Synchrony of Mars and Saturn

L'Enigme_de_Gustave_Doré

L’Enigme (1870) by Gustave Dore

L’Enigme by Gustave Dore is a famous representation of profound despair over the destruction wrought by humanity, an apocalyptic atmosphere brought on by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.  Dore has been said to have been inspired by the Victor Hugo verse, “What a spectacle! Thus dies everything that man creates! A past such as this is a deep abyss for the soul!”  When the war in 1870 between France and Prussia began, there was an opposition between Mars in Gemini and Saturn in Sagittarius.  In 2016 we have been experiencing an extended period of time heavily influenced by Mars and Saturn that has coincided with numerous collective events inducing fear and terror.

Every night in recent months  we have been able to watch the red planet Mars aglow in a triangular formation with Saturn and the fixed star Antares.  Ever since Mars stationed retrograde in mid-April at nine degrees of Sagittarius conjoining the fixed star Antares, with Saturn co-present at sixteen degrees of Sagittarius, Mars has been destined to return to Sagittarius in August 2016 and come into conjunction with both Saturn and Antares.  Mars and Saturn will exactly conjoin on August 24 at ten degrees of Sagittarius, but for most of August and September they will be co-present in Sagittarius and especially close between the middle of August and beginning of September.  What has made this period of Mars and Saturn even more difficult is the simultaneous square formed between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn, a square that will become activated to new levels in August when Mars joins with Saturn in tension to Neptune.

Mars and Saturn are categorized as malefic planets in traditional astrology because they are said to cause trouble and signify difficult experiences.  Yet, it is also not true that Mars and Saturn always signify negative experiences by transit, no more than do the benefic planets Venus and Jupiter always signify positive experiences by transit.  The crucial aspect is what condition these planets find themselves in the natal chart when analyzing one’s individual experience.  There are also of course positive ways to work with both Saturn and Mars.

An excellent source for the origins of these views on Mars and Saturn is Vettius Valens, a second century Hellenistic astrologer from modern day Turkey who traveled extensively, including through Egypt, in search of astrological knowledge.  A working astrologer, Valens in his Anthologies gave lists for the significations of Saturn and Mars which reveal their malefic nature.  For Saturn, Valens noted it is the “Star of Nemesis” and included such descriptions as malignant, petty, self-deprecating, solitary, deceitful, strict, miserable, humblings, sluggishness, obstacles and subversions in business, griefs, tears, and bereavement, yet also “puts into one’s hands great ranks and distinguished positions.”  For Mars, Valens wrote it “controls the hard and abrupt” and gave descriptions including force, wars, violence, banishment, exile, lies, vain hopes, looting, anger, fighting, lawsuits, wandering, quarrels, yet also both love affairs and marriages, craftwork, masonry, campaigns and leadership, and actions involving fire or iron.

Across time in astrology there has been developed ways of working with Mars and Saturn that focus on positive outcomes that can come from their union, such as welding the passionate, burning energy of Mars to the disciplined, determined focus of Saturn.  Yet even when put into positive terminology, Mars and Saturn correlate with overcoming challenges, working hard, and persisting with commitment rather than anything to do with luxuriating in soft comforts of pleasure.  And indeed, Mars and Saturn can correlate with incredibly difficult, traumatic situations of loss and suffering that lay souls bare.  In combination with the square between Neptune and Saturn, the difficult experiences of this time can provoke profound disillusionment and despair.  In such circumstances in which external sources of stability are shaken, one must turn within in order to nurture one’s ability to find meaning and security or risk falling into despondency.  In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the brooding prince suffering from the murder of his father famously gave the following speech that voices disenchantment with the world of humanity:

“I have of late, -but wherefore I know not,- lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,- why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither . . . “

Though Hamlet has been interpreted as struggling with inaction in his story, and Saturn can be a constrictive influence on Mars, typically Mars and Saturn correspond with the types of challenges that necessitate action in order to stabilize or survive.  Interestingly, in late September 1604 Shakespeare would have experienced a transit of Mars conjoining Saturn at ten degrees of Sagittarius- this would have been a couple of years after Hamlet had been written and performed, and may have coincided with his writing of Othello which was performed in November 1604.

