The Jupiter and Saturn Cycle

Graves-Chalice

Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

“If you know the Saturn in your chart,
it will become Jupiter.”
–Edith Wangemann
  • July 17, 2013:  Jupiter in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 5 degrees.
  • December 12, 2013:  Jupiter retrograde in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 19 degrees.
  • May 24, 2014:   Jupiter in Cancer was in the final trine in this cycle with Saturn retrograde in Scorpio at 18º59′ degrees.
  • The last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 22º43′.  They reached their opposition first on May 23, 2010 at 28 degrees, with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo.  Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 at 3 degrees, with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra.  Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition at this time on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.  In the calendar shift from 2011 into 2012, Jupiter stationed direct at zero degrees of Taurus while Saturn began to station retrograde at the end of Libra- however, although they got within a couple of degrees of one another they did not reach an exact opposition at this time. In 2012 Jupiter moved away from the opposition.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will enter into the last quarter square phase on August 3, 2015 at 29 degrees of Leo and Scorpio.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will again reach an exact last quarter square on March 23, 2016 at 16-17 degrees at the same time as a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  Jupiter and Saturn will complete the final exact last quarter square aspect on May 26, 2016 at 13-14 degrees with Jupiter direct and Saturn retrograde.
  • The next Jupiter and Saturn conjunction will be on December 21, 2020 in Aquarius at 00º29′.

Jupiter and Saturn since the dawn of astrology stood at the outer rings of the known solar system, rulers of the last four signs of the zodiac, gatekeepers to the realm of Spirit. Today in modern astrology, they still stand as gatekeepers between the more personal planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) and the transpersonal (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto), at an intersection between the archetypal asteroid realm of the dwarf planet Ceres and the centaurs like Chiron and Chariklo, and all of the other more recent celestial discoveries with far out orbits.  One of the biggest popular trends in current astrology, however, is actually traditional astrology and there are many young, gifted astrologers focused upon ancient theory involving the sacred seven more so than the modern psychological astrology that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  No matter your astrological philosophy, however, Jupiter and Saturn are unquestioned as pre-eminent points of focus in every astrology reading in every astrological tradition.  Working in tandem together on your behalf they create the necessary structure enabling you to express the full light of your consciousness into the world around you.  As my dear friend once wrote to me regarding her Saturn, “I have actually learned to like it more and more.  If I find a purpose, an aim to shoot my arrow at (Jupiter), then I am able to persevere and have extraordinary discipline.”

In the moment in which I am writing this, mellifluous Venus has passed through a conjunction with magnanimous Jupiter in the majestic sign of Leo.  It is always a good idea to honor Venus and Jupiter, but right now is an especially auspicious time. Interesting from a traditional astrological perspective, at the same time the two benefics of Venus and Jupiter are joining, the two malefics, Mars and Saturn, are approaching a conjunction.  In fact, on the next New Moon of August 26, Mars and Saturn will have reached a conjunction that is in square to Venus in Leo.  By the time of the Libra Equinox on September 24, Jupiter in Leo will be five degrees away from a square with Saturn in Scorpio.  However, Jupiter in Leo never quite reaches its exact last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio this upcoming season, as Jupiter will station retrograde and move back within its current disseminating phase.  In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will not leave the disseminating phase and enter the last quarter square phase for good until August of next year, 2015.

The terms “benefic” for Jupiter and “malefic” for Saturn are part of the protocol for Hellenistic, Medieval, and other forms of traditional astrology, as they help guide astrologers in predicting fortunate or unfortunate events, as well as help to pinpoint the challenges and obstacles on the horizon most in need of a remedy if the client desires to be successful.  However, getting wrapped up in thinking that Jupiter is “good” and Saturn is “bad” can mislead one into both overreaching on an undeveloped plan as well as fearfully retreating from a golden opportunity (though it does make sense to pay attention to whether or not Jupiter and Saturn are afflicted or supported in the natal chart or by transit).  Just as Jupiter in the chart and by transit can correlate with generosity, good fortune, gregariousness, and gorgeous gifts, the expansive archetypal force of Jupiter can also lead into quixotic egotism, greed, and an attitude enveloped in delusions of grandeur that lacks the disciplined effort necessary to turn starry-eyed visions into matter manifested with purpose.  In comparison, just as Saturn can correlate with times of darkness, solitude, suppression, and grief, so can Saturn in the chart or by transit help one give birth to transcendent experiences through applied focus and effort, through a letting go of what is ready to be released in order to strengthen what is ready to ripen.  We are in a constant balancing act between Jupiter and Saturn, and while some time periods call for more of the synthesizing growth of Jupiter, other times require more of the methodical approach of Saturn.  Yet the more we can unify their attributes together in our being, the more we will persevere in our endeavors.

The courageous nature of both Jupiter and Saturn can be traced all the way back into the myths and astrology of Babylon, as Michael Baigent revealed in his book From the Omens of Babylon that in ancient Mesopotamia the mythic representations of both Jupiter and Saturn embodied heroic qualities that could defy any odds or challenging crisis.  Indeed it was Marduk, the Babylonian Jupiter, who saved humanity by defeating the great serpent of chaos, Tiamat.  At the crescent moon closest to the Spring Equinox every year, a new year’s celebration was held in which the people ritualized the fear of chaos overwhelming the city with the imprisonment of Marduk, as chaos was given space to express itself before Nabu, the Babylonian Mercury, rescued his father Marduk to re-establish order:

During those eleven days of rituals, both public and private, the rights of the king along with the stability and strength of the civilization itself were first called into question and then symbolically reasserted- as though disintegration were so close to the surface that only a deliberate and conscious regular revocation could hold chaos at bay.  And so, symbolically, within prescribed limits, this festival allowed the primordial chaos a chance to emerge once again, briefly; to tear aside the fabric of civilization built by order and hierarchy. It emerged to be again defeated, for another year. (Baigent, p. 141)

Similarly, Baigent also showed through his research that the Babylonian Saturn, Ninurta, was also a hero of the people who retrieved the “tablets of fate” which “conferred the power over fate upon the owner” from the clutches of Zu, a “winged dragon of storms . . . who was in league with the great sea-dwelling dragon of chaos” (Baigent, p. 128).  Well, to be more accurate, apparently Ninurta nimbly nabbed the tablets from the nest of Zu, becoming a hero who was given custody of the tablets when he returned them to the people.  Therefore, similar to how in astrology Saturn is seen as a ruler of time who confronts us with the limits of time and space, so was Ninurta seen as a ruler of fate who confronted one with their destiny.  By also showing how Ninurta was connected with law and order in a similar way to Saturn in western astrology, Baigent takes us to what in the end may be the core meaning for us on an archetypal level of Jupiter and Saturn:  how to manage the chaos of life.

