Pisces Full Moon & Neptune

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Fishermen_at_Sea_-_Google_Art_Project

Fishermen at Sea (1795) by J.M. William Turner

Full Moon in Pisces

The Full Moon in Pisces on September 6 is united with Neptune, bringing amplified access to imaginal fields in which our extrasensory perception can pick up sensations and messages that would normally escape our awareness.  The floodgates opened by this lunation are especially powerful due to it being the Full Moon that follows the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo, with Mercury also stationing direct and ending it’s three week retrograde in Virgo and Leo at the same time.  It was obvious looking far in advance to this lunation that it would correlate with major life changing events due to these elements, and unfortunately in the collective there have been numerous traumatic natural disasters including monstrous floods and out of control wildfires. We can feel the dissolution of Neptune within these tragedies, as political, religious and other societal divisions between people wash away in empathy for those suffering and in united collective responses to bring aid.  For those fortunate to be out of harm’s way at this Full Moon, on personal levels this Neptunian lunation is ideal for taking a break from the fiery ambitions stoked by recent transits in order to rest, recuperate, and dream.

The opposition between the Sun and Neptune is a peak moment in our experience of Neptune, magnified to the extreme with the Full Moon additionally aligned with Neptune.  When the Neptune archetype demands our attention, we can feel more like embracing a loved one, getting lost in thoughts or images, or engaging in spontaneous creative processes rather than focusing on the details of deadlines in our daily responsibilities.  With Neptune it is easier to let ourselves flow, relax, and envision as much as our schedule will allow us to, and if it is necessary to be tightly focused on a schedule it will be important to concentrate on our use of time more so than normal.  Neptune can warp our experience of time which is not necessarily a bad thing, but can make it more difficult to keep sharp focus and make quick decisions of clarity.

Whatever was stirred up for us by the Total Solar Eclipse will now become illuminated, and with Neptune involved there is boundless potential unhindered by limitations of thought to fuel our vision for the future.  I was fortunate to make it within the band of totality to view the Total Solar Eclipse with a clear sky featuring Venus glowing bright in the otherworldly shadows at the midheaven.  There is no way for me to articulate the meaning of what can only be described as a mystical experience, but whether or not you were able to view the total blackness of the eclipse most likely you have already begun to feel irrevocable shifts in your life in correspondence with the timing.  Neptune united with the Full Moon is not the best for gaining objective clarity of the meaning of it all, but it is optimal for letting yourself open fully to the realms of inspiration and imagination.  It’s not necessary at this time to have everything analyzed and classified with interpretation, only to let yourself soak everything up and allow what wants to be born come forth.

Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory)  - the Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis exhibited 1843 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) by J.M. William Turner (1843)

Mercury Stationing

The Pisces Full Moon receives a jolt of volatility from Mercury, as the Star of Hermes stations direct less than twenty-four hours before the lunation on the same degree as the recent Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mercury will remain in Leo picking up speed until September 9 or 10, depending upon your time zone.  With Mercury direct we now have all five traditional planets direct in motion and ready to support forward movement on goals and plans.  Mercury stationing direct can feel like waking up from a powerful dream and needing to reorient yourself to the reality of your circumstances in the shifting colors of dawn.  Once focused upon the tasks of the morning hours, however, you notice a keen mental sharpness restored able to focus at length on whatever needs to be accomplished.  Mercury’s faculties are further amplified by its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and its formation of a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.

Mercury stationing is also inciting the applying opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will be building throughout September.  Jupiter and Uranus make their final exact opposition on September 28 (after previously opposing one another on 26 December 2016 and 2 March 2017), and so the tension of their opposition looms over all events in September.   The peak phase between Jupiter and Uranus brings about collective revolutions that can be inspiring due to opening up new horizons of exploration, yet simultaneously other global events can feel traumatizing due to massive upheavals and dismantling.  The shadow of Jupiter and Uranus involves obsession with grandiose ambitions that leads to an over-reaching and subsequent sudden downfall, and unfortunately when global empires use military force to pursue greater amounts of power we suffer increased levels of destruction as a result.

Mercury is at least making the harmonious aspects of a sextile with Jupiter and a trine with Uranus, leading to the potential for ingenious breakthroughs in thought that can be immediately put into action.  The trine between Mercury and Uranus is especially close, and we may even find that ideas we began developing at the previous Mercury retrograde in Taurus and Aries (that saw Mercury station direct in union with Uranus at the beginning of May) now taking clearer shape in ways bringing about their manifestation.  Any projects you have been working on developing that haven’t quite coalesced together in completion can now enjoy the benefit of Mercury direct and forming strong harmonious aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.  In addition, with Black Moon Lilith united with Saturn in Sagittarius, there is an opening available to more fully embody essential aspects of Self that have previously been repressed or exiled due to fear of judgment.  This is an excellent period to use the inspirational force of a Full Moon aligned with Neptune to make big movement within whatever you have been working on creating.

PartOfAMenat-HariesisStandsBySehkmetFlankedByWadjetAndNekhbet

Part of a meant necklace showing Horus extending a sistrum to Sekhmet, surrounded by the protector goddesses Wadjet as the cobra and Nekhbet as the white vulture.