Unlike Hamlet in the above quote, recent experiences may have brought one to find greater sustenance in the radiance of the natural world as mediation for personal difficulties, or solace in relationships involving deep, loyal bonds- yet disillusionment and catharsis regarding past desires or beliefs is likely.  The influence of Neptune in square to Saturn during this period of Mars-Saturn challenges was described brilliantly by Richard Tarnas in his essay The Ideal and the Real about hard aspects between Saturn and Neptune:  archetypes which bring up issues of “matter versus spirit, the concretely empirical and literal versus the imaginative and the ideal, the finite and temporal versus the infinite and eternal.”  Analyzing the work of William Blake, Oscar Wilde, and James Hillman (individuals who were all born with Saturn and Neptune in hard aspect), Tarnas wrote “in all three of these individuals, one can also recognize a definite impulse towards deconstructive skepticism, a passion to strip away illusions and hypocrisies, as well as emphatically critical attitudes toward conventional philosophical and religious beliefs expressed in work after work.”  As Hamlet remarked to his good friend Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Adding Mars into the mix of the square between Saturn and Neptune influences the revelation of illusions and hypocrisies that will come about in August and September to involve archetypal themes of Mars such as strife, separation, conflict, and burning passions.  Neptune and Saturn will form their third and final exact square in this series on 10 September 2016 at ten degrees of Sagittarius and Pisces, with Mars occupying twenty degrees of Sagittarius at that time.  Previously, when Saturn and Neptune formed a square on 17 June 2016, Mars was retrograde in Scorpio.  At the first square between Saturn and Neptune on 26 November 2015 at seven degrees of Pisces and Sagittarius, Mars was at eight degrees of Libra and so forming a sextile to Saturn but not creating a catalytic influence as it will in the month ahead.

Bonatti-Saturn

from Guido Bonatti’s Decem Tractatus Astronomiae (1491)

This year’s conjunction between Mars and Saturn stands out for a few reasons:  the extended period of time due to Mars retrograde that Saturn and Mars engage with one another, the square with Neptune in Pisces, and the additional conjunction of Mars and Saturn with the fixed star Antares. Antares is named for being the “rival of Mars” because it is a giant binary star that glows red in our night sky. Considered to be the heart of the Scorpion constellation, Antares is one of the four ancient royal stars of Persia that were utilized in the past by sky watchers to anchor the seasons, with Antares holding down the season of Fall.  Ptolemy linked Antares with Mars and Jupiter, Vivian Robson portrayed Antares as destructive and obstinate, and while Reinhold Ebertin deduced Antares can give mental sharpness and courage, if combined with Mars Ebertin believed the bravery of Antares would become reckless and dangerous.  There is a long tradition of warning about the dangers of hubris combined with headstrong martial force in connection to Antares, yet the clearly forceful and determined correspondences of Antares could also be put to thoughtful use.

The current presidential election in the United States of America fits well with these traditional themes of Mars, Saturn, and Antares as the two candidates are despised by the majority of the population in part for their hubris, dishonesty, and corruption.  It is a unique election in which neither candidate is seen as being likable, and as a result both campaigns will likely be even more aggressive in attacks against one another than normal.  Furthermore, the recent Republican Convention was dominated by chaos and conflict, with political rival Ted Cruz becoming booed off stage for refusing to endorse Donald Trump, and numerous speakers calling for opponent Hilary Clinton to be locked up in prison, Ben Carson going as far as to link her with Lucifer. Then, there was the acceptance speech given by Donald Trump that not only was the longest in recorded convention history but also had the unique presentation of having almost every word shouted with anger.  Continuing the trend of disastrous conflict, as the Democratic Convention prepared to open a political scandal erupted confirming that the Democratic National Committee had been conspiring against the candidacy of Bernie Sanders during the primary elections.

In Europe and the Middle East, the refugee crisis has been a longstanding issue that links more with the timing of the square between Saturn and Neptune than the influence of Mars and Saturn.  However, the use of fear over refugees helped fuel the shocking Brexit vote in which the United Kingdom separated from the European Union, a Mars shockwave of strife that will have far reaching influence and now needs to be dealt with in Saturn-like fashion.  There has also been a string of mass murders that have caused terror in recent months in both the United States and Europe, as well as increases in violence in the wars that were already waging.  In addition, the protests by Black Lives Matter and other activists in the United States against the killing of African Americans by law enforcement have risen to amplified levels of conflict in the past month following the killing of law enforcement officers by lone renegade gunmen.  These are just some of the collective conflicts that will be feeding into the challenges being worked out in correspondence with the conjunction between Mars, Saturn, and Antares in the next month.

