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.

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Mercury Retrograde in Taurus & Aries

Fingal_s_Cave,_Island_of_Staffa,_Scotland_by_Thomas_Moran,_1884-5,_High_Museum_of_Art

Fingal’s Cave, Island of Staffa, Scotland (1884) by Thomas Moran

Mercury Retrograde

For one throb of the artery,
While on that old grey stone I sat
Under the old wind-broken tree,
I knew that One is animate,
Mankind inanimate phantasy.
— W.B. Yeats, A Meditation in Time of War

In the cool air of twilight as the Sun descends below the horizon, Mercury begins its journey into the underworld as a retrograde planet.  While changing into the role of a psychopomp as fluidly as vespertine colors transfigure into the darkness of nightfall, Mercury retrograde opens us to a liminal perceptual space which offers guidance in between life transitions and the crossing of thresholds.  Mercury delights in the part of a cunning guide of soul during its retrograde phase, beguiling all with unforeseen twists best handled with intuitive receptivity to direction.  On April 9 Mercury will begin its retrograde within the earthy home of Venus, a twenty four day passage that will take it back into the fiery home of Mars where it will hold lengthy counsel with Uranus.  As Mercury will station retrograde less than a week before the current Venus retrograde ends with Venus stationing direct, there is an incredibly volatile atmosphere at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde which will require constant focus on recalibrating the connection between our perceptions and translation of meaning.

Within the rulebook of astrology, Mercury refuses to be caged in by categorizations of gender or preference for day or night.  However, since Mercury begins its retrograde period as an Evening Star, it finds accord stationing in Taurus since the nocturnal sign of the Bull is both the exaltation of the Moon and the domicile of Venus.  Mercury stationing retrograde in the inwardly receptive sign of Venus will lead us to find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties as we will be drawn into our corporeal senses and instincts.  Fittingly, Hermes in myth is bound to the fertility and life force of nature, a seductive mediator who reveals the spiritual found in the profane and the profane that may be discovered in the spiritual.

Mercury caduceus by Bradley

Mercury caduceus glyph by Bradley Naragon

Hermes was born in a cave, a fitting origin to his destiny as subterranean caves were the temples of our ancestors where Spirit was received in the flesh.  In the instinctual sign of Taurus our Mercurial capacities turn within so that our diverse senses take precedence over rational analysis.  Similar to how Mercury in alchemy conjoins the animating spirit with its earthy body, the full bodily perception available with Mercury in Taurus brings nonverbal insight into the world-creating spirit concealed in material forms.  Along these lines it is fascinating that Taurus is the heliocentric South Node of Mercury, for Mercury does not move at a fast pace in Taurus but rather sustains a slowly churning rhythm grounded into the sensuality of the moment.  The plodding, patient, and thorough movement of Mercury in Taurus also helps bring awareness to practical considerations and focus on developing and nurturing work and relationships toward their full potential.

In popular astrology there are many warnings to not start businesses, sign contracts, make important purchases, initiate relationships, or basically make any major life decisions while Mercury is retrograde.  It has also become common parlance even among those with minimal astrological understanding to not only complain about Mercury being retrograde, but to blame all technological mishaps and communication breakdowns on the phenomenon of Mercury appearing to move backward through our zodiac.  However, Mercury being retrograde is not a cursed anomaly but rather an essential aspect of Mercury, as essential as sunset is to sunrise.  Very successful businesses, contracts, and relationships of all sorts can begin during Mercury retrograde, but it is more important than normal to pay attention to our intuition with regards to the choices we make and the ventures we begin.

During Mercury retrograde the orbit of Mercury comes in between our Earth and our Sun, bringing Mercury as close to us as it ever gets.  In the resulting amplified atmosphere of Mercury, it is vital to maintain keen awareness into the synchronous interplay between sights, sounds, and other senses within our environment.  It is further paramount during Mercury retrograde to pay attention to gut instincts and the symbolic meaning of omens and other oracular messages that cross our path whether from our nightly dreams or daily travels.  Our inner life will need tending especially during the first week of the Mercury retrograde in Taurus, as Mercury will be ruled by a Venus that is also retrograde but in the process of stationing direct.  Since Venus is in her exaltation of Pisces while simultaneously forming a catalytic relationship with Saturn, our sensual perceptions will receive sharp and potent messages and we will need to navigate an inner sea of emotions that can become turbulent at times.

great work le triomphe hermetique

from Alexandre Toussaint de Limojon de Saint-Didier’s Le Triomphe Hermetique (1689)

