Full Moon Solstice

Joan Miro joy of a girl

Joy of a Girl in the Sun (1960) by Joan Miro

All colors come from the sun. And it does not have
Any particular color, for it contains them all.
And the whole Earth is like a poem
While the sun above represents the artist.

–Czeslaw Milosz

Which yet joined not scent to hue,
Crown the pale year weak and new;
When the night is left behind
In the deep east, dun and blind,
And the blue noon is over us,
And the multitudinous
Billows murmur at our feet,
Where the earth and ocean meet,
And all things seem only one
In the universal sun.

–Percy Bysshe Shelley

Awed by her brightness
Stars near the beautiful moon
Cover their own shining faces
When she lights earth
With her silver brilliance
Of love ….

–Sappho

Cancer Solstice

The Sagittarius Full Moon on June 19 arrives on the day of the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere.  At the solstice the Sun reaches its zenith, a time ancient cultures celebrated as the New Year.  The solstice is a peak moment, in the northern hemisphere the peak height of the Sun, in the southern hemisphere the peak descent into darkness.  To have a Full Moon precede the Cancer Solstice by less than twelve hours adds to the climactic energy, as Full Moons are also a moment of the peak amount of solar light received by Luna.  Yet nothing expands inexorably forever, and all must return to source, must spiral back.  The serpent circles back to bite its own tail in its eternal ouroboros. At the height of the apex, there is the bliss of the high and the knowing of a coming fall.  We fall at this Solstice Full Moon into the revivifying rays of Sol, our Solar Light that stimulates growth in our receptive Earth, our Sun that brings its clarifying heat illuminating what was previously darkly hidden.

The dragon, or serpent, represents the initial state of unconsciousness, for this animal loves, as the alchemists say, two dwell in “caverns and dark places.” Unconsciousness has to be sacrificed; only then can one find the entrance into the head, and the way to conscious knowledge and understanding. Once again the universal struggle of the hero with the dragon is enacted, and each time at its victorious conclusion the sun rises: consciousness dawns, and it is perceived that the transformation process is taking place inside the temple, that is, in the head.

— Carl Jung, “The Visions of Zosimos” para. 118

The polarity between Gemini and Sagittarius lit by the Full Moon carries the concept of sacrifice, as all of the Mutable signs in astrology mark the transition between the death of the previous season, and the birth of the coming season.  When our conscious personality sacrifices its grip on keeping out the whole multitude circulating in the unconscious, we can experience our own rebirth, sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly, in the process.  In current events recently there have been many chaotic crises tearing open barriers to raw, primal emotions. There is anger, there is outrage, there is grief and fear, as across the globe innumerable streams of strife have people on edge within a palpable field of destruction.  Within the folds of the places that mainstream awareness ignores, there is the cry of desperation in what feels like a cruel, unconcerning world.  Though this has been a difficult time for many, the Solstice celebrates the Sun’s ascension from its descent, that the solar rays will return with their warmth as surely as flowers will continue to bloom and fruit ripen.  The Solstice can be seized for sensing within the radiant living force of our world that orbits within multiverses, that even when feeling alienated there is a loving embrace to be found between the Earth below and the Sun above.

Joan Miro the-gold-of-the-azure

The Gold of the Azure (1967) by Joan Mira

Jupiter in Virgo rules the Full Moon and is within five minutes of an exact conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  This alone would bring a catalytic force to a Full Moon on a Solstice, yet there is much, much more.  Jupiter is received by Mercury in Gemini applying to a square with Jupiter, while Mercury is in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Saturn in Sagittarius is exactly square to Neptune in Pisces, as Neptune is conjoining the South Node of the Moon while in opposition to Jupiter and in square to Mercury.  The New Moon in Gemini that began this lunar cycle featured a Mutable Grand Cross between Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and a conjunction between Venus and the Sun.  At the Full Moon, we once again have a Mutable Grand Cross, with Mercury in Gemini filling the space previously occupied by the Sun and Venus.  The larger context of this configuration highlights the importance of the squares between Saturn and Neptune, and Saturn and Jupiter, as these aspects are the sort that demarcate eras of human history and notable shifts within the collective.  On a personal level, Mercury at home in Gemini as a Morning Star is the trigger point to pay attention to, as Hermes is transferring the light between the other three giants of astrology.

So, what the hell does this all mean you may be asking.  There is no way to encapsulate the full meaning of these aspects within an astrology article, nor is it possible to realize the meaning on a personal level without reflection that roots these aspects into your birth chart and your present experience.  However, there is some general guidance to keep in mind.  Mercury in Gemini is a worthy point of focus as it is in position to bring all of the reflections that have been stirred up in the past couple of months into the rushing currents of change found within the Mutable Grand Cross.  Mercury is often described as correlating with reason and logic, though that is only one aspect of Mercury’s mental potency.  The reason available to Mercury now connects with more than what is observable and measurable in visible consensus reality, as the boundaries of Saturn are being blown open. This is not your everyday transit of Mercury opposing Saturn, which typically correlates with rigorous and disciplined mental focus.  Maintaining mental focus through Mercury is still possible and in fact important, but there is a far vaster realm of reality and research than normal accessible through these catalytic aspects.

