Tension and Transcendence: Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune

Rodin the Thinker

Edward Steichen (1902)  Rodin—The Thinker

Anyone in touch with their surroundings and relationships knows the present is rife with disruptive change and fracturing, as widespread fear is emanating within the collective along with dynamic, courageous responses.  Creation and destruction are always with us, yet the prevalence today of people struggling with loss and grappling with a need to alter fundamental aspects of their life is striking.   In such times of shifting, it becomes paramount to turn within for guidance from the place of psyche in touch with what we need to feel authentically alive.  This does not mean self-absorbed narcissism cut off from the needs of others, but rather claiming the inner authority to make choices toward the creation of a reality that brings one fulfillment.  As each individual manifests their essential radiance into the world, within the shifting and dissolving of societal norms may emerge a collective structure more open to the expression of individual wholeness.

When time is viewed through the lens of astrology, distinct seasons emerge for us to pass through defined by the slower moving planets (Jupiter and beyond) sustaining integral aspects that stretch across months.  Though our current astrological season has many players, the scenes and dialogues have been most heavily under the direction of Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Virgo, and Neptune in Pisces.  These three planetary giants have formed a “t-square” by zodiac degree, meaning that Saturn is in square to both Neptune and Jupiter, while Jupiter and Neptune are engaged in a full opposition.  This also means that three points of a cross or square are filled, leaving the empty point in the mid-degrees of Gemini.  Even with no planet transiting Gemini, the Gemini archetype has nonetheless been triggered and activated these past months, and if you have important astrological points in Gemini you have no doubt been feeling the impact.  Now with the Sun and Venus in Gemini, we are headed into a full-on Mutable Grand Cross that will culminate with the New Moon on June 4, with all four points of the Mutable Grand Square occupied by planets.

Tension and transcendence are two words that immediately come to mind when considering hard aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.  While transcendence stems from the Latin transcendere, meaning to “climb over or beyond, surmount, overstep,” tension derives from the Latin tendere meaning “to stretch.”  Stretching is rich in associations with these aspects, as there has been a need to stretch conceptions regarding reality in order to respond to the associated ruptures, while the overwhelming stress that has come with the changes has caused the nerves of many to become taut and hypersensitive to pain and loss.  Stretching can also be a remedy to help one transcend, or surmount the challenges.  Yoga and other disciplines involved in opening up what has been held tightly in our body are practical, direct ways to work with the mutating energy. On a symbolic level, we can consider that stretching the strings of an instrument is necessary in order to retune.  Correspondingly, within the stretching of our previous idea of how our life would enfold we can discover the retuning needed to create the music we are meant to make in the world.

Why are these aspects such catalysts?  Jupiter is the planet of vision, expansion of mind and learning, and the ability to create a meaningful philosophy of life to live from out of experience.  Saturn is the planet of structure, boundaries, discipline, cause and effect, and the karmic work and issues we must face without avoidance.  Neptune is the planet of illusion, escapism, and addiction, yet also the indescribable magic that comes alive when falling in love or engaging in bliss.  Neptune is everything about the field of reality and life force that Saturn filters out and excludes with its structural walls, and everything that Jupiter yearns for and can intuitively sense may be found beyond the limits of Saturn.  Neptune in hard aspect to Saturn and Jupiter is a wave of dissolution that washes away what was formerly solid and secure.  While we cannot surmount the challenges without hardship, ultimately these aspects can be supportive in moving beyond past restrictions in the creation of a revivified life.

edward-steichen-pastoral moonlight

Pastoral Moonlight (1907) by Edward Steichen

When Saturn and Neptune come into hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) there can be mass hysteria found in the disintegration, and those not able to cope can become rigid and overzealous in dogmatic judgment that makes them feel more in control. The last time Saturn was in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, the tragic Salem Witch Trials occurred in 1693 in which religious paranoia led to the murder of innocent people based upon fear of the devil. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible about the Salem Witch Trials as an allegory about the Communist Red Scare orchestrated by U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a communist witch hunt that occurred around the time of the Saturn and Neptune conjunction in Libra in 1952. Today there are numerous examples to connect to this theme, obvious ones being persecution faced by Muslims and refugees.  We are presently at the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in a cycle that began in 1989 at the first degree of Capricorn. On November 26, 2015 there was the first square between Saturn and Neptune at 7º02′ of Sagittarius and Pisces, and there are two more to come: June 18, 2016 at 12º02′ and on September 10, 2016 at 10º25′ of Sagittarius and Pisces.

What makes the current last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune even more intense is that it additionally intersects with the cycles between Jupiter and Neptune as well as Jupiter and Saturn. In particular, hard aspects between Jupiter and Saturn make things show up in flesh and form with striking events and experiences rather than invisible undercurrents of change. Last August and September of 2015 was the initiation into the rupturing, with Jupiter and Saturn forming a square at the beginning of August at the final degrees of Leo and Scorpio, and Jupiter and Neptune reaching exact opposition on September 16, 2015 at 8 degrees of Virgo and Pisces. On March 23, 2016 there was a second square between Saturn and Jupiter at 16º24′ degrees of Sagittarius and Virgo, and on May 26, 2016 there will be the final last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter at 13º41′ degrees of Sagittarius and Pisces.

With Saturn in Sagittarius being the apex planet and additionally being in square to the transiting lunar nodes, there is fundamental karma to work out in the intersection between personal belief systems and the reality of personal experience.  There is a reckoning between how we envision our ideal life to be and the cold, hard reality of how things actually are manifesting.  Since Saturn is in the home of Jupiter, Jupiter’s placement in Virgo guides us to attune within our bodies and material surroundings in order to make contact with the ever changing moment and our presence within it. Jupiter further aligned with the transiting North Node of the Moon signifies that the place of expansion and new opportunities is found through inner discernment and discriminating between the authentic and inauthentic path to follow.  However, gaining clarity regarding one’s authenticity is made more difficult by Neptune in Pisces opposing Jupiter while further aligned with the transiting South Node of the Moon.  There is an old, ancient illusion regarding reality and how we create meaning to uncover, and until we do gaining realization that what we think is our authentic presence and path is truly our essential nature will be clouded with Neptunian fog.  In the end, how do we really know what we feel is our soul calling is truly our soul calling, or rather is heavily under the influence of friends, family, culture, or other influences that have shaped our personality?

The current amount of mutation is at a peak as Jupiter’s presence is further catalyzing the extraordinary transmutation of reality that occurs when Saturn and Neptune make pivotal aspects.  Though Saturn can struggle at times to let in the field of Neptune, it is in fact Saturn that is necessary to make Neptune manifest:  indeed, Neptune was discovered when it was conjoining Saturn in Aquarius.  Not only did the American and French Revolutions take place during significant points in the cycle between Saturn and Neptune, but one can trace the global trajectory of communism as the Communist Manifesto was written soon after Neptune was discovered while conjoining Saturn.  Furthermore, in the following conjunction between Saturn and Neptune in 1881 the Czar Alexander II was killed by a People’s Will group, the Russian Revolution then took place during the next Saturn and Neptune conjunction in 1917, in the following conjunction in 1953 communist leader Josef Stalin passed away, and in their subsequent conjunction in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and communism likewise fell apart in the region formerly dominated by the Soviet Union.

The birth and fall of communism is an apt association for Saturn and Neptune as it demonstrates the dream of structuring an ideal vision to serve the greater good, and the subsequent disillusionment and suffering that arises when the vision does not work out in reality the way it had been envisioned in the purity of imagination.  In our personal lives, no doubt many of you reading this have had an ideal dream you had been building with passion fall apart in one way or another in the past months with the tangle of Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn.  To follow a vision and be willing to risk all of your heart and everything else for it takes tremendous courage, not only to brave the tumultuous obstacles but also to simply be willing to open oneself to the extraordinary pain that comes when the dream does not materialize and rather is lost forever.  When the beloved dream had been nurtured by the purity of the heart, when its manifestation would have genuinely been in service of a higher good for the greater collective, bearing witness to its death can feel inexplicably traumatizing.

edward-steichen-languid repose

Languid Repose (1902) by Edward Steichen

During loss, we are at risk of our grieving making us overly passive with a sense that there is nothing to do about the feeling a cruel Fate has befallen us.  Feeling injured, abandoned or betrayed by a lover, we can stop believing in love or feel we can never trust someone with intimacy again. Experiencing the elation of a business plan or community endeavor we had carefully constructed crash and obliterate itself before manifesting the results we had strived for, we are at risk of giving up on our capacity to reshape reality.  It is necessary to be aware of the negative potential of Saturn, Neptune, and Jupiter in hard aspect:  the depression of Saturn, the illusory escapism of Neptune, and the overindulgent emotional excess of Jupiter.   If we have been fixated on having a certain outcome that did not come to fruition, these aspects can make us feel that everything we had believed about our feelings and the world is an illusion and that all of our efforts ultimately led to the pain of loss rather than the gift we had thought we had been nurturing.  There is, however, a treasure to be found in disillusionment, as it makes it possible for us to reorient ourselves to the truth of our reality found in the moment, within our senses engaging in our environment.

When dealing with the loss of a dream or vision, whether that be a loved one in the flesh or an abstract plan in the imagination, the associated torturous pain can seem bewildering when in fact we have not actually experienced physical torture or trauma to our body.  Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn together involve the level to which we are able to envision a hopeful future and imagine the possibility of experiencing joy again even in times of struggle.  The need to be able to feel a sense of hope despite all of the injustice, oppression, and destruction found in the world is absolutely essential in order to experience happiness, and so when we experience the disillusionment of losing all sense of hope that our vision will manifest, the impact can be devastating.  Both Saturn and Neptune as well as Saturn and Jupiter are forming last quarter squares, a waning aspect that Dane Rudhyar interpreted as a “crisis in consciousness.”  This does not mean we necessarily need to experience a mental breakdown, but it does suggest that fundamental aspects of how we create meaning for ourselves out of life will disintegrate, necessitating that we reorient the vision and beliefs we live our life from.

It is also vital to reflect upon Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune being in Mutable signs, as the double-bodied signs are the living images of the zodiac that transition us from one season to the next.  There is a long tradition of rituals involving a sacrifice when welcoming the Solstice or the Equinox, and similarly the Mutable signs transition us through loss and death into the newly found presence and creation that will emerge from the destruction of the old.  Embracing the loss, entering solitude with full presence, we fall into a void in which we discover our Soul. There is tremendous potency to discover in being able to heal oneself from wounds, in being able to nurture oneself back to a state that can believe again in the power of love and imagination to recreate the world we are experiencing.  There is in fact incredible power within the hard aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune to work toward construction of new structures and forms that are solid and secure, as long as we are aware that during the process of development we must be open to how our plans will need to shift and mutate out of necessity.

steichen_big white cloud

Edward Steichen (1906) The Big White Cloud

With both Saturn and Neptune in traditional homes of Jupiter, with Neptune furthermore comfortably at home in Pisces, within the reflection of continual river currents of change there is a new vision as slippery as a fish to intuit.  The greatest depth will be found by those willing to dive into the underlying waters that source meaning and guide visioning capacities, in order to realize where our dreams are coming from.  Jupiter bound to Saturn can lead to ambitions aimed at mainstream success, conforming to the conditioning of a high paying role in consumer culture out of desire for enough money to overindulge in luxury and expenses.  Adding Neptune without discernment can increase the glamor quotient tenfold, making influences such as Hollywood and the ravenous gluttony of celebrity culture a guiding principle.  Or in contrast, Jupiter with Saturn can lead one to conform to the moral dictates of a dogmatic religion or philosophy rather than the authentic integrity found in the moment, with Neptune leading to complete surrender and devotion to the idealized behavior commanded.  Yet as Dane Rudhyar wrote, Neptune is also an intergalactic ambassador bringing messages from the far beyond that can seed inspirational flights of imagination lifting us out of a conditioned, conforming existence.

Rather than focusing on how to acquire external trappings of success through our vision of life, the t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune can correspond with reorienting toward arising passions that intrinsically inspire and motivate from within, without need of external reward in order to dedicate oneself toward.  Saturn wants us to take responsibility, and so in Sagittarius the ringed planet asks for serious commitment to fiery visions of spirit and imagination, grounded in connection between the earth at our feet and the watery air above.  The know-it-all side of Sagittarius must subside in the floodwaters of Neptune, deftly transmuting with attention to detail in the moment.  Jupiter in Virgo brings expansion through not only exhaustive research in support of the vision, but in discerning the exactitude of expression needed to capture and manifest the essential message and meaning.  While Neptune feeds on love and imagination, its danger of drowning us in waves of the collective unconscious can be navigated through yoking the discipline of Saturn with the invigoration of Jupiter so as to allow the inspirational force to pass through us, expressed into a grounded medium of form.

What wants to emerge from you, voiced with an openness to the inspiration of this moment?  We are in the middle of much longer cycles found in astrology, and while this point is not an ending it is catalytic to such an extend that aspects of our old existence will need to be let go and released.  Repressing the inner vitality simmering now, holding back for fear of judgment or criticism of others is the path sure to take us far off course into dangerous terrain.  Whether moving with authentic flow at this juncture means we need to go it alone or collaborate with many diverse people, the greatest support will be found by embracing the course of life that brings vivifying passions alive in body and mind.

And yet, if mired in the grief of past loss to such an extent that fully embodying joy at this time is too difficult, then the t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune is asking for you to bravely go deeper with the sacred mission of rediscovering the meaning of your life.  Virginia Woolf once mused in Moments of Being if the “things we have felt with great intensity have an existence independent of our minds; are in fact still in existence?”  If so, than even in what has been lost can be found endless folds of  meaning that can be rediscovered continually in acts of artistry and creation.  The gold found between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune is not acquired with lackadaisical lightheartedness, but rather through embracing life with all of its heartbreak and loneliness with devotional passion.

Edward_Steichen_(American_-_(Road_into_the_Valley_--_Moonrise)_-_Google_Art_Project

Road into the Valley – Moonrise by Edward Steinchen

Current Cycle Dates:

  • The current Saturn and Neptune cycle began in 1989 at the first degree of Capricorn, giving the cycle an overarching influence of Saturn.  The beginning of this cycle occurred in correlation with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, the ending of apartheid in South Africa, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China.  The Saturn and Neptune cycle reached its first quarter square between 1998 and 1999 around 30 degrees of Aries to 5 degrees of Taurus.  The full opposition of the Saturn and Neptune cycle then came in 2006 through 2007 with Neptune in Aquarius and Saturn in Leo from 17 to 22 degrees.
  • The current Jupiter and Neptune cycle began in 2009 around 24 – 27 degrees of Aquarius.  It reached its waxing square on June 25, 2012 at 4 degrees of Gemini and Pisces, and its full opposition on September 16, 2015 with Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces at 8 degrees.
  • The current Jupiter and Saturn cycle began on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 23 degrees.  Jupiter in Scorpio reached its waxing square with Saturn in Leo at first on December 17, 2005 at 11 degrees, again on June 22, 2006 at 10 degrees, and finally on October 25, 2006 at 24 degrees of Scorpio and Leo.  The Jupiter and Saturn cycle reached its full opposition on May 23, 2010 with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo at 28 degrees. Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra at 3 degrees. Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.

The following is music that was recorded during recent times in the corner of the world where I live, Olympia. As the album it will appear on will be released at the time of the Mutable Grand Square, I feel “Lion Snow” by Two Ton Boa reflects the energy:

 

Advertisements

Sagittarius Full Moon

IMG_1714

Full Moon 21 April 2016 taken by Gray Crawford

Full Moon in Sagittarius

While Luna ablaze in light will take center stage the night of the Full Moon on May 21, the driving force of the cosmic theatre is Mars.  Mars arises at sunset along with the Full Moon, as resplendent in brightness as is possible for the red planet to appear.  Mars will be at its most vivid glimmer in our night sky because it is at the heart of its retrograde, exactly opposite our Sun with full reception of solar light.  With Mercury simultaneously stationing direct, the Sagittarius Full Moon is a crossroads at which Mars Retrograde, Mercury Retrograde, and the Lunar Cycle intersect.  Whatever has already sprung forth or been faced during the Mars retrograde in the last month, whatever realizations have been unearthed during Mercury’s retrograde, at the crossroads Hekate delivers a message of paramount importance.  With the Sun in Gemini while its ruler Mercury is stationing direct, there is integral guidance available regarding the path we have been following during the backward march of Mars.

Betwixt Gemini and Sagittarius lies the polarity of Mercury and Jupiter. Perhaps no other axis in astrology has as much to do with exploring the innumerable, ineffable levels of meaning found within our experience of reality.  While Gemini is a place of inexhaustible curiosity following as many connections and contrasts of meaning between cultures and perspectives as possible, Sagittarius is a place through which all of our learning and perceptions can be synthesized through fiery vision aimed at a target.  Sagittarius polarizes in Gemini the leap of desire, thought, and action needed to coalesce the meaning gathered from life into focused manifestation.  While Gemini as the home of Mercury is comfortable teasing out the depth found in between different viewpoints, Sagittarius as the home of Jupiter facilitates thought and action sourced from intuitive faculties found within.  Finding a center of inner guidance at the Sagittarius Full Moon is both vital and tricky, however, as there is a larger astrological context of tension between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune, astrological factors which call us to question the nature of our reality.

The real trouble is this: every single idea we have about what truth is, is itself a deception.

All our attempts to discriminate between reality and deception or between truth and illusion are exactly what keeps on tricking us, because the things we take for reality happen to be the greatest illusion.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality, p. 211

There will be many examples in which the Full Moon aligned with Mars retrograde will manifest as overzealous righteousness in those convinced their perspective on a situation is the only way to be.  Challenging the amplified Sagittarius fire contained in the Full Moon are the often overlooked Vesta and Pallas Athena, with Vesta in Gemini opposite Mars retrograde and Pallas Athena in Pisces forming a square to Mars retrograde and the Full Moon.  Pallas Athena is holding the wisdom of everything being dismissed by a know-it-all perspective, acknowledging the consequences of actions taken in personal relationships as well as within the vast collective.  Vesta aligned with the Sun in opposition to Mars retrograde can foster focused devotion toward desires that deserve being one’s top priority, separating from the elements of life that create meddlesome distractions to the vision becoming clarified in the light of the Moon.  There is a tremendous catalytic charge in the Full Moon to provoke movement, and while no doubt there will be numerous surrounding conflicts to traverse as a result, with mindfulness one can center upon the most fruitful path to follow forward.

Bianca_phases-

Phases of the Moon by Bianca Daalder-van Iersel

Jupiter in Virgo

Jupiter in Virgo rules the Full Moon and is in the middle of potent, complex aspects.  Crucially, Neptune is opposite Jupiter while Saturn is locked into a square with Jupiter, aspects which bring disorienting, disillusioning experiences and require total presence in the moment in order to optimally navigate.  Simultaneously, Jupiter has been sustaining a Grand Earth Trine with Pluto in Capricorn and Mercury in Taurus over the past week, an arrangement of ease which encourages presence in one’s body and surroundings, yet can also lead to stagnation.  Since Jupiter is in the home of Mercury, their trine with Pluto in Capricorn has the potential to facilitate a release of resistance to the fundamental changes that have been signaling for acceptance through subtle and discordant experiences.  At the same time, the harmonious aspects between Mercury, Jupiter, and Pluto promote attachment to comforts that soothe anxiety yet keep us from breaking free into the potential growth available.  There is a threshold to cross between holding on to whatever we feel we must possess for security, and following the path that leads in a direction that feels enlivening yet also frightening due to the usual security needs not being guaranteed.

