Libra New Moon: Deepening of Venus Retrograde

autumn thoughts arnold bocklin

Autumn Thoughts by Arnold Bocklin

Libra New Moon

The Libra New Moon on October 8 brings us into the deepening of Fall in the northern hemisphere as the days darken and multicolored leaves descend from branches, and seeds buried under the earth pulsate with the promise of new life. The New Moon is in the home of Venus, and also takes us into an intensification of the forty day Venus retrograde period which began on October 5. There is a Plutonic quality to the lunation, as the New Moon is applying to a catalytic square with Pluto in Capricorn. Initiatory, death bringing, regenerative themes of Pluto have been strong in the week before the New Moon as Pluto stationed direct on September 30 and now begins to slowly crawl forward on course to eventually enter new zodiacal terrain. As Venus stationed retrograde on October 5 less than a week after Pluto, it is as if Pluto cleared a path underground for Venus to dig into during her retrograde through Scorpio.

Since Venus retrograde in Scorpio rules the Libra New Moon, and Venus retrograde is also being received by Mars in Aquarius in a change inducing square aspect, the New Moon in Libra is a calling to re-center within whatever changes and strong feelings have been triggered in the past week with the stationing of Venus. Venus retrograde has a different way of working towards Venusian themes of harmony, value, and attraction than when Venus is direct. One way to think about the difference is that Venus becomes more intolerant of whatever is oppressive or working against harmony rather than being accepting or attempting to mediate compromise. Especially with Venus retrograde in the fixed, deep waters of Scorpio, previously hidden or denied emotions and issues within relationships will rise to the surface and demand awareness and renegotiation. The Libra quality of the New Moon can hopefully help with listening within as well as to others so we may begin to rebalance and shift in whatever way needed.

There is also a shedding of Venus that occurs, a process that will become more intense in a couple of weeks as Venus begins to approach its conjunction with the Sun on October 26 and experiences a purifying burning away of accumulated material. Since Venus is retrograde in the home of Mars, and Venus is applying to a square aspect with Mars in Aquarius, the shedding process at the New Moon becomes accelerated and in the week following the New Moon it will become obvious whatever issues are being brought to the surface in correspondence with Venus retrograde. We can set intentions at the New Moon, but due to the square between Mars and Venus we will also be forced to deal with and respond to circumstances and themes that will be deepening in meaning as the Venus retrograde process develops through the next month.

Notably, Mars in Aquarius has finally returned to the degree it previously stationed retrograde at the end of June, and so just as it has now completed its own retrograde journey it is simultaneously an integral part of the initiation of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. The airy quality of Mars in Aquarius that is capable of detaching at times from feelings in order to catalyze needed growth can be helpful in grasping a larger vision of the bigger picture within which we are feeling difficult emotions in the moment. The deep emotions of Venus retrograde in Scorpio can be overwhelming, yet ultimately regenerative through bringing forth a cleansing purge. In the wake of what we release, the visionary capacity of Mars in Aquarius can help us push forward into new areas of growth and development.

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Persephone opening the Liknon Mystikon, found in the shrine of Persephone at Locri

Persephone

Venus retrograde has a tradition of being associated with an underworld journey for the Star of Aphrodite, and with Pluto having stationed in the same week as Venus, it brings to mind the story of Persephone who was pulled into the underworld by Hades in order to become a Queen mediating between realms of the living and dead. Moreover, the Sun in Libra was conjoining Ceres at the time Venus stationed retrograde, and Ceres in Libra is also conjoining the Libra New Moon. All of these aspects connect with the Persephone myth, including the fact that Mercury is at the final degree of Libra at the New Moon on the threshold of entering Scorpio and uniting with Venus retrograde in the following week (Hermes was sent by Zeus to bring Persephone back to her mother Demeter aka Ceres). Moreover, the Persephone asteroid #399 is exactly conjoining Venus retrograde in Scorpio at the time of the New Moon and was applying to a close conjunction with Venus at the time Venus stationed a few days before the lunation.

