New Moon in Aries

Winged Goddess figurine, possibly Artemis Orthia (late 7th to 6th Century BC)

New Moon in Aries

Like the primordial Eros who emerges from dark-winged Night in Orphic cosmology, the potent light of celestial fire that erupts out of the abyss of darkness, the New Moon in Aries on April 11 is bursting with propulsive force. The New Moon in Aries is loaded: it is applying closely to creatively activating sextile aspects with Mars in Gemini and Jupiter in Aquarius as well as intensifying aspects with Venus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  Whether you are experiencing the excitement of new beginnings or the grief of having to let go through loss, the sweep of the New Moon can penetrate into the passion that has been laying dormant within, awaiting revival and vivification. Just like the absolute boldness of Artemis and the directness of her aim, there is an enlivening spirit within the New Moon that can guide the way forward like the purity of a flame piercing through mists of obsfucation. 

The New Moon in Aries is the second lunation in a row to amplify the new cycle of Venus that began on March 25, as the recent Full Moon in Libra formed an opposition with Venus. Since the New Moon is applying to a conjunction with Venus at the same time that Venus is applying to an exact square aspect with Pluto, it will be necessary to express and relate with whatever emotional material has been stirred up in the past month. Venus combined with the New Moon is catalyzing growth out of the fecund soil and dark depths of Pluto, the place of so much decomposition in the past couple of years when Pluto was joined by Saturn, Jupiter, and the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Part of the strife and shattering of what has been stable in the past couple of years has also been associated with the square aspect between the dwarf planet Eris in Aries with Pluto; whatever influence Eris has been wielding will also be energized as the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with Eris, further amplifying the activating thrust of the lunation to make change and break out of old patterns. 

Venus is galloping like a wild horse across the final decan of Aries where she has greater agency to influence and make an impact (due to being the decanic ruler of the final ten degrees of Aries), yet she is still not at full strength due to being invisible under the beams of the exalted Sun in Aries. Venus is full of the enlivening spirt and life force she has received from her recent embrace with the Sun, excitedly rushing toward her stable, fertile home of Taurus which she will reach on April 14. Once Venus is home again in Taurus she will be able to better ground and harmonize with the inner promptings of passion, new desires and creative inspiration she has received during her recent time of racing across the fiery sign of Aries. Yet there is a strangely eccentric, inventive guest full of revolutionary ideas awaiting Venus in her domicile: Uranus.

Once Venus reaches Taurus it also means she will begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, bringing her into the heart of the square between Uranus and Saturn that has been impelling breakthroughs, breakdowns, and a release of the way things have been. Unlike in February when Venus was on the side of Saturn, her upcoming union with Uranus will be more animating and electrifying with regards to the new directions and desires Venus is presently incubating. Venus will form a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus on April 22, followed by forming a tense square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on April 24 only two days before the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26. The Scorpio Full Moon promises to be an especially emotional and cathartic lunation, and so we will be well served by coming to terms with how our emotions and underlying values become reshaped by Venus entering into the volatility of the square between Uranus and Saturn. 

As the Moon waxes toward fullness, it will be important to remember the sequence of aspects Venus will make: Venus will first be incited by the emancipatory influence of Uranus to create change sourced from the burgeoning new desires of Venus, followed by immediately meeting the boundaries, restrictions, and harsh reality of Saturn which will limit the full extent of what may be felt within. Compromises will be necessary so that the inspiration emanating from Venus and Uranus can be grounded and integrated into the reality of one’s present circumstances. Through relating with Saturn and taking responsibility for wherever we need to claim our authority and be accountable, we will be more effective in creating the change we wish to have happen as well as facilitate shedding, molting,  and growth within the systems and structures governed by Saturn. 

Artemis holding a cornucopia and phiale (3rd Century BC)

Mars in Gemini is receiving the New Moon into its fiery home through a harmonizing sextile aspect while also applying to a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius.  Mars has spent recent weeks engaging in aspects bringing about confusion at the same time they have opened new avenues for desires and drive: first Mars passed through a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the end of March around the Full Moon in Libra, followed by Mars applying toward a disorienting square aspect with Neptune that it finally completed on April 9. Considering that Mars has also been out of bounds during this period, there may have been new sources of inspiration to pursue entering your awareness making you ready to leap before having a place to land. With Jupiter overcoming Mars through a trine aspect, we will have opportunities for greater coherence and meaning-making with whatever new passions and creative stimulation has been felt within.

Mars will complete its exact trine aspect with Jupiter on April 16 and will remain under the beneficial influence of the star of Zeus until Mars enters Cancer on April 23. Mars in Gemini can shoot off in many directions at once, getting numerous projects and relationships in motion simultaneously. While Mars in Gemini is mentally active, intellectually curious, and capable of discovering and pioneering inventive pathways that have been overlooked by others, it’s driving force can become dissipated and dispersed by having its attention spread too thin across too many interests. The stabilizing trine aspect from Jupiter in Aquarius can be a great aid in bringing a centered focus to projects while remaining open to being flexible and experimental. It can be an opportune period for conducting thought provoking and groundbreaking research that can be deftly integrated into any medium of communication or creative expression.

Venus Wounded in the Hand Conducted by Iris to Mars (1805) engraved by Tommaso Piroli after John Flaxman

Providing a searing boost to the interplay between Mars and Jupiter will be the blazing motion of Mercury in Aries. Mercury is moving at its fastest speed heading toward a conjunction with the Sun it will complete on April 18 at 29º14′ Aries; while it has swift motion capable of making myriad connections and gathering many ideas, Mercury is also in a solar phase in which it is burning off dross and excess to get to the heart of the matter. As Mercury ends and begins a new cycle with the Sun on April 18, there will be opportunities to gain clarity and glean insight from anything we have been researching, developing, or experimenting with. 

In the week following the New Moon there will be a potent mutual reception taking place between Mercury in Aries with Mars in Gemini that will become exact on April 17 through a harmonizing sextile aspect. In addition, Mercury will be forming a collaborative sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius that will become exact on the same day. Altogether these aspects are ideal for writing projects but can also be effective in any realm of work involving design, craftwork, and vision. Due to Mercury moving fast under the beams of the Sun, however, it may be necessary to find ways to ground so that your mind does not become excessively heated and stimulated. 

While Venus is presently moving fast, Mercury is moving even faster. Mercury will catch up to Venus as the Moon is waxing toward fullness, entering Taurus on April 19 and forming a conjunction with Venus on April 25 a day before the Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26. This also means that Mercury will be moving through its aspects with Mars, Jupiter, and the Sun into the catalytic cacophony of the square aspect between Uranus and Saturn. Mercury will form a conjunction with Uranus on April 23 followed by a square aspect with Saturn on April 25, the same day that Mercury will later form a conjunction with Venus.

Mercury uniting with Venus and Uranus may increase the volatility occurring from the tension with Saturn, yet at the same time can create the impetus needed to set the next stage of storylines in motion. It can also be a creatively fertile time within personal projects, collaborations with others, and stimulating conversations that lead to important new ideas. If you have been feeling disoriented by recent shifts in circumstances and old forms of security slipping away, this can also be a good time to get a better sense for how Uranus is disrupting previously stable aspects of your life so that you can access more authentic passion and creative expression.  

4 of Wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The New Moon in Aries is in the third decan of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. It’s not clear who the figures in the center of the image are, if they are performers being celebrated or celebrants participating in communal festivities. What is clear is the lovingly decorated garland filled with vivacious blossoms and the combined symbolism of a bridge and large castle in the background: the figures are in a centering and protective place from which to express their creativity and charisma. T Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets on tarot and the decans described the Four of Wands as a “temporary refuge” and “safe haven” similar to Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a moment to take comfort and refuge from whatever ordeals you have been enduring. Although Aries is the domicile of malefic Mars, the third decan of Aries is ruled by the two benefics, Venus and Jupiter. With Venus transiting through the third face of Aries and the New Moon applying to Venus, the meaning of the third decan of Aries will be amplified.

While Venus is not naturally comfortable in Aries, she is capable of manifesting success and achievement in the third face of Aries despite it being an environment suited for the fiery assertiveness of Mars and the radiant grandeur of the Sun. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to the third face of Aries, attributing to it “the power of art to overcome hostility,” and “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions.” Coppock further noted this decan requires “the martial heat of the battlefield,” as it is the battle-ready ferocity of Aries turned toward artistic performance and charismatic presentation that gives this decan its power “to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.” Yet Coppock also pointed out that the bonds formed within this face require its burning intensity to endure, whereas less intense passions are needed within longterm relationships. Thus it’s a face of “peak experiences” and “inspiring unions amidst life’s greatest struggles,” a place where “bonds are forged and spirits raised,” a decan which “grants the charisma to motivate and attract.”

Aries 3 Decan by Francesco Del Cossa

Third decan of Aries image from Allegory of March: Triumph of Minerva (1476) by Francesco del Cossa

The image above by Francesco del Cossa of a figure who resides within the third face of Aries encapsulates aspects of numerous images found in ancient text. The trinity of Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Picatrix, and Liber Hermetis all reveal figures dressed in red and holding a staff or sword. This passionate figure is wearing either a golden or wooden bracelet depending on whether you consult Three Books of Occult Philosophy or the Picatrix, but both texts indicate the figure embodies the unrest of not being able to do desired good. The reason for not being able to manifest these good wishes is not stated, but Three Books proclaims there is “talent, tameness, joy, and beauty” to be found. The figure in the Picatrix is an iron worker and so has a medium through which to transfigure frustrated anger into works of vivifying creation.

In contrast, the figure in Liber Hermetis wears a gold crown with glistening emeralds decorating her belly. She is full of magic and her staff has the heads of four serpents facing a polarity of directions. Her garments of dark rose are lined with golden strings and she seems to possess the grace of the figure painted by Francesco del Cossa rather than the fury over constraints described by other texts. The focused countenance in del Cossa’s figure suggests they have an inner knowing of being able to make a targeted impact, as they seem to be summoning an inner force to project through the golden bracelet held delicately with their fingers. Francesco del Cossa placed an arrow in the other hand, evoking the mythic Eros or Cupid.

Eros is in fact resonant, as the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the figure of Eros to the third face of Aries. Indeed, the capacity of Eros to arouse passions into creations that inspire collective forces lies at the heart of the decan’s meaning. While some spiritual lineages place Eros as a primordial, hermaphroditic deity at the dawn of Creation, later traditions made Eros into the cunning son of Aphrodite who constantly stirred up the troubles brought forth by lust in both mortals and gods with his bow and arrows. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces stated it is more likely that the 36 Airs had the son of Venus in mind with the third face of Aries as “Eros’ escapades make clear that the desire for unification is inflamed by separation, love by war, lust by forbiddance.”

Another version of Eros is found in Plato’s Symposium, where Eros is portrayed as a great daimon and described by Socrates as the child born from the union of the divine forms of Poverty and Resource. To Socrates, Eros is always poor, always in a state of need, but is also always resourceful in being able to gain what it needs. Within the polarity between Poverty and Resource, the daimonic force of Eros weaves together awareness of the wisdom to be found through our earthly desires that lead us to experience Beauty and Love. If you have been experiencing loss or lack recently, allow the necessity of your circumstances to guide you into relationship with the eros and passionate purpose harbored by Venus and the New Moon uniting within darkness. 

“And yet life is transformation: all that is good is transformation and all that is bad as well. For this reason he is in the right who encounters everything as something that will not return. It does not matter whether he then forgets or remembers, as long as he had been fully present only for its duration and been the site, the atmosphere, the world for what happened, as long as it happened within him, in his center, whatever is good and what is bad – then he really has nothing else to fear because something else of renewed significance is always about to happen next. The possibility of intensifying things so that they reveal their essence depends so much on our participation. When things sense our avid interest, they pull themselves together without delay and are all that they can be, and in everything new the old is then whole, only different and vastly heightened.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters on Life (p. 21-22)

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press. 

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2006). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics. 

 

Full Moon in Libra

Aphrodite Anadyomene (ca. 1st–2nd century) Bronze, gold, with Emerald beads

Full Moon in Libra

Once every nineteen months or so, Venus will race into the sacred heart of the Sun with speed. Called a superior conjunction of Venus, this rhythmically regular renewal of Venus occurs when Venus is moving direct on the far side from the Sun from us in orbit. It’s more of a celestial conjunction of Venus with the Sun than an earthy one, as Venus is more removed from earthly matters than when she forms a conjunction with the Sun when retrograde and at her closest point in orbit to the Earth. As the Sun in its exaltation of Aries rises, culminates, and sets so will Venus as she undergoes a process of being reanimated and reseeded with the creative potency of the Sun. As Venus is laying to rest one cycle and being purified to be reborn into a new cycle, so may we experience a catharsis of past relational patterns and desires as new desires become kindled within. The superior conjunction of Venus occurred on March 25, only three days before the Full Moon in Libra on March 28. As the Libra lunation is within the domain of Venus, the reflective light of the Libra Full Moon will fully illuminate an inner process of renewal and regeneration regarding relationships, desires, and our creativity.