Mercury rules the first face of Taurus where it stations retrograde, giving Mercury greater natural aptitude to do its work of interpreting and communicating meaning.  The astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that the Mercurial first face of Taurus holds resonance with the thorough and patient planning necessary to develop future harvests.  Mercury is under the full influence of Venus at the beginning of its journey as it is in both the home and the bounds of Venus, with Venus at a standstill in her exaltation of Pisces.  The fact that Mercury initially moves retrograde ruled by Venus retrograde, with Venus forming a conjunction with Chiron and a square with Saturn, cannot be overlooked or downplayed.  It will be necessary during the initial movement of Mercury retrograde to face the truth of our external reality as well as our full interior realm of feelings without denial.  Whatever needs nurturing, adjustment, alteration, or rebalancing will be revealed if we are paying attention, and with the gained awareness we can begin to modify our decision making and development of goals.

Since Mercury is also stationing in the exaltation of the Moon and close to the specific exaltation degree of the Moon, it is compelling that its retrograde begins with a waxing gibbous Moon on its way toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Libra and an especially dynamic Full Moon in Libra the following day.  Not only will the Full Moon at the beginning of Mercury’s underworld journey be conjoining Jupiter, but the Sun will also be united with Uranus while the Full Moon itself forms a challenging square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In short it will be impossible to miss the messages Mercury intends to send at the beginning of its retrograde, as significant illumination will show up in both collective and personal events revealing what was previously hidden or unclear.

As Mercury will move all the way back into Aries where it will eventually station in conjunction with Uranus, the fact Mercury retrograde begins with a Full Moon that connects both the opposition between Uranus and Jupiter as well as the square between Uranus and Pluto is pivotal.  Jupiter at the time of the Mercury retrograde is volatilizing the square between Uranus and Pluto, having recently moved away from an exact opposition with Uranus to form an exact square with Pluto.  As a result it’s not so much that unexpected developments are going to be appearing out of nowhere during the first phase of the Mercury retrograde, more that a fresh perspective can be revealed toward storylines that have been developing over time.  Mercury in its psychopomp role can provide the guidance needed to discern our next step if we are paying attention, helping us find our place within the tumultuous shattering and shifting of collective structures occurring all around the world.

The Mercury retrograde in Taurus also serves as a finale for the transit of the lunar nodes through Pisces and Virgo, with Mercury serving as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon.  Mercury will station in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and when Mercury unites with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde it will also be closely trine to the North Node of the Moon.  After Mercury stations direct on May 3, the true nodes of the Moon will shift into the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and the North Node of the Moon in Leo on May 9.  The lunar nodes have been in Pisces and Virgo since 12 November 2015 (true node calculation), a time period that has lived up to the mutable sign significations of immense change, endings, and transitions.  While its possible that the Mercury retrograde will coincide with circumstances bringing up a review or reflection upon the life changes that have occurred since November 2015, it is also likely that opportunities and boons will present themselves enabling us to integrate final lessons and make new choices resolving our experience with the Virgo North Node.

marlene-seven-roasting-cinnabar

Roasting Cinnabar (2017) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

That Light who’s smile kindles the universe,
That Beauty in which all things work and move,
That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
Which, through the web of being blindly wove
By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
The fire for which all thirst, now beams on me,
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on April 19 or 20, depending upon your location, the moment in which Mercury unites with the Sun at the exact degree of the zodiac.  When Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun, labeled its inferior conjunction by astrological texts, Mercury is aligned with our Earth in between our orbit with the Sun, as close as Mercury ever gets to us.  This moment is experienced as a rebirth of the Mercury archetype within our lives, and at the time of its union with the Sun, Mercury is said to be in its seat of power, like an empowered Hermes taking a turn behind the reigns of our solar chariot.

Venus in Pisces rules the union between Mercury retrograde with our Sun, and significantly at the time of their union Venus will have recently stationed direct and will be applying tightly to her final square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  There is a fascinating relationship between Mercury being cazimi (at the heart of the Sun) and the Venus retrograde of 2017 for the Venus retrograde began with Mercury cazimi in Pisces while direct, meaning that Mercury was on the other side of the Sun from us.  As Venus begins to move direct again as a Morning Star, we once again experience a regeneration of Mercury, this time with Mercury close to us in orbit.  The harmonious relationship between Taurus and Pisces is part of the reason why Venus is considered to be exalted in Pisces, as their relationship supports staying true to one’s inner values while dissolving blockages in support of making the needed alterations to manifest inner visions.