Tim Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul analyzed that while Persephone’s name can be translated as “death bringer,” and she does indeed step into the role of ruling over the realm of the dead, she equally signifies our incarnation of being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death. Addey focused upon the 6th century Platonic philosopher Damascius who linked Persephone with the soul’s descent into generation, interpreting how Persephone is drawn toward the narcissus flower, a bloom whose name has mythic associations with the soul falling in love with its reflection in matter. Her innocent, purely spiritual state is shattered by her violent pull into the underworld of death, yet ultimately on the other side Persephone discovers a powerful underworld role of mediation and rulership to embody. We all must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, and with Venus retrograde in Scorpio will be feeling things intensely, yet on the other side of Venus retrograde we may discover newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear.

“Persephone has reached out with both hands…committed to the embrace of the wondrous flower. This…is the key to the true artist, who seeks to manifest the infinite beauty of spirit in finite matter . . . Most human beings have arrived at some kind of stasis in their relationship with the world which could, and often does for awhile, pacify the deep-seated urge to rediscover their spiritual nature. To start out on the mystical path of initiation is to put at risk our mundane contentment for the sake of something unknown, and possibly frightening.”

— Tim Addey, Seven Myths of the Soul

The New Moon in Libra conjoining Ceres also draws attention to the immense grief and trauma experienced by the Earth Mother in losing her daughter to the invisible underworld, and Ceres in Libra will be continuing to play a pivotal role in the enfoldment of Venus retrograde. Ceres in part symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against the injustices and oppression of our world, releasing the emotions felt when experiencing death or loss. For nine days Ceres aka Demeter refused to eat and mourned; Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted the fasting of Demeter as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” Likewise the purging and putrefaction we experience and emote in the next couple of weeks of the opening stage of Venus retrograde will ultimately open deeper levels of self realization.

Ultimately after securing the return of her daughter for part of the year, Ceres brought the gifts of corn and the mystery rites to humanity. Though she endured traumatic wounds she would have to continue to bear and nurture, Ceres managed to bring a source of physical nourishment and profound spiritual understanding to the greater collective. The Libra New Moon conjoining Ceres similarly signals a month of needing to nurture past wounds, hurts, and vulnerabilities, while at the same time reaching out to others in need with warmth, support, and heartfelt action. There are numerous astrological transits coming at the end of October through November signifying immense change that could dramatically change current narratives, beginning with the coming Full Moon in Taurus on October 24.

Eros_Hermes_And_Aphrodite

Pinax of Eros, Aphrodite, and Hermes found in shrine of Persephone at Locri

Mercury is co-present with the lunation at the final degree of Libra and then enters Scorpio the next day on October 9, with the newly waxing Moon joining Mercury later the same night.  The Moon and Mercury upon entering Scorpio immediately begin applying to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, while also becoming co-present in the sign of the Scorpion along with Jupiter and Venus retrograde. Simultaneously the Moon and Mercury begin moving toward a catalytic square aspect received by Mars in Aquarius. Mercury is still invisible under the beams of the Sun these days and in Scorpio is able to penetrate and investigate previously hidden areas. The opposition between Venus retrograde in Scorpio with Uranus in Taurus is the dominant astrological theme of October, and so the contact between Mercury and Uranus can help us adjust to whatever is beginning to come into our life in correspondence. With Uranus involved not only can this be something unexpected, but something that changes everything quickly.

A week after the Libra New Moon around October 15, Mercury in Scorpio will unite with Venus retrograde and further deepen our perception into whatever is brewing and arising from underworld realms. This union between Mercury and Venus retrograde is particularly notable because it happens just after Mercury has ascended again into visibility as an Evening Star, and just as Venus is descending into no longer being visible as an Evening Star. During Venus retrograde periods we always experience Venus descending from being an Evening Star into an invisible underworld phase that ultimately leads into it arising again as a visible Morning Star heralding dawn.  As a result Mercury is playing an instrumental role in transitioning us into this more secretive, subconscious, underworld period of the Venus retrograde transit.

Furthermore, as the Moon waxes toward fullness in the next couple of weeks Mercury will also be moving toward an eventual union with Jupiter in Scorpio that will occur just after the Full Moon in Taurus on October 24 and the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun on October 26.  The co-presence of Jupiter in Scorpio with Mercury and Venus retrograde isn’t going to make things easier or more pleasant, but it does signify a greater potential for wisdom and growth to be harvested from the corresponding experiences. These are the final lessons for us to learn from the time of Jupiter in Scorpio that began 10 October 2017.