While the mythic link between figures associated with Jupiter and Saturn beating back goddesses of chaos to establish order make many of us associate them with the horrific oppression that arose along with the order of hierarchical patriarchy, it is important to remember that at heart the archetypal Jupiter is a divinely creative intelligence.  Robert Bly’s book on modern masculinity, Iron John, was helpful for me in breaking down my negative feelings regarding patriarchy that impacted my self-image of my own masculinity, especially with regard to his illumination of the significance of Zeus:

There’s a general assumption now that every man in a position of power is or will soon be corrupt and oppressive.  Yet the Greeks understood and praised a positive male energy that has accepted authority.  They called it Zeus energy, which encompasses intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will, generous leadership.  Zeus energy is male authority accepted for the sake of the community. (Bly, p. 22)

This idea of Zeus energy being in service to the community is important when considering the meaning behind the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, as Jupiter and Saturn are the planets that are less concerned with personal matters like Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and more concerned with society, culture, beliefs, customs, and how we fit in and find our own role to play.

Zeus,_altemps

Zeus

Dane Rudhyar in his 1958 article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle wrote that the meaning behind Jupiter and Saturn involves how human beings interact in groups and form societies that create shared culture, language, laws, values, ideals, religions, needs, and institutions.  Rudhyar also listed memories as another manifestation of the community produced by Jupiter and Saturn, and this feeling of belonging, or nostalgia, that can come from shared memories with others is an especially poignant aspect of Jupiter and Saturn to bear in mind.  Along these lines Rudhyar connected Saturn with how people participate with embodied boundaries in the role they function through and act from in society.  The particular boundaries one develops for their role often has to do with a shared sense of consensus expectations a particular culture develops for the role, often linked to the shared memory of tradition.  For example, how one may parent a child or teach a classroom in one culture may tend in general to be dramatically different from how one parents a child or teaches a classroom in a dramatically different culture.  As a result cultural taboos can be formed to define what is outside the lines of consensus expectations for a behavior or role in society, and this is very important to realize as we are now mid-way through the transit of Saturn in Scorpio.  Since an important aspect of the Scorpio archetype is a willingness to breach taboos and break free of cultural codes of conduct, the unique cultural taboos getting in between our desires being unfulfilled and fulfilled have been in the process of being revealed to each and every one of us.

In contrast, Rudhyar wrote that Jupiter is less about the boundaries of behavior we express in our role, and more about the quality of feeling generated for us through a role that brings us a sense of being connected and belonging to a community or culture.  And yet, for Rudhyar here is the place where we can pivot into the shadow side of Jupiter that can too easily conform to cultural expectations in order to be rewarded by feelings of validation from others.  Rudhyar was interested in intergalactic evolutionary growth and being a seed of future visions, and this type of evolutionary development in one’s self is unlikely to happen if one is tied into being accepted and understood by a great many people in the populace.  Often it takes going alone, and going misunderstood by most except one’s tribe of affinity in order to do groundbreaking and dynamic work in the world.  To Rudhyar, “conforming is not taking the next evolutionary step” but rather, the new step will involve “an initial loss of balance, a fall, immediately followed by a recovery” (para. 24).  With Neptune in Pisces dissolving what is left of our past attachments to what Uranus in Aries has been shattering, we can use the transformative nature of Saturn in Scorpio to help us ultimately recover from whatever has knocked us off balance in this past year.  Jupiter spent a long time in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn while being in square to Uranus in Aries, eventually creating a cardinal grand cross with Mars in Libra.  This was a time of dislodging making space for not just chaos but a vision of our evolutionary path forward. Today, though Jupiter is still within range of a square from Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in the sign of Leo has the fiery nature of a pioneer who can blaze a trail forward for us, especially if we focus with the intensity of Saturn in Scorpio.

In evolutionary astrology as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, Jupiter as an archetype correlates with the type of belief and vision needed by an individual to nurture their development and self-realization.  Here Jupiter is the intuitive aspect of consciousness that is non-linear, image-based, and able to perceive in the starry sky at night that we are connected to something much larger than the human societies we live within.  Since the nature of our beliefs is fundamental to what we perceive and how we experience our world, and since each soul incarnates into a culture with a dominant consensus belief system, Jupiter in evolutionary astrology is a key to understanding the relationship between the vision of life we are drawn to as a result of our soul desires and needs, and the beliefs of our culture and family that surround us from birth.   Through this astrological lens, Jupiter’s epic journey through the sign of Cancer, featuring a long opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries, brought up numerous issues and events leading us to examine the beliefs we were living from and whether or not we were living from a sense of conformity to the inherited values of the family, society, friends, or associations surrounding us.  For many of us this transit sparked a critical reflection upon the core meaning of our experience and a re-formulation of the personal philosophy we live life from. While working with Saturn in Scorpio at the same time, as a result we could realize which cultural taboos restricting us were in reality not something we believed needed honoring with conformity.  Now, with Jupiter in Leo, we can take the wisdom gained from the past year of intense reflection to fuel our drive forward in pursuit of the sense of destiny we found inside our ruminations.

In the Hellenistic tradition of astrology an intrinsic concept is the Joy of the Planets, a fascinating theory that seems to be the source of many aspects of our entire western astrological framework, and in various ancient writing is ascribed to a source text by the legendary Hermes Trismegistus.  After listening to a webinar by Chris Brennan on the Joys of the Planets (I’ve posted a link to his pdf paper under references below) in which he discussed how Saturn has its Joy in the house of Bad Spirit (the 12th house) and Jupiter has its Joy in the house of Good Spirit (the 11th house), I found myself continuing to reflect upon Brennan’s observation that the houses above the horizon of the natal chart, the solar hemisphere, have to do with “the realm of the Sun, which the author of the scheme seems to have associated with the spirit (daimōn),” (Brennan, p. 26).  In contrast, this means that the houses below the horizon, the lunar hemisphere, are the “realm of the Moon, which the author of the joys associated with the concept of fortune (tuchē)” (Brennan, p. 26).  Throughout Hellenistic writing, the solar hemisphere of Spirit was associated with the soul, the mind, and the intellect, whereas the lunar hemisphere of Fortune was associated with the body, physical incarnation, and matter.  Brennan showed how this illuminates the meaning behind the 11th house, where the benefic Jupiter has its Joy and we  can experience things beneficial to our soul and mind, such as the Aristotelian connection between friendship and the affinity of souls.  In contrast, the 12th house where the malefic Saturn has its Joy took on a meaning of experiences that can cause our soul and mind to suffer.

