12′ Leo on 25 July 2017. Similar to Venus, Mars is also in its underworld phase and giving us the opportunity to melt down old martial patterns and reforge our relationship with Mars to be more resonant with our developing desires and presence. The opposition from the Aquarius Full Moon can help cool down any excessive heat or emotional overwhelm in order to find creative solutions or necessary redirection of energy. Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2, a few days after the upcoming New Moon in Virgo.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus will chase after Mars and form a conjunction with the fiery red planet on August 24 at five degrees of Virgo, beginning a new cycle between the planets that signify our most intimate desires. As Venus and Mars are at the very end of their cycle at the time of the Full Moon, their cycle serves as yet another symbol of the Full Moon in Aquarius initiating us into a process of rediscovering what we want in our relationships as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves. With Venus and Mars coming together in the secrecy of darkness during their underworld phases, we will be called to engage in embodiment rather than intellectual analysis of the changes taking shape through their union. Moreover, since the coming conjunction of Mars and Venus in Virgo will also be applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus, getting in touch with bodily senses can help uncover desires untethered to societal conditioning. The close proximity of Venus and Mars to the Sun will bring a purgative, cathartic intensity to their union that will bring awareness to any underlying motivations we have been acting from that are no longer in our best interest.

William Blake Songs of Experience

William Blake from Songs of Experience

A few days before the Aquarius Full Moon on August 11, Mercury entered Leo while Jupiter stationed direct in Sagittarius and Uranus stationed retrograde in Taurus. During the Aquarius Full Moon, Mercury in Leo will be applying closely to a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Taurus that it will complete the following day on August 16.  When Mercury stationed retrograde on July 7 in Leo, it was within a few degrees of an exact square with Uranus. As a result, as Mercury finally completes its square with Uranus during the Aquarius Full Moon we may receive sudden revelations that change our perspective regarding stories that have been developing since the beginning of July. We may receives flashes of intuition, instant knowing, and rapid insights that bring far ranging vision to mind.

After Mercury completes its square aspect with Uranus, it will begin applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius that it will complete on August 21 while the waning Moon in Taurus is applying toward a conjunction with Uranus. During the week following the Full Moon, Mercury will be glimmering in pre-dawn skies, heralding the rising Sun while it transmits the uplifting and inspiring shift of Jupiter in Sagittarius moving forward in direct motion again. Mercury in Leo is in position to activate goals and animate creative impulses into manifested results. Thus, the Full Moon occurring in the intellectual and community-oriented sign of Aquarius can help with discerning how to find a resonant role in the greater collective as well as conceiving how to develop burgeoning ideas into structures and vehicle through which we will be able to fulfill the needs and interests of others.

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7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Full Moon will rise in the third face of Aquarius associated with the Seven of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius, using the symbol of a knot to explore the karmic binds that keep us stuck in the known and familiar rather than liberating ourselves to enter the unknown. Coppock described the stealthy figure in the image of the Seven of Swords card as having already undergone a process of not only deciding to leave a frustrating situation but also having already contemplated what is worth saving. There is a risk of exile and the uncertainty of no longer having the stability of the structures being left behind, but the figure has determinedly chosen the unknown over the known.

The Moon is the ruler of the third face of Aquarius, giving the Full Moon greater strength than it would otherwise have in Aquarius. As the Sun is securely comfortable and powerful in its fiery home of Leo, as it is simultaneously bathing Venus and Mars in its blazing radiance, the Moon in its own face of Aquarius can help us gather strength and inner resolve to experiment and take creative risks. By listening to the Aquarian guidance of doing things differently and looking at things with a different perspective, we will more naturally find the resources we need to support the new direction taking shape in our mind. The Full Moon in Aquarius can help us cultivate a healthy dose of detachment from the all-consuming subjectivity of the abundant astrological fire, just the space necessary to gain the widening of perception needed to discover solutions and forge supportive connections with others.