The sabian symbol for the first degree of Taurus where Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs is “A CLEAR MOUNTAIN STREAM” with the keynote of The pure, uncontaminated and spontaneous manifestation of one’s own nature according to Dane Rudhyar.  The union of Mercury and the Sun being ruled by Venus in a tight square with Saturn may make it difficult to picture spontaneous manifestation if you hold certain astrological dogma in mind, however in truth there is no reason that spontaneous authenticity cannot arise in response to the cold necessity of Saturn.  Mercury is being purified within our central light of Spirit fire at the same time Venus in her exaltation degree is calling us to take accountability and integrity into expression of our deepest love.  Within clear boundaries of structure, instead of feeling repressed or hemmed in there can arise an improvisational display of our primal creativity.

Mercury retrograde at the heart of the Sun also occurs during a last quarter Moon in Aquarius on its way toward an eventual New Moon in Taurus, the inner home of Venus, as well as with Mars at the final degree of Taurus.  Thus though Mercury is at the first degree of Taurus and Mars at the last, both are still within the domain of Venus in her exaltation of Pisces.  The powerful Venusian influence upon this moment further amplifies potential to reveal inner desires and values needing to emerge into awareness, with the last quarter lunation helping us dislodge from old preconceptions. In addition, it means that shortly after Mercury unites with the Sun a mutual reception between Mars and Mercury will begin through Mars entering Gemini, the airy yang home of Mercury, and Mercury crossing back into Aries, the fiery yang home of Mars that forms a harmonious sextile with Gemini.  Fittingly, we can still discover Venus in the relationship formed by the signs Mercury and Mars will enter as traditionally in astrology Venus has always stood as the symbol underlying the meaning of the sextile.

Matta Being With

Being With (1946) by Roberto Matta

Mercury stations with Uranus

What constitutes the training of the hand?
I shall tell what constitutes the training of the hand.
One suspects something is wrong with transcribing signs
But the hand transcribes only the signs it has learned.
Then it is sent to the school of blots and scrawls
Till it forgets what is graceful. For even the sign of a butterfly
Is a well with coiled poisonous smoke inside.

Perhaps we should have represented him otherwise
Than in the form of a dove. A fire, yes, but that is beyond us.
For even when it consumes logs on a hearth
We search in it for eyes and hands. Let him then be green,
All blades of calamus, running on footbridges
Over meadows, with a thump of his bare feet. Or in the air
Blowing a birchbark trumpet so strongly that farther down
There tumbles from its blast a crowd of petty officials,
Their uniforms unbuttoned and their women’s combs
Flying like chips when the ax strikes.

Still it’s just too great a responsibility to lure the souls
From where they lived attentive to the idea of the hummingbird, the chair, and the star.
To imprison them within either-or: male sex, female sex,
So that they wake up in the blood of childbirth, crying.

— Czeslaw Milosz, Sentences (1963-1965)

This particular Mercury retrograde is especially jolting, catalytic, and compelling because Mercury will spend an extraordinary length of time in conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  Truly out of the ordinary, Mercury will spend over three weeks from April 20 through May 16 in range of a conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  There will two distinct phases of Mercury uniting with Uranus, the first from April 20 through May 3 when Mercury is retrograde and invisible under the beams of the Sun- during this period Mercury will unite with Uranus on April 28.   Mercury and Uranus combined brings sudden awareness that can synthesize previously fragmented strands of thought and analysis instantaneously in the flash of the moment.  In the process of being purified and regenerated from its recent union with our Sun, Mercury in this period has not taken visible form and similarly our Uranian insights and revelations may feel more unconscious and not clearly seen.

28 April 2017 looks to be a pivotal day not only because of Mercury uniting with Uranus, but also because on the same day Venus will re-enter the sign of Aries.  As Venus re-enters Aries, she moves away from her square with Saturn in Sagittarius at roughly the same time Mercury is forming a trine with Saturn (Mercury retrograde will trine Saturn exactly on April 24).  It is compelling that as we have been dealing with Saturn in square to Venus all month long, we end up with Mercury combining with Uranus in a trine to Saturn.  As a result we can receive revelatory ideas into how to make minor modifications as well as major reformations into the issues dredged up during the time of Saturn in square to Venus.  It could feel like breakthrough insights are intensifying in our subconscious, ready to burst through into our conscious awareness with blazing comprehension.

After Mercury stations direct on May 3 it will emerge in the sky above the moist dew of morning, heralding the return of solar light at sunrise as a Morning Star.  Making the atmosphere more electric, the Moon in Leo will form a fiery triangle in our sky with Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn on May 3 when Mercury stations direct, increasing the likelihood of inspirational insights entering consciousness that address whatever challenges we have been dealing with.  Mercury visible and direct will form another conjunction with Uranus on May 9 and a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius on May 11, with a Full Moon in Scorpio falling in between these aspects on May 10.  Although Mercury is not seen as having essential dignity in the third face of Aries, Mercury emerging direct as a Morning Star does resonate with the diurnal sign of the Ram that is considered to be the exaltation of our Sun.

