Scorpio New Moon

roberta matta nascitur

Nascitur by Roberta Matta

Scorpio New Moon

The blackness of the Scorpio New Moon on November 14 beckons descent and falling into feelings, probing underneath surface appearances into material that has been obscured by shadow. Within the absence of lunar light, its regenerative darkness will be full of turbulent intensity due to the surrounding influences of Mars stationing direct and Mercury opposing Uranus. Scorpio is a place of willing confrontation with death and decay,  zodiacal terrain known for intensifying feelings of being alive as it simultaneously reveals the limits of our own mortality.  Lay your fears to rest within the dark waters of the lunation, surrendering to deepening while making space for necessary rest and reflection.

The New Moon in Scorpio is at the precipice of extraordinary change, as the forthcoming lunar cycle will culminate with a Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on November 30 that will prod us into a volatile eclipse season centered around a total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14. Moreover, the lunation cycle initiated by the Scorpio New Moon will be the final lunar cycle to begin and end within the era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs that began in 1802. Since we are only a month away from the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, the seismic shifts across societal systems that will emerge in its wake can already be sensed within the sensitizing atmosphere of the dark Scorpio Moon. 

While the harmonizing sextile formed between the Scorpio New Moon with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn will open intimations of the coming new era from the swampy depths of Scorpio, the fact that Mars is simultaneously stationing direct in Aries will unleash jarring currents of agitation that can incite both anger and exhaustion. Mars has been retrograde in Aries since September 7, and so as it momentarily pauses in stillness we may feel overwhelmed by the build-up of its volcanic fire coursing through us. Mars stationing is a big deal due to it happening less often than the other planets: there will be many Mars related events and conflicts erupting during the days following the lunation we will need to navigate as mindfully as possible.

Make time and space to contemplate and feel into the new desires and directions that have emerged for you since the beginning of September. There may be aggravations and blocks frustrating forward movement as Mars barely moves in the week following the Scorpio New Moon, but at the end of November as we approach the Lunar Eclipse in Gemini we will be able to make substantial progress as Mars will kick back into accelerating forward. Rather than trying to force things to happen faster than they are naturally coming together, use the days following the Scorpio New Moon to center within your circumstances and ground into a sense of an effective strategy for achieving your goals over the next month.

Due to Mars moving retrograde in the past couple of months, it has already formed two different square aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn since the beginning of August. While Mars will not complete its third and final square aspect with Jupiter and Saturn until January 2021 after Mars has entered Taurus and Jupiter and Saturn have entered Aquarius, Mars will complete its third and final square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 23 a couple of days after the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Since there remains to be a deeper potency to forge from our martial furnace in the final months of 2020, the greater clarity we can gain now regarding whatever has been stirred up by Mars in recent months, the more directly we will be able to set our freshly forged desires into motion in the months ahead.

Remedios Varo (1948) Cambio-De-Tiempo

Cambio de Tiempo by Remedios Varo

The New Moon in Scorpio will form while completing a supportive sextile aspect with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn, and is additionally applying to a sextile with Saturn in Capricorn. The sextile between the New Moon with Jupiter and Pluto is especially significant due to the fact that Jupiter and Pluto recently completed their third and final conjunction of 2020 on November 12. Previously, Jupiter and Pluto completed conjunctions on April 4 and June 30 and so there has likely been something significant you have been cultivating since April that is now reaching a stage of culmination. As Chris Brennan and other astrologers have noted, a couple of major correspondences with each union of Jupiter and Pluto this year have been spikes in cases and deaths related to COVID 19 as well as conspiracy theories about the pandemic and many other things. Presently in the USA as Jupiter and Pluto have come together for the final time both topics have returned to prominence with record breaking numbers of coronavirus cases and the unprecedented situation of a sitting President losing an election and refusing to concede due to false allegations of voter fraud.

Jupiter and Pluto form conjunctions roughly every twelve and a half years, including in previous years of immense volatility in society such as in 1968 and 1931. The present union of Jupiter and Pluto has been similarly disruptive as 1968 and 1931 due to it also being part of larger outer planetary alignments. While in 2020 we have Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all beginning a new cycle together, in 1968 we experienced Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto ending and beginning new cycles together. In comparison, the 1931 conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto was in opposition with Saturn in Capricorn while Uranus in Aries was forming square aspects with both Saturn as well as the Jupiter Pluto conjunction.

When Jupiter and Pluto meet we must aspire to the expansive heights of Jupiter through incredibly intense periods of volcanic upheaval, breakdown and decay. It’s further typical for extraordinary power struggles to erupt over societal injustices, with numerous systemic issues of oppression in need of reform being exposed. While we necessarily are brought down into purgative processes of purification and catharsis when Jupiter and Pluto come together, we also gain the opportunity to form impactful alliances and fellowship to address the issues needing attention. While we must endure catastrophic extremes of corruption by those intent on gaining extreme amounts of wealth and power, on a personal level their synergy can guide us into inner depths to churn visions of imaginal ideas and essential purpose. While Jupiter combined with Pluto can kindle devotional focus to expansive work, it also requires us to nurture faith in the unknown while traversing a collective dark night of the soul.

Vitally, Venus in Libra is forming a catalyzing square aspect with Pluto and Jupiter during the New Moon in Scorpio. Venus will complete its square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto on November 15 and then will complete a square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 19. The friction between Venus in Libra with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn will test relationship dynamics and expose imbalances of power and authority, bringing issues that had been lurking under the surface out into the open to be faced. Yet Venus can also stoke creative tension with Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn that we can utilize through disciplined effort in crafting creative projects we have been slowly but steadily making progress on over time.

Finally, it’s notable that the asteroid Pallas Athena was exactly conjoining Jupiter and Pluto when they united on November 12 and was also nearby Jupiter and Pluto by degree during their two previous conjunctions in 2020. The presence of Pallas Athena with the tension building between Venus with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn brings all of the complicated mythology of Pallas Athena into the dynamic. While Pallas Athena is an upholder of law and order in civilization, her mythic origins link her further back to the divine goddesses of Cunning Wisdom and Justice whose power goes far beyond attempts of control by ruling empires. Above all, Pallas Athena brings the gifts of strategy and the kind of prophetic vision that can anticipate troubles and formulate effective strategies in response.

With Mars stationing direct and Venus clashing with the Capricorn trio of Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn, the side of Pallas Athena that Demetra George likened to a bodhisattva will be relevant, as we will need to enter the fiery frey of conflicts erupting across society to revision a more equitable order. Indeed, Walter Burkett in Greek Religion wrote that Pallas Athena “is not an elemental force, but the force of civilization” who brings the “organizational wisdom” that can achieve a “just division of roles.” As we are collectively leaving an era of earth to enter a new era of air at the end of 2020, we can benefit from the intellectual weaving of Pallas Athena that can reorder societal systems of law and order to address the imbalances that have been exposed. Rather than falling prey to rage and destructive reactions as Mars dominates the week following the New Moon, let the lucid eyes of Pallas Athena center you so you can make the most effective response imaginable. In Greek Religion Walter Burkett cited the fitting proverb, “in league with Athena set your own hand to work.”

remedios varo Insomnio-1947-1

Insomnio 1 by Remedios Varo

The final major influence underlying the New Moon in Scorpio is the applying opposition between Mercury in Scorpio with Uranus in Taurus. While the tension between Mercury and Uranus will be very volatile, it will likely involve storylines and issues that have been developing for over a month. Mercury formed an opposition with Uranus for the first time on October 7, and then after stationing retrograde formed its second opposition with Uranus on October 19. It will be worthwhile to reflect back upon these previous periods to note what issues or patterns were jarred loose then and could be reemerging now. While there could be resolution experienced in certain circumstances, the propensity of Mercury for shifting storylines and Uranus for upending them could also coincide with new developments that move things in unexpected directions.

Since we are living in an incredibly polarized collective moment, especially in the United States of America, the combination of Mercury opposing Uranus with Mars stationing is potentially explosive. Do your best to not provoke confrontations more so than necessary. On a personal level, however, this same combination can bring about catalytic insight that reveals a glowing path to follow through the chaotic darkness that will coincide with 2020 drawing to a close. It may be helpful to make space for reflection, meditating, journaling, brainstorming, anything that can help get ideas moving, turning, and coalescing into new forms.

Soon after Mercury finishes its final opposition with Uranus on November 17, it will leave its retrograde shadow zone on November 19 when it will finally move beyond 11°40′ Scorpio.  Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 13 at 11°40′ Scorpio, and has been traversing the entire range of its retrograde shadow zone that began at 25º54′ Libra since September 23. As a result, as Mercury is carrying forward the propulsive liberation of its oppositional aspect with Uranus on November 19 we likely will experience resolution or pivotal developments regarding narratives that stretch back all the way to the end of September. This is even more so the case due to Venus in Libra completing its square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 19 as well.

7 cups

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The New Moon will be reseeded by the Sun in the third decan of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The third face of Scorpio has an amplified alchemical quality that is well suited for the lunation coinciding with Mars stationing direct in Aries while Mercury opposes Uranus. Ruled by Venus and the Moon, it is a decan in which we must come to terms with the essential desires driving us through experiences of loss and decay that reveal the heart of the matter. In the image of the Seven of Cups each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers. The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire that cast a shadowy veil that became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image. Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires. Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that the essence of this face involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire. Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires. Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

 In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the curious deity Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. Yet 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 seen as always 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.

The presence of Kairos in the third face of Scorpio points toward the importance of being in touch with the ripening of the moment during the Scorpio New Moon. The fertility of our destiny cannot be rushed or forced, and often relies on specific moments in which we realize essential elements of our past to reweave into the path we are following forward. Now that both Mercury retrograde as well as Mars retrograde are finished, as we turn toward an eclipse season on the horizon that also holds the grand conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, we will be well served by taking as much time as needed to sort through all of the desires that have been stirred in recent months. May you welcome the fleeting appearance of Kairos and seize the moment that holds the next movement of your life.

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References

Burkett, Walter. (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press.

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

Mars Retrograde in Aries

Jorge Camacho

by Jorge Camacho

“Cruelty has a Human Heart,  /  And jealousy a Human Face;  /  Terror the Human Form Divine,  /  And Secrecy the Human Dress.  /  The Human Dress is forged Iron, /  The Human Form a fiery Forge,  /  The Human Face a Furnace seal’d,  /  The Human Heart its hungry Gorge.”

— William Blake, “A Divine Image” from Songs of Experience

Mars Retrograde in Aries

Mars has long been associated with division and separation, catalyzing action, movement, and conflict through eruptions of fiery heat. Mars enters a phase of extreme heat when retrograde, and this will especially be the case in the next few months as Mars will be retrograde in its fiery home of Aries where it operates with directness and strength. For those who are not smiths with a working forge, we can imagine the transformative capacities when working with a forge, transmuting materials into a new, useful creation. As the flames of Mars intensify, we may also light a torch to be carried into the expanses of inner depths to illuminate not only what we desire to create from our forge, but what materials we need to gather for our operation.

