Total Leo Solar Eclipse

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Total Solar Eclipse of 11 August 1999, member 21 of Saros series 145, by Luc Viatour

NOTE: This post has the unique distinction of being co-written in collaboration with astrologer June Rose Trimbach.  We will be co-teaching classes together in the coming season, and as we were already communicating a lot about our shared ideas regarding this Total Solar Eclipse, it seemed like a fitting opportunity to introduce our coming work together.  On October 29 we will be co-teaching a class at the Portland School of Astrology entitled The Daimon: The Guiding Spirit of Astrology.  We are also currently developing a series of introductory astrology webinar classes we will be teaching in the coming months.  There is not yet a planned start date for the webinar series as we are still putting material together, but I will let you know as soon as we have clear dates set up.  Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in learning astrology from us through the webinar medium, and I can answer any questions you may have about them.

Solar Eclipse in Leo

Black as the night from which the light of stars emerge, black as the earth full of death that produces life. Black as the feathers of crows that soar through space, black as the darkness that nurtures recovery. The blackness of a total solar eclipse in which the light of our Sun is blocked takes us into the mysterious void from which all of our known universes are created. In the blackness we may rediscover our own source of primordial creativity from within, as well as realize the illusory nature of a reality we previously believed in.

In the time leading up to this eclipse, the Sun is shining through its home sign of the Lion, the sign of strength of heart and leadership. The light of the Sun brings exposure and purification; the true hearts of humans are exposed. As the Moon moves in front of the Sun, a shadow is cast, and a shadow is revealed. While the shadow of leadership and courage is exposed, it is also a portal for deeper understanding of our own hearts, our own courage to lead and to shine. We learn the deeper motivations for these goals, and the potential wounding therein.

Astrologer Joe Landwehr teaches that in a Solar Eclipse the creative dynamic potential is eclipsed by the emotional needs of the Soul. The needs of the Soul can be largely irrational, in that we can be pulled to act in ways that one wouldn’t always choose.  Joe has taught that the Soul sometimes drags our unwilling selves into tough places, but places that we need to be. These irrational Soul-needs are like a deep well of insight into the meaning of our lives that when we ignore, come back to haunt us. This means that if our Soul is drawn to leadership, acts of courage or greater emanation of the heart, we may have to face these parts of ourselves now.  How can we show up to these potentially hidden parts? The eclipse can reveal these parts, but they may not look rational or even safe: how can we honor the parts of ourselves that have remained in the dark?

ClavisArtis.3headeddragonsun

from the Clavis Artis

An eclipse is also known as a great dragon showing itself, devouring the Sun:  terrible and mystical and wise. This eclipse takes place on the north node or the head of the dragon. This head is desirous, consuming and wishes to devour, but devour what?  There is potential available amid the surrounding astrological transits to cast off old inner restrictions in order to access greater currents of vitality to not only express in the world, but also take the responsibility to manage with greater integrity.  Yet when we speak of stepping into greater empowerment and claiming greater levels of Leonine power, we must also question and reflect upon the shadow cast by ambition.  As the Leo Sun turns black, the disappearance and reappearance of light can be a portal through which we may gain greater awareness for how to live a more empowered life; one that works in collaboration with the power of others, rather than claims power over others.  The lion is strongest when it realizes it is connected to the natural energetic heart of its community, rather than being the heart itself; love is found in the space in between people.

New forms enter our lives during eclipses as old forms exit, and the quality of what comes in and out can feel both exciting and scary.  Though eclipses have a long association in the astrological tradition with difficult, even disastrous events, they have also proven to mark significant thresholds of more fulfilling fortune.  Professor Qiguang Zhao wrote a beautiful book on dragons entitled A Study of Dragons, East and West in which he explored how the dragons of ancient cultures in the East (East Asia) that were more apocalyptic and associated with heaven came to be associated in the West (Middle East and Europe) as a demonic death symbol linked to “the world of nightmare and the scapegoat, of bondage, pain, and confusion” (p. 61).  Zhao shared the following text from Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West that shows the transcendent symbolism of dragons, the creatures most associated with eclipses:

Soaring and transforming,
Encircling clouds and mists,
Like suspending white hooks their claws let fall,
Like bright mirrors the silver scales shine.
Whiskers flap like white silk, each stand’s visible,
Horns rise imposingly, each prong is clear
Those rugged foreheads;
Those bright round eyes.
The Dragons, hidden or seen, can’t be fathomed;
The Dragons, flying or flitting, can’t be described.
If you pray for rain, rain comes instantly;
If you ask for clear sky, you have it at once.
These, only these, are the true dragon forms.
Most dignified and holy,
As a good omen, their aura surrounds the palace profusely.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

In the days leading up to the eclipse, many of us find ourselves consuming images of banners, bravado and martial violence. These are themes that are presented by the third decan of Leo where the eclipse takes place, a decan associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image of the third decan is seen by Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces as an image of “The Banner.” It is ruled by Mars, the planet of courage, heroic acts and martial combat. These are clues to what the dragon head of the eclipse might be seeking: glory, a cause to fight for. This is perhaps what we are all seeking right now. And now is a time to get in touch with our personal banners. What do we stand for and why?

Mars not only rules the third face of Leo where the eclipse occurs, Mars is also present within the third decan of Leo giving it amplified power.  In addition, the eclipse occurs within the Egyptian bounds of Mars, and Mars is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, the head of the dragon.  Mars is on the threshold of leaving combustion with the Sun at the time of the eclipse, but is still invisible under the beams of the Sun emerging from its long journey through the underworld (though perhaps the total darkness of the eclipse may allow for Mars to become temporarily visible).  Although we have a Mars recently reborn from its union with the Sun, it still carries within it the impact of past wounds from previous cycles.  We can feel the determination of Mars in the image of the Seven of Wands card, in which a warrior is fighting against an onslaught from an angry mob.  Mars asks us what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

The Total Leo Solar Eclipse has been named “The Great American Eclipse” as the path of the dragon enters the continental United States in Oregon and exits in South Carolina.  In the time leading up to the eclipse, heated conflict has erupted in the United States over the banner fought under by the Confederate army in the Civil War.  Notably Charleston, South Carolina is on the path of the eclipse dragon as it exits the continent, as Charleston is the location of the first shots fired in the Civil War as well as the location of the horrific murder of African American church goers in June 2015 by white supremacist Dylan Rooff, a tragedy that reignited debate over the presence of Confederate flags and monuments across the United States.

Even as we see images of the shadow of the banner, the question we may ask is if we can devour the banner itself. Can we devour the face of evil so that it is banned from the earth, or will that only perpetuate more violence? The head of a dragon in a realm of such proud martial power is also evocative as the ultimate protector, the courageous warrior willing to give their own life in order to protect life.  Martial strength may be utilized to resist forces of hate and as stated in the Four-Fold Way by Angeles Arriens, “by staying in our power, by showing up and choosing to be present, by extending honor and respect, and by being responsible and accountable.”

To know the absolute is to be tolerant.
What is tolerant becomes impartial;
What is impartial becomes powerful;
What is powerful becomes natural;
What is natural becomes Tao.

— Lao Tzu, quoted from R.L. Wing’s translation, The Tao of Power

total solar eclipse astronomy

by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (1882)

As the path of the Total Solar Eclipses travels from coast to coast across the United States, its relevant to delve deeper into the country’s astrological context.  The astrology chart most often used by astrologers relates to the date of the Declaration of Independence, and though different versions exist they all involve the Moon in Aquarius, the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  Thus the United States is experiencing the karma of a nodal return and eclipses in the same signs as occurred during the time of its Declaration of Independence.  Part of the country’s karma involves the fact the same people who crafted its language of liberation also owned slaves, and the development of its culture coincided with attempts to forcibly remove the culture of the land’s indigenous population.

The shadow of hatred and fear showed itself in Charlottesville, Virginia on a weekend in between two eclipses under a fiery celestial triangle. It was met with courage. There is an opportunity now to join this fight that was started as far back as our mind will take us. This fight has had many iterations throughout time, while simultaneously it is a fight felt deeply and personally all around our planet. But to join it lightly without knowledge of the shadowy realm this fight takes place in, would be unwise.  The opening of a true heart of courage is possible here, a courage based on love and camaraderie. Is it possible even in evil actions, this is what is sought? The ghosts of the past are imminent in the story of America and its present begs for action and healing.

The shadows of Leo and Mars have been problematic in these wounds; the elite white class wrote the constitution for themselves and pitted the poor whites and slaves against each other; a reality we are still seeing. The infrastructure and laws of our country (Saturn) have kept people in chains through Jim Crow laws, the prison industrial complex, and other forms of institutional oppression. Curses economic, societal and emotional hold us back from sharing love with each other, yet we find anecdotes of that very love being shared liberally. The story of fear is not the only story, and we must connect with each other in good ways to get through this. How have the structures of the past and present limited your expression of love, and is there an opportunity of liberation now?

The eclipse activates a grand fire trine with Saturn and Uranus. The disruption of past structures and creative ways of making new ones are prominent themes right now. Uranus is in an exact trine with the Solar Eclipse, making creativity and the unleashing of potential a huge catalyst for change. Uranus is also the story of Prometheus, the one who stole the Fire of the Gods and gave it to humanity.  Western astrologers tend to glorify the myth of Prometheus, yet other interpretations reveal it to be a cautionary tale of hubris and desire to wield the power of gods.  Fascinatingly, the current transit of Uranus in Aries forms a square to the natal placement of Pluto in Capricorn in the chart of the Declaration of Independence. The Pluto of the U.S. is a storehouse of subterranean power and wealth, ruled by Saturn who now finds itself in Pluto’s twelfth house of secrets and hidden potential. The light and shadow of this eclipse is revealing deep secrets, yet there is an even deeper sense of upheaval. In the next five years the U.S. will have its first Pluto return, a transit that can transform, empower or dismantle altogether.

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Ouroborus by Liv Rainey-Smith

Love is also a force of light and nurture that liberates you to inhabit to the full your own difference.  There should be no imitation of each other.  No need to be defensive or protective in each other’s presence.  Love should encourage and free you fully into your full potential.

— John O’Donahue from Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom

So what is there to do in this time of upheaval? Make a choice to know the shadows of your own heart; true courage comes from love. The shadows of the past are cropping up, in our nations, in ourselves. One power of Leo is to lead by example; to bring an open heart to everything you do. Remain open to changing the structure of your life based on the needs of the Soul. Consider your personal banner: what would you be sure enough to proclaim to the world upon an inspection of the shadow and a heart centered reflection?

What will burn in the light of day as it is revealed, what will take form in our world and what will leave? The shadow is only something to be feared when it is not addressed. We can learn and heal from the scared parts of ourselves, and generally this is what eclipses are about. There is also a question of how we can move in the world. Can we put something into the world that is authentic? Can our radiant heart find liberation and the structure to express itself more truly and freely? Even as actions from wounding inflict more wounding during this eclipse period, can we stand from a place of empowerment and love for the world?

Written by Gray Crawford and June Rose Trimbach

References

Arriens, Angeles. (1993). The Four-Fold Way:  Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary. Harper Collins.

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

O’Donahue, John. (1997). Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom.  Harper Perennial.

Zhao, Qiguang. (1992). A Study of Dragons, East and West.  Peter Lang Publishing.

 

 

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Leo New Moon & Mars

Paul Klee Pride of Lions

Paul Klee (1924) A Pride of Lions (Take Note!)

New Moon in Leo

The Leo New Moon on July 23 is united with Mars, bringing primal intensity and vigor to the lunation.  New Moons are a time to set intentions, yet the symbolism of the Moon being invisible correlates with the necessity of embracing the unknown for no matter how much passion we invest into our intentions, we must ultimately surrender when forces out of our control emerge to contend with.  This is especially important to keep in mind at this martial New Moon in Leo, for the coming astrology suggests that unexpected elements are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead.  The influence of Mars on the New Moon points to the vital importance of standing up for yourself and reasserting your energy toward the role you wish to play within our global collective.  There will be challenges to face in the lunar cycle ahead that are capable of reshaping the course your life trajectory is taking, and so it will be imperative to boldly flow with the changes with courage and a presence ready to respond responsibly in accordance with the vision you wish to manifest.

The Leo New Moon escorts us into the most impactful period of astrological aspects in 2017.  The darkness of the New Moon will ripen into a Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, to be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  The Leo Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Pisces Full Moon united with Neptune, and in between the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Full Moon we will experience Mercury moving retrograde from Virgo back into the same area of Leo as the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. Interestingly, Mercury is in Leo at the time of the Leo New Moon very close to the same degree it will later station direct on September 5.   Mercury is furthermore separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon while forming a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result the Leo New Moon is opportune for going over the plans you wish to initiate in the coming months and strengthening their structural foundations.