Since both Venus and Mars are in underworld phases during the Full Moon, it is interesting that the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Osiris, lord of the dead and the otherworld, to the third face of Aquarius. The presence of Osiris with the Aquarius Full Moon brings themes of fertility and regeneration to the forefront. As both Venus and Mars are undergoing processes of death and rebirth, Osiris calls us to find resources and enrichment within the depths of our unconscious so that we will be able to nurture our own metamorphosis rather than needing to seek the kind of external validation that could condition the change underway. Osiris possesses a sacred quality of surrender to the process of regeneration, surrendering to all of the suffering that must be endured in order to fully nurture and realize our creative potential. As the Aquarius Moon glows bright in the darkness of night, may its luminosity remind you of the inner light you possess in your heart that remains ever ready to guide you forward.

References

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

Warnock, Chris. (2019). Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic. Renaissance Astrology.

New Moon in Leo: Tending the Forge’s Fire

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Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Overseer’s Tale” from 1001 Arabian Nights

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on July 31 seeds solar fire illuminating the dawn of a new lunar cycle, bringing an end to a month of eclipses and the strange descent into soul making and twists of fate that occur when our luminaries become devoured in shadow. Though the Leo New Moon officially marks the end of eclipse season, its fiery light will be casting shadows full of revelations from the eclipses that will continue to foment change.  Whatever came through during the Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2 and the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 will be cohering into new forms during August, bringing the potential to gain clarity regarding whatever shifts in storylines emerged in the past month. There is also a liberating quality to the lunation that can help in making creative breakthroughs, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square with Uranus and applying to a trine with Jupiter. Just in time, the ever nimble Mercury will be making sure we get the message we need to receive as it will be stationing direct as the Moon and Sun unite in Leo.

Not only is the Moon in Leo being reseeded with solar light in darkness, Venus in Leo has also descended into her invisible phase of dark initiation, death and rebirth. While star power radiates from Venus in Leo when in her visible phase, in her current solar phase she has turned away from external pursuits in order to experience an inner rapture and epiphany. Venus is at the end of her cycle which will ultimately transition her from being the glorious Morning Star role she played previously during 2019 into the Evening Star role she will take on toward the end of September into October when she becomes visible again in the twilight of sunset. As the Moon waxes toward fullness, Venus will be experiencing a period of regeneration and purification as she races toward her sacred union in the heart of the Sun at 21º11′ Leo on August 13 or 14, depending upon your time zone. Venus will be encountered in hidden realms and in the shared secrecy of intimacy during August.

For the rest of the month, Venus will be inviting you to ponder the mystery of the past month of eclipse season, letting  whatever has been stirred up to settle, giving yourself time and space to integrate the changes in feeling and desire. Venus in Leo is calling us to reconsider the values we have been living by as well as the style and aesthetics we express ourselves through and utilize to magnetize and attract what we want to create. It may be necessary to surrender to a metamorphosis of identity, with old layers of our persona peeling away to reveal a new sense of self ready to begin emerging. There could be difficulties and doubts swirling around us as we recover from an intense eclipse season that was aligned with Saturn and Pluto, but if we are willing to let Venus lead us into our inner depths there will be passion, power, and purpose for us to discover alongside the vulnerability that comes within liminal states of change.

Moreover, the Leo New Moon also marks the entrance of Mars into its invisible phase of darkness at the end of its synodic cycle that began on 25 July 2017 at 4º12′ Leo. Mars is also calling us to regenerate our desires and will-force as it undergoes a period of purging and purification until it is reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2 at 9º41′ Virgo. Allow yourself to consider in the darkness of the Moon the trajectory of your life in the last two years, which desires you were able to achieve with satisfaction, which ones led you astray, and the wisdom you have gathered from all of the martial adventures you have undertaken. If you feel anger and frustration over unfulfilled ambitions or barriers that have obstructed you while Mars is in the process of burning up in the Sun, look for healthy physical outlets to transmit the energy through. Mars in Leo has the fiery heart of the lion and the courage we need to descend with the star of Ares into the underworld to experience a rebirth of how we wish to wield the force of Mars in its forthcoming cycle.