Mars stations retrograde on September 9, 2020 at 28°09′ Aries and will station direct on November 13, 2020 at 15°14′ Aries. Ultimately Mars will move back and forth from fifteen to twenty-eight degrees of Aries three times from July 25, 2020 until January 2, 2021. However, the stretch of time from the stationing retrograde of Mars in September until the stationing direct of Mars in November is distinctly different than the other two periods of time that Mars traverses these degrees. As a result, whatever significance the second half of Aries has in your natal chart will be the subject of internal and external confrontations that can lead to vital renovations.

Mars moves through the midpoint of its synodic cycle with the Sun during its retrograde, and so it can be helpful to consider whatever was being set in motion at the root of the current cycle. The present cycle of Mars was seeded by its conjunction with the Sun on September 2, 2019 at 9°40′ Virgo, and became visible in its heliacal rise as a Morning Star around October 16, 2019 at approximately eight degrees of Libra.  In the past year we have gone through many experiences exploring the meaning of the current Mars cycle, and as Mars slows down to station retrograde we are invited to pause in consideration.

During its retrograde phase, Mars transitions from being a Morning Star visible in all its scarlet glory before dawn into becoming a bright red star glowing all through the night. As Mars deepens into its retrograde, it will rise in the east into visibility closer and closer to the liminal transition of twilight. Mars is part of the nocturnal team in astrology, and so delights when it is shining down brightly from the heavens while the Sun is journeying through the darkness of the underworld. Mars also comes closest to us in orbit during its retrograde phase, altogether making it an extremely potent period for Mars.

As a result we need to come into relationship with an intensification of Mars in the coming months, which means working with volatility, change, and the relentless passion that can overcome us when working hard and taking action as well as the ensuing burnout. Mars brings awareness of instinctual drive, emerging desires, and how they align with our purpose through action and making things happen.  Mars wants freedom of movement and expression, and when it is moving direct it enjoys the hunt of going after goals and competing for whatever we view as the treasured prize. Yet when Mars stations to shift retrograde it isn’t moving, and so there is increased potential to feel frustrated or blocked.

The typical feelings of infuriation over being restrained when Mars stations retrograde will be extremely exacerbated due to it stationing in a square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. In fact from August 15 until the beginning of October, Mars and Saturn will remain in a colossal conflict with each other within three degrees of a waxing square aspect. The fiery force of Mars that can melt down solidified structures and bonds will be confronting the supremely solid presence of Saturn in its earthy home of Capricorn. It will be necessary to monitor energy levels, resting for regeneration as needed and letting go of goals meeting so much resistance that they are exhausting us and inhibiting our capacity to optimally respond to life.

Ideally we can sustain a slow burn approach that allows for periods of recuperation so that we can take advantage of the opportunities to initiate productive growth. There is similar symbolism in Saturn sealing off an alchemical vessel, with the fires of Mars separating the constituent elements contained within so they may be recombined in new forms. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology:

“Nature subdues nature by means of fire. Heat dissolves the cohesion of a substance; that natural desire to hold to itself as it is. Heat separates the metal from the ore body and can calcine the metal into a more workable condition. In the only-natural state, the substances resist change. They intend to stay as they are and have been for millions of eons, buried and hidden away. Yet the innate urge toward perfectibility welcomes the fire. Hence, they rejoice also in their submission, allowing themselves to be smelted, hammered, and extracted from their home ground. Resistance of any thing is given with its essential nature . . .

Nature does enjoy its natural state and resist change, yet it also struggles against its predilection for stasis, subduing itself and making change possible. Nature sophisticates itself, dividing its ambivalence into two aspects – the unchanging and the changing. It is therefore folly to attempt to change the unchanging . . .

What changes and what does not change? What stays the same and what becomes different? In philosophical terms, the existence changes, but the essence remains unalterable.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 35

As Mars stations retrograde it slowly turns the separating and dividing function of Mars inward, stoking our inner flames and initiating a process of realignment with our most deeply felt desire and purpose. By embracing the corresponding constriction upon external martial flow and the magnification of inner fire, during Mars retrograde we can make breakthroughs instead of suffering breakdowns. Like telling our stories to one another around a great collective bonfire,  we enter a liminal phase of changing the way we tell our own life narrative, shifting the trajectory of cyclic patterns at work. You may begin to notice the meaning of past experiences transfiguring in the flames, releasing you from ways you have been restricting or confining yourself to a particular story about yourself.

Mars moves retrograde less frequently than the other planets, so the relative novelty of its retrograde phase is an additional signifier of major changes that arrive in correspondence. Some people seem to be more profoundly impacted by Mars retrograde periods than others, and some people also seem to be more strongly impacted by Mars retrograde in certain signs than in other signs. Mars moves retrograde in Aries less frequently than some of the other signs- the last two times we experienced Mars retrograde in Aries were in 1988 and 1941. One way to sense how Mars retrograde periods impact you is to reflect upon your experiences during the past Mars retrograde periods.  Below is a list of the Mars retrogrades periods that have happened since 1999:

  • June 26 – August 27, 2018: stationed retrograde at 9º13′ Aquarius, stationed direct at 28º37′ Capricorn.
  • April 17 – June 29, 2016: stationed retrograde at 8°54′ Sagittarius, stationed direct at 23°4′ Scorpio.
  • March 1 – May 19, 2014: stationed retrograde at 28° Libra, stationed direct at 10° Libra.
  • January 24 – April 14, 2012: stationed retrograde at 24° Virgo, stationed direct at 4° Virgo.
  • December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010: stationed retrograde at 20° Leo, stationed direct at 1° Leo.
  • November 15, 2007 – January 30, 2008: stationed retrograde at 13° Cancer, stationed direct at 25° Gemini.
  • October 1 – December 10, 2005: stationed retrograde at 24° Taurus, stationed direct at 9° Taurus.
  • July 29 – September 27, 2003: stationed retrograde at 11° Pisces, stationed direct at 1° Pisces.
  • May 11 – July 19, 2001: stationed retrograde at 30° Sagittarius, stationed direct at 16° Sagittarius.
  • March 18 – June 4, 1999: stationed retrograde at 13° Scorpio, stationed direct at 25° Libra.

Mars

Mars from The Gods Who Preside Over the Planet (1528) by Master I.B.

“Astrologically, Mars characterizes the instinctual and affective nature of man. The subjugation and transformation of this nature seems to be the theme of the alchemical opus.”

— Carl Jung, Alchemical Studies

Carl Jung in Alchemical Studies referenced the writing of the 16th century Paracelsian alchemist Adam von Bodenstein who conceived “Ares” (or Mars) to be the “prime nature of things” that determines “their form and species,” with Jung declaring that as a result Ares or Mars can be considered to “be taken as the principle of individuation in the strict sense.” Jung further described Ares as the “preconscious, creative, and formative principle” that gives life, purifies, and transforms. In Jung’s Liber Novus or The Red Book, a pivotal chapter involves Jung meeting “The Red One” whose garments “shine like glowing iron,” and clearly embodies attributes of Mars. Liz Greene aptly summarized the impact of the Red One as bringing Jung into contact with a “vitally important yet previously neglected unconscious potency necessary for the fulfillment of Jung’s personality.”

Jung’s meeting with the Red One in Liber Novus follows a period in which Jung’s narrator was feeling stuck and unsure of what he wants and where  to go. The Red One shatters and brings new life not unlike the Tower card of tarot that is also associated with Mars; in fact, Jung’s narrator is standing guard on a high tower when he observes the Red One approaching from a distance. Similarly, the stationing of Mars in Aries may feel like a call to change course or the approach of vivifying presence that can penetrate our defenses and make us vulnerable to an infusion of new desires from a contrary source.

Aries is the diurnal home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. The fiery cardinal sign, Aries is the optimal zodiac sign for pioneering new territory and initiating decisive movement, but it is not known for its staying power. The tension, friction, and contraction that will be felt as Mars engages in its fraught aspect with Saturn will make the first month of Mars being retrograde a time for taking considered action that takes account of external variables and internal energy levels. If we make sure to look before we leap and cultivate patience and resolve in enduring difficulties, we will be able to make some steady progress but may need to oscillate between periods of action and contemplative inaction. It will be a period for work that leads to long-term rewards rather than short-term results and gratification.

In world events, Mars retrograde in Aries will amplify the polarized conflicts already set in motion, shaking and shattering structures and systems of the status quo as it collides with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. The astrology of 2020 has involved the ending and beginning of cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto that has forced confrontations with underlying issues of systemic oppression and inequity that have been festering across society. In particular, the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn that is ending is drawing to a close a two hundred year era of conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in earth signs that began in 1802, and so part of the martial conflict will center on societal issues that have plagued the past couple of centuries such as colonialism, racism, sexism, and the impact of the industrial revolution on economic and environmental systems.

The first month of Mars retrograde will be especially incendiary in relation to Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, as Mars will form a square with Saturn on September 29 and with Pluto on October 9, with Saturn and Pluto within three degrees of one another in Capricorn. These jarring aspects will be inescapably striking due to Saturn and Pluto stationing at the same time, with Saturn stationing direct on September 29 and Pluto stationing direct on October 4. With Saturn and Pluto ending their retrograde phases and stationing direct, we will be coming to terms with however we have been questioning external systems of power and the way we wish to operate within society.

Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche highlighted the tendency of Saturn Pluto alignments to constellate mass projections of subversive elements within the populace upon an other or scapegoat, projecting whatever is deemed heretical or inferior, whatever we are in denial about ourselves. Tarnas stressed the shadowy complex of Saturn-Pluto is further matched by a compensatory empowerment of repressive and reactionary forces that utilize authoritarian methods. Rather than enacting cruelty on a scapegoat with all of the insidiousness you are projecting upon the other, be curious about whatever aspects of your inner multiplicity are being stirred up. Explore the deeper meaning of the stories you are drawn toward, the people you are attracted as well as repulsed by. Discern how the volatility can lead you toward considered and constructive action rather than reactionary impulsiveness.

We can use the catalyzing influence of Mars to claim more of our inner authority to make the changes we wish to see happen. There will be a need to be protective of others and to forge resiliency and courageousness out of whatever conflict emerges, yet it will also be important to not become stuck and rigid with defensiveness.  Allow whatever aspects of yourself are being shed to fully putrefy and provide compost to nurture whatever wants to emerge from within. Mars retrograde in Aries will provide the burning fires of Eros needed to forge bonds of fellowship as well as motivate a honing of whatever skills we need to cultivate to perform the role we need to play within the great changes taking place.

michael_maier_atalanta_fugiens_emblem_22

Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens

“Do not act out; do not hold in. A paradox. And a double negative that suggests a via negative, a de-literalizing cancellation of both commandments. A mercurial escape from the exhausting oscillation between them. Instead of holding in or acting out, act in. Cook in the rotundum as one vessel was called, referring both to a container and to the roundness of the skull. Hold the heat inside the head by warming the mind’s reveries. Imagine, project, fantasize, think.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 37

An extremely inflammatory Full Moon in Aries on the first day of October will demarcate the transition of Mars from completing its square aspect with Saturn into engaging fully with its square aspect with Pluto. Mars will bring a more energizing and activating impact at this point due to it increasing in speed and movement as well as leaving the bounds of Saturn (25° – 30° Aries) to enter its own bounds (20º – 25° Aries). From the Full Moon on October 1 until Mars completes its aspect with Pluto on October 9, there will be an intensification of desire and ambition as Pluto stokes the flames of Mars.