ClavisArtis.Lion

from the Clavis Artis

Rebirth of Mars in Leo

The New Moon in Leo arrives at the very, very end of the synodic cycle of Mars that goes back two years.  The last time that Mars was regenerated in the heart of the Sun was on  14 June 2015 at 23º15′ of Gemini, and so it will be fruitful to reflect upon this two year period and the desires that you manifested as well as those that remained dormant.   Since we have been at the close of the Mars and Sun cycle in the past weeks, its important to realize that if you have felt a lack of energy or a need to rest as part of a feeling of something being reborn, that you have likely been tapped into the current Mars cycle.  Mars will unite with our Sun on July 26 at 4º12′ of Leo, and so this is a beautiful time period to ritualize a rebirth of Mars in your life and reinvest your passions toward whatever you most desire to create or whoever you want to be in our world.  Since the Sun will be receiving Mars in its home, there is enormous creative potency available in their union.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the god Hephaistos to the first face of Leo where Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun.  Hephaistos is another aspect of Mars associated with smiths and artists who at heart is an embodiment of the primal potency of fire.  The Orphic hymn to Hephaistos calls the fiery artist to “suppress the rage of fire’s unwearied frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.”  Hephaistos carried wounds of abandonment and rejection he transmuted into a creative process of fire that burned up the old to manifest his new inventions.  Similarly, as we have been facing old wounds and emotional issues through the course of Mars closing its past cycle with the Sun in Cancer, we are now given the opportunity to transmute the pain of the past into beautiful works of artistry and tools we can wield in the journey ahead.

Hephaistos created both the chariot of Helios as well as the winged sandals and helmet of Hermes.  What heroic role do you wish to play in the forthcoming two year cycle of Mars, and what symbolic or literal tool can you now forge in the solar fires to support the talents and skills you wish to share?  How do you want to direct the ambition, aggression, and courage of Mars being consumed and reborn in the Sun?  The mythic figure of Hephaistos is also fitting for the fiery triangle being formed by Mercury and the North Node in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Saturn in Sagittarius.  Hephaistos can forge and create whatever image we desire, yet to succeed in our endeavors we will also need a level of courage that knows when it is necessary to fight as well as let go.  The Leo New Moon is perfect for discerning the inner principles that align with our authenticity and whatever we wish to creatively actualize, and then assertively pushing forward with our work in accordance.

pamela colman smith scythe woman

by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus opposing Saturn

The other major aspect of the Leo New Moon finds Venus in Gemini applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This takes us back to the Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces in which Venus stationed direct in Pisces in a square with Saturn.  Now Venus has moved forward into her first opposition with Saturn since their long engagement during her retrograde cycle.  Whatever shifting began happening in our life during February, March, April, and May as we entered and left the Venus retrograde period has now in hindsight become clear, and we can now witness and evaluate how the elements of our life have been rearranged.  Similar to the fiery triangle of Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn, the opposition between Venus and Saturn is also opportune for strengthening the foundations of the plans we wish to enact as we enter into eclipse season.   In fact, Venus is strongly activating the aforementioned fiery triangle, as she is in sextile to both Mercury and Uranus at the same time she is in opposition to Saturn.  The opposition between Venus and Saturn can not only help us figure out what aspects of our life and relationships need to be modified, but how exactly they need to be altered.

During the waxing lunar cycle Venus will move from her opposition with Saturn toward a trine with Neptune in Pisces following her ingress into Cancer.  At the same time Mercury will leave the creative fires of Leo for its home and exaltation of Virgo during the waxing of the Moon, toward an opposition with Neptune that does not perfect due to Mercury stationing retrograde.  Neptune in Pisces is veiled in the background of the Leo New Moon but does form the shadowy aspect of antiscia with Jupiter in Libra for the remainder of July.  The more we can effectively work with Neptune in Pisces at this time, such as shedding the illusions of the past and opening our imaginations in our creative process, the better we will be able to enter the flow of the coming eclipse season.  It will be helpful in working with Neptune to create some sort of daily spiritual practice for yourself, however you connect with Spirit.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Five of Wands is associated with conflict and competition, and though its meaning could be linked to an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control, oftentimes the strife among competing external interests is literal.  In one way or another it suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired, prominent position.  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 Five of Wands through the five youth battling for the attention of the starring role of the spotlight.  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.

Importantly, Coppock also noted that Saturn’s influence can be found in that the performer can become bound to their public image to such an extent that it can drain their energy and betray their inner authenticity.  Keeping all this in mind, remember at the Leo New Moon to make sure that the image you desire to project into our world aligns strongly with your essential authenticity.  Saturn in Sagittarius in trine with Mercury, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon is available to assist with the discipline and integrity necessary to separate and sever whatever does not align with our inner values, and bind oneself with commitment to whatever does align.  Within the catalytic atmosphere of the coming eclipse season, there  will be found a fertile matrix through which to embark in creative directions attuned to the passions arising from within.

References

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

 

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.

Full Moon in Aquarius

Dream by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich 2001

Dream (2001) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

Aquarius Full Moon

The Full Moon in Aquarius on July 31, 2015 triggers an intensification of mental activity and questioning of thought patterns conditioned by consensus culture, as Venus is retrograde and in its final hours in the sign of Virgo.  Venus retrograde can pulls us inward to experience a reorientation of values and generation of new visions, while simultaneously creating discord in our relationships when our inner realm of feelings suddenly flows unrestrained through our communication with startling bluntness.  During Venus retrograde we experience greater impetus to expand our vision for what is possible beyond previous conditioned limitations, and we also feel intrinsically motivated to act with rebellion from a place that throws off the binding of cultural expectations.  While the transit of Venus retrograde is stirring things up dramatically, this week’s Full Moon shines light on new angles of perception and insight into our recent experiences from a more detached, Aquarian objectification that contrasts sharply with the more subjective, passionate qualities of Leo and Scorpio that have been so strongly highlighted recently.

The Aquarius Full Moon is ruled by Saturn traditionally, and Saturn is further dominating this Full Moon as it is stationing direct in Scorpio on August 1 or August 2, depending upon your time zone.  Furthermore, Saturn is stationing direct as Jupiter in Leo creates a last quarter square with it on August 3, Venus combines with Jupiter in a square on August 4, and then Mercury also combines with Jupiter in a square to Saturn on August 6.   This means that the illumination we receive with this Full Moon at the end of July will face a stern test the following week as the Moon wanes toward a last quarter square of it’s own with the Sun on August 6.  While it is always important to listen to those around you in relationship, there is a strong sense that this Full Moon is more about realizing your own unique sense of your Self outside of the influences and opinions of those around you.  Augmenting the capacity to sense this Self-awareness in the emotional body is a grand water trine formed by Saturn in Scoprio, Mars in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces at the time of the Full Moon.

Astrologer Robert Hand has taught that a “high Saturn,” meaning a Saturn that is aligned with one’s soul and spiritual path, helps one become who one is meant to become through Self-acceptance of being set apart and different from consensus, status quo culture.  Saturn was seen by the ancients as having it’s joy in the 12th House because Saturn can embrace alienation and lead one like a hermit to see things completely differently than the dominant culture attempting to shape public opinion to match it’s own.  We can receive insight at this Full Moon of what past thought patterns we need to now release in order to help us foster our developing new vision for our future.  We will then need to hold fast to our sense of Self-realization, as we will likely be confronted with tests and challenges that will require us to solidly embody our new perspective instead of repressing it due to a need to fit in and find agreement with others.  It is important to feel Self-acceptance at this time that it is perfectly fine that you may appear “weird” or “different” from others, like an alien from another planetary system.

Ganymede: Aquarius and Leo

Ganymede (1874) by Gabriel Ferrier

Myth of Ganymede

Ganymede to some sources is the Water Bearer of the sign of Aquarius, a beautiful young man with whom Zeus was so enamored that he swooped down in the form of an eagle in order to seize for his own.  In contrast to the myth of Persephone in which Hades pulls the goddess into the underworld, in the myth of Ganymede the coveted youth is pulled upward with ascension into the heavens.  Zeus gives Ganymede the role of cup bearer, the one who serves the nectar that keeps the gods and goddesses immortal, until Hera’s complaints lead to Ganymede being placed in the stars as the constellation of Aquarius.  Among other meanings, since ancient times this myth has been seen as representing the phenomenon of Spirit ascending from the body.  In modern times, we can further link this meaning into feelings of disassociation that Aquarius can struggle with and which could also come for us at the time of this Full Moon.

Jason Holley is a good friend of mine and brilliant astrologer who presented material on the Ganymede myth in relation to the polarity between Aquarius and Leo at the 2015 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC), integrating the modern rulership of Aquarius by Uranus used in systems such as evolutionary astrology.  His talk was entitled “Aquarius/Leo – The Journey from Fragmentation to Wholeness,” and in it he explored themes associated with the myth of Ganymedes such as the split between innocence and experience, the split between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and disruptions of psycho-spiritual development that can occur as a result.  Relevant to this Full Moon in Aquarius with the Sun in Leo, Jason described the sign of the Lion in association with concepts such as heart, magnetism, coherence, center, creation, appearance, unity, and now;  in contrast, he described the sign of the Water Bearer in association with concepts such as brain, electricity, interruption, decentering, deconstruction, disappearance, multiplicity, and the past and future.  He then showed how a growth cycle of rupture and repair can come out of the meaning of the polarity between Aquarius and Leo.

To Holley, the stable system of self brought into coherence by Leo becomes decentered by triggering material associated with Uranus that activates the more nonlinear, invisible field of multiplicity and leads to two potential paths:  (1) achieving the challenge of expressing and integrating the new insights into Self, expanding our Self-concept while we continue to embody our Self-identity, or (2) a shattering or splitting off from our psyche parts of our Self that we feel like our environment and culture are not receptive to us embodying and integrating fully into our Self-concept. If we experience the second path of feeling so ruptured that we can not embody our new sense of consciousness, we can experience disembodiment, disassociation, depersonalization, abstraction, over intellectualization, and difficulty experiencing full connection with others.  Along these lines we can feel great anger at the world for not accepting us, and engage in patterns of avoidance, regression, and escape.  However, if we are instead able to repair this rupture, Holley explained that we are able to achieve an experience of greater wholeness, an activation of transcendent functions, and an eagerness to re-enter into the world around us with an openness to possibilities that leads us to have new experiences.

In connection with these ideas, it is further important to realize the significance of Uranus in Aries recently stationing retrograde at the same time that Venus stationed retrograde, and that Uranus is in range of a conjunction with Eris in Aries, a trine with Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and a squares with Mars in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn.  Jason Holley further explained in his talk that being consumed by Ganymedes, not unlike the concept of the puer aeturnus, can lead one to prefer idealized worlds in favor of the actual world one is inhabiting, becoming lost in endless potentials and rejecting anything that takes form, also only sustaining contact with others dependent upon them having the same shared reality system.  The current transit of Venus retrograde can hopefully be seized to help with integration if we notice we are becoming too split off from reality like Ganymedes.  Instead of splitting off fragmented parts of yourself from the world around you, you can use the transformational energy of the Venus retrograde to work on integrating and embodying the parts of you that seem vastly different from the consensus around you, with full Self-acceptance of parts of your consciousness that seem to be expanding beyond the norms of the consensus.  The Venus retrograde transit can then become an appropriate healing space to work on re-entering society and the world with your full Self in order have new experiences of greater wholeness.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius I Decan

The Aquarius I decan holding this week’s Full Moon is ruled by Venus, further linking it strongly into the Venus retrograde transit and the corresponding shifting of tastes and values on individual and collective levels away from previous societal norms.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that Aquarius I “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” and that a lot of images in older texts “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside” (p. 226).  In the image of the 5 of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.  Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227).  In this way, the image of the 5 of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society, though also bringing the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self.  Coppock concluded:

In this face we gather what we can from outside the norm. The frontier of any reality system is hard- there is a reason it extends no further.  Though exile from the core always comes with hardship, there are material, intellectual and spiritual riches on the frontier, but to seek them requires a break with the known. As a spiritual tool, this decan points towards what one gains from stepping outside of the self. Herein is the sweetness and peace which exists above the muddy tumult of life- the satellite’s view of the world is always beautiful, no matter how hellish the situation below. (p.228)

As we take in the insights we receive from this Aquarius Full Moon into a tumultuous week ahead that features Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio and then being in a last quarter square to Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury in Leo, keep in mind that the Venus retrograde transit holds the potential to take you into a space of greater authenticity that is more in tune with your inner truth than the version of truth propagated in surrounding culture.  Saturn stationed direct in a last quarter square with Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury is going to facilitate a process of clearing out all of the old thought forms that are no longer serving you with great finality through the swing of Saturn’s scythe.