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Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Tale of the Third Dervish” from 1001 Arabian Nights

As the Leo Moon waxes towards its first crescent light it will pass through a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Sagittarius that will aid in elevating vision from the watery depths of July into conception of how the volatility of eclipse season is coagulating into new forms. Furthermore, Venus and the Sun in Leo will both be applying toward a trine with Jupiter which the Sun will complete on August 7 and Venus on August 8. While Jupiter in Sagittarius was out of aspect with the eclipses in July, the star of Zeus will dramatically come back into prominence during August. Jupiter will station direct on August 11 on the same day that Uranus in Taurus will station retrograde, which is notable due to Venus applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus during the New Moon, with the Sun and Moon beginning to separate from a square with Uranus. As a result, the first couple of weeks of August will be full of the emancipatory influence of Jupiter and Uranus, inciting flights of inspiration and vision.

Jupiter has been retrograde since April 10 when it stood still at 24º21′ Sagittarius in order to turn backward toward its direct stationing point at 14º30′ Sagittarius. For four months Jupiter has been glowing bright in night skies asking us to integrate and make meaning from our myriad experiences. As Jupiter stations while forming a flowing trine with the Sun and Venus in Leo, we have an opportune period to take stock of whatever we have been working on, the ideas for what we want to conceive and create, as well as the current state of our relationships and how to adjust our co-participation based upon the inner changes that have been brewing in recent months. Meanwhile, the square between Venus and Uranus will shake up whatever has become stuck or stagnant in the way we have been relating with others or expressing ourselves. August begs us to invite eros into our psyche and let the fires of our imagination guide us forward.

Amazingly, just as Jupiter is beginning to slow down to station direct on August 11, it is entering into an antiscia aspect with Saturn in Capricorn that will extend all the way through September 21. This means that while Saturn and Jupiter are not in a traditional aspect, they can still see one another through being equidistant to 0º Cancer, mirroring each other across the solstice axis at places that share the same amount of daylight. Reinhold Ebertin noted that “patience and perseverance” comes with Jupiter and Saturn in a planetary picture, a worthy attitude to bring toward whatever material and events have been stirred up by the recent eclipse season, especially since the transiting South Node of the Moon will also be traveling with Saturn and making its antiscia with Jupiter more deeply karmic.

Jupiter has been in balsamic relationship with Saturn during 2019, bringing the revisioning and karmic release that always comes at the ending of their cycle. Jupiter and Saturn began their current cycle on 28 May 2000 at 22º42′ Taurus, and their forthcoming union at the end of 2020 in Aquarius is the great conjunction that will launch us into a new astrological era centered around the element of air. After Jupiter enters Capricorn on 2 December 2019 we will have an intensification of the reseeding and release that comes at the end of any cycle, but from now through September the mirroring of Jupiter and Saturn through antiscia can give us an early start on conceptualizing how to begin adjusting our long-term plans to align with the wider collective shifts emerging as we enter the new decade. The 2020s will be initiated by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that also forms a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, and so it will be worth considering what direction you want your life to go and what you want to create in the next couple of years as both Jupiter and Uranus station simultaneously this month.

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Kay Nielsen illustration from The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain

While the Moon, Venus, and Mars will all be invisible, overwhelmed by proximity to the indomitable flames of the Sun in Leo, Mercury is making a dramatic appearance and announcement at the same time the New Moon in Leo is reseeded. Mercury is stationing direct at 23º56′ Cancer while forming an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn, as well as becoming visible again as a Morning Star. Thus as the Moon in Leo waxes into its first crescent light of a new cycle, we have a potent opportunity to deepen the understanding and revelation we have gathered during Mercury’s retrograde phase that began July 7 at 4º27′ Leo. We can expect an upsurge of information to enter our awareness from subconscious depths and unexpected sources, or a new insight into whatever material was stirred up by the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. The tension between Mercury and Pluto can facilitate penetrating underneath the surface of conventions, probing beyond societal boundaries to understand the essence of whatever you have been exploring.