Mars in Virgo; Venus in Leo

Venus is finally coming toward completing her cycle with Mars at the Full Moon, approaching her union with the red planet that will occur at the time of the next Full Moon in Aries on October 5.  Venus in Leo is forming a waxing quincunx with the Full Moon and Neptune in Pisces, an aspect that Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology connects with embracing humility.  The importance of this aspect to Green centers around preparation to interact in society as an equal, in order to effectively express and integrate developing visions into the surrounding social environment. Humbling is needed in order to make adjustments to overly willful and inflated desires, a potential that is very possible when we are also dealing with an opposition between Jupiter and Uranus and an extended conjunction between Mercury and Mars. The purpose behind the Gibbous re-adjustment is to analyze the structure of the surrounding social environment in order to discern how to integrate developing visions into work or service that is needed by the greater whole.

Mars is in an especially Mercurial section of Virgo at the Full Moon, not only being in the home and exaltation of Mercury but also within its bounds.  Though Mars at the time of the Full Moon has separated by sign from Mercury, by September 10 the Star of Hermes will have returned to Virgo and will begin to apply to another conjunction with Mars.  Mercury will eventually form its second conjunction with Mars in Virgo on  September 16, giving us an extended period of time to mediate the forces of Mercury and Mars coming together.  Though this can certainly correlate with heated conflict, if we can keep a cool head there is immense power involved in the union of Mercury and Mars to imbibe into good works for the greater good.   Mars and Mercury uniting at the end of Leo as Mercury stationed, at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse, brought the sort of scorching heat needed to melt old structures down into more fluid states that can now be rearranged in ways aligned with one’s authentic heart in the moment.  After Mercury re-enters Virgo in coming days we will experience greater ease in melding the forces of Mercury and Mars together into practical problem solving and invention.

Mars entering Virgo while Mercury is in the process of passing back and forth across the threshold of Virgo means that both are in the vicinity of the great fixed star Regulus.  Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195). If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been impacting others.  If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, a burning inner fire may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.  Bernadette Brady astutely warned in her book on Fixed Stars that while Regulus can bring power and success, if we take revenge on others from a place of wounding and anger than we can experience a sudden fall from grace.

Venus will move across Leo into an applying conjunction with the North Node of the Moon by the coming weekend, eventually reaching a union with the head of the dragon on September 14 as the Moon wanes in Cancer and in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.  In the past month we have had a lot of action centered around the North Node of the Moon, with Mercury, Mars, the Sun and the Moon all passing over it, and now Venus takes her turn.  As Venus approaches the North Node, she will also enter into a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and receive Jupiter in Libra through a sextile. Since so much Leo North Node energy has already been stirred up and volatilized, Venus moving across the head of the dragon can bring some reconciliation and harmonizing of whatever was previously torn or wounded.  Take time to not only pursue Venusian endeavors but to also make space for your own emotional nourishment, using the significations of Venus as a balm to calm nerves.
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Pisces 2 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the second face of Pisces associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, and we can see the jovial opulence of the great benefic in the image of rather smug satisfaction.  The Nine of Cups card is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.

Though Jupiter is not within the second face of Pisces at the Full Moon, Jupiter does have face dignity as it rules the third face of Libra it is currently transiting.  In addition, Jupiter is separating from a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and applying toward an opposition with Uranus in Aries-  this not only supports us daring to dream what we most desire but also finding the way with structural supports to manifest and actualize our desires.  Since the Full Moon is conjoining Neptune, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Austin Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the lunation will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.  Discernment will also be needed to make sure that our dreams and goals are not out of alignment with the myriad elements of reality developing around us.  There is a strong component of visioning at this Full Moon able to be accessed, with our imagination supported by a sturdy foundation that will nurture the roots of the dream to ensure flourishing growth and development.

References

Brady, Bernadette.  (1998).  Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

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

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

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

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Mercury Retrograde in Virgo & Leo

Iris

Iris

The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary – and toward this point our development will move, little by little – that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun’s motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

In times of destiny, when the threads of fate become loosened to be rewoven within momentous change, we can count on Mercury to slyly guide us in beguiling fashion.  Though Mercury when retrograde has become a scapegoat within popular culture, experience reveals that the Star of Hermes when retrograde enacts its namesake’s role of a psychopomp, or guide of souls.  Even the most frustrating or upsetting events that occur during times of Mercury retrograde ultimately tend to lead us onto a path that will take us into the experiences we need in order to reach our next level of growth.

Thus it is fitting that in between eclipses, periods of time that always signify vital turns of fortune and fate, Mercury will station retrograde and disappear into the invisible realm of the solar underworld at sunset.  While Mercury is retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse, both the Sun and Mars uniting with the North Node of the Moon, Saturn stationing direct, and Jupiter finally perfecting its long anticipated sextile with Saturn.  Factor in that Mercury begins its retrograde while opposite Neptune and ends its retrograde conjoining Mars at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse, while a Pisces Moon waxes full in union with Neptune, and we have an incredibly volatile and fertile mix of astrological transits that promise to bring dramatic changes and opportunities for profound growth.

Even though popular discourse labels periods of Mercury retrograde as disastrous aberrations that bring misfortunes and mishaps, the phase of Mercury retrograde is a regular cyclical phenomenon that happens at least three times every year, an essential aspect of Mercury’s orbit.  Unlike the astrological stereotypes, important actions can be initiated during Mercury retrograde as well as successful contracts signed.  However, during Mercury retrograde it is advisable to sustain mental alertness and be open to signs, symbols, and information in your environment that can help guide your intuition toward which actions to take or commitments to make.