However, keeping in mind the more heroic depiction of Saturn, many of us know that it can require passing through the darkness of difficult “12th house events” in order to cultivate our ability to transcend our past “karma” or attachments, and move us out of repetition of past patterns onto a trajectory taking us toward the zenith of our life, represented by the movement of the 12th house above the horizon into the 11th house and beyond to the Mid-heaven of our chart, just as the Sun rises above us every day of our life.  Saturn having its Joy in the 12th House is also illuminating to me from the perspective of moving counter-clockwise through the houses around the chart, beginning with the first house and ending with the 12th.  In this way Saturn rejoices in the final house of the cyle, in the place of letting go, and this concept is paramount in line with keeping our Jupiter energy focused upon dynamic growth instead of conforming growth that leads to stagnation.  A Saturn that is afraid of the limitations of its own time, that is stuck in a depressive cycle of withdrawal is going nowhere, or if it is going somewhere Jupiter is most likely taking us to a place of escapism and overindulgence in one way or another.  However, a Saturn that is open to the change of chaos, the pain that comes with loss and death that leads to the birth of the new, is a Saturn that can work with Jupiter to constantly re-structure and move with the flow of life, into the flow of Good Spirit toward our zenith.

Saturn moving through Scorpio resonates with bearing witness with brutal honesty to all of the pain and challenges swirling within and around us, as we are still within the intense series of seven squares between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and Neptune continues to move deeper into the mystifying nature of Pisces.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to go as deep into our core as we can, and though the loss of anything we have grown attached to can make us become fearful, anxious, or depressed, Saturn in Scorpio is also a fitting placement for solitude, grief, and shadow work if necessary.  The more we can burn off the better, and we will likewise want to utilize the inspiration and courage of Jupiter in Leo to lift ourselves out of any doldrums we have fallen into as we will want to avoid getting stuck at this time as much as possible.  And remember, going into a cave like a hermit is not necessarily being stuck, as what may be a tomb to some is a womb for others, a sacred space to birth a new sense of burgeoning being.

saturn by cristoforo de predis

Saturn by Cristoforo de Predis

It is of further importance to realize that we are in the disseminating phase of the Saturn and Jupiter cycle at this time, as Saturn is the slower moving planet and so from that perspective Jupiter has already moved past the polarity point of opposition, through the disseminating trine aspect, and now for the next year will be moving back and forth within the latter part of the disseminating phase.  The strong connection of meaning between Jupiter and Saturn and the societies we create to live within is very fitting for the disseminating phase, as during this phase we want to live out the values we have developed in this cycle in order to share our message in our community and distribute our meaning through networks of communication.  Using the metaphor of the plant cycle that Dane Rudhyar brilliantly developed for his lunation cycles, in the disseminating phase our ripened fruit is ready to eat and it is time to live our discovered life purpose and communicate our vision not only through activities like teaching, but also simply through living a conscious, intentional life.

And where was the seed of this cycle?  On May 28, 2000 the current cycle of Jupiter and Saturn began at 23 degrees of Taurus.  As a result, we are in a cycle of Jupiter and Saturn with a strong affinity with Venus, and the inner side of Venus associated with the sensual sign of Taurus.  Despite the popular view of our current culture numbing its connection to its environment through technological gadgets and other material possessions, to me the purpose of this current Taurus seed cycle is not to be in possession of the latest technology or satiating ourselves with other material comforts, but rather to go within and get in touch with our bodies, with our subconscious, with our light body, our soul body, to deeply feel and sense our own nature and our surrounding natural environment.  Of course, Taurus also has to do with survival, and indeed this has also been a major theme of this cycle as our global community has had to survive numerous wars and economic collapses.  As we continue to come to grips with widespread environmental devastation, another Taurus theme of the right use of resources has also come to the forefront.  The more we can go within, the more we will be able to sense what is surrounding us, leading in the end to a more highly tuned ability to respond to what needs help in our environment.

Previous Saturn-Jupiter conjunctions in Taurus were on August 8, 1940 at 14º27′ and on October 20, 1940 with both Jupiter and Saturn retrograde at 12º28′ of Taurus.  And before that time, there was a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Taurus on April 18, 1881 at 1º36′.  Among other themes, the previous decades following each of the last two times that Jupiter and Saturn started a cycle in Taurus coincided with dramatic shifts in energy resources.  In the 1880s there was a dramatic increase in electrical power and many inventions coinciding with the Industrial Age coming into full power;  in the 1940s humanity experienced the onslaught of nuclear power, including nuclear bombs and the fear from awareness that nuclear warfare could potentially obliterate humanity from the face of the earth.  Our current Jupiter-Saturn cycle rode an economic boom from the acceleration of Internet resources in the economy into greater warfare across our planet that climaxed into a global economic crisis as Jupiter and Saturn reached their opposition point in 2010.  On a wider time scale, the opposition timeframe of 2010 into 2011 of this current Jupiter and Saturn cycle revealed the devastating impact on earth’s environment since the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus in 1881, as our global community realized stark facts regarding the destruction to our ecosystem wrought by the Industrial Age, and potential danger we must now take responsibility to mitigate.  Since the opposition between Jupiter and Saturn in 2010 and 2011 occurred along the Pisces-Virgo, and Aries-Libra axes, it makes sense that an ultimate understanding of what is in need of healing in our global environment would be polarized and revealed, as well as how we can form relationships with others to initiate efforts at collective reform.

The Gregorian calendar system ruling many lives today has been moving in synchronicity with the Jupiter and Saturn cycle in this past century, as the opening and close of each decade has coincided with either a Jupiter and Saturn conjunction or opposition.  For example, the years 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, and 2000 roughly line up with the new cycle conjunction, while the years 1910, 1930, 1950, 1970, 1990, and 2010 line up with the polarity of the full phase opposition.  In this way, just as the new cycle of economic growth in the 1920s led into the economic collapse and Great Depression of the 1930s, so did the economic growth of the shift into 2000 lead into the global economic collapse of the 2010 time period.

graves joyous young pine

Joyous Young Pine by Morris Graves (1944)

One of the biggest issues on the global stage emerging during the current disseminating phase between Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Leo concerns the right use of power.  James Hillman in his 1995 book Kinds of Power questioned and investigated cultural assumptions regarding power, in particular in connection with our economy that dominates world views, as to Hillman “it is the Economy where the contemporary unconscious resides and where psychological analysis is most needed” (p. 4).  As part of his deconstruction of power, he analyzed the way in which in the past century or so we have considered the word growth, which to me connects well in a similar manner to how in astrology we have come to define the growth associated with Jupiter on an archetypal level (p. 45):

  1. Increase in size (expansion or getting bigger)
  2. Evolution in form and function (differentiation or getting smarter)
  3. Progress (improvement or getting better)
  4. Conjunction of parts (synthesis, integration or wider networking)
  5. Temporal succession in stages (maturation or getting riper, wiser)
  6. Self-generation (spontaneity or becoming creative, independent)

Writing at the end of the 20th Century, Hillman saw this dominant idea regarding growth to be connected in a widely held belief in unending improvement through expansion, and that this was one of our culture’s biggest problems.  Hillman knew that continual expansion is not natural to life, for as there is a yin to every yang so there is a Fall to every Spring and a Crescent Moon to every Dark Moon.  In connection to the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, it is also worth noting that Hillman was writing this book in the waning half of their cycle, the same point we are at now.  Since the last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in 2000, and their opposition in 2010, his thoughts on the damage caused to our planet and ourselves by the dominant idea of growth connected to economic power have become even more obvious and explicit in our surroundings.

