Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius

georgia-okeeffe-grey-tree-lake-george

Grey Tree, Lake George (1925) by Georgia O’Keeffe

At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are flowers;
in their vase of mud
they are nourished by silt…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are the hearts
that greatly suffered for living life…
And then the rocks
and the grey beasts…
The pipes of the sewers,
blowing out poison…
The rings thrown away
by misunderstood lovers,
feet that a propeller cut off from their trunk…
And the cursed fruits of sterile wombs,
the innocent abortions that no one loved…
The vomit of the big city…
At the bottom of the Seine,
it is there…
Oh, lenient Seine where the cadavers go,
oh, bed with the sheets made from silt,
river of losses without beacon,
nor haven,
singing a lullaby to the morgue and the bridges,
welcoming the poor one,
welcoming the woman,
welcoming the drunkard,
welcoming the crazy one,
mixing theirs sobs to the sound of your blades,
and carrying their hearts among the rocks…
At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…

— Kurt Weil, “Complainte de la Seine,” translated from French by Sean Mabey

Mercury Stations Retrograde in Capricorn

In the quickening of shadows at sunset, Mercury disappears in a flash, shifting from an evening star into the invisible realm of the underworld where Hermes guides souls.  After Mercury stations retrograde and transitions from being a visible evening star into an invisible planet moving slowly in retrograde, the variable nature of Mercury transmutes into an alternate realm of perception requiring an alert intuition and a patient mind open to changes of plan and revelation of previously concealed insight.  Though Mercury retrograde carries the projection of a scapegoat in popular culture in which all mishaps and mayhem are attributed to the whims of Hermes, there is vital meaning to be found in the experience of Mercury moving retrograde through our zodiac.  Mercury retrograde periods can destabilize and force issues to the surface we may rather not deal with, but truth reveals that whatever arises for us to face during times of Mercury retrograde are necessary for us to gain awareness of and respond in a way that nurtures self-development and growth.

Mercury stations retrograde on 19 December 2016 while forming a close (but not exact) conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  Mercury stationing, standing still only one degree behind Pluto in the days leading up to and following its transition into retrograde motions dramatically amplifies the charge of issues that emerge to surface awareness through daily  conversations and commerce.  It is further significant that Mercury does not complete an exact conjunction with Pluto, but rather pulls back at the last moment in a tight balsamic conjunction.  Mercury pulls away from Pluto and will re-enter Sagittarius at the beginning of January 2017 where it will station direct conjoining the zodiac degrees associated with our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately complete a conjunction with Pluto and begin a new cycle with Pluto on 29 January 2017, a time period in which we will be able to coalesce deeper understanding into all the various affairs that transpire in the next few weeks of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury moving back and forth in balsamic relationship with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of our foundational beliefs, like a miner dredging through earth in search of buried gold.  Events associated with Pluto also involve compulsive attraction in addition to subconscious triggers that repel us, and yet with reflection we can discover that both what we are drawn to as well as repulsed by holds key insight into our underlying development of meaning.  Mercury retrograde delights in fields of gray in-betweeness, and combined with Pluto any rigid black and white mental constructs one has been fixated upon may dissolve in the confrontations of thought that will come.  Though we may initially resist and defensively argue against perspectives threatening beliefs we have wound our sense of emotional security around, through reflection and an open mind the Mercury retrograde can facilitate integration of a new perspective regarding ourselves or our world that will rejuvenate our inner feelings of soulfulness and purpose, helping us discover a path forward that is more fulfilling than the one we had been previously been set to follow.

deborahturbeville

Deborah Turbeville Montova, Italy, 1978

The beginning of Mercury retrograde is intensified through its conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, opening a subconscious portal into exploration of the constructs of time and space we apply to phenomenal reality.  Capricorn involves the maturity and responsibility cultivated through facing and dealing with natural cycles of change,  and so there is compelling synchronicity that the beginning of Mercury retrograde occurs at the time of the Capricorn Solstice, the peak period of darkness in the Northern Hemisphere and of light in the Southern Hemisphere.  Regarding Pluto in Capricorn’s relationship with natural laws of change, Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology taught that structural change comes from crystallized and outdated levels of reality that require a breakdown of collective forms to bring about growth.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will thereby bring opportunities to claim one’s inner authority and ability to express one’s individuality within the seismic societal shifts erupting around our planet.

We know that our societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos designed to create a stable whole, yet we sometimes forget to reflect upon how our conformity to societal norms can limit our experience of essential growth in the moment.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will destabilize elements of societal norms and rules, breaking open and purging numerous taboos. Like the ancient Saturnalia in which societal conventions are overturned, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn compels us to realign our conformity to societal conventions that have been blocking our authenticity. While we are able to co-create reality, if we want to make a direct impact on society we also need to discern a method of successful integration so that an audience may receive our shared values and meaning.  Within the tumult of tempestuous collective events and mutating norms, Mercury retrograde may guide us into inner awareness of modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.

victor-brauner-the-surrealist

Victor Brauner (1947) The Surrealist

I slide my face along to the mirror
sideways, to see
that side-smile,
a pale look, tired
and sly. Hey,

who is glancing there?
Shadow-me, not with
malice but mercurially
shot with foreknowledge of
dread and sweat.

— Denise Levertov, Looking-glass

Since Mercury stations retrograde in the home of Saturn and will station direct in the home of Jupiter, its retrograde phase has intense resonance with the harmonious aspects formed between Saturn in Sagittarius with the full phase opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will complete its first exact alignment during the Mercury retrograde.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus involves the nature of beliefs we are conditioned to project upon reality, as well as the process of liberating from past influences in order to find a meaningful vision of life to live from.  For ages, human beings have been developing belief systems around trying to control and regulate, in a Capricorn manner, the interactions of humans within societies and the natural world.  Yet we also hold subconscious (Uranus) memories that extend into the nomadic time period of humanity that predated the development of agricultural civilizations. This necessitates at times for our experience of the Uranus archetype to come into conflict with the myriad consensus belief systems in place focused upon the way human beings should interact with one another in society. When our vision of life fueled by the knowledge we are gaining from our personal experience (Jupiter) comes into conflict with the norms dictated by consensus belief systems (Saturn and Capricorn) we arrive at a crux in which we can feel judged and ashamed or instead individuate with self assertion in the direction of the vision being felt within.

At the same time that Mercury stations retrograde in Capricorn, Mars enters Pisces and begins its movement toward the transiting South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   On a collective level the movement of Mars across Pisces in this section will correspond with numerous eruptions of violence and trauma connected with religion, politics, and other belief systems that have been in conflict with one another for centuries.   On a personal level, this same transit brings the opportunity to go within and reflect upon our own shadow and those aspects of ourself we like to pretend are not really there, aspects often conditioned by the belief systems of our culture.  As Fyodor Dostoyevsky (born with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius in square to his lunar nodes) wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, “what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself.”  The Mercury retrograde will bring numerous opportunities for powerful self awareness that will lead us into opportunities to make choices within a presence rooted more firmly within our wholeness.  Facilitating this process will be Venus in Aquarius, as Venus will move into a harmonious sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries, as well as a stabilizing trine with Jupiter in Libra.

If you have been reading my writing on the Mercury retrograde transits this past year, you may remember with the Taurus retrograde in May 2016 I wrote about its link with the Hathor asteroid, and that in the Virgo retrograde in September 2016 I wrote about its link with the Sekhmet asteroid.  The current Mercury retrograde in Capricorn has a link with the Isis asteroid #42, as Mercury is conjoining Isis in addition to Pluto when it stations retrograde, with Mercury at 15º03′ and Isis at 14º47′. Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology, and so has connection to the transiting lunar nodes of Virgo (North Node) and Pisces (South Node). Mercury’s rulership of Virgo further connects with Isis, as both Mercury and Isis can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web unifying seemingly disparate points of focus. Isis further links to Virgo’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.   Isis is Love, the quality of our consciousness that proves we are all connected, just like the stars above us, the minerals of our Earth below us, and our neurons and other cells inside us.  Isis weaves the web of love through times of trauma and dismemberment of our parts, our physical body parts and our etheric soul fragments, in order to bring about a healing and retrieval of our wholeness.

mercury-philosophical-italy-15th-century

A form upon the quilted
overcast, gleam, Sacre
Coeur, saltlick
to the mind’s
desire-

how shall the pulse
beat out
that measure,
under devious
moon
wander swerving

to wonder-

hands turn
what stone to uncover
feather of broken
oracle-

— Denise Levertov Threshold from O Taste and See

Mercury in Heart of the Sun

The Inferior conjunction of Mercury occurs when it forms an exact alignment in between the orbit of our Earth with our Sun, bringing Mercury retrograde and the Sun into an exact conjunction.  Called cazimi or being in the heart of the Sun, this rebirth of Mercury will occur on 28 December 2016 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  In fact, later on the same day that Mercury retrograde unites with our Sun, we will experience a New Moon in Capricorn. When Mercury retrograde enters the heart of our Sun, we experience a purification of Mercury and how we interpret and convey meaning in our life.  In the time leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun, we may sense a release and death of outmoded constructs, perceptions, and habits.  As Mercury retrograde begins to slowly separate from the Sun as we next experience a New Moon in Capricorn, we will find ourselves in an opportune moment to form intentions and resolutions for the calendar year of 2017 and what we want to share and integrate into the world and our daily lives.

There are numerous powerful astrological transits occurring at the same time, such as Jupiter and Uranus in an exact opposition, with Saturn in sextile to Jupiter and in trine to Uranus.  In addition, Venus in Aquarius will be in range of harmonious aspects to Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, and Mars in Pisces will be in between the South Node of the Moon and Neptune, conjoining both.  This is a beautiful moment for complete and utter honesty with oneself and reawakening from whatever dreams and illusions we have had about our life we now realize do not align with our current reality.  There is tremendous energy involved in all of these aspects that can be utilized to bring visionary ideals into manifestation in the material world, but to do so requires a full presence attuned to what is actually occurring rather than what we wish was occurring.  It also involves taking the responsibility intrinsic to Capricorn in every moment in how we respond to what we are receiving from life.

matta-space-travel-star-travel-1938

Roberta Matta (1938) Space Travel

Silent friend of the many distances,
feel how your every breath enlarges space.
Amid the rafters of dark belfries
let yourself peal. Whatever feeds on you

is taking strength from such fare.
Know every path through transformation.
that one experience at the core of your sorrow?
If drinking is bitter, become wine.