Yet it’s also wise to invite consideration of the dwarf planet Eris, as Mars will unite with Eris at 24°07′ Aries on October 3. Astrologers are still researching and coming to terms with the meaning of Eris in astrology, but there does seem to be resonance with her mythology which has connection with the Strife that Empedocles stated was at the root of creation along with Love. Homer in the Illiad said that Eris is the wrathful sister and companion of Ares, while Hesiod in Theogony said that Eris is the daughter of Nyx (Night) and the mother of kakodaimones (evil spirits) who plague humanity. Hesiod also said that while there is one kind of wholly blameworthy Strife, there is another who is praiseworthy in her capacity for stirring up hard work and productive competitiveness that leads to important creations.

Peter Kingsley in Reality noted that the force of Love is idealized without question, but that the force of Strife described by Empedocles can bring awareness of the illusions and deceptions brought by Love. Kingsley wrote that Strife can lead one toward ultimate freedom despite all of its associated difficulties:

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

–Peter Kingsley, Reality

The strife stirred up between Mars and Eris will have a direct impact on the ruptures emanating from Mars and Pluto. Mars clashing with Pluto can stir up potent ambition that can lead to extreme frustration and anger when facing restrictions or obstacles that impact your ability to manifest aspirations. There will be a need to be cautious of becoming so strongly driven and competitive that you become enmeshed within destructive power dynamics with others. Yet Mars and Pluto can also bring an indomitable tenaciousness in pursuing goals against all odds. By patiently building toward your goal and accepting the circumstances of your current stage of development, you will cultivate the flexibility needed to release yourself from repressive influences, adjust to changes of necessity, and draw from the depths of Mars and Pluto in ways that weld together your desire, purpose, and resolve.

Both Pluto and Mars have ancient associations with the underworld. Pluto is named for the Roman lord of the underworld, and similarly in astrology signifies our inner subterranean realm of circulating unconscious patterns that drive our instinctive reactions. In contrast, the planet Mars was known as the underworld deity Nergal in ancient Mesopotamian astrology. Michael Baigent in From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia wrote that Nergal was “lord of both the fires of hell and the heat of the fierce summers which destroyed both man and crops.” Nergal was the god of plague, fevers, and pestilence who forced his way into co-rulership of the underworld with Ereshkigal, becoming a god of the grave and judge of the dead.

We may feel dragged down into the chthonic and volcanic fires of Mars and Pluto in moments, yet the intensity of their heat will be capable of simultaneously reforging your will force. There may be tests of your ability to claim your personal power and a need to release yourself from dynamics that have been excessively repressing or restricting you.  When we resist the cathartic change brought by Pluto for security reasons we often experience breakdown, but when we surrender to its process of regenerative decay there can be a fiery purification of old restrictive patterns that sets the stage for us to give birth to a more potent vitality.

The mysterious meaning of the plate from the Gundestrup Cauldron above has been interpreted in many ways by scholars, including as an ancestralization ritual. Michael Enright proposed it depicts an initiation rite in which the large, divine smith on the left is quenching the warriors on the lower level in a vat so that they transition from being  “hot blooded adolescents into the cooler and more relentless realm of responsible adulthood” shown in the regal figures on the upper level. Just like a blacksmith dips spear and sword blades into quenching liquid so they become harder and more durable, so the initiate’s “nature undergoes a metamorphosis in the vat such that he can then be accepted as a rightly made adult.” There are echoes of the legendary Cú Chulainn whose battle frenzy burned so hot he had to be quenched three times in order for him to operate within society.

Mars will plunge us into the initiation that comes at the midpoint of its retrograde journey on October 13 when it forms an opposition with the Sun in Libra, with Mars at 21º04′ Aries. Mars at this point of its retrograde phase will be as close to us in orbit as it gets within its entire cycle, and it will also be glowing as bright red as possible in the night sky. As the Sun sets in the west, Mars will rise in the east; as the Sun rises in the east, Mars will set in the west. Adam Gainsburg has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as being a period for making a radical commitment to one’s authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs.

The same day that Mars forms an opposition with the Sun, Mercury will station retrograde in Scorpio under rulership of the star of Ares. Since Mercury will be stationing retrograde within range of an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, the middle of October will be exceedingly volatile and ripe with potential for sudden revelations, breakthroughs, and breakdowns. Mercury will remain retrograde in Scorpio until October 27 when it returns to Libra. With Mercury retrograde being ruled by Mars retrograde, let the tricks of Hermes guide you toward whatever needs to be released or reevaluated. While the delays and disagreements in communication that can come with Mercury retrograde periods will be activated, it can also be an extremely potent time for shedding what needs to be laid to rest while more deeply refining your purpose.

As Mercury in Scorpio takes on its chthonic psychopomp role in the middle of October, Mars will finally complete its square aspect with Jupiter on October 18 with Mars retrograde at 19°27′ Aries and Jupiter at 19°27′ Capricorn. Jupiter being in a superior square to Mars will amplify the potency of the Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio happening simultaneously, with intimations of new visions erupting from the cracks of the tectonic shifts that will be happening in world events. As Jupiter in Capricorn will be entering its final stretch of bringing to a close the old era with Saturn, the square between Jupiter and Mars can help in separating the inessential from the past that needs to be left behind while centering within the essential we need to cultivate and carry forward.

Venus in Vulcan's forge

Venus in Vulcan’s Forge (1546-47) by Leon Davent

“There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely the absence of war. It is larger than that. The peace I am thinking of is not at the mercy of history’s rule, nor is it a passive surrender to the status quo. The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one–an activity that occurs most naturally, most often in the reading/writing world we live in. Accessible as it is, this particular kind of peace warrants vigilance. The peril it faces comes not from the computers and information highways that raise alarm among book readers, but from unrecognized, more sinister quarters.”

– Toni Morrison, The Dancing Mind speech when accepting the 1996 medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Before Mars stations direct on November 13, it will form an opposition with Venus in Libra on November 9, with Venus at 15°21′ Libra and Mars at 15°21′ Aries.  The tension between Venus in Libra and Mars in Aries as Mars is beginning to station direct will bring to fruition something that was catalyzed on September 4 when Venus in Cancer formed a square aspect with Mars in Aries when Mars was beginning to station retrograde. With both Venus and Mars empowered within each of their own domiciles, there will be an amplification of whatever volatile tension has been building within relational dynamics.

Furthermore, once Mars stations direct on November 13 at 15º14′ Aries, Venus in Libra will begin engaging in a series of square aspects with Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn in Capricorn. Venus will square Pluto and Jupiter on November 15 and then Saturn on November 19. Combined with Mars stationing direct, we will have opportunities for aligning whatever purpose and meaning we have forged from the fires of Mars with the needs of society so that our efforts will make a worthwhile, effective impact in our wider community.

The hard aspects between Venus and Mars that bookend the retrograde movement of Mars points to the role each of us will be playing as active creative agents during this key three month period of 2020. As we come to an end of the earth era of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in order to firmly establish ourselves in an era of air at the end of December, our capacity to wield technological innovation to empower our agency will be key. Yet the influence of Venus in Libra at the finale of Mars retrograde illuminates the need for actively deep listening within the agency we cultivate, as well as using our creativity courageously in the face of systemic oppression. Rather than insistence on the self serving, we will need to align with what will serve society for the greater good.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

Enright, Michael. (2007). “Ritual and Technology in the Iron Age: An Initiation Scene on the Gundestrup Cauldron.” Myth in Early Northwest Europe. Edited by Stephen O. Glosecki. ACMRS.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

Jung, CG. (1967).  Alchemical Studies. Translated by RFC Hull. Bollingen.

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

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Leo New Moon & Mercury

Saulelydis

Sunset (1907) by M.K. Ciurlionis

New Moon in Leo

There is an indomitable spirit in each of us. An enlivening inner fire sourced from the stars, received within the depths of our heart whenever its radiance lights us up with presence and purpose. All of us in any moment can drop attachment to linear time and enter into timeless communion with the soulful, daimonic essence that animates our full being. It may come in the bliss of staring into the sun setting over an ocean, or arise in a moment of summoning all our strength to address a crisis. It’s felt presence centers, sharpens focus, and brings the courage needed to face whatever comes our way no matter how severe.

The New Moon in Leo on August 18 supplies a furnace of centering fire to carry us forward across the difficult and treacherous astrological terrain of the next three months. The Leo New Moon is in the home of the Sun, the great star at the center of our solar system whose steadfast motion and radiant light generates life and creates the astrological cycles we use to measure our quality of time. We are entering a period of extremely volatile astrology that will amplify the polarized conflicts already set in motion, yet with focused intention it will also be possible to determinedly create and steadily build significant work.

The Leo New Moon is separating from a trine with Mars in Aries and applying toward a conjunction with Mercury in Leo.  With Mars in the exaltation of the Sun, the recent trine between the red planet with our solar light enflamed passions in ways that could have led to flights of inspiration and the seeding of ideas to develop and implement in the coming months. Yet with Mars also closely applying toward an intensifying square aspect with Saturn, the fires stoked between the Sun and Mars could also have brought bouts of anger and conflict especially when facing constraint or negating judgment that restricted the expression of desire.

The presence of Mercury with the Leo New Moon can also invigorate debate and stir arguments, yet its proximity to the radiant Leo Sun can aid in receiving insight through contentious conversations. Mercury being part of the New Moon seeding can also increase our capacity to be flexible and make rapid adjustments to the emergence of new storylines. Mercury takes on the qualities of whatever it forms relationships with, and so the caduceus of Hermes will be ablaze with the perceptive intelligence and animating creativity of the Leo Sun. The flowing trine between Mars with Mercury and the Sun will inspire direct action in response to inspiration of all sorts, whether in the realm of artistic creation or to address the exposure of corruption and injustice.

As a result, the Leo New Moon is potent for burning off distraction and dross to hone intentions so you may focus on your priorities in the months ahead. We are crossing the threshold into a several month period of radical change at all levels of society that will be marked by extreme division and polarized conflict. The fiery Leo New Moon can help in discerning the values that are most important to focus on cultivating, supporting, and protecting so that you can conserve your energy for whatever is emerging as most important for you to tend and develop.

jane graverol school of vanity

School of Vanity (1967) Jane Graverol

Mercury beginning a new cycle at the same time as the new lunar cycle is a key element to contemplate for the month ahead. Mercury in Leo experienced its superior conjunction with the Leo Sun during the balsamic phase of the Moon on August 17, the moment when Mercury is reanimated by the vivifying light of the Sun. Mercury passes through a death and rebirth whenever it enters the heart of the Sun, often called “cazimi” from a Latin transliteration of the Arabic for “as if in the heart.” The superior conjunction of Mercury is its celestial cazimi when it is moving direct at its fastest speed on the far side of the sun from us. It’s as if the star of Hermes is experiencing a heavenly communion that can clarify and coalesce whatever has become tangled in our thoughts during the past month.