As the Moon waxes in light, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 9 at 29º Cancer, and then will return to Leo on August 11 and begin applying toward a harmonious trine with Jupiter as the star of Zeus stations direct in Sagittarius. However, before we get to mid August when Mercury is picking up speed and creative potency, we need to make the space to integrate the revelations brought by Mercury stationing direct during the darkness of the Leo New Moon. It’s always necessary to maintain sharp focus toward picking up whatever signs and omens cross our path when Mercury is stationing direct, but this is especially the case this time round with Mercury forming an opposition to the degree of the recent Lunar Eclipse. Let the cunning tricks and deft mixing of Mercury work itself on your mind, loosening plans and preconceived notions in order to open awareness to what your soul is guiding you to receive from within.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

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

Saturn rules the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and connect with a receptive audience. The past month of eclipses were difficult for many in part due to the fact that Saturn was playing an integral role in both, with Mercury retrograde at the same time. Use the gift for slow and steady contemplation that Saturn offers toward considering whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona through which you have been engaging the world. As Saturn in Capricorn will be continuing to plod along backwards in alignment with the South Node of the Moon for the rest of the month, there are aspects of your old identity and ambition to shed in order to make space for a more vital passion to follow forward.

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

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

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

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Marc Chagall (1945) The Soul of the City

Capricorn Lunar Eclipse

“History is inside us, as Henry Corbin always insisted, not we inside history. History is a psychological material where the eternities of soul leave their traces in time. As the soul moves in circles, so does history display the soul’s ricorsi as records . . . Soul can always be lost, for that is its nature; lost even as it is found in the noblest of intentions . . . Soul is necessarily shadowed, its enlightenment never accomplished.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology (p. 314)

The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 signals a peak moment of 2019, a gateway releasing the pent up pressure and karmic debris that has been gathered by the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn during the past six months. The nodes mark eclipses and were envisioned by the ancients as a monstrous dragon consuming our luminaries, with the North Node the Head, the South Node the Tail of the dragon. Because the Full Moon in Capricorn is roughly seven degrees away from the nodes, it will become partially covered in blood red shadow cast by the Sun. The eclipse is not only ruled by Saturn, Saturn will be in the same vicinity of the sky as the Moon, while also forming a close conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. Since the Lunar Eclipse is also closely conjoining Pluto, there will be an intensified underworld quality to the time involving the necessity of digging up and facing certain issues that have been buried. The influence of the South Node on Saturn and the eclipse invites a shedding and release of wherever in life you have been neglecting authentic desires and feelings in order to conform to societal expectations.

2019 began with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn and henceforth the close conjunction of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn have emphasized the gravity as well as the ambition of the earthy sign of the Sea Goat. While the North Node has been in Cancer the entire year, it was not until mid June when Mercury and Mars ascended over it, followed by the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2, that the Cancer side of the nodal axis became amplified. The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn, between Moon and Saturn, midwives and morticians, tender searching and patient austerity, has been the dominant astrological theme of the year. The prodigal Moon which waxes and wanes ever forward in its shifting phases of generation and corruption, translating the life-giving light of the sun between all of the planets just as it also signifies our changing feelings and capacity to empathize with others, is in stark contrast to the sluggish taskmaster Saturn who stands guard at the gateway between visible and invisible planets, imagining the boundaries that reorder forms, demanding we persevere and endure its tests that necessarily temper our extremes and shape our path forward. Within the potent polarity betwixt Cancer and Capricorn, the fluidity of feelings flow into the cold gravity of stone.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness and then becomes eclipsed in shadow, Venus in Cancer will be applying toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and an opposition with Saturn. Vitally, Venus is no longer visible and has entered her regenerative underworld phase of combustion in the fiery rays of the Sun.  Yet the meaning found within the purification of Venus is also drawing us toward new growth in our relationships, aesthetics, and our underlying values since she is crossing over the degree of the North Node of the Moon. At this point within her synodic cycle Venus is moving fast as she chases after the Sun to become reseeded and reborn in the heart of the Sun on August 14. The pull of Venus is inward, inviting descent into inner realms where we can discover our hidden power as well as vulnerability. Feelings will be intensified, even irrational at times, due to Venus being ruled by the Moon as it becomes partially eclipsed.