Now in this night of fire and excess
be magic power at your senses’ crossroads,
the meaning of their strange encounter.

And if the earthly should forget you,
say to the silent loam: I flow.
To the rushing water speak: I am.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct in Sagittarius

Mercury moves backward into Sagittarius on 4 January 2017, stationing direct on 8 January 2017 at 28º51′ of Sagittarius in range of a conjunction with the zodiac degrees linked to our Galactic Center.  Philip Sedgwick has written that astrological connections with the Galactic Center facilitate the release of old memories that have been inhibiting growth and development, creating an emptiness of inner space that can welcome new, invigorating emotional experiences that will spur progress in life and the reception of new insight.  Mercury will remain in Sagittarius until 12 January 2017 when it re-enters Capricorn.  Mercury stationing and then slowly moving direct in the home of Jupiter amplifies the potential of the Mercury retrograde phase to uncover a more fulfilling vision of life to embody and share.  Fascinatingly, Pluto in Capricorn is also highlighted at the time of Mercury stationing direct, as the Sun will be conjoining Pluto.  To reach the full potential of these aspects it will be necessary to take the responsibility of claiming one’s inner authority to make the choices available that support and resonate with one’s inner values.

At the time Mercury stations direct, Venus will have entered Pisces and will be conjoining the South Node of the Moon and Neptune. Venus exalted in Pisces will nurture the capacity of our sensual nature to enter the flow of life and not only envision a reality in which we may behold our soulful desires, but also alter reality to bring about manifestation of our deeply felt values.  It is also a period in which the stationing direct of Mercury may jolt us with a shock of awareness regarding illusions we had been carrying about relationships, or unveil an epiphany into an underlying relational pattern we have been unconsciously perpetuating that now needs to be let go in order to cultivate healthier, growth-oriented relationships.

Mercury will return to the zodiac degree it stationed retrograde in Capricorn around the time of a New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017.   Interestingly, with regards to the previous mention of Mercury stationing in conjunction with the Isis asteroid, there will be a union of the Isis and Osiris asteroids that brings an added level of healing our wholeness on the same day.  Two days after the New Moon, Mercury will finally complete its exact conjunction with Pluto on 29 January 2017.  As Mercury begins a new cycle with Pluto as we  enter the month of February, we will be able to receive a more complete understanding of the full ramifications of events associated with the Mercury retrograde.  Through utilizing Mercury retrograde to both nurture our inner security and take the responsibility to act from our inner authority, we will be guided into understanding of how to integrate our essential vision of meaning and individuality within our greater society in a way that will make a tangible impact.

References

Arts Summary blog post about Deborah Turbeville’s photographs. (2016)

Complainte de la Seine translation.

Green, Jeff. (1985). Pluto: the evolutionary journey of the soul. Llewellyn.

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

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

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Union of Isis and Osiris

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Aegis of Isis (Copper alloy ca. 900 – 600 B.C., Egypt)

  • On April 28, 2015 the Isis and Osiris asteroids conjunct at 6° Leo
  • Previously on March 2, 2013, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 11° Aquarius
  • In June 2011, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 12° Leo
  • In April 2009, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 13° Aquarius
  • In August 2007, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 21° Leo
  • In August 2005, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 23° Capricorn
  • In October 2003, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 0° Virgo
  • In October 2001, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 14° Capricorn
  • In December 1999, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 7° Virgo
  • In December 1997, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 18° Capricorn
  • In May 1996, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 16° Leo
  • In January 1994, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 22° Capricorn
  • The next conjunction of the Osiris and Isis asteroids will be on January 27, 2017 at 8° Aquarius

On April 28, 2015 we experienced a union of the asteroids named Isis (#42) and Osiris (#1923).  Since their last conjunction at the beginning of March 2013, I have been working with a theory that each time the Isis and Osiris asteroids join we experience a resurrection of their archetypal themes in our lives.  In particular, I have been theorizing that their conjunction could connect on an archetypal level with the moment of myth in which Isis melds the dismembered body of Osiris back together, fashioning him a new phallus she thereby inserts inside herself in an act of sexual magic that leads to the birth of Horus.  Along these lines, there could theoretically be an impact of re-animating the Osiris archetype in our collective at the time of their conjunction.

Following their previous conjunction in March 2013, I wrote articles about the Osiris and Isis asteroids you can read here:  (1) Osiris: Alchemic Archetype, and (2)  Isis: Archetype of Love and Devotion.  My aim in this article is to return to these archetypes and explore how this new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids fits within our current astrological transits and chaotic current events.

Isis and Osiris in temple of Isis

Isis with her wings around Osiris, from Temple of Isis, Philae, Egypt

Some say Osiris and Isis fell in love in the womb of Nut, the Egyptian Night Sky Goddess, twin lovers who were born from the mating of Sky (Nut) and Earth (Geb).  Nut and Geb also gave birth to two other siblings, Set and Nephtys, and these four siblings grew up within epic drama.   Osiris was a fertile Nile River god who ruled as pharaoh with Isis (whose name meant “throne”) as his mate, a goddess of magic and nature.  There are different versions of their story, but common to the plots is the characterization of Set as being jealous of Osiris and hungry for his seat of power.  In some versions Set’s anger is intensified when his wife Nephtys seduces Osiris by disguising herself as Isis, giving birth to the jackal-headed Anubis from their mating.

The pivotal turn of the plot comes when Set tricks Osiris into climbing into a coffin which he then seals and sends down the Nile River in order to claim the rulership of Osiris for himself.  After Isis searches for and finds the coffin holding Osiris in a journey that contains parallels to the myth of Demeter searching for her daughter Persephone, Set steals it and cuts the body of Osiris into fourteen pieces.  Isis responds by transforming herself into a winged kite and flying to retrieve all of the missing fragments of her lover’s body except for his phallus.  While there are different versions describing how Isis restores her husband’s sex organ, including one in which Thoth retrieves it for her from a fish, in all versions Isis manages to completely reassemble and reanimate Osiris long enough to make love to him and become impregnated with their offspring Horus. Ultimately, Osiris descends to the underworld and resurrects himself as the ruler and healer of souls of the dead.

There are themes of Taurus and Scorpio in the story of Osiris and Isis, as the Venusian love of Isis (Taurus) brings her lover Osiris back from death (Scorpio), transforming his fertile earth rulership (Taurus) into the realm of Soul and Spirit (Scorpio).  Fittingly, this new conjunction between Isis and Osiris fell within the lunar cycle of a waxing Moon ripening toward a Full Moon in Scorpio in the coming days ahead.  In the polarity between the fixed, potent signs of Taurus and Scorpio we feel the full spectrum of what it means to be Soul incarnated in the flesh of our human bodies and mind.  In the week leading up to the recent conjunction between Osiris and Isis and in the week since, current events such as the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the riotous protests in Baltimore have been collective points of focus that have been both gut wrenching and heart opening.  In moments of collective trauma, especially now with the widespread access to images and information through social media, the hearts of humanity can become united to a greater extent.  This is true even in polarizing events such as the riots in Baltimore that provoke intense arguments between divergent perspectives.  The story of Isis and Osiris holds the intensity of their love that can weave together the most disparate of parts, and heal the dismembered and fractured parts of our being.  In the astrological wake of the seventh square between Pluto and Uranus, and the Libra Lunar Eclipse on April 4 that re-activated it, we have all had core emotions and issues stirred up to work through with love.

Isis by Yaroslav

Isis (2013) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.  Unlike her son Horus who wanted to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Set, Isis did not attempt to destroy Set but rather through love transcended their conflict, reuniting with her lover Osiris and propelling him into a deeper realm of power as the judge of the dead in the underworld.

There are many authors who have interpreted the story of Isis and Osiris through a depth psychology perspective, and in the alchemical work of Carl Jung the goddess Isis has been linked with the Prima Materia of alchemy.  As the Prima Materia is a primal, formless Source of all matter containing All, in a similar way through time Isis became a goddess who unified many goddesses from diverse cultures into herself.  At one point, she was depicted as the wife of the pharaoh with the hieroglyph for a throne on her head, but eventually became merged with the goddess Hathor as she also became a mother depicted with the cow horns and solar disk of Hathor on her head. As the figure of Osiris gained prominence, her mythic story also shifted to incorporate him, and their story became an important mystery ritual for ages. Moreover, following the traumatic invasion of Alexander the Great through the region, a figure whose conquests linked ancient teachings from Greece through Egypt, Babylonia, and India, Isis continued to synthesize and merge with other cultures, becoming associated with Aphrodite, Demeter, and many other goddesses and known as the Queen of Heaven.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology.  The Virgo rulership of Mercury is interesting to ponder in association with Isis, as Mercury can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web of connections between seemingly disparate points of focus.  Virgo also has an archetypal link with Isis through it’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis is a mythic figure who embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.  We can also find themes of Virgo and Pisces in the form of the winged kite that Isis transforms into when searching for her dismembered beloved:

Kites have symbolic association with the underworld and psychic regeneration similar to Isis, as red kites often feed on dead animals in addition to the smaller mammals that they hunt.  In this way they provide a service to humans and their environment by helping to dispose of the dead that could otherwise rot, and they do so with a graceful flight that is an apt image for the times we can flow within the polarity between Virgo and Pisces.  Transformed into a winged kite in search of the fragmented pieces of Osiris, Isis draws upon the detailed discernment of Virgo to not only find all of him but to also magically reanimate him through a Piscean act of love.  For these reasons Isis has also been linked to both the Virgin Mary as well as Mary Magdalene and their love for Jesus, another story with strong Virgo-Pisces themes.

With the recent conjunction of Isis with Osiris occurring in Leo, we receive guidance that courage and loyalty will be of vital importance in our journey ahead, loyalty to the pursuit of our own creative actualization in the face of societal limitations and oppressive conditions.  Isis does not call for us to be perfect, but rather to embrace our flawed humanity and live from as authentic a place as possible, full of love for the life we are living and the beloved we hold dear to our hearts.