In addition, as Mercury stations and moves direct as a Morning Star while in Aries it will be in mutual reception with Mars moving forward through Gemini, with Venus co-present at the beginning of Aries.   As Venus retraces her steps through the previous section of Aries that she moved retrograde through in February and March, there will likely be some unexpected developments to contend with.  However, Mercury united with Uranus while in trine to Saturn supports a ready mental faculty that can swiftly respond and initiate new structural supports to help stabilize whatever has become volatile.  Mercury up at the crack of dawn, crowing like a rooster, is in an invigorating position of immense curiosity and exploration that can open us to a flow of creativity in response to life.

It is noteworthy that Mercury’s retrograde phase involves stationing in the Earth element and going back to the Fire element, echoing the retrograde that took us across the threshold of 2017 that went from Capricorn to Sagittarius. In August we will experience another Mercury retrograde that goes from Virgo back into Leo.  This transition from Earth to Fire in some ways is like a foreshadowing of the movement from Fire to Earth we will enter in 2018 as Saturn will move from Sagittarius into Capricorn, and Uranus will move from Aries into Taurus.   Some of the shifting adjustments needing to be found during the current Mercury retrograde will have far reaching impact, especially considering that Mercury ends up stationing direct with Uranus.  Early warning signs of what we need to prepare for in the year ahead may enter our awareness at the same time we are finding it necessary to deal with the pressing issues of the moment.

References

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2006). Selected and Last Poems 1931 -2004. HarperCollins.

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

Yeats, W.B. (1989). The Collected Poems revised second edition. Edited by Richard J. Finneran.  Scribner Paperback Poetry.

Aries New Moon

phoenix in bestiary

Phoenix in flames in the Ashmolean Bestiary, MS. Ashmole 1511.

The New Moon in Aries arises on March 27 with Venus retrograde close by, for on the days surrounding it, Venus will be rising at dawn with the Sun, invisible to the eye, purified and regenerated by the light of our fiery star.  Seven hours before the New Moon, during the darkest phase of the Moon, the Moon will conjoin Venus retrograde exactly.  As we have experienced a rebirth of Venus in the days leading up to the New Moon, so does the Aries New Moon signal a shift in emphasis on astrological elements toward the Fire triplicity, a fiery movement that will continue to build in the seasons ahead.  The Sun, Venus retrograde, Mercury, Uranus, and Eris are all in Aries, with Saturn in Sagittarius forming a trine with Mercury, Uranus, and Eris.  Fire, particularly as directed centrally by Aries, is direct, passionate, impulsive, fast, and courageously creative.  As recent astrological transits have facilitated awareness of inner needs and desires, the Aries New Moon is a call to to take action with full presence to set in motion the elements of life that align with developing goals and visions.

In the collective there has already been incredibly discordant debates and violence erupting with even more building, and the Aries New Moon will signal a release that will lead to clamorous conflict akin to the hammering of enraged rams slamming horns.  As the Moon begins to increase in light it will soon come into a square with Pluto, an opposition with Jupiter, and then a conjunction with Uranus.  There are not really any current astrological transits that support reconciliation or mediation, and so the more likely outcome will be hard fought battles between entities refusing to compromise or give in.  In the personal realm it may be necessary to fight for one’s rights or stand one’s ground against encroaching threats, yet the fiery astrological transits also can facilitate incredibly inspirational collaborations that dynamically push past what we previously thought possible to create.   At the same time battle lines are being drawn and power structures are shaking in tumult, great amounts of spirited fire can be invested into creative projects that will ultimately manifest gifts to share with the world as the early visions of this time turn later into solidly developing forms.

Phoenix mosaic

Phoenix and roses detail from Phoenix mosaic (3rd Century), Antioch on the Orontes, Turkey (http://commons.wikipedia.org/)

Mars in Taurus rules the New Moon and is sextile Neptune and trine to Pluto in Capricorn.  This is a Mars that can be stubbornly fixated upon acting from a belief system that may in the end be more about a fantasy of what one hopes to be true rather than grounded in clarified reflection.  These aspects surrounding Mars can also amplify fighting between those positioning themselves for positions of power, especially seats of power that appear glamorous within consensus reality.  However, these same aspects surrounding Mars can bridge the immaterial with the material, and support drawing from imaginative vision to fuel work.  The New Moon is ideal for locating tangible resources and taking concrete action to make far reaching visions take shape.  Out of the chaotic yet fertile void of the previous lunar cycle tied to eclipses, like the creator Sun bird Bennu we can step from the primordial sea onto solid ground to set dreams in motion.