The Full Moon occurring at the final degrees of Gemini and Sagittarius means the entire arc of both signs are activated, signs that are ruled by Mercury and Jupiter.  In fact, all four places of the Mutable Grand Square are home to Mercury and Jupiter.  As Jupiter helps us create meaning out of our experiences and stabilize a vision or philosophy of life to live from, Mercury can destabilize preexisting beliefs through new information, arguments, and connections.  The Full Moon activating this Solstice is a perfect time to open your mind to the potential beyond whatever you had previously been limiting yourself to within your mind. A writing, research, or artistic project can be taken to a new level, or a passing conversation or experience can stimulate a completely different way of looking at your life.  Though instability can be felt within these aspects, there also remains extraordinary inspiration and a huge potential for ingenious insight.

Joan Miro rainbow

Toward the Rainbow (1941) by Joan Miro

Ceres, Uranus and Eris are conjoining in Aries at the Solstice, an aspect that some choose to ignore while others proclaim to be an Earth shattering amalgamation.  In fact, the widely divergent opinions astrologers have regarding the conjunction of Ceres, Uranus, and Eris is absolutely perfect with regards to the simultaneous Mutable Grand Square that is occurring.  Furthermore, Ceres, Uranus, and Eris are uniting in Aries, the home of Mars, in an exact quincunx to Mars retrograde in Scorpio.   Since all four of these celestial bodies are at the 23-24 degree range of their respective signs, the quincunx is full on.  To me, associating the shattering of previous paradigms with this aspect is fitting, and it furthermore reflects the many terrifying, traumatizing recent current events that are forcing people to reexamine their beliefs at fundamental levels.  Everything has been thrown up into the air in fractured splinters, and in their falling they reform, they coalesce, they commingle in ways never dreamt of before.

Ceres in Aries nurtures as Ceres always does, yet in Aries she fosters self-reliance and independence more so than co-dependence.  Ceres here is not a nurturer who wants you to become dependent upon her nurturing, but rather is a caring presence who nurtures creative actualization and the ability to get yourself back on your feet and moving again after a period of dormancy.  Ceres combined with Uranus and Eris is able to apply her creative force into collective mobilizations for change.  Ceres combined with Uranus and Eris will be most effective when transmuting the anger and outrage felt over systematic oppression into direct, creative action that makes a difference for others.  The quincunx to Mars retrograde in Scorpio demands integration with the needs of the greater society and collective.  This is not just about having a brilliant idea, but mobilizing thoughts into plans of action to manifest in your community.  Ceres, Uranus, Eris, and Mars retrograde can thus facilitate the creative impulse of Aries yoked to the investigative depth of Scorpio in order to express your gifts within a interconnected network of collaborators and co-conspirators.

wands10

10 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 3 Decan

The third face of Sagittarius is associated with the 10 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image has a resonance with the Titan Atlas bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders, as we sense the plowing drive necessary to take on and carry the weight of massive responsibilities.  Being the final decan of Sagittarius, this image illustrates how the mind, body, and spirit can become unified through dedicated work and effort applied to a goal.  In tarot this card has been associated with oppressive dynamics and limitations, and in fact is called Oppression in the Thoth deck.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore analyzed the dilemma of this card as having “taken on far too many responsibilities” that “are not strictly yours,” resulting in the creative potency of the fire element becoming “extinguished by the heaviness of an earthy reality.”  Lynore advised sifting through the burdens and responsibilities in order to discern which “are truly your own” so you can refrain from overextending yourself and instead sustain the energy needed to be accountable for the issues truly belonging to you.

Fittingly, Saturn is the ruler of this face and so this decan has a strong resonance with the current transit of Saturn in Sagittarius within the Mutable Grand Cross.  As the Sagittarius Full Moon is occurring at the final degree of Sagittarius, the associated imagery of the 10 of Wands card is a fitting symbol for making a sacrifice of hard work to prepare for the darkest time of the year at the Winter Solstice, currently occurring in the southern hemisphere.  In relation to the Summer Solstice occurring in the northern hemisphere, it is akin to a rush of activity and preparation commiserate with the peak of solar light.

 Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Horse’s Skull” to this face in his book 36 Faces, as it “points toward those circumstances in which the vehicle must be sacrificed in order to achieve the will,” as it involves “those circumstances where the body and the spirit are at odds” as “the spirit, the will, must press the body beyond comfort’s boundaries” to achieve the aim (p. 204-5).  Some ancient texts attribute acts of evil to this face in the context of those who will do whatever is necessary to achieve a goal.  Coppock concluded:

The subject of this decan is what one is willing to sacrifice in order to achieve what one wills. It is thus the formula for the perfection of the will and subjugation of all to it, granting power for both good and evil. Yet those who would apply it must consider the cost of the sacrifice required, for some offerings can be made only once. Those who walk this face must choose which burdens they will bear to the bitter end, and which are not worthy of such feats of will and endurance. The formula of this face is of greatest value to those who know their true will, and the true works which proceed from it.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces

Saturn in Sagittarius is retrograde applying closely to an opposition with Mercury in Gemini at the time of the Full Moon.  At the Sun’s ingress into Cancer at the Solstice, Saturn will only be a few days past an exact square with Neptune, in a time period that has also seen it complete its final last quarter square with Jupiter.  This is a pivotal moment in the transit of Saturn through Sagittarius, and so it is important to consider what the stimulating transits are asking from Saturn.  Neptune demands awareness of whatever is outside the lines of what you define with your beliefs, recognizing the impact of your own perceptual force and judgment in co-creating reality and importance of exploring your inner imaginal space.  Mercury demands opening to other perspectives, being curious how other viewpoints experience existence and bridging your current understanding with those who express a contrasting point of view.  Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon, the ruler of the Full Moon, calls us to distill the essence of what we most deeply value and aspire to achieve, modifying plans in accordance with changes in the arising moment, and most of all taking the risk to make new choices free of the restrictions of our past.  The Sun burns bright at the Solstice indiscriminately:  bask in its radiance and open your heart to delight and euphoria.