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3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Libra associated with the Three of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Saturn rules the second face of Libra, and in the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the image we can observe the transcendence through pain that can be brought by Saturn. In times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us. The piercing of the heart by swords is also resonant with the current Venus retrograde occurring in Scorpio, the nocturnal home of Mars, with Venus also applying to a hard aspect with Mars at the time of the New Moon.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements.  Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to commitments within relationships as well as to oneself is vital to bear in mind as we deepen into the transit of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. Venus retrograde periods can coincide with new attractions and desires for change within relationship, or feelings of needing to change the balance of a relational dynamic. The influence of the second decan of Libra focuses attention on the importance of taking responsibility for clear communication and acting from integrity so as not to destroy the bonds of current relationships should desire for change occur.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the second face of Libra, a curious repetition as it also connected Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities. Kairos was portrayed as moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect. In modern culture the term kairos refers to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. While its comforting to believe we can always use our free will to create the reality we wish to live within, it usually takes an opportune moment of kairos arising that we may then seize to make the desired change. The next two months are full of change inducing astrological transits, and while difficult feelings may emerge in correspondence, so may opportunities arise to fundamentally alter our life. It will be a deep sea change, so keep an eye alert for favorable winds to catch sail with.

References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

Libra New Moon

butterfly-by-yasui

Butterfly (1950) by Chuji Yasui

A silver quivering cocoon that shakes
from within, trying to break.
What psyche
is wrestling with its shroud?
Blunt diamonds
scrape at its casing,
urging it out.
But there is too much grief. The world
is made of days, and is itself
a shrouded day.
It stifles. It’s our world, and we
its dreams, its creased
compacted wings.

— Denise Levertov, Emblem (II)

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on September 30 is the first lunation to follow the Equinox, and within the shifting of the seasons supports momentum borne with reawakened focus.  The New Moon conjoins the expansive and visionary Jupiter in Libra, while in range of a square to the cathartic depths of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn.  The blackness of this New Moon has a different mixture within its matrix than we’ve experienced this year, as Mars has finally left Sagittarius for its exaltation in Capricorn, Jupiter has finally left Virgo for greater dignity in Libra, and Venus has entered the deep waters of Scorpio.  Mars in Capricorn is applying intensely to a square with Jupiter as our lights unite in darkness, demanding we be accountable for enacting our will force in pursuit of our most prioritized goals.  While the past year has involved immense tumult of mutable changes, the Libra New Moon in sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius fortunately supports  building structures to develop and express the soulful desires that have been dislodged by the catalyzing, cascading currents.

The Libra New Moon follows a dynamic month of eclipses, Mercury retrograde, and the final square between Saturn and Neptune.  If we have been able to clear out the dead weight of our lives in the past month, there is vigorous force within the Libra New Moon for launching enterprises bound to the authentic ardor welling up from within.   The eclipses of the past month combined with Mercury retrograde in Virgo forming trines with Pluto were a perfect storm for releasing the heaviness of past grievances and awakening to an enlivening lightness of spirited presence.  As the Libra New Moon is in square to the midpoint of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, it facilitates bold embodiment of the presence liberated from previous hangups. If overwhelming loss arose during the past month of eclipses, the Libra New Moon further supports reorienting to the resulting ramifications as needed.

It is worth noting that this New Moon that is aspecting both Pluto and Mars arrives at the balsamic close of the cycle between Mars and Pluto that began on November 10, 2014.  From the standpoint that Mars and Pluto have an octave relationship in which the leading edge desires of Mars emanate from the deep well of Pluto, there can be a distillation available of all our circulating desires from the past two years that have not yet manifested.  In the coming lunation cycle Mars and Pluto will conjoin and begin a new cycle- this will happen on October 18 in the waning Moon that follows the upcoming Aries Full Moon.  Vision can be found in the blackness of the Libra Moon that lets go of what was not meant to manifest in the past two years, while opening to intimations of the potential that can be realized in the forthcoming cycle.