Also applicable to the Saturn and Jupiter cycle, Hillman came up with a new list of ideas to associate with growth to correlate with the changes he saw happening at the end of the 20th Century, ideas that to me also correlate well with the meaning of the waning half of the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, as well as anytime we unify the power of Jupiter and Saturn into concentrated effort (p. 50):

  1. Deepening 
  2. Intensification
  3. Shedding
  4. Repetition
  5. Emptying

To Hillman, deepening is a “growth of soul” that “brings ugly, twisted things out of the soil” (p. 52), an idea of staying power that is about “staying in the mess,” cleaning up the mess, and staying “planted,” with “no avoidance and no escape” (p. 50).  In comparison, intensification to Hillman is about “a devotional focus to what you are doing- an intensive concentration that seems like obsession,” like “the love brought to the art of your work and the love in which the work is done” (p. 54).  Ultimately, intensification is a different sort of efficiency, one more focused upon the greatest level of quality in every part of the process, like how poetry “intensifies by packing lots of implications and references into the small space of a word or a phrase” (p. 52).

Furthermore, Hillman’s conception of “shedding” is well-suited to the limits of time and space we are often tested with through Saturn, times of crisis carrying extraordinary challenge with the potential for profound transcendence if we can face them despite our fears.  To Hillman, “radical shedding happens in those crises that move in on the soul and cannot be easily fixed,” that come “unannounced” with “a specific and immediate cause . . . or no apparent cause at all” (p. 55).  The importance to Hillman is that “the crisis which forces shedding also forces a philosophical re-visioning, as if the crisis were demanding a discrimination between what must be held and what can be let go” (p.  57).  Interestingly, this is the exact type of language used by Dane Rudhyar to describe what happens at the opposition point of a planetary cycle as the cycle shifts into the waning phase, particularly as we reach the last quarter phase.  As we are still in the disseminating phase and not quite at the last quarter phase, this is important to keep in mind. Furthermore, since in this past year Jupiter was caught up in an opposition with Pluto, first quarter square with Uranus, and the cardinal grand square with Mars, we have already been experiencing this concept of “shedding” in relation to Jupiter this year.  Hillman’s advice is to use imagination in the process of facing the fears of “shedding” crises:  he suggests imagining as realistically as possible the consequences of catastrophe scenarios and to let go “of all security structures, comforting identities, realized achievements, forward planning.  See what remains, for only what remains can truly be relied on for growth” (p. 58).

My main aim in quoting James Hillman so much here, is that through his deconstruction of consensus conceptualization of words like power and growth, we can become more aware of how we can potentially conform and condition ourselves to outdated ideas that do not resonate with our ever changing reality.  Through actively working with the movement of Jupiter and Saturn, we can gain insight into how we can work within a collective effort to serve the changing needs of our world, in a manner artfully encapsulated by Hillman:

Our problems are inside our lives, yes; but our lives are lived inside fields of power, under the influence of others, in accord with authority, subject to tyrannies. Moreover, our lives are lived inside the fields of power that are our cities with their offices and cars, systems of work and mountains of trash. These too are powers impinging on our souls. When the wider world breaks down and is sick at heart, the individual suffers accordingly. Since he and she are not the underlying cause of their suffering, neither can they be its cure. The collective power failures in government bureaucracies, education, institutions and corporations, the ineffective transmission of power downward to the disenfranchised, oppressed and impoverished, and the sputtering generators of acrid heat below the streets of America’s cities require attention to the transformers and dynamos beyond the personal fuse box in your basement.  Attention has to be paid to the overhead power lines, those mainline ideas that are the archetypal wirings which energize our individualities. Personal recovery cannot substitute for national recovery. At best, they go hand in hand (p. 15).

Now that we are in the disseminating phase of this Jupiter and Saturn cycle that began in Taurus in 2000, it is time to glean the personal gift we each have to offer our global community and put it forth into our environment with all of our heart like the lion of Leo and the eagle of Scorpio.  It is time to express our message and to listen to the message of others:  at the next stage of this cycle Jupiter in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and Saturn in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, await us to provoke the philosophical debates necessary to bring about the crisis of consciousness found in the last quarter square.

Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

References

Baigent, Michael. (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Penguin Arkana.

Bly, Robert. (1990).  Iron John: a book about men.  Addison Wesley.

Brennan, Chris. (2012). The Planetary Joys and the Origins of the Significations of the Houses and Triplicities.

Hillman, James. (1995). Kinds of Power: a guide to its intelligent uses. Doubleday.

Noelle, Richard. (1999). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.  http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/geo/ju-sa/ju000sa.html

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

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Jupiter in Cancer and Tarot

7 star planets

7th Harmonic

Happy Equinox!  The equinox time is perfect for setting expansive intentions for new fortune, wisdom, awareness, and beneficial growth, all concepts that connect with the planet Jupiter in astrology.   Like many, I have had Jupiter on my mind as it has been one of the brightest and most beautiful celestial objects to behold in the night sky in recent months.  Plus, with all the talk of intensity, fear, and warning around the upcoming Cardinal Grand Square from the astrological community, Jupiter being in the sign of Cancer has consistently been the most positive aspect of the grand cross astrologers have been focusing on, no matter what school of thought they are coming from.  From a transpersonal and personal perspective, it is extraordinary that Jupiter in Cancer has ended up being in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and in square to Uranus in Aries for so long, through a Venus, Mercury, and Mars retrograde.