The full arc of the cycle Venus is closing now can be traced back to the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus on August 13, 2019 at 21º11′ Leo: you may notice cyclic patterns and storylines from then being regenerated. Venus has two main phases within her total cycle, one sharing her light as a Morning Star before sunrise and the other sharing her light as an Evening Star following sunset. The superior conjunction we are experiencing now demarcates a liminal transition in which Venus is invisibly shifting away from her Morning Star phase into her Evening Star phase. Venus will eventually return to visibility as an Evening Star by the middle of May and will then become increasingly visible rising higher and higher each evening. The Morning Star phase of Venus that has now ended began last June when Venus emerged into visibility before sunrise during her retrograde phase in Gemini after forming her inferior conjunction with the Sun on June 3.  Thus there may also be important internal shifts forming that go back to the last time Venus underwent renewal last June.

However, if you wish to dig deeper into the quality of time governed by Venus, you may consider the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus in Aries eight years ago on March 28, 2013 at 8º10′ Aries for patterns that could relate to now.  Every eight years, the Sun reanimates Venus around the same time near the same place within the zodiac. Although one full cycle of Venus with the Sun lasts for about nineteen months (584 days), there are five different Venus phase cycles within an eight year period that repeat. If you trace the points of the five unions of Venus with the Sun across every eight years, it forms a five pointed star within the circle of the zodiac. In addition to superior conjunctions of Venus occurring very eight years around the same time and zodiac degree, we also experience an inferior conjunction of Venus retrograde uniting with the Sun in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time on an alternating eight year cycle. There was an inferior conjunction between Venus retrograde in Aries with the Sun in Aries four years ago on March 25, 2017 at 4º57′ Aries, so although it was a different phase of the Venus cycle you may also realize there are important developments regarding storylines from that time emerging now.

Venus burning up with an exalted Sun can vivify passions that had become dormant, clearing space within for new desires to take root and grow within its cycle to come. Venus in Aries is fast and direct just like the present solar phase of Venus, wanting and making things to happen faster than can be comfortable for Venus. The fast moving desires of Venus are further being enhanced by its domicile ruler Mars forming a sextile with Venus in Gemini while also forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon. Venus in Aries is ardent and direct in its affections and desires, and will courageously go after what it wants to create and form relationship with. With Venus so close to the Sun, however, there is much that is hidden to the eye of the observer as well as concealed within our own churning unconscious. The Full Moon opposing Venus while also forming a flowing trine aspect with Mars in Gemini is complex due to unleashing the influence of Mars while bringing up contrary, polarized perspectives and reflections regarding the new sense of meaning Venus is beginning to form.

The Libra Full Moon is in the exaltation of Saturn, while also applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. As a result, the Full Moon is creating an air triangle between the Libra Moon, Saturn in Aquarius, and the combination of Mars with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini.  Regarding our creativity and work, whatever projects and visions we have been developing can benefit greatly through these airy aspects enabling both contemplation regarding the direction forward as well as burning drive to complete the tasks at hand. If there is work to be done and ideas in need of cultivation and expression, the Libra Full Moon is ideal for making significant progress on work that can be inventive as well as in depth.

After the Libra Moon moves through its trine aspects with Saturn and Mars, it will move on to complete another flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius and then form a catalyzing square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn just after moving fifteen degrees beyond the opposition with the Sun. We need to hold the tension of opposing polarities constellating between Venus with the Sun and the Full Moon, letting the illumination of the lunation deepen our awareness of what is taking shape within and how we wish to express our desires moving forward. Although Venus has recently been regenerated, we still have a couple of months of her continuing to gestate her revivified desires until they become more visible with her light in mid to late May. For now we need to incubate the tension of the pulsating potency driving the tidal force of the lunation. Fortunately, the quality of time governed by Venus with the golden mean found within the five petaled form of her solar cycle brings the magical intersection of Eros and Necessity front and center for us to face and reflect within.

Ankh amulet

Ankh Amulet (1070–332 BCE)

Venus and the Sun are also forming a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and are also in process of moving from a union with Chiron into conjunctions with Ceres in Aries that will occur later in the week. Chiron is the Wise Mentor while Ceres is the Great Mother and together they reveal the intrinsic relationship between grief and loss with the courage needed to cultivate productive growth and abundance. The lunation is especially focalized upon Chiron, however, with Chiron forming a conjunction with the Sun at the same time the Full Moon is happening. The union of Chiron with Venus and the Sun will take us to the depths of whatever internal blocks or wounds are presently in the way of us more fully actualizing our creative potential. At the same time, Chiron will be speaking to the importance of tending to the mystery of internal spaces that source our external expression, rather than insisting we know what is best while focusing completely on external achievement. Chiron advises to listen and relate to the vibrant meaning found within the vast realm of visible and invisible nature surrounding us.

During the past year of the global pandemic, longstanding issues of societal oppression and social injustice were forced into the awareness of greater numbers of people who for whatever reason had previously not been paying as much attention to them. At the same time, the same attention given to issues of societal oppression also provoked polarized conflict with groups of people who do not wish to see a radical reshaping of reforms brought to societal institutions on behalf of reparation. The present and forthcoming astrology does not suggest any end to polarized conflict, but the connection of the Full Moon to Chiron as well as Ceres in Aries does highlight the importance of deep contemplation and conversation regarding the intersection between our own identities with the wider network of oppression found within societal hierarchies of power. The work of Dr. Bayo Akomolafe is resonate with the placement of Chiron here, as he has said that decolonial emancipation is not the work of struggling with what is, but a place of occupying what we are becoming. As Dr. Akomolafe has taught, there is an importance of contemplating our circumstances so we do not react in ways that reinforce the very systems of societal oppression we wish to change. 

Chiron bridges the realms of Saturn and Uranus within its orbit, and when it is in Aries it is in the part of its orbit when it travels to the outer reaches of Uranus away from Saturn. The presence of Chiron with the Full Moon is essential for mediating whatever events and experiences have been happening in correspondence with the waning square aspect between Saturn and Uranus. The last quarter square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus is the dominant astrological theme of the year, and the Libra Full Moon is in a flowing trine to Saturn in its exaltation while also in an uncomfortable quincunx aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Yet both the Full Moon as well as Uranus are in the domicile of Venus who is forming a conjunction with both the Sun and Chiron. The clash between Saturn and Uranus can dislodge us from wherever we have felt secure and stable in the past, while simultaneously opening spectacles of increased authenticity and freedom beyond the present confines of our circumstances. The presence of Chiron with the Full Moon can help in sitting with whatever has been stirred up and discerning the path forward. 

Evocation, from the series Brahmsphantasie, Opus XII, no, 2 (1894) by Max Klinger

The Full Moon is also in the bounds of Mercury, with Mercury applying closely to a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces where Venus is exalted. This marks the second lunation in a row featuring a major activation of Neptune: while the New Moon in Pisces that began the present lunar cycle involved Venus applying closely to a conjunction with Neptune and the New Moon barely separating from Neptune, the Full Moon that now illuminates the meaning of the current cycle involves Neptune being activated by Mercury. While Neptune may dissolve the usual boundaries and focusing instruments of Mercury within its oceanic expanse, Mercury brings its gifts with language, divination, and analysis to the mysterious realm of Neptune.

The union of Mercury with Neptune under the light of the Full Moon can be potent when using any form of divination to illuminate the meaning of the present relational and creative story cycles beginning and ending under the auspices of Venus beginning a new solar cycle. Immersion in nature through exploration of one’s local or surrounding habitat can also provide opportunities for finding meaning through noticing the multiplicitous relationships amongst the surrounding beings within nature. Mercury combined with Neptune can also be powerful for receiving significant messages through dreams as well as deciphering them more creatively with active imagination rather than dry analysis. Mercury with Neptune wants us to utilize our imagination for inspired research and creative output that transcends the limits of materialist perspectives that do not recognize we are embedded within living universes.

At the same time, the fact that the present lunar cycle began with a conjunction between Venus and Neptune and now has a Full Moon featuring a conjunction between Mercury and Neptune also means discernment will be important to apply to whatever dreams and visions have been emerging. Some may be available and some unavailable within present circumstances, so we will need to draw from the inspiration of the unavailable to bring greater inspiration and imagination to what we can do with what is available within our current circumstances. 

2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The Full Moon in Libra is in the first decan of Libra associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a blindfolded woman sits in front of an oceanic expanse while crossing two swords in front of her.  The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, and indeed this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find equipoise, resolving conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.  T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets about the intersection between the astrological decans and tarot, stated that the blindfolded woman reveals how the “Swords have do to do with what can and can’t be known,” and that the covered eyes in the image “represent minds that only partly grasp their situation” yet want to know more. Chang links the Two of Swords with setting aside preconceptions, giving opposing points of view “equal airing,” utilizing practices that help “clear your mind, and listen for silence.”

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces referenced Smith’s illustration by ascribing the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to the first face of Libra, describing it as a place which awakens awareness to injustice and disequilibrium within both societal and personal levels of interaction. Coppock wrote of the significance of the Two of Swords holding symbols that “allude to the arousal of an as yet unconscious force” such as the nocturnal and oceanic setting making it a landscape “beneath the threshold of waking consciousness.” Since the Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra and the Moon is being fully illuminated in its own face, the meaning of the first decan of Libra will be amplified. Coppock emphasized the essence of this face being about relationship and “the balance between two entities” in all forms within the social order, stating it “shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition.” Coppock declared that the first decan of Libra not only illuminates dynamics of “fairness and reciprocity” based upon “core principles of ethical interaction with other beings,” but also can incite assertive attempts to address injustice or imbalances. 

It is further notable that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra. As the Erinyes are chthonic goddesses who serve natural law and punish transgressors, the first face of Libra is a place of becoming aware of previously hidden evidence that reveals inequities.  While it is possible that those who have been extremely out of balance will  be facing a karmic reckoning, all of us will need to come to terms with the hidden unconscious material being stirred and awakened by the Full Moon opposing the union of Venus with the Sun. If you are feeling the festering of the Furies within, the fiery union of Venus with the Sun can help purify and release their toxic components while facilitating a coming to terms with the deeper meaning found within our own shadow. May the light of the Full Moon illuminate whatever has come out of balance we need to bring into balance, helping us create the stillness of space needed to contemplate matters deeply.

References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press. 

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

New Moon in Pisces

New Moon in Pisces

The New Moon in Pisces on March 13 will serve as an expansive container for imaginal activation and revisioning the way forward. Pisces is a boundless sign of nocturnal water, providing the lunation a moist environment ideal for sinking into embodiment of whatever sense of soulfulness has been stirred up recently. The underwater zodiacal terrain of Pisces can blur and erode the places we have been fixated with certainty, nurturing intuitive flexibility in how to adapt in alignment with the flow of changing dynamics. Yet the capacity of Pisces for bending boundaries and remaining open to new influences is not about fickleness, for Pisces can sustain faith in its vision against all odds and challenges that arise with surprising strength and determination. The undulating rhythm of the New Moon in Pisces favors slowing things down to fully absorb surrounding influences and feel into what aspects of plans and perspectives need to be washed away, realizing the essential pearl of meaning to continue forming and shaping within.

The New Moon in Pisces is separating from a conjunction with Venus and Neptune in Pisces and applying to a harmonious sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. The astrological movements surrounding the Pisces New Moon in mid March are less volatile and overwhelming than they were a month ago, creating an opportune time for contemplating all of the deep seated material that has been stirred up, collected and gathered in our mind and body over the past year of a global pandemic that has affected all of us in one way or another. The New Moon at 23º03′ Pisces is not only forming a constructive sextile aspect with the present placement of Pluto in Capricorn, it is also forming a sextile to the degree of the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto that formed last year on January 12, 2020. At the bottom of the oceanic expanse of the New Moon are buried gems of purposeful vision that the subterranean senses of Pluto may detect. Sink down into what the Moon, Venus, and Neptune may discover and retrieve under the waves of the fertile lunation.

2021 began with the thrust and chaotic volatility of a new era of Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions in tropical air signs spiraling outwards. Whatever new ideas, plans, and projects have been incubating since then will be able to be more readily developed and creatively expressed during the course of the lunar cycle ahead. Indeed, the Full Moon in Libra that will occur on March 28 will provide a catalytic impetus to push forward with significant development on the ideas and plans we have been formulating. In contrast, the New Moon in Pisces is less suited for action and more in accord with deep dreaming akin to taking a long luxurious bath wrapped up in our own thoughts, fantasies, and ruminations.

by Gustave Le Gray (1856/57)

Neptune in Pisces is at center stage of the lunation. The New Moon is separating from Neptune within three degrees, with Venus applying within one degree of an exact conjunction with Neptune during the moment that the Moon unites with the Sun. The influence of Neptune can lull us into a trance, and while in some cases this can lead to confusion and ungrounded decisions, the billowing bliss of Neptune can also sensitize perception to the divine life force pulsating through our material circumstances. Neptune can open a portal to other-worlds, like a diversion into a faerie realm where we become absorbed with the non ordinary rather than the routine. From the outside being seized by Neptune may seem unproductive, like a procrastinating paralysis, yet the imaginal insight that can be revealed under the waves of Neptune can become incomparable treasure once brought back to dry land.