Aquarius Full Moon

References

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

Venus Retrograde in Leo & Virgo

Venus Retrograde in Leo and Virgo

From the Clavis Artis manuscript at the Biblioteca Civica Hortis in Trieste courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Venus Retrograde

  • Venus stations retrograde at 0°46′ Virgo on July 25 and stations direct at 14°24′ Leo on September 6, 2015.
  • Inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, or “New Venus,” will be at 22°39′ Leo on August 15, 2015.
  • The shadow zone of Venus retrograde covering the stretch of time Venus is contained within the zodiac range of her retrograde is from June 21 through October 9, 2015.

Aphrodite arose in sea foam following a violent revolution, born in ocean waves with eyes cerulean as the sea and body fully formed with fertile hips and breasts. It is said she enchanted the eyes of onlookers with rapture and with each new step onto the earth created the bright colored growth of grass and flowers.  The planet Venus in astrology has many significations we associate with the mythic Aphrodite, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, union, art, aesthetics, perfumed scents, and the luxuries that bring us feelings of comfort and elegance.  The glyph of Venus is the circle of Spirit atop the cross of Matter, symbolizing the living soul and spirit found in all elements of our surrounding material world, and the capacity of our Venusian natures to give us an experience of heaven on earth.  Perhaps above all we link Venus with the inner values we hold most dear and which describe who and what we are attracted to and magnetize into our life, as well as how we project these inner needs into our outer relationships for better or for worse.  In The Picatrix the anonymous magical author wrote “Venus is the source of the power of flavor” (p. 134), and as we all know our tastes can change it is during Venus retrograde that we can experience essential transformation.

When Venus goes retrograde, she returns to her mythic origins connected with active rebellion and revolution.  During the Venus retrograde phase, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional, in-between space in which all established social norms are loosened to such an extent that we can experience a deep reevaluation of our inner values and how we are seeking to fulfill them in external relationships and structures. On a societal level, a realignment can occur within the power structure as well as between elements of the general populace and elements of the ruling class.  As this current Venus retrograde begins simultaneously with an exact square between Mars in Cancer and Uranus in Aries, it creates a charged atmosphere of rebellious confrontations and stormy emotions befitting the mythic origins of Aphrodite.  Amplifying the electricity further, a day after Venus stations retrograde, the shattering and liberating Uranus also stations retrograde on July 26 making the initiation of this Venus journey into the underworld intensely Uranian.  As a result we can find ourselves in great drama at the beginning of this Venus retrograde, and some of the initial experiences could be triggering in surprising ways.  While we could respond by investing passion into our roles in life like the Venus who adores stepping into the spotlight, it will be most important to take time to nurture and regenerate ourselves continually, whenever needed.

Venus retrograde creates a magical atmosphere that is highly structured, holding resonance with the golden mean found in the five petaled form of the rose and numerous forms of life.  The Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite described her as “Crafty, from whom necessity [Ananke] first came,” and also noted that “The triple Fates [Moirai] are rule’d by thy decree.”  Similarly, the synodic cycle of Venus is so consistent and regular that the retrograde phase of it’s cycle brings an air of destiny, fate, and necessity to events and encounters in our daily life.  Venus only goes retrograde once every year and a half or so, five times in it’s eight year synodic cycle with the Sun-  eight divided by five is 1.625 and so very close to the sacred 1.618 proportion associated with the golden mean.  If you trace the points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper.  The magical result of this is that every eight years, we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time (this all slowly shifts across time), so that there is a resonance from this time back to July through September of 2007, and then also to July through September of 1999 before that.

  • Previously on July 27, 2007 Venus stationed retrograde at 2°57′ Virgo and stationed direct at 16°36′ Leo on September 8, 2007. New Venus on August 18, 2007 at 24°51′ Leo.  Shadow zone of June 24 – October 12, 2007.
  • Previously on July 30, 1999 Venus stationed retrograde at 5°8′ Virgo and stationed direct at 18°47′ Leo on September 11, 1999. New Venus around August 20, 1999 at 27 Leo.  Shadow zone of June 26 – October 15, 1999.

This will be the last Venus retrograde that involves both Virgo and Leo, as the cycle will shift in 2022 to occurring entirely in Leo.  In the first half of the 20th Century the Venus retrograde cycle in this zone of the zodiac occurred entirely in Virgo until 1959, when it began to slide into the end of Leo.  With each successive eight year Venus retrograde (1967, 1975, 1983, 1991, 1999, 2007, 2015) it has moved deeper and deeper into Leo. In our current retrograde cycle, Venus entered Virgo during it’s “shadow zone” period on July 18, 2015 and will return to Leo retrograde on July 31, 2015- as a result we really only have about two weeks this time around with Venus in Virgo.  There is a thirty day “shadow” period on either side of the Venus retrograde cycle in which Venus is traversing the same zodiac degrees that are part of its retrograde motion.  Since the actual Venus retrograde lasts forty days, in all this gives us one hundred days to do the deep work of Venus.  As Venus is at it’s closest obit to the Earth during it’s retrograde phase, moving in between the Earth and the Sun, it means all things Venusian become intensified during this time.

Venus stations retrograde in Virgo

The Unicorne by Gustave Moreau

Venus conjunct Regulus in Virgo

There is a grandiose cosmic message revealed by Venus stationing conjunct the fixed star Regulus at the beginning of Virgo, as Regulus is the closest bright star to our ecliptic, only 0.46 degrees away.  Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is at the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195).   This Venus retrograde cycle beginning on this legendary fixed star means Venus stands still from our perspective aligned with Regulus for weeks, portending that the Venus retrograde will call us to reassess our values and ethics connected with ambition, power, courage, leadership, generosity, and the qualities we feel are “noble.”  If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been expressing ourselves and impacting others.  If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, circumstances or a burning sense from inside may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.

Regulus is also one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, the Watcher of the North associated with Raphael, the Archangel of Healing.  The angelic healer connection of Raphael to Regulus symbolically connects with the purifying quality of the Winged Virgin, the discerning nature of Virgo that can formulate the necessary medicine and healing practices that will cure whatever ails. Virgo is ruled by Mercury who heightens the Virgo ability to diagnose the appropriate use of medical arts to heal any fragmentation between the mind, body, and spirit.  Likewise, at the beginning of this Venus retrograde while Venus remains in Virgo, it is an excellent time to attune within and deduce whatever emotions, feelings, values, and patterns of relationship we will need to address, nurture, and heal.  Venus in the mutable Earth sign of the Winged Maiden can sense what issues the wisdom of our body is directing us toward, so making the time and space to regularly attend to your body now will help you prepare for the forty nights and days ahead in the retrograde.  As Virgo is crafty and Venus loves the arts, if you are someone who is artistic in some way then it can also be a powerful time to transmute the issues needing to be healed through the process of creating within an artistic medium.

Venus in this initial time of the retrograde in Virgo is a bright Evening Star, and while taking on the rebellious characteristics of her retrograde phase, she has more tendencies toward creating harmony than she will later in her retrograde after entering her Morning Star phase.  Venus stays in Virgo through the powerful Aquarius Full Moon on July 31, shifting into Leo about five hours after the exact timing of the lunation.  Thus, on July 31 we receive an illuminated Aquarian message linked to Venus retrograde in Virgo at this beginning phase of the journey ahead.  As Venus leaves Virgo to enter Leo, her significations shift into issues of creative calling and actualization, leadership, solar flair, validation, and procreative force. Venus stays in her Evening Star phase through the first week of August, and then by mid-August disappears from view into the underworld.

Venus Retrograde in Leo

by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Venus Cycles with Jupiter and Saturn

Venus re-enters the sign of Leo on July 31, 2015 and into aspects with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Scorpio that will promote great change in our personal lives as well as in our collective.  In many ways it is Saturn in Scorpio that takes center stage at this time, as a day after Venus enters Leo, Saturn stations direct on August 1, 2015 after having been retrograde since March 14, 2015.  Yet in truth this time is about the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn and the long history of their use in astrology to interpret collective stages within our world.  On August 3, 2015 the current Jupiter and Saturn cycle finally initiates the last quarter square phase between them.  Our current Jupiter and Saturn cycle began May 28, 2000 at 23 degrees of Taurus in the tropical zodiac, and so we are now at the pivotal last quarter square aspect that turns back for a review of everything that has occurred during this past cycle in order to release what no longer serves us in preparation for the new cycle between Saturn and Jupiter that arrives on December 21, 2020 at the first degree of Aquarius.  The last quarter square was famously described as a “crisis in consciousness” by astrologer Dane Rudhyar, and so on a personal level while we sense a visionary, expansive, solar quality of Jupiter pulling us forward like a courageous Lion, we simultaneously feel the constrictive force of Saturn in the penetrating sign of the Scorpion demanding that we utilize it’s scythe to clear and re-structure our belief system at a fundamental level in order to create fertile soil for our new vision to ultimately take root in the years ahead.

The quality Venus embodies in her retrograde phase of rebelling against the status quo and re-centering within on the raw values taking shape in our psyche is like a magical elixir that makes this last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter even more powerful.  The day after Jupiter and Saturn form their exact square, Venus becomes conjunct Jupiter on August 4 and then a day later Venus also forms an exact last quarter square with Saturn on August 5.  This means that we once again experience a conjunction of Venus with Jupiter with the crucial difference of Venus being retrograde, also meaning that after Venus has her underworld journey and emerges again as a Morning Star, that she will eventually return to conjunct Jupiter a third time in Virgo on October 25, 2015.  Astrologer Gary Caton has written that having three conjunctions between Jupiter and Venus in the same year only happened recently in 1967 and 1991, both years of radical creativity in the artistic and musical realm in our collective.  With Venus retrograde conjunct Jupiter and in square to Saturn at this point, it means we have deep inner clearing to do regarding our beliefs around feelings of inner self worth and our external patterns of relationship.  It seems that if we haven’t realized the message we need to work on at this point, events will force us into necessary awareness.

If that were not enough, there is an even deeper magical planetary element to add to this witches brew of transformation:  Mercury.  The day after the exact last quarter square between Venus and Saturn, Mercury swings through on August 6 and becomes conjunct Venus first and then later in the day becomes exactly square to Saturn.  The following day on August 7, Mercury becomes conjunct Jupiter in Leo.  In alchemy, Mercury is the soul energy utilized to anchor Spirit into the Body or Matter, and similarly Mercury is serving here as a cosmic binding to help us integrate the transformational changes of this week in our mind, body, and soul.  Since Mercury unites with Jupiter after squaring Saturn, the result is a heightened ability to look at our life and our past in an entirely new way, rooted in self-reflection of our past experiences.  Mercury could present us at this time with stimulating new information or a vital new message to receive that helps shift our perspective.

Venus inferior Conjunction

by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Venus Inferior Conjunction

By August 11, Venus will have set as an Evening Star and we will no longer be able to see Venus at night, as she will have symbolically entered the Underworld stage of her journey.  While we may attempt to direct the rays of the Sun with our Venusian mirrors to help us look better or feel better about ourselves, the more we can step into the full flames of the Solar Rays the more we can experience a fiery purification of our past Venusian values in preparation for the new cycle between the Sun and Venus.  On August 15, 2015 we experience the Inferior Conjunction of Venus with the Sun, when Venus goes cazimi into the heart of the Sun and forms an exact conjunction.  The Inferior Conjunction of Venus happens when Venus is exactly orbiting between our Earth and our Sun, and so it symbolizes the meaning of a NEW VENUS much like a New Moon in our life.

This is a powerful day to go within and set intentions for what you want to magnetize and attract into your life in the new cycle ahead.  Astrologer Anne Massey in her book Venus wrote that since the rose is a symbol of Venus, we can imagine ourselves at the New Venus as being a rose bud wet with morning dew, delicately beginning to unfold into a blooming rose at Full Venus.  The Full Venus is the Superior Conjunction that occurs when Venus moves direct into the heart of the Sun, orbiting on the other side of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Within the five pointed star formed by the Venus retrograde cycle, we experience a Full Venus four years after a New Venus close to the same day and zodiac degree.  In this case, we will end up having a Full Venus occur on August 14, 2019 at 21°11′ of Leo.  Integrating the other points of the five pointed star, the last Superior Conjunction of Venus occurred on October 25, 2014 at 2 degrees of Scorpio, and the next one occurs on June 6, 2016 at 17 degrees of Gemini.

VenusInferiorConjunctWRIGC3

Bringing in the other astrological aspects of this Inferior Conjunction, it is notable that Jupiter will have recently ingressed into Virgo and is conjunct the Moon in Virgo, and Mercury the ruler of Virgo is in it’s own sign of Virgo and applying to a conjunction with Juno in Virgo, separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces.  There is potential to gain a new sense of the deepest levels of our being at this time, yet in order to receive the insight of this healing perspective it is necessary to strip away illusions of control and to utilize the capacity of Mercury in its Sage phase of Evening Star to open yourself to fully experience the process of your unconscious at work.  As Carl Jung wrote in his Alchemical Studies:

We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this is an art of which most people know nothing. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, never leaving the psychic processes to grow in peace.