Bonatti-Mars

From Guido Bonatti’s Decem Tractatus Astronomiae (1491) 

Typically when Mars and Saturn conjoin it is a short-term transit.  Mars conjoined Saturn in Sagittarius the last time in February 1986 at nine degrees, and by the end of the following March the red planet had already left Sagittarius.  The last time there was extended interplay between Mars and Saturn was in 1984, when Mars conjoined Saturn in Scorpio in February 1984 at seventeen degrees.  In April 1984, Mars stationed retrograde at the end of Scorpio and moved back to come very close to conjoining Saturn again in June 1984 when it stationed direct at 12 degrees with Saturn retrograde at 11 degrees.  During this time period in 1984 there were numerous collective conflicts such as Iran accusing Iraq of using chemical weapons in their war.  It was also the period of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it was at this time that the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, California.

Athletics and other arenas of competition will be appropriate outlets to unleash the force of Mars and Saturn, and so the 2016 Summer Olympics that will occur during the conjunction of Mars and Saturn will no doubt feature incredible drama.    In one’s personal life during August as Mars and Saturn come into conjunction, it will be an opportune time to diligently prepare and work hard.  It will be enlivening to have a meaningful personal project to invest energy into, as well as maintain physical exercise and spiritual practices that release stress and foster balance.  While Mars and Saturn can coincide with conflicts and difficulties, they are also vital catalyzers in the creation of great works, the building of supportive life structures, and the taking of ambitious initiative.  As Saturn can have a restrictive influence on Mars, their union in Sagittarius (home of Jupiter) will reveal in personal experience how structure and containment can lead to expansion of wisdom and creativity in the end.

bookred.54

Image 54 by Carl Jung from The Red Book

Currently Mars is finishing its pass through the sign of Scorpio that has dominated 2016 so far, as Mars will re-enter Sagittarius on 2 August 2016.  Mars entered Scorpio on 3 January 2016 where it remained until March 5 when Mars entered Sagittarius.  Mars re-entered Scorpio on 27 May 2016 while retrograde where it has remained since, meaning that for the vast majority of the year so far Mars has been in Scorpio.  Mars dug up deep material in need of purging while retrograde in Scorpio, and although Mars stationed direct in Scorpio on June 29, the slow forward momentum of Mars through Scorpio has continued to be cathartic.  The transit of Mars through Scorpio is additionally karmic due to the previous pass of Saturn through Scorpio from 6 October 2012 until 23 December 2014, and then again from June 14 until September 17, 2015.  In the third decan of Scorpio where Mars has moved backward and forward in the past few months, Saturn in Scorpio previously transited from 29 December 2013 through 12 May 2014, 26 September through 23 December 2014, and from 14 June through 17 September 2015.  The karma of events that occurred during these previous transits of Saturn through the third face of Scorpio likely have resurfaced to be processed and dealt with during the retrograde and stationing direct of Mars in the past couple of months.

From a traditional astrological standpoint, Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Sagittarius have not been able to see each other by aspect during this time since the end of May, and so through their aversion have been operating independently of one another.  Yet since Mars originally stationed retrograde in range of a very wide conjunction to Saturn, there is a way in which they have remained bound, especially visibly in the night sky.  Scorpio is the home of Mars and yet Mars has been moving incredibly slow, leading to the past few months being potent in frustrating ways that have required patience.  As Mars moved retrograde in Scorpio it kept peeling and then peeling even further deeper into the core of internal desires and complexes, bringing up agonizing experiences for those dealing with grief and loss, and shaking the foundations of identity for others.  As Mars stood still and began moving direct again, the pain for many continued without the old desires and attachments fully burning off, or the new developing presence embodied.  Now as Mars nears the end of its pass through Scorpio, I have been getting the sense that those who have been engaged actively with internal work will begin to feel a palpable shift in releasing the past and embracing the new.

Once Mars re-enters Sagittarius in August, the combined influence of Mars and Saturn working together will become more apparent.  The last time that Mars and Saturn conjoined was in August 2014 in the sign of Scorpio, a month that was notable for upsetting events.  This was the period of ISIL capturing cities while creating terror in global media, and the launching of air strikes by the USA in response.  It was also the time of the suicide of Robin Williams, an event that evoked widespread collective mourning.  Important with regard to recent current events in the USA, the shooting of Michael Brown on 9 August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement and led to widespread protests.  Again, despite distressing collective events on a personal level it is entirely possible that productive actions and developments can occur as Mars and Saturn come together this next month in August.  One thing I have noticed in my work is that projects initiated during a conjunction between Mars and Saturn can be long lasting and have tremendous staying power, but often are very slow to develop and may not manifest desired results until much later.