With Venus closely applying to Neptune as the New Moon forms, we will encounter the strange solutions and numinous notes of Neptune within our relationships and creative expression. The conjunction between Venus and Neptune in Pisces on March 13 will be the ninth time they have united in the exaltation of Venus since their first conjunction in Pisces on February 28, 2013. Neptune dissolves the boundaries of Venus in her exaltation of Pisces, functioning like an oceanic chariot pulled by brilliant dolphins and seabirds carrying the star of Aphrodite blissfully high above the turbulent waves below. Venus is in fact soaring toward a union with the Sun that will come at the end of the month, with the fiery rays of the Sun burning off what needs to be purged and shed from her past cycle. The influence of Neptune upon Venus can help bridge what previously felt like an uncrossable impasse, dissolving the complexity of problems so that the essential issue in need of addressing reveals itself.

Venus is wrapped up in dreams and mystery within the darkness of the New Moon in Pisces, undergoing a secretive metamorphosis away from the light of day. From the New Moon on March 13 until Venus forms its superior conjunction with the Sun on March 25 at 5º50′ Aries, Venus will be in the process of ending a cycle and so we may need to focus on laying to rest and resolving older issues rather than initiating something new. Yet the storylines ready to burst open with the new cycle of Venus may already be building and deeply felt, and so we may simultaneously find ourselves beginning to embark on exciting new creative directions at the same time we may experience a cathartic release of old patterns. With the Moon increasing in light, waxing into the blossoming of the Full Moon on March 28 at the same time Venus is ending and beginning a cycle, it will be an especially illuminating period for deep patterns related to Venus in your life.

The Morning Star phase of Venus ending now began last June when Venus emerged into visibility before sunrise during her retrograde phase in Gemini after forming her inferior conjunction with the Sun on June 3. The full arc of the cycle Venus is closing now can be traced back to the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus on August 13, 2019 at 21º11′ Leo. However, if you wish to dig into the five pointed star timing of the synodic cycle of Venus, you may also wish to consider the last time there was a superior conjunction of Venus in Aries eight years ago on March 28, 2013 at 8º10′ Aries for patterns of your story beginning and ending then that could relate to now. There was also a conjunction between Venus with the Sun in Aries four years ago on March 25, 2017 at 4º57′ Aries, but Venus was retrograde then and so it was a different phase of her cycle than now.

Horus

Jupiter in Aquarius rules the New Moon in Pisces, but is in the twelfth place from the lunation and not forming any aspect with the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter’s lack of a major aspect to the lunation will craft a liminal atmosphere that amplifies the influence of Venus uniting with Neptune. It’s as if Jupiter in Aquarius is away on pilgrimage or sabbatical, removed in contemplative isolation or immersive travel from the fantastical festivities taking place in its home of Pisces. Once the Moon is waxing in light in Aries it will form a sextile with Jupiter on March 15, making the first aspect between the Moon and Jupiter within the new lunar cycle.

Jupiter is at the beginning of its solar cycle, freshly emerging into the sky each day before dawn, heralding sunrise along with Saturn and Mercury. The triple alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury in the sky before sunrise recently has been a stunning visual symbol for the renewal and creative potency available as Jupiter and Saturn bring forth the new movements emanating from their union on the Capricorn solstice. The forthcoming lunar cycle is ideal for making strident effort to develop and move forward with whatever ideas have been gestating, as the Full Moon in Libra on March 28 will be applying closely to a flowing trine with Saturn in Aquarius as well as a trine with Jupiter in Aquarius.

Mercury in Aquarius is moving fast in its explorative Morning Star phase, carrying forward the insight and information it gathered from an extended period of time it spent in proximity with Jupiter in Aquarius. Mercury has been in Aquarius since January 8 and formed its first conjunction with Jupiter on January 11, its second conjunction with Jupiter while retrograde on February 14, and its third and final conjunction with Jupiter on March 4. Mercury will speed through the final degrees of Aquarius in the days following the New Moon, not forming any major aspects with other planets until entering Pisces on March 15, at which point it will begin applying toward a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus.

Mercury in Aquarius combines the fluid volatility of air with a fixated focus that inventively cultivates enduring forms and covers the ground needed to bring work to completion. Though the massive pileup of planets in Aquarius in February could have felt overwhelming in whatever aspect of life they impacted for you, the capacity of Mercury for mediating polarity and holding tension means that ultimately it was a gift for Mercury to spend so long digging into the complexity of issues stirred up by the gathering of planets in Aquarius. Mercury reached maximum elongation as a Morning Star on March 6 and is now in a phase in which we can implement whatever realizations and revelations we gathered during its period of being retrograde in February.

In addition to forming a collaborative sextile aspect with Uranus on March 21, upon entering Pisces Mercury will also begin applying toward a catalytic square aspect with Mars in Gemini that will become exact on March 23. This means that Mercury will now begin investigating the disruptive influences that Mars and Uranus have been playing this year in relation to the new narratives initiated by Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. The sextile between Mercury and Uranus can feel like an emancipatory breakthrough in projects and plans that experienced delay or needed repair during February. Mars is in the airy home of Mercury, and so the fact that Mercury will be receiving Mars will bring more opportunities for constructively applying the fiery and frenzied force of Mars in Gemini to the imaginal visions gathered by Mercury in Pisces.

Complicating matters will be the additional factor of Mars applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and Mercury applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes at the same time they form their exact square aspect with one another. Information warfare within global politics as well as extreme verbal combat within social media platforms could be one manifestation, but there will be an especially important emphasis placed upon the relationship all of us have with technology and the flooding of information and viewpoints through the technological screens it is commonplace to now carry everywhere. We will be well served by prioritizing our use of time so we are not needlessly distracted and can instead utilize the blazing speed and insatiable curiosity of Mars in Gemini to make significant progress on plans and projects. Yet we will have to navigate extreme tidal forces and tumultuous air currents as Mars approaches its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in the days surrounding March 26 through March 28.

Fishing Boats at Choshi in Shimosa from “One Thousand Pictures of the Ocean” (1833:34) by Katsushika Hokusai

Around the same time that Mercury completes its sextile with Uranus and square with Mars, the red planet will soar out of bounds in northern declination to an extreme height in the sky. Mars out of bounds in Gemini truly knows no bounds in its pursuit of information and desire to communicate its discoveries. While we will need to find ways to bring balance and grounding into our daily routines, the wild nature of Mars out of bounds in Gemini can lead to the kind of inventive solutions and unorthodox creativity that may be exactly what we need. Mars will remain out of bounds in Gemini until April 23, and then will continue being out of bounds in Cancer until May 24; as a result, the propulsive force of Mars out of bounds will be something we will need to get used to.

Fortunately, Mars in Gemini will also be applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius it will complete on March 21 followed by an empowering trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius it will engage for an extended period of time and not complete until April 16. Previously in January, Mars in Taurus united with Uranus while causing problems and forcing movement and reactions from the issues related to Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. In contrast, Mars is now out of aspect with Uranus and forming aspects with Saturn and Jupiter that can be utilized constructively and productively. While the massive breakdowns and breakthroughs constellated by the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus will continue to be an underlying theme during the rest of the year, Mars in Gemini in the weeks ahead will be in position to make rapid responses to address issues stirred up by Saturn and Uranus. If we can maintain our own sense of balance with Mars in Gemini, it can also play a liberating role in catalyzing development of the larger inspirations and visions we have been forming within our minds in recent months.

It’s also worth considering that Mars is receiving the conjunction forming between Ceres and Chiron in Aries on March 13 through a harmonious sextile aspect. Mars will then form an exact sextile with Chiron on March 17 and an exact sextile with Ceres on March 25. Ceres and Chiron will form their exact conjunction at 7°56′ Aries, close to the degree in Aries where Venus will form its superior conjunction with the Sun on March 25. Within the darkness of the Pisces New Moon, Ceres and Chiron will be ritually preparing and purifying the space where Venus will be reanimated by the Sun. The receptive sextile between Mars with Ceres and Chiron can spark courageous action in protecting and tending to those in need in our community and environment, with Mars in Gemini supporting those willing to speak out and take a stand for justice when necessary. Ceres and Chiron can utilize the unorthodox inventiveness of Mars in Gemini and its capacity for multi-tasking to find ways of bringing resources that can help nurture and activate the agency of those who have felt marginalized or on the outskirts of dominant cultural networks.

With Ceres and Chiron also forming a constructive sextile aspect with Saturn in Aquarius in addition to the sextile they will form with Mars in Gemini, the New Moon in Pisces can also be potent for those healing ancestral wounds as well as ways their own experience of growing up in family and cultural systems have created issues in their ability to form healthy attachments and connections with others. After Ceres begins to separate from Chiron, Venus will renew her cycle with the Sun on March 25 within three degrees of Chiron. Three days later there will be a Full Moon in Libra on March 28 that will form an opposition with Venus, Chiron, and the Sun in Aries. Chiron in Aries is the wise mentor focused on clearing the issues getting in the way of us claiming our authority to live authentically even if it means departing from working and serving within established power structures. As the Moon waxes toward fullness in the forthcoming lunar cycle, we will shift away from the deep visioning of Pisces into the creative actualization of Aries. Whatever internal or external issues we need to tend that are getting in the way of following our essential path and embodying our purpose will be revealed by the strong activation of Chiron in the coming lunar cycle.

Pisces 3 Decan

10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The New Moon in Pisces is in the third decan of Pisces associated with the Ten of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of idealized happiness, it’s form of a joyous couple enraptured by a rainbow, their children blissfully dancing in front of their picturesque home is one manifestation of countless images that could be used to display the inspirational vision underlying and driving inner motivation. An earlier image for this face is found in Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which a nude male is present near a beautiful maiden whose head is decorated in flowers. Other old images for the third decan of Pisces show the other side of having a great dream: the terror of loss. For example, in Ibn Ezra’s The Beginning of Wisdom the image ascribed for the third face of Pisces involves another nude male, but this one is armed with a lance and yelling for fear of thieves and fire. The New Moon regenerating in this face asks us to contemplate the inner images of inspiration that have been motivating our work in the world, the full implications of our dream as well as how well it truly fits our sense of soul purpose.

The rainbow pregnant with abundant cups in Pamela Colman Smith’s image for the Ten of Cups evokes the great daimon of Hope found in of the ancient story of Pandora’s box. After Pandora opens the box that unleashes evils and ills into the world of humanity, the only presence left in the box is Elpis, the spirit of Hope. It’s the spirit found in cultural ideals such as a young Judy Garland wistfully singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” musing that somewhere exists where the most precious dreams you dare to dream really can come true. Fittingly, the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributed the figure of Elpis, the daimon of Hope, to the third decan of Pisces. The guiding star we wish upon, the guardian angel we pray to for assistance, the hope we are able to muster in even the bleakest and most desperate of times, is essential to the meaning found in the third face of Pisces, the final face of the zodiac full of the passion required to move through the end and rebirth of the entire cycle of the zodiac.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to the third face of Pisces, describing it as a place revealing one’s willingness to “sacrifice everything” for the “attainment of one’s greatest desire, no matter the cost.” Noting the images of romantic happiness found in the Ten of Cups card as well as in Agrippa’s masterwork, Coppock wrote that the third face of Pisces “inspires the lust and desire implied” by the images, “but the true object of the passions is a merger with the universe itself . . . The face and body of the beloved are a mask, an entry point into the experience of all-as-bliss.” Coppock noted that “the third face unfolds as the quest for true and perfect love,” yet the willingness to sacrifice all for the dream leads to the third face of Pisces becoming “littered with broken dreams and failed martyrs- those who sacrificed themselves for an illusion.”

The  burning desire pulsating through the third decan of Pisces, its grandiose dreams of ecstatic bliss as well as the agony of loss that comes from the failure to materialize dreams all fit well with the fact that Mars is the ruler of this decan. Along these lines its further compelling that the New Moon’s proximity with Neptune is demarcating the establishment of Neptune in the final decan of Pisces for the rest of Neptune’s journey through Pisces that will last until 2025. While Neptune spent part of 2020 in the very beginning of the third face of Pisces, Neptune will spend the entirety of the next four years within this face. As a result, the New Moon in Pisces is ideal for putting you in contact with the inner visions and desires driving your conscious action from unconscious sources. May the darkness of the New Moon in Pisces aid in deepening your relationship with the inner images, patterns, and desires that have been shaping your external goals in the greater world.

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References

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

Libra Full Moon: Balance in the Bending

Notre Dame North Rose Window

North Rose Window, Notre Dame Cathedral

Full Moon in Libra

The Full Moon in Libra on April 19, 2019 brings illumination as we arrive at a crossroads. We have a choice of which direction to follow, a choice of whose guidance to follow, a choice to push forward with ambitious initiative or to pause in contemplation, incubating recent insights before taking new action. The Libra Full Moon culminates at the final degree of the Scales, resulting in its waxing light building across the entirety of Libra as it forms a volatile square aspect with the lunar nodes as well as the shadowy conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. The Libra Full Moon will dramatically amplify chaotic forces of change already set in motion during the past week in which the fiery Sun in Aries also formed a disruptive square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes. Libra is a cardinal air sign of dynamic change oscillating between extremes that calls us to find balance in the center of its vortex, arranging elements of space and time as needed to find a sense of harmony within forces of discord. Fortunately, Jupiter in Sagittarius is in a harmonious sextile aspect with the lunation, with the retrograde motion of Jupiter prodding us to go within to cohere understanding.