SagittariusFullMoonWRIGC10

References

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

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

New Moon in Gemini

Emblem 10 as New Moon in Gemini

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

New Moon in Gemini

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

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

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

Mars conjunct New Moon in Gemini

Bird in the Spirit by Morris Graves

Mars conjunct Sun in Gemini

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

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

crow japanese

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

Saturn in Scorpio

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

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

10 of Swords

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini III Decan

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

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

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

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

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

GeminiNewMoonWRIGC1A

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini Dream Shifting

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

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

The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.

The true meaning, ready to be decoded.

What never added up will add up,

What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.

−And if there is no lining to the world?

If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,

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

Make no sense following each other?

And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?

−Even if that is so, there will remain

A word wakened by lips that perish,

A tireless messenger who runs and runs

Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,

And calls out, protests, screams.

Czeslaw Milosz (1991) MEANING

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

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

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

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini passage

Two Trees (1875) by Odilon Redon

When I ran barefoot in our gardens by the river Niewiaza

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

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

A Presence resided, I didn’t know whose.

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

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

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

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

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

As if rising within one enormous unknowable Being.

Czeslaw Milosz (2002) PRESENCE 

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

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

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

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

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

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury Retrograde Inferior Conjunction

Vision (1883) by Odilon Redon

That boundless substance,

different, in any case, from

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

the underwater gambols of sperm whales.

In dreams I saw cities of gas and metal,

unceasing fabric of the mind.

Music of the spheres, music of violins and flutes.

That, which endures,

while they are born and die.

Higher than the blind energies of matter,

higher than currents running in the body

of eel, piranha, shark, so they may open

their jaws and devour their catch.

A temple full of little gods and demons,

with a vast number of nicknames and tails.

Czeslaw Milosz (2003)

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini stationing direct

Germination by Odilon Redon (1890-96)

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

Czeslaw Milosz (1981-1983)

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

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

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

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

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MercuryInferiorConjunctWRIGC1A

MercuryStationDirectWRIGC3

References

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

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

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

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

Taurus New Moon

BullPainting

Lascaux Cave painting (15,300 B.C.) with Pleiades above the bull in the center

As we are in a time of intense collective events rife with catastrophe, perhaps it is fitting that on May 17, 2015 we will initiate a new lunar cycle at 27° Taurus conjunct the fixed star Algol, known as both the blinking demon star as well as a symbol of the severed head of Medusa.  Though this fixed star has been dumped on in the past with a lot negative projection from astrological authorities, there has been a post-modern approach to re-interpret Algol through placing this past malefic analysis within the context of the oppression of women and the sacred feminine.  Similarly, the asterism of the Pleiades that this Taurus New Moon is also conjunct has been on the receiving end of negative projection in our astrological past, yet in more recent times has been gaining an empowering and healing reputation.  The conjunction of this New Moon in Taurus with the seven sisters of the Pleiades is an important point of focus, since in the Greek story of these seven stars one of them is the exquisitely beautiful Maia, the mother of Hermes.  The astrological synchronicity with this mythic detail is that on the day after this New Moon, Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini and head backwards in zodiac degree toward the place his mother in myth resides.

Whenever a planet is stationing, it takes on great prominence in our astrological landscape.  Mercury in Gemini is particularly potent at the New Moon because it is at the threshold of the phasis point of being fifteen degrees away from the Sun, a range of zodiac degree that in Hellenistic astrology marked the point at which a planet either disappeared or reappeared in our view of the sky.  Mercury in its current stage is preparing to disappear at sunset to no longer appear as an Evening Star, symbolically descending into the underworld of our psyche, and so altogether this means that Mercury is holding an important message for us to attune to as we set intentions.  Mercury will be retrograde from May 18 – June 11, 2015, so to investigate its impact check the aspects made from 14° to 5° of Gemini in your chart.  As Taurus is known for patient and stable cultivation of growth, keep in mind that since the lunar cycle following this New Moon holds a retrograde phase of Mercury, the unexpected is likely to arise within any carefully made plans we are making.  A fertile period of growth can be initiated with this new lunation, especially with Mercury retrograde in its home sign, but we will need to let go of expectations for a perfectly imagined, idealized outcome.  Whatever surprise setbacks or obstacles come our way, if we draw on the purposeful manifesting capacity of Taurus while being mutable enough to shift our responses in line with coming changes, we can ultimately achieve an outcome that is richer in creative depth than one produced from a smoothly uneventful process.

There is a powerful visioning quality to the upcoming waxing Moon, as Jupiter in Leo will be applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries for the duration of this next lunar cycle that culminates with a Full Moon in Sagittarius at 11°49′ on June 2, 2015.  This Sagittarius Full Moon will be square to Neptune in Pisces, and in addition Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun will all be conjunct in Gemini and square to Neptune.  Jupiter trine Uranus is an aspect to take advantage of while it is still applying, as it can facilitate breaking of new ground in thought, identity, and action.  In combination with Mercury moving through a retrograde phase in square to Neptune, we can access the potential of this next lunation cycle by dropping a need to rationally explain everything, opening ourselves to the magic of being present and listening to the messages found in the symbolic patterns of life surrounding us.  A New Moon in Taurus is a fitting time to ground our intentions in earth, matter, and our physical bodies, avoiding becoming lost in our minds through awareness of the needs of our bodily form.  Whenever you find your mind spinning frantically, take the time to relax with mindful breathing in nature or another calming choice that will help dissolve excess stress.