Finally, it is worth noting that during the calamitous square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries that has dominated astrology since 2011, Pluto has been in the home of Saturn and Uranus has been in the home of Mars.  It has been so easy to become caught up in the dynamics between Pluto and Uranus and their wrecking ball impact, we can forget that both have been under the influence of Mars and Saturn the entire time. Recently there has been a quincunx formed between Uranus with Mars as it stationed direct that added to the atmosphere of frustration (the quincunx was most exact from mid June through mid July).  Issues that have come up with the quincunx between Uranus and Mars will shift dramatically once Mars enters Sagittarius and both Saturn and Mars will be in a sign that forms a trine to Aries where Uranus is residing.  Ideally, out of the difficulties corresponding with Mars and Saturn will arise some liberation from past restraints via Uranus.  Mars will form a trine with Uranus in mid September.

14 Temperance (Art)

XIV Art by Lady Frieda Harris

The XIV Art arcanum in tarot, traditionally known as Temperance, is associated with the alchemical mixture of Fire and Water and the astrological sign of Sagittarius. My brilliant friend  Pamela Coeur Norris who is an ingenious practitioner of tarot, recently made a comment on my Full Moon in Capricorn article on social media that the XIV Art card is the arcanum that truly addresses the intent to blend the powers of Fire and Water, in addition to being associated with Sagittarius.  I asked her if she would share any insights she has about XIV Art in relation to Mars finishing up its time in Scorpio in order to enter Sagittarius and a union with Saturn.  I’ve paraphrased her response in the following paragraph, with a minor inclusion of my own.

The Alchemist, XIV, is the mediator between XIII Death (Scorpio ruled by Mars) and XV Devil (Capricorn ruled by Saturn). This is a tumultuous meeting, and an arbitrator might be necessary. Sagittarius is the perfect spot—particularly since Jupiter’s “not home” and is instead in the mediating, Mercurial sign of Virgo.  Who will dominate this meeting? Mars certainly has the fire power, yet Saturn has the staying power, and most likely the last word. The Alchemist must ascertain just how much Martian gunpowder to load into the Saturnian cannon. We must take into account that Mars is XVI Tower energy—the eye of Shiva (let’s destroy the world) and Saturn is XXI Universe energy—Karma king (let’s use our fire wisely to burn off only whats dead and complete).  Sagittarius is the liberator here, the focus that creates the path for Mars and Saturn to aim toward freedom.  When Mars and Saturn work together in the right measure we can let go of our drama and loosen the bondages of attachment.

The overt alchemical image of XIV Art in the Thoth deck is a modification of the traditional XIV Temperance card that also involves alchemical imagery and concepts.  As the etymology of the word Temperance involves roots of “restraint” and “moderation,” there is a further compelling link with the fact that Saturn can have a restraining, moderating impact upon Mars.  On a psychological level, this can relate to being accountable and responsible, with Saturn bringing integrity to the will-force of Mars in Sagittarius, a sign comfortable with living from an ethical philosophy.  In alchemy, the work we could link to the XIV Temperance arcanum is about freeing the being of Light contained within our earthy, fleshy, incarnate form.  This is why Carl Jung found resonance between the symbols of alchemy with his concept of individuation and the symbols produced by those he helped individuate.  Even within surrounding external conflicts, it is possible to use the structure of Saturn to seal oneself from outside toxicity, containing and guiding the volatile Mars to bring about essential growth that will ultimately have a positive impact in the greater collective.

Temperance arcanum

XIV Temperance by Pamela Colman smith

 

References

Tarnas, Richard. (2009). The Ideal and the Real: Saturn-Neptune. Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology. Vol. 1, No. 1.

Valens, Vettius.   Anthologies, Book One.  Translated by Mark Riley.

Advertisements

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.

 

Alchemical Mercury, Aquarius Moon

alchemical mercury

The alchemical Mercury, from Tripus aureus (The Golden Tripod) by Michael Maier, c. 1618.