Once the Full Moon peaks at the final degree of Libra, its lunar light will illuminate the  beginning of Scorpio and then apply immediately to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. In addition, the day after the lunation on April 20 after the Sun enters Taurus it will immediately begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus. The impact of the lunar opposition and solar union with Uranus can coincide with rapid acceleration of developments or propulsive inner forces making it feel like there is no choice but to take a certain action or approach to situations. As a result the more we can take time and space to center and find as much inner balance as possible, the better we can adjust to whatever becomes activated by Uranus in Taurus in the days following the peak of the lunation’s full light. Uranus in Taurus opposing the Moon and then conjoining the Sun can also correlate with innovative insights that suddenly lead to a solution to difficulties or to an ingenious idea to improve whatever we have been working on.

The Libra Moon forming a square to the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and South Node of the Moon in Capricorn means that it is at its northern bending, its maximum peak of northern latitude within its orbital cycle. This is a dynamic point of volatile change in the Moon’s orbit in which it reaches its greatest height to then descend back toward the ecliptic where its orbit intersects with Earth’s orbit. Demetra George in her tome Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice wrote that “the Moon at the bending suggests both a state of objective awareness between the lunar body and solar soul, but can also indicate the potential for disassociation and lack of connection” (p. 354). Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote that when the Moon forms a square with its own nodes its “lunar function operates with a minimum degree of focalization in earth-nature and in all bio-psychic organisms.” Rudhyar continued that since the Moon at its northern bending “is as far withdrawn from the Earth as she can be,” that the Moon is also “most active in her own sphere” (p. 23).

The astrological volatility stirred up by the Libra Full Moon is interesting considering that it is occurring in the fourteenth Lunar Mansion known as Al Simak (“The Unarmed”) which centers around the fixed star Spica. Donna Woodwell has ascribed the image of “The Harvest” to this mansion, writing that it is about “separating the wheat from the chaff,” overcoming fear in order to end, leave, or move on from relationships and circumstances that are not fulfilling or delivering what we need. Chris Warnock in Mansions of the Moon described the Al Simak mansion as being about breaking apart “restrictive or inappropriate bonds,” and that while we need to be “wary of the impulse to fight with those whose temperament is opposite to our own,” this mansion of Spica “might also indicate that we need to remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation that goes against our nature.”

Thus rather than impulsively rushing ahead with plans during the time around the Libra Full Moon, it can be best used to create protected personal space for reflecting upon one’s place within changing material circumstances. Listen to messages from the environment and the inner guidance you receive in moments of grace in order to adjust and make modifications as needed. Since Libra is the outwardly directed, airy home of Venus, it can also be a powerful time for creative brainstorming and experimenting with ways to further develop projects especially since Uranus in Taurus is involved in catalyzing the lunation’s force. Be open to looking at things from a completely different perspective, liberated from previous conceptions.

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Earliest Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral, west facade

Venus in Pisces rules the Libra Full Moon only a degree past her exact exaltation degree. Thus Venus in Pisces is on her throne of exaltation and capable of facilitating soothing self care and imaginative, inventive creativity in any art. Venus in Pisces is forming a quincunx aspect with the Libra Full Moon, suggesting the importance of finding ways to connect our creative ideas with the actual needs of our community. Rather than self centeredly focusing on whatever we think is the most interesting way to do things, instead bring the exalted status of Venus in Pisces into devising ways to make ideas helpful to others in practical ways that can make a difference. As we are also at the beginning of a new Venus and Neptune cycle, there could otherwise be a tendency for Venus in Pisces under a Libra Moon to put imagination into abstract conceptions that never fully materialize in reality.

Venus leaves her exaltation of Pisces to enter Aries, the fiery home of Mars, the day after the Full Moon on April 20. Venus in Aries will be ruled by Mars in the swift air sign of Gemini, promoting creativity in arts and following wherever curiosity guides us.  Unlike Pisces where Venus exalts, Aries is not comfortable zodiacal terrain for Venus to traverse in terms of indulging in the pleasures of Venus. Instead, the fire of Aries pushes Venus to claim and assert independence, take bold action in pursuit of desires, and find ways to bring people together over inspirational ideas that speak truth to power. Under the influence of Mars in Gemini, Venus in Aries will excel at multi-tasking and can wield its fire to cut through the multiple perspectives stirred up by Mars in Gemini in order to coalesce a direct creative expression.

Notre Dame cathedral rose window dageurreotype

Notre Dame Cathedral Rose Window daguerreotype (1841) by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

Casting an imposing shadow across the Libra Full Moon is the intensifying union between Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Both Pluto and Saturn will station retrograde by the end of April, with Pluto stationing retrograde on April 24 and Saturn stationing retrograde on April 29. The south node of the Moon has already passed over Pluto and will be forming a conjunction with Saturn as it stations retrograde at the end of April. When planets station, their significations saturate the astrological landscape: thus Pluto in particular is looming large over the Libra Full Moon. Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche linked the archetypal impact of Pluto in mundane events with the mythic archetype of Dionysus, as it carries an eruptive life force that cannot be resisted, shattering and loosening structures and beliefs that had been bringing a sense of security.

When Pluto erupts from the depths, transmutation is in process and as new forms arise and old forms break apart, we need to allow ourselves to also let go of the way things have been in order to reorient with the changing forces taking shape. The union of Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of Capricorn is particularly challenging due to the emphasis Capricorn has on the ancient, the traditional, the structures and beliefs that have endured across time and the figures who have gathered strength and skill through a wealth of experience. On the one hand we need to recover and cultivate the aspects of our myriad civilizations that bring stability and order in ways that meet the needs of people, yet on the other hand numerous aspects of the old order also must now break down or decay in order to begin clearing space for new forms and structures to take shape. The tragedy of the Notre Dame cathedral catching fire in Paris reveals how gut wrenching the structural regeneration underway will be for those emotionally and spiritually invested in forms now breaking apart.

Saturn and Pluto will not form their exact conjunction until January 12, 2020 but with both of them stationing at the end of April only three degrees apart, while simultaneously conjoining the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, the end of April and beginning of May will bring an amplified initiation into the meaning of their new cycle. Making it more intense is that the heliocentric south nodes of Saturn and Pluto are in the same area of Capricorn, meaning that the movement of Saturn and Pluto around their entire orbital arc is now descending to intersect with the orbit of our Earth around the Sun. Dane Rudhyar likened this type of archetypal process we are experiencing with Saturn and Pluto to both the death and decay of the Autumn season, as well as the importance of incubating and gestating the seed that will bring forth new life. There is a sacrifice necessary, a release of what must die in order to bring forth what needs to be born. We simultaneously will be experiencing the extremes of Saturn and Pluto, the putrefaction of their poisonous toxicity as well as the empowering discipline and reordering of their more ideal significations.

Notre Dame allegory of alchemy

Allegory of Alchemy from central portal of Notre Dame Cathedral

The Libra Full Moon also brings illumination to the recent ingress of Mercury into Aries. Mercury had been in Pisces since February 10 before finally entering Aries on April 17. At the time of the Full Moon, Mercury is applying to a close conjunction with Chiron in Aries and is applying toward a mutually receptive sextile aspect with Mars in Gemini. In the past month we have had a lot happening in the signs of Pisces and Capricorn, inwardly directed signs that tend to work receptively with material at a patient pace more so than with frenetic speed. Mercury in Aries combined with Mars in Gemini will speed up events and facilitate taking direct, impactful action to shape matters that have become volatilized and ready to change.

Mercury in Aries is firmly within its Morning Star phase in which it heralds the rising Sun at dawn with its light. Mercury’s Morning Star phase resonates with being curious and explorative, reaching out for new connections and weaving new meaning and ideas together. Dane Rudhyar called this phase Promethean due to its strong capacity for foresight, and I also think of it in relation to the Magician arcanum in tarot due to its capacity for helping us reshape matters in line with our developing vision. Whatever shifts occurred for you during the long Mercury retrograde in Pisces transit that lasted through March, it is now time to integrate the lessons into your daily communication and movement through your community.  Mercury will form its exact sextile with Mars in Gemini on April 30, and so their mutually receptive relationship bears gifts to infuse into research, communication, promotion, and mercantile activities for the rest of April.

As the Moon continues to wane in light for the rest of April, Mercury will get closer each day to forming a volatile square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the transiting lunar nodes at the same time that Saturn and Pluto are stationing retrograde. Simultaneously, Mars in Gemini will be getting closer each day to forming a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, becoming exact on April 27. This brings a much deeper, ineffable influence into the receptive relationship between Mercury and Mars. Mercury in Aries forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes will penetrate awareness into unconscious material  and patterns, as well as insight into the larger structural changes occurring in society. Though Mars and Mercury will want to incite action and swiftness, it will be important to make time and space to recenter in reflection, listening within to unconscious messages that can bring guidance. The influence of Mars forming a square with Neptune can bring inflation and fixation on dogmatic perspectives in some people, while for others this same influence could help unveil illusions that have been operating under the surface of perception.

swords04

4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Libra culminates in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces linked the presence of Nemesis in this decan to her role as “a force which restored balance to life’s chaotic wheel,” acting “to consciously correct the injustices whirl of blind forces” by “restoring right proportion.” One way Nemesis restores balance is through bringing retribution against those carried away by hubris who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence with the Libra Full Moon emphasizes the need to rebalance whatever has become out of proportion in our life. We may recognize aspects of our shadow we have been denying, or realize we have been suppressing desires that need to be accepted and cultivated. There are many crises coinciding in collective events calling for action, but in addition to playing a role in creating the change we wish to see in external events, we likewise need to bring attention to tend to the changes occurring internally.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

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.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

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

New Moon in Aries

New Moon in Aries

Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

New Moon in Aries

The New Moon in Aries on April 5 kindles the star fire of inner soul force and determination in the face of collective events that feel overwhelming with their historical weight. Aries takes its name from the constellation of the charging ram, zodiacal terrain ruled by red hot Mars where our life and light giving Sun is exalted. Aries burns with impulsive heat that invigorates our passions and motivates us to take direct action. There is cosmic synchronicity of this propulsive force initiating a new lunar month during the same time that the combined impact of Saturn and Pluto with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn is intensifying. Wielding the fire of Aries will not move mountains, suddenly change world politics,  or be able to cut through every obstacle we face at this time. Yet we still need to claim the courage to use our force of will to shape the aspects of life we are able to create and guide, surrendering to the need to mediate the barriers and limitations out of our control.

The Aries New Moon comes at the turning point of the astrological year. This is usually the case as in the northern hemisphere the season of Aries occurs during the rebirthing of Spring and the daily increase of light. However, in 2019 with the transiting lunar nodes and eclipses occurring in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn, the New Moon in Aries is occurring at the midpoint between eclipses while forming a change inducing square aspect with the Capricorn Solar Eclipse that happened on January 6, 2019 as well as the Cancer Solar Eclipse that is coming on July 2, 2019. This makes it an ideal time to recenter and regroup regarding whatever shifts have been taking shape in your life, summoning inner strength to respond to whatever needs repair or restoration. It’s also ideal for initiating and generating forward momentum and decisive action regarding whatever goals you want to achieve in the next six months.

Hours after the Moon unites with the Sun, the waxing Aries Moon will move through a catalyzing square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Since the Aries New Moon is applying to a square with the transiting lunar nodes it means it is at its bending, in this case the southern bending in which the Moon dips as far south in latitude as it will reach during its lunar cycle. This is a maximum peak of volatility, and in a southern direction indicates a higher charge of unconscious impulses motivating behavior. A day after the lunation, just after the Moon has reappeared in light in its slender waxing crescent shape, the Moon will form a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus on April 6. There likely will be some explosive collective events during this time, yet on personal levels we will also need to be ready for rapid developments to erupt. The Moon is carrying an emancipatory charge that is facing the friction and resistance of large, oppressive societal forces. We can receive liberating, breakthrough insights during this time and by working hard to bring ideas into form we can cultivate greater strength in the process. At the same time, it will be necessary to be aware of the best use of energy in terms of what we can change and what we cannot.

A day before the New Moon, the asteroid Vesta will ingress into Aries and begin applying to a conjunction with Chiron in Aries. The co-presence of the fiery communion between Vesta and Chiron with the New Moon in Aries draws awareness inward toward the most essential and rarified desires and values to focus attention on. What aspects of your life, what elements of your goals and dreams are irreplaceable and bring forth all of your strength and vitality to protect and nourish? During hard and difficult times when faith is tested, when natural disasters or collective calamities and crises strike, the gift offered is complete clarity regarding what matters most, where are attention needs full unequivocal engagement. Chiron and Vesta are inviting you to join them around their fire, a place of inclusivity, listening, sharing, and empowerment, a protective circle in which you can plant the seed of the vision you most wish to create and cultivate in the season ahead.

Mars in Gemini

Woodblock print of Miyamoto Musashi by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Aries New Moon, separating from a sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries and applying toward a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will not complete until April 25. Mars leaving Taurus and entering Gemini brings increased speed, electricity, and curiosity toward the striving will force signified by the red planet. With Mars in Gemini forming a whole sign sextile aspect with the New Moon in Aries, there is increased potential for taking action and making gains on whatever plans and visions have been taking shape during the Mercury retrograde in Pisces period that dominated the month of March. Mars in Gemini brings increased capacity to handle multiple tasks at a time and decipher connections between diverse interests, with the building tension between Mars and Neptune in April capable of severing awareness from an illusion. A main challenge will be keeping Mars from becoming detrimentally distracted in the airy home of Mercury.