JWW_Ophelia_1889

Ophelia (1889) by John William Waterhouse

Venus is in charge of this New Moon in Taurus, and as Venus is in the lunar sign of Cancer there is an especially strong connection between this New Moon and Venus.  Venus at this time is in a complicated mess with all of the signs of a crisis, as Venus in Cancer is separating from a square to the Lunar Nodes, and applying to an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries.  In addition, Venus is also in square to the true node of Black Moon Lilith that is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of the New Moon.  Furthermore, while Venus in Cancer is separating from a trine to Neptune in Pisces at the exact time of the New Moon, in the days of the Dark Moon leading up to the New Moon Venus is applying to a square with the lunar nodes as well as its trine to Neptune. This is a complex Venus transit that could be received by us in a myriad of ways depending upon our current consciousness, circumstances, and inner dynamics.

As Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node in Libra, its square in Cancer to the lunar nodes brings to the forefront our underlying emotional needs that we have been repressing or not expressing in our relationships.  In addition, this square could also coincide with increased awareness of the emotional needs of others we are in relationship with that we have either not been listening to or were previously unaware of due to a lack of communication about them. The trine from Neptune to Venus could be received as blissful absorption in the moment, yet could also take us into a Dionysian space of ecstatic feelings toward a vision that then falls into agony over the vision not being presently manifest in our life.  We may want to distract ourselves from our own drama through immersion in the illusions of literature, cinema, or other fictional tales, and this may not entirely be a bad thing as the symbolic awareness we can access through the poetry of a story that serves as a metaphor for our current predicaments can be a form of Dionysian medicine.  There is a potential with the trine from Neptune to Venus for us to open to a larger field of awareness that places our current difficulties in a collective context, thereby giving us greater capacity for acceptance of our present life. Yet with Venus simultaneously activating the lunar nodes and then the square between Pluto and Uranus, most likely we have complicated tensions within us to process.

The polarity point to Venus in Cancer is the sign of Capricorn where Pluto currently resides, an archetype of the Sea-Goat that calls for us to take responsibility for our Venusian feelings and needs.  Yet as one of the significations of Pluto in Capricorn is the hierarchical oppression exhibited by those in positions of dominant control and power, it can be easy at times to become overwhelmed with emotions of being a victim to the inequities of the surrounding power structure.  The need for survival of oppressed groups within society is implied by the Sabian symbol for the Taurus New Moon, “An old Indian woman selling the artifacts of her tribe to passers-by,” which to Dane Rudhyar signified “peaceful adaption to collective needs,” as the woman finds a function within her society through selling products from her traditional culture (p. 86).  Rudhyar analyzed this stage of Taurus as being a point at which “the aging mind of the individual peacefully reintegrates itself into the psychic matrix of his group and culture, in serene ADJUSTMENT to the vital needs of the whole of which he sees himself as a fleeting part” (p. 87).  Instead of merely feeling victimized by societal power structures, this Taurus New Moon can be a beneficial time to acclimatize how we can integrate ourselves into the system in order to create shifts and bring about change through sharing of our unique gifts.

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7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

The Taurus III decan holding the Taurus New Moon is associated with the 7 of Pentacles in tarot, as seen in the image above from the Rider-Waite deck illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here we see a farmer overlooking his growing crops with care and mindful attention to how to facilitate the development of a bountiful harvest.  Yet patience is a necessity, as all of the hard work that has been put into planning, sowing, planting, watering, and other necessary actions will not lead to the manifestation of the desired end for a long period of time.  This image of patient cultivation is particularly apt for this Taurus New Moon that initiates three weeks of Mercury retrograde, and the calm, prudent, and attentive countenance of the farmer in the image will be a helpful presence to cultivate in the face of adversity.

Saturn rules the Taurus III decan, and while it corresponds to the hard work put into the sowing and planting in the image of the 7 of Pentacles above, as well as into the mindful tending of ensuing growth, it also signifies unforeseen turmoil and devastation the farmer can only hope to protect their harvest from.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces created the symbol of “A string of prayer beads” for this decan, as it “represents a confrontation with destructive factors which impede completion,” and the need to enact remediation and “make plans to accommodate the unforeseen” (p. 80 – 81).  While Coppock acknowledged that we must face toil and difficulty at times in this decan out of no fault of our own as well as a consequence of prior choices, he also listed virtues such as “wisdom, patience, humility, and foresight” as being “the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face” (p. 81).  Coppock further declared that the great strength of this decan is its capacity to support us in developing remedies to overcome threats:

Thus, the power to call upon greater power in order to atone for folly or repair damage done is great here. It is a place of humility. The proper image may be painted to petition the call for help amidst catastrophe, whether it be self-caused or not. In cases of hubris, the formula must involve confession- the ritual sacrifice of the folly which was at cause.

While repair and repentance certainly feature prominently, equally important is the power of preparation. Acts, both magical and mundane, to ward off the visits of evil are potent in this face . . . Ultimately this face teaches us how to preserve our works, both from our own folly and the titans’ rages. (p.82)

Taurus is a survivor full of perseverance that can bear the brunt of any destructive storms or setbacks.  In Taurus we can be gracefully drawn into our inner realm to connect with our authentic values, and it is the strength of our inner values that can come to our aid in times of trouble.  Set course for the direction you want your life to take at this Taurus New Moon, with faith that remaining heedful of your inner principles will enable you to sustain focus on your desired end with resilience, no matter what difficulties approach in the coming tides.

TaurusNewMoonWRIGC3

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.