The Leo New Moon therefore demarcates the shift of Mercury from being in its Morning Star phase into its Evening Star phase. Mercury will reappear in light with important messages in the twilight of sunset at the end of August in its nocturnal home and exaltation of Virgo. The last time that Mercury was reseeded in the heart of the Sun was during Mercury retrograde in Cancer on June 30, and so you may especially experience a purifying process of regeneration during the darkness of the New Moon concerning whatever ideas have been developing since early July. The forthcoming solar cycle for Mercury will be a key underlying influence to the headline grabbing battles between Mars in Aries with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, so surrender to whatever Mercury wants to burn off from the past that has been weighing you down. Once Mercury enters Virgo on August 19, set to work on crafting your reseeded vision.

The influence of Uranus in Taurus is also important to consider as Uranus recently stationed retrograde on August 15 and the waning dark Moon in Leo formed a catalyzing square with Uranus on the day before the New Moon. When a planet stations it saturates the astrological landscape with its significations, and so it will be important to pay close attention to whatever jolts of unexpected Uranian lightning strike your awareness and experiences in the week surrounding the Leo New Moon. Uranus stationed while being received by Venus in Cancer in a collaborative sextile aspect, and so you may feel especially receptive to nonlinear insights emerging from memory or having your emotions stirred by something aesthetically invigorating, exciting, or inspiring.

Uranus stationed retrograde at 10°41′ Taurus and so will be especially jarring for those with important natal placements in between seven and thirteen degrees of Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio, and Leo. Be curious about whatever sudden revelations or unexpected experiences have caught you off guard in recent days, taking time to explore potential meaning rather than making rash decisions in reaction. Uranus will remain in retrograde motion until stationing direct on January 14, 2021 at 6°43′ Taurus.

800px-Mikalojus_Konstantinas_Ciurlionis_-_CREATION_OF_THE_WORLD_(II)_-_1905_-_6,_Varsuva

Creation of the World II (1905-6) by M.K. Ciurlionis

The forthcoming lunar cycle will contain an ever present buildup of tension and friction between Mars in Aries and Saturn in Capricorn. Between now and the beginning of October Mars will remain in range between 25 to 28 degrees of Aries due to stationing retrograde on September 9 at 28º08′ Aries. During this same period of time Saturn will remain in range between 26 and 25 degrees of Capricorn, creating an unusually long period of time for Mars and Saturn to be engaged in a volatilizing, catalyzing, and grating square aspect.  Although Mars is already slowing down considerably, there is a significant difference between it plodding forward during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle and once it stations at a standstill following the Full Moon in Pisces in the beginning of September.

Just as Mars is appearing in a vivid red shade of light in our night sky now, the star of Ares is known for its extreme heat and blazing sharpness that separates, divides, pierces, and penetrates. Mars can be a foolishly reckless instigator, a valiantly courageous protector, an intensely focused warrior in fury, as well as a pioneering alchemist making effort to be ground breaking. The normally intemperate heat of Mars in Aries reaches an extremity of scorching fire once it enters its retrograde phase, and so it’s impact upon the lineup of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter will shake and rattle the structures and systems of the status quo, forcing change even in the face of resistance.

During the waxing half of the lunar cycle beginning now,  the focus will be on the mounting friction between Mars and Saturn as they approach the first of three square aspects they will make between now and January 2021. The contraction of Saturn that will feel unbearably restraining at times for Mars will need an outlet in your life, so it will be wise to begin projects and daily regimens giving you the ability to release energy in creatively constructive ways. There is also an unavoidably destructive quality to be curious about rather than deny and attempt to suppress. Make space to explore what you sense Mars is wanting to burn down or separate yourself from that you have been attached to, but is no longer serving your deeper purpose in life.

As the New Moon and Mercury in Leo is separating from a flowing trine with Mars in Aries, there is increased capacity to act decisively at the beginning of the lunar cycle in setting things in motion to then tend and guide in response to outer events as the Moon waxes in light. As the waxing Moon approaches the fullness it will reach at the Pisces Full Moon on September 1, there will be a series of pivotal aspects made by Venus in Cancer at the same time that Mars is more intensely engaging with Saturn. Venus will oppose Jupiter on August 25, form a flowing trine with Neptune on August 27, and then oppose Pluto in Capricorn on August 30 just before the Full Moon in Pisces. The upcoming Pisces Full Moon will illuminate Venus making two especially difficult aspects, first forming a square to Saturn on September 2 followed by a square with Mars on September 4.

Mars and Venus are planets of night connecting us with our most intimate and primal desires, the feelings and passions we discover within our inner darkness away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. They are the two planets closest to us in orbit: Venus on the inner side and Mars on the outer side of our orbit around the Sun. While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, and valuable, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from the intolerable. Venus in Cancer may pull us away from outer discord in order to nurture ourselves and loved ones in privacy, yet the star of Aphrodite will be traversing lunar terrain of emotions, memory, dreams, and the irrational. Listen to what is brewing inwardly and make space to reflect upon emergent material before leaping into reactive response. Attuning now to the shifts emerging will help you align with the larger collective changes rather than trying to force your way against a tidal wave.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a figure bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination.  We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here. The martial figure in the Seven of Wands further relates to the asymmetrical significations of Mars in astrology through standing his ground in footwear that does not match.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it 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.”  For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”

There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed.

Yet there is also an air of empire and hegemony haunting the link of Serapis to the third face of Leo, for Serapis was utilized in part by the Greek settler culture that took over rule of Egyptian land in the wake of the Hellenistic empire initiated by Alexander. This is the other side of “The Banner” found in the third face of Leo in the form of cultural icons created by power structures to attempt to culturally assimilate indigenous and other immigrant cultures into the culture of the dominant culture holding positions of power. There have been many such icons torn down in 2020, whether in the beheading of Christopher Columbus or the dismantling of Confederate army figures and symbols from the U.S. Civil War.

As the fiery New Moon in Leo unites with the ever questioning Mercury, ask yourself what flags of idealism you are carrying and fighting for. Where or how are you blinded by allegiance to ideals or to others? How are you holding back from joining forces and aligning with a team of supporters who resonate with your ideals and can help you in co-creating them? Let the Leo New Moon connect you to the essence of your beating heart so that you may separate yourself from those attempting to manipulate your desires and align with those who share your values.

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References

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

 

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

two dogs howling leonora carrington

Two Dogs Howling at the Moon (1964) Leonora Carrington

I will wail and howl.

I will go stripped and naked.

I will howl like a jackal and wail like an owl.

— Micah 1:8 as translated in Catafalque by Peter Kingsley

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

Under shadows obfuscating our lunar light, through the howling of wolves in wilderness and a cacophony of crows cawing in cedar, the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 4 (PST) announces the return of Saturn to its nocturnal home of Capricorn. Saturn retrograde in Capricorn rules the Lunar Eclipse, as it glows through the night near Jupiter and the invisible Pluto in the tropical zodiacal terrain of the Sea Goat. Saturn since the dawn of astrological understanding has orbited at the boundary between the known and the unknown, time and the timeless, the mortal and the immortal, inviting awareness from contemplating cycles of ages and revealing irrevocable consequences from our past actions. The eclipsed Moon under the influence of Saturn in Capricorn beckons for the awareness of threshold guardians like Janus, the necessity of looking backwards as we consider the way forward.

In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn is far from total and classified as penumbral, meaning that the Moon’s light will be blurred by faint shadows rather than the blood reddening of a total eclipse. Both sides of the lunar nodes become activated during lunar eclipses, in this case with the Cancer Sun on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the Capricorn Moon on the side of the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. The shadowing of the Moon is not total due to the Moon at 13º37′ Capricorn separating at a distance from the South Node at 28º22′ Sagittarius.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is especially significant for being the final eclipse to occur in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn until 2028 when the lunar nodes will return to the solstice signs of initiation. Eclipses have been occurring in Cancer and Capricorn since 12 July 2018 when there was a partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 20º50′. The eclipses in Capricorn and Cancer were more powerfully activated by the partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn at 15º31′ on 5 January 2019, followed by a total Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 10º42′ on 2 July 2019 and a Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn at 24º01′ on 16 July 2019. Most recently we experienced an annular Solar Eclipse in Capricorn at 4º10′ on 26 December 2019, a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer at 19º54′ on 10 January 2020, and an annular Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 00º21′ on 21 June 2020. It’s a good time to reflect upon events associated with these eclipses as we simultaneously experience the final lessons from the series.

With Saturn in Capricorn co-present with the series of eclipses we have experienced in Cancer and Capricorn, there has been an emphasis on the dissolution, putrefaction, purification, and release indicated by the transiting South Node of the Moon. While the sign of Cancer is associated with new life and nurturing growth, the Saturnine sign of Capricorn is associated with the ancient, the living ancestors, and living traditions of lineages. The Sun on the side of the North Node of the Moon can draw focus toward significations of Cancer such as home, family, and emotional processes, while the eclipsed Moon on the side of the South Node of the Moon indicates shedding and emptying around significations of Capricorn such as systems of power, corporations, governments, and their leaders.

Within the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn is the tendency to organize and systemize the fresh insights and lunar, nonlinear impressions of Cancer into the institutionalized structures of Capricorn in order to endure and persevere across difficult setbacks and periods of lack. Faced with fear of survival or scarcity of resources in the rocky expanse of Capricorn, our impetus for growth and expansion can become overly materialistic with ambitious desire to attain status and control outcomes. We can conform to a crystallized, Saturnian concept of cultural expectations for success rather than an authentic path that necessitates straying from mainstream beliefs and values. Yet Capricorn also contains the immense fertility of chthonic depths that can bring about a needed reordering of present structures. The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn can open perception to what needs to be dissolved, what old thought forms and perceptual patterns need to be released and what collective organizational systems need to be reformed.

Vincent Van Gogh Wheatfield_with_Crows

Wheatfield with Crows (1890) Vincent Van Gogh

. . . What it is about is the last thing we want to know about, which is the responsibility we have as westerners to face the darkness of our own culture without looking away . . .

When [Henry] Corbin wanted to illustrate this he turned back, appropriately enough, to western legends of the Grail. The best way he knew of making his point was to quote the beautiful saying: Seule guérit la blessure la lance qui la fît, “The wound is only healed by the lance that made it.”

. . . And just how impossible this task is started to become clear when one finds the courage, if only for a moment, to face that individual but also collective emptiness and darkness inside oneself- without trying to do anything, such as thinking good thoughts or inventing childish schemes, to fill the hole.