Mars is also applying to a conjunction with Ceres in Taurus, and will continue to approach Ceres until forming a conjunction on the day of the upcoming Full Moon in Libra.  What does Ceres have to teach Mars as the Moon waxes full, and what influence will Mars be having on Ceres?  An obvious correlation is the enraged Ceres of myth, hell bent on finding revenge and seeking retribution for her daughter Proserpina being abducted by the lord of the underworld.  The Aries New Moon aligned with Venus retrograde, ruled by Mars in Taurus likewise supports digging in to hold one’s ground against forces of oppression and avaricious agents seeking to plunder nature to increase power.  Ceres as an archetype of the Great Mother can also guide Mars toward protecting those who are vulnerable and in need of support rather than taking advantage of the less fortunate.

phoenix bonfire

Phoenix in bonfire photo by Adam Da Silva (2012)

Venus retrograde is combust and has only separated a few degrees from her exact conjunction with the Sun at the time of the New Moon.  Purified and regenerated, Venus retrograde has been cleansed but has not come wholly back into full presence and visibility as a Morning Star.  As the Moon waxes through its crescent phase at the end of March, Venus will emerge again as a sentinel of our rising Sun as a Morning Star.  On April 2, a day before the Moon reaches its first quarter phase, Venus will move backward into the sign of Pisces where she will remain for most of April.  The rebirth of Venus we can experience now is still somewhat unconscious and not fully formed, with remnants of old patterns still being released while new feelings slowly begin to emerge from within.

Mercury is a brilliant Evening Star at the New Moon, separating from a conjunction with Uranus in Aries and applying to a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Mercury will be a bright Evening Star as the Moon waxes toward fullness, and then will station retrograde on April 9 at five degrees of Taurus, a day before the Full Moon in Libra on April 10.  Mercury is in a strong position at the New Moon to illuminate insights that are dynamic and innovative while also being practical enough to manifest in material reality.  The conjunction of Mercury with Uranus and trine with Saturn is also not a fleeting, one time affair as Mercury will be returning to station direct in conjunction with Uranus and trine with Saturn following its retrograde on May 3.  The Aries New Moon as a result is ideal for seeding ideas that will be able to bloom more fully in the coming season of Beltane.

wands02

2 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The Aries New Moon falls within the first face of Aries associated with the Two of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find a conquering figure holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from atop a fortress out into an expansive terrain. It is the body of water that appears to have secured his focus in this moment, and the presence of the globe seems to imply a moment of reflection regarding expanding his influence or dominion.  The grandiose ambition and confident assertion present in the image is fitting considering that Mars rules the first decan of Aries, giving Mars both domicile as well as face dignity here.

In 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans, Austin Coppock ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to this decan which has a long association with furiously martial figures who dominate enemies and assure victory in battle. Coppock deepened the symbolism of the axe through linking it to the splitting and separation from the One necessary for creation and growth, for example in the cutting of the umbilical cord of the child from its mother and in the use of axes in controlling nature to make a home in the wilderness. Coppock linked this separation to “building a distinct and individual life . . . the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin” (p. 54).

Mars in Taurus as previously mentioned is approaching Ceres while forming harmonious relationships with both Neptune and Pluto.  Opposing Mars and Ceres at the time of the New Moon is the true node of Black Moon Lilith, holding space in the dark waters of Scorpio.  Demetra George has taught that Black Moon Lilith can clarify the delusions of our false needs and pretensions that separate us from our essential being:

The Dark Goddess is a goddess of the self, not in the sense of selfishness or separateness, but from a stance of upholding individual integrity.  The Black Moon in us will accept nothing less than the expression of our true individuality.  When we are secure in acknowledging and expressing our authentic self, we are less likely to falsify ourselves in order to be accepted by others.  We are then not so vulnerable to becoming entrapped in situations which deny and disempower us, which is where Lilith’s self-destructive cycle begins.

— Demetra George, Finding Our Way Through the Dark

With Venus retrograde in Aries and Mars in opposition to Black Moon Lilith, the Aries New Moon facilitates drawing from the fires of anger and passion to burn off patterns of placating conformity in order to empower  and embody one’s heartfelt, deep, and authentic presence.  Allowing moments of full feeling without shame and judgment will open access to the primordial creativity found within that will not only empower one’s own individual talents but also bring empowerment to others through direct expression and sharing of our essentiality.

References

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

George, Demetra. (1994).  Finding One’s Way Through the Dark. AFA.