Full Moon of Beltane

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Wind_Blown_Grass_Across_the_Moon_-_Utagawa_Hiroshige_(Ando)

Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon by Hiroshige

Merry Beltane to One and All. The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 3 falls at the potent middle degrees of Taurus and Scorpio, marking the cross-quarter time between the Equinox and Solstice known as Beltane (traditionally celebrated on May 1).  In the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane marks initiation into the full season of Spring with rituals such as the maypole dance symbolizing the procreative merging of feminine and masculine energies.  Beltane was a time to take romantic and sexual license, a time of passionate affairs rather than being bound to the institution of marriage that in the past had little to do with passion or love.  At Beltane lovers made love in fields of blooming flowers, drank from and luxuriated in the pure water of wells, and honored the sacred pleasures of their bodily form.  This Scorpio Full Moon activates a potent field of energy released in the past season of eclipses and the initiation of the first quarter square between Uranus and Pluto, and we can take this Beltane message of natural time to heart as collectively we have been facing calamitous and chaotic current events.  Events such as the massive earthquake in  Nepal can strike us with fear at our core, yet also compel our hearts to open with unified response for reparation.  Instead of fearing the destructiveness of nature, or feeling guilty over our own natural desires, this Scorpio Full Moon asks us to bravely open ourselves to the full spectrum of feelings, including the difficult ones, of what it means to be a soul incarnated in our human form.

Classical and esoteric astrology view Mars as the ruler of this Scorpio Full Moon, and transiting Mars in Taurus is in a wide trine to Pluto in Capricorn, the ruler of this Scorpio Full Moon to many modern systems of astrology.  Mars, Pluto, and the Moon are all in significant aspect to astrological symbols of the Primal Feminine:  the Full Moon is conjunct the Lilith asteroid in Scorpio,  Mars is conjunct the fixed star Algol (associated with the decapitated head of Medusa), and Pluto is in a Grand Earth Trine with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo and the Sun in Taurus.  All together this signifies the powerful passion of femininity that in patriarchal conditioning became distorted into the whore and the devouring mother archetypes, and signals a time to honor the archetype of the Great Goddess who is a force of nature behind both our creation and destruction.  As we are also at a collective cultural time of gender questioning becoming more prevalent and distinctions between masculine and feminine less important to many, it nonetheless is important to reflect upon the symbolism of wild women archetypes such as Lilith and  Medusa and how they have been repressed and alienated in dominant cultural paradigms.

In this realm of our collective unconscious, it is further fascinating that this Scorpio Full Moon completely activates Neptune in Pisces, a fertile symbol of our collective past religious and spiritual history.  The Scorpio Full Moon is in trine to transiting Neptune in Pisces, and it is square to the North Node (Leo) and South Node (Aquarius) of Neptune.  We can receive illumination that destroys the illusion of our past patterns of belief and that assists us in re-aligning with the truth of the experiences flowing through our life.  For example, for those living in a culture dominated by a religion such as Christianity, we can more sharply sense the far reaching influence of source text such as the Garden of Eden story with Original Sin and the resulting feelings of guilt that can overcome us when feeling natural desires. These past patterns of belief can also be embedded in any aspect of the dominant cultures surrounding you since birth that helped influence your development.  As a result, we could find this playing out within our current career pursuits or relationships in one way or another, all around the concept of a dissolution of our past fixated perspective and the potential for disillusionment upon realizing that certain aspects of our reality are not what they previously seemed to us.  In the cosmic grand scheme of things, whatever dissolution of past beliefs is occurring now is vital to digest and discover meaning from.

Félix_Vallotton_-_Das_blühende_Feld

Felix Vallotton (1912) The Blooming Field

Insight into the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio can be found through the 4th Ray of esoteric astrology that means “harmony through conflict.”  Here “conflict” relates to the myriad complexes and contradictions we experience while incarnated in the flesh of our human bodies, while the “harmony” relates to the growth of consciousness we cultivate through passing through the intensity of our life and becoming more heart-centered.  Venus rules Taurus in all systems of astrology, and in evolutionary astrology it is the “inner Venus” that that aligns with our most deeply felt values.  Venus draws us into desires of pleasure, such as being surrounded by matter we consider beautiful, delighting in food that brings good feeling to our body, or lavishing in the passionate merging of our flesh with our lover.  A fixed sign, Taurus is rigid when these desires we attach to become so crystallized that we cling to them in resistance of change, even if we are at a point of dormancy in our life in need of stirring and shifting.  In Scorpio we find the death and destruction of form that opens us to the possibility of rebirth or transformation.  Yet again, fear of losing our fixated attachments can lead us into attempting to control situations to ward off the inflow of chaos.  For example in relationships, out of fear of being betrayed or abandoned by a lover we can go out of our way to control situations by any means necessary to stay in favor with our desired partner or manipulate them to not end a relationship we truly may need to let go of..

This Scorpio Full Moon holds a tight square from Jupiter in Leo that signifies the expansive growth opportunities demanding that we change and stop resisting what needs to shift now.  Jupiter is moving direct now and applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, an electrifying aspect that will be intensifying over the next month.  In addition, the Scorpio Full Moon is also applying to a sextile with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn.  Jupiter in Leo in trine to Uranus in Aries calls us to expand thought and desires beyond our normal restrictive boundaries of Saturn and be open to the otherworldly music of spheres playing in the dimensions we normally filter out.  Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries bring the consuming fire of creative actualization that wants us to boldy embody and express our deep authenticity in our day-to-day life.  The blocks we feel toward expression of this energy could feel incredibly frustrating at this Full Moon, so trust that it’s placement in Scorpio is helping to transform the current impediments.  With Mars continuing to be in Taurus and separating from it’s trine with Pluto, we need to patiently continue on the path calling to us with relentless determination.  Drawing from the trine of the Full Moon to Neptune in Pisces, we need faith that by staying committed to our desire for creative actualization we will eventually manifest it.