August 8 presents a moment of legendary proportion to center within a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Leo, as the Moon waxes toward another potent astrological moment two days later on August 10, when we will experience a loaded Full Moon in Aquarius.  Since Mercury goes retrograde into an inferior conjunction and then swings round again into a superior conjunction three times a year, we have three of these superior conjunction moments every year to experience Mercury moving at it’s fastest speed into the heart of the Sun.  However, this is a uniquely special superior conjunction as at this time Mars in Scorpio is square Jupiter in Leo, the Moon in Capricorn is conjunct Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries, and most of all the superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries and in square to Saturn in Scorpio.

Demetra George compares the superior conjunction of Mercury to the detriment label of Mercury in Sagittarius as it can be like an insight of genius as well as a mad overflow of information to process- in either case this is because our minds can be full of so much unintegrated information at this stage of Mercury’s cycle that we can be challenged to fully digest the material.  This meaning corresponds to the speed of Mercury at this time, moving as fast as the fleet footed messenger ever moves, as from our perspective with Mercury on the other side of the Sun, it appears that Mercury is flying into the Sun.  Once Mercury gets close to its conjunction with the Sun, however, it takes on a “cazimi” meaning (some consider this to be less than one degree, others less than seventeen minutes) in a moment in time that brings the potential for a re-integration of all the material collected in the mind since Mercury moved direct in its last retrograde cycle on July 1.

If you want to be a pure astrological magician you may take advantage of this exact moment of Mercury merging into the Sun to center within yourself and within connection to the world soul, but in case you miss this moment it is still possible to gain profound insight into not only recent events and mental exploration, but concepts of our identity and self that go back across our entire lifetime.  This is because of the archetypal meaning of the Hermes of the Greeks who is the guardian of souls, a gatekeeper in between states of being who is always present with us during times of a death of an old identity and the birth of a new sense of self.  The astrological aspects for this particular superior conjunction are especially profound in this sense:

MercurySuperiorConjunctWRIGC1

In the chart above one can see the intense interactions occurring between planets in Leo and planets in Scorpio, including the close conjunction between the calculation of the mean Black Moon Lilith and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Leo with the Sun, all in square to Saturn in Scorpio. This is a square of manifestation that is an apt symbol of this entire astrological period leading up to the Full Moon in Aquarius. Like the idea of Dane Rudhyar that at the Full Moon we can receive illumination and vision that gives symbolic expression to the fulfillment of our past, the square from Saturn in Scorpio to Mercury’s superior conjunction enforces the necessary limitations and structure upon our perception and experience to cause what has been felt inside to now be seen within our reality and consciousness.  With Black Moon Lilith included in this aspect, it can also mean a feeling of any inauthentic aspects of our recent identity being cut away from us as we integrate the illumination of the superior conjunction.  We can emerge with a purified boldness to radiate like the Leo Sun.  Just as the Full Moon receives the full light of the Sun to illuminate us, so Mercury orbiting close to the Sun at the time of its superior conjunction receives insight to transmit to us.

However, at the time of the superior conjunction the Moon is in Capricorn, square to Uranus in Aries, and conjunct Pluto in Capricorn. This is another deep and hard aspect that while challenging, all together makes it possible to receive real knowledge about our self and our world from the trine between Mercury’s superior conjunction and Uranus in Aries.  A dear friend of mine recently told me that she sometimes hardly notices a trine, and that it can feel more like she is going out for some ice cream; however, when she experiences a square from a power agent like Saturn, it can feel like her entire world and reality is shifting.  This is very true of this moment in time-  Uranus can correlate with shocking insight, Pluto with cathartic confrontation, and so this ongoing square between these heavyweights is completely activated by this Leo superior conjunction of Mercury.  With Saturn further squaring it, there is no escape from the truth. If we are centered in our truth at this time we can express it fully and courageously.

But hold on folks, we cannot forget to mention Mars loving it up in the sign of Scorpio, a zodiac sign giving Mars a full expression of all of his passionate, desirous, and yes, manipulative and maleficent nature.  Mars in Scorpio at this time is in square to Jupiter in Leo as well as in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  Our desires and sense of personal will  as a result can lead us into experiences that reveal disillusionment in one way or another- it will be the hands-on knowledge we gain from our experiences that our desires magnetized that cause this disillusionment.  In combination with Mercury’s superior conjunction that is conjunct Black Moon Lilith and in square to Saturn in Scorpio, this can be an essential stripping away of what is false to reveal a more authentic presence.  It may feel very fiery in nature, like the ancient concept of the “art of fire” from alchemy that inspired modern psychologists such as Carl Jung and James Hillman to develop alchemical psychology.