Venus in Leo Strength

Strength arcanum illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus conjunct Mars

Following the New Venus of August 15, Venus begins to shift into a Morning Star, re-emerging from her Underworld journey around August 23.  As Venus as an Evening Star is more about seeking harmony and attuning with the needs of others in relationship, Venus as a Morning Star is more about going after what we feel we are worth and desire.  It is also important to realize that while on individual levels there is great healing and self-renewal potentially available at the time of the Inferior Conjunction of Venus, on a collective level the vast majority of people are not tuned into this perspective and so events surrounding us could become incredibly dramatic and rife with conflict.  The Morning Star Venus can be more aggressive and linked to the blood-thirsty aspect of the Goddess seen in figures such as the lion-headed Sekhmet who can become intoxicated by the spilling of blood.  Along these lines, Inanna as the planetary Venus in its Morning Star phase was described by the ancient Sumerians in the translated text “The Lady of the Morning” from the Seven Hymns to Inanna:

Honored Counselor, Ornament of Heaven, Joy of An!

When sweet sleep has ended in the bedchamber,

You appear like bright daylight.

When all the lands and the people of Sumer assemble . . .

When they sing your praises, bringing their concerns to you,

You study their words.

You render a cruel judgment against the evildoer;

You destroy the wicked.

You look with kindly eyes on the straightforward;

You give that one your blessing.

Further amplifying feelings of desire and drama in relationships is the fact that with each day of the second half of August, Mars in Leo gets closer and closer to becoming conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo.  On September 1, 2015 the second conjunction between Mars and Leo is initiated at 14°55 of Leo.  Following this conjunction, as Venus stations direct Mars begins to separate but never gets too far away from Venus, who begins chasing after Mars until they eventually become conjunct a third time on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  This time of transition from the end of August through the beginning of September, with Venus beginning to station, unites the fiery desire of Mars in Leo to pursue new creative endeavors with a Venus bearing her soul in Leo at the depths of her Underworld journey.  This is not yet a time to have gained clarity, and more so a time to instinctually sense what we are in a process of outgrowing as well as what we are beginning to initiate in a process of becoming.

Wilderness Lion

by Walter Crane

Venus stations Direct

Venus finally stations direct on September 6, 2015 at 14°23′ of Leo, with Mars about four degrees away at a little over 18 degrees of Leo.  Flipping through the vast catalogue of images associated with the Leo II decan from numerous ancient texts in Austin Coppock’s book on the decans 36 Faces, in order to get a sense of the variety of images associated with this section of the zodiac, I was struck by how many of them described a man carrying a bow and arrow or sword, fierce with anger like a lion and sometimes even dressed like a lion.  A good example is by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which the image is described as “A man with his hands raised, with a crown on his head, and the form of a man angry and threatening. In his right hand he has a drawn sword and in the left a round shield.”  The power given to this image by Agrippa is that “It has the significations over hidden quarrels, unknown victories, over vile men, and occasions of lawsuits and battles.”  Fascinatingly to me, despite the wide use of images associated with conflict and fierceness across a wide variety of texts, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs of the Zodiac gave the Leo II decan to Isis, the great Goddess of Love, Devotion, Healing, and Magic.

In case you wonder why I am including here references to images associated with the Leo II decan found in ancient magical texts, it is because I feel there is a resonance between them and the current events we will experience when Venus stations direct in the Leo II decan at the beginning of September.  Following Venus stationing direct, we will feel a stronger push from inside to go after what we value and feel we are worth, as we settle into the energy of Venus direct as a Morning Star in Leo.  As Leo is known for creating drama and assertively standing up for itself and others when brought into conflict, the fierce figures found in the old images of this decan make sense from the standpoint that we will have regenerated an impassioned sense of authenticity from the retrograde journey of Venus that we will want to have the freedom to begin to express into our environment and relationships.  The divine figure of Isis being also associated with this decan brings the added meaning that this new authentic self-worth we develop from this Venus retrograde will involve the healing of past soul fragmentation so that we feel more whole and better able to act in accordance with genuine inner values through our personality.  As Austin Coppock summarized about the Leo II decan in 36 Faces:

This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.  The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees. Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born.  (p. 129)

Indeed, no matter what circles of drama or conflict we become drawn into during this Venus retrograde, in totality the tension and strife will demand that we transform the impetus of our personality to fit in with the values of others around us into a burning purpose from within that will give us the ability to more directly express our true nature and values into the world around us.

Anahita on Lion

Image of Anahita on Lion

References

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1973). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Greer, John Michael and Warnock, Chris. (2010 – 2011).  Translation of The Picatrix: Liber Atratus Edition. Adocentyn Press.

Massey, Anne. (2006). Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols, & Myths. Llewellyn.

Robson, Vivian. (1969). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. The Aquarian Press.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel N. (1983).  Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Harper & Row.

Venus in Leo

Venus in Leo Bastet

“Aegis” of Egyptian goddess Bastet, 9th-8th Century BC

Venus in Leo

Venus in Leo has claimed center stage in our sky at night as she should, brilliantly radiating at her maximum elongation from the Sun over the past few days.  Venus in Leo is on her way toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Leo, and these two beautiful lights will be getting closer and closer each night, finally uniting at the Full Moon in Capricorn on July 1, 2015.  Leo is an elegantly brazen place of residence for Venus, and so her dance with Jupiter over this next month will encourage us to ignite with passionate purpose from within and confidently express our own unique style of creativity in our environment.  We have a long time to work with Venus in the fixed, fiery sign of Leo as Venus will be in Leo for the next four months save for the period of July 19 -31 when Venus will enter Virgo and station retrograde.  Venus will be retrograde, mostly in Leo,  from July 25 until September 6 and will not leave the Venus retrograde “shadow zone” until October 9, 2015 when Venus re-enters the sign of Virgo at last (Venus enters the “retrograde shadow zone” on the Solstice of June 21, 2015 when it crosses over 14 degrees of Leo).

Anahita on Lion as Venus in Leo

Anahita on lion

As Leo is ruled by the Sun, those born with Venus in Leo have their solar soul purpose intimately linked to all things Venusian.  Celebrities with Venus in Leo include Madonna, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Michelle Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Tobey Maguire, Daniel Radcliffe, Mother Teresa, and the 14th Dalai Lama. Star power can radiate from natives with Venus in Leo like beams of light, and there is a penchant for grand gestures and drama.   Perhaps the Leo in the Venus of these natives likes getting attention, but the attention Venus in Leo attracts has less to do with attention seeking and more to do with authentic allure and magnetism that flows with scintillating vibrations from them.

By Transit, Venus in Leo tends to spark inspirational thoughts and desire to actualize our creativity in everything from our daily tasks to projects associated with our life’s work. As Venus in Leo will form a square or an opposition to any planets one possesses in the other fixed signs (Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus), Venus in Leo also tends to shake up places that have become stagnant through resisting change in favor of the comfort of stability.  As Venus in Leo forms a sextile to the signs of Gemini and Libra, and a trine to the signs of Aries and Sagittarius, if you have planets in these signs you can look forward to Venus enlivening your experience with stimulating impulses toward intensifying growth in whatever astrological significations are activated.  Venus in Leo brings inner awareness of the fertile potential we each possess, and lights a burning desire to actualize our creative gifts into the world around us.

Sekhmet as Venus in Leo

Sekhmet from the Sanctuary of Khonsu Temple in the Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak Temple

The Egyptian goddess Sekhmet is a compelling mythic figure to contemplate in relation to Venus in Leo.  Sekhmet in myth can be a fierce and wrathful goddess, but she also seems to be a regenerative one whose fire burns away the inessential in preparation for a rebirth.  Though she is linked in myth to mass destruction and warfare, she also has a strong connection to healing as her son Nefer-Tem is a god of healing and she also had significations and names directly evoking medicine.  Sekhmet is primordial and one of the most powerful goddesses in all pantheons.  As Leo is ruled by the Sun, and the Sun in astrology is said to have an all-pervading power that can overwhelm any planets that go under it’s beams or combust, Sekhmet similarly signifies the celestial fire of the Sun that can weaken and destroy, or heal and stimulate.   Sekhmet wears a solar disk with a serpentine uraeus that further connects her with kundalini energetic awakenings, the divine rulership of pharaohs, and the judgement of souls commonly connected with the goddess Ma’at.

Likewise Leo is a limitless placement for Venus in the sense that Venus in Leo knows no limits, roaring in the face of any source of limitation.  Venus in Leo does what she pleases, and never asks permission for what she can or cannot do- she simply, confidently does.  As we will have a stronger pull than normal to activate what we sense is our creative destiny with Venus in Leo, we need to realize that when we do not receive the attention we feel is our deserved due that we can become angry on the one hand, withdrawn on the other hand.  Venus in Leo is ambitious, yet we must monitor feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy that could come up if we feel we are not being given positive validation tantamount to the level of ambition we were aiming for.  With Venus in Leo getting closer and closer to Jupiter in Leo each day in the month ahead, it is imperative for each of us to make choices each day to actualize whatever we feel strong desire to create from within.  In the end, being brave enough to manifest our creative purpose in our surroundings is much more important than whether or not we receive the amount of acclaim we were hoping for or perfectly manifest material in accordance with our idealized intentions.  A lot can shift once Venus goes retrograde at the end of July, and so this is an ideal time to set intentions and initiate action while Venus is direct and shining with the most brilliant light of her cycle at night.

Leo Full Moon

sekhmet

Sekhmet

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits

— John Keats, Endymion

Today’s Full Moon in Leo arrives at the time of Imbolc, the pagan holy day marking the mid-point between the Solstice and the Equinox, a period in which the new impulses seeded at the Solstice that have taken root find a home in our imagination, body, and reality.  Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere is when we sense the coming solar radiance of Spring on the distant horizon, a time to conduct rituals of purification in our home through the lighting of fire. The Celtic Goddess Brigid holds strong resonance with this holy time, a Goddess of poetry, arts, crafts, medicine, sacred wells, and serpents among other significations.  This symbolism is perfect for the astrology expressed through today’s Full Moon, as our solar time in the detached, independent, rational, and analytical Aquarius receives a jolt of passionate creativity from the lustful sign of the Lion-hearted.  Mercury retrograde in Aquarius brings potential to penetrate deeply with our perceptions freed from the constraints of consensus conditioning, and so this Leo Full Moon can feel like an imbibing of poetic inspiration to soak up and more fully feel our recent experiences, expressing ourselves from our inner source of images and vision.  This is an auspicious time to set an intention and create an art or craft to represent our wish for fulfillment.

Crystalline brother of the belt of heaven,
Aquarius! to whom king Jove has given
Two liquid pulse streams ’stead of feather’d wings,
Two fan-like fountains, – thine illuminings
For Dian play:
Dissolve the frozen purity of air;
Let thy white shoulders silvery and bare
Shew cold through watery pinions; make more bright
The Star-Queen’s crescent on her marriage night:
Haste, haste away!

— John Keats, Endymion

This is a Jupiterian Full Moon of purified vision, with a retrograde Jupiter conjunct the Full Moon that is drawing us more deeply inside the personal direction for us to follow in the coming season.   Aquarius is able to help us both de-condition as well as re-structure: in the libation of the Water Bearer we are able to apply reason to our passions, analyze our place within society, and speak out or stand in solidarity against aspects of the status quo that lack humanity. Yet Aquarius likes to have a structure, and being traditionally ruled by Saturn is an excellent conduit for the brilliantly intuitive and non-linear visualization of Jupiter that expands us beyond our previous limitations, yet also needs structure to help our vision take effective form in our reality.  This Full Moon highlights the polarity of Leo to Aquarius that re-focuses our detachment from what we no longer want in our lives into a passionate actualization of the creative destiny we desire to manifest.

griffins horned in gold

Horned Lion Griffins in gold (Iran, 6th -4th Century B.C.) from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Modern astrology schools such as evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green connect Uranus as a ruler of Aquarius, and today’s Leo Full Moon ushers in a renewal of the dynamic interplay between Jupiter and Uranus in a first quarter trine.  At the time of the Full Moon Jupiter and Uranus will be within five degrees of one another, and by the end of February they will be exactly trine.  While Jupiter and Uranus in trine can coincide with dramatic, liberating breakthroughs in thought that take us beyond our former conception of our reality, there is a paradox in today’s astrological aspects that also take us into our past, in a spiral like process of returning to the moment in a new frame of mind.  This is because Jupiter is retrograde in Leo, Uranus is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and we are also still within the Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius.  I do not mean to suggest that we will be stuck in the past, or continuing to re-cycle old patterns of our past, but instead that our sense of our past, the telling of our personal story, can radically shift now and bring us into a place in which we can receive new images and messages about our self and our surrounding world.  Let what is arising within now germinate instead of thinking you need to immediately take action-  this Full Moon in aspect to Uranus is unveiling a message that is in a process of taking form, and we will be gaining greater clarity regarding how to best take action on behalf of it in the coming weeks.