Osiris_E3751_mp3h8829-b

Osiris (circa 664 – 332 BCE) photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr

The Osiris archetype involves themes of becoming, fertility, regeneration, individuation, destruction, death, and rebirth.  Aspects by transit or in the natal chart with the Osiris asteroid (#1923) can also connect to places we have been wounded by societal conditioning and where we need to explore and transform ourselves.  Approaching the archetype of Osiris brings us into our vast collective unconscious, as he has served as a nature god of fertility, a ruler of kingdoms, and the lord of the underworld who judges and heals the soul of the dead.  As Neptune is an astrological signifier of our collective unconscious, it is fascinating to note that the recent conjunctions of the Isis and Osiris asteroids have fallen conjunct either side of the nodes of Neptune.  The South Node of Neptune is around 11° of Aquarius, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was at or near this degree in March 2013, April 2009, and will be again in January 2017.  The North Node of Neptune is around 11° Leo, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was near this degree in June 2011 and the current conjunction this past week was about five degrees away.  In addition, with the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in trine to transiting Neptune in Pisces, there is a significant Neptunian potential within the recently past and freshly begun cycles between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.

A clue to what this could mean exactly is found in the book Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, in which Dr. Thom Cavalli interpreted the Osiris story through an alchemical Jungian lens and connected Osiris to the Prima Materia just as other authors have connected Isis:

Osiris is a model of submission. He allows all the terrors that befall him to occur, just as the prima materia endures the tortures of the laboratory. Such deliberate sacrifice is meant to serve as a model for personal individuation. It justifies all the pain we daily suffer in order to transcend this world and leave it wiser and more enlightened. Submission and trust in this process allow love to enter the vessel. We are then embraced by the Mother and taken into her arms. Her only aim is that we bring something new and unique into the world. (p. 205)

Osiris has strong association with Scorpio and Taurus through gaining mastery of unconscious forces (Scorpio) that can be utilized as an inner resource (Taurus).  As Dr. Cavalli wrote, “Osiris, then, is the archetypal energy activating the unconscious so that it is not only a repository of memory, but also an incredible resource in everyday life” (p.41).  With the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in square to Jupiter in Leo, and the new cycle between Isis and Osiris also beginning in Leo in range of a wide square to the Scorpio Full Moon, we can viscerally feel the difficulty of our path at this time and how we can feel dismembered at times by experiences of trauma and oppressive aspects of society that can condition us if we do not consciously resist them.

Yet there is Light to lead us courageously forward on our path within our conscious ego and unconscious, if only we keep faith to find and receive it.  This golden navigating ability is found within our own darkness and shadow.  As Dr. Cavalli wrote in Embodying Osiris, “From time immemorial there have been taboos to keep one from discovering this divine inner light, for unless we are ready to receive it we will either misuse this sacred light or destroy ourselves” (p. 101).  This brings up the archetype of Scorpio the Full Moon will be illuminating in a few days, and how we can find our true authenticity through the testing of taboos and boundaries of our surrounding culture no matter the temporary shaming by others it may bring.  When our passionate Leo desires help us breakthrough the rigidity of Taurus to change and merging, we can develop our inner Scorpio capacity of how to use and merge resources with other for the greater collective benefit.  Through the Pisces surrender of transiting Neptune and the Capricorn responsibility of transiting Pluto, we can flow with the changes occurring around us while standing firm within our sense of essential nature.  We can then liberate ourselves from the aspects of societal condition that go against our authenticity, not out of action that breaks cultural taboos for the sake of rebellion only, but rather for the sake of making clear choices that align with our personal truth.

08.200.6

Horus in relief block from building of Amenemhat I (ca. 1981 – 1952 B.C.) in Egypt

When we additionally bring in the figure of Horus who was born from the love between Isis and Osiris, we integrate another elemental theme:  justice.  Among other significations, justice will be an essential theme of Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius, and the complex ripples of effect that are created from choices to seek vengeance out of a sense of personal or collective justice.  As Sherman Alexie wrote in his novel Flight, “Is revenge a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle?” The more we look into the conflicts surrounding us in our collective, the more we can see perpetuating cycles of wrongs being attempted to be made right.  Horus is the child of Isis and Osiris and the restorer of justice for Osiris, focused on avenging his father through removing Set from power. In Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, Dr. Thom Cavalli portrayed Horus as a liberator of humankind’s individuality in the face of collective conditioning, “representing the incorporation of inner values and with it, an individuation process that perfects the uncivilized shadow that dwells within each of us” (p. 185). As Osiris ultimately judged the souls of the dead in balance with the feather of Ma’at, Dr. Cavalli wrote that this desired quality of ma’a-kheru that can be translated as “true of voice” can also be applied to individuals such as Horus who come to terms with “their own heart rather than merely giving blind obedience to the state” (p. 185).

Fascinatingly, the Horus asteroid (#1924) has been transiting conjunct Venus in Gemini this week during the initiation of a new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.  As transiting Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, and Pluto retrograde in Capricorn is still within range of a square to the lunar nodes, there is an evolutionary potential for each of us to gain a greater sense of our true heart and voice within the societal dynamics surrounding us.  In this way whatever has been frustrating as an obstacle or limitation, or even as an oppressive source of suffering, can be seen in another way as a force demanding that we speak and embody our truth.

References

Cavalli, Thom. (2010). Embodying Osiris: the Secrets of Alchemical Transformation. Quest Books.

Sirius New Moon in Cancer

Chagall - so i came forth of the sea

New Moon in Cancer

The image above is by my favorite painter, Marc Chagall, a Cancer who is enjoying his birthday today wherever he is, as I write this.  It is called, “So I came forth of the Sea and sat down on the edge of an island in the moonshine,” and to me it encapsulates the watery astrological energy of the moment and the possibility of intuitively moving with the flow of it all, finding some sense of stillness within.  In case you haven’t heard, this is going to be a very potent New Moon in the midst of a grand water trine involving  Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.  Saturn is of particular prominence in the moment, having stationed direct yesterday.  Saturn being in Scorpio, ruled by a Pluto in Capricorn undergoing a square from Uranus in Aries, has the sort of energy that makes the more squeamish of astrologers run for the underground.  However, why not invite this energy in and have it help resurrect our truest path from within, just like the Moon itself emerges from its dark phase at this time to new light?

Examination of the Sabian symbol of this New Moon, as we astrologers love to do (if you haven’t noticed) bears in this case the repetition of you maybe having already read this one by Dane Rudhyar:

Cancer 17:  The unfoldment of multilevel potentialities issuing from an original germ.

Keynote:  The life urge to actualize one’s birth potential.

What is pictured here is simply the process of germination. As it unfolds from the sundered seed the plant pierces the crust of the soil and reaches up toward the light. This is a dynamic process turned outward, in contrast to the more static or introspective process of integration-through-understanding depicted in the preceding symbol. Germination is the crucifixion of the seed . . . The expanding process of self-actualization- which may mean nothing more than ego-expansion through conquest- contrasts with the introspective study of the structural relationship between, and the meaning of, the various energies and potentialities of one’s nature (svarupa in Sanskrit). The keyword is GROWTH.

from An Astrological Mandala, p. 121-2

The “preceding symbol” Rudhyar references is from sixteen degrees of Cancer, “A man studying a mandala in front of him, with the help of a very ancient book” and so is about more of a deep internal process of personality integration, in contrast to the outward expression of the potential of the individual found in the symbol associated with this New Moon at seventeen degrees of Cancer.  Rudhyar’s analysis that this self-actualization process may appear to be an “ego expansion through conquest” links with the tumultuous process we undergo through individuating ourselves, and how part of this can look like narcissism or self-absorption because of the need to figure out who we are, as part of the process of then being able to move out into the world embodying more of our multilevel potential. Again, though, this symbol points to this being more of a time of germination, or feeling the urge of our potential, not necessarily that we would actually be already living the vision at this phase of our process.

One supportive New Moon aspect going with this symbolic meaning is the fact that Venus in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries.  Another one is Mercury moving in retrograde in Cancer conjunct this New Moon, perfect for helping us perceive and reveal our inner potential- also, Mercury retrograde energy can be utilized in outer expression like this symbol suggests more so than you may realize from the pop astrology stereotypes about the dangers of it’s retrograde movement.    However, I cannot think of a more harmonious change in planetary movement to support such a symbol than Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio on the day before the New Moon.  Saturn being a boundary planet that is more about the collective and our role in society than a personal planet like Mercury, it’s stationing direct or retrograde can often coincide with major global events.   This is particularly the case in connection with modern Egypt, as the Arab Spring there began in 2011 with Saturn stationing retrograde, and the new phase of the Egyptian revolution that took effect this past week happened with Saturn stationing direct.  July 3 being the date of this most recent phase of Egyptian revolution is interesting because it is a date in which the Sun in Cancer is conjunct the fixed star Sirius, an important star in the ritual and myth of ancient Egypt.  In fact, conspiracy theorists believe the Founding Fathers of the USA chose the date of July 4 to be the date of “America’s Independence” because it is a date in which the Sun is aligned with Sirius.  The shifting of Saturn corresponding to major global events is also a symbolic correspondence to the power available to us on a personal level to revolutionize aspects of our lives when it stations direct.  The fact that Saturn is doing this now in the sign of Scorpio, in a grand trine aspect to Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces, is an extraordinary symbol of transformation available to us on the deepest level of our being, if we are brave and honest enough to avoid denial and take accountability of our actions, release what is holding us back, and invoke what will propel us forward.

Today’s New Moon also happens to be conjunct Sirius, a beautiful star to behold in the sky and a star that carries a deep well of myth and tall tales encircling it from the most ancient of days, among the widest variety of indigenous cultures imaginable.  One mythic figure who is especially connected to Sirius through myth is Isis (to read my archetypal analysis of Isis click here). I was reading recently about the Isis and Osiris myth in Carl Jung’s revised version of his Symbols of Transformation, thinking there could be something there about Isis to connect with this New Moon energy.  The following quote I found I feel is a perfect addendum to the sabian symbol cited above by Dane Rudhyar:

But it is far from clear, because a new adaptation or orientation of vital importance can only be achieved in accordance with the instincts.  Lacking this, nothing durable results, only a convulsively willed, artificial product which proves in the long run to be incapable of life.  No man can change himself into anything from sheer reason; he can only change into what he potentially is.  When such a change becomes necessary, the previous mode of adaptation, already in a state of decay, is unconsciously compensated by the archetype of another mode.  If the conscious mind now succeeds in interpreting the constellated archetype in a meaningful and appropriate manner, then a viable transformation can take place.  Thus the most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood state is indicated.  One such succesful interpreation has been, for instance, Mother Church, but once this form begins to show signs of age and decay a new interpretation becomes inevitable.