We love taking things easy- will even spend the greater part of our available time working ourselves into the ground just so that we can sit around in a little comfort and security right at the end. But this is a fool’s game. We will have the shock of our lives when, sooner or later, we realize that what had seemed so perfectly safe is in fact the perfect illusion.

Everything we look to for safety or comfort: this is Love’s trick. And by refusing to take any true risks we end up ironically taking the most dangerous course there is, of placing all our trust in our deceiver.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality, p. 409

Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius from a traditional perspective are both in homes of Jupiter, and so the catalytic energy of the Sagittarius Full Moon is ripe with potency to revivify visions of what can bring joy and fulfillment into one’s life.  While seizing the Full Moon in order to take hold of your life in the direction you feel compelled to follow is important, there also needs to be a willingness for patience and acceptance regarding whatever is not manifesting as one had hoped.  The tumultuous astrology contained in the Sagittarius Full Moon can readily erupt into personal conflicts, and so being impatient and frustrated will only add fuel to the fire.

It is essential to remember that Jupiter in Virgo is further aligned with the transiting North Node of the Moon, while Neptune in Pisces is aligned with the transiting South Node of the Moon.  This means that the ruler of the Full Moon is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, dramatically tilting the balance toward the direction and choices in life that feel fresh and unfamiliar and require the use of one’s skill set in new ways.  The North Node side of the Moon holds gifts accessed through letting go of habitual thoughts and reliance upon using our strengths and talents in the same way we always have because of the success it has brought in the past.  There is strong astrological support to shed the old identity or persona we created for ourselves and have become accustomed to, and to discover in the changing moment dynamic new ways to express our talents and gifts.

Hermes is here to help guide us through the crossroads before us, as Mercury in Taurus is the ruler of both Jupiter as well as the North Node of the Moon.  Mercury at the time of the Full Moon is stationing direct as a Morning Star, sharing its light with us during the shifting colors of sunrise.  As Mercury arises in the flames of Dawn, it shifts to a role focused upon goals, objectives, and connections that are found in the light of day.  All of the deep, ruminating realizations we have sensed during the retrograde of Mercury over the past several weeks will now begin to be able to be clarified with greater objectivity.  However, Mercury stationing direct can feel disruptive since the fleet footed messenger is standing still and sustaining focus on a degree of the zodiac- in this case the midpoint (15°) of Taurus and the midpoint of all the Fixed signs are especially impacted.  While Mercury’s stationing is a significant component of the jarring feel of this Full Moon, ultimately it is also a key component of the extraordinary change that can be manifested as the Moon enters the waning half of its cycle.

Fire Eating Bird Miro

The Fire Eating Bird by Joan Miro

Venus Sun opposite Mars

Though the opposition between the Gemini Sun with the Moon and Mars retrograde in Sagittarius is the most exact aspect of this Full Moon, there is also an opposition between Venus and Mars that is building to a climax and will culminate a few days later on May 24 at the first degree of Gemini and Sagittarius.  At the time of the Full Moon, however, Venus  remains in her own sign of Taurus at 27 degrees, roughly four degrees away from opposing Mars and the Full Moon.  While Mars at the heart of its retrograde is now as close in orbit to Earth as it ever gets, Venus is far away on the other side of the Sun from Earth en route to its Superior Conjunction with the Sun which will occur in the first week of June.  Venus is now at the most intense phase of her purifying process of going into the flames of the Sun, and so her opposition with Mars occurring now is made all the more volatile.  There is incredible energy found within Venus and the Sun opposing Mars retrograde that could play out in many directions:  in relationship it could be released through ecstatic merging, heart-to-heart conversations, as well as disastrous conflict.  If out of relationship, it could be felt through tremendous suffering over not being in relationship, or could be utilized through embracing the freedom and independence gained through not being in relationship in order to break free to a higher level of personal development and potential.

In astrology, it is easy to link the polarity between Mars and Venus with the ancient philosophy of Empedocles that placed the waxing and waning of Love and Strife at the center of creation, since astrologers connect Mars with separation and Venus with union.  Peter Kingsley’s book Reality explored the life and work of Empedocles as well as fellow presocratic philosopher Parmenides from the perspective that these historical lions of rationalism were in fact engaged in the direct experience of reality  found in mystical traditions.  Kingsley noted in his book how there is a dominant perspective that idealizes Love and fears Strife, and how this makes sense to us without question.  In contrast to this viewpoint, Kingsley interpreted Empedocles to reveal that Love can lead one into a realm of great illusion and deception, while Strife can lead one toward ultimate freedom despite all of its associated difficulties:

So the one choice we are left with is to let Strife do its work either with our cooperation or without: either with our deliberate trust and awareness or in spite of us, dragging us along by the heels. But the more we try to run away from it and hide, the more trouble we will be creating for ourselves in future.

The situation is starkly simple. If we let it have its way without cooperating, then Strife will manifest as violence and destruction all around us. But if we are willing to cooperate, we can consciously channel its energy instead into destroying ourselves- our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the ways things are. For what can be so difficult to realize is that the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality, p. 435

In the week ahead we will have a lot of issues centered around associated themes of Venus and Mars to contend with.  The timing will result in the big boom of the Full Moon, Mars retrograde opposite the Sun, and Mercury stationing direct happening first, followed by Venus and Mars applying to an opposition in the following three days.  The gift found within all of these tumultuous aspects is Self-realization and clarification regarding the balance between our inner desires, needs, and values and the way in which they are being expressed, received, and fulfilled in our external relationships.

wands08

8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The first face of Sagittarius is ruled by Mercury, signifying its rapid pace.  However, Mercury in Taurus is stationing direct at the time of the Full Moon and so the protean nature of Mercury is shifted toward a standstill rather than a rush of movement.  The 8 of Wands card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith that is associated with the first face of Sagittarius contains a rather abstract image of velocity found in angularly jutting wands, and the associated meaning of the card involves the speed of thought and imagination applied to a passionate goal.  With Mercury stationing direct at the Full Moon, the effect is more akin to the incredible potency of a master still in contemplative meditation, rather than the speed and dexterity of a master engaged in a martial art.  Whenever a planet stations it takes on greater prominence by transit, and this is especially the case with Mercury not only because it rules the first face of Sagittarius but also because Jupiter, the ruler of the Sagittarius Full Moon is also in the home of Mercury.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Poisoned Arrow” to the first face of Sagittarius, writing that “the essence of this decan entails the swift emergence of a motivating vision and the attainment of a vehicle to move one toward the pictured goal” (p. 194).  Images linked to this decan found in ancient texts support this description as an armored man holding a sword appears in Three Books of Occult Philosophy, signifying “boldness, militancy and freedom,” while Ibn Ezra described the image of a shouting centaur holding a bow and arrows.  Similarly, the Yavanajataka described a man with drawn bow who “has a knowledge of chariots and weapons,” and is in possession of “speed as violent as a horse’s.”  In contrast, the Birhat Jakarta included an image of a centaur who is “residing in a hermitage, protecting sacred articles and Maharishis.”   In all of the images we find both the velocity and strength to get the desired job done, as well as the potential to create violence in the process.

As Mercury retrograde completes itself as the Moon is fully lit in our night sky, there is a corresponding illumination to be found in reflection of what has transpired during the past month of Mars and Mercury being simultaneously retrograde.  This is one Full Moon in which all of the astrological indicators point toward it carrying a tremendously important message to receive.  Allow whatever inspiration arises to help propel you forward, while aware that the propulsive force of this Full Moon can also coincide with conflicts erupting in need of mediation.  There is an inner fire to be found within to be consciously cultivated and directed.

References

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Pisces Solar Eclipse 2016

index.php

courtesy of The New York Public Library

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

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

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

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

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

In the darkness of change and loss, the shadow of what we consciously envision in the light of day, lies the void that sources our suffering and liberation.  When forces beyond our control overturn every aspect of our life, when what formerly held grounded security becomes flooded and dissolved in unconscious waves, we arrive in the moment.  In the morning waking up with a heart broken in the pang of death, grieving what has been sacrificed in the arising change, there remains the crisp scent of morning air tingling the skin with the sound of multitudinous birdsong heralding the dawn.  Some fall free fall into literal death, some resist and deny in delusion and addiction, while some fully aware of the suffering suffocating this world step bravely forward into the chaos with a heart open though overwhelmed by pain.  In the cavernous shifting that comes in March 2016 there is a necessary letting go.  In the release, in the ceaseless change of river currents, looms Saraswati riding her swan of the essential, communing with her peacock who devours venomous serpents and transmutes the poison into wisdom and art.

The Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8 has been deeply felt this past couple weeks, and as it arrives we will begin to sense its meaning that will reverberate far into the future.  Eclipses vary in intensity, normally happening four times a year, every six months, and though they are always more powerful than the regular New Moon or Full Moon, some are more potent than others.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is of epic proportion, and the change that arises in its shadow can not be resisted.  The Solar Eclipse is total, less than three degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, less than two degrees away from Chiron in Pisces.  Jupiter, the ruler of the eclipse, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is opposite the Solar Eclipse by less than one degree.   There is tremendous loss and letting go associated with these aspects, going into the gone beyond of the Heart Sutra, and yet if we enter fully into this darkness there is a realignment of personal truth and vision to be uncovered.

This Total Solar Eclipse is part of the saros series 130, with the last eclipses in the series being 26 February 1998,  16 February 1980, 5 February 1962, and 25 January 1944 (the series originated in the year 1096).  If you were alive for these previous Eclipses, it is worth the time to ponder the related events and if there are any links to the current moment.  Most importantly, investigate the location of 19 degrees of Pisces in your birth chart to discern the house location as well as the aspects made.  Whatever house the Eclipse is located in will be a place of release that creates an opening for a new beginning, and whatever aspects are made (focus on conjunctions, squares, oppositions, but also take in sextile and trines) will bring sweeping change to the associated meaning of the planet or chart calculation impacted.

Michael_Maier_Atalanta_Fugiens_Emblem_14

Michael Maier’s Emblem #14 from the Atalanta Fugiens

Solar Eclipses have been feared for millennia because of our great solar light becoming consumed by darkness.  Ancient sky watchers who interpreted celestial phenomenon as omens noted time and time again the tumultuous chaos and change that would erupt in accordance with the blackening of the Sun.  As astrologer Bernadette Brady has taught, astrologers across ancient cultures connected dragons with eclipses, viewing the solar or lunar light as becoming consumed by a monstrous serpent.  In ancient Babylon, it was Tiamat the sea dragon of chaos who inundated the world with disorder as she turned the Sun black.  Marduk, associated with the planet Jupiter in Babylon, helped restore order by severing the great sea serpent, an archetypal theme reiterated innumerably in myths cross-culturally.

Ancient astrologers also attempted to bring greater order by learning how to predict eclipses in order to communicate forewarning, and this is how the lunar nodes were originally discovered.  However, just because one can predict an eclipse, and further know how it will impact one’s birth chart, does not bring control and order to the energies that emerge at eclipses.  Some may fight against, resist, or attempt to control the confusing drama that dawns with a Total Solar Eclipse, yet even when extremely painful it is necessary to flow with the changes in order to realign with the actual developing reality. The modern hero adventure Harry Potter contained an apt metaphor as Harry, Hermione, and Ron did not slay the dragon, but instead freed the dragon and rode the dragon into their destiny.

The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release, whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution.  In a Total Solar Eclipse, the Moon crosses between our Earth and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens all light.  In keeping with the dragon symbolism of eclipses, the ascending North Node of the Moon became associated with the Head of the Dragon in astrology, while the descending South Node of the Moon became associated with the Tail of the Dragon.

Total Solar Eclipses are essentially the most powerful possible New Moons, yet there is clearly a significant difference between whether the Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon or the North Node of the Moon.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, making its impact even more confusing in terms of making important decisions and holding previous plans together.  Solar Eclipses still carry the intention setting of the traditional New Moon, but a potent one like this Pisces Solar Eclipse has a strong pull toward clearing out the past in order to make space for the new. With Chiron and Ceres also conjoining the Solar Eclipse, it is likely something we had been securely holding that now needs to be released.

The lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse being at the Tail of the Dragon magnetizes a release of built up energy, yet there is also a karmic element of doing so with compassion, giving rather than taking.  If the changes arising now feel hurtful and wounding, it is vital to compassionately nurture yourself and transmute the pain through selfless purification rather than egoic greed or anger.  With Ceres and Chiron connected to this Pisces Solar Eclipse, there is likely a huge, ancient wound of the psyche being triggered that could lead to unhealthy self destruction if not handled with care and love.

Though the South Node of the Moon in Pisces is linked to this Solar Eclipse, the North Node of the Moon is also activated because this Total Solar Eclipse is in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter is tightly opposite the eclipse and conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  This brings Jupiter’s focus on stabilizing vision to the Dragon’s Head of the Solar Eclipse, a point of inrushing gain and desire in the material realm that can feel amplified and stormy.  In Evolutionary Astrology, Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon at this eclipse also signifies new choices to make on our path leading into the future unknown.  With Ceres, Chiron, and the Solar Eclipse in opposition to Jupiter, however, there is a wound that needs nurturing and it may be difficult to have faith and believe we can receive the help and healing we need.  This Solar Eclipse is almost exactly opposite the Virgo Solar Eclipse on September 13, 2015 that was aligned with the North Node of the Moon at the beginning of Libra.  Although not a total Solar Eclipse, since this September 2015 Eclipse was aligned with the North Node of the Moon you may find that elements of the desires you were pursuing forward at that time now need to be let go, as well as that the issues arising in September 2015 now shift directions or deepen in meaning.

Fludd black square

from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Since Jupiter is conjoining the North Node of the Moon and is also the traditional ruler of the Solar Eclipse, it is significant that Jupiter is in the home of Mercury and that transiting Mercury is conjoining Neptune in Pisces, the modern ruler of Pisces and this Solar Eclipse.  Mercury also being in Pisces while conjoining Neptune means that there is a throbbing oceanic wave of unconscious forces and extrasensory perception contained in this Total Solar Eclipse.  This can go along with a blissful plunge into the deep of the void, where there is blurry fogginess more so than clarity.  While the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces has been ongoing these past several months, the Solar Eclipse tips the scales in favor of Neptune as the Sun in Pisces is in square to Saturn and Mercury is applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  It may seem as if everything is dissolving, but it is also worth realizing if you can that this is only one point of a process that will be bringing far greater change than what is happening now.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to inner Soul and the symbolic poetry of life, and so flowing into the shifting occurring now is favored more so than resisting the currents.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse also marks the entry of Mars into Sagittarius, where it will station retrograde a month from now.  Mercury in Pisces is separating from a square to Mars in Sagittarius at this Solar Eclipse, and though wide in orb the tension of its aspect is still in effect.  While Mars in Sagittarius may want to lustfully rush forward in self-centered vision, there are far deeper realizations signified by Mercury and Neptune in Pisces that will be needed to take into account.  As a result there is likely to be a lot of confusion centered around this Total Solar Eclipse, as the changes that seem to be overwhelming now most likely are not even the changes that are actually on the way and only one shift amongst a series of unexpected shifts.  If there is a goal or target you desire to focus on going forward, it will be necessary to remain open to the need to make adjustments to additional changes that will be on the way as Mars shifts into retrograde.  As Pisces is the home of Jupiter and the exaltation of Venus, the best we can do at this Solar Eclipse is to attune to our inner feelings and be open to the unknown.

Malevich black square

Kazimir Malevich (1915) Black Square

Saturn, the giant ringed planet of structure and boundaries, death and transcendence, is occupying a pivotal place as it is in square to the Pisces Solar Eclipse, in square to Jupiter in Virgo, in square to the lunar nodes, and in trine to Uranus in Aries.  This placement of Saturn significantly ramps up the karmic significance of this Solar Eclipse and the symbolism that whatever we need to let go of and pass away as the Sun turns black will become fecund fuel for our future.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter will be building in intensity in the liminal space between this Pisces Solar Eclipse and the Libra Lunar Eclipse coming on March 23, as Saturn and Jupiter will reach their exact square on the same day as the Lunar Eclipse.  This is the second of three initiations into the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter, the first having occurred at the beginning of August 2015 in alignment with the Venus retrograde.  The last quarter square brings about a crisis, and as it is occurring between Jupiter and Saturn it is about the very meaning we bring to our lives and discover about ourselves.  Dane Rudhyar called the last quarter square a “crisis in consciousness” because it forces a clearing out of beliefs that no longer serve us in order to bring about reorientation of meaning.  The third and final exact square between Saturn and Jupiter will be in May of 2016, and so there are more changes to come and it will be at least until then that we will be able to gain clarity for the coinciding shifts.

Since Saturn is in square to the lunar nodes and in trine to Uranus in Aries, there can be a sense of standing at a crossroads while receiving intimations of a liberated future path.  The Pisces Total Solar Eclipse is fully capable of overwhelming the dogmatic vision that can be linked to Saturn in Sagittarius, creating space for an entirely new way of approaching our life and trajectory going forward.  The shadow side of these aspects is on the side of Sagittarius crusaders and ideologues who will react defensively and narcissistically in the face of contention and change, provoking conflict over contesting beliefs.  The mix of hard aspects between Saturn with Jupiter, Neptune, and the Solar Eclipse in combination with the trine to Uranus in Aries can feel incredibly disruptive, yet can also force us to make the necessary change now that helps us to reorient most effectively to the shifting tides of our reality.

Profoundly, while Saturn is in trine to Uranus, Jupiter in Virgo is moving retrograde toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  This means that the Pisces Solar Eclipse also connects to the massive Uranus and Pluto square that has been dominating astrology for the past several years and changing the underlying structures of our lives.  Furthermore, the Pisces Solar Eclipse, as well as Chiron and Ceres in Pisces, are all in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn.  For those who are suffering with the changes arising now, the harmonious aspects to both Pluto and Uranus present at this Eclipse signifies that things are beginning to change in ways that we cannot control and do not fully understand, but in the end will connect us to a more authentic, individuated, and liberated path.

Fludd light from black

from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Chiron and Ceres are not taken into account by many in astrology, but both are intimately linked to this Total Solar Eclipse.  The myths of both Chiron and Ceres time and time again reveal themselves to be resonant with the impact made by the astrological Chiron and Ceres, and this again seems to be the case at this Total Solar Eclipse.  Both Chiron and Ceres had to make sacrifices neither felt prepared for, and yet by opening to the release they each birthed monumental change.  In the story of Chiron, it is his willing sacrifice that leads to the liberation of Prometheus.  In the story of Ceres, it is her loss of Persephone as her constant companion that leads to Persephone assuming her vital role as Queen of the Underworld.