Mercury retrograde is intrinsic to Mercury in astrology, a planetary archetype of contesting and contrasting.  While Mercury signifies insight in addition to communication, the lessons of Mercury do not always come from stability, as experience shows that chaos and disorientation can lead to illumination and realization.  Once Mercury moves retrograde it descends from being a visible Evening Star into an invisible, subterranean guide of soul catalyzing change and growth in situations that range widely from the maddening to the vivifying.  Flowing with Mercury retrograde involves letting go of strict control, opening to the wisdom coming from unexpected sources.   As the changeable nature of Mercury is found in its extremely variable speed, when Mercury slows down to station it is important to pay attention to its aspects in the natal chart as well as to other planets by transit.

This is the second year in a row that we are experiencing Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo during a time of eclipses, as last year in 2016 Mercury stationed retrograde in Virgo two days before an Annular Solar Eclipse.  This year’s version has a more mysterious opening act, however, due to it occurring in between eclipses rather than just before the beginning of eclipse season.  The days in between eclipses are always full of unexpected shifts and significant encounters, and so adding in the beginning of Mercury retrograde will amplify the strange fatefulness of the time.

Iris as Mercury and Vesta

Mercury stations retrograde while united with Vesta in Virgo and opposing Neptune in Pisces.  During the build-up to Mercury retrograde, which included the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, Mercury formed two exact conjunctions with Vesta (Mercury has been within three degrees of Vesta in Virgo since July 26).   A figure of myth who encapsulates the symbolism of Mercury united with Vesta in opposition to Neptune is Iris, handmaiden of Hera (Juno) and messenger to the gods.  Like Hermes, Iris also carries a caduceus, yet the other magical tool she carries, the water pitcher, helps show how her function as messenger differs from Hermes.  Golden-winged and radiant, Iris is a goddess of sea and sky who connects heaven and earth, watering the clouds with her water pitcher full of the enlivening waters she collects from the sea.  She therefore helps produce the rain that brings fertility and cleansing to our Earth, yet she is perhaps most known for her association with the rainbow she also creates.  Iris is as swift as stormy winds, able to descend into the depths of both the ocean as well as the underworld.  Similar to Hermes, Iris connects the world of gods with the world of humanity.

The union of Mercury with Vesta in opposition to Neptune signifies that through devotional focus we may perceive powerful messages and guidance, while at the same time suggesting a downfall could occur when engaged with deception.  One of the mediating roles that Iris plays between humanity and the gods is through facilitating the fulfillment of the prayers and wishes of humans by illuminating them to deities in position of assistance.  Indeed, the golden wings of Iris are capable of bringing light to the most dark of places.  Yet, for those who break oaths or knowingly express falsehoods, Iris will put them to sleep with the water she has collected from the River Styx in the underworld.   Similarly, with Neptune in Pisces playing a monumental role during the period of Mercury retrograde, it will be vital to maintain focus on being honest and authentic so as not to fall into the realm of Neptunian illusion that will be capable of wreaking havoc like a tidal wave.

The association between Iris with rainbows is a beautiful symbol to work with during the upcoming Mercury retrograde that will take us into the zone of an immensely powerful Total Solar Eclipse.   Rainbows not only link heaven and earth with their transcendent and otherworldly colors, they also help to inspire hope and the capacity to believe it is possible for us to lead a more fulfilling life than current circumstances indicate.  It is further fascinating that in some versions of myth that Iris is married to Zephyrus, the west wind, and that their union gave birth to Pothos, one of the winged gods of love (the erotes) whose name translates as “yearning” and is associated with strong desire and longing for a loved one who is oftentimes absent.  It will be important to stay grounded in our earthly realm (Virgo) with clear focus (Vesta) during this Mercury retrograde period, and yet at the same time to fully realize the available gifts we will need to allow our imaginations and desires to open us to potentials that go beyond the confines of our present reality (Neptune).

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The Apparition (1917) by Marc Chagall

Mercury opposes Neptune

The union of Mercury and Vesta in Virgo in opposition to Neptune dominates the beginning of this Mercury retrograde period, with Venus in Cancer playing a facilitating role.  As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is separating from harmonious aspects with both Neptune and Mercury (a trine with Neptune; a sextile with Mercury), as well as separating from a recent conjunction with Ceres in Cancer.  During the retrograde movement of Mercury, Venus will move on to catalytic aspects with Pluto in Capricorn, Jupiter in Libra,  and Uranus in Aries.  The influence of Uranus is further strengthened by the Moon applying to a conjunction with Uranus as Mercury stations retrograde, as well as the fact that Mercury will ultimately station direct in a helpful trine with Uranus.  However, since Mercury will also station direct less than a day before a Full Moon in Pisces that is united with Neptune, there is an unmistakeable looming influence of Neptune upon the course of events that will accompany this period of Mercury retrograde.

While the totality of the aspects listed above could coincide with many diverse forms of challenge, all of them are amazing catalysts in the realm of artistry and inspiration.  Mercury has incredible strength in Virgo, being both its home and exaltation, and so as Mercury slowly begins to peel itself backwards it can help facilitate deep focus on artistic and academic projects of all mediums and forms, especially those that involve a component of research and analysis followed by expression.  Nine days after Mercury stations retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mercury will function more as a subtle guiding influence than a dominant component of the  portal opened with the syzygy.  During powerful eclipse alignments like we will experience this month, new manifestations will appear in our lives coinciding with other elements fading away.  It is a blessing Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, as it is a mutable earth sign that can aid us in staying connected within our bodies and all of the mutating details of our daily lives.