Even if a change does occur, the old form loses none of its attractions; for whoever sunders himself from the mother longs to get back to the mother.  This longing can easily turn into a consuming passion which threatens all that has been won.  The mother then appears on the one hand as the supreme goal, and on the other as the most frightful danger- the “Terrible Mother.”

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation (2nd edition, with corrections, 1967) , p. 236

Isis giving milk

Carl Jung’s interpretation of the Isis and Osiris myth in Symbols of Transformation has an almost obsessive attachment to viewing it through the lens of incest as a taboo.  Jung focused on the sibling sexual relations between brother-sister Osiris and Isis, as well as Osiris and Nephthys being connected to the marriages between brothers and sisters that were common among the aristocracy of ancient Egypt.  Jung then connected the concept of cultural taboos to the repressive effect they can have on human instincts, and then how the separation humans developed with their instinctual natures led to cultural prohibitions associated with various taboos.  Jung believed that when children are bound to unconscious attachment to their mothers they are “still one with the animal psyche,” but that  “development of consciousness inevitably leads not only to separation from the mother, but to separation from the parents and the whole family circle and thus to a relative degree of detachment from the unconscious and the world of instinct” (p. 235).  This is the source of why in the quote above Jung reasoned that as consciousness develops away from the instincts of childhood, we are forever tempted “to make evasions and retreats, to regress to the infantile past” (p. 235).  We can look for other new sources or mother archetypes to compensate for our detachment from our mothers, but this can at times also take us down the road of illusion and addiction as coping strategies.

The fact that Sirius is known as the dog star makes me think of the instinctual strength of dogs, and the significance Jung drew to the idea of us not being able to transform ourselves only through reason, but that the process to be successful would require a transformation in accordance with our instincts.  This makes me think that if the star Sirius could symbolically embody a sense of instinct like a dog, it could be a guide at this time for helping us germinate a new level of potential from within ourselves that is aligned with the deepest levels of our instinctual nature.  In Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung connected the myth of Isis and Osiris to Sirius, the dog star, because of the role of Annubis, the jackal-headed deity of death, in helping Isis to reanimate Osiris after he had been dismembered into many pieces by Set, and how Sirius as the dog star played a major role in ancient Egyptian ceremony:

. . . the deeper meaning is connected with the astral form of the dog ceremony, i.e., the appearance of the dog-star at the highest point of the solstice.  Hence the bringing in of the dog would have a compensatory significance, death being made equal to the sun at its highest point.  This is a thoroughly psychological interpretation, as can be seen from the fact that death is quite commonly regarded as an entry into the mother’s womb (for rebirth).

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, p. 238

These themes connect strongly to me with the zodiac sign of Cancer in general, and how in mundane astrology it is ruled by the Moon, and how in esoteric astrology it is ruled by Neptune.  With the associated astrological symbolism of the Moon and Neptune, such as themes of family, mother, Spirit, Source, . . . many of us are on the wheel of spinning through stages of desire to separate from these as well as a desire to return to them, with all sorts of ramifications of this separation/return theme impacting our daily life and actions in connection with our relationship to our unconscious and instincts.  The esoteric rulership of Neptune makes me think of the birth-death-rebirth theories of Stanislav Grof, in which he connected the stage of the womb with Neptune.  This womb stage evokes the imagery of Neptune not as the wrathful Poseidon, but as the Divine Mother, the mother of matter. It also connects the sign of Cancer to the complications of connection to the oceanic psychic realm of Spirit in a manner that goes along with Neptune currently being in the sign of Pisces.  Having psychic urges or inclinations, or a desire to connect with God or Spirit or what have you, requires a strong sense of self in order to avoid drowning in the numinous ocean.  At times we may think we are engaging in a psychic experience, or a communion with the divine, when in fact we ultimately realize we were off on some sort of illusory folly.  In Soul Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated the connection between Cancer with the Moon and Neptune:

The waters of the Soul/Neptune wish to pull the individual into the ocean of the collective life experience. Yet the individual cannot “swim” safely in these universal waters without first having anchored its own sense of psychological independence and particular focus of self-expression.  It is here that we come to understand that the more individualized a person becomes, the more universal he can be.  Through the expanding consciousness, the many is seen as a reflection of the One, and the Ones is seen as whole in each of Its parts.  This revelation (which some would rightly call “mystical”) is the gift of Neptune, as well as the product of a Soul-centered consciousness.

The Moon relinquishes its control to Neptune when attachment is released from those facets of life ruled by the Moon on the personality level.  Then the root chakra- the center wherein dwells the unconscious urge for self-preservation . . . loosens its dominance as the driving force behind life.  The removal- or, at the very least, the objectification- of the desire to be attached to form frees the individual in increasing stages toward the identification with the Will-to-Be at the crown center . . . The root center can then be utilized for the externalization of matter which has become consciously linked to Divine Cause . . .

The connection to Neptune as the Soul-centered ruler of Cancer is very profound.  Neptune “unveiled” is not the same influence as it is when masked by the unconscious waters of the emotional life.  It is by her actions on the unredeemed lower self that Neptune earns her reputation as the primary force behind self-destructive addictions.  If the personality is not safely anchored through a strong, integrated, and aligned ego structure, the magnetic force of the waters of the psyche will indeed try to pull the struggling individual back into unconscious and undifferentiated beingness.  One has to work incredibly hard to unmask the mirages of Neptune (as focused through the Moon) to arrive at the illumination of Neptune as a vehicle for the Sun!

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 182

Saturn stationing direct at this time in trine to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer corresponds to an increased ability for us to discern what sorts of mirages or illusions could have been impacting us in this recent time period. It is no coincidence in this way that Saturn in this cycle stationed retrograde back in February during an incredibly intense time period of planets lined up in Pisces.

An additional enlightening element of Cancer I have come across from looking more into esoteric astrology is the stage of incarnation it symbolizes, following the mental birth of incarnation in Aries, the solidifying of form and desire in Taurus, and the movement between the mental and emotional in Gemini.  Cancer along these lines represents a new cycle of physical incarnation that synthesizes the three previous stages of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini.  This does not mean incarnating for the first time in form, but rather means that “an incarnation in Cancer indicates that this is the first cohesive anchoring of the Soul in a physical body for a particular cycle of unfoldment”  (Oken, p. 179).  For me this brings us back full-circle to the sabian symbol interpretation by Dane Rudhyar I brought up at the beginning-  this New Moon in Cancer amid all of the other aspects of this time, calls our attention to the “particular cycle of unfoldment” we each are here on planet Earth in this moment to enact.  This is a time of germination of that multi-level potential we have within ourselves- and with the upcoming magical yet heavy astrological aspects on the horizon, it will be a time in which we can manifest our potential into tangible results.

Below is a link to a video of a dynamic drawing of the zodiac sign of Cancer developed by Wolfgang Wegener.  I learned of this technique from Evelina, an astrologer and translator of ancient texts who lives in Bulgaria, and appears to be a star sister of some sort to me, or someone whose thoughts on astrology give me a jolt to my own thinking.  I somehow managed to find her blog pretty much as soon as it was published through a link to the Chiron archetype, and I recommend reading this post here that she made, for I feel it encapsulates the larger context of what I am writing about this New Moon and the current “above” our “below.”

At this time may we be still enough to hear the birdsong, the wind, and the streaming of water ahead of us on our path, and may we have the courage to follow it.

References

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

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

Rudhyar, Dane. ( 1973). An Astrological Mandala: The Cylce of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic phases. Vintage.

Isis: Archetype of Love and Devotion

Isis by Euphoria

Isis in Astrology

Asteroid #42

  • Isis associations:  unity, love, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, synthesizing, reassembling, resurrection, alchemy, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, finding wholeness of Self through union with other, kundalini, sex magic,  mother of inner divinity, wholeness, and mourning protector of the dead.

  • The house and sign placement of the Isis asteroid in our birth chart, along with its aspects to other celestial bodies, shows us an area of life where we can synthesize love and wisdom from our experiences in life, open our hearts and radiate love in the world, and become devoted to a personal cause or passion.  It also can  be an area of our life where we have soul wounds or fragmented parts of our psyche in need of resurrection and healing:  her placement shows a point of focus where we can synthesize and reassemble ourselves to become more whole, as well as help retrieve and heal the fragmentation of others.

  • Isis has an archetypal affinity with Virgo in astrology, and integrates Pisces through the polarity.

  • The Isis asteroid was discovered on May 23, 1856 in Oxford, United Kingdom.

  • There was a grand Air trine in the chart with Chiron in Aquarius at 6 degrees, the Sun at 3 degrees Gemini, and Mars at 4 degrees Libra.

  • Neptune was in Pisces at 21 degrees in sextile to Venus conjunct Uranus in Taurus (Venus at 18 degrees and Uranus at 22 degrees).  According to one estimated time of discovery I saw, Pisces Neptune would also be in sextile to the Moon in Capricorn, which in turn would be trine to Venus-Uranus in Taurus.

  • Jupiter was in Aries opposite to Mars in Libra at 4 degrees.

  • Mercury was in balsamic conjunction to Saturn in Gemini, at 26 and 30 degrees.

  • Pluto was in Taurus at 5 degrees in square to Chiron in Aquarius.

  • The Moon was in Capricorn and depending upon the estimated time of discovery, may have been square its own nodal axis with the North Node at 24 degrees Aries and the South Node at 24 degrees Libra.

Isis in astrology is the synthesizer and the server of love and devotion.  She is the connection between everything in our world, no matter how disparate on the surface:  Isis is Love, the quality of our consciousness that proves we are all connected, just like the stars above us, the minerals of our Earth below us, and our neurons and other cells inside us.  It is through love that we can feel the emotions of loved ones in lands at great distance away from us, through love that we can sense communication from loved ones who are no longer in a body and are now in the astral realm or heaven, however you want to describe it.  There is an Isis asteroid you can find in your chart through searching for asteroid #42,  and it currently is going through a significant transit of being conjunct both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.