There is additional assistance for grounded application of our core desires through the Grand Earth Trine between the Sun in Taurus, Black Moon Lilith in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn.  The facilitator of this Grand Earth Trine is Vesta in Pisces, as Vesta is conjunct Chiron, opposite Black Moon Lilith,  and in sextile to both Pluto and the Sun.  Vesta here brings up issues of how sacred sexuality and the sacred feminine became conditioned by dogmatic religious programming across centuries, resulting in people feeling guilt for wanting to express their natural sexuality.  It further connects to any strong desires that we find ourselves repressing because of fear of judgment by dominant culture belief systems. This all aligns with the split between matter and spirit in the worldview of many, meaning that instead of sensing how spirit is embedded in our bodies and matter, people instead analyze spirit as being separate from matter.  The point is that no matter how difficult our current predicament, or how far from our desired outcome we sense we are in this moment, there are potent aspects to this Full Moon spotlighting how to take a strident step forward in the direction we wish to flow.

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Paul Serusier (1888) Le Talisman

Our two inner personal planets, Mercury and Venus, are both in Gemini at the time of this Full Moon and paramount to take into consideration.  Mercury is in it’s home sign of Gemini and separating from an opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, meaning that in the days leading up to the Full Moon we would have felt an intensification of serious thought and challenges to cultivate our curiosity with studious research. Yet since Mercury will have separated from its opposition to Saturn by the time the Full Moon is activated, it means the full lunation energy will be more akin to the reflective relief following intense preparation for an examination or project.

In addition, in the days leading up to the Full Moon, Mercury is approaching the boundary of extreme declination, and in the days following the Full Moon Mercury will cross the threshold of being out of bounds in extreme declination.  Mercury will remain out of bounds until May 19, meaning that in the next couple of weeks our minds will be more free to wander in far off directions than normal.  Thus Mercury separating from an opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius is like our Mercurial minds being given an important assignment to contemplate, and once free from facing its taskmaster Mercury gains the freedom to independently take initiative of thought.  Mercury during this time is in it’s Evening Star phase that Demetra George has compared to Mercury’s exaltation in the sign of Virgo, as it gives us the ability to reflect upon past experiences and patterns and synthesize new understanding.  With Mercury at home in Gemini it should be an auspicious time for work with words and communication.

This is important to keep in mind, because around the same time that Mercury returns from being out of bounds, Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini at fourteen degrees on May 18, 2015.  Mercury will then remain retrograde in Gemini until June 11, 2015 when it stations at five degrees of Gemini.  This means that following this Scorpio Full Moon, Mercury will enter it’s retrograde shadow zone.  It also means that during this retrograde time period Mercury will square Neptune in Pisces three different times.  Look to the house of your birth chart and aspects made involving four to fourteen degrees of Gemini to gain more awareness of how you can be impacted by the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase, as well as the house holding the other Mercury-ruled sign of Virgo.  This Scorpio Full Moon has an important insight to receive in preparation for the upcoming Mercury retrograde period, especially related to your current relationship with transiting Neptune in Pisces.

Things get even wilder when we consider Venus, as Venus in Gemini will be out of bounds in extreme declination for the entire month of May.  At the time of the Full Moon, Venus will be in the third decan of Gemini, separating from a square to Chiron in Pisces.  This means that last week held more of the full on intensity of this square between an out of bounds Venus and Chiron, and indeed as the exact square was approaching the volatile riots broke out in Baltimore, Maryland in protest to the death of Freddie Gray.  After Venus passed beyond the degrees of squaring Chiron, Maryland State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced that the police officers involved in the incident would be put on trial for manslaughter, stating “I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man . . . Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come.”  After this announcement that seemed to echo from the voice of Lady Justice herself, the violence quelled.   Similarly on a personal level, we could have had personal issues that became enflamed this past week seemingly beyond our control at times. By applying the mental synthesizing ability of Venus in Gemini with the determined preparation that can come from Mercury in Gemini opposite Saturn in Sagittarius, we can now move forward with a plan of action to remedy whatever was previously wounding.

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6 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

The Scorpio Full Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  The Moon in traditional astrology is considered to be in it’s “fall” in Scorpio, and let’s face it- in relationships Scorpio partners have the stereotypical reputation of being incredibly intense and bombastic.  For this reason I love applying the sweet image above to Scorpio and looking through it’s window into the child-like innocence that is really at the heart of the hurricane of emotions that can overtake a Scorpio Moon when hurt.  The image above displays a pure sense of giving for the pleasure of giving and witnessing the joy of receiving upon the face of the recipient.  In his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces, astrologer Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan:

The dynamic suggested by the children [in the 6 of Cups image] is identical to the alchemical process of mutual distillation, wherein the matter passes back and forth between on alembic and another, growing increasingly rarefied and potent. The laboratory technique of mutual distillation can be embodied, as well. A whole category of Taoist sexual energy practice, referred to as dual cultivation, involves exactly this exchange between partners. This process combines and distills the sexual energy both parties possess, resulting in a finer nectar than either could produce on their own. Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 181).