With the strong transpersonal influences of Neptune, as well as Uranus and Pluto, upon the Mercury retrograde, the capacity of Mercury to bring nonlinear and unexpected messages from oracular sources is heightened.  Pay close attention to the messages received from synchronous alignments of your daily path with animals, plants, minerals, music, and all manner of symbolic signs.  Allow your intuition and bodily instincts to transmit impressions that you value at least as much as whatever your rational mind is constructing.  It may prove very difficult to keep events moving in accord with carefully made plans, however opening up plans and projects to the flow and all of the changes that will coincide with the month ahead can improve end results.  Oftentimes the frustrating experiences of Mercury retrograde illuminate the exact components of life that needed our attention in order to be reworked or strengthened.

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The Creation of Man (1958) by Marc Chagall

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

The rebirth moment for Mercury during its retrograde comes on August 26 when Mercury aligns with the Sun at the exact degree and minute.  This is known as Mercury’s cazimi moment in which it enters the heart of the Sun to be purified and regenerated.  In contrast to the Mercury cazimi that occurs when Mercury is moving direct on the other side of the Sun from our orbital position (known as its superior conjunction that last happened at the Cancer Solstice), the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun occurs during its retrograde when Mercury passes in between our orbit with the Sun.  Symbolically, the superior conjunction tends to bring more spiritual epiphanies or sudden insights weaving disparate strands together, whereas Mercury at the heart of the Sun during its retrograde tends to bring a deeper, penetrating insight into the current reality of our material lives and the pang of incarnation in our earthly flesh.  In the days surrounding August 26 we may feel like resting our Mercurial functions as a part of its regeneration, however, the period of time in which Mercury is within a degree of the Sun on August 26 will bring added strength and power to all Mercurial activities such as all forms of research and expression.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at 3º48′ of Virgo, an incredibly powerful placement of Mercury.  The fourth degree of Virgo is in both the home and exaltation of Mercury as well as within its own Egyptian bounds, signifying that this a section of the zodiac in which Mercury not only has important work to do but also has extraordinary strength.  The Sabian symbol for the fourth degree of Virgo, black and white children play together happily, was interpreted by Dane Rudhyar as signifying “the overcoming of socio-cultural prejudices.”  Though it may seem laughable during a time of such widespread vitriolic discourse in global politics full of prejudice that any sort of collective evolution could be occurring around oppression and prejudice, it is worth bearing in mind the play space of children in which the influence of cultural conditioning has not yet taken hold.  The Sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury cazimi suggests perceptions can awaken that go far beyond the constraints and limitations of how we have been conditioned by surrounding culture to perceive and judge the worth of others.   The idea of playing together happily also highlights the theme of imbibing daily life with as much playful creativity as possible during this time of tumultuous astrological transits.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun five days after the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo and one day after Saturn stations direct for the final time in Sagittarius.  At the same time Saturn is stationing, Jupiter will have entered the third decan of Libra it rules and will be applying closely to a last quarter sextile with Saturn.  As a result the period of Mercury entering the heart of the Sun on August 26 is a potent moment to re-center amidst all of the changes being brought forth from external and internal events.  Saturn stationing brings a seriousness to the moment that calls for us to walk and talk in absolute integrity with our inner values and principles, while the harmonious aspect between Jupiter and Saturn can bring opportunities to stabilize and strengthen both the vision as well as the foundation of whatever we are developing and crafting.

Iris_Carrying_the_Water_of_the_River_Styx_to_Olympus_for_the_Gods_to_Swear_By,_Guy_Head,_c._1793_-_Nelson-Atkins_Museum_of_Art_-_DSC08946

Iris Carrying the Water of the River Styx to Olympus for the Gods to Swear By (1793) by Guy Head

Mercury Stations Direct in Leo

Mercury stations direct on September 5 at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mars will have already entered Virgo by the time Mercury is exactly stationing, but during the course of its stationing Mercury and Mars will unite at the end of Leo.  Both the Sun as well as Mars will have united with the North Node of the Moon in Leo during Mercury’s retrograde, and Mercury will furthermore be stationing direct four degrees away from the North Node of the Moon.  At this point we can receive a important message that connects us directly with however the narratives of our lives has been transmuting during this period of eclipses, and with the new information will come opportunities to create movement within whatever openings came through with the eclipses.  Mercury uniting with Mars while it is stationing can coincide with some heated and difficult conflicts, so it will be important to be actively practicing mediating skills in conversations with others.  There is immense inspirational fire available in this period to push yourself forward dramatically in areas of growth you previously have not fully embraced.

The influence of Neptune looms over the stationing direct of Mercury, since the Moon will be applying to a conjunction with Neptune and within a day of its stationing we will experience a potent Full Moon in Pisces united with Neptune.   Amping up the energy even further is the fact that Jupiter in Libra will be getting closer to its final opposition with Uranus in Aries.   The opposition between Jupiter and Uranus is a breakthrough moment in which many diverse, ingenious insights and messages will enter the collective.  Some of the most powerful moments of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, however, often come in the private moments of significant conversations and relationship experiences, or the work of isolated artists creating outside the rays of mainstream spotlights.  There is amazing inspiration and imagination available within the surrounding transits of Mercury stationing direct to seize and work with.