Mercury in Pisces is now moving direct as a Morning Star and finally beginning to separate from its extended conjunction with Neptune in Pisces that expanded visions yet restrained our capacity for quickly and clearly making needed connections and communication. Mercury at the time of the Aries New Moon is a week away from reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that we are entering the phase of Mercury in which we must gather the bravery, faith, and resources needed to embody whatever changes of mind and vision emerged into awareness during the past month. Mars in Gemini has the necessary flexibility to shift and mutate as needed as we figure out how to reshape and rebuild life structures. Yet Mars under the influence of Mercury combined with Neptune also brings risk of becoming inflated, self-righteous, and ungrounded, characteristics we will need to guard against especially if conflict erupts.

Odilon Redon flower-clouds

Odilon Redon (1903) Flower Clouds

Feeling the Fishes

There is a potent pulse of Pisces underlying the Aries New Moon. Just as Mercury is beginning to separate away from a conjunction with Neptune, Venus in Pisces is applying toward a union with Neptune that will complete on April 10. The combined influence of Venus, Neptune, and Mercury in Pisces has a multivalent impact which can range from the sublime to the delusional. The influence of Venus exalted in Pisces increases capacity for us to not only envision a reality in which we may behold soulful desires, but to also alter reality to bring about manifestation of deeply felt values and connections. Hopefully the long phase of Mercury retrograde in March helped clear minds of cobwebs and illusory conceptions, but as Mercury is finally separating from Neptune it will still be worthwhile to claim space for inner reflection and meditation to help enhance clarity. Jupiter in Sagittarius is ruling all of the Pisces planets and can facilitate inner knowing that supports their potential for inner vision as long as we center within authentic inner values rather than being swayed by external conditioning influences.

As Venus forms its conjunction with Neptune on April 10, Mercury will simultaneously be applying to its third and final square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius.  All of this is happening at the same time that Jupiter is stationing retrograde on April 10 at 24º21′ Sagittarius. When planets station their archetypal influence saturates the landscape, and so with Jupiter ruling Venus, Neptune, and Mercury it will intensify experience and meaning. The period of April 10 and 11 notably brings a higher degree of resolution to the wild journey Mercury has been on since February, as Mercury previously formed a square aspect with Jupiter on February 22 and March 24. There will be an opportunity for deepening into clearing or clarification of misleading beliefs while simultaneously receiving intimations of the course to follow into the future. Venus and Neptune will be playing the part of pulling awareness into the pleasures and wisdom of the senses and can be best utilized for soothing stress and creating an atmosphere of recovery, restoration and healing.

The mystical influences of Venus uniting with Neptune and Mercury contesting Jupiter goes well with the added meaning of Jupiter stationing retrograde. Jupiter shifting into retrograde motion pulls the outward expansion and quest for freedom of Jupiter in Sagittarius into inner horizons, helping one to cohere inner meaning from the free ranging experiences of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius. Jupiter will remain retrograde until stationing direct on August 11 at 14°30′ Sagittarius

Gustave_Courbet_(French_-_Grotto_of_Sarrazine_near_Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne_-_Google_Art_Project

Gustave Courbet (1875) Grotto of Sarrazine near Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne

Saturn – Pluto – South Node

The month of April initiates us into an intensification of the complex gravitas constellated by Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon coming together in Capricorn. By the end of April, both Pluto and Saturn will have stationed retrograde with Saturn coming within three degrees of Pluto (Saturn and Pluto will not complete their conjunction until January 12, 2020). The deepening we experience in April into what to expect from the beginning of new cycle between Pluto and Saturn is amplified due to the transiting South Node of the Moon being in the same place, with Pluto conjoining the South Node of the Moon during the Aries New Moon and Saturn conjoining it by the end of April.

These aspects alone would signify immense karmic issues erupting across societies, but the added influence taking things to an even more extreme degree is that the alignment of Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of the Moon is also happening in the same area as the South Nodes of Pluto and Saturn. This means that the archetypal meaning of the entire orbital arcs of Saturn and Pluto are crashing down across the ecliptic, flooding events with their significations. We tend to imagine the lunar nodes as a dragon in astrology, yet what we have in this alignment is a three headed (or headless) dragon involving not only the lunar archetype but Saturn and Pluto as well. The shadow of the Self described in the work of C.G. Jung can thus be applied to all of global civilization, with numerous issues sweeping across global societies representing the accumulated toxicities and oppression built up from ages past.

At its highest potential, this massive alignment offers opportunities for confronting societal issues and attempting to purify their intersection with us as individuals. Fundamentally, the New Moon in Aries points to the importance for each of us as an individual to claim responsibility for our behavior and intention, becoming accountable for the wider collective impact of our individual actions. While Pluto and Saturn have numerous negative and difficult significations, they also both connect with the empowerment found within our unconscious depths and our capacity to apply hard work and discipline toward manifesting and protecting what is most important to us, building or tearing down structures as needed.

Aries 2 Decan

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Aries associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. As the second face of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a heroic figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Similarly, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second face of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth and rulership to this decan.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second face of Aries.  Coppock described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).  These associations with the second face of Aries work well with the New Moon in Aries having so much potent fertility for vision being offered by Venus, Neptune, and Mercury aligned in Pisces and being received by Jupiter in Sagittarius.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs attributed Persephone to the second decan of Aries, an interesting association as she is also a noble figure who bridges the world of the visible and invisible, the goddess who rules the otherworld of soul, death, release, and resurrection. Additionally, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 16º Capricorn and forming an almost exact square aspect with the Aries New Moon. Persephone’s presence with the New Moon calls us to honor being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death.  While we must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, grieving those who have passed on, Persephone also signifies our capacity for discovering newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear.

There is a further link with Persephone’s presence in this face with the sabian symbol for sixteen degrees of Aries where the union between Sun and Moon takes place: “Nature spirits are seen at work in the light of sunset.” Dane Rudhyar connected this symbol with “attunement to the potency of invisible forces, of nature,” commenting that these “nature forces act as guiding and balancing-harmonizing factors.”  As one of the gifts astrology offers us is coming to terms with natural cycles so that we can flow and harmonize with them, we will need to keep in mind during April the necessity of both surrendering to natural processes of death and rebirth while claiming responsibility for doing what we can to shape matters and offer our own resources for support.

Youth of delight, come hither / And see the opening morn, / Image of truth new born. / Doubt is fled & clouds of reason, / Dark disputes & artful teazing. / Folly is an endless maze, / Tangled roots perplex her ways, / How many have fallen there! / They stumble all night over bones of the dead, / And feel they know not what but care, / And wish to lead others when they should be led.

— The Voice of the Ancient Bard by William Blake, from Songs of Innocence

Songs_of_Innocence_and_of_Experience_copy_AA_The_Voice_of_the_Ancient_Bard

References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases.

 

Scorpio Full Moon

Ernst the Sea

The Sea (1928) by Max Ernst

Full Moon in Scorpio

As the Moon in full light illuminates the darkness of the surrounding landscape, you pause on your journey to draw water from a well.  The well is ancient and contains within its well worn stones the stories of generations and generations who have passed this way before you.  Feeling the nourishment of water quenching your depths, the primal vitality of your flowing blood circulates through your senses.  Your mind drifts into reflection upon the trials you have been undergoing and your efforts given, the obstacles you have been facing.  While there may be a trophy you long to capture, a treasure you wish to unearth, or a beloved you hunger to kiss, you realize the power you seek is truly found within the rhythmic beat of your own heart.

The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 10 has an intensity rooted in our relationship with power.  As the Moon waxes toward its apex of full light, the Moon will form an exact sextile with Pluto while the Sun will form a trine with Pluto.  Mars, the ruler of the lunation, is exceptionally active in Gemini and in strong aspect to both Neptune and Jupiter.   The Full Moon will be ideal for feeling into the subconscious depths that source our power and for simultaneously shedding dead skin while stepping into a more fully embodied authority and authorship in life.   A Full Moon in Scorpio beckons us to feel all of our emotions and the aching yearning for what we desire most to hold or possess.  Yet the crucial lesson we find in the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio is the necessity of embracing the transitory flux of our lives in which forms are constantly coming into manifestation and then passing away.

The Scorpio Full Moon is not applying to aspects with other planets, but does arrive at the crossroads moment of the lunar nodes shifting from Pisces and Virgo into Aquarius and Leo.  This shift results in the Full Moon applying to a square with the North Node of the Moon in Leo and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The lunar nodes have been in Virgo and Pisces since November of 2015, and so the Full Moon shines a spotlight on the creative empowerment that will come with the North Node of the Moon entering Leo.  The North Node in Leo is especially amplified as it forms a fiery triangle with Mercury conjoining Uranus in Aries and with Saturn in Sagittarius.  The conjunction with Mercury and Uranus is exact as the ascending node of the Moon enters Leo, bringing a Promethean message of emancipation and the challenge to claim full responsibility and authority in co-creating the life you most deeply desire to live.

The power available in the aspects surrounding the Scorpio Full Moon will bring genuine strength when sourced from an open heart in touch with both inner desires as well as the external emotions of others.  While the North Node shift into Leo sounds exciting in terms of increased creativity and a noble embrace of living life more fully, there are myriad levels of its shadow we will see playing out on personal and collective levels.  For one, the shadow of the North Node in Leo combined with the other astrological transits this year can lead those in power or benefitting from established power structures to cling even more tightly to their grip on what has been bringing them a sense of prosperity and security, at the detriment to others if necessary.  Likewise, the combination of the North Node in Leo with the South Node in Aquarius can lead many to act solely out of self interest without regard for the consequences of their actions.  The shadow of the South Node in Aquarius in this way is a disassociated, detached perspective that either rationalizes or ignores how one’s actions are impacting others.

However, the South Node moving through Aquarius also brings the capacity to harness awareness of collective concerns, dynamics, and needs to fuel strong and dynamic leadership that initiates direct action to heal and harmonize the divisive fragmentation currently overwhelming our global populace.  Aquarius is a sign of the humanitarian as well as the societal rebel, outcast, hermit, heretic, or outsider, and so the South Node in the sign of the Water Bearer also brings the opportunity to source our hearts with the feelings we have experienced when feeling on the outside, marginalized, exiled, or not fitting in with consensus views.  Instead of going into further isolation with feelings of being different, the North Node in Leo calls us to fully embody our radical nature and radiate our full capacities no matter how far from the norm they appear to others.  It is also a time to have greater compassion for those placed into exile and on the outside of the current dominant culture and power paradigm, and to take individual initiative to mediate the many collective crises erupting.

white-fire-med

White Fire (1949) by Enrico Donati

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Full Moon in Scorpio and is applying closely to a challenging square with Neptune and a stabilizing trine with Jupiter.   The square between Mars and Neptune is applying tightly as the Full Moon peaks and brings the most dramatic coloring to what will be a very emotional lunation full of big feelings.  Mars in Gemini can be the heroic messenger who doggedly and determinedly finds a way to collect the information needed, retrieve the missing piece that will bring greater wholeness. Yet Mars in Gemini can also be a crusading idealist obsessed with one’s own vision, and the strong aspects between Mars with Neptune and Jupiter means there will be dissonant diatribes and cacophony, as players vying for power from different perspectives clash in clamorous uproar.

On a personal level the square between Mars and Neptune suggests overcoming a challenge or confrontation regarding one’s beliefs, spirituality, or idealistic vision, either realizing the necessity of persisting in the face of external challenges or gaining awareness that aspects of our beliefs have been illusory in one way or another and now need to be re-adjusted to our current experience.  The trine between Mars and Jupiter brings a lot of productive push into the social realm, being both more interactive within our collective networks as well as being able to bring a more lighthearted positivity into current predicaments rather than angry negativity.   Yet the square between Mars and Neptune is so tight at the Full Moon it will be important to feel all of ones emotions, listening and learning from them so as to release them, so that we do not become mired in difficult feelings we are trying to repress or deny.  Altogether the dynamic aspects surrounding Mars support connecting deeply within and using inner desire to fuel active engagement in the world.

During the waning half of the lunar cycle Mars will separate from its harmonious trine with Jupiter and begin applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Gemini is very active and social with an ability to focus in numerous directions, but its encroaching opposition with Saturn on the horizon is a call to have focused accountability for our most important priorities and the work and visions we are most deeply invested in completing.  Mars will not perfect its opposition with Saturn until the very end of the month following the New Moon in Gemini, however, and so we have a few weeks to work with this building dynamic.  This will be the first opposition to come between Saturn and Mars since their dramatic dance during 2016 when Mars went retrograde as part of its initiatory conjunction with both Saturn and Antares at the end of August 2016.  Whatever we began to set into motion in our life in August and September of 2016 we can now reflect upon with regards to what has been working optimally and what needs greater adjustment or changed completely.

rivieres-crepuscule-med

Rivieres, Crepuscule (1943) by Enrico Donati

Venus in Aries & Jupiter in Libra

Venus is shining brightly as a Morning Star in the moist darkness before sunrise, retracing her steps in Aries that she has previously moved both direct and backwards across since February.  This is the third time that Venus has moved across the first decan of Aries, and she has now completely emerged from her meeting with Chiron and Saturn with the capacity to awaken newfound strength on the playing field of life.   Venus has a more competitive edge now and corresponds with feeling emboldened to go after what we want to create.  Saturn and Chiron have also now perfected their most recent challenging square aspect, which most likely brought up old wounds in need of tending regarding our identity and the old stories we identify with.  Saturn and Chiron have pointed Venus toward building life plans and goals in total integrity with true inner values, and Venus now calls us to boldly initiate accordingly.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus will form an opposition with Jupiter at about the same time she finally leaves her retrograde shadow zone on May 19. The recent Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces has been the pivotal phase of Jupiter’s time in Libra in which we have gained the opportunity to not only reevaluate our relationships but most importantly the way in which we have been engaging within them.  Since Jupiter is in the home of Venus it means that Venus will be receiving Jupiter as they form their opposition, a pleasing gift for Venus considering her harsh square with an unreceptive Saturn last month.  Oppositions always require effort to bring about optimal outcomes, however, and one prime area to focus on with this aspect will be in listening.  Listening to the needs of others, both spoken and unspoken, as well as listening to our own feelings and inner guidance, we will gain the capacity to make invaluable course corrections and deeper investments.