Isis weaves the web of love through times of trauma and dismemberment of our parts, our physical body parts and our etheric soul fragments, in order to bring about an eventual healing and retrieval of our full Self.  In the United States, we are in the midst of a tragedy of dismembered limbs through a bomb explosion in Boston that has opened our hearts on a collective level at this time.  We can feel the presence of Isis through this tragedy if our heart opens with compassion for the victims and loved ones of the victims, as well as the rest of humanity around our planet for whom the terrors of sudden explosions is a more regular occurrence.  It is this heart opening we can experience in times of collective trauma that can shatter the crystallized emotional patterns that may have been repressing our expression of love in the world around us- if only for a temporary moment.  It is up to us to sustain this heart opening and continue to radiate love around us, and Isis is an archetypal figures who embodies the resurrection of our love and devotion.  The Isis asteroid being conjunct both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces during this past week of incredibly traumatic events here in the United States reflects the intensity of the times and the need for healing.

Isis is the embodiment of loyalty and faith.  Isis is magic.  In ancient myth, Isis gained power over Ra through learning his secret name, and this mythic detail reflects the ancient use of Isis in magical rituals and the use of hidden names in magic spells.  Similarly, Alan Oken and others have written about Isis having two forms: a veiled, and an unveiled.  In the veiled, she is more attached to the illusion of emotion and desire in the astral realm, while in the unveiled she has knowledge of the hidden truth.  This means in her “veiled” form, she reflects the potential to become overly influenced by our emotional reactions to events, causing our perception of life to be guided more by past emotional imprints and wounds- such as a difficult childhood leading us to automatically mistrust.  As a result we really are not perceiving events and people accurately, and the truth indeed remains “hidden.”   It is through awareness of how we have been conditioned and imprinted by external influences on our Personality, and through heart opening connect more with our Soul at our center, that we can access the more positive qualities that Isis represents.

Isis is the daughter of Geb (Earth God) and Nut (Night Goddess) so is truly the daughter of Night and darkness.  Madame Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled called her a “symbol of nature” (p.7), and Thom Cavalli in Embodying Osiris described her mercy toward Set, the murderer of her beloved Osiris, as a reflection of “her role as Mother Nature [in which] she allows all things, whether they stimulate growth or bring decay, to exist” (p.250). Isis, like the other great Goddesses and Great Mothers of myth, is compelling in part because of how whole she is in depiction: she is not all idealized perfect transcendent goodness, but instead is equal part shadow.  Indeed, it is because of her shadow that she is able to achieve true transcendence that integrates the higher and lower parts of Self, transcending through inclusion and integration.  Marie Louis von Franz is one of many explorers of the psyche who have written about the numinous quality of Isis:

She always does what has to be done.  She does the negative thing in order to dissolve consciousness, then the positive thing in order to bring forth the process of individuation.  As the destructive and at the same time redeeming Great Mother she is everywhere.  She is the feminine principle which furthers the inner transformation.

–Marie Louise von Franz (p. 204), The Golden Ass of Apuleius:  The Liberation of the Feminine in Man

Isis was the oldest of four siblings of Nut and Geb, siblings who cultivated great intrigue amongst themselves.  The four siblings not only married one another, but became involved in distorted love triangles:  Isis married her brother Osiris, her sister Nephthys married her brother Set, and in some versions her sister Nephthys seduces Osiris through disguising herself as Isis and becomes impregnated with his offspring Annubis, prompting her brother Set to trap Osiris into a coffin and send him down the Nile River.  After Isis manages to find Osiris, an angry Set then murders Osiris, and dismembers his body into 14 pieces.  Isis then transforms herself into a bird, specifically a kite, and searches for the missing 14 dismembered pieces of the body of Osiris, retrieving all of them save one.  Unable to find his phallus, in one version of the myth it is found by Thoth inside a fish in the Nile River.

After gathering the dismembered pieces of Osiris together, Isis resurrects Osiris through magic, and in the reanimation, makes love to him and becomes impregnated with the divine Horus.  Thom Cavalli in Embodying Osiris interprets the inability of Isis to find the penis of Osiris through the Jungian perspective that “her search for her husband and gathering up of his body represents her need to incorporate her own masculine self, the animus, in order to achieve union and wholeness”  (p.141).  Since Thoth is connected to the Mercury archetype, Cavalli also notes that his acting as an intermediary for Isis “is very alchemical since mercury, friend to all metals, acts as a catalyst in joining ‘unsociable’ substances” (p. 141).  This use of Thoth, a Mercury figure, in the myth by Isis goes along with her association with the sign of Virgo, ruled by Mercury in mundane astrology.

In her search for Osiris, Isis undergoes some trials which mirror the myth of Ceres/Demeter in her search for Persephone, such as being taken into a palace disguised as an old woman in order to take care of a royal infant.  Just as Demeter, taken in by the King and Queen of Eleusis, attempts to make their son immortal by holding him in a fire, Isis also attempts to make the son of her royal hosts immortal by placing him in a fire.  When the Queen interferes with the magical process of Isis, Isis just like Demeter becomes infuriated with her host Queen for preventing the transformation of the child into a divine being.  This parallel to Demeter is another of the many reasons why Isis has become associated with the sign of Virgo.  Indeed, ancient writers such as Apuleius in the 2nd century CE described Isis as having a manifestation as the goddess Ceres, and a title of “Caelestis” or “Celestial” developed linking several godesses such as Isis with a supreme Heavenly Goddess that was also connected to the constellation of Virgo¹.

The trauma that both Ceres and Isis experience in their search for their lost beloved ones has a resonance with Virgo through the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm of Virgo integrating and accessing its polarity of Pisces through crises.  It sometimes takes the gut wrenching shattering of our hearts through trauma or cataclysmic events to open up parts of our Soul or Self that we have locked up tightly in frozen emotional holding patterns.  Through the heart opening from tragedy, we can in the end more fully connect with Spirit (Pisces) in the moment, integrating God or Goddess into our daily life and work (Virgo).  This is the higher potential we can find in the disturbing times we find ourselves in today, with mass explosions dominating our current events. The archetype of Isis can help us reassemble ourselves into a more authentic whole as a result of reliving traumatic events or having our hearts opened through compassionate witnessing of the pain of others- we can retrieve fragmented parts of our psyche we had previously repressed due to the pain they carry, so that even though the experience can be incredibly terrifying, we can ultimately achieve greater strength and wholeness from having gone through it, and reintegrating parts of ourselves we had previously lost.  In this way Isis reflects our ability to synthesize knowledge from even our most difficult experiences in order to expand our consciousness and connect more strongly with our core Self and sense of connection with Spirit / Source / Goddess / God.

Isis wall painting

Love and Devotion

  • Isis connects with Virgo in Esoteric Astrology in part through the symbolism of the Moon being the esoteric ruler of Virgo.  She is a Great Mother archetype that connects with Ceres as the symbol of Virgo.  She became a divine mother of Horus similar to how Mary gives birth to Jesus.

  • Isis integrates Pisces through polarity and in part through Esoteric Astrology, in which Pisces is ruled by Pluto and associated with the death of duality.  Isis evokes unconditional love and faith that transcends, transmutes, and transforms beyond duality. She is reached on our Soul level through the death of our forms tied to duality.

  • 2nd Ray in Esoteric Astrology (Virgo, Pisces, Gemini):  The Ray of Love and Wisdom

  • 6th Ray in Esoteric Astrology (Virgo, Pisces, Sagitarius):  The Ray of Devotion and Idealism

Isis is a powerful archetype to perceive through the soul-centered lens of Esoteric Astrology.   In my opinion, reflecting upon the nature of Isis as an archetype is a helpful way to synthesize the connection in Esoteric Astrology between the sign of Virgo with its esoteric ruler the Moon, and its rays of manifestation being the second and the sixth.  In Soul Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self, Alan Oken explains the link in the Ancient Wisdom teachings between Virgo and Isis:

The Ancient Wisdom Teachings tell us that the name Virgo is a corruption of an Atlantean name that was applied to the Mother Principle.  Lilith, the dark moon of astrology, was the name of the last Virgin Goddess of Atlantis.  There are three other names for the Virgin that we should examine, as they will reveal more about the esoteric nature of this sign:  Eve, Isis, and Mary.

Eve is the symbol of the mental nature of humanity, and represents the desire for knowledge.  She symbolizes the eating of “the fruit of the tree,” or the information gained by the Soul from physical incarnation.  Isis has two forms:  veiled and unveiled.  She also represents the gathering of such information, but her domain is the realm of the emotions.  The veil of Isis has to do with the illusions of the astral plane, while the unveiling of the Goddess reveals the perception of hidden truth.  The root of the name Mary is very ancient.  It is constantly associated with water, whether it is from the Sanskrit root maya, the Hebrew mayam, or the Latin mare.  Mary is the maternal matrix of form, originating in the sea.  It is from the physical body of Mary that the “Heavenly Fish” was born, Jesus, the Anointed Savior of the Age of Pisces.  Virgo, in her three aspects of mind, emotion, and body, represents the synthetic qualities of the Mother Principle, which is blending the proper nutrients for her unborn offspring; she is always gathering in the proper information for the growth of the Soul  (p. 194).

Although Esoteric Astrology relies on an intuitive perception that is vastly different than a rationalistic science perception, the Moon being the ruler of Virgo, so that the Moon is the ruler of the sign of the Goddess, fits well with science since life on our planet and the development of humanity would not have occurred without the orbital influence of our Moon and its effect on tides and other earthly phenomenon.  As a result we can feel the connection of the Moon with Virgo Goddesses such as Ceres, Mary, and Isis, and how these Mother figures on an astrological level could help us digest and synthesize our experiences in order to provide nourishment to our Soul within.  In this way Isis represents the synthesizing of our emotions and desires within the archetype of Virgo and the Mother Principle, and is why she has a strong link to the second and sixth rays of Estoeric Astrology:  Love and Wisdom, and Devotion and Idealism.

In Esoteric Astrology, the seven rays relate to our human ability to cultivate Soul-consciousness, self-actualize and individuate, and accept responsibility for our lives and our ability to co-create not only our own destiny, but our collective destiny.  However, in order for us to develop this ability means that we need to move beyond our attachment to our ego and our Personality-focused consciousness.  When we are more wrapped up inside the confines of the Personality we believe ourselves to be and perceive life through, we diminish our ability to take responsibility for our lives and make ourselves more likely to have a fatalistic feeling about the events of our lives.  Alan Oken in Soul Centered Astrology makes the distinction that when we are Personality-centered, we are more attached to the “forms and effects of manifestation,” whereas a Soul-centered individual focuses on “the relationship between cause and effect” in our life:

Yet the distinction has to be made that personality-centered people- the vast majority of people in the world- identify themselves with the materialization of events and attach themselves to the forms and effects of manifestation.  The Soul-centered identify themselves much more with the relationship between cause and effect, and respond to the quality aspect or consciousness inherent in manifestation . . .