While outrage may overcome us with the changes occurring at this eclipse, and though we may feel we deserve to be angry, it will be most important to regenerate ourselves as Ceres did in river currents so we can regain our capacity to be productive and effect change in our surroundings. Ceres is an activator between the personal planets of Mars, Venus, and Mercury with the large gaseous planets of expansion and contraction, Jupiter and Saturn.  Ceres conjoining the Pisces Solar Eclipse thus brings up the importance of nurturing all of the wild passions and perceptions being stirred up by Mercury, Venus, and Mars.  Ceres can signify both abandonment and attachment issues, wounds at our core that can make it difficult to ground and make the choices that will bring opportunities for greater happiness, as well as have the capacity to receive the love and care being offered. As the realm of Jupiter and Saturn is entering into the crisis of their last quarter square, Ceres signifies the visceral importance of nurturing our body, mind, and desires.

Chiron is an activator from the realm of Jupiter and Saturn to the far beyond of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and so the Pisces Solar Eclipse will include experiences that propel us into the transpersonal realm, creating the need to return to the mundane world while integrating our far out realizations. Chiron’s story in myth begins with abandonment and rejection, as the half human, half horse Chiron was seen as an abomination by his divine parents and left to raise himself in mountainous caves.  For many in the collective at this Total Solar Eclipse, issues of being rejected, of not being wanted, of not feeling seen or respected for our inherent value and intelligence could come up.  Chiron teaches the lesson of resiliently following our path no matter how unorthodox it may seem to others in the materialistic mainstream of society.  Chiron not only learned from the wisdom of the stars shining above and the green growth of nature below, but gave his teachings to others and nurtured the unique, undervalued gifts of his students.  This lesson of the Solar Eclipse can be found in the dialogue of the film Brother Sun Sister Moon about Saint Francis, when Clare calls out to Francis: “I am not seeking to be understood, I want to understand! I am not asking to be loved, I want to love!”

cups09

9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces II Decan

The second face of Pisces holds this Total Solar Eclipse, a decan associated with the 9 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a rather smug and opulent man seemingly gloating in front of his carefully exhibited nine golden cups.  The 9 of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure, luxury, and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Since Mercury is conjoining Neptune at the Solar Eclipse, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the Solar Eclipse will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.

Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, notable at this eclipse as Jupiter is receiving the eclipse through an opposition, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and is square to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.  In the last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn, Jupiter is in the superior position and receiving the karmic lessons of Saturn. Jupiter’s potent placement at the Solar Eclipse reveals that to access the fortune contained in the blackening of the Sun, we must flow like water in line with the cosmos above and the soul of the material world in the moment.  Attuning to where we are inwardly directed in the now, we can act with integrity and bridge our inner feelings and realizations with our external actions.

TotalSolarEclipseWRIGC2

References

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

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

Full Moon in Virgo

Anima Mercury

Woodcut by Leonhardt Thurneysser zum Thurn (1574)

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

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

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

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

aaaaa

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

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

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

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

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

warrenrichardson-hopeforanewlife

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

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

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

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

pents08

8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo I Decan 

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

Full Moon in Leo

Lion by Rousseau

The Repast of the Lion (1907) by Henri Rousseau

The Full Moon in Leo on January 23, 2016 illuminates the meaning we have received from Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Aquarius, as Mercury will be stationing while conjoining Pluto. This further means that Mercury retrograde is stationing in range of a square with Uranus in Aries, and so there is something to unearth that speaks of where you sit within the great changes that have swept across our planet in the past five years or so of the Uranus and Pluto square.  In this present moment, with a Full Moon ripening in the sign of the Lion, it is the beast within that clamors for beauty and the creation of a life that brings passion and a sense of validation.  This is a Full Moon in the home of the Sun, with the Sun in Aquarius connecting to the human ability to detach from the dominant narratives running through the mainstream in order to liberate and enable the mind to conceive thoughts free of the systemic static of the status quo. The old constellation image of the Water Bearer associated with Aquarius brings to mind its purifying potential impact when activated, and when the Moon waxes full in its polarity sign of Leo it is the essential force of our burning heart within and all we desire to create that can revivify one’s being.

Mercury is always active and mentally stimulating when retrograde, but since this current Mercury retrograde began in Aquarius in square to Mars in Scorpio, and ends now in Capricorn conjoining Pluto and in square to Uranus, the effect has brought waves of overwhelming forces to mediate.  Many of you reading this no doubt have had to face some of your deepest fears over the past weeks of this Mercury retrograde, as the landscape of our lives has been in process of being fundamentally altered.  The intensity continues as the Full Moon in Leo is also occurring in range of a square to Mars in Scorpio, and as the Moon begins to wane while still in its full phase it will apply to an exact square with Mars.  These aspects will catalyze desire and bring to mind and body what we want at a core level but have been resisting or felt blocked from manifesting.  If the desire does not seem to be available now, or great obstacles appear to be in the way, it will be far more fruitful to utilize the will force of Mars to work toward the desire rather than erupting with anger or disintegrating with futility.

While Mars is in square to the Full Moon, it is coming into range of a sextile with the conjunction between Pluto and Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and is also closely conjoining Juno in Scorpio.  In the light of this Full Moon one’s relationship needs can be more fully felt, a vision of what one wants in partnership formed in the mind with passionate force.  This does not mean that our current circumstances  hold the possibility of uniting now with the ideal partner, only that the vision brings the potential to ultimately experience the union.  If you are in relationship at this time, this Full Moon will illuminate the unspoken as much as the spoken and whatever has not yet been revealed during this Mercury retrograde will now come into sharp awareness for processing.  While conflict could erupt if communication comes from a place of wounding, there is at the same time potential for healing and deep processing of the underlying forces that have been operating between partners.

volcano crater

Crater of Volcano, Quetzaltenango-Guatemala by Eadweard Muybridge (1875)

The Mercury and Pluto conjunction will be simmering through the rest of January, erupting at times through the surface facades of daily interactions.  Mercury will remain within a degree or two of Pluto into the first week of February, and around the time of the waning last quarter Moon of this lunar cycle Mercury will move direct into another conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus. There is also an added component that Vesta is conjoining Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon, and so also in square to the conjunction of Pluto with Mercury retrograde.  With these aspects the mind can now penetrate to the bottom line dynamics of every situation encountered, and feelings previously buried within will emerge.  This is not a time to fear, however, as whatever thoughts and feelings arrive will be absolutely essential to process, heal, and work with in the unknown future to come.  As this Full Moon illuminates what we want to create, use this time with Pluto united with Mercury to explore the depths of the desires emerging to gain greater clarity of the specific aspects and details to center plans around.

The Full Moon in Leo also illuminates the recent ingress of Venus into Capricorn.  As the Moon wanes into the forthcoming New Moon in Aquarius in early February, Venus will move across Capricorn into a conjunction with Mercury and Pluto.  This further re-emphasizes whatever feelings and needs we have resisted expressing due to fear of judgment or rejection- if this has been going on so long that these needs have taken on a monstrous proportion, these aspects support gaining awareness and uncovering the underlying reasons these needs became distorted across time.  For example, we may gain new insight into the imprinting we received from our parents and early development in the society we were born into, leading to the development of our current self-image.  In the waning lunar cycle following this Full Moon in Leo, we can restructure our inner and outer relationships to be in greater alignment with our true emotions and needs.

colour triangle

Johann Heinrich Lambert’s adaptation of Tobias Mayer’s triangle (17772) courtesy of The Public Domain Review

While Mercury is conjoining Pluto over the next week or two, Mercury is also receiving Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo through a trine.  The more we do the deep Mercury-Pluto work of digging into our depths and avoiding denial and escapist pursuits, the more we access the Jupiter-North Node capacity to fully enter the present moment of our material realm and shift life events into a new trajectory in greater alignment with core values and needs.  This is a potent aspect for visioning not only the extraordinary life we dream of living, but discerning the choices available to us now that will take us in this direction.  This is a time to get out of your habitual mind as much as possible and be truly present, embracing every opportunity to look at things differently than ever before.

Further supporting finding new solutions and approaches is a trine between Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries that is now closer in orb than the square between Saturn with Neptune in Pisces.  However, in reality these two very different aspects to transiting Saturn are happening simultaneously, and so radical thoughts and insights will be arising in an atmosphere that will also find us facing disillusionment and skepticism over what aspects of our dreams can manifest in reality.  The unifying principle to connect with the highest potential of both of these transits to Saturn is to not hold back and instead to allow yourself to envision the life you want to live free of the ways you have restricted or repressed yourself previously.  These aspects to Saturn in Sagittarius will be occurring throughout this next year, and so this Leo Full Moon is an opportune time to allow yourself to unleash your imagination and create grand goals to work toward.

wands05

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Leo, ruled by Saturn and associated with the 5 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot the 5 of Wands card is typically associated with entering into conflict and strife, being confronted and needing to  fight to assert oneself, stand one’s ground, or achieve a desired, prominent position.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo which can be connected to the imagery of the 5 of Wands through the five youth battling for dominance, attention, or the spotlight, the starring role.  Coppock wrote that the “power of this decan is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person” (p. 122), and analyzed that the decan’s rulership by Saturn signifies the ability to direct the spotlight in order to both reveal as well as conceal, binding the attention, and projection, of an audience to one’s performing image.  In addition to “The Spotlight,” Coppock also described the significance of the “magical weapon” of the “Mask” to the power found in the first face of Leo:

 The mask focuses the wearer’s attention on those aspects of their being which are in harmony with the mask’s appearances and enhances one’s ability to express them. The mask serves a similar function with onlookers- it focuses their attention on certain qualities.  The mask is thus the mystical nexus between all of the streams of attention in place . . .

It is interesting to note that the word for mask in Latin is “Persona.”  “Persona” is used in modern English to denote a portion of the psyche, and is the root of the more common term “personality.”  The “persona” does not describe the entire geography of the soul, instead, it describes the social role played by the person . . .

Thus the material of the psyche coalesces and then concretizes into the pattern necessary to function in a given role- the mask. An effective mask creates a nexus point which mediates inside and outside, self and other . . . Masks, like the spotlight which they are created to survive, are perilous tools, for as they are fed by attention they grow stronger, consuming more of the wearer’s energy.  The mask/persona can thus go from being a useful tool to a powerful parasite, feeding off of and devouring their host.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces (p. 123)

The current lunar cycle waxing full in the first face of Leo began with a New Moon in Capricorn that brought news of the death of David Bowie.  Bowie was born with a Moon in the first face of Leo at the same degree as this Full Moon, as well as a Saturn conjoining his Moon also in the first decan of Leo.  Furthermore, David’s Moon is conjunct his descendant, meaning that his ascendant is aligned with the position of the Sun in Aquarius at the time of this Full Moon.  While Bowie’s Moon conjoining Saturn and his descendant is fitting considering how much he thrived upon collaboration with other artists and worked hard to manifest his creativity until the very end of his life, his Moon is also exemplary of the meaning Austin Coppock brought to the first face of Leo in 36 Faces.  As has been celebrated extensively this past week, Bowie was a master of creating masks through which to project his work, taking on a different public identity with each new creative departure.  However, while David Bowie achieved great public acclaim through his talent for mask making, he also became a victim entrapped by the projections of his audience.  As a result, he put his masked identities to death in the process of creating his new identities through which to manifest his art.  It has been said by those who stood close to Bowie on stage that no one else possessed his talent for controlling and directing the attention of a massive audience from stage, and many who met him in person were overwhelmed with the charisma they felt in the meeting place of his gaze.

As David Bowie has been extensively celebrated in the time leading up to this Full Moon, he serves now as a marvelous model for this Full Moon in Leo through his capacity to imagine as well as embody an extraordinary life, vision as well as manifest radical artistic creations that break free from mainstream patterns and conditioning, and direct public attention to his work through the shaping of his public masks.  With Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune and in trine to Uranus, with Mercury retrograde conjoining Pluto while in square to Uranus, and with the square from Mars in Scorpio to this Full Moon in Leo, it is also important to realize the process Bowie went through in destroying each vehicle he created for himself once it no longer aligned with what he authentically desired to create.  Similarly, this Full Moon will guide you to release any mask or persona you have developed to navigate the public sphere that no longer matches how you truly want to be.   Within the catalytic atmosphere of the aspects surrounding this Leo Full Moon, there is a fertile matrix from which to embark in a direction more attuned with the passion arising from within.

References

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

Full Moon in Cancer

full moon chinese

Full Moon by Tao Lengyue

Cancer Full Moon

The Full Moon in Cancer on December 25, 2015 occurs on the same day that Uranus in Aries stations direct.  It is also the Full Moon that falls equidistant between Lunar Eclipses, in square to both:  the total Lunar Eclipse in Aries at 4°38′ that happened September 28, 2015 and the annular Lunar Eclipse in Libra at 3°10′ that will happen on March 23, 2016. There is as a result an electrified quality to this Full Moon that reopens past memories for reprocessing whether you are alone or in a holiday gathering.  As we grow older we realize that the story we tell about our life changes across time.  Our past is not bound in a fixed form but rather is as fluid in fluctuation as this present, passing moment.  Uranus stationing direct at this Cancer Full Moon can break us out of a perspective regarding our life we had managed to convince ourselves was an unchanging truth.  Feeling into our emotional bodies in the full light of this lunation, there is something to be found that metamorphoses our viewpoint regarding our past and our trajectory forward, a deeper quality of soul to embody within the vehicle of our body.

In our Northern Hemisphere December 25 is a day in which our Sun is beginning to increase in light, and so there is a loveliness in celebrating the return of light with a Cancer Full Moon.  Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so this Full Moon has a potent pull to draw us into our emotional body and the full range of feeling we are receiving.  The reflection of our Sun’s light by our Moon signifies our moment to moment consciousness and awareness, for in the waxing and waning lunar cycle we correspondingly experience the creation and destruction of our thoughts and emotions.  In a catalytic astrological atmosphere such as today, many are coping with their fear over the dismantling of systems they had believed to be secure by fixating on perceptions and beliefs that bring a feeling of comforting control.  This changes the nature of thoughts and feelings from being fluid into a frozen bedrock anchoring repetitive personal patterns.

Uranus is here now to strike and shatter whatever has become overly hardened and crystallized.  When Uranus stations following the Full Moon, it will be close to an exact square with Pluto in Capricorn and will reignite the issues related to the square between Pluto and Uranus that have been dominating astrology for the past seven years.  Uranus stationing direct brings content forward into conscious awareness much farther back than seven years, however, so much so that memories that feel like they have been buried for lifetimes could erupt from within.  This doesn’t mean that everything is going to change overnight in a liberating reverie of Uranus, or that everything will be transformed in a regenerative matrix of Pluto.  It does mean that this Full Moon is shining light into the deepest reaches of our ineffable darkness within, and here we may find buried treasure.

In addition to being the domicile of the Moon, Cancer is a sign signifying mothers and the womb that gave birth to all of us, family, ancestors, the vulnerability of our raw emotions, and the protective shell we utilize to shield our feelings from being wounded.  Being a Full Moon, of course this means the Sun is in the polarity place of Capricorn, the home of Saturn.   Pluto is also in the home of Saturn, and Saturn meanwhile is engaged in square with Neptune that amplifies the dissonance of the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Considering all of the associated calamity that can go with the pairs of Pluto-Uranus and Neptune-Saturn being in hard aspects, there is grace to be found through this Cancer Full Moon applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces.  Just like Uranus is shattering the structure of Pluto, Neptune has been dissolving the boundaries of Saturn, and so this Cancer Full Moon could correlate with messages from beyond appearing through the realm of family and our ancestors.

Hiroshige,_New_Year's_Eve_foxfires_at_the_changing_tree,_Oji,_1857

Hiroshige (1857) New Year’s Eve foxfires at the changing tree

There is in fact a Grand Water Trine found in this Full Moon through the Moon in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Juno conjoining the true location of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio.  The corner of this triangle held by Juno and Black Moon Lilith is rich to contemplate, a fertile field of deep emotions concerning our past and present relationships and times we have felt oppressed, misunderstood, cast out, and projected upon.  Yet this Juno, Black Moon Lilith point is also full of desire for burning, shared intimacy with a partner willing to accept us and commit to working to understand us.  As we know, the wounds of our childhood oftentimes resurface in our adult relationships and repetitive relational projections and patterns we engage in.  This Full Moon holds potential for tapping into our feelings regarding old wounds and a sense of how they impact our current relational behavior.

Uranus stationing direct in Aries holds numerous aspects activating the themes of this Grand Water Trine, as Uranus is in range of an opposition to the mean (averaged) location of Black Moon Lilith while Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to enter into range of a trine with Uranus (this Saturn-Uranus trine will become one of the major themes in 2016 eventually).  Furthermore, Mars in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus, while Mercury in Capricorn is separating from a  square with Uranus.  These aspects are all potent for activating a vital aspect of our essential nature demanding attention and actualization.  As a result, we will have strong feelings of wanting this essentiality acknowledged by others and so it will be most helpful to have creative outlets available to transmit the energy through.  If overcome by frustration of not being in a position to fully gain or express what you desire, work to find smaller scale steps and situations to get things moving.

While Mars and Mercury are both separating from hard aspects with Uranus at the time of the Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn is applying to a square with Mars in Libra that further intensifies the atmosphere with potential conflict.  While it is possible the square between Mars and Mercury will correlate with arguments and heated rhetoric, it is also an ideal aspect for initiating projects that will require hard work, focused concentration, and collaboration with others.  There may be some clashes with others to work through when going after what we desire, but this first quarter square between Mars and Mercury supports planning and developing the structures we will need to have in place to work through any difficulties that could arise.

Hiroshige_100_views_edo_107

Utagawa Hiroshige (1856) 100 Views of Edo, no. 107, part 4, Winter

There is in fact a long range vision that can be accessed at this Cancer Full Moon through a stabilizing trine between Mercury in Capricorn with the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury in Capricorn is an evening star that is in position to synthesize the extraordinary vision that can be activated through Jupiter uniting with the North Node of the Moon in the home and exaltation of Mercury.  Mercury is also now within its retrograde shadow zone, and in a couple of weeks on January 5, 2016 during the waning lunar cycle Mercury will station retrograde.   As a result of the upcoming Mercury retrograde cycle, this is the first of three trines we will experience between Mercury in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo in the next month and a half.  Pay attention to the messages you receive at this Full Moon as they can help you begin to get a sense of the new sense of meaning you can develop during this upcoming harmonious period between Mercury and Jupiter.

The supportive, stabilizing trine between Mercury and Jupiter at this Cancer Full Moon is further accentuated through both Mercury and Jupiter being in a sextile with Venus in Scorpio.  Venus in Scorpio is willing to be brutally honest if necessary to get to the bottom line dynamics of whatever relationships we are engaged with at this Full Moon, yet the harmonious sextile Venus forms with Mercury and Jupiter at this time suggests there will be a way to communicate in a manner that will facilitate our partner listening to us rather than dismissing us from a place of defensiveness.  These aspects are also supportive for going within and intuitively feeling and envisioning from a place beyond the types of consensus beliefs and morality that repress our ability to create the life we want to live.

Astrologer Jeff Green, who was born with Venus retrograde in Scorpio conjoining his ascendant, wrote in his second Pluto book that Venus in Scorpio individuals radiate an aura “analogous to the eye of the eagle,” as they are “uniquely structured to have the ability to focus on the large picture while at the same time telescopically zooming in on its point of focus” (p. 161).  If we work with what Venus in Scorpio is offering through her sextile with Mercury, Jupiter, and the North Node of the Moon, and trine with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, we can feel within our inner core all of the accumulated past wounds and desires that have created the various relationship projections we have been making, as well as discern the choices and relationships to focus on moving forward.  Venus in Scorpio can enflame intense focus on an object of desire, but also making the time to sit with and heal our past wounding will enable us to create healthier, mutually empowering relationships that will support us going after whatever is in alignment with our evolving sense of growth.