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Known as the star of Nemesis in ancient text, Saturn’s return to the solid stone of Capricorn will bring judgment, retribution, and consequences to the exposure of corruption and toxicity that have been erupting from the union of Pluto with Jupiter in Capricorn. Saturn will steadily get closer to Pluto until eventually stationing direct on September 29 at 25º20′ Capricorn, three degrees away from Pluto. The legacy of systemic oppression and past decisions by humans rooted in racism and sexism has been amplified by the present passage of Saturn and Pluto close to their own South Nodes in Capricorn. The eclipsed Moon moving across conjunctions with Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn will further expose the shadows of patriotism, nationalism, law and order, totalitarian structures, and any other forms of authoritarian control utilized to subdue threats and impose regulation from a sense of moral righteousness.

Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche detailed numerous themes associated with Saturn and Pluto that have become impactful in the past year, but his emphasis on the individual ego becoming possessed by its shadow and projecting subversive elements of the psyche on scapegoats will be especially relevant in the wake of the eclipse. As the Moon wanes in approach to the upcoming New Moon in Cancer on July 20, the Sun in Cancer will form oppositions with Jupiter retrograde on July 14, with Pluto retrograde on July 15, and with Saturn retrograde during the New Moon on July 20. While the projection of the shadow will be glaringly obvious in collective events, it will be especially important to do your own inner work of recognizing what is being triggered within your unconscious and the ways you are projecting this material into your relationships.

Ultimately, the immense destruction and dissolution within civilizations that will occur during the second half of 2020 with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto traveling together in Capricorn will also be creating space for rebuilding new forms and finding ways to reorganize and make radical changes to personal and collective systems. The combination of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto can facilitate taking accountability for our personal past actions as well as however we have been complicit with the ways collective structures need to be altered.  If you feel overwhelmed by the tension and gravity of current events, it may be necessary to allow new directions to slowly coalesce through your unconscious rather than insisting on enacting immediate solutions. Since Mars in Aries will be engaged in a volatile relationship with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto for the rest of the year, there will be a need to find a balance between taking necessary and decisive action versus making space for rest and restoration.

leonora carrington kitchen clock

Kitchen Clock (1943) Leonora Carrington

“It’s only by shedding everything, including ourselves, that we sow the seeds of the future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

You may have noticed me often quoting or referencing Catafalque by Peter Kingsley in the past couple of years. The book was released with Saturn in Capricorn in 2018, and it has been the contemporary book that has made the biggest impact on me during the time of the lunar nodes and eclipses being in Cancer and Capricorn, a season we are now drawing to a close. If I had to make a list of important works released during the passage of Saturn through Capricorn this time around, Catafalque would be included.

Kingsley explored the work of C.G. Jung among others in Catafalque, concluding that the chief aim of Jung’s work is not integration but to “consciously leave ourselves behind, shed absolutely everything, strip every trace of identification or attachment away.” Describing humanity as being lost in the middle of one age while in transition to the next, Kingsley wrote that what is “needed is the exact opposite of our manufactured hoping, which is the divine reality of faith- because faith is the most extraordinary flower, as alive and intelligent as it’s beautiful, which you can meet out on the street in the dark or alone back home if your vision isn’t stunted by hope.”

As the Moon in Capricorn waxes toward being eclipsed, it will move from a square aspect with Mars in Aries into an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Cancer. The Lunar Eclipse is separating from an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Cancer and applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter retrograde in Capricorn amongst classical planets, while more closely separating from a trine with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Neptune in Pisces. While it will important to explore one’s inner shadow, it will also be important to have trust and faith in your imagination and the insights you are able to gather through your memories and intuition. It can be a potent time for exploration of patterns operating in your psyche as well as finding ways to further activate awareness through creative expression of the inner processes at work.

Furthermore, Mercury retrograde in Cancer is mutually applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Mars in Aries that will complete a few days after the eclipse on July 8. Mars in Aries can be piercing in its capacity for going straight into the heart of the matter, provoking a cathartic release of anger over any issues that have been building in tension. Constructively, the heat and fire brought by Mars in Aries can help focalize intention on what matters most and where to be assertive, yet it is a double edged sword that can help in separating from harmful situations as well as causing damage in ongoing relationships if not careful. It can also help bring the fiery heat necessary for making a breakthrough and taking bold, direct action initiating movement on ideas that have been gestating.

After Mercury stations direct on July 12, it will continue to apply toward an intensifying square aspect with Mars until completing it on July 27. At the same time, Venus will be moving direct back across the same degree range in Gemini it previously looped back and forth across through being retrograde. Altogether, the rest of July can be potent in deciding what desires to pursue, what desires to release, and what values, relationships, and circumstances need our protection and care to grow and develop. As you make the space to explore the aspects of your inner multiplicity that were excavated by Venus retrograde in Gemini that can now be more fully embodied, there will be additional insights from the stationing of Mercury that will help guide and inform the way forward.

pents03

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse is in the second face of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in stone. There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display. Fittingly, Mars and Venus are the co-rulers of the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort bonded with artistic vision.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, noting it is a place where sublime works of material manifestation are completed. Coppock described this face as showing “visions of what might be wrought upon the earth, blueprints as a type of revelation.” There is not only a necessity for blueprints but also disciplined, hard work in collaboration with numerous resources in order to complete the grand visions that emerge in this face. Coppock wrote that while it is necessary to bind effort to accomplishing ambitious goals, he also cautioned to take care in the “enduring consequences” created by becoming consumed by the creation of a grand magnum opus. Images in both the Picatrix as well as Three Occult Books of Philosophy speak to this face inspiring a search for what cannot be known and seeking what cannot be done. Thus while sifting through the mystifying shadows of the eclipsed Moon, it will be vital to separate the possible from the impossible.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess of health Hygeia to the second face of Capricorn. As Hygeia is the daughter of Asclepius and is associated with processes and practices of physical, spiritual, and psychological hygiene, Austin Coppock noted her presence in this face reveals the central importance of “proper maintenance of bodily and mental health” in coming to terms with the ambition and hubris that go hand in hand with the capacity to build the grandiose visions of this face. Coppock described the need to distill ambition from hubris “over and over again” in order “to achieve purity of purpose,” a worthy separation to keep in mind as we tangle with the tail of the dragon being activated by the Lunar Eclipse.

With the Moon being eclipsed in the second face of Capricorn, there may also be a need to release yourself from attachment to ambitious goals from your past that are no longer aligned with your values or where you feel called to exert effort. Or, you may realize that continuing to pursue a vision will make you complicit in a pyramidal hierarchy of power you no longer wish to be involved with. Pyramids were associated in ancient Egyptian culture with creation itself, as they represented the mounds of earth that would arise out of the fertility of water. Allow yourself to be perplexed, confounded, and bemused by the shadows of the eclipse, so you may gain a fresh sense of what you truly wish to build and what you no longer want to bind your energy toward. As you become more clear about the new vision arising out of the dissolution of this eclipse season, you will also become more clear about who to collaborate with and what resources will be needed to achieve your goals.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I am currently offering a 50% discount on all natal consultations for patrons until further notice.become_a_patron_button

References

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

Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and you: how to align with life’s hidden tides. Stellium Press.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

charles white sound of silence

Sound of Silence by Charles White

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

Mercury shifts retrograde at least three times a year, yet some are positioned at more pivotally important times than others. Mercury will station retrograde at 14º45′ Cancer on the night of June 17 in Pacific standard time, only a few days before the Moon will eclipse the Sun on the solstice. It is a peak moment of light, the time of the longest days in the northern hemisphere and the longest nights in the southern. As the star of Hermes pauses, twinkling in the liminal space of sunset, the air will be saturated with transmissions from Mercury that deserve deep listening and discernment.

The week surrounding the stationing of Mercury is always a time to bring as much mindfulness as possible to your daily interactions, listening for signs of what needs your attention. Mercury has a gift for playing the wildcard that upturns expectations, delighting in the twists and turns that change everything. Mercury is the one planet that defies rigid categorization, able to shift between expressions of day and night, masculine and feminine, capable of bringing insights and riddles from unconscious depths into conscious awareness. Above all it points to the importance of being flexible, of being curious about the shifting of parts emerging internally and externally, rather than cursing the tricks of the cunning Hermes. Although Mercury retrograde is known for coinciding with delays and miscues in communication, it is an essential phase of Mercury’s cycle that delivers necessary messages.

With Mercury stationing just before an extremely potent solar eclipse, with the Sun in Gemini forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, there will be a momentous surge of events and emotions erupting around the motionless intensity of Mercury. Part of Mercury’s core purpose when retrograde is to destabilize dynamics in order to loosen control, break up accumulated dross, and bring about a turning point in narrative and meaning. Since Mercury is stationing retrograde at the same time as a powerful solar eclipse, it means we are crossing a threshold into a passage of amplified putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart before being brought back together through purifying reassembly. The presence of strong eclipses will make the usual shedding process of Mercury retrograde more dramatic, with unexpected events catalyzing pivotal changes.

We are in a year of Mercury being retrograde in water signs, places where Mercury is more attuned to the unconscious, the nonlinear realm of memories, and the ceaseless flow of feelings dissolving and coagulating. Mercury retrograde in Cancer and under rulership of the Moon’s receptive light will pull perception into the inner realm of thoughts, emotions, desires, and the messages emerging into awareness through our dreams at night. It will be necessary to succumb at times to the subjective sway of our senses and an inward turn toward intuitive impressions and imagination. Fortunately, Mercury is stationing retrograde within its own bounds and face, giving Mercury greater potency in being able to help guide us toward the information and ideas we need to absorb, digest, and begin to integrate during the initial phase of its purgative descent.

Our capacity for choosing what to let into our environment and what to keep out will be crucial, as Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Walled Garden” to the second face of Cancer where Mercury is stationing. Coppock stated that processes associated with the second decan of Cancer ruled by Mercury need a boundary of protection like the sealing required by alchemy, so that we can bring about a process of cultivation and refinement of whatever we wish to create and grow without being contaminated by poisons or toxicity. When possible it will be helpful to create protected space and time for the projects and work you feel are most essential, so that the intensification Mercury experiences while retrograde can be utilized productively.

Hokusai Femenine_wave

by Hokusai

Around the same time as the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21, Mercury will descend from visibility into its invisible, chthonic phase of laying to rest and releasing whatever elements of its past cycle need to be shed. As we begin to deepen into the decay, emptying and putrefaction of this purgative phase in the week following the solar eclipse, Venus in Gemini will station direct on June 25 bringing an end to its retrograde phase that began on May 12.  Since Venus is in the airy, mutable home of Mercury, its slow shift into forward motion will be under the influence of Mercury retrograde in Cancer. Thus while the stationing of Venus will demarcate a new chapter in storylines, its rulership by Mercury retrograde will invite an inner descent to integrate the meaning of its retrograde phase before beginning to implement forward movement. This may be a tricky balance to maintain, as powerful solar eclipses bring a tidal wave of new events and relationships to the shore of awareness while old patterns and relationships recede back to the distant sea.