The Seven Rays are the basic building energies of manifestation and are the keynotes of this relationship between cause and effect.  (p.96)

I am only beginning to come to a greater comprehension of this material, but at this stage of my understanding these Wisdom teachings remind me of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness and the importance of becoming more self-aware of our thoughts, the causes and effects of our thoughts, where our thoughts take root from, how we are imprinted by past experiences, and how we cause our own suffering through perceiving events through this ego personality bonded to our past conditioning and imprinting.  I have heard Alan Oken teach about the spiritual importance of the objectification of our ego, how objectifying our consciousness can help us become aware of our illusions, overcome fears, and gain the power of mind over matter in the process.

The  connection between Isis and the 2nd Ray is evidently powerful as Isis has been connected with the star Sirius since ancient times, and in Esoteric Astrology the star Sirius is also connected with the 2nd Ray.  Alan Oken describes “the two primary stellar vehicles for the Second Ray of Love/Wisdom” as the Sun (representing the “Heart of this Great One”) and the star Sirius (p. 97).  As a result, Oken explains that all of the Seven Rays “function in our solar system through the Second Ray, making It and the quality of Its energy of Love/Wisdom the most vital to us . . . ”

Love and the Wisdom which leads and proceeds from Love are the primary qualities of consciousness in our solar system, and hence, of life here on Earth.

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p.97

For me, visualizing the mythic figure of Isis is a helpful way to grasp some of the significance of the second ray and how Love/Wisdom connects all of life.  Oken states that Virgo is the “controlling factor” and the “primary sign of the Second Ray” in part because it is not dualistic like the other signs of the Second Ray, Pisces and Gemini, but instead is “multiplistic” since as the Mother it is the “birther of all forms” (p. 108).  When we face challenging events, Isis helps us integrate the Pisces polarity of Virgo through our experience, since Pluto rules Pisces in Esoteric Astrology, carrying with it a Shiva energy of destruction that can be painful, but also brings the potential to destroy our attachment to material forms.  Pisces and its esoteric ruler Pluto can help us transcend the suffering our ego personalities cause us through the death of our duality perception that our personality is separate from our soul.  Alan Oken teaches that when we lose attachment to form, we can use form for the purpose of our Soul. When we consider the resurrective power of Isis in her myths, she is a powerful Goddess to visualize having control of the 2nd Ray:

Love is that matrix, that Mother Force, which births those forms that house the essential spirit of Life.  Love is the healing dynamic which, through its cohesivemenss, eventuates the process of evolution into greater and more highly evolved wholes.  Love and the energy of the Second Ray unites, binds, and holds all of the manifestations of Creation together.  (Oken, p. 107)

The fact the astrological signs related to the Second Ray are all mutable reflects their ability to find connections between everything, but at the same time it also provides the challenge for people with a strong Second Ray, since most of us perceive through personality-consciousness more so than soul-consciousness.  Because the Second Ray has a universal urge for unity and embracing everything, people with a strong Second Ray can lose a sense of their own center, stability, and focus at times, becoming influenced by the people surrounding them that they are connecting with through their energy of love.  In contrast, if a Second Ray person begins to emphasize the Wisdom side more so than the Love side, Alan Oken explains there is the additional challenge that they can become aloof, and “may appear indifferent to others and lacking in the compassion that is at the very heart of this Ray’s life quality” (p. 109).  Isis as an archetype in our chart could fall prey to similar challenges when we are focused on the daily challenges to our personality from our environment, losing touch with our centered and loving Goddess inside.

Isis as an archetype like the Second Ray is highly magnetic in nature, and has also been linked by many to kundalini and sex magic, probably due at least in part to the section of the Osiris myth in which Isis is able to not only reanimate his corpse, but make love to him and become impregnated.  In  The Magdalen Manuscript by Tom Kenyon and Judy Sion, the link between Isis and sexual magic is shown through the voice of Mary Magdalene, portrayed as a High Initiate of Isis who practiced sacred sexuality with her lover, Jesus.  In this manner, the sexual act becomes a way to merge and expand consciousness with one’s lover in a way that transforms our previous form:

The Sexual Magic of Isis has to do with the innate ability of the feminine being to utilize magnetic energies to open deeper levels of consciousness through the act of surrendering to the sexual energies and pathways that are opened . . .

Two Initiates engaged in the Sexual Magic of Isis can strengthen themselves and rapidly expand their consciousness through the power of this magnetic field.

The Magdalen Manuscript, p. 37

Mary Magdalene has been linked as being some sort of High Initiate of Isis by many writers, and whether or not you believe the validity of this, what is valid is the link between discipleship and Isis.  This is because to fully integrate Isis calls for a practice of discipleship, and connects to her association with the Sixth Ray, the Ray of Devotion and Idealism.

Just as Isis in the myth has an obsessive focus upon finding Osiris and making him whole again, she connects with the 6th Ray in Esoteric Astrology through her intense devotion to her ideal of healing Osiris.  On the Soul level, the 6th Ray brings the “urge to transform selfish and personal motivation into selfless, impersonal devotion for the good of all,” while on the Personality level it can reflect the negative potential to become fanatic, dogmatic, and exclusive to others from a perspective of having a more enlightened belief system (Oken, p. 133).  Reaching the 6th Ray on more of a soul level helps us avoid being exclusive to others, but instead “reorient the exclusive to the inclusive for the greater expression of Love/Wisdom” (Oken, p. 133).  Alan Oken gives the example of Saint Francis of Assisi as a figure who was able to utilize “Spiritual Will . . . in an individualistic way for the good of the collective” (Oken, p. 131).  Saint Francis is particularly interesting in this 6th Ray context, since he grew up in the time of the crusades, a 6th Ray war of fanaticism, and took part in the crusades as a young man before dissolving his identity in his process of finding his connection with God.  Saint Francis became a disciple of the teachings of Jesus Christ, used Will and discipline to become a spiritual warrior focused upon being inclusive within the collective rather than exclusive.  His ability to synthesize his religious beliefs with his love of nature, his openness to forming community and supporting women in taking leadership roles in his church, and his indomitable spirit that refused to back down to status quo authorities of the church, makes him a strong example of the higher use of the 6th Ray that Isis also embodies.

I believe Isis also embodies this same 6th Ray focus of the Higher Self on inclusion rather than exclusion.  If we look at the mythstory and history of her transformation through myth across time, we can see that the figure of Isis continued to transform in a manner that would be more inclusive to other regions and religions of the world around her- first on a local level within Egypt, and then on a wider level beyond the boundaries of Egypt.  At one point, she was depicted as the wife of the pharaoh, but eventually became merged with the goddess Hathor as she also became the mother.  This is why in later depictions she has the cow horns and solar disk of Hathor on her head.  In earlier depictions she often had the hieroglyphic sign for a throne on her head, since she was involved with the seat of the ruler.  As the figure of Osiris became more and more important, her mythic story also shifted to incorporate him, and their story became an important mystery ritual for ages.  It is also interesting that following the terror and trauma of the invasion of Alexander the Great through the region, a figure who through his conquests served to synthesize and link ancient teachings from Greece through Egypt, Babylonia, and India, Isis continued to synthesize and merge with other cultures, becoming linked with Aphrodite, Ceres/Demeter, and many other important Goddesses.  Even today in modern times, Isis still is very visible and synthesizes many ancient wisdom concepts for people around the world from different backgrounds.

Therefore, we can look to the placement of the Isis asteroid #42 in our birth chart to see a place where we can synthesize love and wisdom from our experiences in life, open our hearts and express love and wisdom in the areas of life associated with its placement by house, sign, and aspects to other planets.  The house, sign, and aspects of the Isis asteroid can also show us an area of life where we can become idealistic and devoted to a personal cause or passion.  Since most of us are not already soul-centered individuals, however, we also must heed the warnings of challenges that personality-centered individuals face through the 2nd and 6th Ray.  This same area of our birth chart involving the Isis asteroid could thus show us where we could have illusionary perceptions stemming from misguided emotions and desires, where we could potentially lose our own sense of center through finding connection with others, where we could become overly focused on developing wisdom for ourselves rather than personal connection with others, and where we could become blindly devoted to a personal cause, losing ourselves in hero worship, exclusivity, prejudice, or fanaticism.

In my personal chart, I happen to have just experienced an Isis return as I am writing this, as I have Isis in Pisces in my 10th House conjunct my Mid-heaven and my Mercury.  I also have Isis square my Gemini Moon in my 12th house and the nodal axis of my Moon.  Without going into personal detail, I have certainly faced my own challenges of the mutable cross associated with issues such as becoming lost in the illusions of my own emotional perceptions, but as I have grown, become more self-aware, and taken greater responsibility for myself, I have ended up in situations where I have had to synthesize my understanding in a public, 10th house manner.  For example, I have been teaching about some of these same concepts with young adults who have come from traumatic backgrounds, and so I have had the opportunity to teach the same lessons I have had to learn and continue to learn, in order to help bring about healing and self-actualization for my students.  In addition, just the act of researching and writing this piece about Isis for my blog, using my Mercury function to synthesize my own understanding of various research leads I have followed, has been a great catalyst to help connect me more strongly with the whole of my core Self.

Finally, we can look to the placement of Isis in our charts as a point of focus through which we can heal the fragmentation of our own soul, as well as help retrieve and heal the fragmentation of the souls of others.  The bottom line of this ability sources from Love, pure and simple- the consciousness of love and an open heart that is the connective tissue between everything, including all of our own disparate mental and emotional pieces that feel like they are lost on the floor like puzzle pieces at times.  I realize this makes Isis sound somewhat like Chiron in astrology, but I believe Isis functions more explicitly through love and is more about a healing of our wholeness through a death and resurrection process than Chiron.  Working with Isis can involve a deep process that involves a death of current emotional or mental patterns in order to retrieve and heal our fragmented parts.  In my own chart, for example, with Isis in Pisces in my 10th house conjunct my Pisces Midheaven and Pisces Mercury at the very end of my 9th House, I have ultimately become a teacher in a public role.  However, I grew up incredibly shy with a speech impediment to which I responded by barely talking to anyone, and certainly never in public.  One of the first ways I was able to get in touch with my voice was through my writing, using the combination of my Isis, Mercury, and Midheaven in that way, and placing myself out in public first through my writing, rather than my speaking.  This experience was still intense for me, even through my writing, but ultimately I have been gradually returning to my whole self in my public speaking.