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Cancer, a decan associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a kundalini caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic energy found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, but rather on a deeper level Venus signifies the inner values and needs that source all of our relationship dynamics with others.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the Cancer I decan, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock analyzed that we find both the nurturing mother in the first face of Cancer as well as the childless, protective figure of Artemis and the principle that as the Moon waxes she gives but as she wanes she takes away. Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104):

Though thoroughly romanticized, the actual dynamic entailed herein is a mixture of hunger and sweetness.  Love and need blend together here.  Yet there is an alchemy, for the energy circulates between the two participants.  It is as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted.  It is this miracle of entwined vessels that many long for when they dream of the love that will save and strengthen them.  The possibility of this manner of union can be seen in this decan, yet success in this matter requires more than longing  (p.105).

Venus in Scorpio is in a whole sign trine to this Full Moon in Cancer, and as the Moon begins to wane through the sign of Cancer it will form an exact trine with Venus.  The more we can move away from a compulsive, Scorpio need of Venus to consume and control our relationships and open to feelings focused on understanding our relationships and supporting them with what they need for their own development, the more we can open to the potential available with this Full Moon to develop and deepen the relationships that can become mutually empowering, encouraging, and nourishing.

With Uranus stationing direct in Aries, be ready to receive sudden insight into the relationships you have engaged in across your lifetime, including with family, friends, and romantic partners, and the myriad ways in which the associated needs, desires, and issues created various relationship patterns you became attached to repeating.  With awareness and being willing to stay present with these feelings, we can create a shift away from old, outworn patterns toward new opportunities for growth seen through the sextile between Venus in Scorpio with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 (translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

References:

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

Green, Jeffrey Wolf. (2009). Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.

Sagittarius New Moon

Erte vision

Vision (1928) by Erte (Romain de Tirtoff)

New Moon in Sagittarius

The New Moon in Sagittarius on December 11, 2015 follows a catalytic Full Moon in Gemini that culminated along with an exact square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  The polarity from Gemini to Sagittarius is about synthesizing diverse Mercurial explorations into a unified vision befitting our home for Jupiter.  A Sagittarius New Moon is ideal for sensing how the current scene of our life drama fits inside an over arching narrative, and envisioning our next steps and choices with focused clarity free of extraneous distraction.  In the dismantling disorientation of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, we can sense from a deep place of knowing which desires and beliefs shedding from this moment were delusional and which will become integral threads of the chrysalis shaping our new growth.

The ruler of this New Moon is Jupiter in Virgo that is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is in a square aspect with the New Moon.   These aspects are intensified by Chiron in Pisces that is also square to the New Moon and opposite Jupiter. This is a jolt suitable for the sign of the galloping Centaur, as Sagittarius signifies speed of thought and action aimed with precise concentration.  There are many ways these powerful aspects can play out, depending upon your current circumstances.  For one, as we have witnessed a flood of dogmatic tirades, ranting, and raving in current events, many could be swept up in the undertow of ideological clashes and become lost within delusional belief systems they feel give them a sense of security and control over their life.  There could in contrast be a fertile sense of epiphany cloaked in the shocking garb of disillusionment, as sudden realizations reveal a loss of meaning concerning elements of our life while simultaneously reorienting us toward a more vibrant vision of life.  Furthermore, if we have been passionately and diligently attending to a project, course of study, relationship, or dream of one sort or another, we could experience an enlightening breakthrough that will profoundly inform our path in the coming cycle.

odilon redon charger

The Charger (1894) by Odilon Redon

The New Moon in Sagittarius is in a stabilizing aspect with the volatile t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries that has corresponded with global havoc recently.  Mars in Libra is barely separating from Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon, making it one of the most powerful aspects of the lunation, and the New Moon is in range of a sextile with Mars in Libra and a trine with Uranus in Aries.  In addition, there is a trine between the New Moon ruler Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn.  On one level, this stabilizing connection between the New Moon with these volatile transits could correspond with power grabs by both institutions already cemented in power and various forms of protest movements actively working to expose, deconstruct, and dismantle institutional structures perceived to be oppressively abusing power.  The t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries has incredible intensity that can fuel the crusading side of Sagittarius in diverse manifestations, the unifying principle being a fiery sense of righteousness that instinctively sustains focus on a target.

You may or may not remember the Lunar Eclipse in April 2014 that set off the Cardinal Cross of Mars retrograde in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Cancer- well, Mars in Libra at the time of this Sagittarius New Moon is at the same degree it was then, and Pluto in Capricorn is less than a degree away from its position in April 2014 that was also the time period of the fifth (out of seven total) exact square between Pluto and Uranus.  This link across time further amplifies the cacophonous climate and many issues and events surfacing at that past time are now fully formed and demanding our attention.  For example, in March 2014 Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea when Mars was at the beginning of its retrograde headed toward Pluto and Uranus, and today the residents of Crimea have lost the power of electricity after an attack by saboteurs and there are active efforts attempting to restore power.

Mars may be opposite its favored sign of Aries right now, but it is still Mars and so the last quarter square between Mars and Pluto we experienced this past week was full of conflict in corresponding events. Mars in Libra can be just as aggressive as in any other placement of the red planet, yet in Libra tends to be more strategic, more politically manipulative, and less direct and to the point as it is when in Aries.  Mars being opposite Uranus in Aries means that Mars is receiving the shocking force of Uranus , correlating with great potential for good and evil.  In the evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green, Mars in Libra being set off by both Pluto and Uranus could trigger themes such as learning to actualize our soul intentions through initiating relationships with people from different beliefs, values, and backgrounds, learning to expand our consciousness through understanding our reality in a new way through relationship, learning to understand ourselves in a new way through the perceptions of others in relationship, learning to balance our need for independence versus our need for interaction, learning how to balance giving and receiving on an equal basis in relationship, and learning how to understand the nature of projections we receive from others as well as the nature of the projections we make on others in relationship.

With Jupiter being in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, while ruling a Sagittarius New Moon that is mediating the opposition between Mars in Libra and Uranus in Aries, this can also be a lunar cycle to seize for liberating yourself out of past restrictions in order to make intentions for the creation of the extraordinary life you want to live.  The emphasis on Virgo means it is vital to be present and aware of surrounding details that need tending, while simultaneously weaving each small choice and act into the creation of an envisioned tapestry of meaning.

Pandora by Redon

Pandora (1914) by Odilon Redon

Venus in Scorpio is also highlighted at this New Moon, as it is in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  There is also a resonance between Venus and Mars even though they are not in aspect, as Venus is now in the home of Mars and Mars is in the home of Venus.  It is further fascinating in this context to consider that the asteroid Juno will be at the beginning of Scorpio at the time of the New Moon.  Venus in Scorpio tears the lid off social conventions and niceties to probe deeply into what others keep hidden, exposing the full range of emotions and unconscious forces underlying desires.  Venus in Scorpio will cross boundaries and be willing to engage in the taboo, yet is also an inwardly directed Venus that can be self-contained.    In our inner world at this New Moon, Venus is positioned to help us move away from consensus opinion, mainstream morality, and a need to be liked and gain the approval of others.  Venus in Scorpio can help us uncover new values from within we can then later bring forward into the collective, a bold Venus that can also be unflinching in the face of opposition.

At the time of this Sagittarius New Moon, Venus is connected to Neptune through a trine but is not connected to Saturn in a major aspect.  Meanwhile Saturn is entering into range of a trine with Uranus in Aries that will become one of the most pivotal aspects in the near future, and Saturn is co-present with the New Moon in the sign of Sagittarius.  Venus separating from a trine with Neptune means that in the darkness of this Sagittarius Moon we will have greater visceral access in our emotional and physical bodies to the galactic messages of Neptune that transcend our normal sense of boundaries we associate with Saturn.  As Sagittarius is a visionary sign, this is an opportune intention setting time to go within and listen to the ethereal murmur of Neptune.  Venus in Scorpio in trine to Neptune in Pisces can help us reorient to deep soul desires that will become a fecundating source in the coming cycle.

odilon redon celestial art

The Celestial Art (1894) by Odilon Redon

Mercury will have recently entered Capricorn at the time of the Sagittarius New Moon and will be applying to a sextile with both Neptune in Pisces and Venus in Scorpio.  Mercury is picking up speed and on the cusp of becoming visible again as an Evening Star at the time of the New Moon, and so is auspiciously aligned to support us accessing a significant message connected with the trine between Venus and Neptune.  As Mercury re-emerges at sunset with a message in its Evening Star phase, while also being in the home of Saturn, we are supported in synthesizing meaning out of the past period of time and creating mental structures to organize and more effectively communicate the knowledge gained from recent experiences.  Mercury in Capricorn is inwardly directed and discerning, focused upon initiating new projects and work on the material plane.  In the context of this Sagittarius New Moon, Mercury here is in a beautiful position for not only intention setting but disciplined follow through.

Significantly, on account of the upcoming retrograde Mercury will be in Capricorn from now until February 13, 2015 except for a week in the beginning of January when it stations retrograde at the first degree of Aquarius.  From the traditional perspective that Aquarius is also the home of Saturn, we can extend this period to say that Mercury will be in the home of Saturn from now through the beginning of March 2016.  In the context of the waning square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, this means that Mercury will be operating more so on the side of Saturn and facilitating a restructuring of our mental framework and belief system.  This can be supportive for Mercury, as Mercury can handle the influence of Saturn and direct it toward studious research and determined, persevering effort.  With Mercury spending so long in the home of Saturn, if we can avoid the delusional influence of Neptune and open to the transcendent inspirational influence of Neptune we can experience profound learning and acquisition of knowledge.

As the Sagittarius New Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Cancer that will culminate on December 25, Mercury will form a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then a square to Uranus in Aries, setting off the Pluto and Uranus square again.  At the time of the upcoming Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will be applying to a trine with Jupiter in Virgo and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo. This means that Mercury will be one of the most pivotal players in this upcoming lunar cycle, even more so as it will coincide with Mercury entering into its retrograde shadow zone.  While in the outer world the rhetorical wars and military wars will continue, on inner levels we can experience a throwing off of outworn beliefs and attitudes while simultaneously connecting us with new information and opportunities supporting our evolving growth forward.

wands09

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Sagittarius, associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, and ruled by the Moon.  The Moon ruling this face can give us a greater degree of agency and focus in the darkness of this Sagittarius New Moon.  When we contemplate the image of the Nine of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck,  we can sense the wounded yet determined stance of a warrior who will defend himself and his territory at all costs.  In this image the bandaged head suggests survival of heated conflict, yet the fierce look in the eyes reveals unwavering resilience.  Tarot author Kelsey Lynore explored this theme regarding the card in expanded terms on her Tarot Nook blog:

Although the Rider-Waite image captures the pain, opposition, and isolation that can sometimes accompany this card, the traditional image is really only one possible manifestation of the energy that the 9 of Wands describes. Another possible manifestation is travel and movement — of the hiking, rock climbing, or pioneering variety. You’ll have nothing left by the end, but you’ll also be in completely new territory. Thus, it’s worth the struggle.

Psychologically, this card resembles an almost-too-long climb. The only danger is that the querent will give up; and giving up is the only way that the querent will not meet their desired destination. The closer one gets, however, the harder it is to continue.

As such, the “battle” that the 9 of Wands indicates is much more a war with the self and its limitations than a war with others. Of course, the limits of the self are revealed by way of brute exterior opposition, but like a distance that must be crossed, it doesn’t necessarily have intent.

— Kelsey Lynore

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, as “the assault of contrary forces” suggested by the bandaged figure in the 9 of Wands card “produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose” (p. 198).  Coppock wrote:

The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will.  There is no hero without a nemesis.

. . . There is a dignity to the alchemical generation of strength which takes place in this decan. Yet while its fruits are virtuous, they are not moral, for naught guarantees that the great strength generated be put to a noble cause.  The figures that result from this process are ruthless, bold and of undivided will, for they have triumphed over their antagonists.  Yet it is important for those who reside within this decan to recognize that not all that is contrary to their will should be met with fierce resistance.  This face represents a formula for strength in the face of opposition, yet many circumstances do not demand, nor reward, such a response.  Those possessed of this decan’s formula must also learn when to yield in order to gain mastery.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, pages 198 and 200

This New Moon in Sagittarius is thus sublime for sustaining concentration no matter what challenges and obstacles are before us, and for cultivating the persistence to continue our desired work without giving up.  Yet in the astrological atmosphere of Saturn in square to Neptune, Mars in opposition to Uranus and in square to Pluto, and a global environment full of volatile conflict, we will not be able to have control over everything and as a result will need to flow with the currents and be open to modifying plans in order to reach our desired destination.  If we have hurt feelings of frustration overwhelming us because of desires seeming too far out of reach, it will be important to find sources of inspiration in our daily struggles and to use the pain as motivation to persevere toward our long-range vision while maintaining integrity.  This is a time in which our blazing heart can help shine a light into a darkness of fear and anxiety that has overcome many.  In the dark fertility of this New Moon, we can vivify hope and faith from within that the cherished desires we are setting intentions for will manifest.

 

References

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

Gemini Full Moon

scott young FirstExperience

First Experience by Scott Young (2015)

Full Moon in Gemini

The Full Moon in Gemini on November 25, 2015 catalyzes the crescendo of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that becomes exact in its intensity on the following day.  There are numerous aspects at the time of this Gemini Full Moon signifying tumultuous change:  the Gemini Moon is square to Neptune and opposite Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun, while Venus in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Libra is applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, Jupiter in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Chiron and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  With the Moon fully illuminated in the sign of Gemini, our minds will be charged with new connections and thoughts that metamorphose pre-existing beliefs and conceptual frameworks regarding reality.

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, as the two brightest stars of the constellation are named after Castor and Pollux in Greek myth, one of two sets of twins Leda gave birth to after Zeus mated with her as a swan.  One set of twins is male (Castor and Pollux) and one set is female (Helen and Clytemnestra), yet each set also has the unique characteristic of containing one divine twin descended from Zeus (Pollux and Helen), and one mortal twin descended from the human monarch Tyndareus (Castor and Clytemnestra).  Gemini as a result holds a sense of having a divine twin, a twin soulmate other, a soul presence we desire to more fully embody, and a sense of having contrasting selves within.  Gemini is an archetype of dyads through which our minds construct meaning in the creation and commerce of language and abstract systems of thought.  Within this binary, dualistic awareness of Gemini on a deeper level, is also the concept made famous by Carl Jung that what we call God, Goddess, Gods, or Spirit is not only the source of the good and beautiful but also the source of evil.  This leads further to the awareness that within each of us we can find both the potential of our highest good  and love, as well as the potential to create horrible acts from a place of evil or disregard for life.

We can choose to act from love and heart-centeredness.  We can choose to put our passion into collaborative efforts to bridge community and meet the needs of others.  We can choose to explore our depths of darkness within, so as to refrain from projecting upon others what we are in denial about regarding ourselves.  Yet when the global collective erupts in war and conflict, when bombs drop from the sky and terrorists rain bloodshed from the earth, we can feel the paradox of cherishing our life and loved ones while simultaneously falling into waves of disillusionment and depression regarding the senseless stupidity of humanity.  A Full Moon in Gemini unveils the power of our mind to create works of anything imaginable, from arts that inspire love and healing, to arts that inspire fear and wounding.

Mercury is the ruler of the Full Moon far from home in the sign of Sagittarius.  Not only is Mercury estranged in Sagittarius, being opposite it’s domicile of Gemini, it is furthermore combust the Sun and separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Full Moon.  Mercury in Sagittarius is also applying very widely to a square with Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury being in the sign of Jupiter while Jupiter is in the sign of Mercury, means that there is a more unpredictable element at work regarding the way we create meaning out of our experiences.   Mercury’s recent union with Saturn in Sagittarius could have led to disciplined study or other methods of expanding our mental awareness or philosophical understanding, yet it also could have led to further fixation on dogmatic beliefs entrenched in systems of thought that lack grounding in the flux of the moment.   We are at a moment in which a fruitful reorientation of our vision and ability to discover meaning in life could occur, yet to receive this potential wisdom we must be open to releasing our attachment to old conditioned thought forms that are now getting in the way of us opening to the new insight available.

scott young Waitingwithangel

Waiting With Angel by Scott Young (2015)

In addition to the importance Mercury plays with a Full Moon in Gemini, Mercury is also important to consider as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo.    Mercury in Sagittarius  by itself is fast, fiery, philosophical, and can take leaps of thought aligned with belief that may disregard other approaches to the situation.  Yet Mercury in Sagittarius is freshly separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius that could have cooled the heels of the fleet footed messenger enough to slow down thoughts and engage in the Virgo nodal mission of discerning new inner insights and areas of our life that require focus and problem solving.  In the midst of the great destruction occurring in our global collective at this Full Moon, there is enormous potential for new creation infused with integrity.   Our birth process is now occurring in a chaotic climate of sharply shifting astrological tides, yet through Mercurial focus we can make multitudinous connections of meaning that fully flesh out the essence of what we are manifesting.  If it seems the mental energy is too overwhelming, make the space for practices that put you in your body, bring you into nature, and ground your sense of inner rootedness.

As Mercury is also separating from a square with Neptune in Pisces, there is a message being fully illuminated at this lunation concerning the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune that will be dominating the astrological atmosphere in the year ahead.  If we are wiling to shed identification with past attachments now causing disillusionment, we can more readily open to the sources that will be supporting our burgeoning identity.  As things may not be going exactly according to prior plans, it is vital to remain open to possibilities rather than closing oneself off due to frustration or fear.  The shadow side of this aspect can be witnessed in the overabundance of violent rhetoric based in fear and exclusion being proliferated on the world media stage today, as many are communicating from a tight Saturnine grip on dogmatic beliefs in the face of the unknown.  A historical example is that the Salem Witch Trials took place during a transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, and we can notice similar strands of religious persecution and projection going on today that lacks grounding in objective analysis.  In many ways it is now easier than normal to notice the interplay of belief systems and personal expression and reaction in those surrounding you.

It is important to remember that while atrocities based upon belief systems were committed during the Salem Witch Trials, it also ultimately led to massive disillusionment and revelations regarding the ignorance of those in power who are lost in religious illusions.  Similarly, there are countless power structures in conflict today that are mired in ignorant dogmatism, further perpetuated by a corrupt media.  In the end the horrors of this time will be fueling a mass break down and reorientation of belief around the world, hopefully in the direction of ultimate understanding signified by Neptune in Pisces rather than misunderstanding sourced from escapist illusions, delusions, and addictions of one sort or another.  However, in the moment we are only at the beginning of entering into the tumult that will coincide with this catalytic aspect between Saturn and Neptune, bringing up initial crises we will be sorting out over the next year.  On personal inner levels we can reorient in accordance with our essential truth, yet in our interactions in our collective we must be ready to navigate volatile conflicts over competing ideologies.