Before delving further into Jupiter, I want to point out the fact that there is a strong seventh harmonic occurring right now.  The image of the seven-pointed star above is what a seventh harmonic would look like if one occurred between the seven traditional wanderers. Last night, I attended a talk by Olympian astrologer Rosie Finn in which she made me aware that there will also be a strong seventh harmonic initiating the upcoming eclipse season of April, with Venus eclipsing Neptune in Pisces on April 11 and forming a seventh harmonic with Saturn in Scorpio, Pluto in Capricorn, and the South Node of the Moon in Aries.   We do not need to wait for April to experience a seventh harmonic transit, however, as there is currently a strong seventh harmonic occurring that includes the conjunction of Mercury and Neptune in Pisces that will only last for the next few days.  This is especially magical because Mercury was last conjunct Neptune at the beginning of February 2014 when it stationed retrograde, at that time forming a strong seventh harmonic that I referenced in this article I wrote on the Mercury retrograde (and there is also a chart drawn by Rosie included so you can see the 7th Harmonic).

Seventh harmonics are about reception and descent of magical, creative, other worldly information, illumination, and insight.  They are made up of septiles (51.5 degrees), bi-septiles (103 degrees) and tri-septiles (154 degrees) and are often not even calculated or focused on by some astrologers.  This relative lack of attention and acknowledgement of the seventh harmonic (in comparison to other harmonics like the fourth) is fitting for its strange energy that is outside the realm of “ordinary” reality.  At the moment, a strong seventh harmonic is happening integrating the conjunction of Mercury and Neptune in Pisces around 7 degrees, Saturn in Scorpio around 23 degrees, and Pluto in Capricorn around 14 degrees.  The totality of these planetary and zodiac sign archetypes suggest some aspect of our authentic self and deep soul nature being available for us to receive at this time, an illumination of aspects of our essential self that we have either repressed, left behind, or lost contact with in some way.  Our task will be to find a way to integrate the mystical seventh harmonic perceptions that correlate with the current Mercury and Neptune conjunction in Pisces that follows a very significant Mercury retrograde cycle.  Mercury is leaving his retrograde shadow zone at this time, just as a new season begins with an equinox, and so we can begin to initiate choices in our daily life to align ourselves to a greater extent with the new awareness of our Self in these past couple of months.  This does not have to be stressful- this integration could even come through a restful, reflective, or mindful state of being.  However, as Pluto in Capricorn is involved in a hard t-square at this time with Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Cancer, we may also have to work on integrating our magical perceptions in an atmosphere of tremendous change in which other people in our surroundings may seem stressed out or caught up in strife.

In connection with Jupiter, in the next week a bi-septile aspect will occur between Jupiter in Cancer and Mars retrograde in Libra, linking the seventh harmonic to Jupiter as well.  This is an auspicious sign for the Mars retrograde in Libra because Mars is calling for more of an internal movement of our desire and will at this time in the direction of our soul and self, more so than an outward direction of desire into action coming out from our soul.  Both our inner relationship with our self as well as our outer relationships with others at this time will be full of countless lessons to learn about our essential and authentic self.

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Jupiter as Wheel of Fortune

The X WHEEL OF FORTUNE card has been traditionally linked to Jupiter and correlates with expansive events and experiences that feel fated or destined, bringing fortune for good or bad.  In the image from the Waite deck above we see what look like the four fixed signs of the zodiac with wings (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), and while there is some variance of interpretation I prefer the analysis that the four fixed symbols represent the four royal stars of Persia:  Aldebaran (Archangel Michael), Fomalhaut (Archangel Gabriel), Antares (Archangel Oriel), and Regulus (Archangel Raphael).  In The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, A.E. Waite described these as the four living creatures who appeared to Ezekiel in the Bible, cherubs who are associated with archangels.  There is often some sort of fourth harmonic involved in the image of this card, four figures arranged into a square in the space- just like the meaning of the approaching cardinal grand square, this is the energy that brings form out of the chaos, manifestation of matter out of the fluidity of life.  The Sphinx painted above the Wheel in the Waite deck by Pamela Colman Smith (shown above) is a representation of the equilibrium and balance possible to attain within the fluidity and perpetual change of life and the universe represented by the Wheel.  All of these symbols suggest a potential to find balance while navigating the chaos of life.  It is similar to the idea of chaos theory that aligns so well with astrology in the sense that within chaos theory are the perfect repeating patterns of fractals that are similar to the repeating patterns found within natal birth charts.  We can tell from analysis of our chart dynamics when we will be entering time periods of accelerated and intensified energy, and while we may not be able to predict exactly what will occur, we can make ourselves and others aware of the need to focus on self awareness so as to better respond to the stress or disruption we can accurately predict will occur in accordance with the chart patterns.  No matter the personal birth chart patterns you have, however, it is safe to say that the month of April 2014 is a time to be ready for.

It is common to come across the advice to ride or reside in the center of the Wheel of Fortune by tarot authors, so as not to be thrown off course.  This idea of being thrown off by the Wheel goes back to the ancient connection of this card to the goddess Fortuna, shown below in this image from the 12th Century Garden of Delights.  Fortuna could have you plummet from grace just as much as she could levitate you to the height of fortune.  How much this has to do with fate versus free will is a philosophical debate I am not pursuing here, but what is helpful to keep in mind during this time period are the choices and responses to life and fateful events that we can take responsibility for, to help us navigate with greater balance in pursuit of the fortune we wish to manifest.  Again, in the image below note the King of equilibrium on the top reminiscent of the Sphinx atop the Wheel in the Waite deck:

wheel of fortune- hortus delicarium

Jupiter is exalted in the sign of Cancer and loves being in the sign of Cancer, which is very fortuitous for us due to the fact that we are entering a portal of extraordinary and unprecedented change in April in connection with eclipses and the cardinal grand square.  Just as we can become knocked off the Wheel of Fortune by our emotional, instinctual, habitual reactions that have been conditioned by our culture, society, and early home environment, so can we also use the nurturing quality of Jupiter’s transit through Cancer to cultivate and connect with our deeper, essential nature so that we learn to instinctively and emotionally respond from our authentic self instead of our habitual, societally-conditioned self.  Although this may not be part of the original meaning behind Jupiter’s exaltation in Cancer, the exalted nature of Jupiter in the sign of the crustacean makes so much sense to me from the standpoint of Jupiter helping us to eventually expand beyond the limitations of belief conditioning us from birth in our early environment, using the nurturing and empathic capacity of Cancer to help us cultivate deeper self awareness.  This is like the molting of crabs, the symbol for Cancer, in which crabs create a new shell for themselves after re-absorbing elements of the old exoskeleton in order to separate the old shell from their skin, creating a new shell in the process.  In terms of the connection between Cancer in astrology and the molting of the crab, the shell of the crustacean is like the personality of the soul, a conditioned ego that the soul will expand beyond and generate anew.  Keep in mind that the molting of a new shell for crabs is not an instantaneous process- it takes weeks.  Similarly, the awareness of our deeper nature we can cultivate, the new embodiment of our authentic self we can step into through both re-absorbtion and elimination of old elements of our personality, is a long process in need of patience and nurturing cultivation.  Since Jupiter in Cancer is ruled by the Moon, we can use the fluid lunar cycle to be in the moment, being aware of our moment-to-moment shifts and the illusion of stability we create that is not authentic.  Indeed, the true stability and balance is found in the chaos, at the center of the Wheel of Fortune, where the perfect fractal pattern resides we can utilize to attract our true fortune.