In addition to today’s Leo Full Moon being in trine to the South Node of Moon in Aries, it is also in sextile to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result there is also an important message regarding our relationships to receive now, something that no matter how jarring or upsetting is vital in our process of creating and sustaining relationships that nurture our creative authenticity instead of repressing or limiting it.  This is further emphasized by Mercury retrograde in Aquarius being opposite Juno in Leo in the past week.  Furthermore, with Mars and Venus both in Pisces and in balsamic phase, with Venus conjunct Neptune and Mars conjunct Chiron, this Full Moon heralds a time of releasing the relationships that no longer serve us and magnetizing the relationships that will more effectively help us actualize the vision of our future life we can sense developing from within.  We can feel big love now that is expansive and grandiose like Jupiter, boundless and ethereal like Neptune.  With Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Venus and Neptune in Pisces, we will be confronted with aspects of our reality that may feel challenging, yet can also be seen as guides for how we will need to structure our idyllic intention so that it can effectively exist in reality.

I have clung
To nothing, lov’d a nothing, nothing seen
Or felt but a great dream! O I have been
Presumptuous against love, against the sky,
Against all elements, against the tie
Of mortals each to each, against the blooms
Of flowers, rush of rivers, and the tombs
Of heroes gone!

— John Keats, Endymion

6_of_wands1

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The association between Jupiter and this Leo Full Moon is further accentuated by the Full Moon being in the second decan of Leo, a decan that is ruled by Jupiter.  The tarot card linked to the second decan of Leo is the Six of Wands, a card that tends to have images associated with triumphant victory such as the strident champion riding a white horse drawn above by Pamela Colman Smith, a conquering hero hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock has analyzed this decan as holding the triumph of great acts performed by those who have created an authentic persona and ego-structure through which  to project their spirit:

This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.  The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees.  Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces

Often times the persona we develop has been molded to acclimate to the relational dynamics within our family and early development, within our community and culture, within our educational system, and within the network of relationships involved in our career path and daily responsibilities.  The polarity from Leo to Aquarius highlighted by today’s Full Moon illuminates the importance of being able to detach from the influences of our surrounding conditioning to the extent necessary for us to find our true voice instead of mimicking those we think will help us succeed in the culture.  Yet while we need to detach enough so that we can self-reflect and discover our personal authenticity, we also need the fixed perseverance of Aquarius and Leo to stand apart and courageously follow the beat of our own heart.  Most vitally, we need the burning passion of Leo to invigorate our cool, purified Aquarian vision with a heart-centered focus that keeps us connected to the needs of our surrounding environment while also bringing forth the unique gift we have to offer from our inner spirit.  When Aquarius connects us to a group of like-minded associations, we inevitably come under the influence of feeling like we need to conform to the norms of the group- for Aquarius to come into it’s full strength we need to activate the Leo polarity of following our own heart instead of the group-mind.

rudy shepherd boko haram

Drawing by Rudy Shepherd of 13 year old girl recruited by ‪‎Boko Haram‬ to blow herself up in Kano, Nigeria, but refused to go through with it.

This Leo Full Moon comes about four days after the core of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Aquarius when Mercury entered the heart of the Sun on January 30, 2015.  Mercury retrograde is now coming into a conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, lending increased levels of focus and perseverance to our Mercurial journey into our depths.  Indeed, all of the major asteroid goddesses are active at this Full Moon, with Pallas Athena in Sagittarius in square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces, Juno in Leo opposite Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, and Ceres coming into a close balsamic conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, in square to Uranus and the nodes of the Moon.  Demetra George has taught that since the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio, they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  In this way the asteroid goddesses are facilitating the journey of Mercury retrograde, and since the Mercury retrograde began at the Aquarius New Moon that has ripened to today’s Full Moon, they are also part of facilitating an important message to us about our place within all of the momentous collective issues arising now.

Indeed, once open to her Pallas Athena and her creative visioning becomes more important, as she is in trine to the Full Moon in addition to being square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces.  There is a fertile opportunity for our beliefs to shift and re-align at this time away from our past conditioning, and the new cycle between Mars and Chiron is important to tune into for a place in your chart where a profound re-vitalization of your Will and desire nature is occurring. There is also a profound yod formed by the Leo Full Moon that is triggered by the Aquarius Sun and anchored by the sextile between Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn.  This waxing, crescent sextile between Mars and Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn is a tremendous growth opportunity for how we can pursue personal desires that also help others in our global environment, all within the network of systematic power structures.  Look to where 14-15 degrees impacts your chart, especially in the signs of Pisces, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Leo.

Finally, there is also an intense aspect involving Venus conjunct Neptune and square to Saturn in Sagittarius and in t-square with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo.  There may be feelings to overcome of how we have previously felt rejected by a culture or group, and disillusioning events and experiences that momentarily make us feel lost or confused, but in the end these are all experiences that can be used to shift the way we are interacting in order to be less accommodating to others and more attuned to the direction coming from our Self.  Saturn in square to Venus and Neptune can also bring benefit to anyone willing to put in some disciplined and focused work toward their dreams now.  Feel with your heart and deep within your body the burgeoning new vision and life that is currently underground, beginning to move toward shooting up new shafts of green into your reality.

LeoFullMoonWRIGC1

References

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

New Moon in Virgo

Astarte_Goddess_Louvre_AO20127

Astarte

This New Moon in Virgo is a potent seeding time that will wax into the fifth and final Super Moon of the year, this time in Pisces.  Mercury, angelic messenger and guide of souls, is the ruler of this New Moon and gracefully moving as an evening star through his exaltation of Virgo.  Mercury is beyond fifteen degrees in front of the Sun, an excellent stage in Mercury’s cycle to assimilate and integrate past reflection with focused pragmatism in the present, especially considering that Mercury is home in Virgo.  Giving Mercury additional electricity is an opposition from Chiron in Pisces which can give us the courage to face whatever is arising in our environment and discern far reaching insight that can turn the tide and light a path in front of us.  The key is to be present with an active and alert Mercury and find practical outlets to move the energy we receive at this time through an intentional mode of expression of our choosing.  Profound insight into the meaning of our circumstances is available and with this New Moon we can focus on planting a solution to our dilemmas that we can tend with the presence of the Virgin.

Last Quarter Square between Venus and Mars

At the time of the New Moon, Mars in Scorpio will be entering into a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio which is probably the most attention grabbing aspect of this time.  However, throughout this past year I have been tracking the current cycle between Venus and Mars that began in April 2013, and as the exact last quarter square between them will occur soon after the New Moon while the Moon is still in Virgo, I want to delve into its meaning first.  As I previously wrote about in my Mars retrograde in Libra post, we experienced a very drawn out first quarter square and then experienced the opposition of their cycle around May 11, 2014.  Today at the last quarter square, Venus and Mars are not facing off by themselves, instead having each made allegiances with a powerful other.  For Mars in Scorpio, it is a balsamic conjunction with Saturn occurring at the lunation, while for Venus in Leo, it is a balsamic conjunction with Black Moon Lilith.  Make sure to look in your chart for where 17 degrees of Leo is for how Venus is impacting you, and for 18 degrees of Scorpio to see how Mars and Saturn are stirring things up for you.

As I have been doing so far in my writing about the current Venus and Mars cycle, I am drawing upon the work of Jeffrey Wolf Green because I have found his method of exploring their cyclical archetypes to feel resonate with my own experiences as well as with people whose chart I’ve been working with.  Green took the meaning behind Dane Rudhyar’s lunation cycle and applied it to the cycle between Venus and Mars through the lens of his evolutionary astrology.  To start with, reflect back for a moment to the time of April 6, 2013 and what relationships and desires arose or you felt called toward.  The conjunction at that time was at 20 degrees of Aries, so this cycle connects with the Mars archetype and a yearning that came out of that time for a sense of a personal destiny we wanted the freedom to pursue, despite personal circumstances that may not have been adequately aligned to manifest.  

Now Venus is no longer in Aries but is rather in Leo, and this means that our previously primal urge for self exploration has now developed into a fully conscious sense of our creative potential. This is because  Venus in Leo possesses an inner focus that demands creative self-actualization.  Venus in Leo hears the call and sees the vision, and she has the inner radiance bright enough to take a stand to actualize herself however she desires.  This inner shining is an even brighter light at the moment because Venus has recently passed through a conjunction with Jupiter in Leo, and now she is joining up with the defiantly authentic and independent Black Moon Lilith, an archetype that doesn’t give a damn what you think of it.  Black Moon Lilith is not afraid of being an outcast if necessary to stay true to her values, yet as Demetra George has written she is also a resolution point wherein we are not a rebel without a cause, but rather a purposeful rebel whose path takes us deeper into our core self.

This vibrant Leo energy is powerful stuff for the last quarter square between Mars and Venus, because at this stage in their cycle our soul desires to expand into a more universal awareness and we desire to journey beyond our surrounding culture and society, with a willingness to let go of the limitations of our socially defined role and the culture of wherever we are currently living.  At this time we may feel a desire to learn about and merge with ideas from other cultures that give us a different perspective on the meaning of our life.  A crisis emerges because while we desire to live and interact within our current culture, we want to be able to do this while questioning everything about it and the meaning of everything at the same time.  As a result, we may feel alienated and think about withdrawing from society.  Hopefully, the presence of Black Moon Lilith with Venus in Leo will coincide with us overcoming the challenge of maintaining our integration in society while allowing for an inner expansion concurrently.

This lustful Leo energy will also desire an intimate partner who shares an affinity with our soul, someone who is on a similar path with us and shares our values and passions in life.  While this may seem like a typical romantic dream, at this stage in the Venus and Mars cycle it is more like an essential urge that demands satisfaction.  If we are in a relationship, but our current partner is not aligned with us on a soul level, great conflicts around our values could erupt at this time.  We could then experience a sense of increasing alienation in our relationship, a feeling that we have no basis of being able to relate in a meaningful way.  We fortunately do have a strong Virgo Mercury right now ruling the Virgo New Moon to help us discern if it is time to set intention to leave a present relationship behind, or stay rooted and attempt to see if a mediation of differences is possible or not.

In any case, conflict and criticism in our relationships will be difficult to handle with Venus in Leo, as Leo Venus wants positive feedback, and with Venus being in square to both Mars and Saturn, we may get exactly the opposite and have to face confrontations with others in relationship attempting to manipulate us or misuse their power with us in an emotional dynamic.  At a pure level, Venus in Leo can have no sense of limitations and boundless desire that can become deeply frustrated when having to face the limitations of Saturn, such as societal limitations, limitations of authority over us, or limitations of time and space.  With Black Moon Lilith also involved things could really become heated, yet Black Moon Lilith will be able to lend us the power to burn off the false in the fire, and emerge from conflict with a more fully realized authenticity.

Remembering that we are also at the last quarter square between Venus and Saturn in their cycle, this New Moon square between them connects back to the last conjunction of Venus and Saturn on September 18, 2013 at 9 degrees Scorpio.  What was shifting and beginning to come into form last September and October? This current Scorpio cycle between Venus and Saturn has been a deep one that has brought great loss and change into the lives of many.  The changes can allow for a deep re-structuring of our consciousness or awareness, and today’s New Moon is a perfect time to set intention to shift into a new pattern more deeply rooted with our true desires.

NewMooninVirgoWRIGC2

Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio

 Mars and Saturn started their last cycle around August 15, 2012 at 25 degrees of Libra (If you would like to track this cycle farther back for increased insight, previously on July 31, 2010 there was a Mars and Saturn conjunction at 1 degree of Libra, and on July 10, 2008 there was a Mars and Saturn conjunction at 6 degrees of Virgo). We are now at the final release of this past cycle: to think of how it impacted you, look to where 25 degrees of Libra is in your chart and track the movement of Saturn deep into Scorpio where it is now, reflecting upon the events that have transpired.  This past cycle initiated in Libra, ruled by Venus, has a more outward Venusian theme to it, whereas the cycle we are starting now in Scorpio will be a more inwardly deep cycle.  Relationships can still be part of this cycle but they will be relationships that take us deeper into our core and soul desires.  

Current events are intense right now, but starting a project during a Mars and Saturn new phase can be a powerful choice for one’s self development.  As a personal example, I started this blog you are reading at the previous conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Libra and it has turned out to be a great realm for me to work on my writing and research skills in connection with astrology.  I did not have anyone reading it initially, but I have seen some slow and steady growth in readership, not unlike the methodical focused energy of Mars and Saturn united.  When I think back to that time period in my life, I had some turbulent emotions and personal issues that fit with the intensity of Mars and Saturn coming together, and so creating this blog gave me somewhere to direct energy in a productive manner for myself.  One of the reasons the intensity has been revving up so much may have to do not only with Mars and Saturn coming together in Scorpio, but also simply that we are closing out their past cycle.  I am sure things will continue to be intense, but look for where things begin to shift and where openings emerge for personal pursuits as the new phase sets in during the next few weeks.  It isn’t necessary to start a project at this time, but it is important to direct energy into something, be it an exercise routine, yoga routine, cooking routine, or space for creative expression of any sort that calls.