Venus in Scorpio

Venus rules the New Moon in Scorpio, the home of Mars, with Mars freshly in the sign of its exaltation, Capricorn.  Though Venus is separating from Mars, they are in a sextile relationship in which the subterranean sensations of Venus in Scorpio can be injected into the persevering drive of Mars in Capricorn.  Though Venus in Scorpio is in a sign opposite her home of Taurus, it pleases Venus to be in a water sign as her full feeling nature is available.  Venus in Scorpio can acclimate with an astrological climate that follows the storms of September, as Venus in Scorpio wants to dig up the roots of whatever circumstance it finds itself in order to feel how the unseen underworld has been informing what is on the surface.

The eclipses of the past month combined with a Mercury retrograde phase in Virgo that stationed direct in a trine with Pluto could have led to the uncovering of secrets or hidden material in need of being known in our relationships.  The Libra New Moon ruled by Venus in Scorpio further supports opening to the depth of mystery within the Self, being willing to embrace shadow and unconscious forces.  If there has been a lot of disorientation due to recent revelations, there can now be healing readjustment as long as we avoid the negative side of Scorpio that manipulates and controls the emotions of others due to fear of being hurt.  The virtue of Scorpio is not its fixated ability to influence the feelings of others to do its own bidding, but rather in its transformational potential to shed old skin and merge with radical presence.

leonora-carrington-spider-1967

Leonora Carrington (1967) Spider

In addition to forming a sign based sextile with Mars in Capricorn, Venus in Scorpio also forms a sign based sextile with Mercury in Virgo.  Mercury direct in Virgo as a Morning Star is one of the most potent forces within the Libra New Moon enabling us to discern the most direct route toward manifestation of our goals.  Mercury has now separated from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, a square with Saturn, and a trine with Pluto, and is now applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces that has been a key player in the eclipses of 2016.  Mercury is at home and in exaltation in Virgo, a discriminating and rational abode for Mercury that accentuates its ability to bridge soulful spirit to the earthly matters at hand in the moment.  Mercury arises at dawn as the rays of the Sun pierce the tranquility of night, weaving the golden light into a consciousness able to awake and start the day mindful of the choices in greatest alignment with our solar purpose.  Mercury in Virgo and Mars in Capricorn, both places of their exaltation, are capable of building containers in our life that allow for a descent within that regenerates passion that can then be projected into our worldly endeavors.

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2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Libra associated with the Two of Swords tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see a blindfolded woman crossing two swords in front of her, while sitting before an oceanic expanse. The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, the Crescent Moon the waxing cycle of the Moon’s orbit we enter at this Libra New Moon that calls us to persist on our path forward despite the regressive pull of the past. Commonly, this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to discover mindfulness and courageous equipoise, resolving previous conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to this face, suggesting it awakens us to surrounding injustice and disequilibrium on a societal level as well as in our daily personal interactions. Coppock further noted that the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra, linking the chthonic goddesses who punish transgressors of divine law to the element of this face that is concerned with natural law and justice and the revelation of hidden evidence of inequities.  Coppock captured the essence of this face in the following passage:

While fair trade and social justice are prime concerns in this face, its true object is relationships. Legal proceedings and commerce are essentially about the balance between two entities. Indeed peace or strife between individuals is what determines social order, and consensus is the very root of the law. Fairness and reciprocity must underlie all friendships and romances if they are to last. This face shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition. The core principles of ethical interaction with other beings are thus revealed in this face.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 158

The Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra, making this New Moon that conjoins Jupiter particularly fertile in terms of bringing expansive alertness to whatever has been out of balance, opening awareness to how to recalibrate the necessary elements.  Embracing our individual wholeness without denial and being willing to communicate honestly with integrity is of course always wise counsel, but the Libra New Moon is particularly responsive to those asserting their needs with healthy and respectful boundaries.  Just as the recent Libra Equinox demarcated a new season of changing winds, so does the Libra New Moon herald a new period of astrological transits that are more conducive to bringing about ample feelings of success more so than the transits that have dominated the majority of 2016 so far. We are clear of eclipses, Mercury retrograde, Mars retrograde and within the aftershocks of the squares between Saturn and Neptune, Pluto and Uranus.  The blackness of night holding the union of Sun and Moon in Libra is fecund with reception for making tangible what has previously been deeply felt and yearned for.

References:

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

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