When we again view the image of Fortuna and the wheel above through the lens of Jupiter in Cancer, the idea of shedding an outworn ego/personality in order to molt a more authentic presence in the world, we can see a metaphor of our new awareness arising on Fortuna’s wheel as our outdated conditioned personality falls to its final release from us.  This ability of Jupiter in Cancer to help us connect with our authentic self, nurture our essential nature, and attract fortune for the highest good of ourselves and all other beings is also revealed through the connection between Jupiter and the XIV TEMPERANCE card:

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Jupiter and Temperance

Temperance is the arcanum that is linked to the astrology sign of Sagittarius, meaning in a sense that since Jupiter rules Sagittarius, we can link this card to Jupiter as well as the X WHEEL OF FORTUNE.  In the image above painted by Pamela Colman Smith, we see the Archangel Michael, a further link to the Wheel of Fortune card since Michael is one of the four royal stars of Persia (Aldebaran at around 9 Gemini) that are represented in the image by angelic versions of the fixed signs of the zodiac.  Fitting for this time of the Aries Equinox, Aldebaran was the traditional Watcher of the East who around 3000 BC marked the Aries Equinox.  In traditional astrology Jupiter is the day-time ruler of Sagittarius, distinguishing its co-rulership of Sagittarius and Pisces, as there is a trine between Sagittarius and Leo, the sign of the Sun.  Fittingly, in the image above we can see the symbol of the Sun on the forehead of the angel.  In connection to Jupiter, the Temperance card reveals the Sagittarian focus on outward experience that expands philosophical understanding of the whole and our place inside of it.  But as we expand outward, like the angel stepping onto the earth, we will likewise go into our watery depths and assimilate lost and found elements of our self into a greater embodiment of wholeness.

In The Pictorial Key to the Tarot A.E. Waite described this angel as being neither masculine nor feminine, with one foot in the water and one upon earth likewise signifying an embodiment of essence that unifies or transcends duality.  One could say this is also similar to unifying our ego and our soul, our personality with our authentic self, just as the angel in the image above is pouring the essence of life from chalice to chalice.  In all, there is much more movement in this image, a suggestion of great fluidity and the perpetual motion of life that connects with Jupiter and The Wheel of Fortune, than may appear at first glance.

This arcanum is also known as “Art” in other decks and usually carries an alchemical meaning with it, a tempering and harmonizing of our material and spiritual self, our rational and intuitive mind, our psychic and analytic awareness.  In astrology, the archetype of Jupiter can help us expand beyond the confines and limitations of our place of birth and circumstance.  As we grow up and develop deeper awareness of our essential nature, many of us realize that we did not grow up in a family or culture that accepted us, understood us, or even saw our authentic self, ever.  As a counter-balance to not feeling seen, some of can respond at times with indulgent and excessive behavior that demands attention from our environment, yet is much more of an exaggeration of a false self we developed as a coping strategy than it is behavior aligned with our true soul and self.  Jupiter in Cancer being squared by Uranus in Aries especially, but also through its opposition to Pluto in Capricorn, can coincide with sudden insight into what is inauthentic as well as what is authentic, an overwhelming feeling that at the same time has the liberating impact of helping us to eliminate the inessential and alchemize the essential.  Part of integrating a deeper authenticity for us will also come from shattering events and reactions that shock us into the realization that what we saw as our stable, fixed personality or behavior was not truly the whole picture.  It is likely that all of us on one level or another will soon face this intensity if we are not already- some areas of our planet are obviously feeling the full throttle devastation side to this energy more so than other parts of the globe at this time, but for those privileged to be living in an environment of relative safety and security, the sense of safety and security we have felt through inauthentic aspects of our self will no doubt become imploded and shattered at this time.

With all of the stressful aspects to Jupiter in Cancer at this time, especially the square from Uranus in Aries and the opposition to Pluto in Capricorn, difficulties and crises we experience at this time may be necessary for us to re-connect with our authentic self so that we can alchemize a more essential presence in the world through the fire of our experiences.  However, there is also a wide trine between Neptune in Pisces to Jupiter in Cancer at the moment, and a closer trine between Jupiter with Chiron in Pisces that will eventually turn into a Grand Water Trine with Jupiter, Chiron, and Saturn in Scorpio in the next couple of months.  Furthermore, Mercury transiting through Pisces will be coming into an exact trine with Jupiter in the next week, while Venus will move into Pisces and exactly trine Jupiter in April.  These trines to Jupiter reveal a tremendous opportunity for us to nurture our deeper nature and fully incarnate more of our true soul and being into the world at this time.

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Jupiter and the Moon

The XVIII MOON of the arcana may not make you immediately think of being ruled by Jupiter, unless you remember that Pisces is the astrology associated with the XVIII MOON card and that Jupiter is the ruler of Pisces in traditional astrology.  In traditional astrology, Jupiter is the night-time ruler of Pisces in order to distinguish its co-rulership of Sagittarius and Pisces, as there is a trine between Pisces and Cancer, the sign of the Moon.  The Jupiter found in the XVIII MOON is the empathic and sensitive Jupiter who is exalted in the lunar sign of Cancer, who grows through giving and nurturing others as well as the self.  Since Jupiter can expand any feeling, however, we must be careful to face and overcome our fears, feeling the delusional nature of any fantasized experiences that appear real so that we can release them with finality at this time.  Through the feeling nature of being in the sign of Cancer, the sign of the Moon, Jupiter at this time can help us ground into our environment so that we can initiate action from our authentic nature-  if ungrounded, Jupiter can otherwise act from an overly optimistic and hopeful perspective that lacks connection to the action necessary to ensure completion of our deepest desires.