de-Rola-the-Green-Lion-176

emblem by Baltzer Schwan from Johann Daniel Mylius‘s 1622 Philosophia reformata

While some purists like to argue against the plausibility of constructing psychological theory inspired by the chemistry of alchemy, there are nonetheless countless aspects of alchemical psychology that are not only thought provoking but can be very pragmatic at times, no matter how “far out” the ideas may feel to some.  For those who get pushed to the edge of consciousness and beyond, theories like alchemical psychology can actually be an essential guide.  I heard a lecture by Robert Bosnak on the Jung Platform in which he described alchemy as a lyrical mode of perception in an emotional way that is far removed from logic- it feels expressive, emotional, passionate, and deeply felt, like the idea of the world being born as a sea of sparks arising from the unknowable.  Our bodies form around this essential spark and so like an alchemist we can work to connect with this spark of matter inside of us.   Embodied imagination is essential in this process, and all of our imaginations can be sparked by Mercury’s superior conjunction.

The elements of alchemy include sulfur as desire, salt as a slowing down to crystallize, the mutable nature of Mercury, and the lyrical dance of all three.  It describes a quality of heat more so than a quantity of heat, and includes four levels of quality.  Particularly resonant to me about this time is the boundary between the third quality (that is like a burning heart of courage and the isolating anger of Mars driving the work harder) and the fourth quality (that is like a clarification into realization, like endless nights of wandering into penetrating insight).  In the transition between the third and fourth qualities, we can feel like we are too hot, too angry, and yet if we keep going anyway then seemingly out of nowhere clarity and insight will arise.  This feeling could very well correlate now to this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction transitioning into the Full Moon in Aquarius two days later:

AquariusFullMoon2014WRIGC2

Of course, many of the aspects in the Full Moon chart above are the same as at the time of Mercury’s superior conjunction, but the difference is that the full lunation is illuminating everything in starker contrast.  It is important to remember as well that Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius, and so from that perspective the square between Scorpio Saturn and Leo Mercury/Sun is emphasized.  In addition, if you prefer the modern rulership of Uranus of Aquarius, then the trine between Uranus in Aries and the Mercury/Sun conjunction in Leo is highlighted.  Either way, this is a very powerful Full Moon, and not just because it is a Super Moon so close to our Earth.  Whatever sparks of creative inspiration emerge for us now, we will want to take responsibility to integrate this insight into our daily work.

Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala described an interesting Sabian Symbol for this Full Moon at 19º Aquarius:  “a forest fire is being subdued by the use of water, chemicals and sheer muscular energy.”  Rudhyar wrote that the keynote for this symbol is about “the skill and courage necessary to bring under control the destructive potential of carelessness of karmic visitations” (p. 261).  Our world is full of immense and extraordinary conflict, destruction, and trauma at this time.  As the world servers among us want to find areas to focus on and help facilitate productive change in one way or another, many of us are also confronting our own personal demons that we want to shift into more of a connection with a universal “higher mind” that will help navigate us in a direction in line with the “good” of all beings everywhere.  The aspects of this Full Moon make solutions to both of these scenarios a real possibility.

Finally, it is worthwhile to note that there is “sympathy in the square” between Leo and Scorpio according to the ancient astrologer Rhetorius the Egyptian, because they are signs of “equal rising” that are contra-antiscia across the equinox axis of Aries and Libra.  In the days leading up to Mercury’s superior conjunction, both Mercury and the Sun in Leo became contra-antiscia to Saturn in Scorpio, meaning that Saturn could “hear” both Mercury and the Sun.  In addition, at the time of the Full Moon in Aquarius, Mars in Scorpio will be contra-antiscia to Mercury in Leo, meaning that Mars will be able to “hear” Mercury during the Full Moon.  These aspects mean that although these squares between Leo and Scorpio may seem intense, they also hold strong resonance for manifestation, and can help us work productively with whatever conflicts arise.  If you want to read more about antiscia, a good resource is the website of Seattle astrologer Kate Petty.

Life may feel like a whirl wind at the moment, so it will be best to go into the spiral.

Barchusen-Elementa-chemiae-18

Copperplate 7 (of 19) from Johann Conrad Barchusen’s 1718 Elementa chemise, appearing in Johannes Fabricius’s 1976 collection, Alchemy (p18)