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.

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.