The esoteric link between the Moon and Virgo, and so between the Moon and Isis, will be highlighted this week with an intense Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on April 25, 2013.  Eclipses are another example of the human ability to synthesize understanding from events:  the almost incomprehensible symmetry that the size of the Moon and its orbit could create the visual effect of Eclipses on our planet helped ancient astrologers discover the nodal axis that has helped so many modern astrologers help heal fellow human beings today.  As we head into the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse of April 25 this week, and an intense eclipse season of May, it will be more difficult as it always is during eclipse season to assert our own Will into the world around us from an ego-personality perspective.  Hopefully, the figure of Isis can be of service to you in your ability to merge your Will with Higher Will, and connect with your Higher Self and Love consciousness.  These upcoming times of the May 2013 eclipse season are likely to be intense- if we can embody the love and devotion of Isis and face whatever happens with an open heart that is open to whatever experience comes our way and whatever feelings, no matter how painful, well up from within, we can ultimately cultivate greater healing for ourselves through reassembling our emotional being into a more complete whole, synthesizing greater wisdom and an expansion of our love-consciousness in the process.

Isis126

References

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis

Blavatsky, Helena (1972). Isis Unveiled: Secrets of the Ancient Wisdom Tradition, Madame Blavatsky’s First Work.  Abridged by Michael Gomes.

Cavalli, T. (2010) Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation. Quest.

Kenyon, T and Sion, J. (2002) The Magdalen Manuscript: The Alchemies of Horus & The Sex Magic of Isis. Orb.

Oken, Alan. (1990). Soul Centered Astrology:  A Key to Your Expanding Self. Ibis.

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1992). The Golden Ass of Apuleius:  The Liberation of the Feminine in Man. Shambhala.

  1. ^ Plutarch, translated by Frank Cole Babbitt, Isis and Osiris, 1936, vol. 5 Loeb Classical Library
  2. ^ ApuleiusMetamorphoses 11.2.

Osiris: Alchemic Archetype

Osiris Glyph Asteroid

graphic and glyph by Bradley Naragon (copyright 2015 all rights reserved)

OSIRIS ASTEROID

Asteroid 1923

  • Osiris was discovered on September 24, 1960 by Cornelis Johannes van Houten and Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld at Palomar Observatory near Pauma Valley, California.
  • At this time, Pluto was conjunct the North Node of the Moon in the sign of Virgo.  The Virgo Pluto and North Node was also trine Saturn in Capricorn and sextile Neptune in Scorpio. Uranus was in Leo in a balsamic phase with Pluto in Virgo- within five years they would be conjunct.

I took part in a book club discussion group with Dr. Thom Cavalli, the author of Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, in May 2012 on the Depth Psychology Alliance network.  In our discussions Dr. Cavalli made the point that creating an archetype for Osiris is extremely difficult because of the vast array of dissonant qualities he embodies.  Nonetheless, I found that his teaching regarding Osiris resonated with astrological archetypes, and even though Osiris embodies a huge diversity of archetypal meaning, it is a  fact astrological archetypes such as Pisces are incredibly vast and beyond our abilities to confine their meaning to singular categorizations.  I do want to make the point, however, that I am merely exploring the idea of an Osiris archetype at an early stage of development here, and I am hoping to receive comments from anyone reading this about the possible meaning of Osiris in their own life.

The “birth” signature for the discovery of the Osiris asteroid in 1960 brings up some of the major themes I feel that the Osiris archetype embodies:  Virgo, Pisces (by polarity), Scorpio, Taurus (by polarity), Capricorn, Cancer (by polarity), Leo, Aquarius, Uranus, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, and the modern astrological interpretation of the North Node of the Moon being about an evolutionary development of Soul purpose.  I have also been interested in exploring the archetype of Isis associated with the Isis asteroid, and will do so to a greater extent in a subsequent article.  For now, I want to draw attention to the cyclic conjunctions of the Isis and Osiris asteroids, which happened again last week.  In connection with the myth of Isis and Osiris, I feel like this conjunction cycle could have the effect of “re-animating” the Osiris archetype in collective consciousness, and I am curious if anyone reading this can sense any correlations to this idea in their life.

On March 2, 2013 the asteroids Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 11 degrees of Aquarius.  From what I can tell, both the Osiris and Isis asteroids have orbits of around four years and have a cycle of conjunction about every two years (August 2007 at 21 degrees Leo; April 2009 at 13 degrees Aquarius; June 2011 at 12 degrees Leo; March 2013 at 11 degrees Aquarius; and the next one will be April 29, 2015 at 6 degrees Leo).  The fact that these recent conjunction points have all been along the Aquarius-Leo axis also goes along with the importance of both archetypes in relation to the Osiris myth.  The Aquarius archetype and it’s relationship to consensus culture, the Saturn and Capricorn archetypes, in particular feels resonate to me with Osiris, so it is fitting that this recent conjunction happened in the strong 10-11 degree range of Aquarius.

Even more fitting to the Osiris archetype, this latest conjunction and new cycle between Isis and Osiris also happened to be within a degree of a square to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio.  The degree of the Isis-Osiris conjunction in Aquarius has the following  Sabian Symbol in Dane Rudhyar’s Astrological Mandala (p. 255):

Aquarius 11 : During a silent hour, a man receives a new inspiration which may change his life.

Keynote: The need to rely upon inner inspiration and guidance at the start of new developments.

What is implied here is the essential value of keeping open to the descent of spiritual or Soul forces, especially when a new period of individual activity is about to begin. The individual should not depend mainly on outer circumstances and on traditional- and in a sense external, because collectively formulated- incentives. There is a creative power within, a power that can be tapped, or rather that should be allowed to flow into the brain-consciousness or the hands which  write or fashion materials into original forms . . . It refers to the OVERSHADOWING of the individual consciousness by an inner, yet transcendant, Power.

This symbolism from the point of the Isis-Osiris conjunction, in square to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio, reflects the deep cathartic potential of these intense times as we get closer to the next Uranus-Pluto square in May.  Saturn in Scorpio at this time, in square to Osiris-Isis reflects intense tests and challenges from our environment requiring us to go deep within ourselves to confront the core issues interfering with our ability to merge our true sense of Self into the greater world.  In my opinion, this symbolism also integrates some of the meaning of the Osiris archetype:  regeneration from within, transformation of collective conditioning through a process of artistic manifestation, and an inner “gold” we have inside of ourselves that we can access to transcend the limitations of our conditioning.

Recent significant Osiris transits:

  • March 2, 2013:  conjunction with Isis at 11 degrees of Aquarius
  • December 20, 2012 (Winter Solstice 2012):  conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn at 9 degrees of Capricorn
  • September 12, 2012:  conjunction with Juno and the North Node of the Moon at 29 degrees Scorpio

osiris

OSIRIS ARCHETYPE

  • Look to the House and Sign position of the Osiris asteroid (#1923) in your chart to find a place where you have been wounded by consensus societal conditioning, and where you have a need for self-exploration, self-transformation, and regeneration.
  • Osiris involves many diverse qualities, but especially involves archetypal themes of Taurus, ruled by Venus, and Scorpio, ruled by Mars in traditional astrology and Pluto in modern astrology. 
  • In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas linked Isis and Osiris with Pluto, as well as Shiva, Kali, Shakti, Pele, and other deities of “destruction and regeneration, death and rebirth” (p. 99)
  • Themes of individuating, themes of becoming, themes of regeneration.
  • According to Cavalli, “Osiris is best understood as a complex consisting of a cosmic deity, an earthly deity, and an underwold deity that still exists within the realm of psyche.”  Osiris is a “personal archetypal figure” who intermediates between the divine Ra, “the archetype of wholeness that includes everything conscious and unconscious,” and Horus, “the defender of the Earth” (Embodying Osiris, p. 40).

Some of the possible meanings of an Osiris archetype involve individuation, Self transformation, and alchemy.  Dr. Thom Cavalli’s book Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation connects the etymological meaning of “alchemy” with the mythic figure Osiris.  While “al” means “the,” and “chemy” means “black,” it does not mean that alchemy is “black magic” or some other dark or evil form of witchcraft- this perspective comes from uninformed bias.  Dr. Cavalli makes the point that  “the black” has a clear link to the black, dark, moist, and regenerative soil of the Nile River in Egypt, a historically significant area of agricultural development that led to one of the world’s first dominant and extensive civilizations in the Age of Taurus (roughly 4,420 – 2,260 B.C.).  Osiris was a major deity of this civilization, the fertile River God of the Nile, and he has his roots as a God of Agriculture and Fertility in a similar manner to the Great Goddesses of this time period.  Thus, there is not only the link to Taurus through the historical astrological age (a time of Bull worship around the region), there is also connection to the Goddess energy of Venus fertility.  In addition, after undergoing symbolic and literal death in the myth, Osiris transforms into a Plutonic deity who rules the underworld and heals the souls of the dead, linking him to the Scorpio archetype and Pluto and Mars (Nergal, the Babylonian Mars in astrology and myth, was an underworld ruler). Finally,  the 8th house (Scorpio)  mastery of unconscious forces Osiris achieves can be utilized ultimately as a 2nd House (Taurus) resource: “Osiris, then, is the archetypal energy activating the unconscious so that it is not only a repository of memory, but also an incredible resource in everyday life” (p.41).

Moreover, in Embodying Osiris, Cavalli wrote that the myth of Osiris “represents an evolution of the human species from the wiles of nature into a new, civil dimension of reality . . . The ‘rising up’ of Osiris represents a new alignment of the spinal cord, a new spatial orientation, and the seminal emergence of individual identity” (p. 118).  Since the Egypt of this time period is one of the earliest dynasties of civilization in our recorded history, the Osiris archetype also connects with the dogmatic cultural beliefs and conditioning that come from the impact of societal development, the creation of civilizations with consensus rules for behavior, on personal consciousness.  In addition, the impact of societal oppression on individual consciousness can be seen in the Egyptian dynasty use of slaves, including targeting a specific social identity as slaves, such as the Jewish people.  Osiris is an archetype going to the root of our deepest unconscious memories as a collective of souls, and so when we are in contact with him, we can feel the oppressive conditioning of our historical and modern cultural context more intensely:

[Osiris is] the personification of the collective unconscious, all that existed in the collective unconscious psyche, but which was not included in the conscious religious forms of that time.