While the world continues to come to terms with the collective crisis of the COVID 19 pandemic, in the United States of America there has been a necessary crisis around systemic racism in law enforcement that has erupted during the past month of Venus being retrograde in Gemini. When Venus stationed retrograde in mid May it crossed paths with Mercury during the twilight hour, with Mercury increasing in light in its evening star phase just as Venus began its descent toward its underworld passage of invisibility. The murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis took place just as Venus was entering its invisible phase, and so the fact that Venus will be increasing in visible light in its Morning Star phase as it stations direct will likely spark significant developments with protests and efforts at making substantial reforms within the criminal justice system in the USA.

It is telling that Mercury is stationing retrograde close to the degree of the Cancer Sun in the birth charts most commonly used for the USA, as well as that the date given for the creation of Black Lives Matter has Mercury retrograde in Cancer less than a degree away from where Mercury is stationing retrograde in Cancer. Within European American communities there has been more widespread focus on exploring white privilege and how to engage in anti-racist action than ever before. The passing of Mercury through its underworld phase can be particularly powerful for coming into deeper connection with feelings and emotions around racism for those whose privilege has enabled them to be disconnected from its oppressive impact. As Mercury retrograde deepens while Venus picks up forward movement, there can be increased realization for direct action that can be taken on local and national levels to protect and support those who are targets of systemic racism.

Just before Mercury reaches the regeneration of its inferior conjunction with the Sun, it will form a conjunction with the asteroid Vesta in Cancer on June 28, while it is also applying toward a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Vesta’s union with Mercury can help take us to the heart of whatever material has come up to be processed and digested during the initial phase of Mercury retrograde. Vesta’s presence with Mercury retrograde can help with centering and becoming focused on what needs to be burned off and released when Mercury conjoins the Sun on June 30, as well as what new ideas and visions will be seeded by Mercury passing through the heart of the Sun. Listen for what new aspirations want to emerge that you will be able to commit to devoting your energy and focus toward bringing into being.

william blake the soul exploring the recesses of the grave

The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave, From the Grave (1813) by Luigi Shiavonetti after William Blake

On June 30, Mercury will unite with the Sun at 9º44′ Cancer, becoming reanimated with the creative potency of our solar light. During this moment of solar re-seeding, Mercury will be purified and regenerated within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” As a result, June 30 is a powerful day for planting the seeds of whatever ideas you wish to cultivate during the coming cycle of Mercury. It can also be a potent time for reflection and contemplation regarding whatever material or events were volatilized by the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21. By bringing light into inner shadows, we may become aware of certain fears or projections that have become triggered and need our focused attention to tend and mediate.

The inferior conjunction of Mercury will be forming a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and will also be close to the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Alhena in the constellation of Gemini. Alhena is the heel of the immortal twin Pollux, described by Bernadette Brady as symbolizing “the heel of an immortal or sacred one who touches the earth with great pride.” Brady further described Alhena as the “Proudly Marching One” who “is associated with the following of a cause, a belief for which one will march.”  In the United States of America, it is likely that the protest movements around systemic racism will become revivified and focused with increased determination to achieve tangible results in the cycle ahead for Mercury.

In contrast, both Reinhold Ebertin and Vivian Robson connected Alhena with artistic inclination and eminence, while Ebertin also described it as bringing a spiritual orientation and interest in the sciences. Combined with the influence of Uranus upon Mercury’s solar reseeding, it will be helpful to set aside space to express however you feel inspired and to allow the muses to lead you into the discovery of new passions and desires you can cultivate and explore more deeply in the forthcoming cycle of Mercury.

It is further significant that on the same day that Mercury conjoins the Sun, Jupiter retrograde will be uniting with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn. The conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto on June 30 will be the second of three conjunctions formed by Jupiter and Pluto during 2020, and so Mercury being reseeded with solar light can help us deepen into relationship and awareness with whatever deep rooted issues and external shifting have been taking place in correspondence with the beginning of a new cycle between Jupiter and Pluto. While there are often power struggles over issues of justice in collective events as well as exposure of corruption among those with extreme ambitions for power when Pluto and Jupiter come together, amidst the collective catharsis and upheaval within our personal lives the union of Jupiter and Pluto can bring new opportunities for growth that expands vision beyond previous restrictions.

The asteroid Pallas Athena in Capricorn is also applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter and Pluto when Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun on June 30. The co-presence of Pallas Athena highlights the importance of utilizing the regeneration of Mercury to bring awareness to ways you have been complicit in the forms of systemic oppression being exposed by the union of Jupiter and Pluto so that you can instead work to bring about their dismantling. The presence of Pallas Athena with Jupiter and Pluto can not only help in envisioning ways of contributing to tangible reforms of the societal structures that are falling apart, but also in devising cunningly effective strategies so that plans of renovation may be received and implemented. I recently  was on the Kosmic Tonic Podcast talking about the significance of Pallas Athena aligning with Jupiter and Pluto in 2020, a conversation you can listen to here.

General Moses Harriet Tubman by Charles White

General Moses (Harriet Tubman) by Charles White

Morning Star

Following the inferior conjunction of Mercury on June 30, there will be a partial Lunar Eclipse on July 4 involving Mars in Aries applying to a square with Mercury retrograde in Cancer that it will eventually complete on July 8. Since Mercury is retrograde in the fall of Mars, the friction and conflict incited between Mercury retrograde and Mars could be messy and emotionally eruptive. The transit of Mars through Aries will become increasingly important during 2020 and so the square between Mars and Mercury retrograde will bring an early clue to what areas of life will be volatilized by Mars in Aries. To work with the adversity brought by Mars constructively, be curious how the challenges you must face during this time can help you to become not only more determined and resilient, but also creatively innovative in finding ways to navigate conflicts. It will also be important to discern when it is necessary to stand your ground in the face of contention versus what situations are not worth fighting over.

At the same time that Mercury retrograde and Mars come into conflict, Ceres will station retrograde at 12º49′ Pisces on July 7. In an article I previously wrote about the importance of Ceres in 2020, I asked astrologer and therapist Jason Holley to share what he has noticed from his practice in correlation with periods of Ceres being retrograde. Though I asked him for his thoughts at the end of March, they still feel relevant so I will share them again here:

“In my work as a therapist, I have seen that retrograde Ceres periods seem to correlate to times when unconscious and implicit material comes forward in what are called in relational psychoanalysis ‘enactments’. These are experiences where a person or group, unable to meaningfully articulate or symbolize particular traumatic experiences, instead re-enacts them with whoever happens to be around. There is often a serious rupturing of the relational fabric, sometimes unrecoverable, but often recoverable with perseverance and leading to profound gifts such as those Ceres gave to humankind at the end of the story: Agriculture (a new relationship with the earth) and the Mysteries (a new relationship to spirit).

The upcoming Ceres retrograde in Pisces feels to me like the tsunami of collective grief, anger, and emotional overwhelm that will follow and accompany the seismic level of loss of human life and economic instability of the coming weeks and months. It is in the midst of this wave that we will be challenged to find the deep and embodied groundedness that Ceres represents. Those of us who can access this, even if only transiently, will be called upon to help the even greater numbers of individuals whose coping resources are quite simply overwhelmed.”

Thus while Ceres will be stationing retrograde and facilitating a process of grieving and discovering ways to tend and nurture the inner places where we carry old wounds and grief, Mercury will be slowing down in speed to station direct. Altogether this can open a potent window of time following the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn to come terms with all of the hopes and plans for the future that the pandemic has dissolved, and embracing the uncertainty as well as powerful potential of being in a liminal collective space of leaving an old reality behind for a new and unknown future. Laura Nalbandian gave a talk at NORWAC 2020 called “Nourishing the Soul: Ceres in the Birth Chart” that illuminated ways our Ceres placements can reveal the manner in which we seek external solutions to internal issues leading to co-dependent attachments. Laura stressed the importance of finding connection with your own center you didn’t realize was there in grief, a process that can be facilitated as Ceres stations retrograde while Mercury stations direct.

Mercury will finally return to visibility again as a Morning Star at the same time it will station direct on July 12 at 5º30′ Cancer. As Mercury begins to slowly generate forward momentum in the following week, make the space and time to gather, coalesce, and weave together whatever new sense of presence and awareness wants to emerge out of the retrograde. Mercury slowly shifting direct as a Morning Star will initiate a period of searching for new opportunities to set plans into motion and generate productive growth. In some case you may be ready to launch plans soon after Mercury stations direct, while in other cases there may still need to be a process of integration completed before fully setting things in motion.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star on July 22 at eleven degrees of Cancer, returning once again to the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Alhena, the “Proudly Marching One.” This demarcates the phase when Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

A few days later on July 26, Mercury will return to the degree where it originally stationed retrograde and bring to a close its extended process of moving backward and forward from five to fifteen degrees of Cancer. One day later on July 27, Mercury in Cancer will form its second square aspect with Mars in Aries, a catalyzing aspect that may bring tests or contention requiring increased focus and determination in response. This also means that Mars in Aries will be engaged in a superior square aspect with Mercury in Cancer for all of July. There will be much more intense drama and destructive battles emanating from Mars in Aries during the second half of 2020, making the period of Mercury stationing direct vital for gaining a sense of how to nurture yourself so that you can cultivate and sustain resiliency in the face of increased adversity. Constructively, the heat and fire brought by Mars in Aries can help focalize intention on what matters most and where we need to assert our own will, where we need to be protective and supportive of others who are vulnerable.

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Tejedora Roja

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Hailed across media platforms as the super blood wolf moon, the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo on January 20/21 will be a magical visual experience for those able to view it. The astrological aspects surrounding the eclipse are also intense and complex, making the media hype an intriguing instance in which mass public attention has been brought to a celestial event which truly has significant ramifications. All of the planets are direct in motion and in aspect, yet the total eclipse brings a warped and strange atmosphere for their interactions to occur within.  These aspects include Venus and Jupiter uniting in square to Neptune, Mars and Saturn in a square aspect, and Mercury moving from a conjunction with Pluto toward union with the South Node of the Moon and a square with Uranus.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse is simultaneously closing a chapter of our lives while opening a new door, as it is the final eclipse to occur in the signs of Leo and Aquarius, signs we have been experiencing eclipses within since February 2017.

The Leo Moon will be glamorously garbed in red, as the shadow cast by the earth creates the deep reddening visual effect known as a blood moon. The Sun is on the side of the South Node of the Moon, while eclipsed luna is on the side of the North Node of the Moon, indicating a confrontation with past patterns and issues necessitating a letting go into a more visceral engagement with the present. As red shadows consume the Leo Moon, our desires to pursue new opportunities will become engulfed in the shadowy realm of our aspirations, our need for recognition, validation, or acclaim. There is an opportunity here to explore the shadowy subconscious material underlying your ambitions, in particular whatever has been building since the first Lunar Eclipse in Leo that happened in February 2017.