Adding an extra layer to the relational opposition between Venus and Jupiter is the asteroid Juno.  Juno is within one degree of a conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Full Moon, while also stationing retrograde. While the stationing of asteroids normally do not draw much astrological attention it highlights the fact that Juno has been in range of a conjunction with Pluto for the past month during a Venus retrograde time period.  Juno began getting close to Pluto back in early April when Venus moved retrograde back into the sign of Pisces, and since that time has remained within close proximity with Pluto, getting especially close once Venus stationed direct.  The focus for many is on finding their ideal partner, yet the proximity of Juno and Pluto begs us to open awareness to how we ourselves can become the ideal partner for others.  The Full Moon lights up the old relationship issues that could get in the way of creating our ideal relationship in this very moment.  Releasing resistance to what we need to own about ourselves, we gain the capacity to make true lasting change in the way we relate, fertilizing the fruitful potential of our relationships in coming months and years.

Seraphin screeen

Fortissimo screen (1925-6) designed by Seraphin Soudbinine

Mercury & Uranus in Aries

Mercury is finally beginning to separate from its conjunction with Uranus at the Full Moon, while applying closely to a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result of its recent Mercury retrograde phase, the Star of Hermes has spent the past three weeks in range of a conjunction with Uranus.  The Full Moon will fully unleash the meaning we have been gestating and generating during this prolonged union between the messenger and the liberator.  Mercury is now fully visible as a Morning Star, joining Venus as a herald to the rising of our Sun each morning.  This means Mercury can eloquently and clearly transmit the Uranian message we need to receive in case we have been missing the signs in the past weeks.  Mercury and Uranus have been bringing opportunities to break out of old patterns that became too constrictive and to embrace new ways of perceiving that facilitate freely drifting into the currents aligned with our essentiality.

With Mercury in Aries now applying closely to a trine with Saturn slowly moving retrograde in Sagittarius, the Full Moon ushers us into a week in which to take direct action in restructuring the elements of our life needed to fully step into the liberation burst open by Mercury and Uranus.  With persistent effort drawing upon the disciplined focus of Saturn, this is an ideal time to clear out whatever has been holding you back from taking full authority in your life and simply go for it.  As the Moon begins to wane through Sagittarius in the days after the Full Moon, it will form a continuous stream of aspects with Venus, Mars, Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury, Saturn, and the lunar nodes.  The waning lunar cycle following the Full Moon is full of fast moving and inspirational transits which will correspond with both heated conflict in the social realm as well as a potent charge that can activate greater self empowerment.

7_cups_RWS_lg

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the third decan of Scorpio, associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image 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 it is said that cast a veil whose shadow 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 and increased opportunities for more 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 its essence 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.  Befitting the union of Mercury and Uranus at the Full Moon, 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.”

While Coppock pointed out that many older images associated with the decan hold the symbolism of drunken, uncontrolled desires of a ferocious and violent quality, I am most intrigued by an image in the Liber Hermetis that contains “a human body and the form of a he-goat, holding eggs hanging from a thread in both hands.”  The eggs strung by thread suggests to me a meaning we can find in the final face of Scorpio that involves the fertility of destiny and the ripening of the moment.  Along these lines, it is further fascinating to consider that the ancient Hellenistic fragmentary text 36 Airs ascribed 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 not unlike Hermes, 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.

Venus rules the third face of Scorpio, and though Venus is instead residing in the first face of Aries at the Full Moon, she is within her own bounds and so has some essential dignity to pursue and possess her desires.  As Venus is finally getting close to leaving her retrograde shadow zone, the Scorpio Full Moon illuminates whatever lessons we have had to learn regarding our desire nature over the course of the past months of Venus moving backwards and forward again.   What has come up for you in terms of worldly ambition, who you want to be, what you want to achieve, or who you want to be bound to in love and intimacy?  When the opportunity arrives in coming weeks to live a life more fully aligned with your true desires, don’t be afraid to take hold of it with aplomb.

References

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

New Moon in Gemini

Emblem 10 as New Moon in Gemini

Emblem 10 in Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier. “Da ignem igni, Mercurium Mercurio, et sufficit tibi. (Give Fire to fire, Mercury to Mercury, and you have enough.)”

New Moon in Gemini

The New Moon in Gemini on June 16, 2015 has a charged atmosphere of enlivened desire, an intensification of feeling that can bring clarity to the direction we are choosing to initiate and follow.  Mars in Gemini is closely conjunct this New Moon, and just as we experience a new lunar cycle with our Sun, we also have entered a new cycle between Mars and the Sun.  It follows that both our identity and consciousness (Moon) as well as our will-force and ability to focus our consciousness on a desired goal (Mars) are simultaneously being purified and regenerated by our Sun in the sign of the Twins.  Just like the ruler of Gemini, Mercury, bridges dualities such as light and night, conscious and unconscious, so in Gemini we have the mortal twin and the immortal twin, the rational twin and the irrational twin, the magical twin and the mundane twin, and an inquisitive spirit that can connect us with the underlying source that unites and transcends binary dichotomy.  There is extraordinary depth to the sign of Gemini that is sometimes glossed over by astrologers, a quality of inquiry that can see through to the essential and thus holds this same potential for us at this New Moon.

Further electrifying the cosmic environment is the trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries that is almost exact (and we can also add in the goddesses Eris in Aries and Juno in Leo). Since the Gemini New Moon is in sextile to both Uranus and Jupiter, these aspects are a gift to seize and open awareness to sense the full spectrum of options available to choose from in the path ahead, without any restrictive limitations of perception present.  If you have been reading my blog and feel like you have been hearing me write about this concept repeatedly, over and over again, it is because this first quarter trine between Uranus and Jupiter has been building for months and we now only have less than a week left of it applying before it begins to separate for good in this cycle.  In other words, from now through the upcoming Solstice in Cancer is the most powerful time left to take advantage of this dynamic, inventive aspect of procreative force- and it is making a sextile to this New Moon.

Mercury in Gemini is the ruler of this New Moon and has now emerged from its time in the underworld to herald our dawn as a Morning Star again.  Mercury in this position has a strong capacity for rational analysis combined with inquisitiveness, and ability to focus on the setting and achievement of goals.  Mercury here is curious and likes to explore, and can integrate the new level of perception gained from this past Mercury retrograde period.  Whatever we discovered during the Mercury retrograde we had to realize about our circumstances, no matter how difficult it could have been to acknowledge past mistakes, misfires, or miscues, we now have an opportunity to set intentions informed with the wisdom gained from our recent experiences.  As Mercury in Gemini begins to move direct again, it also begins to apply to a sextile with Venus in Leo that will be gaining in strength over the next three weeks, eventually also coming into range of a sextile with Jupiter in Leo.  As a result, out of the dark, hidden depths of its recent travels, Mercury is now regenerated and able to facilitate our awareness of opportunities and receive support for deeper creative actualization.

Mars conjunct New Moon in Gemini

Bird in the Spirit by Morris Graves

Mars conjunct Sun in Gemini

The synodic cycle of Mars creates the atmosphere of this Gemini New Moon, as the New Moon is conjunct Mars.  Two days before the New Moon on June 14, 2015 the Sun and Mars united at 23°17′ Gemini.  The previous cycle between Mars and the Sun began on April 18, 2013 at 28°08′ Aries.  If you are like me, life has completely transformed since that time, and the great desire that arose then and may have seemed out of reach today is closer to manifestation or has already been experienced. When Mars unites with the Sun, Mars is infused with the solar force and the symbolic arrow shooting out of the circle of spirit in the Mars glyph is revivified to shoot off with focused desire in a new direction. In the past weeks with Mars under the beams of the Sun, the Sun has been burning off whatever has needed to be released in relation to Mars in our life.  This could have felt like an agonizing process at times, engulfed in the fires of our own discontent in moments, but if we have been doing this work we now can be present with a more authentic use of Mars in our life. We have shed the inessential and our desires are now rooted in the essential.

Understand that in the coming weeks you will most likely feel vulnerable in this new direction you are wanting to take, and that it will take time to build the forms and structures in your life to support this new Mars direction.  If you have felt called to pursue a new course or project in some form, this is a great sign that is in sync with the Mars and Sun cycle.  In case you have not felt a new sense of direction yet, wait for it because it will be on it’s way.  In any case, this all means that this is an especially auspicious New Moon for intention setting.  And who is that arriving now to facilitate a re-structuring in support of our new path?  Why, if it isn’t that dark and devilish master, Saturn in Scorpio.

crow japanese

Crow and Reeds by a Stream, by Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, ca. 1887)

Saturn in Scorpio

Saturn returns to the sign of Scorpio just in time for this New Moon in Gemini.  Saturn was previously in Scorpio from October 2012 through December 2014, and as we retrograde back into it’s dark waters, we gain a final opportunity to process these years of tumultuous transformation.  Moving from Sagittarius to Scorpio can be jarring, as our taskmaster Saturn shifts from a fiery, expansive, optimistically visionary sign into a watery, intense, secretive, condensed, and decomposing sign of depth. With Saturn freshly retrograde into Scorpio at the time of this New Moon, it means that our initial impulses, feelings, and experiences associated with the shift into Scorpio inform this Gemini New Moon. So just as the Sun and Mars are adding a shifting tone, so does Saturn, and Saturn moving retrograde with this shift means it is fitting to set New Moon intentions to restructure the aspects of our life demanding attention, as well as restructuring our consciousness at a bottom-line level.  With Saturn moving into Scorpio we will be realizing the why behind not only the recent experiences from Saturn in Sagittarius but also dating back to 2012 and the transit of Saturn through Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to be a witness without escapism and denial.  As we witness our own inner motivations and realize what the underlying patterns of our motivation have been, we will likewise gain penetrating insight into the motivations driving those we have been in relationship with.

There is a natural sextile between the signs of Capricorn and Scorpio where Pluto and Saturn currently reside, and Saturn retrograde in Scorpio is now in a balsamic semi-square aspect to Pluto retrograde in Capricorn.  This is a strong indication of a lot of material surfacing from past years to be processed, decomposed, and then ultimately used as fertilizer for new growth.  Saturn in Scorpio is in a quincunx by wide orb to the New Moon in Gemini, meaning that this Gemini New Moon gives us an opportunity to adjust to the shift of Saturn into Scorpio by creating a Mercurial bridge that links the root qualities of Gemini and Scorpio.  While the natural quincunx between the signs of Gemini and Scorpio are ignored by astrologers focused on traditional Ptolemaic aspects in astrology, there is nonetheless a deep connection between these signs that can be seen in the fact that Gemini is the eighth sign away from Scorpio.  It is the deeper, penetrating side of Gemini that connects with Scorpio, and the ability of Gemini to connect across boundaries can stimulate the Scorpio talent for merging at a core level with everything from bodies of knowledge to bodies of intimate partners.  While Gemini and Scorpio at first glance may seem to lack common ground, this New Moon initiating Saturn’s return to Scorpio is a strange gift that can utilize the Gemini talent for synthesis and shifting to dislodge any fixation we are feeling from Scorpio such as our fears, so that we can open ourselves to experience a deeper level of Scorpio transformation in the end.

10 of Swords

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini III Decan

The image of the 10 of Swords as illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith took on new meaning for me when I read Austin Coppock’s book on the decans, 36 Faces, and realized that since Egyptian culture is the source of the decans in astrology, it is significant that ancient Egyptian traditions as well as the Hellenistic astrological tradition viewed Cancer as the first sign of the zodiac in some of their astrological arrangements.  For example in the Thema Mundi the Hellenistic chart said to represent the birth of the universe, it is Cancer that occupies the first house and Gemini that occupies the twelfth house.  Therefore, if we conceive the zodiac as beginning with the Cancer Solstice, or the first decan of Cancer, it means that the Gemini III decan would considered to be the end of the cycle, the final of the 36 faces of the zodiac.

Since the 10 of Swords is the tarot card connected with the third decan of Gemini, it is therefore fitting that the image is of a dead man who has surrendered to death, with ten swords plunged into his back- representing the death of the cycle.  While the card embodies dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky, as well as an upturned hand that seems to indicate contentment with this release from bodily form.  In addition, there is a deep body of water behind the body, resonant with the symbolism of lakes as a portal to the underworld, as well as the current transit of Saturn returning to the sign of Scorpio.   Austin Coppock linked the death of the Gemini III decan with the necessary death or sacrifice of one of the twins of Gemini:

It is important to understand the precise nature of the death which occurs here properly, for it is not the self-sacrifice of Jesus, nor the cognate immolation and rebirth of the Phoenix. The third decan of Gemini sees Castor fall, Cain slay Abel and Set slay Horus.  It is the climax of a story of polarity.  The death which occurs here reduces a warring pair back to a stable unity . . .