Mars being in Scorpio now for the last quarter square deepens the energy of this Aries cycle between Venus and Mars that is under the rulership of the red planet.  Mars is home in Scorpio just like as in Aries, but Mars in Scorpio is more of an esoteric archetype that helps put us in contact with our deepest nature.  Mars in Scorpio has an intense energy that inwardly focuses us on our desires and through exploration, helps us understand our mind frame created from our intentions, motivations, and desires.  Jeffrey Wolf Green has written that Mars in Scorpio gives us an opportunity to cultivate profound understanding in many areas of our life:

  • understanding our emotional dynamics
  • understanding the nature of our anger and rage
  • understanding personal power and both the proper use and improper use of power
  • understanding right use of will
  • understanding how misuse of will leads to manipulating others to meet our own desires
  • understanding the nature of limitations and what is and is not possible
  • understanding the reasons behind our confrontations, both inner and outer

If events do take us into the darker side of the possible meaning found in the Mars and Saturn conjunction in Scorpio, a good recourse will be to use it as an opportunity to learn more about our nature.  In connection to the last quarter square aspect with Venus, if we are drawn into another culture, a new philosophical awareness, or a love interest we desire to become intimate with, in all cases these will be attractions and callings that are resonant with our soul desires.  Pursuing a passion at this time will be a great way to work through the energy and utilize the transcendent potential of the many hard aspects involved in the New Moon.

johfra_6

Virgo by Johfra Bosschart

Virgo New Moon opposite Pisces Neptune

Virgo Mercury opposite Pisces Chiron

The Virgo and Pisces axis is demanding our attention this lunar cycle, as we begin with the New Moon opposite Neptune in Pisces, ruled by a Mercury opposite Chiron in Pisces. The climax will be a Super Moon in Pisces on September 8, 2014 that will be conjunct Chiron in Pisces, with Venus in Virgo in opposition to Neptune in Pisces.  Some of us are able to tune into Neptune and Chiron more so than others it seems without becoming baffled, but whatever your prior orientation is to the far out Chiron and Neptune, start paying attention.  We have a full plate ahead of us involving Neptune and Chiron in Pisces to digest (fortunately Virgo is associated with digestion, ha ha).

Demetra George has labeled Mercury in its current evening star phase more than fifteen degrees in front of the Sun as being similar to his exaltation in Virgo and what do you know, Mercury is actually in Virgo right now to boot.  To Demetra, Hermes in this phase is an older, wiser Mercury who is the sage and educator of youth, an inventor of letters, interpreter of words, and giver of medicine.  This is a Mercury in Virgo at a stage well suited to oppose Chiron in Pisces and evaluate our current predicament to receive a significant message, insight, or solution.  Remember that Mercury is magical and that he knows how to create remedies and find solutions, and that Chiron is the mentor of heroes who can help charge us forward toward achieving a harvest from what we plant as intention on this New Moon. Mercury in Virgo opposing Chiron in Pisces is harmoniously supporting the Mars and Saturn conjunction, with Mercury sextile and Chiron in trine.  Since both Chiron and Mercury in myth prescribe medicine, as a result they are in position to help us find a remedy for anything weakening our system.

Finally, Ceres in Scorpio is harmonious with this New Moon, in sextile to the lunation and in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  If we are facing issues involving attachment and letting go, we can have no better soul worker on our behalf than Ceres, as she was forced to face ultimate lessons involving letting go of attachments through losing her daughter Persephone to the underworld.  With the New Moon opposite Neptune, Ceres being involved harmoniously can help us mother ourselves, as a Moon and Neptune opposition can relate to desiring an illusory attachment in order to compensate for attachments that we feel were taken away too soon.  As a result we can experience great disillusionment when the new attachment we thought would take care of everything wrong in our life doesn’t live up to our projected ideal.  I do not think it is necessarily bad to want to attach to someone or something at this time, but I do think it is good advice to avoid losing your sense of self in the process.  Invoking some Taurus self-reliance as an antidote to all of the Scorpio energy can help us successfully merge with another without losing ourselves in the process.  As I previously mentioned, there can be a genuine desire for a soul mate in connection with the last quarter square between Venus and Mars that is not an illusion.  Just practice discernment as best as you can.

The story of Ceres is also a lesson that if we are feeling anger, pain, or sorrow, it is better to express the emotions through an outlet rather than try to numb it through the use of drugs or other forms of escapism.  There is strong association between Ceres and the sign of Virgo for obvious reasons, but an additional connection is her extreme productivity and ability to cultivate and nurture growth on all levels of being.  The type of growth we will experience at this time will not be light and airy but instead dense and deep.  Use the New Moon to focus on your true heart’s desire and then use the conjunction between Vesta and Ceres in Scorpio to dedicate yourself to maintaining your focus on making it happen.  Every small choice and step along the way will add up to the grand life we are desiring to live.  The last quarter square between Venus in Leo and Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio is a temporary passage along the way there.

References

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

 

The Jupiter and Saturn Cycle

Graves-Chalice

Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zeus,_altemps

Zeus

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

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

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

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

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

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

saturn by cristoforo de predis

Saturn by Cristoforo de Predis

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

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

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

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

graves joyous young pine

Joyous Young Pine by Morris Graves (1944)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

J.K. Rowling and Virgo Mercury

Hermione

J.K. Rowling’s progressed Mercury retrograde

JK Rowling speaks at Harvard commencement

The link above is to a speech J.K. Rowling gave at a Harvard University commencement ceremony on June 5, 2008.  In this speech she elucidates the benefits one can gain from  failure, as well as the supreme importance of imagination and how it gives humans the power to not only imagine solutions and inventions that did not previously exist, but more importantly to create imaginal empathic connections with others living very different lives from our own.

It may not be surprising to you, given J.K. Rowling’s well-known distaste of media exposure, that there is not an accurate birth time known for her, making it more difficult to know her natal birth chart for certain.  Nonetheless, we do know that she was born on July 31, 1965 in Bristol, and since having a strong Leo Sun makes sense given her work, I have taken the presumption to make an example chart with her born in mid-day with her Leo Sun near her mid-heaven:

RowlingJKWRIGC1AAgain, since her birth time is unknown the house placements above are not accurate.  However, with the exception of the Moon (her Moon could be anywhere from 12 degrees of Virgo to 27 degrees of Virgo), we can feel confident that all of the other planets are at least at the correct degree and sign of the zodiac.  In particular we can know for certainty that the outer planets are in their exact degree, and one can see from above that J.K. Rowling was born at the time of the most recent conjunction between Pluto and Uranus, in the sign of Virgo.  Furthermore, we can be certain that her Mercury, Venus, Uranus, Pluto, and Moon are all in the sign of Virgo, with Saturn and Chiron opposite in Pisces.  For the select group of people who have consistently been reading my blog, you may have noticed that the last chart I examined belonged to Kurt Cobain, who was also born at the conjunction between Uranus and Pluto in Virgo.  We are currently experiencing intense aspects between outer planets with a Uranus-Pluto square, and so I am focusing attention on people born during the previous conjunction between Pluto and Uranus that have had a large cultural impact on our modern life today.

Being an acclaimed writer, one of the first planets you may have focused upon in J.K. Rowling’s chart is her Virgo Mercury that is at zero degrees.  This is a fitting placement for such a popular writer, as Mercury not only rules Virgo, but Mercury is in it’s exaltation in the sign of Virgo.  This means that in the mutable, internal, and receptive energy of the sign of Virgo, Mercury is in a position to access the resources and techniques necessary to effectively communicate in the greater world in a manner that can be widely understood and appreciated in society.  Now, some of you may be saying, wait, I thought Mercury is exalted in Aquarius?  I have recently discovered that the Aquarius exalted location of Mercury is a modern invention of astrologers, but that when one looks at more ancient text, which is where the concept of exaltation came from in the first place, Virgo is in reality the exalted location of Mercury.  I do not intend to argue here with anyone wanting to praise the benefits of having Mercury in Aquarius, but what I do intend to do is praise the benefits of anyone having a Mercury in Virgo.

Perhaps it is her own Virgo-nature, but J.K. Rowling provided a perfect example for the brilliance of a Virgo Mercury in her Harry Potter books in the character of Hermione Granger.  Hermione, who at first glance obviously has a Hermes-inspired name, also happens to be a Virgo Sun sign.  We can go a step forward and link a Virgo Mercury to Hermione because my daughter Vivika, a well-versed expert in Harry Potter lore, has told me that J.K. Rowling based the character of Hermione upon how she was as a youth.  In the books Hermione as a Virgo also displays the reasons why Virgo is an exalted sign for Mercury, as she is the “star” student who is able to read, study, and absorb more academic material than any other student.  In addition, she has a strong intuitively analytic ability to reflect upon situations and discern creative solutions to problems in the stories.  Like Virgo, a mutable Earth sign, she is both pragmatic and flexible enough to shift her perception to align with the present moment.  She is also able to be widely appreciated for her intellect and academic communication skills by other students and teachers;  this is in contrast to Ron, who is a Pisces.  In contrast to Virgo, Pisces is considered to be a detriment of Mercury, and in the books we can see how Ron’s academic studies are constantly challenged by his emotional and passionate Pisces nature.  This does not mean that a Pisces Mercury does not possess great gifts, only that in a society-sanctioned place such as academia, a Virgo Mercury would have an easier time receiving acclaim than a Pisces.  On a mythic level, my own feeling about Mercury being exalted in Virgo relates to Isis.  Isis is often associated with the sign of Virgo by many writers across time, and she was a figure who was able to move between the underworld and the upperworld.  I believe that like Isis, a Virgo Mercury is also able to embody this internal/external movement of perception and communication, deeply processing perceptions taken in, as well as being able to transmit a healing vibration through communication in a manner similar to Isis.  This ability also connects with the character of Hermione Granger, as she was exceptional at casting magical spells just like Isis.

Even more interesting, however, Rowling was born with this Virgo Mercury stationing retrograde.  When a planet is stationing retrograde, it puts added weight on it because the planet was barely moving and in fact was stationing still at the time of birth.  As a result, J.K. Rowling has a potent Mercury at the initiation degree of Virgo, and since her Mercury is stationing retrograde it means that Mercury would have been travelling retrograde in Rowling’s progressed chart for the first twenty-five years or so of her life.  Significantly for the themes of the Harry Potter novels, it also means that Mercury would have been moving retrograde in her progressed chart in the sign of Leo. What is a progressed chart, you may be asking?  Before I continue, I would like to comment that I hope you bear with me in this post no matter your current astrological understanding, as I will be attempting to explain an important astrological technique that defies rational logic, but is extremely effective and has been one of the core components of my personal astrological practice when working with clients.  I will be more astrologically technical in this post than in many previous ones, but hope I am able to explain this concept in a manner that will have it make sense for you and prove its value when considering your own chart.

A progressed chart is a way we can enter another dimension of astrological understanding that defies rational logic.  In progressed charts, we look at each day following the date of birth as representing an entire year of someone’s life.  So, since J.K. Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 it means we would look at the date of August 5, 1965 to figure out her progressed chart at the age of five, and that we would look at the date of August 30, 1965 in order to figure out her progressed chart for the age of thirty.  Whether the fact this works out so well in charts is due to the axial rotation of the Earth or some other scientific explanation, in the end does not really matter when you pay attention to the significance of progressed transits and aspects and how your life develops correspondingly.

As I mentioned, since Rowling was born with Mercury stationing retrograde at zero degrees of Virgo, it means that as she grew up Mercury began to move backwards in her progressed chart through the sign of Leo.  When a planet in a progressed chart is moving retrograde, it has a similar meaning to when an individual is born with a planet retrograde.  For instance, the individual may experience the archetypal energy of the planet in a counter-cultural manner that goes against expectations of the status quo for how such an archetype “should” behave in society.  In Rowling’s case, it means that her Mercury function, her style of perceiving reality and communicating her understanding to others, goes against the grain of cultural expectations.  As she references in her speech above, Rowling did in fact refuse to conform to the expectations of her parents to study (Mercury) subjects in college that could lead her to more easily make a lot of money, and instead chose to focus on her own passionate interests like Greek myths (Mercury retrograde) that did not increase the likelihood of her becoming employed somewhere that could provide her with an affluent or comfortable lifestyle.  Yet, because Mercury was moving retrograde in Leo it plays up the heroic quality of this early phase of Rowling’s life that has been well-documented in the “legend” of how the Harry Potter books came into existence.  More importantly, since Rowling has a Virgo Mercury in her natal chart, it also demonstrates how she would have the natural Mercurial resources to make use of her perceptions and learning to ultimately bring herself acclaim through her communication.  The chart below is for the day in which Rowling’s Mercury would have stationed direct in her progressed chart:

RowlingJKWRIGC7

As you can see from the chart above, when progressed Mercury stationed direct in J.K. Rowling’s chart, it was closely conjunct her progressed Moon.  And if you notice that her progressed Moon is only about sixteen degrees behind her progressed Sun, it also means that her progressed Mercury stationed direct in Leo conjunct a progressed Leo Moon that was in a balsamic or dark Moon phase with her progressed Virgo Sun.  Furthermore, her progressed Virgo Sun would have been conjunct her natal Mercury in Virgo!  These aspects would have been the case no matter what her birth time was on July 31, 1965, only the date of this progressed station of Mercury would change with a different birth time.