Finally, its interesting to note that Mercury will be stationing direct while in conjunction with the Persephone asteroid #399.  The myth of Persephone emerging out of her time in the underworld is a fitting symbol for the fact that both Mercury and Mars will be emerging from out of their underworld experiences while united with the Persephone asteroid.  Demetra George wrote the following about the Persephone asteroid in her book Finding Our Way Through the Dark:

In the birth chart Persephone, as a daughter of the patriarchy, symbolizes the process of a child’s separation from its mother.  Persephone can indicate how and where, either physically or psychologically, we may be abducted and plunged into an underworld experience (sometimes at an early age) where we encounter terror, loss, and confusion, and feelings of abandonment. This descent can enable us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.  Some individuals who experience Persephone as a tragedy from which they have never recovered may react by developing patterns of distrust, withdrawal, fear of sexuality and intimacy, fantasy life, depression, chemical addictions, separation anxieties, victimizaiton, passivity and powerlessness, and being acted upon by the strong will of others.

–Demetra George

Persephone’s name means “she who is to be feared” (Guttman, p.176), and it is possible to view her abduction into the underworld as more about her destiny than a tragedy, for the unalterable shift she created in the cosmos through becoming a life partner of Hades who would descend and ascend back and forth between the upperworld and the underworld, was a calling that fit the unique gifts she held within her soul.  Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony wrote that Persephone stepping into her role as Queen of the underworld who can re-ascend to the world above implied that the “invisible would now reassert its rights over the body of the visible more strictly than before: their dealings with each other, long diluted and mingled together on earth, would find a new center of gravity.”   Persephone, Mercury, and Mars united at the end of this retrograde signify that the time has arrived to collect all of the wisdom and courage you can draw from the past period of underworld experiences in order to re-ascend into our wider communities with whatever gift or message you have cultivated to share.  Like Iris soaring with golden wings and bearing a pitcher full of underworld water, we can create rainbows out of the stormy atmosphere and commit ourselves to oaths of living and creating in accordance with our essence in good ways for all.

References

 

Calasso, R. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.  Knopf.

George, D. (1994). Finding Our Way Through the Dark:  an astrological companion to Mysteries of the Dark Moon. AFA.

Guttman, A. & Johnson, K. (1993). Mythic Astrology:  Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope.

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

New Moon in Cancer

New Moon in Cancer

La Nascita (The Birth) by Marc Chagall (1911)

Cancer New Moon

New Moons are a time of visioning and nurturing the intentional seed we plant in the hidden depths of fecund darkness.  Cancer is a sign associated with birth, the creation of new life from the wombs of mothers, the arising of a new season at solstice, and the development of our personal identity from the matrix of our soul.  The New Moon in Cancer on July 15, 2015 falls in the final decan of Cancer and brings to our awareness a sense of separation from sources of past comfort and a vague dawning of realization into the new direction arising out of this dark genesis.  Creating a new lunar cycle following a Full Moon in Capricorn that was conjunct Pluto on July 1, this New Moon in Cancer resurrects the potency of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus we have lived through in the past several years, as it is square to Uranus in Aries while Mars and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer and directly opposite Pluto in Capricorn.

As an infant must bravely breathe in air separated from the sheltered nurturing of the womb, so must our identity shed the comfort of past security attachments if we wish to embody the full radiance of our potential in the moment.  Amplifying the air with instinctual individualism is a Uranus currently stationing in Aries, standing still by zodiac degree from our earthbound perspective and preparing to turn retrograde in less than two weeks.  Since the New Moon in Cancer is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries, it triggers the discomfort, insecurity, anxiety, or fear that can strike from within when we realize that the burning force beckoning us to embody a liberated presence creates the possibility and even likelihood that we will become disconnected in the process from our ties to family, culture, and other elements of the accustomed reality we take comfort in.

We may find it necessary now to create a sacred space of some sort to nurture the vulnerability we feel in the unfolding of our current creativity.  Even when we consciously have desire to free ourselves from the conditioning of culture and the way we felt our family of origin limited our full creative actualization, a fear of losing the security we gain from our relationship with these same influences can still overcome us.  In addition, due to sensitively observing authorities in positions of power taking advantage of the more vulnerable, we can also come to fear the potential impact of expressing our full power into the world around us.  Synthesizing together the strength that can come from hard aspects between Cancer, Capricorn, and Aries, we can ultimately learn to take the responsibility for expressing our personal power in a way that protects and empowers ourselves and our relationships.  Yet the calamitous aspects held by this New Moon of Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn, with Saturn in Scorpio in square to Venus and Jupiter in Leo, means that there will be a number of oppressive power dynamics between people on display in our surrounding environment to observe and mediate.

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

Image of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 13, 2015

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

It is simply incredible that as the first images of Pluto enter our consciousness through the completion of the epic journey of the New Horizons spacecraft, Mercury is exactly conjunct Mars and in opposition to Pluto, while Saturn shapes structure in the Plutonic sign of Scorpio.  It is further fitting that this binary planet named for the Lord of Souls and the Ferryman of the Underworld claimed center stage in mainstream media in the dark of a balsamic Moon that was opposite Pluto.  Whatever shift in collective consciousness happens as a result begins to build in accordance with a potent New Moon that places the messenger (Mercury) and will-force (Mars) of consciousness in a full polarity to Pluto.