The XVIII MOON arcanum has been connected to experiences of confusion and overwhelming emotions, and yet in connection to Jupiter it is necessary for us to go through these experiences to help us connect with our deeper, authentic self that will help us navigate life more effectively.  We open to everything here in the collective unconscious, the collective conscious, and our own personal consciousness we only encounter in dreams and moments of dissolution.  As a result a huge expansion of a different sort is available to us through Jupiter in the arcana of the Moon, an internal and reflective expansion into our deeper being. Remember, the Moon arcanum comes after both the XIII DEATH and the XVI TOWER arcana, meaning by this part of our growth and development we have already undergone great death and destruction to our personality and false sense of self.  This is similar to me in astrological terms to the fact that although we are coming into intense astrological aspects in the coming month of April, they are not new:  in fact, this will be the fifth time since 2012 that Uranus in Aries has been in a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and we have also already experienced repeated squares between Cancer Jupiter  and Aries Uranus and Libra Mars.  We also have been experiencing a very long and drawn out opposition between Capricorn Pluto and Jupiter in Cancer that has extended through a Venus retrograde cycle, Mercury retrograde cycle, and now a Mars retrograde cycle.  This Moon phase of our process is a final dissolution of self before we can connect with our XIX SUN sense of wholeness, authenticity, and self-actualization.  The energy of Jupiter in Cancer is capable of lifting us with great resiliency out of any oceanic depths we fall to in our emotional process of this time.  If it is necessary to go into the darkness, so be it.

World image black and white Holy Order

Saturn and the World

On a final note, I want to address Saturn through her connection to the XXI WORLD arcanum, as Saturn in Scorpio has not been receiving as much attention since she stationed retrograde on March 2 (since she is not involved in the cardinal grand square that will be occurring in April).  Nonetheless, the fact remains that Saturn is very important to tune into at this time, including where the zodiac degrees of  16 to 24 Scorpio are in your chart.  Wherever 24 Scorpio is in your chart, you have about seven months or so until Saturn will return there again to birth a new presence for yourself in that area and aspect of your chart.  Saturn will station direct around July 21, 2014 at 17 Scorpio after having formed a Grand Water Trine with Jupiter in Cancer and Chiron in Pisces in May.  By the time Saturn stations direct in July, Jupiter will have moved into the sign of Leo (Jupiter will enter Leo on July 16, 2014).  Part of Saturn’s movement back through her retrograde shadow will involve a conjunction with transiting Mars in Scorpio in August 2014, no doubt a period of time that will be intense.

I love the connection between Saturn and the XXI WORLD card and the image of the dancer- this dancer embodies the Jupiter ideal of being at the center of the Wheel of Fortune, riding the moment in balance, being in the now.  Although Saturn in Scorpio has correlated with some hard lessons and difficult experiences, remember that a Phoenix can arise from the ashes of what has burned off of us, and this Phoenix is our real, essential, and shining nature.    The third trine between Jupiter and Saturn that we will experience in this disseminating phase in May should finally give us the opportunity to actualize the full depth of our experiences over this past year- to experience completion from this long process akin to the XXI WORLD arcanum.  No matter what happens in April, keep your eye on the prize, the full potential of the Grand Water Trine forming in May between Jupiter, Saturn, and Chiron that will give us the opportunity to embody a deeper sense of our true nature in the world than we ever have before.  As my wise womyn friend Carol Trasatto said recently, it will be a time to rest in the mystery, to ask to receive what we sincerely need, to be open to trusting that the direction we are pointed toward will take us into our center and our essential self.

Gemini and the Ugly Duckling

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Gemini New Moon: meetings of Mercury & Venus

The Lunar Eclipse on May 24 occurred at the same time that Mercury and Venus were conjunct at 19 degrees of Gemini, also in range of being conjunct Jupiter.  In June the cycle continues, as Venus and Mercury will be conjunct again, magically, at the time of the Summer Solstice.  There is some incredible synchronicity in their cycle of the moment, as the same degree of Gemini at which they were conjunct during the Lunar Eclipse on May 24 is the same degree as the New Moon in Gemini that will be occurring this week on June 8.  In his book An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyhar’s analysis of this Gemini degree is intriguing in connection with intentions we can set for ourselves at this time (p. 102):

Gemini 19: A LARGE ARCHAIC VOLUME REVEALS A TRADITIONAL WISDOM.

Keynote:  Contacting the all-human planetary Mind underlying any cultural and personal mentality.

Occult tradition tells us that all cyclic manifestations of the human mind have had a primordial revelatory Source. It speaks of ancient books made of especially treated papyrus leaves and conveying through symbols the archetypal processes at the root of all earthly existence. Such volumes, said to remain in the possession of certain Adepts, constitute the “exteriorization” of archetypal knowledge and wisdom. They contain the “seed-ideas” from which the human mind grows, cyclically producing cultures of various types.

What sorts of archaic volumes of traditional wisdom are accessible to people today? With the Internet, people have more access to ancient sources of wisdom than ever before.  In our earliest development, however, one of the first sources of traditional wisdom we experienced were found in Fairy Tales and picture books read to us when our language comprehension was first developing.  Through Fairy Tales we gained an archetypal sense and understanding for a number of important lessons in life, but especially in how to individuate, evolve our consciousness, and find our true path in the world.  As toddlers we could sense the great truth of these stories, and it is why the “hero’s journey” is so widely popular in analysis of myth- because it is true.  There is timeless wisdom integrated into each unique hero and heroine’s journey that appears in Fairy Tales.  Telling stories is a Gemini association, and a function of Gemini spirituality.  In Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, author Tom Cowan relayed some of his research into the spiritual role played by storytellers in Celtic culture:

Alwyn and Brinley Rees note that the Latin word historia, from which the word story derives, is also the root for the word history, a term originally meaning “knowing,” “learned,” and “wise.”  In old Welsh the word for story meant “guidance,” “direction,” and “instruction.”  The stem for the Welsh term meant “sign,” “symbol,” “omen,” and “miracle.”  The Rees’s conclusion to this etymological puzzle is that the ancient Welsh  storyteller was indeed a seer and teacher “who guided the souls of his hearers through the world of ‘mystery’.”  Thus we find the Celtic storytellers fulfilling one of the important roles played by classical shamans, the guider and instructor of souls.

–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head, p. 99

A Fairy Tale that has re-emerged for me in the midst of the intense astrological energy of the moment is The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson.  This is in part due to some synchronicity of events at my daughter’s elementary school.  Every year, the students observe the hatching of ducklings from eggs, that then spend some time growing up in the garden on school grounds that is tended by parents, community volunteers, teachers, and students.  In the past, my daughters and I have been part of the duckling caregiving team.  This year, something inexplicable happened:  a chick, baby chicken, was hatched among the ducklings.  The students gave her the endearing name, “Chuck,” and this chicken growing up among ducks brings up one of the most famous fairy tales of identity crisis: The Ugly Duckling.