Indeed, while Venus is magnetizing us to reflect upon and explore whatever is truly most worthwhile to pursue and create through desires as well as embody within relationships, the opposition with Saturn can trigger issues of rejection, fear, and insecurity we will need to endure in order to gather the wisdom available through the experience. Moreover, since Venus is also applying toward a conjunction with Pluto that will complete on July 21, there can be an intensification of relational dynamics that reveal issues or patterns that have been hidden or that we have been in denial of. It is one of those transits that can dredge up difficult feelings while also inciting opportunities for significant growth on the other side of the process. Venus in the sensitive sign of Cancer will be asking us to feel it all deeply.

However, although Venus is facing the intensity of confronting the Head of the Dragon during a Lunar Eclipse while also opposing Saturn and Pluto, she is also forming a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on July 18. Neptune is also mediating the polarity of the eclipse, as it is forming a trine with the North Node of the Moon and a sextile with the eclipsed Moon, Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto. As a result, when emotions become overwhelming we can cope through imaginative creative expression fueled by the feelings, relaxing in or nearby water, or fantasizing through art, storytelling, music, or other combinations of Venus and Neptune. One song that evokes the dynamic tension between Cancer and Capricorn, Venus and Saturn is “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. In the music video she deftly directed herself, the imagery accentuates her lyrical portrayal of fearfully being pursued by love like chthonic hounds, while also discovering if love is actually not something to fear after all:

I thought of sharing “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush not only because I consider it to be a masterful song and video evocative of Venus conjoining the North Node while opposing Saturn conjoining the South Node, but also due to a newsletter from the astrologer Nina Gryphon I read in which she remarked how the two hounds of the fixed stars, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are connected with the eclipse. The Lunar Eclipse is opposite Procyon, the alpha star of Canis Minor, while Venus is close to a degree-based conjunction with Sirius, the alpha star of Canis Major which is also the brightest star in the sky. Notably, however, both Sirius and Procyon are currently in their hidden phases, invisible just like Venus. Just as Kate Bush utilized the symbolism of hounds to write about confronting the fear of falling in love, hounds are also associated with psychopomps into the underworld and being the companions of goddesses such as Hekate who exist in the crossroads between worlds. As we process and integrate the emotional experiences of the eclipse, as Venus continues to engage in her underworld journey the rest of the month, turning within toward the fertile realm of inner senses will help cultivate a regenerated, more authentic presence.

Further deepening an underworld process, Ceres stations direct in the first degree of Sagittarius a day after the Lunar Eclipse on July 17, having been retreating in backward motion since April 8 when it stationed retrograde at 14º16′ Sagittarius. Ceres signifies not only our issues around mothering and nurturance but also our capacity for undergoing cathartic experiences of grief in order to return to a place of creative productivity. Just as Ceres in her myth had to withdraw away from the world in order to mourn and nurse her wounds from losing her beloved, so may we need to focus more on allowing ourselves to do the same rather than trying to force something to happen through ambitious, external striving. The stillness of Ceres is an additional invitation to tend to one’s inner wounds at this time so we can then become strengthened to provide nurturance to others as Ceres begins shifting forward again. Ceres is preparing to embark upon a pilgrimage toward an eventual conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will not become exact until the end of October.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)  Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)

The Lunar Eclipse marks a dramatic moment within the present cycle between Saturn and Pluto, as not only will the Moon become eclipsed, but the Moon itself will also be occulting both Saturn and Pluto. This is due to not only the Full Moon being conjoined with the South Node of the Moon, but also Saturn being conjoined with the South Node of Saturn and Pluto being conjoined with the South Node of Pluto. We are at the end of a Saturn and Pluto cycle that began in 1982 and 1983 (a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto will begin in January 2020), a cycle that has been strongly connected to the nodes of Saturn and Pluto due to the 1982 and 1983 conjunction taking place at the northern bending of Saturn and Pluto, with Saturn and Pluto both forming catalyzing square aspects with their own nodes. Since this time Pluto has been steadily descending in latitude toward its current place of being on the ecliptic.