For by the third decan of Gemini, dualities have permutated far beyond the shades of grey previously explored.  The ultimate extremities are present here, taken to the point that they cannot truly coexist.  Day and night must split time-  they cannot take place simultaneously.  Good and evil must do the same.  In the end, the conflicting wills of the body and spirit cannot be wholly equilibrated.  While the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices-  judgments that must be made.  To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed.  Though such burnt offerings are a necessary inevitability, it does not spare those who walk this face difficult decisions  (p. 98-99).

The Sun is the ruler of the third decan of Gemini, and so it is further fitting that the recent new conjunction between the Sun and Mars initiating a new cycle also occurred in the third decan of Gemini.  At this New Moon we are experiencing the death of an old self and the emergence of a new self, in an atmosphere of intensification thrusting what was previously undifferentiated into sharp relief and realization.  In this burgeoning gale of a Gemini New Moon we set our new course with faith in the unknown before us.

GeminiNewMoonWRIGC1A

References

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

Full Moon in Sagittarius

Full Moon in Sagittarius Angel by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Full Moon in Sagittarius

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 2 is extremely mutable in activity, with the Full Moon square to Neptune in Pisces and the Sun also conjunct Mars and Mercury retrograde in Gemini.  Mutable signs are also known as double-bodied signs, as they each symbolize a different aspect of dualism:  the two fish of Pisces, the twins of Gemini, the winged maiden of Virgo, and the centaur of Sagittarius that is half human and half horse.  The transits at this Full Moon contain something in each of these signs:  Black Moon Lilith in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, Mars, Mercury retrograde, and the Sun in Gemini, and Pallas Athena, Saturn retrograde, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  Since this full lunation illuminates the sign of Sagittarius, it is worthwhile to consider how the other mutable signs impact Sagittarius through transit.

Ah, to be a boundless centaur, galloping freely across meadows and within forests, instinctually acting on animalistic passion and impulse, alive with presence in the moment with attunement to the surrounding natural world.  Sagittarius has a mission of evoking fiery vision that coalesces the duality of spirit and matter, intuitively acting from a place of inner knowing.  Yet this inner knowing can also lead to the shadowy side of Sagittarius that assumes it knows what is right, that does not question if their own personal truth is in conflict with the truth of others, and that expresses their ardor without being aware if their passionate action is transgressing the boundaries of others.  The opposition from Gemini and square from Virgo and Pisces to Sagittarius can bring lessons of humility to temper the narcissistic tendencies of Sagittarius, as well as challenges of discernment and the multiplicity of perspectives present in the ultimate philosophical understanding Sagittarius often strives for.  Despite the untethered bravado of Sagittarius, there is potential for the belief system Sagittarius welds from experience to become dogmatic, and so hard aspects from Virgo, Pisces, and Gemini force the centaur to acknowledge that there are many other belief systems circulating with an equally valid perception of truth to their own.

With such strong Gemini energy now (Mercury retrograde, Sun, Mars all within range of conjunction) the Sagittarius Full Moon could spark a synthesis of all the fragments of mental activity we have been exploring recently into a fresh vision to live from, or create a deepening of understanding along a line of thought we have been developing for some time.  The square from Neptune in Pisces to this Full Moon brings a wave of deliquescence and a challenge to our Sagittarian vision that will cause disillusionment wherever the belief system we are perceiving from is out of alignment with our actual reality.  Events can pull us out of abstract theorizing and into the heat of the moment where we experience the stark effect of acting from our beliefs.  Wars, fights, arguments, and debates rooted in ideological conflict are likely to emerge in this atmosphere, with Neptune cloaking the clashes in a fog of idealism.  Yet with a focused use of our mind, there is also potential for the square from Neptune in Pisces, in tandem with the other aspects present in this Sagittarius Full Moon, to help us penetrate into bodies of knowledge that were previously mysterious and facilitate reception of a profound message.

Full Moon in Sagittarius Ascent by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Full Moon in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter in Leo that is conjunct Juno and forms a Grand Fire Trine with Uranus in Aries, Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  This is an incredibly liberating arrangement of potent creative visualization and progenitive insight.  The trine between Jupiter and Uranus has been with us since last September 2014, and we now have less than a month to enjoy it’s dynamic energy as it’s last exact aspect occurs on the Solstice later this month.  Trines generally require something to kick us into gear to activate them, and so the opposition of the Gemini Sun, Mars, and Mercury retrograde to the Sagittarius Full Moon can do the trick.  Open your mind and seize the moment, for this is an opportune time to be pioneering and initiate bold action to propel you into a new level of development.  If a clear direction is not coming to mind, it can also be a powerful time to brainstorm and mind map as many options as possible in order to realize the choice that will be break you out of a past limiting pattern and into a broadened horizon.

Jupiter in Leo has also been holding compelling aspects to the Pluto and Uranus square, as it is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries and separating from a quincunx with Pluto in Capricorn.  These aspects ask us to take the liberating thoughts and expansive visions associated with Jupiter in Leo and the Grand Fire Trine of this Full Moon, and to discern how to integrate the corresponding gift and message into our surrounding community.  Instead of forcing our will like the idiom of driving a square peg into a round hole, Pluto in Capricorn wants us to figure out how we can use the creative actualization of Jupiter in Leo to meet the needs of our society.  While Pluto in Capricorn does have to do with the tearing down of systems of power, there is still a dominant power structure intact.  Instead of hurling ourselves with anger, shouts, and fists at oppressive powers, these aspects between Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter suggest a more subversive route of figuring out how to infiltrate into networks of the power structure and transform the system from the inside out.

Sagittarius Full Moon with Mercury retrograde in Gemini

by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol

This Full Moon illuminates our experience of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini so far, as it comes a few days after the inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.  In keeping with the symbolism of the Sagittarius archer, the Grand Fire Trine between Jupiter and Juno in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Pallas Athena and the Full Moon in Sagittarius is like an arrowhead on a shaft of opposition to Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun in Gemini, with this Gemini trio in sextile to Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Leo.  There is potent force in these aspects, and as a result it necessitates a mindful presence so we can focus on aiming at targets that will inspire instead of harm others.  To make productive use of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini requires that we actively focus our mind, and if we do so now the recent retrograde rumination will clarify into a reception of meaning that has a transformational impact on us.

As the Sun is separating from Mercury retrograde in Gemini at the time of the Full Moon, it is actively chasing after Mars in Gemini.  The Sun gains ground on Mars by zodiac degree each day in the next two weeks, but Mars will manage to barely stay ahead of the Sun until they finally become conjunct on June 14 at 24° of Gemini.  While Mars this close to the Sun may lead to hot tempers difficult to manage, at this Full Moon there is an inspiring sextile between Mars and Uranus as well as between Mars and Jupiter that can link our will-force to our soul-purpose.  Similar to Jupiter, Mars is forming a quincunx to Pluto in Capricorn at the same time as its harmonious aspect with Uranus in Aries.  This means that by transit there is temporarily a yod formed between Mars in Gemini, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Leo.  Crucially, the trine from Uranus to Jupiter and sextile from Uranus to Mars means that if we push past whatever fear is coming up for us with regards to initiating a new, dynamic step forward in our growth, we will experience an upswell of invigorating force that will lead us into acting from a revitalized belief system that liberates instead of limits us.

Full Moon in Sagittarius II Decan

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The Moon is the ruler of the second decan of Sagittarius, and so the Full Moon on June 2 illuminates the depth of this decan.  The 9 of Wands is the associated card in tarot, and in the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a wounded yet resilient figure brandishing a staff in front of the eight staffs of the previous card, the 8 of Wands, planted in the ground.  It’s as if the rushing, quicksilver visions of the 8 of Wands and the first decan of Sagittarius has brought about conflict from adversaries in the surrounding environment.  Receiving an inspired vision, as we may at this Full Moon, is only the first step in what can be a long and arduous process of manifestation full of conflict.  We are often not aware of all of the obstacles standing in the way of our vision becoming palpable in material form until we decide to take action and strive to make our vision a reality.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces paints the second decan of Sagittarius as being a test of the Sagittarian purpose of unifying manifold elements into a cohesive system, as in this decan “the figures struggle to maintain that unity under the assault of contrary forces” (p. 198):

Yet the trying circumstances depicted in this face are utterly necessary to produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose . . . The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will. There is no hero without a nemesis.  (p. 198)

With Neptune in Pisces being in square to this Sagittarius Full Moon, possessing resilient faith in the unknown and our capacity to adjust to change and collaborate with others for help when necessary will be key.  While Austin Coppock described those that emerge from the conflict of the Sagittarius II decan as being “ruthless, bold, and of undivided will” (p. 200), attempting to aggressively fight back against the forces of Neptune in our way is unlikely to yield us positive results.  Instead, we may need to surrender or let go of something, and in the process of eliminating what no longer serves us or is out of alignment with our experience, we will make space for new inspiration. Anyone who is a writer or artist can also utilize this same energy to imbibe their creations with amplified power.  If we are holding a vision dear to our hearts that is truly good and beautiful for us, it will hold up against the square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces- in this case we need to resiliently stand firm in our fiery desire and spirit.

Full Moon in Sagittarius June 2, 2015 chart

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini Dream Shifting

A Measure of Dreams (1908) by Arthur B. Davies

—When I die, I will see the lining of the world.

The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.

The true meaning, ready to be decoded.

What never added up will add up,

What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.

−And if there is no lining to the world?

If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,

But just a thrush on the branch?  If night and day

Make no sense following each other?

And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?

−Even if that is so, there will remain

A word wakened by lips that perish,

A tireless messenger who runs and runs

Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,

And calls out, protests, screams.

Czeslaw Milosz (1991) MEANING

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

On May 18, a day after a New Moon in Taurus, we enter the second of our thrice yearly Mercury retrograde spells, this one occurring in Gemini.  As the Mercury retrograde periods in 2015 all occur in Air signs, this chapter is significant for being in the mutable sign of Gemini where Mercury makes its home and lifts our minds with winds of inspired language.  Mercury retrogrades are not a time to fear, though being aware that Mercury is setting a different tempo can help us orient to how to make productive use of its potential.  When Mercury appears to move backward from our perspective during its retrograde, it is closer in orbit to us and creates the effect of moving slower.  In correspondence, we gain access to a more magical perception that can decode messages from symbolic patterns in our daily experience.  Following Mercury’s retrograde station, Mercury disappears from our view of it hovering over our horizon and moves into the underworld and the role of guiding us into pivotal inner insights of soul.  In Gemini, Mercury plays up his mischievous trickster side that unveils the folly of those taking themselves too seriously, as well as amplifies our capacity to synthesize a multiplicity of perspectives, philosophies, and observations into shared meaning and unified vision.

Muse,
sing Hermes,
son of Zeus and Maia . . .
. . . [Maia] produced her child,
the very crafty,
the super-subtle
Hermes:
thief,
cattle-rustler,
carrier of dreams,
secret agent,
prowler,
and soon to show his stuff

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury is the in-between archetype capable of seeing both sides of a duality, while mediating the tension of opposites in order to unify meaning.  Mercury in Gemini has been stereotyped as scattered and distracted, yet this curious mental quality continually finds new connections between concepts superficially viewed as disparate.  Mercury is a phallic god of fertility with a fully developed femininity that can take it beyond gender categories, a networker in the upper world of matter who can descend into the underworld and guide souls toward their next incarnation.  There is a depth to Mercury retrograde that is simultaneously full of humorous and serious exploration.  No one in society can escape the tricks Mercury plays, whether they be the chief executive of a large corporation hoarding societal rewards or an alienated, unemployed drifter struggling to survive from day to day.  When Mercury strikes with his flash of light and clever grin, the joke he pulls on you holds a profound lesson to glean in meaning.

This youthfully handsome, friendly, and thievish guide, who possesses magical golden shoes that transport him over earth and sea and a magical staff with which he puts people to sleep and awakens them again- has he not all the characteristics and attributes of a seductive and lethal guide of souls, the gentle Psychopompos of the later monuments?

–Karl Kerenyi (p. 28) Hermes: Guide of Souls

During this Mercury retrograde from 14° to 5° Gemini, one of the most significant themes is the unveiling of the archetype of Neptune in Pisces.  A little over a week before stationing retrograde, Mercury in Gemini formed a square to Neptune in Pisces, and during it’s retrograde phase Mercury will square Neptune again, ultimately stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune.  The day after Mercury stations direct at 5° Gemini, Neptune will station retrograde at 10° Pisces, leading to Mercury creating a third square with a retrograde Neptune in Pisces after moving direct again. Since Neptune in Pisces represents our collective tapestry of consciousness and the unconscious, the square from Mercury in Gemini can lead us to penetrate into the connective details found in the interwoven threads of meaning within the Neptunian fabric surrounding us.  If we open ourselves to the possibility of shifting our future visions, we can experience a re-alignment that sheds what has been disillusioning and re-centers us on the dreams that are most deeply felt and authentic.