Coppock further discerned that in order to cultivate mutual satisfaction in relationships we must have trust, intimacy, and vulnerability present.  Noting the image by Ibn Ezra for the Scorpio II decan, who described “A woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea,” Coppock suggested that we need to be careful whom we open ourselves bare to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass” (p 181). For example, when writing about the Moon placed in the Scorpio II decan, Coppock wrote that intense emotional needs can overwhelm the individual and cause them to coerce partners out of their desire for intimate union.  With the Full Moon in the Scorpio II decan we therefore have potential to open to a deeper level of fulfillment in relationship, as long as we use discernment in order to establish interchange with partners who will focus more on mutual satisfaction rather than destruction.

Finally, the focus on concretizing circuits of exchange in the Scorpio II decan parallels the image associated with the Sabian symbol for fourteen degrees of Scorpio where the Full Moon falls:  “Telephone linemen at work installing new connections.”  Dane Rudhyar analyzed this symbol as being about the establishment of “new channels of communication,” as well as the wise use of our means of interchange.  In light of the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio embedded in this Full Moon, we have a message here to merge into wider networks of community through the use of new technology and developments in communication.  As we move out of inner isolation into outer exchange with others, we will be better able to attune to the needs of both our local and global environment and what abilities we possess that can serve those needs in some way.  The square from Leo in Jupiter to this Scorpio Full Moon is pushing us to step out and move forward on our path with creative expression and emboldened belief in our ability to manifest our deepest desires. We will create a win-win scenario for ourselves and the greater good when we link our creative manifestation to the actual needs of our surrounding environment.

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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.

Mercury Mediates the Cardinal Cross

Hermes

Hermes. Attic Red-figure Calyx-Krater, by Euphronios, 515 BCE. NYC, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Just as we are in the wake of the exact Cardinal Cross corresponding to a multitude of chaotic current events, Mercury steps into his Superior Conjunction with the Sun.  When Mercury is moving direct and conjunct the Sun it is called a superior conjunction because Mercury is moving very fast (this is in contrast with the Inferior Conjunction that occurs when Mercury is moving retrograde and slow).  Demetra George has compared Mercury at this phase of his cycle with the Sun to his detriment placement in Sagittarius because he has gone invisible under the beams of the Sun and his swift movement can correspond to both ingenious insight as well as a feeling of overwhelm in the face of an avalanche of disorienting information or events.  The challenge is to assimilate and to integrate all of the information that is made available at the superior conjunction:  this is always the case, but the fact that this particular superior conjunction is occurring at the time of the Cardinal Cross, in between a Lunar Eclipse and a Solar Eclipse, makes this a particularly volatile and catalytic superior conjunction.   We may be sensing brilliant insights of genius, the frenzied madness of a manic perspective, or both at the same time.  What is clear is that this time of a Cardinal Cross in between eclipses has lived up to its billing as an intense crossroads:  liberation from past limiting patterns is the potential benefit of this time, and so we need to maintain the mental balance to take in and digest the profound insights available to our perception.

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While one can see in the chart above the square alignment between Mars retrograde in Libra, Jupiter in Cancer, Pluto retrograde in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries, one can also see that Venus is tight in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio as well as conjunct the Moon in Pisces.  Yes, grand squares can be stressful, but they are also a building energy that can initiate new forms and structures, particularly in the cardinal signs.  Venus in Pisces rules the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Taurus, and since she is also aligned with the Moon and in trine to Saturn we have an opportunity at this time to perceive the profound personal message directed at us from the universe that is found in this Cardinal Cross.  Venus in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio also bring in the two other modes of operation besides the initiatory focus of Cardinal signs:  Venus being in a Mutable sign that helps us to flow with changes while breaking up and mediating our experiences into the essential take away, Saturn being in a Fixed sign helping us to solidify and realize the golden insight we can glean while processing all of the events and exchanges occurring in our lives at this time.

Mercury like Saturn is also in a Fixed sign at this time, and in fact in this period will quickly move through Taurus and become exactly opposite Saturn retrograde in Scorpio (May 2, 2014).  Mercury in Taurus is ruled by Venus transiting in Pisces, and in Taurus she is more of an inner Venus focused on our inner resources and values, a Venus that helps us connect with our body, our bodily instincts, and perception open to us through body language and interpretation.  Mercury being in a fixed sign lends stability to an astrological archetype that is very fluid:  Mercury can go between the underworld and the upper world, in traditional astrology he can belong to both the diurnal and the nocturnal sect, and indeed he is able to find the middle ground while mediating between worlds and unifying opposites.  Amazingly, the Sabian symbol for 6 Taurus where the superior conjunction occurs evokes this meaning:  “cantilever bridge across a deep gorge,” with the keynote meaning of a “conquest of separateness through group cooperation” (Rudhyar, p. 74).  To Dane Rudyhar, this symbol stresses the need to participate in a “collective project” in order to build a link “through the power of the collective mind of the group or the community at large, on the basis of the legacy of the past, to make a bridge over the canyon” (Rudhyar, p. 74). We need Mercury at this time to help us make sense of everything occurring around us:  it is not just our own personal patterns that are being revealed for our personal liberation, it is the great collective patterns of our collective history that are also being revealed, and it will only be through collective group effort that we will be able to collectively liberate ourselves from them.