Since we do not know the birth time of J.K. Rowling, it does complicate matters.  For example, in her natal chart Rowling could have been born in a New Moon phase (which would be about her more instinctually embarking upon a new personal cycle) or if she was born very late at the end of July 31 it would give her a Crescent Moon phase (which would be more about her fighting the “ghosts of the past” according to Dane Rudhyar while going forward in her new cycle of identity).  Personally, as I previously mentioned, given the importance of a Leo Sun to the themes of the Harry Potter books, I strongly feel that it would make more sense that Rowling was born during daylight hours, including more of a mid-day birth. However, unfortunately in this case we can not know for certain besides the general natal Moon phase theme having something to do with a New Moon/Crescent Moon intention to embark upon a new cycle of development in her life.  As a result, the fact that her progressed Mercury stationed retrograde in Leo conjunct a Leo progressed Moon that was in a Balsamic Moon phase to her progressed Sun, is incredibly important.  This means that this potent stationing of progressed Mercury would have coincided with a time period in which she was meant to do some clearing of the past while opening to the seed of a new vision, according to the meaning of a Balsamic progressed Moon phase.  As I will demonstrate in a moment, the general time period this event would have happened no matter her time of birth on July 31 would have been in the year 1990.  The year of 1990 is the time period documented by biographers in which Rowling was on a train in England and experienced an inner vision of the character of Harry Potter.  As a result, she began devoting her life in stages to the manifestation of this character and story, battling many dark events in her personal life at the same time (poverty, death of her mother).  Below is how she described this vision on her website:

I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, and the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head. I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one… I did not have a functioning pen with me, but I do think that this was probably a good thing. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, while all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. Perhaps, if I had slowed down the ideas to capture them on paper, I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder, idly, how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen). I began to write ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ that very evening, although those first few pages bear no resemblance to anything in the finished book.

–J.K. Rowling

Checking various birth time possibilities, if Rowling had been born around 1:00 AM on July 31, her Mercury would have stationed direct in the progressed chart in April of 1991.  In contrast, if she was born around 11:00 pm on July 31, her Mercury would have stationed direct in May of 1990.  Finally, if she was born around 1:00 PM as shown in the chart above, her Mercury would have stationed direct in October of 1990.  In all cases, her progressed Leo Moon would have been conjunct her progressed Mercury at the time of the stationing, within a progressed Balsamic Moon phase with a progressed Virgo Sun conjunct her natal Mercury in Virgo.  In addition, she would have also had a progressed Scorpio Mars that would have been sextile to her natal Mercury in Virgo.  And, we can see that the average time period of these various birth time possibilities would have been the year 1990 in which her vision of Harry Potter took place.  She also would have been working at Amnesty International during this time period, which she spoke at great depth about in the linked speech at the beginning of this post.

If you are curious about your own progressed lunar phase, you can run a progressed chart on http://www.astro.com or another program and calculate the difference in degrees between the progressed Moon and progressed Sun.  Each phase has a different meaning:  the New (0-45 degrees ahead of the Sun), Crescent (45-90 degrees ahead of the Sun), First Quarter (90-135 degrees ahead of the Sun), Gibbous (135-180 degrees ahead of the Sun), Full (180-135 degrees behind the Sun), Disseminating (90-135 degrees behind the Sun), Last Quarter (45-90 degrees behind the Sun), and Balsamic (0-45 degrees behind the Sun).  It is always important to pay attention to whatever progressed moon phase you are experiencing, but especially to have the awareness when one is experiencing a Balsamic Moon phase (or to look back and examine what happened during a progressed Balsamic Moon phase).  Below is an excerpt written by Demetra George concerning the progressed Balsamic Moon phase in her book, Finding Our Way Through the Dark:

The progressed Balsamic phase is the dark moon phase of the lunation cycle.  It is the bridge between the ending of one cycle of activity and the beginning of the next one.  During this time you are summing up and completing all that you have been involved with for the previous twenty-seven years.  It is a time of letting go, purifying, healing, and preparing for renewal.

You may experience the loss of what has previously given you your sense of identiy and purpose . . . It is not unusual to feel lonely, depressed, suicidal, crazy, chaotic, alienated, and without direction. Tremendous grief may come up at this time as you mourn your losses.

The message is to release whatever has ended for you. It has served its purpose and has no further value in what is to come. Like the snake shedding its skin, an old part of you is truly dying.  Allow the old to be destroyed. This is a period of retreat, emptying out, and the final letting go.  You need to make room for the birth which is to follow at the next progressed New Moon . . .

As you prepare your seed capsule you may feel the urge to resolve the past by distiling the wisdom you have gained into some kind of form that will become the basis for what is to emerge.  Releasing the past, you begin to envision the future.  You yearn for something new, fresh, vital.  In your daydreams and night dreams you weave the images of what is waiting to be born, something which will satisfy your vague inner longings.  It will be in answer to this need that the new will come forth. As this phase draws to its conclusion, you may sense the future and dedicate and commit yourself to following the course that opens up to you, even though you may have no idea where it will eventually lead.

–Demetra George, p. 50-51, Finding Our Way Through the Dark

Of course this is exactly what J.K. Rowling ultimately did, and is a perfect example of how potent the stationing direct of a retrograde planet like Mercury can be in relation to other aspects, in this case the fact that her progressed Mercury was stationing conjunct her progressed Moon in Leo.  During the next seven years of Rowling’s life, as she began writing the Harry Potter stories, her mother died, she became married, gave birth, became divorced, and battled poverty while writing a story that was ultimately published in 1997, ultimately bringing her great fame and fortune.  In 1997, she most likely would have still been in a progressed Crescent Moon phase, so the idea of writing the book goes strongly with the progressed Crescent phase in which we must struggle to persist in bringing the new identity and vision into form.

When considering the retrograde movement of progressed planets in our birth charts, it is important to not only pay attention to when the planet stations direct, but also when it finally returns by progression to its natal placement if that is possible in our lifetime.  For J.K. Rowling, her progressed Mercury would have returned to zero degrees of Virgo sometime around 2004, again depending upon her birth time.  This is interesting because by this time, Rowling would have already re-married and would have already started a new family with her new partner, and also would have either been writing or finishing up the story of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, having already achieved world-wide acclaim for her stories.  With her progressed Virgo Mercury conjunct her natal Virgo Mercury, she would have been at the stage of making the final part of the story of Harry Potter a reality.  During this time she would have been in a progressed Gibbous Moon phase, meaning she was more at a place of fine tuning her skills in relation to her vision, with a progressed Sun around 15 degrees of Virgo, which actually happens to be the specific “exalted” location of Mercury in Virgo according to ancient text (she would have had a progressed Aquarius Moon at this time).

As I previously mentioned, exactly how and why the progressed chart can be so powerful defies rational logic and is somewhat of a mystery.  One of my favorite descriptions of its meaning comes from my astrology teacher, Rosie Finn:

The transits show us what we are learning about ourselves in “real” time.  They show us how we are able to alter our life as we know it with all of the experiences we have garnered in our life.  The progressions then show us what we are learning despite all of the experiences we have had in this life.  It shows us how we can alter our life without all the collection of “stuff” that has clung to us in this life.  With this understanding, the progressed chart becomes a tool for looking at what is possible for us to change, to learn, to be, regardless of the tapes we collected from childhood, regardless of that bad experience we had in the 8th grade that we continue to recreate, regardless of the titles we give ourselves, etc .  We can use the progressed chart to look at who we have become in the meantime.  And we can use the progressed chart to look at where in our life we can make significant change without this lifetimes collection of tapes.

–Rosie Finn, p. 94, Journey-work of the Stars

Exploring progressed charts is one of my favorite activities involving astrology, and I am always amazed at what can be found through taking the time to investigate various aspects within the progressed chart as well as in synastry to the natal birth chart.  The life of J.K. Rowling is a perfect example of how powerful these charts are to take into consideration.

References

Finn, Rosie. (2011).  Journey-work of the Stars:  how to use astrology on your path to wholeness.

George, Demetra. (1994).  Finding Our Way Through the Dark. AFA.

Ceres Sun Leo / Full Moon Aquarius

Venus of Laussel

Ceres at the Crossroads

The legacy of Goddesses in all Her forms will be lit by the Full Moon in Aquarius occurring on August 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, as Ceres will be conjunct the Sun and Mercury in Leo at the time of the lunation.  This Full Moon will be about us recovering our authentic creative Self, a process which involves a Shadow integration that has it’s roots in the story of Goddesses.  Ceres is a dwarf planet that has the Roman name of the Greek Goddess Demeter, who is commonly known as a Goddess of fertility and the earth, but in more ancient times was also known as the Mother of the Dead, similar in a way to the Sumerian Mother of the Underworld, Ereshkigal (Shlain, p. 31).  The “Venus of Laussel” above was discovered in a cave in Southern France and believed to be at least 22,000 years old, from a time in which Goddesses were sacred to the hunter-gatherer people of the time on Earth.  Researchers into myths of the Goddess such as Anne Barin and Jules Cashford (The Myth of the Goddess) believe that there were two prominent myths of the time, one involving a Mother Goddess who was linked to fertility, the sacredness of life, transformation and rebirth, and a second myth involving a Hunter who was more connected with survival, including the ritual act of taking life in order to survive (Shlain, p. 31).

Ceres is an archetype that not only goes all the way back to the original Great Mother, but also moving forward through time she encompasses many of the most prominent Goddesses of myth such as Isis and Hekate.  Eventually, around the time documented by Homer or so, Ceres as Demeter became a Goddess who was regulated to being simply a sister of Zeus/Jupiter, instead of his Great Mother.  This is in part due to invasions of the ancient Matriarchal cultures of Goddesses by invaders who became increasingly Patriarchal over time and re-wrote myths from the perspective of masculine Gods holding power over the Goddesses, bringing some cross-pollination to myth between cultures of the time in the process.  As a result, we can see many parallels in the myths between cultures who came into contact, such as the fact that Isis made Osiris whole again by synthesizing his fragmented pieces of his body together again, and in other myths Demeter (Isis) put the severed limbs of Dionysus (Osiris) back together again (Jung, p. 237).  In his book, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, author Leonard Shlain constructed a theory proposing that the development of alphabets and written records coincided with the subjugation of Goddesses and the ascendancy of Gods as sitting atop the hierarchical power pyramid of myth:

Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, presided over what had traditionally been considered the quintessential feminine essence:  water.  Many bulls inhabited his home in the deep.  The image of a bull inside a body of water or in an underground labyrinth is evocative of the female’s reproductive organs.  In the myth that precipitates Cadmus’s fateful journey to Greece, a bull carries a terrified young woman out to sea on his back. Initially, she trusted the intentions of a creature that had been associated with her gender for eons.  Zeus chose to rape her at Crete, the island culture consecrated to the Goddess.  Europa’s violation by a feminine totem is allegorical:  it is the incident that initiates the mythical transfer of the alphabet from Phoenicia to Greece.  With the beginning of alphabetic writing, women would have reason to fear the bull, which came to represent lustful virility.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 125

Shlain further depicts mythic plot lines developing in accord with the work of Homer, whose stories such as The Illiad “glorifies masculine values and denigrates feminine ones,” as it is focused upon “the deeds of men, and the story line is drenched in male-death consciousness”  (Shlain, p. 127).  The oppression of Goddesses becomes even more apparent when we consider how Gods became more important to the birth/release of many Goddesses more so than a Mother Goddess, such as Aphrodite being born from the severed testicles of Uranus by Kronus, Athena being released into the world from the head of Zeus, and Demeter, Hera, and Vesta being freed by Zeus from the belly of their father Kronus who had devoured them:

The birth stories of these three goddesses [Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena]- remnants of the Magna Mater- are so peculiar that they could only have been devised by a male mind intent on changing the perceptions of society.  Each goddess emerged from the insides of a male, though this required convoluted plot twists . . . Not only did all three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, enter the world by way of a man instead of through the birth canal of a woman, but none of these examplars of the Great Mother was nutured during childhood by a mother.  This resulted in the paradox that these three representatives of the Great Mother were themselves motherless!  New myths are frequently imposed on a culture by the needs of a dominant ruling class.  What better way to discredit women’s roles in the creation of life, and by extension, the Great Goddess, than to have your goddesses born of gods?  The Iliad, the Theognis and the Old Testament turn barnyard commonsense upside down by asserting that birthing is a man’s job . . . The death throes of the Great Mother can be read between the lines of these sexist credos.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 130-131

Ceres being such an vital aspect of the herstory of myth on our planet is significant at this time, as in astrology we are experiencing a Full Moon in Aquarius, with the Leo Sun being conjunct the planet Mercury as well as the “dwarf” planet Ceres.   The Leo Sun and Ceres have actually been conjunct this entire past week during a lot of intense astrological energy, with Jupiter in Cancer in a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and coming into a first quarter square with Uranus in Aries, plus the Grand Water Trine we have been talking about still occurring, now more prominently involving Jupiter in Cancer, Chiron in Pisces (with Neptune), and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio (with Saturn).  Demetra George is my favorite author concerning the astrological meaning of Ceres, and many of the issues that Demetra associated with Ceres in her book Asteroid Goddesses are connected with the modern oppression of women and femininity that have clear connections to the mythstorical oppression of Goddesses by Gods.  For example, as Ceres is a Goddess of food and nourishment, she can be connected with the eating disorders many modern women have experienced, disorders that are connected to a psychological complex rooted in misogyny and the oppressive depiction of women in media such as movies, commercials, and popular music.