Prior to the eclipse, the waxing Moon in Cancer conjoined its own North Node in Cancer while also applying to a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Aries. This places Uranus at the southern bending of the lunar nodes at the time of the eclipse, amplifying the activation of unconscious material in a way that can feel extremely volatile. Moreover, Mercury is conjoining the South Node of the Moon while applying to a square with Uranus, magnifying our perception of previously hidden issues. Gaining awareness of whatever crashes through dissolving interior boundaries also brings the potential gift of Uranus for liberating us from old patterns that have been restricting us without our full realization of their impact. However, in this process of coming to terms with our past and its intersection with where we feel pulled into a future unknown, we will need to have patience and compassion, and do our best to communicate with responsible integrity. It will help to not only take the courage of Leo into this experience, but also the playful creativity that can be lit by the fires of Leo.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Despedida

Within the reddening of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, we will be experiencing the amazing timing of the two malefic planets of astrology confronting one another while the two benefic planets of astrology unite together at the same time. The change inducing square formed by Mars and Saturn can correspond with separations and severing yourself from something or someone whose time has passed, but it can also correlate with seizing determined resiliency in working through present obstacles with disciplined hard work. This is in contrast to the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter which indicates fertilization of something pleasurable and of great inner value, a stoking of desire to pursue our most expansive dream of what we can create and build together.

Yet there is also the underlying influence of Neptune in Pisces to consider within these aspects. Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius are forming a catalytic square with Neptune, while Saturn in Capricorn is also applying to a harmonizing sextile aspect with Neptune. As a result the resolutely realistic pragmatism of Saturn in Capricorn is loosened to consider a reordering of goals bathed in imaginal vision of broader potential. While this can correlate with opening to take action on desires we previously did not allow ourselves to follow, Neptune’s influence upon Venus and Jupiter means the scythe of Saturn will also be required to clear perception of any foggy delusions out of alignment with the reality of current circumstances. We could be unrealistic about available time, space, and resources or new information could come into awareness that changes everything. If possible it will be better to refrain from initiating significant new action for now and discern next steps as things settle in the week following the eclipse.

Since Venus and Jupiter are separating from a superior trine to Mars in Aries as well as holding a superior square to Neptune, there is an emphasis upon their positivity being able to ultimately uplift us out of present predicaments. Venus having completed its trine with Mars is especially significant considering their tense relationship in the second half of 2018 in which first Mars and then Venus went through retrograde phases that led to fracturing, shedding, and rebirthing for many. We are now at a point in which it is possible to make significant progress and reparations regarding whatever breakdowns or breakthroughs came about in the past six months, especially in the realm of personal relationships that both Mars and Venus relate to. Yet in the reddening shadows of the eclipse, we may be haunted by passing fears and feelings it will be better to let pass through us.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Llamada

The transiting lunar nodes are no longer in Leo and Aquarius and will not be again until the year 2026. Since the Leo eclipse is demarcating a finale to the corresponding narrative that has been developing since the first Leo Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 10 February 2017, it will be worthwhile to reflect upon whatever has come to fruition as well as has passed away since that time. In particular, with Leo impacting the transiting North Node of the Moon, we have been given opportunities to enhance our creative actualization with life. Where have you been willing to take risks on behalf of heartfelt dreams and aspirations? What lessons have you learned in terms of going too far with excessive ambitions or need for attention? Though the lunar nodes in Cancer and Capricorn are seeding new lessons in new areas of our life, the encircling red shadows of the Leo eclipse will draw us toward a final lesson with regard to the choices we have set in motion to express our authentic nature and creativity through.

There are so many enormous societal issues causing problems around our global community, one way to access a higher potential of the aspects surrounding the eclipse is to collaborate with others who are also willing to devote effort and commitment toward shared ideals. Within the crimson cloaking of the eclipse, err on the side of choices and actions that make your blood flow more viscerally and your heart beat true. As the Leo Moon begins to wane within its full phase, it will begin applying to a grand fiery triangle with Mars in Aries and the union of Venus with Jupiter in Sagittarius. It’s an eclipse for releasing whatever is keeping you back from claiming the inner integrity to live fully according to your ideals, honoring the ancestry of those that have come before you on the path cleared by your most soulful desires.

wands05

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The Total Lunar Eclipse ripens within the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A card associated with conflict and competition, there is a fitting symbolism for the blood red eclipse in the form of the dashing central figure dressed in crimson. The strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position amongst external competitors, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity, and in this way we could view the central red figure in the image as our essential nature rising up to take control.

Saturn is the ruler of the first face of Leo in the descending rulership scheme of the decans, while the Sun is its ruler in the triplicity rulership scheme. Since Saturn in Capricorn is the ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn as well as the transiting Aquarius Sun, it is vital in the wake of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to discern how well our work in the world is aligned with our inner values and authentic nature, shedding and releasing whatever aspects conflict.  The year ahead will witness Saturn slowly moving toward a union with Pluto in Capricorn that signifies massive decay, dissolution, and ultimate regeneration of innumerable societal structures and institutions. It will be up to each and every one of us to do our best to contribute toward the world we wish to create out of the destruction that will be coming in many collective fields. Rather than acting from fears of survival, the best guide for our determination moving forward will be from the courage of the heart, from the primordial light of eros felt within.

References

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

 

Pisces Solar Eclipse 2017

Vasily Kafanov the beginning

Vasily Kafanov (2015) The Beginning

Down by the water the soil is wet with richness.  The currents stream past, the waves inexorably flow in and out.  Water holds us as its dissolving force caresses our skin. The wisdom of ages flows over us, washes off the sweat and stains of daily struggle, cleanses the wounds of past grief and heartbreak.  Water holds the memories of all, the endless repository of the collective unconscious, and the inner knowing of who we are and how we love in this fertile moment.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse arises in alignment with Neptune on 26 February 2017, the final of the series of Pisces and Virgo eclipses we have been experiencing over the course of the past two years.  Both an ending and birth of a potent new beginning, within its watery release we discover both who we were before and who we will become, the memory of our future path circulating through our body in the dissolving second of an instant.

Black Sun from splendor solis

From the Splendor Solis

The eclipses in Pisces and Virgo have been occurring since March of 2015, and so all of the lessons we have learned and integrated, as well as those we may still be struggling with, are embodied in the moist air all around us.  There is a particularly strong mirroring between this Annular Solar Eclipse in Pisces with the Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo that occurred on 1 September 2016 at the time of the square between Saturn and Neptune. The visions of growth felt deeply within that were not yet manifesting at that time may now be more palpably felt and tangibly taking shape.

Being an annular eclipse, it means the void of its blackness will have a ring of light around it.  Annular eclipses occur as a result of the Moon being far enough away in orbit from the Earth that its shadow does not completely cover the Sun.  Rings bring to mind commitment, honoring intentions with serious dedication and devotion.  The ring of light around the Pisces Solar Eclipse is awakening deep knowing about ourselves we realize with crystal clarity is not only true but requires nurturing responsibility and tending.

One of my favorite interpretations of solar eclipses is by Dane Rudhyar, who said the symbolism of the Moon’s shadow covering the face of the Sun suggests that forces from our past, as well as unconscious influences, veil the present with their fecund darkness. Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for. In combination with their unworldly visual element when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon. Yet eclipses do not need to be feared. Dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, similar to eclipses in that greater wholeness can be found through the dissolution they bring about.  There is immense purification within this final Pisces Solar Eclipse that liberates us from old hangups and fosters strident vivification.

The Solar Eclipse is conjoining Neptune in the inner home of Jupiter, the place of boundless inner visions and gnosis.  As the Sun is obscured by shadow, Jupiter in Libra will be forming a mysteriously strong bond with the Solar Eclipse through antiscia, even more strongly pulling in the catalytic firepower of the opposition between Mars and Uranus in Aries with Jupiter.  The Solar Eclipse is also connected to the conjunction between Mars and Uranus through contra antiscia while Neptune also remains involved in longer lasting contra antiscia with Uranus.  This means that the opposition between Jupiter with Mars and Uranus as well as the conjunction between the eclipse and Neptune are all tightly woven together in a pulsating field of release.

In collective events the conjunction between Mars and Uranus in Aries opposing Jupiter could lead to greater eruptions of violence and dogmatic diatribes, whether the dogma is rooted in nationalism, religion, or other human constructed belief systems.  In the realm of the personal, this same fiery union of Mars and Uranus can bring about groundbreaking empowerment and self assertion that is not purely selfish but rather also uplifts others through the creative force unleashed.  Mars is powerful and at home in Aries and brings dynamic force to the Pisces Eclipse that will jar loose whatever has become stagnant or restrictive in one’s life.  These signatures call for us to let go of the old illusions that have been keeping us limited through conventional thinking.  From the death and shedding of old restrictions will erupt forth pure vitality that may be expressed through one’s daily actions and choices.

caspar_david_friedrich_rainbow-mountain

Mountain Landscape with Rainbow (1809-10) Caspar David Friedrich

Being the final eclipse to occur with the lunar nodes in Virgo and Pisces, it is worth a deep pondering over the fact that the ruler of the North Node in Virgo, Mercury, is in Pisces and applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Under the turmoil of world events, the ridiculous and frightening posturing of world leaders, exists the eternal wisdom of nature and the soulful spirit weaving throughout our material realm.  Though in times of bleakness it may feel as if we have become more separated than ever from the wisdom of our ancient elders who walked in honor of the sacred life found in every aspect of our environment and surrounding universes, our inner knowing remains connected to the very same sources of divine revelation.  Simultaneous with the immature egotism and aggressions of power hungry humans exists others awakening awareness of interconnection and courageously giving to others in need from loving hearts.

Allow old wounds and emotional complexes you have been identifying with to be washed away in the black ocean of the eclipse.  From purification will emerge a burning heart full of passion that can lend intuitive guidance to every decision needing to be made.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to the nonverbal underlying fabric of emotions and psychic emanations.  Though feelings may be difficult to be placed in clearly defined terminology, love will be readily available to share widely.  At the same time that destructive violence is shattering world structures, a protective force of courageous care may arise that can tend to whomever or whatever is adversely impacted by the rupturing.

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8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 1 Decan

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

The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight. As Austin Coppick wrote in his book on the decans 36 Faces, the “relationship with what lies beyond the boundaries characterizes all of Pisces’ decans,” and in the first face of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions” (p. 244).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces, noting it signifies both “a quest to map invisible walls of reality” and “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality (p.245).  Coppock concludes:

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

–Austin Coppock (p. 245) 36 Faces

Saturn has strength in the first face of Pisces and finds itself at the time of the eclipse transiting through the third face of Sagittarius where it also has the dignity of decan.  Saturn in Sagittarius remains in a harmonious sextile with Jupiter in Libra, which is also in a decan that it rules.  This places the ruler of the eclipse in harmonious aspect with the ruler of the eclipse’s decan, with both ruling planets residing within faces that they rule.  The lesson here is clear.  No matter how much despair you may currently be feeling from the suffering of worldly events or personal loss, there is immense astrological potency that supports recreating one’s reality from a place of essential value.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse is ideal for releasing attachments to everything that no longer feels authentic, and focusing intention on creating a life full of deeply felt fulfillment.