Due to a number of astrological factors, in the past couple of months there has been an emphasis on a new quality of Mars to exert through an influence of Mercury.  Mercury is an unstable planet of wild extremes and variation in speed, and so while on the one hand it can bring challenges in our ability to focus our Martian drive, on the other hand when we align instinctually with their unified energy it brings the eloquent cleverness of Hermes to our life force of desire.  With Mercury and Mars unified in polarity to Pluto, we need to be ready for the possibility of extreme power conflicts and emotional confrontations occurring around us.  Yet on a personal level, there is also an initiation found in this aspect to journey into our core depth to discover a regenerated treasure of gifts from within to begin to integrate and express in the cycle ahead.  There is a purification involved in this process, as Mercury is now under the beams of the Sun and preparing to enter into the heart of the Sun a week from now around the first quarter Moon, while Mars is also under the beams having already united with the Sun and beginning to get some clarified separation away from the fiery center of our solar system.  Emotions may feel raw and overly sensitive, but are the material through which we can now gain penetrating insight into the core emotional patterns and compulsions most in need of attention.

Venus stationing

La Paresse by Felix Vallotton (1896)

Venus stationing

Meanwhile, our Queen of pleasure, luxury, and glamour, Venus in Leo, is slowing down and preparing to station at the time of this New Moon in Cancer.  Venus is now at the final degree of Leo and in a few days will enter Virgo where she will station retrograde on July 25- meaning that basically for the next few weeks Venus is not going anywhere and holding space at the first degree of Virgo and final degrees of Leo.  This would be intense under any circumstance, but is so even more as Venus is conjunct Jupiter and in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio.  As Saturn is stationing direct at the beginning of August and will also be standing still then, this means that from now through the beginning of August we get to experience the seriousness of Venus in a last quarter square to Saturn, while simultaneously buoyed with a sense of expansive vision by Jupiter.  Venus now in Leo, soon to be in Virgo, in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio, brings about a reorientation of our inner values that at times could feel severe as the scythe of Saturn cuts away the old value structures that must now be released.  At this moment, we are only at the precipice of a deep transformation with many dramatic experiences coming our way.

Thus, while we may feel a burning sense of desire through the union of Venus and Jupiter, their last quarter square to Saturn brings a constricting sense of an obstacle or major challenge standing between us and the full manifestation and experience of our desire.  Powerful work on an inner level and on an outer level through our vocation and creative expression can come about through this aspect, but we are being asked to be disciplined, focused, organized, and thorough in our approach if we wish to realize the full potential available to us.  This is not a lighthearted skip through the woods singing without a care in the world, but rather a courageous and focused trek into a deep region of the forest we have previously avoided exploring.   This is not to say that it will not be possible to experience moments of pure pleasure and luxuriation, as in fact bringing a sense of joy to our daily experience will be a vital help.  It is only to suggest that if we bring passion into our work with a sense of disciplined persistence to work through the upcoming obstacles, on the other side of these aspects we can experience a deep sense of fulfilled desire.

Cancer III Decan

4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer III Decan

The third decan of Cancer is ruled by the Moon and so is a potent place for a New Moon, a particularly auspicious new lunation to set intentions toward the new direction sensed from within.  In the image of the 4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered out of thin air by an otherworldly hand.  The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, and appears to either not notice the fourth cup or be dismissive of it.  In fact, this protagonist’s stance of crossed arms, crossed legs, and eyes cast down suggests someone unwilling to go after what is being offered, perhaps until after completing an inner exploration.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces found that the third decan of signs are synonymous with the “Solve” phase of separation in alchemy in which “the constituent pieces must part ways,” similar to “the spirit forced to separate from the matter,” and “those factors which press for an abandonment of the balance created in the second” decan of the sign (p. 264-265).  Along this line of thought Coppock gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the Cancer III decan, declaring that it “juxtaposes the advantages and dangers of luxurious excess with the truth of scarcity” (p. 115).  Our cherished sense of luxury we desire is shown in contrast here to a sense of scarcity rooted in “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 116).  Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the 4 of Cups tarot card with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.

Importantly, Coppock additionally linked the karmic significance of further investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works, so as “to be a conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” (p. 116).  Furthermore, he brought up the spiritual dimension of luxury:

While this face has much to teach about the material dynamics of scarcity and excess, not all matters relevant to it can be confined to matters of food, wealth and shelter.  Our world also provides gifts not so easily exhausted. The ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things- is an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain.  Likewise, the spirit offers cups ever-refilled.  This decan thus offers a vision not only of hoarding the finite, but the endless luxury of the limitless.  (p. 117)

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the great goddess Hekate with the Cancer III decan.   Hekate  ruled over the three phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, and also crossroads, magical craft, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  In short, we could not have a better spirit to associate with the dark richness of this Plutonic New Moon than Hekate, and it is worth remembering there is a long tradition of praying to Hekate in order to receive wealth.  Hekate is also a goddess of midwives, and therefore an apt ally for us in the intense birthing process that will follow this Cancer New Moon.