As Mercury is also a boundary marker whose presence at entryways and borders is especially illuminated during Mercury retrograde time periods, it is further significant that Saturn, the planet of boundaries, is also retrograde when Mercury shifts direction and in range of an opposition to both the Sun and Mars.  This very same sense of restriction we could feel from Saturn toward the Sun and Mars at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde is the very fuel Mercury will consume in order to stimulate our thoughts beyond previous limitations:

Archetypally, we can see in the image of Hermes a mythical statement of the psyche’s innate tendency to give definition to perceptual and mental horizons, to mark edges, to define spaces. Originally Hermes stood at the edge of known space . . . His sign marked the limit of consciousness. Beyond the boundary lies the unknown, the uncanny, the dangerous, the unconscious. When markers are created and limits set, however, curiosity and explorativeness are also excited and new spaces for exploration and discovery invite the bold and courageous traveler. If Hermes marks the boundary between conscious and unconscious, we have to realize that this boundary is always shifting and in flux; it is mercurial. Background and foreground may instantaneously reverse too, and generate new perceptions, novel insights.

Within the area of the known, containers take shape which are reserved for specific types of human activity, while beyond them lies the “other,” the foreign (even if only temporarily), the taboo, the forbidden, the unclean. Hermes standing at the boundary marks a psychological and sometimes a moral limit and calls special attention to the space being entered or left. When he first appears, he may create a new space by dividing a vast horizon into the “here” and the “beyond,” and thus he creates both consciousness and a new unconscious. His intervention in the perceptual and psychological field creates new possibilities for consciousness, also new edges and boundaries beyond which lie the mysterious “others.” When he disappears, there is a loss of identity and definition.

— Murray Stein from Hermes and the Creation of Space (1999)

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini passage

Two Trees (1875) by Odilon Redon

When I ran barefoot in our gardens by the river Niewiaza

Something was there, that I didn’t then try to name:

Everywhere, between the trunks of linden trees, on the sunny side of the lawn, on the path by the orchard.

A Presence resided, I didn’t know whose.

The air was full of it, it touched me, it held me close.

It spoke to me through the scents of grass, the flute voice of the oriole, the twitter of swallows.

Had I then been taught the names of gods, I would easily have known their faces.

But I grew up in a Catholic family, and so my surroundings were soon teeming with devils, but also with the saints of the Lord.

Yet in truth I felt their Presence, all of them, gods and demons,

As if rising within one enormous unknowable Being.

Czeslaw Milosz (2002) PRESENCE 

Once Mercury has stationed retrograde he ushers us into a darker, deeper, underworld phase of our path, a stage during which our Mercurial perceptions function most strongly with intuition and symbolic awareness of patterns perceived in our journeys by day as well as at night in our dreams.  We enter a liminal space of shifting speed that slows things down enough to take in a deeper examination of the underlying patterns we have been living from.  This is a time in which our minds can be more free than normal to take in new insight, and we can ultimately emerge from the period with a revitalized perception.  In a Mercury retrograde it matters less that you have constructed a rationally balanced argument to support your position, and matters more that you have described your perspective with poetic imagery that can strike at the hearts of your audience.

Mercury retrograde is also a time of synchronicity, and in this way we are fortunate that this Mercury retrograde in Gemini begins with the Moon applying to a conjunction with Mercury in the sign of the Twins.  The Moon uniting with Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde increases our capacity to orient ourselves to the changes that will be coinciding with the Mercury retrograde and to begin to attune to the meaning that will be taking shape for us.  There is also an expansive quality to the stationing of Mercury found in the sextile between Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and since Jupiter in Leo is also in trine to Uranus in Aries it signifies that this coming Mercury retrograde could coincide with dramatic breakthroughs in thought that take us to a new level of thinking in whatever realm we have been exploring.  The less we can be tied and bound to rigid, fixed belief systems, and the more we can liberate ourselves from past dogmatic thinking, the better we will be able to access the potential of this Mercury retrograde that appears to be very impressive in the field of creative thought and communication.

The Sun and Mars joining Mercury in Gemini is another important theme, and at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde the Sun and Mars are in range of an opposition to Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, with Mars separating from an opposition to Saturn and the Sun applying to an opposition with Saturn.  Mars in Gemini is full of mental activity, and it’s inquisitive nature could spark us to intellectually challenge authorities in our field of interest.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is retrograde, we could experience a de-conditioning from belief systems that have not been authentically resonant for us through exploring exciting new sources of knowledge.  As Mars separates from it’s opposition to Saturn it will begin to form an exact square with Neptune in Pisces, and so this tension can compel us to go deeper into metaphysical study of our subject.  In particular, the combination of Mercury retrograde in Gemini uniting with Mars direct in Gemini will feed our ability to create new categories and definitions of meaning that will both expand and intensify any subject we sustain focus on.  If we are full of hubris or living in an illusion, the square between Mars in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces could result in a great Mercury retrograde joke being played on us that reveals the foolishness of our ways.

Also during the initial phase of Mercury retrograde, transiting Venus in Cancer will claim center stage by triggering the Uranus and Pluto square with an opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and a square to Uranus in Aries.  These stressful, growth-oriented aspects to Venus will give Mercury retrograde a lot of material to work with, and if you are a writer there could be incredible depth to access and process through your craft.  Venus triggering the Pluto and Uranus square will uncover our emotional needs and insecurities we have been overcompensating for in one way or another.  Significant memories could arise to process that connect back to any point within the series of seven squares between Pluto and Uranus that have been in range since 2011.  This is fortuitous in both the healing and creative realms, as memory is a fertile source from which the Mercury retrograde can weave new meaning from the release of old thought forms.  The connection between Mercury with memory and creativity can be found in the Homeric hymn to Hermes, where it is revealed that Hermes is a follower of the Titaness of memory, and mother of muses, Mnemosyne:

Suddenly [Hermes] started playing the lyre
louder, reciting a prelude-
and the sound accompanying him
was lovely-
about the immortal gods
and the dark earth,
how they were in the beginning,
and what prerogatives each one had.
And the first of the gods
that he commemorated with his song
was Mnemosyne, Mother of Muses,
for the son of Maia
was a follower of hers.

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury Retrograde Inferior Conjunction

Vision (1883) by Odilon Redon

That boundless substance,

different, in any case, from

the flight of a crane, the gait of a tiger,

the underwater gambols of sperm whales.

In dreams I saw cities of gas and metal,

unceasing fabric of the mind.

Music of the spheres, music of violins and flutes.

That, which endures,

while they are born and die.

Higher than the blind energies of matter,

higher than currents running in the body

of eel, piranha, shark, so they may open

their jaws and devour their catch.

A temple full of little gods and demons,

with a vast number of nicknames and tails.

Czeslaw Milosz (2003)

The Inferior Conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Gemini, the point of conception for a freshly synthesized vision, occurs at 9:56 am Pacific Standard Time on May 30, 2015 at nine degrees of Gemini.  Gemini is one of the mutable, double-bodied signs, perhaps through the image of the twins being the most exemplary sign of the human tendency toward dualistic thinking.  Just like the heaven of connecting with another human we consider to be a kindred spirit, soul mate, twin flame, . . . etc . . . it can be the deeply felt experience of our own personal patterns being mirrored back to us through another that sparks an epiphany of self-realization, and demonstrates how the interplay between twins can coalesce transcendent thought.  At the inferior conjunction we have a magical moment to achieve a one-pointed focus of the unity that holds duality within it, that bridges a multiplicity of meaning to a unified perspective, and that guides us into an insightful realization about our soul and associated patterns.  This is a time to meditate or surrender to Hermes the Psychopomp, as we allow the message of the moment to soak into our core and revivify our perception.

The Sabian Symbol for 9° Gemini where Mercury’s inner union with the Sun occurs is “A QUIVER FILLED WITH ARROWS,” and fittingly had a double meaning to Dane Rudhyar.  On the lower level, this symbol represents the human capacity “to extend the scope of his conquest of nature and kill enemies in order to build a larger base for the collective development of a culture and an organized society” (p. 95).  Since a quiver of arrows suggests the existence of a target to aim at, this symbol also represents the penetrating potential of the human mind to go through the target toward which it aims, destroying the obstacles on its path.  At a higher level, Rudhyar likened this symbol to the “Zen practice of archery” in which “the obstacle is the ego” (p. 95).  The unifying concept of this symbol to Rudhyar is “CONQUEST,” whether it is applied to conquering the external world or the restrictive influence of the ego on our inner world. During this Mercury retrograde, it is best to remember Rudhyar’s conjecture of conquest, as the moment our ego grabs hold of us in order to win a debate at all costs, is the moment that the staff of Hermes could suddenly strike and enfold us in a joke of which we are the punchline.  The more we can sustain a collaborative, creative air between us and those holding sharply contrasting opinions, we will be better able to avoid the pitfalls of dispute that stresses more so than enlivens.  The inspiring potential we find here is that by listening to opinions coming from drastically different perceptions to our own, we can fertilize tremendous growth of knowledge from within.

With the Sun and Mercury exactly conjunct in Gemini and in square to Neptune in Pisces, with Mars in Gemini in sextile to Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, we have a regenerating, liberating well to drink from within us even though the current events dominating the global stage are filled with instability, violence, discord, and oppression.  An image that comes to my mind in association with the strong Gemini energy of the Sun, Mercury retrograde, and Mars is that of a WITNESS to life in all of its complex depth, a witness who is then willing to serve as a messenger to inform the surrounding society about what is going on in secrecy behind the proverbial locked doors Mercury can open for us.  When we express the full story we are witnessing within and around us, we beam our light into the collective matrix and move others with the emotive, wakening wind of Mercury.

“World” can be a comprehensive idea if as an autonomous entirety it accommodates the observer as if he were moving about in the world he normally is surrounded by.  The world of the Iliad or that of the Odyssey accommodates us in this way.  Every such world, however, is at the same time a worked-out idea of the world that existed already prior to this expression of it and that lent itself to the finished expression of the idea.  There can be no “world”- even if it is the purely spiritual epiphany of an intellectually luminous god- which is not “worldly,” that is, which does not function as a space to contain the content of the revelation in a fitting way.  If a god is “idea” and “world,” he remains nonetheless in connection with the world that contains all such “worlds”; he can be only an “aspect of the world” while the world of which he is an aspect possesses such idea-aspects. Indeed, it has the ability to shine forth in its totality as idea, it possesses the light of the idea, and is itself in its own way lighted and clear . . . “Light” and “clear” in the sense of “world-like” – and therefore convincing – could also be the idea of Hermes.

— Karl Kerenyi (p. 69) Hermes:  Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini stationing direct

Germination by Odilon Redon (1890-96)

To find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. Not to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in prosperity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness.

Czeslaw Milosz (1981-1983)

After Mercury separates from its inner merging with the Sun, the Sun moves on to initiate a conjunction with Mars in Gemini, as Mercury begins its shifting ways again and starts to station direct. The Sun conjoining Mars in Gemini constellates images of a warrior of words, a passionate poet, an intellectual activist who refuses to collude with oppressive powers and instead expresses her voice in defiance to surrounding injustice.  The Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini as Mercury stations direct germinates our desires with inquisitive thoughts that can reveal new meaning for us through the juxtapositions of language and philosophies we encounter.  At the same time the Sun and Mars are coming together in Gemini, Mercury is stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune that is also stationing retrograde simultaneously.  We have had four years so far to experience the meaning of Neptune in Pisces by transit, and in the first couple of weeks in June 2015 we can receive illumination of any Neptunian illusions that have been sourcing our conditioned beliefs.  As an illusion of Neptune is unveiled, in the winged steps of Mercury we will be able to experience a sharper sense of clarity and direction to follow forward.

In this final phase of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Gemini, one of the most significant transits is the ingress of Venus into the fiery, solar sign of Leo during the first week of June.  Venus in Leo ignites a creative actualization of the mental contents the Mercury retrograde has been brewing, and by the time Mercury stations direct Venus in Leo will have passed through a beautiful sextile to Mercury in Gemini.  There is a potent re-integration available at this upcoming stationing direct of Mercury at five degrees of Gemini, that can unbind and untether us from restrictive thought patterns.  This potential release can be seen in the transits of the Moon conjoining Uranus in Aries at the time of Mercury stationing direct, with the Moon-Uranus conjunction in Aries being in sextile to the Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini and in trine to the Jupiter-Juno conjunction in Leo.  Within this magical mix of astrological aspects, Mercury will arise from the underworld at dawn and with a flash of light illuminate our waking horizon as our Morning Star again.

Hermes, draw near, and to my pray’r incline,
Angel of Jove, and Maia’s son divine;
Prefect of contest, ruler of mankind,
With heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
Celestial messenger of various skill,
Whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill.
With winged feet ’tis thine thro’ air to course,
Emblems of Mercury O friend of man, and prophet of discourse;
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine
In arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine.
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain,
Of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,
Corucian, blessed, profitable God.
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find,
Emblems of Mercury And in necessities to mortals kind.
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,
Be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace,
Give graceful speech, and memory’s increase.

–from the Orphic Hymn translated from the Greek by Thomas Taylor (1824)

MercuryStationRetroWRIGC2A

MercuryInferiorConjunctWRIGC1A

MercuryStationDirectWRIGC3

References

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2011). Selected and Last Poems, 1931-2004. HarperCollins.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Stein, Murray. (1999).  Hermes and the Creation of Space.