References

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

Leo Lunar Eclipse

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Lunar Reflection by Remedios Varo

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Life constantly brings change, yet eclipses always demarcate a period of accelerated change with synchronous endings and beginnings.  New relationships, attractions, experiences, and work opportunities appear seemingly out of nowhere with full force of manifestation, surprising us with their dramatic entrance into our surface reality.  Eclipses are also mysterious portals that hold profound shifts in the enfoldment of our destiny, as many of the changes signified by an eclipse are happening under the surface and not immediately observable in the surrounding period of the lunation.  We stand at the crossroads during eclipses bidding farewell to aspects of identity that can require grieving, while simultaneously welcoming exciting new experiences and relationships that need to be integrated into one’s life.

Lunar Eclipses occur when a Full Moon lines up with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon consuming its own tail that has been used in Hermetic arts for ages.  The dragon devouring itself mirrors the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  In alchemical work the arts of separation and union tied to this imagery reflect the ability to purify material attachments.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse on 10 February 2017 is the first of a series to occur in the signs of Leo and Aquarius that will extend until January 2019.   During a lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our Earth upon the face of the Moon, turning it blood red during a total lunar eclipse.  This first Leo Lunar Eclipse is not total, but is instead classified as penumbral.  This stems from the fact that although the eclipse is fairly close to the North Node of the Moon, the eclipse is happening at 23º Leo while the North Node of the Moon is at the beginning of Virgo. The visual effect is that the shadow cast by the Earth onto the Moon by our Sun is not going to cover Luna in a total red glow, instead only projecting a diffuse outer shadow on the Moon that will be faintly noticeable.

The meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma. The influence of Leo furthermore brings an electrifying jolt of fiery creativity, actualization, and instinctual self assertion into whatever areas of our life the eclipse impacts through its aspects to our astrology charts.

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Toward the Tower (1961) by Remedios Varo

The diffuse penumbral shadow projected on the Moon signifies that while the eclipse heralds the eventual shift of the lunar nodes into Aquarius and Leo months from now, our work with the nodes in Pisces and Virgo is not yet complete.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Solar Eclipse coming on February 26 are the final two eclipses to occur with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  As a result there will be an immense bursting of collective illusions forcing humanity to become wide awake to the discrepancy between fantasy and bare boned reality.  Eclipses have been occurring in Pisces and Virgo since the first Pisces Solar Eclipse in the series that occurred on 20 March 2015.  Idealized illusions and ghastly fears of the past have haunted collective events like ghosts weighed down by ball and chain, but in the storm of these final eclipses the chains of bondage will be blown open, releasing the delusive apparitions for all to see clearly.  The North Node of the Moon in Virgo continues to call us to embrace the moment with full awareness of everything occurring, whether we feel attraction or repulsion, and to discern choices that will bring greater fulfillment through service to the greater good.

The activation of Aquarius and Leo by the eclipse while the lunar nodes remain in Pisces and Virgo bring up innumerable issues concerning the current state of being for humanity within the complex networks of global civilization it has created.  While the archetypes of Pisces and Virgo can involve a sense of guilt over how our actions impact others, the shift of the nodes into Aquarius and Leo bring awareness to how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms.  The North Node of the Moon activated by Leo brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself.  Leo is also a loyal, heartfelt sign of solar power that will protect loved ones and fight for what it believes is good and noble.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse is ideal for creative collaborations in art and activism and for embodying greater passion for life in all mundane responsibilities.  Six months from now we will experience a second set of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo with the lunar nodes also in Aquarius and Leo, and so the storylines being set in motion now will experience further dramatic developments at that time.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is especially potent because the opposition between the Leo Moon and Aquarius Sun crosses over the opposition between Uranus in Aries and Jupiter retrograde in Libra so that both ends of the oppositions form a harmonious sextile and trine to one another.  Uranus in Aries is sextile the Sun and trine the Moon, while Jupiter is trine the Sun and sextile the Moon.    As a result the tension between the Sun and Moon as well as Uranus and Jupiter have mediating aspects of stability that can help open awareness to opportunities that go beyond previously defined boundaries, and further support taking direct action with whatever surrounding resources are available to make inspiring visions and ideas take form.  The eclipse bears gifts for those willing to work with dedication and persistence, as sudden insights and revelations will emerge in the process once a commitment to sustaining effort has been achieved.

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Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle (1961) by Remedios Varo

Saturn in Sagittarius also holds harmonious aspects within the eclipse, as it is trine to Uranus and the Moon, sextile to Jupiter and the Sun.  Although Saturn has separated from its square aspect with Neptune that dominated 2016, its effect in the collective is still felt through the alternative interpretations of reality the masses are fighting over, with people struggling to recognize the difference between the factual and the imaginal.  Neptune in Pisces remains an influence on the eclipse through being widely conjunct the South Node of the Moon, as well as through connecting with Uranus in Aries through the shadowy aspect of contra-antiscia that was also in effect throughout 2016.  As a result one can draw a triangle with fire connecting Saturn with Uranus and the Leo Lunar Eclipse, with Neptune claiming a strong presence in the shadows cast by the flowing, harmonious exchange of fire.

For anyone with angles (ascendant, midheaven . . .), planets, or other key aspects of their chart in the final decan of the fire signs (20 – 30º of Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), the Leo Lunar Eclipse marks the point in time in which many karmic knots within life will begin to become unravelled with the gravity of necessary fate.  As the strands formerly held tight release, potential arises to weave the threads back together into a more colorful, vivacious form that can be embodied with self confidence and courage.  As a lot can change rapidly in the wake of eclipses, its important to keep in mind what one can control and what one has to surrender to not being able to control.  The raging fire contained within the Leo Lunar Eclipse can be channeled with purpose and discipline into strategic directions that can create opportunities to express inspiration, spirit, and passion.   Within the innumerable global conflicts occurring, anger can become so overwhelming that it debilitates one’s ability to make healthy choices.  Yet an inner inferno can also be injected into productive actions intent on building worthy creative works and solidifying support for both inner desires and social causes aiding others.

Mars in Aries is hosting both Venus and Uranus in his domain, applying toward a square with Pluto at the eclipse.  As the lunar eclipse releases and we head toward the darkness of the coming Solar Eclipse in Pisces, Mars in Aries will assertively blow up the tensions between Pluto, Jupiter, and Uranus, in particular re-triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus that dominated astrology between 2011 and 2015.   The many heated global conflicts already occurring will reach new levels of discord as Mars burns his way across the space of the Ram, some unavoidable whereas others will require discernment regarding which ones to engage in with personal energy.  Collectively we can all observe how many traditional structures we had gotten used to counting on have been crumbling apart through the years of the square between Pluto and Uranus-  the current transit of Mars in Aries will amplify the dismantling.  In the personal realm, the highly catalyzed and empowered Mars is available to support both well structured work opportunities as well as taking risks in life toward goals one previously did not believe possible to achieve.  Mars in Aries is also willing to fight to defend loved ones, and so adds to the fiery atmosphere of the eclipse in which combatants may be drawn into conflict over desire to protect whatever is held dear by the heart.

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The Escape (1961) by Remedios Varo

In the nights surrounding the eclipse, Venus can be seen in all of her majesty burning brightly next to Mars in Aries.  Venus is known as being in her detriment in Aries, a misunderstood classification that does not mean Venus is weak, but does mean she is away from her own home in the place of Mars.  Since Mars is close by in his own home, the Venus Evening Star is full of fiery martial force and passion yearning to be expressed with direct ardor.  Potent creative collaborations are possible with resonant partners able to harmoniously receive and reciprocate.   In relationships that have felt stuck or weighed down by unresolved issues, the martial combination of Venus and Mars in Aries can create conflicts that dislodge blockages and open up opportunities to mediate solutions through direct communication.  As Venus is now within the shadow of her forthcoming Venus retrograde that will begin on March 4, paying attention to arising concerns within relationships and addressing divisions between the needs of the self and others will help prepare us for the coming relational changes when Venus stations and turns away from Mars in retrograde motion.

While Venus and Mars are shining bright in the transfiguration of twilight, Mercury is illuminating the shift of hues at dawn as a Morning Star.  Mercury in Aquarius is forming a harmonious sextile with Venus at the eclipse, and as the forthcoming lunar cycle wanes Mercury will progress into an additional supportive sextile with Mars in Aries.  Mercury in Aquarius can bridge divides between the formerly known and the unknown on the horizon, helping to facilitate initiation of inventive visions for the future.  Mercury in Aquarius is a blessing with regard to the fiery emphasis of the eclipse as it can help with listening to the clamor of dissenting opinions and devising ways to navigate conflicts while staying true to personal integrity and principles.  In collaboration with partners or within group dynamics, Mercury in Aquarius further supports attuning to the underlying issues in need of attention in order to bring about a productive outcome.  The accord between Mercury, Venus, and Mars adds to the innovative and creative potency available to access within the Leo Lunar Eclipse.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse illuminates the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image a warrior is bravely fighting for his life, using his wand to fight off the onrush 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.  The image evokes the necessity of standing one’s ground against an onslaught from the masses or an angry mob, bringing the idea of what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, for a banner “bearing the name of Truth, Justice or Beauty” unfurled symbolizes the sort of inspirational principle which transcends egoic concerns and animates a “spiritualization of the solar fire present in the Lion’s sign.”  To Coppock it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the third face of Leo’s power, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit.  Coppock described the power of the third decan of Leo as a steadfast courage that rises to combat outside forces and protect beloved realms against external and internal threats, especially when resources are low and the odds are stacked against success.  Though Coppock praised “the solar-martial fire that moves broken limbs” found in the third face of Leo, he also warned:

Like any form of fire, divine or otherwise, there is danger. Though belief in a principle may give one the strength to hold on while all hope is lost, it is no guarantee that one’s cause is right. While this face may abound with images of noble heroes defending the right, just as many tyrants grace its halls, unwilling to yield their thrones, no matter the human cost.

Mars rules the third face of Leo, and Mars is extremely strong at the eclipse in its own sign of Aries and co-present with both Venus and Uranus. The third decan of Leo is impacted in an extraordinary manner in 2017 by eclipses, for there will be an incredibly intense Solar Eclipse in the third face of Leo coming in August 2017.  As a result the lessons we learn regarding the themes of the third decan of Leo now will return to us tenfold later in August to further wrestle with.  The overused adage of fighting fire with fire brings the question of how much conflict and destruction are worth inflicting over the issues we feel enlivened to defend and battle over.  While the power of our animated heart can lead us to resiliently contend and combat threatening forces beyond the point of exhaustion, it will also be worthwhile to discern our bodily limits and when rest and caregiving of our incarnated form is necessary.  The many fiery collective conflicts that will arise in 2017 are heralded by this first Lunar Eclipse in Leo, so gaining clarity over what is worth fighting for as well as how to best nourish and sustain our inner fire and fleshy form will be essential.

References

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