CancerNewMoonWRIGC1

References

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

New Moon in Aries

strong-dream-1929(1)

Paul Klee (1929) Strong Dream

The quality of each New Moon helps guide our intention setting accordingly, and the New Moon of April 18, 2015 is active, bold, and deeply shifting.  Occurring in Aries at the 29th degree, this New Moon has the fitting sabian symbol of the “Music of the Spheres.” To Dane Rudhyar this meant finding our part to play on our path within the evolution of life on our planet, as “the immense Chord of the harmony of the universe” resounds around us (An Astrological Mandala, p. 70).  This Aries New Moon will produce a Plutonic chord that will strike us at a core level, as it is ruled by Mars in Taurus and Pluto will have stationed in Capricorn during the dark of the Moon leading up to the New Moon.  On April 16, 2015 Pluto stations retrograde at 15°33′ of Capricorn, and it will remain retrograde until September 24, 2015 when it stations direct at 12°59′ of Capricorn.  Saturn is the only other retrograde planet impacting us now, yet this is paramount to reflect upon as Saturn signifies our structures and conditioning, and when Saturn appears to move backward from our perspective on Earth it opens us to the potential of re-structuring our lives and consciousness while in a process of our past conditioning being stripped away.  Pluto stationing to move retrograde in timing with this Aries New Moon amplifies the potency of Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius when we confront the past conditioning of our societal and belief system influences at a core, soul level.  Along these lines it is important to realize that the South Node of Saturn is in Capricorn, and so Saturn is deeply bound for us to these past societal conditioning influences on our soul and personality.

Part of societal conditioning often involves influencing people to ambitiously pursue self-rewards within the existing power structure, whether that be through monetary and material trappings or public recognition.  Instead, in accordance with the music made by the spheres of this New Moon we can tune into the evolving needs of our environment and the people living in our global society, discerning the attributes we possess that can serve some of these needs.  We need to be careful of past conditioning influences that make us hold back from the visions that can make both ourselves and others feel more fulfilled within:  if we notice we are afraid to pursue something because of not having enough money or social status, we need to be aware of how we could be severely restricting not only our future life, but the future lives of others we would bring joy and inspiration to by pursuing our desired vision.  This New Moon follows the past Moon cycles of eclipses, and we are working with a potent energy field that has not only called us to let go of past attachments, but also to welcome in a new vision of a more fulfilling and authentic life we can live.  At this Aries New Moon, we only need to focus on setting an intention to manifest the life we want to live:  there are numerous astrological aspects in the coming months to help us figure out how to make it happen on a more practical and grounded level.

The personal planets Mars, Mercury, and Venus are all extremely significant guides for us in the coming Moon cycle, Mars in particular as the ruler of the New Moon, and Mercury applying to a conjunction with Mars in Taurus at the time of the New Moon.  Mars in Taurus has a grounded, determined quality that can help us patiently build our new structure brick by brick with great care and attention to our inner pleasure in the process.  Mercury in the days following the New Moon will become an Evening Star again and shift into the phase of it’s cycle that can help us reflect upon and integrate all of the deep material of our psyche that was stirred up recently by the eclipses and the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Mars and Mercury together in Taurus are crucially in trine to the stationing Pluto in Capricorn, and are also in square to a conjunction of Jupiter and Juno in Leo.  These aspects can activate an assertive actualization of our creativity in pursuit of expansive conceptions for ourselves and within our relationships with others, and our actions along these lines will be more effective when rooted in genuineness rather than self-glamour.   The trine between Pluto with the conjunction of Mars and Mercury means the deeply felt reverberations of our soul that have coincided with Pluto stationing in square to Uranus can help fertilize and seed goals and purpose aligned with our inner values instead of outwardly conditioned values.

Mercury in Taurus is furthermore in a mutual reception with Venus in Gemini through the semi-sextile aspect between them, another indication of magic being available when we center on a path forward to bring us inner pleasure. Most noteworthy in connection to Venus in Gemini, Venus at this Aries New Moon is opposite Saturn in Sagittarius and their opposition creates a t-quare with Neptune in Pisces.  This aspect accentuates the tension between our fantasies and reality that has come up with the square between Saturn and Neptune in the past couple of months, and in the waning Moon cycle in between the Lunar Eclipse on April 4 and the New Moon of April 18, we have had to confront the aspects of our desired dream that needed to be adjusted and re-aligned with our actual reality.  Yet the containment of an active, inquisitive Venus in Gemini within the structure of Saturn also serves as a container to hold an expansion of our consciousness.  It’s like when you find someone you fall so deeply in love with that you know you want to devote yourself to them exclusively, instead of feeling restricted by solely desiring them in contrast to the plethora of other potential romantic partners in your environment, you feel radiantly alive and bursting with new growth and potential from within.  Neptune in Pisces in square to this opposition between Venus in Gemini and Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius calls us to dissolve the conditioned belief systems we have held around our outer relationships and inner values, and open our heart and mind to receive more bliss as we release the limiting beliefs about ourselves we realize now were delusional.