–Marie-Louise von Franz, from The Golden Ass of Apuleius: The Liberation of the Feminine in Man

This connection of the Osiris to consensus cultural conditioning involves the archetype of Saturn.  In our book group discussions, Dr. Cavalli illustrated the significance of Saturn in the alchemical process,  and it’s connection to lead in the alchemical process and our ability to regenerate “gold” from within ourselves.  He said that Carl Jung described a spectrum of development with instinct at the bottom and archetypes at the top, and that individuation involves an evolution of  consciousness from its dark, Saturnian base to higher spiritual levels.  He said that the alchemists believed that no such evolution could ever happen if there was not at least a spark of gold already latent in the lead (in alchemy Saturn is associated with lead)- this his how the germination of gold can happen. In his book, Cavalli wrote that “lead does not respond to light, yet contains it’s own light” and that it became a metaphor amongst alchemists for human beings because “in the midst of our very darkness we contain the light and fire of consciousness” (p. 92-3).  This goes with the following Jung quote:

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but making the darkness conscious

–Carl Jung, Archetypal Studies

In Embodying Osiris, Dr. Cavalli wrote that the value Carl Jung placed on alchemy, to which he obsessivly dedicated the last thirty years of his life to study, had “less to do with recipes for transmuting metals than with demonstrating psychophysical methods of transforming consciousness” (p. 49).  Jung felt that alchemy was not a replacement for nature, but instead was a method to speed up the evolutionary individuation process:  “We might conjecture that instead of having to live many lifetimes, a person could accomplish the goal of individuation in a single lifetime by applying alchemical methods” (p. 49).  In our Book Club, Dr. Cavalli said that the often quoted concept of “confronting one’s shadow” has been used to describe the alchemical process of applying operations to the Lead (I’d like to insert here our “Saturn” archetype) in order to heat up the inner spark to manifest Gold.  In his book Cavalli included this apt quote from astrologer Liz Greene:

In many ways, the ancient art of alchemy was dedicated to this end: for the base material of alchemy, in which lay the possibility of gold, was called Saturn, and this base material, as well as having a concrete existence, was also considered to be the alchemist himself. Modern psychology, which is paralleling more and more the path of the alchemists, also seeks to make a friend of Saturn although here he is called by other names.  —Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil

In our book club, Dr. Cavalli also commented that another method in this alchemical process could be to exhaust the instincts, which goes very well with the Evolutionary Astrology process described by Jeff Green in which we work toward evolutionary development through exhausting our deep soul desires, the resonate soul desires related to our current lifetime being symbolized by the house, sign, and aspects of Pluto in the birth chart.  The “gold” we can reach through this process is like a potential we could reach that would be so whole and balanced it would need no more transformation.  Cavalli described this “Divine Self” as “the conscious union of ego and Self, instincts and archetypes, feminity and masculinity, psyche and soma- having an active relationship with the unconscious; mastering the technique of active imagination; integrating shadow; recognizing projections; and, finally, achieving ‘object love’ with individuals, the collective, nature, and God” (p. 49) .

In the Osiris myth, the archetype of lead enters the story through the manipulative and power hungry Seth character, who tricks Osiris into becoming sealed inside a coffin, and sends him down the Nile. Seth was angry with Osiris because of his infidelity with Nephthys, who was the wife of Seth, a mating that produced the offspring Anubis.  As a result of his rage, jealousy, and desire for power, Seth not only murders Osiris but cuts his body up into various fragmented pieces.  After a long journey, that in some scenes has thematic parallels to the myth of Demeter/Ceres searching for her daughter Persephone, Isis finds Osiris, puts his body back together, makes love to him, and reanimates him long enough to produce their offspring Horus.  Ultimately, Osiris descends to the underworld and resurrects himself as the ruler and healer of souls of the dead.  In the myth, Seth represents an archetype that seeks power within societal hierarchies; he is Machiavellian and by the mere fact of having this political nature necessitates the existence of a “civilized” power structure to climb and conquer.  This symbolism is why I feel the Osiris archetype also involves the Aquarius-Leo archetypal need of liberating from dominant societal conditioning in order to find and self-actualize one’s true heroic journey, the special purpose one has incarnated into this lifetime to achieve.  Fascinating to me is that there is a mirror of the Osiris myth in the story of Moses in the Bible, who liberated the Jewish people from their Egyptian oppression in the Age of Aries.  Moses was also sent down the Nile River, but in this version he is a baby who had been born into a Jewish slave family, only to be rescued by a member of the House of the Pharaoh and taken into the inner circle of the Pharaoh.  Moses grows up surrounded by Osiris and Isis and sees firsthand how the role of the Pharaoh had become distorted through oppressive use of power.  Moses eventually becomes the liberator, and is one of many heroes in humanity’s history whose life has echoes of Osiris running through it.

Part of the trigger that led to this mythic journey of Osiris was his mating with the wife of his brother, Nephtys.  In some versions Osiris seduces her, in other versions Nephthys tricks Osiris by disguising herself as his wife Isis, but in all the versions there is the cultural taboo of infidelity explored.  This part of the myth connects with the archetypal axis of development from Taurus to Scorpio, and how sometimes it takes us exploring a cultural taboo in order to find our true value system.  In Embodying Osiris Dr. Cavalli wrote that “the world soul, Anima Mundi, and the transcendent Self envision this light that is trapped within our decaying body, a self-serving ego, and, more generally, the unconscious. From time immemorial there have been taboos to keep one from discovering this divine inner light, for unless we are ready to receive it we will either misuse this sacred light or destroy ourselves” (p. 101). Scorpio has multiple levels of symbols, the scorpion being the lower, the phoenix and the eagle a Scorpio who has moved on to a higher level of consciousness.  One key aspect of Scorpio as part of an individuation process ultimately leading to higher levels of consciousness, can at times be exploring cultural taboos and ultimately finding more of one’s true self by the end of the process.  In healing work, confronting and becoming aware of the shadow side can often involve experiencing taboos of a culture or testing taboos in different ways- often leading to a lot of shame and guilt and depression, but in the end an awareness of the shadow that can propel one through a spiral process into higher states of awareness and consciousness.  In this way, the location of Osiris in your chart could indicate a place where you go into an underworld journey of shame or depression as a result of testing certain cultural taboos that  society conditions us to believe makes us a “bad” person, but that in the end through confronting and facing these deep issues we can ultimately regenerate a truer version of ourselves.  This is because the “true gold” of our soul journey has been inside us all along.

Isis epitomizes love and loyalty; Seth, antagonism, opposition, and limits; . . . But when it comes to Osiris we encounter a psychological complex far more difficult to comprehend than that of most Egyptian deities. His relationship to life and death cannot be easily assigned certain fixed values. Rather than a state of being, his nature has more to do with the process of becoming (Cavalli, p. 63).

Furthermore, another interesting connection with Saturn, Capricorn, and collective responsibility is that this individuating process is not meant to serve our selfish ego needs, but is an act of opening ourselves to what the universe or Spirit wants from us.  Cavalli wrote that if we wish to embody the Osiris archetype, “we must take into account his ‘individuation’ as he matures into a cosmic archetype. What he does is not for self-gain but for the benefit of all. Ultimately, the spirit of the dead arrives in the duat, the fitting place for him to reign as god of the dead and master of unconscious forces” (p.1 75).  In this way the Osiris archetype can reflect the Aquarian liberation from Capricorn conditioning to ultimately make a Piscean surrender to having Capricorn responsibility for an inner power that is for the good of all, an inner power that can have a Scorpio knowledge of how to merge and use resources for the greater collective interest.

This is not easy work- the myth of Osiris symbolizes how we can become dismembered and put through death experiences in society, how our psyche can become fragmented through the experience of trauma and harsh societal conditioning.  At times it seems like it would take an act of divine intervention from a Goddess like Isis to reanimate our psyche and make us whole again. However, as the alchemical symbolism suggest, we have this spark of golden being inside of ourselves, awaiting our self-activation and actualization.

From the book Embodying Osiris by Dr. Thom Cavalli:

Osiris is a model of submission.  He allows all the terrors that befall him to occur, just as the prima materia endures the tortures of the laboratory. such deliberate sacrifice is meant to serve as a model for personal individuation. It justifies all the pain we daily suffer in order to transcend this world and leave it wiser and more enlightened. Submission and trust in this process allow love to enter the vessel.  We are then embraced by the Mother and taken into her arms.  Her only aim is that we bring something new and unique into the world.  The dead ask no less of us.  In the Red Book Carl Jung reveals that the dead want us to take up their unresolved burdens.  We are left to reassemble our lives by submitting to our ancestral destiny.  In this way, individuation is shaped by the Mother (Anima Mundi) and the souls of the departed who want us to bring their purpose to its rightful conclusion. And so, in similar fashion, we die, but our relationships live on for a time equal to the contribution we’ve made while living.

Just as Osiris dies but is not nonexistant, we too live beyond physical death.  Having an active relationship with the unconscious, we are not surprised by death nor, as Jung suggests, are we ever alone!  We have prepared ourselves for this transition- another point of constriction that we have faced before in so many different ways.  With Osiris in the underworld, the unconscious becomes a safe place for death during our lifetime.  Here it is a powerful resource and teacher.  Death serves to remind us that physical life is limited and that we must enjoy every finite moment before entering a timeless place. This realization casts a special beauty over everything that occurs in life.  Darkness enhances life’s treasures; death tinges the light with softness.  The melancholy of an Indian flute, the sound of a foghorn in the mist, tears at the cinema- these are subtle pleasures that emanate from the deepest places in our soul.  Darkness adds mystery to the soul; it colors the personality.  Even sad and depressing events are welcomed because they remind us that life oscillates between joy and sadness; each limits and expands the other. This is the dynamic order of life, what the Egyptians recognized in the rule of Ma’at- the constant rhythms found everywhere in the universe (p. 205-206).

Comments, questions, and correlations about possible meanings for an Osiris archetype are not only welcome, but sought.