Full Moon in Gemini

Svanen (1914) by Hilma af Klint

A harmonious and stabilizing aspect involved with the Moon waxing full is a Grand Air Trine that will form between the Moon in Gemini, Mars in Libra, and Ceres in Aquarius.  Ceres in Aquarius is a nurturing force on behalf of individuation and humanitarian concerns in a positive sense, while her shadow side involves cold fixation on past beliefs behind a wall of separation from the needs of those in the surrounding environment.  To me, how our consciousness responds to this air trine between the Moon, Mars, and Ceres depends to a large extent on which of these sides of Ceres we are coming from.  If our sense of Ceres is opening us to de-condition from cultural forces attempting to manipulate us toward selfish greed and grasping for power that harms life, Mars in Libra can be on the side of social justice and meeting the needs of others, and the Gemini Moon can break us out of past rigidity of thinking through insightful connections.

Mars in Libra is not only in trine to the Gemini Full Moon, but also sextile to Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun and applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn. Mars is also co-present with Venus in the sign of Libra and in coming weeks will be coming into an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Libra can coincide with unpredictability and coercive manipulation in mundane affairs, but on a personal level it could spark desires to improve and expand our relationships and social connections.  As Mars comes into a last quarter square with Pluto, it will amplify the already tumultuous environment triggered by Saturn and Neptune also being in a last quarter square.  The growth offered by this tension can come from reorienting our relational dynamics within our partnerships and society so that our own needs will be better met on the one hand, and we can realize where we have been neglecting the needs of others on the other hand.  This is a time to confront our past beliefs regarding relationships and discover which aspects are illusions that need to be released now so that we can more readily create the life we want going forward.

Further increasing our capacity to liberate ourselves from past relationship beliefs is a Venus in Libra that is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon.  Venus is also applying to a conjunction with Juno and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Libra, meaning that there are essential aspects of our relationship needs to now discover and actualize that we may have formerly felt judgment over.  It is likely that Venus in Libra will dislodge something significant as her opposition with Uranus perfected with the waxing Moon in the days leading up to this Full Moon.  The Full Moon is as a result illuminating the aftershocks of Venus opposite Uranus, and since Venus is at home in her beloved sign of Libra there is potential for important insight into our relationships no matter how challenging recent experiences may have been.  Venus opposite Uranus can strike like lightning, so if we have recently taken a leap without much forethought allow this Full Moon to give you a sense of whether or not any impulsive choices appear to be harmonious or not with your well-being.

Gemini I Decan

8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini I Decan

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini where the Full Moon occurs, a decan associated with the 8 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  It is one of the most intense images of the Rider-Waite deck, and at first glance it may seem difficult to link the bound and terrorized feeling of the image to either Jupiter or Gemini.  Yet when we realize that Jupiter signifies vision and the meaning gathered from experience, and Gemini is connected with the power of our mind to help shape reality, we can sense here the suffocating shadow cast by trauma.  Traumatic experiences such as being a victim of abuse or any form of oppression can envelope us in paralysis and hopelessness.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore interpreted this card as a frozen mental state that eclipses “one’s very sense of free agency and self,” leading to the vital importance of not blaming the victim:

When you pull this card, it is most important to exit that fictive Karmic loop of cause and effect, of blame, of the notion of an economy on pain . . . You may feel persecuted, flawed, or exiled. But feelings are not the measure of reality nor, for that matter, do they indicate what you will feel tomorrow. You will survive this, and if you transmute it properly, you stand to be a force of great healing and compassion in the lives of others… for victimization sometimes happens, with no reason, no rhyme, and no warning. Don’t blame yourself in an attempt to retain the illusion of mastery. Forgive yourself and let yourself open to your own vulnerability. In doing so, you will slowly open up to others, yet again. It’s OK.

— Kelsey Lynore, The Tarot Nook

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, symbolizing the explosion of awareness that struck Eve when she bit into the ripe apple born from the earth.  In contrast to the nightmarish image of the 8 of Swords card, Coppock wrote that traditional images for this decan display “the full power of the mind” including abstract thought, mathematics and the sciences, magic, and the art of the scribe and the seamstress (p. 87).  Coppock found a link between the static found in the 8 of Swords card and the first decan of Gemini in the power of the mind to both enliven as well as immobilize, as seekers of this face can become paralyzed by the overwhelming amount of information available in the world that is ultimately impossible to fully process:

The division of the world and the naming of its parts in this decan generates all arts, crafts and sciences, and gives rise to a bewildering profusion of selves.  It is therefore a face of tremendous curiosity and intelligence.  Within it lies the power to discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities.  It provides clever methods and opens numerous pathways, yet this very profusion de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.

–Austin Coppock (p. 87)

Jupiter, the ruler of this decan, is now in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Jupiter is at the same time the traditional ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Since Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon are both in the sign of Mercury, it is important to consider that their ruler Mercury is residing in Sagittarius, the sign of Jupiter.  Furthermore, in the waning cycle of this Gemini Full Moon we will experience Mercury becoming an Evening Star that enters into a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  All together, these astrological placements further increase the likelihood of feeling a pull to expand our knowledge and assimilation of information, while also risking a feeling of paralysis over biting off far more than our mind can fully process, integrate, and express with understanding.

If we can keep ourselves open and curious, making the space to get out of our minds and back in our bodies when mental frequencies become too intense, there is also a huge opportunity presented by these transits for fundamental change in our ability to find meaning in our life and live in accordance with an authentic vision of values.  Yes, we are going to need to deal with incredible conflict, discord, and destruction in our surroundings, but out of this falling apart a more enriching vision for our lives may arise.  This doesn’t mean things will be easy at all, and in fact we need to be ready to confront many difficulties and obstacles, grieving losses and consoling others.  Nonetheless, these astrological aspects suggest that important meaning can be found in the difficult experiences of this time.  May we share the love and light we discover within with those around us.

References

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

Full Moon in Taurus and the Dawn of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo

Full Moon in Taurus

Blind Minotaur Led by a Girl through the Night (1934) by Pablo Picasso

Taurus Full Moon

The Full Moon in Taurus on October 27 arrives like a temporary rainbow following a savage storm, fittingly at the Sabian symbol degree of “the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”  In the penetrating streams of the Scorpio season, a full lunation in the sign of the Moon’s exaltation is auspicious for centering within the immense field of depth and death that coincides with our solar light passing through the tropical sign of the sensitive, venomous Scorpion.  Yes, things are always changing, yet we can now add Mercury retrograde to the list of pattern breaking transits we have completed that also includes eclipses and Venus retrograde.  As a result, this Full Moon is an opportunity to find calm in the fateful transitions we can now sense, in order to discern the choices we can make in our highest good through probing deep into the needs and current state of our emotional and physical bodies.

In the Northern hemisphere, it is easy to associate the cold decay and decomposition of Fall that creates the compost of our future growth with the meaning of Scorpio, bearing in mind that in our Southern hemisphere it is the blossoming season of Spring.  The axis of Scorpio and Taurus lit up at this time involves signs of Water and Earth, signs that are nocturnal and yin, the homes of Mars and Venus where we can most acutely feel on internal levels the pang of our human desires.  Scorpio and Taurus are fixed signs that as a result are about stabilizing on internal levels, yet in the constant flux and loss of our material realm in bodies that are vulnerable to the wounds of time and disease, the desire to feel stability through our attachment to certain values and ideas makes us face the multitudinous crises of our human life.

Whereas Scorpio where our Sun currently resides has a martial, plutonic ability to focus with instinctual, psychic sensitivity into the atmosphere of any environment, Taurus where our Moon is waxing full has a fecund, fruitful inner awareness aligned with Venus.  Taurus wants to be surrounded by whatever is found to be beautiful, as Taurus is the inner home of Venus where we can get in touch with our inner values that bring a sense of beauty to our life.  Venus is the ruler of this Taurus Full Moon and making extraordinary aspects of separating from a conjunction with Jupiter and applying to a conjunction with Mars at the time of the Full Moon, as well as closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces.  Venus and Mars so close together and being the rulers of the two lights at this Full Moon means the messages we receive at this time are absolutely crucial to pay attention to.  There is huge potential at this time to feel our desires and realize whether our current actions are in alignment our out of alignment with a trajectory that will help us with their manifestation.

Jupiter, Venus, Mars in Virgo

The Tree of Life (first half 17th Century) British, canvas with silk thread

 Mutable Magnum Opus

While our two lights are in fixed signs at this Full Moon, the dominant astrological modality is the mutable as Jupiter, Venus, and Mars are in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron are in Pisces, and Saturn is in Sagittarius.  Mutable signs are about shifts, transitions, and being aligned with Jupiter and Mercury their fluid nature is often applied to our beliefs, vision, analysis, and communication. In the mutable meeting ground of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars, we are initiating a new vision of meaning from a place of inner desire and value.

The most exact aspect of the Full Moon is that the ruling Venus is closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, while Jupiter is also applying and Mars is separating from being opposite Chiron. Chiron is a celestial body that bridges the Saturn dimension of astrology with the dimensions of astrology beyond Uranus, as well as with the wounds and healing of wounds that coincide with transitions to farther reaching awareness. While the wounds associated with Chiron feel very personal when they are occurring, potentially our experience of facing these challenges and working through them transports us to another level of being.  The triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars being opposite Chiron while separating from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn can coincide with an opening to core needs and desires that source feelings of empowerment if we structure an outlet or practice to express them through.  In correlation we can be shown where we need to get out of our own way in order to access this newfound dimension of strength.

The mutable initiation of a new cycle between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars having a liberating transpersonal quality is augmented by the conjunctions occurring in the sign of Mercury, Mercury concurrently being in the sign of Venus, and Mercury separating from an opposition with Uranus at the time of the Venusian Full Moon. Mercury’s recent opposition to Uranus could have correlated with insight into relationship needs and discernment of opportunities for collaboration that could break us out of past restrictive patterns if enacted. In the mutual accord and shared feeling of partnership we can access a deeper sense of self and wholeness. As Mercury opposed Uranus this past week, we likely felt the magnetic pull of those relationships which can help us activate this opening. Since the Mercury and Uranus opposition is now separating, the illumination of this Taurus Full Moon reveals what has been unearthed on shore following a surge of tidal forces.

However, in our surrounding oceanic field there is a more imposing tidal wave building in the form of a mutable square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  This is the great celestial backdrop to the current scene of our drama, and while it will not become exact until November 26, 2015 it has now gotten within three degrees and is at it’s closest point yet in this cycle.  Back in March 2015 when Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde, Saturn was also about three degrees away from Neptune so it may be possible with reflection to notice a tie between events culminating now that are bound back to five or six months ago.

Saturn and Neptune have vastly different meanings, including that Saturn governs structures and constructs of consensus reality while Neptune as Dane Rudhyar wrote brings us messages from beyond, beyond here signifying concepts such as the boundless field sourcing our reality and the collective unconscious.  Contacting Saturn enlivens us to work hard and overcome crucial tests, whereas contacting Neptune enlivens us to dream and imagine beyond the constraints of present circumstances.  Both planets being in the home of Jupiter means this square can fundamentally alter our vision of life and how we create meaning for ourselves, with old outworn constructs dissolving in the waves of Neptune.

Venus conjunct Jupiter in Virgo

Sphinx (550 B.C.) Greek

Virgo Jupiter, Venus, Mars

The new cycles beginning now between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars deserve some extra thought and attention as they are the third to occur this year, and the final ones that will finally initiate a new cycle within each dyad.  The exception to this triple phenomenon is Jupiter and Mars, as Jupiter and Mars recently experienced their first and only conjunction of the year in Virgo at the time of the recent Crescent Moon in the currently waxing lunar cycle.  This is in fact the first new cycle to initiate between Jupiter and Mars since July 2013 when they were both in Cancer, and so we are now at the early, disorienting phase of getting in touch with the desires that will be animating a regenerated vision for our life.

The cycle between Venus and Jupiter is more about the relationship between our inner values and our vision for life, and we are now at the third and final initiation of their new cycle since the beginning of July 2015.  On July 1, 2015 Venus and Jupiter were first conjunct in the third decan of Leo (with Venus direct at the time of a Full Moon), and were again on August 4, 2015 (with Venus retrograde and also in square to Saturn in Scorpio) also in the third face of Leo.  The first of this series when Venus and Jupiter were uniting as beautiful illuminated lights in our night sky had a conquering feeling of setting out with passionate hope and ideals toward who or what we found deeply meaningful, whereas the second of the series was more of a trial by fire with the exact square to Saturn coinciding with pivotal challenges we had to solve.  Now, the final conjunction of the series occurring in the second face of Virgo will correlate with a process of refinement, focusing into the details of our circumstances in order to create the sense of quality in our life we find most authentic and desirable.

A week after the Full Moon during the waning Moon, Venus will unite with Mars for the third and final time this cycle on November 2, and we will begin to feel a resolution to relational patterns that not only stretch across the past year but all the way back to 2013.  The last time we had a completely new initiated cycle between Venus and Mars was in April 2013 when they were in Aries, and if you are like me you will notice there is a direct, palpable thread between the issues of our desires and values then and now.  During this previous year, we have had two other conjunctions of Venus and Mars, but neither was truly the beginning of a new cycle because we knew they still had more conjunctions to come.  On February 21, 2015 we had the first conjunction of Mars and Venus in the first decan of Aries, and then on August 31, 2015 we had the second conjunction of Mars and Venus in the second decan of Leo, with Venus retrograde. Similar to the pattern of the first two conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter, the first conjoining of Venus and Mars in February that we could also see in our night sky had a more soaring quality of hope like making a wish on a star.  In contrast, their second conjunction at the end of August with Venus retrograde had a more martial quality of needing to fight or persist in pursuit of our desire.

The Taurus Full Moon is therefore illuminating the final balsamic conjunction between Venus and Mars in this cycle, bringing to the forefront all past attitudes, beliefs, and values connected to present and past relationships that now need to be released.  At the same time, it is a powerful seeding and visioning moment in which the relationships most fertile for our future will become paramount.  Yet our inner relationship with our Self is perhaps most important to monitor since Mars and Venus are conjoined in Virgo.  If we are able to release the old issues that have been weighing us down that we are overdue to be free from, we will begin to feel a sense of Self that has greater integrity as the new cycle between Venus and Mars begins next week.

It is further interesting to ponder how Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are all now brilliant Morning Stars, whereas previous conjunctions between Venus and Mars and Venus and Jupiter occurred as Evening Stars.  It is further compelling to consider that all three planets are in the home of Mercury, the inner reflective, analytical sign of Virgo symbolized by the Winged Maiden who guides us to connect our sense of Self within the natural and celestial order we find ourselves within.  There is support in all of this to mentally focus on the ever changing details of our material realm and organize our myriad daily pursuits to most effectively support our bodily health and the manifestation of our creative endeavors.  Like the cry of the cock at the break of dawn, these morning lights will awaken us to our most pressing values and desires to address and act from.  There is less support for outwardly attempting to work on as much as possible and more support for inwardly discerning a few precious aspects of our life to devote our full attention to.

Taurus I Decan

5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus I Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls within the first face of Taurus ruled by Mercury and associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith from the Rider-Waite tarot deck.  The Five of Pentacles traditionally relates to worrisome thoughts over a lack of material resources or the ever threatening potential of material loss, guiding the querent to yoke their anxious mental energy to direct action that can help build or nurture resources that can be drawn from in a future time of need.

In the Rider-Waite tarot image shown above, we see two wanderers freezing in a snowy climate and wanting for appropriate material resources to keep themselves warm and secure.  Behind them like a beacon of light is the illuminated stained glass windows of a church, an institution built on proclaimed principles of helping those in need or poverty.  One of my favorite writers on the tarot Kelsey Lynore wrote a more unique interpretation of this image that focuses on the hypocrisy of the church and its oftentimes neglect of those in need, connecting this with a dire situation in which we feel a lack of support from others that leads to ostracized anger.  Lynore’s advised response is to “make certain that you uphold the very ethics that you expect from others, as there is a danger that you may take on the very qualities of those who have cast you out,” thereby refusing to be led “into a lifetime of narrow-minded, narcissistic greed.”  This idea connects well with Mercury’s governship of this face and the importance of maintaining inner mental integrity even in the most difficult of circumstances, so as to better open ourselves to the twists of fate that can coincide with a boon of new resources to draw from.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans suggested that it is this very fear of material want and poverty shown in the Rider-Waite image of the Five of Pentacles that propels us to cultivate the resources of our mind and surroundings in order to create a livelihood that will support our survival needs in the bleakest of times.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first decan of Taurus that follows the previously martial faces of Aries:

The implements of war seen in the Aries decan have been beaten into plowshares here. Thus this face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land.  The plow, which breaks open the soil, is one of it’s most enduring symbols, but not the sum thereof.  In this face we gaze upon the ways that we might make use of our world.  Understanding our resources wisely, we consider how we might multiply their value.

—  Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, page 69

The first face of Taurus where this Full Moon shines being ruled by Mercury is harmonious with the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars also occurring in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  The surrounding astrological aspects of this Taurus Full Moon therefore support us using any fears about a lack of material resources to fuel prudent focus on whatever resources we have on external and internal levels to develop.  There is support in this astrological climate to use the capacity of Mercury for commerce and connections to build bridges and cultivate the assets at hand, finding a solution to whatever predicament we find ourselves in.  The astrology element of Earth is amplified at this Full Moon and likewise we find ourselves with a symbolic fertile field to plow and plant for whatever it is we wish to grow.

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

  • Mercury stations retrograde at 15°55′ Libra on September 17, 2015
  • Mercury unites with Sun at 7°07′  Libra on September 30, 2015
  • Mercury stations direct at 0°54′ Libra on October 9, 2015
  • Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow zone on October 26, 2015

The transit of Mercury retrograde in Libra beginning September 17 opens a doorway within the vivifying void of eclipses, as we will be in between the Solar Eclipse of September 13 and the Lunar Eclipse of September 27.  While Mercury retrogrades are always liminal in quality, the influence of eclipses on the commencement of this retrograde evokes entrance through a magic portal that mysteriously redefines and redirects.  Mercury stations retrograde simultaneously with two other impactful transits, as about eleven hours before Mercury stations there will be an exact opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and about nine hours after Mercury stations, Saturn will ingress into Sagittarius.  Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Sagittarius will be dominant players in the upcoming astrological atmosphere saturated with the deep shifting of Mutable signs. Our move into the preponderance of Mutable signs will create an air of adjustment to the ensuing disorientation, and so it is here that Mercury retrograde arrives.  Since this Mercury retrograde is occurring in Libra, the sign of Scales and the domicile of Venus, an atmosphere of relational recalibration will occur on both inner and outer levels.  In collective events of tension and trauma such as the refugee crisis in Europe, we will witness raised levels of rhetoric and reaction with participants coming back and forth from extreme positions of opposition.  Perhaps there is none other than Mercury more up to the task of guiding us to find a middle way of solutions in response.