This means that not only is the Capricorn Moon becoming eclipsed as it descends downward across the ecliptic in union with its own South Node, Saturn and Pluto are also being occulted as they also are on the ecliptic in union with their own South Nodes. Altogether in archetypal terms, this is an incredibly intense dynamic involving the entire orbital arcs of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto intersecting with our own orbit during the time of the Lunar Eclipse. This profound dynamic relates to the necessity of facing not only our own individual karma, but also an intensified encounter with numerous intersecting waves of karma regarding civilization and its wounding impact upon our ancestors across time. There are crucial issues to face not only regarding the living of our own personal lives but also how we are being shaped by the forces of civilization and what is being created and enforced through societal structures, heads of state, governing bodies, and courts of so called justice.

An eclipse in Capricorn signifies sudden endings and changes impacting corporations, governments, heads of state, and hierarchical power structures. As we witness the corresponding volatility in current events, each of us is also being asked to dislodge ourselves from the conditioning of dominant power structures in order to realize whatever we truly wish to create and cultivate. While we may need to continue working somewhere in order to survive and provide for loved ones, we can embrace our performance in a way that can uplift others rather than negatively resigning ourselves to it. We can imagine ways to create time and space to engage in more activities we feel passionate about and enlivened by. We can refuse to conform with dictates from societal power structures that ask us to passively enable oppressive acts of social injustice.

John Everett Millais (1856) The Blind Girl

Just as Venus in Cancer is in her dark phase of invisibility during the eclipse, so is Mercury. Mercury has ancient associations with alchemical water due to its capacity for blending and dissolution, a remedy we will need to utilize to navigate the changing currents to come. Alchemists such as Paracelsus identified Mercury as part of the primal trio along with sulfur (animating soul) and salt (matter, body), with Mercury fluidly mediating the below with the above, the above with the below. In astrology Mercury also has ancient associations with mediating polarities such as the above and below, the spiritual and mundane, the solar and lunar. As a result, it is notable that the Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is separating from a conjunction with Pluto and applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Leo. Though Mercury retrograde has a notorious reputation for bringing delays in external striving, it can be utilized for powerful inner work of purging, processing, clearing, and clarifying.

As I previously wrote in my article on Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer, after Mercury shifts from Leo into Cancer a few days after the eclipse on July 19, it will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination as the Moon wanes toward its dark phase at the end of July. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

Furthermore, after Mercury is reseeded in the heart of the Sun through its inferior conjunction on July 21, it will head backwards toward a mutually applying conjunction with Venus in Cancer on July 24. Both Venus and Mercury will be in the middle of a regenerative process of purification when they meet, with Venus moving away from an opposition with Pluto and Mercury heading toward an opposition with Pluto. While deep issues and emotions will continue to be stirred up, the encounter between Mercury retrograde and Venus can bring a shift into greater healing and nurturance toward whatever needs tending. Though the Lunar Eclipse is a temporary moment of shadowing, the feelings stirred up by it linger, with experiences manifesting at a later date that have their roots in the blood red shading. Let yourself contemplate and explore whatever images emerge into awareness in the coming weeks through dreams of night and travel by day, for they will hold key insights to ponder. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology, “Anima comes to its knowledge by an imaginative proces: by the study of its own images.”

References

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

July 2019 Eclipses with Cassandra Tyndall

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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

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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.

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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.

swords04

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.

6wands

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.