Pruszkowski_Falling_star

Falling Star (1884) by Witold Pruszkowski

Venus goes “out of bounds” in extreme declination following the New Moon, adding a wild, rebellious vibe to the expansively curious qualities put on by Venus while in her time in the sign of Gemini.  Additionally, Venus is an especially vivid Evening Star of sheer brilliance for us at night now. Though briefly tempered by her transit through the t-square with Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, Venus will remain out of bounds for the rest of April and through May, meaning she will be more likely than normal to do as she pleases.  The intentions we seed at this New Moon carry the quality of the t-square between Venus, Neptune, and Saturn, however, and some deep soul searching and questioning can arise in correlation.   Since Venus is also in trine to the North Node of the Moon in Libra, and sextile the South Node of the Moon in Aries, whatever is getting stirred up for us with this transit is going to be nutritive for soulful strengthening and personal evolution. One significant archetype that connects with the t-square between Venus, Saturn, and Neptune and this theme of a dark night of the soul leading to personal redemption is Lilith.  The Lilith asteroid #1181 is at 16° of Scorpio and so creates an additional t-square through being opposite the Mars and Mercury conjunction in Taurus and in square to Jupiter in Leo.  In addition, Black Moon Lilith is at 16° Virgo and forming a Grand Earth Trine with Pluto stationing in Capricorn and Mars conjunct Mercury in Taurus.

On the one hand, Lilith symbolizes our core wound of rejection, wherever we have felt excluded by others, ostracized, or unaccepted.  This is most prevalent in the t-square created by the Lilith asteroid in Scorpio with Jupiter in Leo and the Mars and Mercury conjunction in Taurus.  This can also connect with where we have felt oppressed by the dominant culture, such as through sexism, racism, or any other form of persecution.  The more we can become aware of this wound and realize it’s impact on us through contemplation, the more we can open to resolution and redemption through the Grand Earth Trine created by Black Moon Lilith in Virgo with Pluto and the Mars-Mercury conjunction.  In the process of contemplating our past wounds of rejection, we will realize how we have projected this personal suffering onto others or attempted to distract ourselves from our personal pain through pursuits that are more about escapism than connecting with the deeper recesses of our soul.  As a result we can strip away these aspects we discern are false about ourselves, and re-focus on the qualities we recognize as being embedded in our essential nature.  When we live from our authenticity, we discover the quality of Lilith that does what she wants to do for her Self and those she cares about and does not care about accommodating or pleasing others when it does not feel genuine to do so.

A further facilitator of our healing at this Aries New Moon is Vesta in Pisces, as Vesta is exactly conjunct Neptune in Pisces and so acting as a mediating agent between the transpersonal, otherworldly Neptune, the intimately personal Venus in Gemini, and the societal conditioning Saturn in Sagittarius.  Vesta is devotional and capable of sustaining incredible focus as a container of Spirit, and so brings us a greater capacity to tap into the oceanic field of Neptune with our perception in order to receive guidance in how to liberate ourselves from the past conditioning signified by Venus being opposite Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Vesta in this position can also involve breaking with past conditioning concerning our belief systems around our sexuality, including religious conditioning, so that we become unashamed to express our sexuality in whatever way is sacred for us.  Vesta has the diligence and discipline to stand firm within the constriction of Saturn and the dissolving of Neptune and channel charged, purifying energy for us to express through Venus.

4 wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The Aries III Decan where the New Moon occurs is associated with the Four of Wands card in tarot, illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith as holding two female figures hoisting fragrant flowers in celebration under a garland and within a container of four sturdy rods, with a bridge and a castle-like structure in the background.  The Aries III decan is ruled by Venus, and Austin Coppock in 36 Faces noted that Eros was also attached to this decan in the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.   Coppock analyzed this decan as signifying “The Burning Rose” as it’s symbol, as it holds “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions” (p. 64).  Coppock discerned that we find in the final decan of Aries “the power of art to overcome hostility,” such as the ability of a singer, speaker, comedian, or dancer on stage to transcend the hostility of an audience through their heartfelt performance that can inspire and arouse the passions of an unruly crowd (p. 64).  Yet Coppock cautions:

There is a remarkable potency here-  to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.  Yet the bonds that form here often require that intensity to endure.  The bond shared by military men, the celebrated esprit de corps, decays outside of war’s pressures.  The audience members soon forget the performers who so moved them.  In love’s battlefield, once the friction and fire of the first conjunctio, with its terror and elation, have subsided, the lamp of raw passion burns low.  A less volatile fuel is required for the flame to continue on.  ( p. 65)

Thus it is imperative for our burning Venusian passions that can be aroused at this time to channel the ecstatic heights of Eros into our creativity and relationships with the presence of mind to ground back into our more mundane reality and work with the more earthy energy signified by Mars in Taurus that rules this New Moon and is conjunct Mercury.  Again, an excellent guide for this facilitation is Vesta, the master of sustaining our inner fire, as she is exactly conjunct Neptune in Pisces and in square to Venus in Gemini and Saturn in Sagittarius at this New Moon.  Vesta brings with her the type of inner contemplation that Dane Rudhyar felt was imperative to attune with the cosmic order expressed through “The Music of the Spheres” symbol of this New Moon:

The message to the seeker for meaning which is implied in this symbol is TO LISTEN TO THE INNER VOICE; to listen without personalizing this Voice in a glamor-producing manner.  It is the Voice of the Whole, of which one begins to realize that one is a tiny little part- yet a significant part, for every note of the universal Chord has its place and its ineradicable meaning.  (Rudhyar, p. 70)

There is an epic symphony playing to lend your harmony to:  through your participation you will help create it’s next movement.

AriesNewMoonWRIGC1

References

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

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