The journey of Mercury around the Sun is important to pay attention to, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth never gets too far ahead of the Sun as an evening star, returning three times every year during its retrograde to reunite and regenerate within the purifying solar rays.  Karl Kerenyi in Hermes: Guide of Souls ascribed “belonging to the journey” and being “by the road” as part of the essential nature of Hermes, who is “constantly underway” in motion at all times (p. 33).  Kerenyi wrote that any “journeyer” connected with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world” (p. 32).  When Mercury stations retrograde, it marks the time period in which Mercury disappears as an evening star with a flash of light, descending from our view into the invisibility of the underworld.  The underworld passage of Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear, but rather a world to fully enter and embrace for the treasures found within its depths.  There are already innumerable issues occurring that are creating fear, and these have nothing to do with this Mercury retrograde causing them.

Mercury is the divine messenger who weaves the golden rays of the Sun into the words and other forms of communication we express ourselves through, a soulful guide through which our consciousness discerns meaning from phenomenal reality.  The constant variation of Mercury’s synodic cycle influences how we evaluate our experiences, and so during the retrograde when Mercury symbolically descends into the underworld we can more readily access alternate forms of perception resonant with the intuitive meaning found in symbols, signs, omens, and dreams.  Mercury retrograde as a result becomes a time we can seize to turn within and ruminate on the nature of our experiences since the previous Mercury retrograde (Mercury last stationed direct at 4°34′ Gemini on June 11, 2015).  Mercury moving in a radically different motion from our perspective also coincides with radical changes in thought, and we can use this Mercurial phenomenon to directly respond to life less attached to the previous habitual patterns of mind.

This retrograde occurring entirely in the sign of Libra means that Mercury will be residing in the house of Venus, and so we will be able to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror of Aphrodite as well as use Venusian mirrors to alter our appearance to others.  It also means that as Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence” (p. 43), “finding and thieving in the realm of love are also Hermetic traits” (p. 48).  Hermes was born from a secret love affair between Zeus and Maia, and as shown in the Homeric Hymn and the Odyssey, Hermes felt no shame singing about his divinely deceitful origins or loudly proclaiming that he would also love to “bed that golden Aphrodite” when she was discovered in her affair with Ares.  I am not sharing these references to suggest anyone enter into an extramarital affair during this Mercury retrograde, only that we will be overcome at times with eros and that within our impassioned embraces we will enter the magical world of Mercury:

Journeying is the best condition for loving.  The gorges over which the “volatized one” passes like a ghost can be the abysses of unbelievable love affairs-  Circe and Calypso islands and holes; they can be abysses also in the sense that there no chance exists for standing on firm ground, but only for further floating between life and death.

–Karl Kerenyi from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury’s capacity to travel the extents of both the upper and underworld brings the association of being a psychopomp or guide of souls, the wily thief and shepherd who carries a golden staff that can lull others into trance states as well as startle wide awake.  During Mercury retrograde it is as if the wave of Hermes’ wand takes us into a realm of perception counter to the dominant narrative of how one’s awareness is expected to operate.  Gleaning wisdom from Mercury retrograde is like embracing the “mythological treasure” described by Peter Kingsley in his book Reality:  “the invaluable object that has been lost and misused and has to be rediscovered at all costs” (p. 21).  The gifts we can most readily receive from Mercury retrograde are not always the kind valued by consensus culture:  the illuminated thought received while watching the flight of birds or the flight of leaves falling from trees, or the mysterious meanderings of a creative process that does not provide immediate gratification or reward.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Revolving Doors (1926) by Man Ray

 Enantiodromia

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality.  The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state.  Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow.  There is an inherent restoration of balance to our system that results that is not unlike the astrological meaning we can find in Libra, the sign of the Scales.

In astrology Mercury has been defined clearly across centuries, yet delights in defying definitions as it has been known to identify as both masculine and feminine, nocturnal and diurnal, capable of mutating identity in acclimation to its surrounding environment. Mercury retrograde in Libra beckons a re-examination of the Scales, the concept of finding balance that necessitates extremes, tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. The awareness we can access in Mercury retrograde can help us transcend rigid parameters of duality through swinging wildly at times between extremes of perception, experiencing extremities of oppositions in a continual process of re-balancing. As this Mercury retrograde occurs during the final days of the lunar nodes being in Aries and Libra, one realm of extremes we will experience will be our desires for independence and self-empowerment in tandem with our desires for relationship and mutual sharing.  Since the Mercury retrograde begins with Jupiter in Virgo exactly opposite Neptune in Pisces, the extremes of vision we can find between Virgo and Pisces, between skepticism and inspiration, between reductionism and holism, will also come up in a process in which we will be redefining our belief system.

As Mercury stations retrograde in opposition to Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn, the stationing Mercury will dig into our core and a morphing from one extreme to another could result from what was formerly repressed entering conscious awareness.  This Libra Mercury retrograde bridges Uranus and Pluto more intensely together than they have been recently, and so corresponding contrariness could involve strong impulses for liberation and emancipation in the face of judgmental shaming or oppression, or strivings for a freedom from restraints coming up with a need to take responsibility within boundaries.  The opposition between Mercury in Libra and Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn creates a t-square in which the missing point is found in Cancer, which means our issues around emotional insecurity and security will be important triggers.

The influence of the North Node of the Moon being in Libra is further amplified not only because this Mercury retrograde occurs entirely in Libra, but also because at the time that Mercury stations, Juno will be in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct the North Node of the Moon. Juno here in Libra makes our desires for relationship all the more soulful and procreative, drawing feelings to work through difficulties that have arisen in the relationships that resonate with our deepest longings.  As Juno is also a protector of those abused or victimized in relationship, her meaning in combination with the fiercely independent Black Moon Lilith and the Lunar North Node means that those being victimized at extremes in relationship can experience a sudden shift that impels them to leave for good.

Black Moon Lilith also brings added meaning that aspects of our essential nature that we have formerly not integrated into our relationships will now demand attention with the swift force of enantiodromia.  In the Libra realm of balance and counterweight, Black Moon Lilith is a fascinating calculated point in space that serves as a point of balance in terms of the Moon’s orbit.  Indeed, the true node of Black Moon Lilith is even called the “oscillating” Black Moon Lilith, and by name association both the “true” and “mean” calculations of the point have taken on the mythological meaning of Lilith.  Here we find the exiled and the estranged, but like one who must runaway from one’s home environment for safety as well as to find one’s true joy, the issues of Black Moon Lilith are necessary challenges for us to face in our healing and empowerment.  If we have been coping with certain issues at an extreme of perception, the other side holding an important perspective for us to embrace will flood our awareness.

Along these lines, the beginning period of Mercury’s retrograde seems to hold a powerful moment of integration from the previous Venus retrograde, as Venus is direct while still within her retrograde shadow zone, and is receiving the stationing Mercury in Libra through a sextile.  As Mercury begins to move backward into the initial phase of its retrograde motion, Venus will continue moving forward through Leo in the degrees of its retrograde shadow zone, resurrecting the issues from this past Venus retrograde for us to readdress.  If you have important placements or aspects in the second half of Leo, this Mercury retrograde time period will be your third opportunity to experience the transit of Venus there.  The third time will be the charm in the sense that the issues needing to be addressed will now be crystal clear if you have been paying attention, and the magical thinking of Mercury retrograde could bring a new perspective to the situation previously unthought.

Mercury Inferior Conjunction in Libra

Man Ray (1922) Rayograph

Cazimi

The initial phase of the Mercury retrograde begins on September 17 and extends until September 30, 2015 when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction.  The union of Mercury with the Sun during its retrograde descriptively is similar to an interior conjunction, as it is the conjunction of Mercury with the Sun that happens when Mercury is between us on Earth and our Sun.  As a result this is a powerful moment of conception, likened to a New Mercury for us to set intention with in accord. To the ancients this is the time of Mercury being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, the moment when Mercury is reborn with purifying vivification by the rays of solar light.  When Mercury and the Sun are cazimi at eight degrees of Libra, Juno and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct a few degrees away- this makes themes related to Juno and Black Moon Lilith absolutely vital to a new conception of Mercury we create at this time.  There is also an opposition of Vesta in Aries to Juno and Black Moon Lilith that brings a counterpoint of wanting independent focus on needs not being met in relationships.  Vesta is also retrograde, signifying a strong inner urge of devotion operating independent of our outer relationships.  The Vesta opposition to Juno and Black Moon Lilith is further emphasized by its alignment with a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a couple of days before Mercury becomes cazimi.

Convictions, beliefs, opinions,

certainties, principles,

rules and habits have abandoned me.

I woke up naked at the edge of a civilization

which seemed to me comic and incomprehensible.

— from After by Czeslaw Milosz

The period around the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury is a time of incubation, and so it is interesting that we will be experiencing the initial return of Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously.  Whatever house Sagittarius rules in your birth chart is important to reflect upon at this time as you will experience a sudden jolt of the associated issues arising in your life.  The jolting pace of the half human half horse Centaur found in the symbol of Sagittarius is another theme that we will need to address through Mercury retrograde in Libra, as Sagittarius thrives on swiftness and taking off in new directions.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter that is in the Virgo sign of Mercury, it means that the shifting relational perspectives we experience during this Mercury retrograde are deeply rooted to the changes that will occur with Saturn re-entering the sign of Sagittarius.  We can open to the gifts of Sagittarius by opening perception to the unknown without preconceived assumptions, discerning directly in the moment as much as possible.

It was a riverside meadow, lush, from before the hay harvest,

On an immaculate day in the sun of June.

I searched for it, found it, recognized it.

Grasses and flowers grew there familiar in my childhood.

With half-closed eyelids I absorbed luminescence.

And the scent garnered me, all knowing ceased.

Suddenly I felt I was disappearing and weeping with joy.

— A Meadow by Czeslaw Milosz

A further link between this Mercury retrograde in Libra and the previous Venus retrograde in Leo is at the time that Mercury has its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on September 30, Venus will be in range of the same degree at which it had its own Inferior Conjunction with the Sun back on August 15, 2015.  As a result this is a magic portal moment in which our new conception of Mercury arises at the same time we are re-awakened to our new conception of Venus that happened over a month ago.  As we enter this New Mercury phase we release our old thought forms in preparation for the envisioning of the new.  Any deep soul desires we have been resisting could erupt with volatility at this time, as there is an incredibly transformative astrological climate surrounding the build up to this New Mercury:  Pluto will station direct in Capricorn six days before it, and there will be a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a few days before Mercury enters the heart of the Sun.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1926) The Meeting

Oracular Meetings

“The diverse shall be no less diverse, but they shall flow and unite . . . .

they unite now.”

∼ Walt Whitman from [The Sleepers] in Leaves of Grass

Beginning October 1, Mercury will shift into the final phase of its underworld journey that lasts until October 9 when Mercury stations direct as a Morning Star.  There are a number of important astrology aspects occurring during this period, and the sign of Virgo that Mercury calls its home is highlighted.  For one, Venus will have re-entered Virgo and will only be a couple of minutes away from leaving her retrograde shadow zone at the moment Mercury stations direct.  As Mercury stations Venus will also be applying closely to a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This final week of Mercury’s retrograde motion thus holds a powerful ingress of Venus from the solar sign of Leo into the Mercurial sign of Virgo, a transition symbolized for many by the form of the half maiden half lioness Sphinx.  With Saturn in Sagittarius awaiting Venus here, there is a demand for us to catalyze and activate all of the changes that have been stirred up during the long Venus retrograde journey from the beginning of Virgo to the heart of Leo and back again.  As soon as Venus enters Virgo, she is welcomed by a delighted Mercury into his hermetic home.  Venus traditionally has been classified as being in its fall in Virgo, and so with Mercury already in retrograde in Libra this can be a profound falling into our inner realm for transformative realization.

In addition, there will be an opposition between Mars in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces that occurs leading up to the stationing of Mercury, bringing the boundlessness of Neptune in opposition to Mars in the home of Mercury.  Mars in Virgo utilizes Mercurial facilities to focus on the details of our surrounding environment to accomplish work.  In the Virgo capacity to refine and develop techniques and tools, Mars necessarily needs to separate this from that in order to find the necessary focus for desired growth.  In the face of Neptune, the invisible realm opens around Mars in Virgo, evoking mystical, mysterious desires and experiences.  As e.e. cummings once wrote, “love is a deeper season than reason,” and with Mercury retrograde in Libra during this Mars and Neptune opposition we will know this beyond rational comprehension in one way or another.

By the time we get to Mercury stationing direct, Mars will be further conjunct the Moon in Virgo and applying closely to a conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo.  The Moon in the sign of Mercury therefore will be bringing the spirit of Neptune opposite Mars into its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo as Mercury stands still in the sign of the Scales.  This seems like a time of inner epiphanies such as the macrocosm the poet Walt Whitman described through the microcosm of the leaves of grass before him. With Neptune in Pisces activated so strongly with Venus, Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter all essentially in an opposite area of the zodiac, and Saturn having now entered Sagittarius to begin to initiate its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune, there is an amplified otherworldly quality to the approach of Mercury retrograde into the heart of the Sun.  This does not spell disaster for our dearest dreams, but rather asks us to open ourselves to the boundless quality of our vision as well as the pragmatic work needed for successful manifestation.  At the time of Mercury uniting with the Sun, however, it will be most effective to enjoy the timeless quality of the moment that transcends reasoned defining:

what time is it? it is by every star
a different time, and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

-nor all their times encompass me and you:

when are we never, but forever now
(hosts of eternity; not guests of seem)
believe me, dear, clocks have enough to do

without confusing timelessness and time.

Time cannot children, poets, lovers tell-
measure imagine, mystery, a kiss
-not though mankind would rather know than feel;

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our) merely to undie

— e.e. cummings

At the time that Mercury is stationing direct, it is phasis which means in this case it makes its first appearance in our morning sky after having been invisible during the retrograde.  This means that Mercury will be emerging from “under the beams” of the Sun, which generally means it is moving beyond fifteen degrees from the Sun, and our ancients saw this re-appearance in the sky as signifying a vital message.  In a recent episode of the Hermetic Astrology Podcast, Gary Caton used the term “oracular” in tandem with the  “appearance that speaks” made by Jupiter recently emerging from under the beams of the Sun in Virgo.  Oracles have strong association with Mercury, as Hermes was given an oracle from Apollo found under the cliffs of Mount Parnassus on Delphi, driven by three sisters of Fates who feed on honey.  At this oracular phase of its retrograde journey, Mercury will no longer be invisible and will emerge with a flash of light at dawn as a Morning Star. At this moment Mercury will be closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, in addition to Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter lined up together in Virgo. Wherever we are, whatever is happening for us at this time will be saturated with the delightful, curious, mischievous, erotic presence of Mercury, and the message transmitted being so closely aligned with the North Node of the Moon means there is an essential and necessary push forward in growth for us to experience in relationship.

Mercury in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Morning Star

Following Mercury stationing direct on October 9, Mercury as a Morning Star will no longer be retrograde in motion but will remain in the retrograde shadow zone until October 26.  Demetra George has compared this phase of Mercury’s journey as being similar to Mercury in Gemini, in contrast to her viewpoint that Mercury’s retrograde motion makes it similar to Mercury in Pisces.  At this point Mercury goes through an identity shift that leaves the magical, symbolic, subjectively intuitive mode of the retrograde behind, and transitions into a mindset eager to learn multiple new things with a sense of adventure toward the future.  Mercury in this phase as Morning Star is the friendly, fleet footed messenger who stimulates thoughts, connections, and conversations everywhere travelled.  Mercury with a flash of light heralding sunrise appears as we wake up from the dream world, guiding our thoughts through the haze of morning toward the objectives we need to focus on in the light of day.  This Promethean role of foresight will be played with full aplomb by the clever Mercury in the weeks ahead.

During this phase of Mercury direct and beginning to gain in speed again, Venus finally moves beyond her retrograde shadow zone and glides through the sign of Virgo making a series of crucial aspects.  First, immediately following Mercury stationing direct Venus will square Saturn in Sagittarius on October 10.  Less than a week later, Venus will oppose Neptune in Pisces on October 16,  and then on October 25 when Mercury is emerging from its retrograde shadow zone, Venus will conjunct Jupiter for the third time this year in Virgo.  Meanwhile, Mars in Virgo will also conjunct Jupiter on October 16 at the same time Venus is opposing Neptune, and day by day as we approach the end of October Venus will be getting closer and closer to Mars in Virgo.

Thus as we exit the Mercury retrograde shadow zone, with Mercury direct in Libra, the passions of our relationships will continue to be stirred up as Mercury moves through the sign of Venus and Venus heads for her eventual union with Mars in the sign of Mercury on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  The combination of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo in this period, purified from the recent retrogrades of both Venus and Mercury, will be a very different affair than the unions of Venus with Jupiter and then Mars that occurred in Leo earlier in the year.  It seems the more we let this Mercury retrograde in Libra lead us where life takes us, knowing that our travels astray will ultimately return us to center again, the more the full range of our experiences can inform this late October, early November timeframe where it appears important work can be crafted from within our mind.  This Mercury retrograde in Libra can help us discover the inner truth that will source our later works to come.

life is more true than reason will deceive
(more secret or than madness did reveal)
deeper is life than lose:higher than have
-but beauty is more each than living’s all

multiplied with infinity sans if
the mightiest meditations of mankind
cancelled are by one merely opening leaf
(beyond whose nearness there is no beyond)

or does some littler bird than eyes can learn
look up to silence and completely sing?
futures are obsolete;pasts are unborn
(here less than nothing’s more than everything)

death, as men call him, ends what they call men
-but beauty is more now than dying’s when

— e.e. cummings

References

cummings, e.e. (1994). Selected Poems. Liveright.

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2011). Selected and Last Poems, 1931-2004. HarperCollins.

Solar Eclipse in Virgo

Scott Young Virgo Solar Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Virgo Solar Eclipse

On September 12 – 13, 2015 we enter the dark procreative void of a Solar Eclipse held in the arms of the Winged Maiden, the first of a series of eclipses we will experience in the sign of Virgo.  Solar Eclipses are the most intense New Moons, when the alignment of the Moon between the Earth and Sun blackens our solar light.  Although this particular eclipse is partial and not total in its darkening effect, it is potent nonetheless as the ruler of the eclipse, Mercury in Libra, is separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn and in process of stationing retrograde five days afterward.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse furthermore digs up the roots of the past season of Venus retrograde intensity, as it comes less than a week after Venus has stationed direct and its Mercury in Libra ruler is being received by Venus in Leo through a sextile.

New Moons are known as times to set new intentions and begin new journeys while clearing what needs to be released from the past, yet at Solar Eclipses the changes that arise often feel out of our control similar to a tidal force erupting around us.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation ascribed this effect of Solar Eclipses to the fact that the Lunar Light obscures our view of Solar Light in blackness, meaning from Earth we momentarily experience the Moon alone without the Sun.  Since the Moon signifies the intersection of our past in the present moment, it means that forces from our past, including unconscious forces, can likewise veil our present experiences in their fertile darkness.  Again, though this particular eclipse is not total and therefore the Sun will not be completely obscured, the same general symbology applies.

Who is the Winged Maiden holding this Solar Eclipse?  To the Greeks she was Astraea, a daughter of Zeus who helped direct humanity to follow natural law during the Golden Age of peace and prosperity on Earth, coming down from the heavens to mingle with ordinary people on the Earth and foster harmony with the natural world of creation.  Over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted, it was said that Astraea became increasingly full of contempt for humanity, becoming so full of hatred eventually that she left Earth forever to become the constellation of Virgo.  Astraea has an association with Justice also found in the following sign of Libra, yet hers is more of a natural justice governed by the order found in the creation and destruction of the natural world, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay, and the orbit of our Earth around the Sun within the cycles of cosmos.