I feel the story of the ugly duckling connects with this time and the reflection of this time in the transits of the celestial heavens, because the Uranus archetype wants us to find our own unique role, being, vibration, and behavior in the world at this time that can bring us most alive and so will help bring our collective the most alive in the process.  We are being tested in the face of authoritarian control and suppression, oppression visible in every direction we turn.  We can think of the energy needed being like the piercing call of a hawk streaking across the sky, but in reality it can be as gentle as a swan gazing at itself in the reflection of the water.  The symbolism of seeing your authentic reflection in the water is the same as the symbolism of mirrors that can be connected to the seasonal archetype of Gemini we are living in.  The idea of the twin searching for it’s other twin in the world, its soul mate- is connected ultimately for our search for our authentic self we long to find one day when looking at our self in the mirror.

Gemini Dreaming

This potential for the excitable Gemini mind of the personality to contemplatively connect with it’s authentic self and soul connects with the symbolism of The Ugly Duckling as well as the current cycle of conjunctions between Mercury and Venus.  This is because there will be another conjunction between Mercury and Venus in the next couple of weeks as Mercury begins to station to go retrograde, giving Venus the opportunity to “catch up.”  Like magic, this next conjunction will occur on our Summer Solstice of this year, at the same time there will be a grand water trine between Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.    The Sabian Symbol for 22 degrees of Cancer, the degree of the next conjunction between Mercury and Venus, also fits perfectly with the meaning of the seminal swan story by Hans Christian Andersen:

Cancer 22:  A young woman awaiting a sailboat.

Keynote:  The longing for transcendent happiness in the soul opened to great dreams.

Here the symbol pictures the imaginative youthful person who basically cannot be satisfied with what his or her ordinary social environment offers, and who instead is longing for the unknown visitation of which he or she has dreamed.  From the unconscious beyond, the concretization of a spiritual image- spiritual because impelled by the “wind” (pneuma, spirit)- is hoped for and expected.  The Beloved may come- not in a glittering opera house, but in the silence of the inner sea of consciousness.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 125

Indeed, finding symbolic meaning in water birds like swans can be especially resonant now, as we are wading into a water time of the zodiac with Neptune in Pisces currently stationing in preparation to turn retrograde this week, at the same time as the upcoming New Moon in Gemini on June 8.  In addition, Mercury and Venus are both in Cancer now, with Mercury currently in the position of forming a grand water trine with Pisces Neptune and Scorpio Saturn, and Venus preparing to enter a grand water trine with Neptune and Saturn soon. However, we can not expect this current water trine involving some personal planets, as well as the upcoming grand water trine involving Jupiter to be “easy,” as each water trine will be incredibly activated by the square between Uranus and Pluto.  This is especially true now in the moment, with Mercury and Venus in Cancer and slipping into the empty degree of the t-square with Pluto and Uranus, being opposite to Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The image of water birds, beings at home in the air, on land, or in water, could be helpful guides for us at this time.  In the Celtic spirituality, water birds are sacred because of their grace in navigating all three of these elements: earth, water, and air.  Think of a swan gliding gracefully across the surface of the water with all of the external turbulence of the world around it.

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The version of The Ugly Duckling written by Hans Christian Andersen was originally published in 1845, fittingly enough in the same time period that Neptune was discovered, and a few years before the last time that Neptune entered Pisces.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes his story as being about “the archetype of the unusual and the dispossessed,” and a timeless lesson at that:

“The Ugly Duckling” has been one of the few stories to encourage successive generations of “outsiders” to hold on till they find their own.  It is a psychological and spiritual root story.  A root story is one that contains a truth so fundamental to human development that without integration of this fact further progression is shaky, and one cannot entirely prosper psychologically until this point is realized.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 167

In Han Christian Anderson’s story The Ugly Duckling, a swan egg gets mixed in with a duck’s nest, and so the mother duck raises the baby swan along with her ducklings and everyone thinks the swan is a duck.  The ducks ostracize the young swan because of his differences, forcing him on a journey where he experiences devastating setbacks over and over again.  During his difficulties the immature swan sees graceful adult swans flying above him and feels a deep calling rise up from inside.  After growing up through his trials, and while resting for a moment in water, he glances down and sees in the water’s reflection that he is in fact a swan, leading him to find a new home in a swan community.

Finding your calling and being brave enough to follow it is a plot that has dominated myths and folktales across time and still to this day is widespread in popular and cult storytelling. As children we are enchanted with the idea of having a Fairy Godmother, a guardian angel, a guiding star, or other magical being, who will help us find our path.  What if a spirit guide is actually inside each of us? Our culture is quick to label the agonizing awkwardness we can experience like the ugly duckling to be mental health issues.  We can be led to believe we are crazy from following the intuitive insight that can come from watching the flight of a bird.  But there is a guide inside each of us that will resonate with experiences that help us find our true calling- the more you try to get in touch with this inner vibration the more clear its advice to you will be.

In my own life I have had times of feeling like I was aimlessly wandering just like the young swan, when now from a distance I can see how that sense of aimlessness was an illusion; I can see how that difficult time was a gift to develop new strength.  I may have felt like I wasn’t making enough money or producing something that would be praised by my culture; I may have felt like I was mired in darkness.  However, I was really in a process of transformation due to facing myself on a deep level.  When we are willing to dive into the depths of our being we create the possibility that we can re-surface with a transformed perspective that can help manifest fulfillment.  Whenever we intuitively experience the rush of excitement that the young swan felt when seeing adult swans, we should follow it.  To interpret the sight of our own majestic swans to be the illusion is tragic.  In the moment when we choose to view reality as being about only the difficulties we are facing, we neglect the fact that we may be in the process of transforming into something transcendent to our current troubles.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes sums up the meaning for her of The Ugly Duckling as follows:

The duckling of the story is symbolic of the wild nature, which, when pressed into circumstances of little nurture, instinctively strives to continue no matter what.  The wild nature instinctively holds on and holds out, sometimes with style, other times with little grace, but holds on nevertheless . . .

The other important aspect of the story is that when an individual’s particular kind of soulfulness, which is both an instinctual and a spiritual identity, is surrounded by psychic acknowledgment and acceptance, that person feels life and power as never before.  Ascertaining one’s own psychic family brings a person vitality and belongingness.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 172

So I invite you to listen- to truly listen to the world around you and the wisdom that can be found everywhere on your path.  Inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime.  If you listen without the filters you have developed on account of others in your culture or a family of origin that did not resonate with your inner self, you will discover significance in places you otherwise would have overlooked.  You will gain a sense that whatever is happening to you right now is just part of your process, part of your calling, part of your story.

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References

Cowan, Tom. (1993). Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit. HarperSan Francisco.

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola (1992). Women Who Run with the Wolves:  Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype.  Ballantine Books.

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