The significant shift that follows the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun is the transformation of Mercury from a Morning Star to an Evening Star.  Mercury is in his Morning Star phase when he is behind the Sun by zodiac degree, and he is in his Evening Star phase when he is ahead of the Sun by zodiac degree.  When Mercury reaches about fifteen degrees before the Sun he disappears in the Eastern sky at sunrise, only to rise again at sunset as an Evening Star when he reaches about fifteen degrees ahead of the Sun.  In the last couple of months as a Morning Star, leading up to our current Cardinal Grand Square, Mercury has been functioning more in his Morning Star role as a more objective, yang energy that is outwardly directed and effective in a more public focus on reputation, honors, and career.  Once Mercury becomes an Evening Star, he will embody a more reflective, yin energy that is both subjective and intuitive, able to perceive information through dreams, memory, and bodily instincts.  At this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction, however, leading up to the Solar Eclipse that will occur around April 29 (or April 28 depending upon your time zone), we are in a time of accelerated perception and information, a vortex in which we may encounter many opportunities and be able to accomplish a great deal if we can maintain our focus amid the catalytic energy of the Cardinal Cross and Solar Eclipse.

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One can see here that at the time of the Solar Eclipse, Mercury will be (1) sextile to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, (2) in trine to Pluto in Capricorn, and (3) in sextile to Jupiter in Cancer.  This means that Mercury will be mediating between powerful transpersonal and personal energies during this Solar Eclipse he is closely conjunct in Taurus, giving us the opportunity to perceive information and insight through the collective conscious and unconscious (Neptune in Pisces) that can help us regenerate core aspects of our authentic Self that can in the end help us re-make and re-form structures of the surrounding systematic power structure (Pluto in Capricorn).  We can also gain insight into how we have been conditioned to judge ourselves or allow ourselves to be judged or shamed by the imposed expectations of others.  Remember that very recently at the time of the Lunar Eclipse a couple of weeks ago that Mercury was conjunct Uranus in Aries as we entered this Cardinal Cross time period:  as a result Mercury is carrying a liberating message from Uranus with him into the Sun and the Solar Eclipse.  Making things even more amplified, the opposition between Jupiter in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn has been in place for all of 2014 so far, and has been intensely triggered at this time of a Cardinal Cross.  It is therefore incredible at this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction that also happens at a time of a solar eclipse that Mercury is conjunct, that Mercury steps into such harmonious mediating aspects between Jupiter and Pluto.  This is a time to gain greater clarity for our true values, and the purpose and passion in life we want to direct our inner resources toward in this next phase of our life.

Furthermore, just as Venus in Pisces is ruling the Solar Eclipse occurring at this time, so does Venus also rule Mercury’s journey through the sign of Taurus.  And as previously mentioned, Venus in Pisces is now significantly in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio as we enter the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Taurus.  Love is the great harmonizer that can weave together disparate elements and events into a Venusian tapestry that can help us nurture ourselves during any wounding experience.  Venus was recently conjunct Chiron in Pisces and in trine to Jupiter in Cancer, and now that she is also in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio means that we can get a more visceral feeling in our bodies and bones regarding the deeper meaning of recent events with respect to our core being.  It also gives us the ability to manifest a deeper sense of love into our daily existence, focusing on what we want to have happen with a greater ability to materialize aspects of our authentic desire.

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Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868)

Mercury is moving fast however, and so will remain in the Venus ruled sign of Taurus for only a few weeks as he travels invisible under the beams of the Sun.  Mercury will appear again as an Evening Star in the sky at his acronymic rise at Sunset, occurring around May 9, 2014 when Mercury reaches fifteen degrees ahead of the Sun:  Mercury will be enjoying himself in the early degrees of Gemini at this time.  Demetra George has compared Mercury in this phase of his cycle with the Sun as being similar to his exaltation in the sign of Virgo.  This is not the youthful, risk-taking, and overly curious Hermes, but rather the sage and bearded Hermes, the educator of youth and the wise inventor of letters and numbers, the discerning interpreter of words and the giver of medicinal drugs.  The combination of this phase of Mercury being similar archetypally to Mercury’s exaltation in the discerning Virgo with the transit of Mercuy in his inquisitive home sign of Gemini is absolutely perfect to help us digest and integrate all of the mind blowing experiences from this time period.

As a result, Mercury moving direct as an Evening Star in the sign of Gemini will help us assimilate, classify, organize, and integrate all of our wild perceptions from this time period with a more deliberate mental process able to flow and navigate with all of the changes arising.  In these ways, Mercury will continue in his role of mediating the intense events of the Cardinal Cross within our perceptions through the Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere where I live; of course in the Southern Hemisphere you are in Autumn now), significantly reaching another phase of his journey on June 7, 2014 when he will station retrograde at four degrees of Cancer in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  This will be the next phase of our mental integration of all the changes happening now, the Mercury retrograde phase, where Mercury will take on more of the meaning of his detrimental placement in the sign of Pisces, a time of release of old thought forms and concepts in preparation for visualizing and envisioning our new future yet to come.  Mercury in this period has a strong ability to interpret omens and signs in our night-time dreams and day-time explorations, and since this retrograde phase will begin with a trine to Neptune in Pisces it will also give us the opportunity for greater acceptance and healing of any wounding changes occurring in our lives during this Cardinal Cross time period.  Again with amazing timing, Mercury in this phase will experience his Inferior Conjunction with the Sun around the time of the June Solstice (the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere; the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) at the very end of the sign of Gemini.  In the beginning of July, Mercury will station direct to move forward again in a month where Mars will finally leave his retrograde shadow zone, Jupiter will leave Cancer to enter the sign of Leo, and this Cardinal Cross time period will be clearly left behind.  So welcome the wise trickster Hermes into your life right now:  Mercury is making himself available at this time to help you navigate literally anything you are currently facing.

References

Demetra George. (2012). Lecture on Hermes: Guardian of Thresholds. UAC.

Dane Rudhyar. (1973).  An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformation and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage Books.