The Winged Maiden has also been associated with Erigone, the daughter of Icarus,  as well as with the ancient great goddesses Isis in Egypt, and Atargatis in modern day Syria.   Isis and Atargatis in particular bring to mind the double-bodied nature of Virgo as a Mutable zodiac sign, as Isis was able to take flight on wings and Atargatis was sometimes depicted as a mermaid.  Atargatis symbolically integrates the polarity of Pisces to Virgo, as she is a fertility goddess to whom fish are sacred, and is associated with the bodily reception and transmission of spirit through sexuality and ritual.  Furthermore, Isis connects with Virgo through her clear command of logos and Mercurial magical abilities that brings spirit through matter to heal fragmentation of soul.  Liz Greene has previously explored how the purification of Virgo further connects to the sacred sexuality of Isis and Atargatis that bridges blissful pleasures of spirit with base material desire:

Virgo seems to embody a deep paradox, a combination of upright and almost schoolmarmish Astraea set side by side with the orgiastic lunar goddesses of Asia Minor.   This paradox poses an enormous conflict for Virgo, and it is out of the conflict that Virgo’s pattern of development arises. Whether this is enacted as a collision between personal and professional life, between marriage and independence (a common theme), between spirituality and materialism, between morality and abandonment, Virgo struggles with these opposites throughout life, trying to encompass them both. Often the Virgoan individual will try to embody one while sacrificing the other, and this generally provokes difficulties, for the fate of the sign does not seem to permit such splitting . . .

The harlotry of the virgin goddesses does not mean merely sexual availability to all callers any more than ‘virgin’ means merely sexual intactness.  I would understand it more as an openness to the flow of life, a willingness to trust the natural order, an acceptance of penetration and change.  Contrary to the popular descriptions of Virgo, I feel this paradoxical daimon to form the true core of the sign.  But it is difficult to achieve . . . It is far easier, and more common, for Virgo to flee into ritualised or obsessional behaviour, where the sterner aspects of Astraea submerge the fecundity and joy of Atargatis. This is often the prelude to the arrival of psychosomatic symptoms, for Atargatis is a deity who demands entry through that most basic manifestation of life- the body.

— Liz Greene from The Astrology of Fate

The Virgin in the symbolism of Virgo as we know is not about chastity or saving one’s sexuality for marriage, but rather is about the aspect of oneself which is independent and whole upon itself outside the constraints of marriage or the morality of societal conventions.  Virgo is a sign connected to independently acting from a place of inner morality and Mercurial discernment, and so this Virgo Solar Eclipse arriving in the aftermath of Venus having stationed direct in Leo means whatever now lacks alignment with our inner truth will become eclipsed and released.  Instead of using obsessive, ritualised behavior to shield ourselves from the coming changes, we can instead embrace the change in the moment through ritually purifying and tending to our body in order to receive the full message found within the shifting and shedding.

Virgo Solar Eclipse

by Arrington de Dionyso

For thousands of years eclipses have brought fear, being seen in ancient times as events in which our two Lights (Sun and Moon) were consumed by a great dragon of chaos and creation, with the North Node of the Moon representing the head of the dragon, and the South Node of the Moon representing the tail of the dragon.  The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses.  The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth:  the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for manifestation in our life.  To many, the North Node of the Moon is furthermore associated with one’s evolutionary path in life, though this path is oftentimes fraught with struggles over our desire nature.  When our Lights align with the nodes we have an eclipse, with the Sun and Moon on one side of the nodal axis at a Solar Eclipse and the Sun and Moon on both sides of the nodal axis at a Lunar Eclipse.

This Solar Eclipse is the first of a series that will occur in Virgo, and our first one since the Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened on March 20, 2015 in range of a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aries.   In contrast, this Virgo Solar Eclipse is in range of a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, creating an amplified push toward manifestation of our desires and bringing things into being.  With reflection we can note what changes flowing out of that previous Pisces eclipse are coming to a head at today’s Virgo eclipse, with the crucial difference being that this Virgo Solar Eclipse aligned with the North Node of the Moon in Libra brings a heavy emphasis on our needs within our relationships.  For those who embrace the concept of karma, I have found through my work in astrology that the lunar nodes reveal the karma of our growth and development, a viewpoint that was popularized in astrology by Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation:

In the case of the Moon’s nodes, we are dealing with what might be called the karmic way in which the Moon’s function operates in a human being. But the word karma should not be used only in the sense of “bad” karma. Karma simply refers to the fact that any new cycle of existence is always in some manner related to or is a sequence of a previous cycle. The new cycle inherits from the old some unfinished business which needs to be dealt with, but it also inherits the results of some achievements. More specifically, the Moon’s north node symbolizes new possibilities of growth on the basis of what has been accomplished “in the past” — let us say, in “past incarnations”, although the concept of reincarnation is most ambiguous, or at least far more complex than popularly interpreted . . . We should not forget that a person is first of all operating in a biosphere with a long evolutionary past and in a society and culture conditioned equally by ancient, collective failures as well as great achievements. Thus karma is never to be considered solely a personal matter; for it is also produced by a collective situation inherited from a long series of past generations.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Astrology of Transformation

The ruler of this Solar Eclipse is Mercury in Libra that gives even greater emphasis to the fact that the eclipse is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result our minds will be focused more on relationships and expressing what we need and desire, and we will likewise be on the receiving end of needing to listen to the needs of those we are in relationship with.  This relational focus through Libra will involve romantic relationships, friendships, business relations, and all forms our interactions with others take, but there will also be added emphasis in the collective on issues around social justice and oppression, with numerous karmic collective strands coming together in a messy knot of conflict.   Thus while the Venus retrograde in Leo has already stirred up the intensity of these collective conflicts, this Virgo Solar Eclipse will further crescendo passions around issues such as the legalization of gay marriage and institutional racism in law enforcement in the United States, the refugee crisis in Europe, and countless other global crises involving conflicts in society that create oppression.

Our draw into the dynamics of our relationships is catalyzed even further by Mercury in Libra separating from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the eclipse.  As Mercury will also be on the brink of stationing retrograde, there will be key insights into our relationships to be found at this time including awareness for how the conditioning of our culture and early authority figures have helped shape our relational patterns.  We are dealing at this eclipse not only with our own personal karma but also our ancestral and cultural karma, and so part of the Virgoan task will be analyzing what issues are part of our core patterns we need to personally work on, and what issues are more about how our authentic nature has been molded by familial and cultural influences.  Those born with Pluto in Virgo in range of a conjunction with this Solar Eclipse (20-21°) and those born with Pluto in Libra in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Libra (14-15°) have a tremendous opportunity in this eclipse time to feel into the bottom line of their relational patterns.  At times this may feel heavy and in need of grieving, but a metamorphosis into a purified relational dynamic free of past restrictive influences is possible to eventually realize.

Pisces Full Moon

by Scott Young

The recent Pisces Full Moon initiated us into the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and the tension of their polarity has been building in intensity every single day during the waning half of the recent lunar cycle.  At the time of the Solar Eclipse, their opposition is not yet exact but close and applying strongly.  Pisces and Virgo, ruled by Jupiter and Mercury since ancient times, are an essential polarity in astrology through which we develop our sense of meaning, belief, vision, and spirituality.   We need both for healthy vitality of belief and perception:  we need the holistic awareness of Pisces that transcends the labeling and categorization of reductionist thinking, while we likewise need the Virgo ability to penetrate into detailed analysis of the parts that make up the whole so to avoid living our lives lost in illusion of belief.  Neptune has become associated firmly with Pisces because it is the symbol of ultimate reality, the oceanic source that remains beyond the ability of scientists to catalogue and rationally explain.  Jupiter in Virgo coming face to face with Neptune in Pisces therefore means we must come into reckoning with the invisible aspects of reality beyond the ability of language to explain.

As a result this Solar Eclipse marks a pivotal moment of transformation in our beliefs and vision, and you can use astrology as a guide in part by simply looking at the houses in your birth chart occupied by the signs of Pisces and Virgo, and aspects made to the opposition of Neptune and Jupiter at 8-9 degrees of these mutable signs.  Since Mercury in Libra is also the ruler of Jupiter in Virgo, it means the added emphasis on relationships marked by this eclipse also applies to the opposition between Neptune and Jupiter, and so it is in our outer interactions and conversations with others that we will become impelled to reshape our vision and beliefs.

Another astrological force found in the harvesting of this Virgo Solar Eclipse is Ceres, stationing direct at 26 Capricorn a few days after the eclipse in range of a trine.  Ceres has been associated with Virgo in astrology at least as far back as Marcus Manilius in the 1st Century CE, who wrote that “the Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres” (Manilius, Astronomica, 2.433-452, Goold trans., 1977, p. 117-119).  While Manilius was of course referring to the mythic Ceres and not the dwarf planet Ceres, the connection between Ceres and Virgo was further bound by Demetra George in her book Asteroid Goddesses, in which she described Ceres as an agent in transforming our sense of personal awareness into collective awareness through the sign of Virgo and around issues of productivity and acceptance that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.  Ceres stationing direct in Capricorn, in range of a trine to the Solar Eclipse in Virgo, could bring up issues of balance around our ambition and if the goals we have been working toward are about gaining external validation to boost our inner worth, or if our work is instead focused upon goals that will bring us intrinsic rewards without the need for outer acclaim.  In the end, by finding the work that will bring us a true sense of joy to perform we will most likely gain recognition from others who share similar interests and passions.

Ceres is the Queen of the asteroid belt and now considered to be more of a planet than an asteroid, but there is one asteroid goddess in particular who is also highlighted at this eclipse:  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, who forms a t-square with the Solar Eclipse in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces, being square to both.

Pallas Athena in Sagittarius

Pallas and the Centaur (1482) by Botticelli

The most impactful aspect this Virgo Solar Eclipse makes is perhaps its opposition to Chiron in Pisces, the most prominently celebrated of all of the wandering centaurs in astrology.  Chiron bridges Saturn and Uranus, as at its closest orbit to the earth it can at times become closer to the Earth than Saturn, and at its farthest orbit to the earth it can at times become farther from the Earth than Uranus.  This means that the half horse, half human figure associated with Chiron connects the material world governed by Saturn with the boundless realm of the transpersonal associated with Uranus.  As a result Chiron connects to the deep memories and knowledge we hold in our body that can erupt into our consciousness in bodywork and practices aiding our integration of body, mind, and spirit.  Indeed, Chiron’s eruptive impact can be seen in its connection to the Uranian realm of sudden liberation that can feel shocking in its lightning bolt effect, eventually bringing realizations of Self-healing.

Chiron

Liz Greene’s Mythic Tarot

Chiron in Pisces is holding the place of polarity to this Virgo Solar Eclipse, meaning that he has a vital lesson to teach us. Chiron is the master teacher who demands excellence from his students, the mentor of the healing arts including music, plant medicine, and astrology, and the martial arts as tools for self defense and the protection of others in need of help.  There is also the aspect of the mythic Chiron involving his suffering from toxic poisoning and willingness to give himself over to the pain in sacrifice, the “wounded healing” characteristic you have no doubt heard ad nauseam from astrologers.  Although the “wounded healer” analysis may be overused, there is an aspect that I have found tends to be very accurate in terms of Chiron’s impact on us- this is the phenomenon in which the issues we have struggled with and have caused us suffering turn out to be the vehicles that transport us to our greatest strengths and to the gifts of soul we possess to transmit to the collective.

For example, the timing of Chiron’s discovery in 1977 corresponded in popular culture with the development of hip hop and punk rock, two forms of musical expression that countless youths since have seized to express their feelings of pain and suffering in the material realm through, gaining a sense of Uranian liberation, individuation, and higher power in the process.  Chiron wants you to have a vehicle, a tool, a technique, or a practice to express your talents into the collective, and through the interweaving of your inner gift with the outer world, powerful growth and healing can be activated.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse in in range of a sextile with Saturn at the end of Scorpio, while Chiron is also in range of a wide trine with Saturn, so the polarity between Chiron and the eclipse contains a lesson for us that can promote our stability in the material world.

A more challenging aspect is the quincunx between Uranus in Aries and the Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  While this quincunx can bring up fears that our most inspired, boundless visions do not have a realistic chance of manifesting, instead work to find an access point to begin the process and set things in motion.  If you keep putting things off until you feel completely ready or circumstances seem perfect you can continue to put it off indefinitely.   Find a method, practice or form to transmit at least part of your vision through, and work on letting go of criticizing your initial effort through comparison with others or your own idealized standards.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being both square to the Chiron polarity with the eclipse, as well as in trine to Uranus in Aries, means that we can use creative visualization to change our lives, both inspiring us to initiate new steps and aiding us in reformulating to address issues once underway.

scott young rose

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Venus is now direct in Leo and established as divine Morning Star heralding our dawn.  Venus is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, and separating from a conjunction with Mars in Leo, giving her a fiery Morning Star presence that wants to go after whatever she finds inspiring and beguiling.  Venus is strongly tied to this Virgo Solar Eclipse since Mercury is the ruler of the eclipse and occupying Libra, the home of Venus, meaning that Venus is receiving Mercury through a sextile.  This sextile between Mercury in Libra and Venus in Leo brings an opportunity to begin stabilizing within all of the transformation we experienced during the Venus retrograde.  Since we are talking about eclipse season I do not mean stabilizing to imply a quiet and peaceful experience, but rather that through the storms of this time we can begin solidifying our reborn Venusian values through our actions in response to life.

At the time of this Virgo Solar Eclipse, we are within a brief period of time in which we do not have a personal planet retrograde, as Venus finally ended her retrograde six days before the eclipse, and Mercury will station retrograde five days after the eclipse.  If you feel raw and vulnerable in the aftermath of this recent Venus retrograde you are not alone, and it is worth remembering that Venus will remain in her retrograde shadow zone through the rest of September and into the first week of October.   Whatever has been reborn in you during the Venus retrograde is vital to tend and keep sustained, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.

Venus is also the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Libra, bringing Leo passion and a clear push toward fulfilling our desires within relationships.  It also means we will have a difficult balancing process if we want to meet both our own needs and the needs of others in our relationships.  The sabian symbol for this Virgo Solar Eclipse provides a solution in the image of “a girl’s basketball team,” suggesting that through collaboration with others, through being accountable to a role within a team pursuing a common goal, we can find the point of balance between meeting both our own needs and the needs of others we are in relationship with.  The vital point is that if you find yourself in a process of negotiating with a partner over relational dynamics, that you do not suppress and ignore the inner transformation you felt taking form during the Venus retrograde.  While it is important to listen to others and to be supportive, it is also necessary for you to live your own authentic life.

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo III Decan

This Virgo Solar Eclipse falls in the third face of Virgo that is associated with the 10 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot this image of a family enjoying the fruits of their labor and legacy is associated with wealth, both the accumulation of wealth as well as being able to sustain wealth through familial lineages or other legacies.  The image also corresponds with the achievement of a stable, secure lifestyle affording one the possibility of enjoying material luxuries as well as the luxury of a contemplative lifestyle.  In connection to the Solar Eclipse in the third decan of Virgo, we likewise have our own lineages and legacies to draw from in the pursuit and gaining of wealth, though here wealth is more about its root meaning of happiness, health, and well-being than material riches.  This could connect with your blood relatives and ancestors or perhaps more likely with your soul tribe, those beings who are your kindred spirits and have provided you with inspiration and visionary meaning.

The third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury, giving Mercury added emphasis at this Solar Eclipse that also occurs in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces took a Mercurial angle to this card by interpreting that “the pensive nature of the elder pictured on this card suggest that wealth is here posed as a question, to be riddled out.  What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?” (p. 151).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo, as being the third decan it is about the separation of spirit and matter from previous balance, revealing the ultimate value of the work as the final face of the three Earth signs of the zodiac:

In this face we ponder the ultimate result of material things.  The limits of all created works are here considered.  This decan thus has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end . . . One gains the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions. The ability to see unto the 7th generation is gained …

Escorted by wealth on one side and death on the other, the residents of this face cross the threshold into the tomb.  Alone in the burial chamber with silent centuries, they dialogue with the corpse all will become about the value of all things.  The importance of legacies becomes clear, for though all works face eventual decay, some endure for aeons.  For just as no thing continues forever, all leave something behind.  There is no life which does not bestow upon the world an inheritance, even if it is no more than a feast for scavengers . . .

In comprehending the ongoing cycle of generation and corruption, one is freed from fear, for most terrors are petty, and disappear when the shadow of inevitability falls across them.  This discussion reveals the importance of things as they are- arising and receding- and deserving of love and attention.

–Austin Coppock from 36 Faces

Though not mentioned by Coppock in his deft portrayal of this decan, in the tables of the appendix he lists that the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo.  Hestia is a sublime spirit guide to turn towards at this Solar Eclipse, for she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the quality of value essential to our vitality that we wish to invest into the work we perform in the world.  Hestia is the devoted one with a far reaching legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath and action for the living force found throughout all of the natural world of creation.  Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service to all of creation.  Within waves of shattering change, within the decomposition and death of the old and the hatching of the new, Hestia opens herself to the change of the moment through her heart-centered focus on the eternal power of love and devotion.

References

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

Greene, Liz. (1984). The Astrology of Fate.  Weiser Books.

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

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

Seven Stars Astrology (2015).  Manilius, Neptune, and the Fishes. http://www.sevenstarsastrology.com/?p=1980

Pisces Full Moon

Pisces Full Moon

Illustration by Kay Nielson from East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1914)

Pisces Full Moon

The Full Moon in Pisces on August 29, 2015 is full of passion and heralds the coming eclipse season, for  the New Moon to follow is a Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  It is also a Super Moon, and the first Full Moon classified as a Super Moon this year.  Super Moon is a term coined by astrologer Richard Nolle for either New or Full Moons occurring at the Moon’s perigee, when the Moon comes closest to Earth in orbit (Nolle defined a Super Moon as occurring within 90% of the Moon’s closest orbit to Earth).  Super Moons have been measured to have a greater impact on tides, and likewise our emotional tides will overflow as we will be at the culmination of the current lunar cycle that began with the New Moon conjunct Venus retrograde, at the time of a new cycle between Venus and the Sun. This Pisces Super Moon is straight up loaded, with Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, Neptune in Pisces conjunct the Moon, Mercury in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Mars conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo.   We are at the dawn of a new sense of Venus in our lives, as she has arisen from the underworld and settled into a new phase of her retrograde as a Morning Star signaling sunrise.  As a result, this Pisces Full Moon will reveal to us whether or not our life path and structures currently align with our Venusian rebirth of values and desires.

So often we try to convince ourselves we are living a full, contented life.   But there is always something pulling at our heart; ambition, restlessness, are just its shadows.  And it will go on tearing at our hearts until we start to acknowledge what is missing.