Demetra also analyzed how the pre-Hellenic versionof Ceres was a universal archetype of the Great Goddess that emerged in Crete and Greece in association with figures such as Isis, Ishtar, Inanna, Gaia, Rhea, and Tara.  Ceres as the Great Mother in Crete was integral to fertility rituals such as being the corn priestess at the Autumn Equinox who lays with her lover Iasion in a field in order to birth Plutus, who was the god of wealth found in the Earth, “a symbol of that rich bounty that the earth produced when it was so honored by the Sacred Marriage” (George, p. 45).  In the later versions of myth, however, after Demeter takes her younger lover Iasion out to a field during the marriage ceremony of Cadmus and Harmony, Zeus angrily strikes him dead with a bolt of lightning upon discovery.

Similar to this re-write of the myth, Demetra George also described how it was not until Homer’s Hymn to Demeter that the rape of Persephone appears in myth, as it had “no precedent in the earlier cult versions” (George, p. 45):

Historically, Persephone’s rape symbolizes the power struggle that was occurring between the patriarchal cultures (Pluto) and the indigenous matriarchal goddess cults (represented by Ceres).  The final outcome of the story points to a clear victory for the northern Zeus worshippers.  The Great Mother not only had to stand by and watch her daughter being raped and abducted, Ceres was also forced to share her beloved Persephone with the enemy.  Hence, she had to abdicate a portion of her powers over the birth and death rituals, a dominion that was eventually wrestled from her in its entirety.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 45

In the popular version of the Persephone myth, Ceres/Demeter is no longer identified with the powers associated with Hekate, and in fact Ceres deep in grief comes into contact with Hekate, looking for guidance.

HekateHekate

Hekate is often depicted as a crone goddess representative of the triple goddess, a goddess of the moon, magic, and plant medicine, a goddess who stands at the crossroads.  In stunning synchronicity to today’s full moon in Leo and Aquarius, Hekate in the Persephone myth directs Ceres to seek guidance from Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Ceres the knowledge that Pluto took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Today at the time of this Full Moon, many of us are standing at our own crossroads, coming into knowledge of the root causes or sources of intense personal issues and experiences that are coinciding with the intensity of outer planet transits we have been experiencing:   in particular that  Jupiter in Cancer has now come into the full first quarter phase of it’s square with Uranus in addition to a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.

But what does this mean, you may ask?  For one, Jupiter in Cancer, considered an exalted aspect by ancient astrologers, entering such intense aspects with outer transpersonal planets difficult for us to integrate on a personal level but which consistently correlate with cataclysmic and paradigm shifting events in our human collective, has been coinciding with many of us having to realize once again how many of our beliefs we hold dear are ultimately speculative in nature.  I am not debating that there is an actual Truth, only that we humans tend to believe what we believe and on this level of relativity two people can view and interpret the same experience completely differently, arguing from a perspective rooted in belief systems that on the surface seem to hold no common ground.  This experience can feel especially debilitating when one is feeling oppression from a belief system connected to a dominant culture that one knows is not actually the Truth, but which still holds tremendous power of control over us nonetheless (or at least will try to control us).  We could be finding ourselves in a similar position to Ceres, enraged at the violation to our own divine femininity inside of us.  However, the version of her myth involving the descent of Persephone to the underworld also holds an important moral lesson, as Ceres had been extremely possessive of Persephone prior to her descent, and she reacted to the loss of her daughter with anger and bitter vengeance, refusing to nourish the Earth with food, flowers, and vegetation out of protest.  Ultimately, Ceres had to come to a place of letting go of her attachment to having Persephone with her at all times, as well as come back to a place of being productive with her unique calling and gift of food and nourishment that sustains life on our planet.  This does not mean we need to be mushy and passively accepting of oppression we experience or witness, but it does mean that we can be more productive and effective when acting from our hearts instead of out of anger or bitterness.  Going through the raw pain of crises does at least give us an opportunity to open more of our heart in the end of the process if we do our deep work.

As a result it is fascinating to me that the Sun has been conjunct Ceres at this exact time, an event that typically is not drawing a huge amount of attention from astrologers, although it most likely will be briefly mentioned in numerous “Full Moon reports,” such as something along the lines of “mother issues” or “baking bread” for someone.  Traditional astrologers barely even acknowledge Ceres, as they have a deep learning of astrology that can work limited to only the original seven planets of the Sun through Saturn.  However, even amongst the modern late 20th Century astrologers who have taken great leaps of thought with our ancient study of astrology, with the exception of Demetra George and others of like-mind, Ceres has not been developed to a great extent as an astrological archetype.  Astrologers do use her, but I find that she tends to draw less attention as a general rule, and many question the validity of even paying much attention to her in the first place.

ceres

One reason many question using the asteroids (although again, Ceres is not even an asteroid! She is now a dwarf planet on the same level of Pluto!) is why we should integrate the myth of a particular culture with a particular myth, to an asteroid that some astronomer just chose to give a certain name to.  However, in answer to this argument Ceres has a knowing smile.  At the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology conference near Portland, Oregon I witnessed Demetra George giving an electrifying talk about the mythology and astrological significance of Ceres, following a trip Demetra took taking astrology students to the specific locations of the myth.  Demetra shared with us that when Ceres was discovered in 1800 by the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, she was discovered in an astro-lab that was near the exact site of Persephone’s abduction in myth.

In actuality, although Ceres has still not generated a tremendous amount of astrological writing, since the 2006 astronomical controversy in which Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status, and Ceres was elevated to dwarf planet status, Ceres is today on the same level playing field as the other celestial bodies that modern astrologers tend to obsess over since Pluto isn’t going anywhere in terms of astrological significance.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George presented an ingenious thesis for the astrological meaning of Ceres that I have found is deeply compelling and typically makes sense in the context of natal birth charts.  In this book Demetra associated Ceres with the signs of Cancer (nurturing issues), Virgo (productivity issues), and the Taurus-Scorpio axis (issues of attachment and letting go for transformation).

Again, as I spent time outlining the subjugation of the Great Mother for a reason, it is important to take our Ceres placement in our birth charts in consideration of the context of the oppression of women in our global culture and the effect this has had on our individual growth and development.  For example, Demetra George brought up the fact that hospital births in which the infant is separated from the mother in a sterile and isolated hospital crib first came into dominance in the 1930s, and as a result contributed to the plethora of relationship issues that have been handed down to ensuing generations since that time.  If we do not receiving the nurturing we need as an infant, a child, and/or an adolescent, we in turn have difficulty nurturing others in relationship, including our own children, and as a result a psychological complex such as an “attachment disorder” can be transmitted down the line of generations of family karma.  It is possible, however, with deep work and processing, to overturn complexes like attachment disorders we can become stuck to in our development, and as we each do our own unique personal work in this manner, and support others in their own deep work along these lines, we can help add to a great paradigm shift of anti-oppression work in the world around us.

When we talk about integrating our Shadow into helping us actualize our unique Self, this is exactly what we are talking about:  becoming aware of the rejected feminine aspects of ourselves (even if we are a macho dude) that have been cast off or suppressed in the face of cultural conditioning.  With Ceres lined up with the Sun and Mercury in Leo at this time of a Full Moon in Aquarius, we have a clear sign from above that a more authentic version of our actualized creative Self could become available to us at this time.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George wrote the following about having Ceres in the natal birth sign of Leo:

Ceres in Leo people identify nurturance with self-expression.  Ideally, the parents will foster in the child a sense of pride, confidence in his/her abilities, and an appreciation for the creative efforts of others.  These people can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity-  thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.  Self-acceptance is based upon one’s ability to create and share something he/she takes pride in.  The inability to do so may bring self-rejection and a lack of self-confidence.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p.  64

Since we are at a Leo-Aqurius lunation, it brings up the natural square to the Taurus-Scorpio axis that Demetra George wrote about Ceres ruling, associating it with issues of abandonment and attachment.  The reason people enacted Eleusinian rites of death for so long based upon the myth of Ceres and Persephone was to overcome a fear of death in the collective, as well as perhaps to gain a sense of the transformation and regeneration available in the process of death.  In Esoteric Astrology, Alan Oken and others have talked about the significance of the Taurus-Scorpio axis involving a death and destruction of form that helps humans open themselves to the heart-centered opening of the fixed cross.  It is through death of form, of learning to let go of attachment and experience rebirth, that we learn to open our hearts as well as come into closer contact with our Soul nature:

To prepare for the moment of death, one must learn to experience “little deaths” every day through the process of letting go.  While letting go may seem frightening at first, it is actually a necessary part of the cycle of life/death/renewal.  In this transformative process, nothing new can be reborn until something old first dies.  Thus, whenever we cling to a person, thing, or situation that has outlived its purpose, we only prevent ourselves from experiencing the abundance of renewal.  At this point, a Ceres transit will inevitably come along, denoting our need to confront our fears of dying and to realize the truth of the Ceres-Scorpio death secret-  that release is the precursor to rebirth.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 55

Back in February of 2013 during a time of incredible planetary Pisces energy, Mercury and Ceres both stationed retrograde in square to one another-  Mercury around 20 degrees of Pisces, Ceres around 20 degrees of Gemini.  Since Mercury is now conjunct both Ceres and the Sun in Leo at this time, if we have been doing the work to let go of what has served its purpose, we may be experiencing a renewal of energy.  In contrast, if we have held on tightly to something that has outlived its purpose, we may be experiencing an intense climax of energy requiring us to make a definitive decision to let go of what is clogging up the process of transformation that could otherwise be available.

This point of 20 degrees of Gemini that Ceres previously stationed retrograde at this year is significant as it is the Heliocentric north node of Ceres.  During her talk on Ceres at the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, Demetra George pointed out that Ceres has Heliocentric nodes in square to the nodes of Juno and Pallas Athena, all on the mutable cross:  Ceres at 20 degrees of Gemini (north) and Sagitarius (south), Pallas Athena at 23 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south), and Juno at 20 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south).  As in traditional astrology this means that all three of these Godesses have Heliocentric north nodes ruled by Mercury, and south nodes ruled by Jupiter, Demetra synthesized that the evolution from “faith to reason” is at the evolutionary core of the feminine in our solar system.  At first I was surprised to hear this, as it seemed to suggest the divine feminine should become more rational and less intuitive, and then upon more thought I realized that this would be exactly the evolutionary point.  Thus the divine feminine could gain strength through developing its rational side while drawing upon its great powers of faith, not neglecting its intuitive abilities.  Becoming more rational, developing the ability to objectify our experiences instead of being overridden by emotional responses to our experiences, ultimately will help all of us come to a better understanding of the oppression the Shadow side of our Self has experienced.  As a result, we can ultimately realize and actualize more of our whole Self in the world, coming into a stronger embodiment of our unique power of creation and expressing more of the full Virgo sense of productivity associated with Ceres.  This also means carrying the Leo-Aquarius meaning of this Full Moon out into appreciation and sharing in joy of the work of other creators around us, instead of viewing other creators with envy, jealousy, or competitiveness.  Enjoy this Full Moon and soak up its lunar rays!

Ceres statue

References

George, Demetra. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses.  ACS.  (with Douglas Bloch)

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

Shlain, Leonard. (1998).  The Alphabet versus the Goddess:  the conflict between Word and Image.  Viking.