— Peter Kingsley from Reality

Jupiter is at home in Pisces, but instead finds itself in the sign of Virgo opposite the Full Moon in Pisces.  Jupiter as the ruler of this Full Moon is activating a polarity of consciousness more extreme than the typical Full Moon, as the Sun will be united with Jupiter in opposition to the Moon in union with Neptune.  Just like Venus being in a new cycle with the Sun, Jupiter is also now in a new cycle with the Sun, the difference being that Jupiter has been initiated into it’s new solar cycle in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  As a result, Jupiter has passed through a purifying initiation administered in Virgo, giving the new Jupiter cycle an emphasis on productivity, refinement of technique, research, analysis, deepened awareness of language, and discerning vision.  While many have been struggling with difficult emotions surfacing during the recent underworld period of the Venus retrograde, Jupiter’s conjunction with the Sun in Virgo can aid us in seeing through facades and the superficial, helping us envision where to focus going forward to bring us a greater sense of fulfillment aligned with our changing state of Venus.

neptune gdansk

Neptune in Gdansk, Poland

As the polarity between Virgo and Pisces has a lot to do with the reception of spirit in one form or another, in service to one’s ideal, the focus on the here and now of the Sun’s conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo is at odds with the otherworldly quality aroused by the Full Moon united with Neptune in Pisces.  Neptune connects to the infinite, oceanic field and in the sign of Pisces has added imaginal emphasis on the potency of the images surrounding us and emanating from within our imagination.  Neptune in Pisces can be like a siren’s call that leads some to crash under waves of illusion, while for others it can dissolve awareness to flow beyond the rigid confines of consensus culture.  Neptune in Pisces can create storms that flood the structures we have grown accustomed to, forcing our identities to mutate and shift in creation of a new livelihood out of the dissolution of the old and outgrown.  There is a balanced reception to strike between Virgo and Pisces that requires self-realization regarding the illusions of belief we have been drifting through in surrounding culture.  For example, we could be under the sway of social programming from religion such as the pervasive influence of the biblical Garden of Eden leading to feelings of shame or judgmental projections.  Or, perhaps we are caught up in the illusory stock market and a financial system of fabrications fabricating fabrications.

Jupiter in Virgo’s reception of this Pisces Full Moon could lead to a penetrating awareness of deeper meaning in our environment, similar to our first realizations in youth of the false pretenses of authority figures, or the blatant evidence of colonial oppression in our surrounding social structures we had previously been ignorant of.  While the Virgo Sun and Jupiter attunes us to the fluctuations of matter made of soul surrounding us, Neptune in Pisces being lit up with a conjoined Full Moon could tap us into another realm of soul seemingly invisible in our surrounding material world.   It feels important to put the emphasis on grounding the insights that arise in the here and now at this Full Moon, and opening ourselves to an unveiling of what aspects of our recent attachments are illusory and which hold a solid foundation for us.

Scott Young

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

There are real fireworks to this Pisces Full Moon, as Mars is applying to a conjunction with Venus Retrograde and creating a heated underlying energy.  We are a week away from Venus stationing direct, and so the arrival of Mars in Leo to unite with Venus amplifies all of the issues we have been experiencing during this Venus retrograde.  Relationships could become a battleground if we are unable to give space for the transformation of each partner engaged in the dance.  As transiting Venus retrograde is ruling the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, there is an overall emphasis on re-calibrating and re-aligning our relationship dynamics in order for each partner to feel empowered to act and speak authentically.  We need to speak our mind and have our needs met, yet we also will need to be open to the changes our various partners in our various relationships are going through, and avoid attempting to manipulate or control things in order to stave off the necessary mutation.

The Mars conjunction with Venus retrograde in Leo also brings a call to take courage in taking bold steps in asserting yourself in line with the Venus retrograde shiftings experienced in the past month.  We will be receiving a visionary lift at this Full Moon from asteroid goddesses, as Pallas Athena in Sagittarius and Vesta retrograde in Aries will be forming a Grand Fire Trine with the conjunction of Mars and Venus retrograde in Leo.  There is devotion found here to an essential aspect of self uncovered by the Venus retrograde, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius can creatively visualize the next steps to take and wants to lead us into direct action forward.  As there are numerous protest movements building around numerous social justice issues, this Grand Fire Trine also feels auspicious for pinpointing and following through with strategies that inspire others to join the movement.

Full Moon in Pisces

Pier and Ocean (Sea in Starlight) by Piet Mondrian

Since Jupiter and the Sun aligned in Virgo are plugged into Mercury, it is further vital to realize that Mercury is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of this Full Moon in Pisces.  These aspects pull our perception and discernment strongly into the realm of our relationships, both our interpersonal relationships and dynamics within the collective.  Our needs in our most intimate relationships will become obvious and demand attention and expression, and we will need to balance this desire with the same desire arising in our partner.  As Libra also relates to justice, issues related to oppression such as sexism and racism will become even further amplified in the collective with tensions rising between those with opposing viewpoints.

It is wise to bring full attention to issues arising within relationships at this Full Moon with Mercury conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, for at this time Mercury has also entered its retrograde shadow zone in the sign of the scales.  Mercury will be in its retrograde shadow zone for approximately a month, first stationing retrograde on September 17 around 16 degrees of Libra, entering the heart of the Sun on September 30 around 8 degrees Libra, stationing direct on October 9 around 1 degree of Libra, and finally exiting the retrograde shadow zone around October 24, 2015.  This Libran retrograde of Mercury could deepen our relational dynamics and solidify the changes we are beginning to embody from the rebirth of Venus we are now experiencing, but this is a potential outcome that will require cultivation of self-reflection, communication, and listening skills.  If our relationships are badly out of balance at this time, the Mercury retrograde could highlight greater degrees of miscommunication instead of penetrating insight.  As a result the issues arising at this Full Moon are vital to reflect upon going forward into September and October.

Making the alignment of Mercury with the North Node even more potent is the fact that Black Moon Lilith has also recently entered Libra through its mean calculation, and so is conjunct both.  The true node of Black Moon Lilith has previously entered Libra so this is not a completely new phenomenon, but the true node calculation of the actual location of Black Moon Lilith oscillates widely from day to day, and so many astrologers prefer to use the steady, ever progressing forward average calculation of the movement of Black Moon Lilith.  From this perspective, this Pisces Full Moon brings an important ingress of this mean node of Black Moon Lilith into Libra at the same time that Mercury and the North Node of the Moon are also residing there.  Black Moon Lilith brings an added value of what aspects of our Self have previously felt judged, shamed, and even persecuted to such an extent that we have ostracized them in exile away from the personality we take into our daily interactions.  This Full Moon can also therefore shine light on the aspects of our Self we have formerly embodied only at times of complete trust and intimacy, helping us realize it is not only possible but necessary for us to begin to embody these qualities in our mundane, moment to moment interactions in daily life.

First Face of Pisces 8 of Cups

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces I Decan

The Pisces Full Moon is in the first face of Pisces associated with the 8 of Cups in tarot, illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here in this image a hermetic recluse walks away from a watery environment into a mountainous landscape, utilizing a walking stick not unlike a magical staff grounding cosmic awareness into the earth plane.  Above the hermit is an image typically described as a Moon, but I can’t help thinking it also looks like the image of a Sun and Moon in union not unlike an eclipse, not unlike the Solar Eclipse the waning cycle coming after this Full Moon is leading us toward.  The eight cups are stacked in the foreground like a wall or a structural container giving space for penetrating inner awareness, with the base foundation of the stack wider and most solid.  Writing about the 8 of Cups, Kelsey Lynore analyzed that it “marks a significant turning away from tradition and that which has previously given you comfort. Your journey into the future will be long and arduous, leading directly into, and through, the darkness of night. The moon, symbol of the Unconscious, is your sole light and guide. Trust your body, trust your hunches, and trust your intuition. You shan’t be looking back. The 8 of Cups represents that moment when you must say ‘no’ to what is, so that you might create or discover that which will be.”

The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight.  As Austin Coppick wrote in his book on the decans 36 Faces, the “relationship with what lies beyond the boundaries characterizes all of Pisces’ decans,” and in the first face of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions” (p. 244):

Beneath the waves, deep within the labyrinth of images and constructs, lies a revelatory truth- we have always existed in this structure, but we are now only discovering it. When pursued consciously, this phase involves a quest to map invisible walls of reality, to find the subtle structures which guide human life . . .

The discovery of the labyrinth also brings with it the question of its maker, initiating a confrontation with the Demiurgos of the reality structure in question. On a personal level, it is the discovery of our unconscious, and the Maker we find is none other than ourselves . . .

The successful confrontation with the demonized demiurgos leads to an internalization of its power.  In discovering that it was none other than a portion of ourselves which erected this reality, we gain the power to build as we see fit, with what materials we have assembled.  The maze is ours to re-create, our soul the architect.  Yet sometimes the tortuous labyrinth holds within its secret heart a wisdom we did not expect. Its being is no abomination, but exactly as it should be. The realization transforms the structure itself from a prison to a palace. Liberation is achieved here through insight alone.

–Austin Coppock (p. 245) 36 Faces

The Full Moon in Pisces conjunct Neptune, opposite Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, is a culminating point of realization that leads us into a waning lunar cycle tapped into the vortex of the coming Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  We find ourselves in the atmosphere of Venus retrograde reborn as a Morning Star, united with Mars in full morning glory.  We are at a time in which the old and familiar is being eclipsed with finality by guiding lights arising out of darkness on the horizon, as from within prescient, visionary urges are instinctually helping us find our path on the earth at our feet.  Open yourself to the immense beauty of this large, glowing, radiant Moon in Pisces, and the one cherished life you are living.

And who has seen the moon, who has not seen
Her rise from out the chamber of the deep,
Flushed and grand and naked, as from the chamber
Of finished bridegroom, seen her rise and throw
Confession of delight upon the wave,
Littering the waves with her own superscription
Of bliss, till all her lambent beauty shakes toward us
Spread out and known at last, and we are sure
That beauty is a thing beyond the grave,
That perfect, bright experience never falls
To nothingness, and time will dim the moon
Sooner than our full consummation here
In this odd life will tarnish or pass away.

Moonrise by D.H. Lawrence

Pisces Full Moon August 29, 2015

References

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

New Moon in Leo

New Moon in Leo

by Arrington de Dionyso (original painting for sale at http://www.arringtondedionyso.bigcartel.com)

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on August 14, 2015 heralds a shift that wakes us up in our bones like the sound of a lion’s roar as dawn approaches.  The past two weeks of the waning Moon cycle has brought about pivotal change associated with Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury all initiating last quarter squares with Saturn and sparking thoughts of future-oriented vision.  In the Dark Moon shedding leading up to this New Moon, the transit of Venus retrograde will take us into an Underworld of fiery flames that can burn off a previous pattern of limitation.  We will be in a Venusian purification process that may feel disorienting in the sensation of new passions stirring from within our unconscious.  There is astrological reasoning behind these feelings, however, as this New Moon ushers in a visceral rebirth of Venus in our life.

This week’s New Moon in Leo happens a day before the inferior conjunction of Venus retrograde with the Sun, and so Venus retrograde is conjunct this New Moon.   Venus this close to embracing the Sun in the Sun’s domicile of Leo makes this an even stronger solar rebirth for Venus than normal, as the Sun is receiving Venus and engulfing her with enlivening rays of sunlight that cast her golden shadow over everything.  As Venus steps through the flames of the Sun on August 15, the next aspect on her horizon will be a trine to Uranus in Aries that her coppery essence can conduct to create an electrical vibration of liberation, further amplifying Venusian passions.  Stepping into greater emancipation can be challenging, however, when we begin to sense so strongly the repressive forces at work in our surrounding relationships and realize the necessity of altering the dynamic so we can more freely express ourselves.  This New Moon is therefore a powerful moment to set intentions for how to effectively change the way we interact in our relationships so that we can embrace our genuine nature and release attachment to a persona we were embodying in order to accommodate previous relationship dynamics.

Jupiter in Virgo

from the Aurora Consurgens (15th Century)

Jupiter in Virgo

Jupiter’s ingress into Virgo with Mercury also in it’s home sign of Virgo means that the sign of the Winged Maiden is accentuated at this New Moon.  In many ways, this New Moon is the dawn of a time period in which Virgo will be one of the most significant signs, as Jupiter will remain in Virgo for the next year and in the months ahead the North Node of the Moon will shift into Virgo, leading us to experience Virgo eclipses as well.  No doubt you have heard that Jupiter is in its detriment in the sign of Virgo, since Virgo’s opposite sign Pisces is one of Jupiter’s domiciles.  This does not mean that Jupiter is weak in Virgo, only that according to our astrological foundation Virgo’s focus on details is at odds with the grandiose essential nature of Jupiter that favors expansive vision and an all-encompassing perspective over analysis of details.  In contrast to Jupiter’s time in Leo in which the atmosphere promoted creative actualization and boldly pursuing our passions without restraint, Jupiter’s time in Virgo emphasizes a detailed focus on producing quality work that serves a purpose for others.  In line with the theory of essential dignities at the heart of traditional astrology, Jupiter being in detriment in Virgo also means that Jupiter will be less predictable and more open to change and fluctuation.

Classical astrology places the two Mercury domiciles of Gemini and Virgo in polarity to the two Jupiter domiciles of Sagittarius and Pisces.  In Virgo we experience the expansion of Jupiter through Mercurial discernment of how to efficiently organize elements of our life so we can more optimally act in connection with the ever evolving moment.  Jupiter in Virgo will take us through an alchemical process led by the changing speeds of Mercury into how to effectively work with the spirit embedded in the surrounding material world in order to create a healing context for ourselves and others.  Jupiter in Virgo is not about attracting accolades and praise from others, but rather focuses on humbly using our visionary nature to serve the highest good of others in our community.  However, since Virgo is the ultimate sign of analysis, we need to keep in mind how Mercurial labeling and categorization inherently can lead us to set limits and conditions on the vision and sense of meaning we are deriving through our Jupiter functions.

Jupiter in Virgo as a result means we need to pay closer attention to the transit of Mercury in connection with our evolving sense of Jupiterian vision.  At this time of the New Moon, Mercury is also in Virgo which in classical astrology is considered both the domicile and exaltation of Mercury, meaning that the sign of Virgo is aligned harmoniously with the essential nature of Mercury.  This means that while both Jupiter and Mercury are in Virgo, it is an excellent time to diligently research and study subjects aligned with your life purpose.  At this New Moon, the sage Mercury in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune, applying to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and applying to a square with Pallas Athena in Sagittarius and a conjunction with Juno in Virgo.  This is a loaded Mercury that as an Evening Star can take on a role of guiding us into the deep rooted soul experience of the current Venus retrograde phase.

At the time of this New Moon aligned with the inferior conjunction of Venus, Jupiter brings its visionary nature into conjunction with the fixed star Regulus and the degree of the zodiac at which Venus previously stationed retrograde less than a month ago.  In the ancient light of Regulus we find stored ageless stories of nobility and leadership, the rise to power and the fall from power.  The connection of Regulus with a fall from power could connect to the shadow side of Virgo that can become overly critical out of desires for perfection.  If we are not currently where we want to be and doing what we want to do with our life, we need to be careful not to project our own self-criticism into the relationships surrounding us.  The Virgo remedy to this ill is complete acceptance in the moment of where you are in life, and acknowledgment that when we fully enter the presence of the moment we allow ourselves to feel our idealized sense of perfection.  Instead of taking out our frustration on others, we can instead utilize the potent mental attributes of Virgo to creatively problem-solve our current dilemmas.

Venus in Leo

Three Tahitians by Paul Gauguin

Venus Inferior Conjunction

It is stellar synchronicity that this Venus cycle’s Inferior Conjunction commences a day after a New Moon, creating fertile ground to plant the seed of a new Venus cycle.  Whether you are experiencing the rapture of a new romance, the deepening of an existing relationship, the release of a previously wounding partnership, or feeling a burgeoning inner blossoming of new purpose in life, one way or another your relationship with Venus is transforming on a core level at the time of this Leo New Moon.  Yet this new sense of Venus is in a budding phase that will not be realized in full bloom until a later time, and so there will also be a vulnerable and sensitive quality to our reorientation in need of nurturing and support.  Whether events are incredibly dramatic or surprisingly quiet for you now, in one way or another Venus is altering the trajectory of your life into a completely new direction.  Take time in the dark of this New Moon and in the birthing of a new cycle between Venus and the Sun on August 15 to ritualize and meditatively reflect upon how your relationship with Venus is changing and where she is leading you.

There is also another retrograde goddess worthwhile to pay attention to:  Ceres, celestial Queen of the asteroid belt, who is retrograde in Capricorn and in trine to Black Moon Lilith in Virgo at the time of the New Moon.  Furthermore, both Ceres retrograde and Black Moon Lilith are in sextile to Saturn in Scorpio.  These aspects are strong support to utilize the Venus retrograde to claim full responsibility for our responses to life, including being accountable for taking steps to express our authenticity into the world around us without fear of shame or being cast off in exile for speaking our mind.  In addition, in the next couple weeks of the waxing Moon cycle, Mars in Leo will be getting closer and closer to becoming conjunct with Venus retrograde each day, ultimately becoming exactly conjunct a couple of days after the upcoming Pisces Full Moon.  This adds even more fiery assertion into our new sense of Venus we will begin to feel more strongly around August 19 when she arises from the underworld, heralding dawn as a Morning Star.  As a result in the week following this New Moon we will be called to begin asserting our reborn embodiment of Venus, and we will want to likewise be aware of the conflict this new expression from us could provoke in those wanting us to remain in our old presence.

Leo III Decan

7 of Wands illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

This New Moon falls in the third decan of Leo, associated with the 7 of Wands card in which a man is bravely fighting for his life, using his wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands.  He is standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet his stance and face suggests someone putting his whole being into his struggle with extraordinary determination.  One of my favorite writers on the tarot, Kelsey Lynore, through her interpretation of this card in the Dali deck linked it’s meaning to issues around “the cause of the one” versus “the cause of the many,” and since the “presumed opinion of the masses . . . is probably wrong” the querent is encouraged to “not relent and do not back down,” and to “stand your ground courageously, no matter the apparent odds.”  This link between the struggle for life shown in the image of the 7 of Wands to a struggle against asserting one’s personal truth in the face of consensus opinion and judgement is strongly resonant for the timing of this New Moon at the heart of the Venus retrograde and in the aftermath of the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter.

Fittingly Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, and since transiting Mars is also in the sign of Leo it appears this time will call for boldness on behalf of whatever you hold most dear.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces wrote that the third face of Leo signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present” (p. 133).  To Coppock it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the Leo III decan’s power, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit:

Yet this divine fire does not issue forth to defend the personal and the petty. Its nature transcends the confines of the identity, and to be roused, something bigger than the ego must be invoked.  A principle must be raised a loft, a banner bearing the name of Truth, Justice or Beauty. The power which winds through this last face of Leo demands a spiritualization of the solar fire present in the Lion’s sign, for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes  (p. 134).

Venus retrograde will be in the underworld, invisible and combust the brilliant Leo Sun at the time of this New Moon in the third face of Leo.  What we hold with love in our heart, the vision of our beloved that can enflame even the bleakest environments with the full force of life and meaning, is what we must now support and remember will be reborn in the full light of sunrise for us to embrace.  If circumstances require you to have to persevere in some way to protect your Venusian values and desire, allow the passion of your heart to direct your speech and action to victory.

New Moon in Leo

References

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