Scorpio New Moon: Fire from the Depths

William Blake blasted tree and moon

Blasted Trees and Flattened Crops, from Thornton’s Pastorals of Virgil (1821) by William Blake

New Moon in Scorpio

Scorpio is known as a place of depths, deep feelings and desire to penetrate through superficial exteriors into the hidden core of matters.  Scorpio is also the zodiac sign perhaps most commonly associated with death and rebirth processes, those experiences called regenerative or transformative.  Yet Scorpio is also known to resist becoming vulnerable to the loss that comes with change, using any tactics imaginable to manipulate and control changing dynamics. The New Moon in Scorpio on November 7 comes at a time of tremendous changes within the cycles of astrology that indicate a necessity of surrendering to the elements of flowing flux outside our control. Jupiter, Uranus, and the lunar nodes are all changing signs in the days surrounding the Scorpio New Moon, while  about a week later Mars will also change signs at the same time both Venus and Mercury station and change directions. The sensitive, probing gifts of the Scorpion may be used within the darkness of the lunation to reorient plans within the shifts of both outer and inner landscapes.

For over a month we have been experiencing the liminal space of Venus retrograde, a time when our innermost values and desires mutate and bring about external alterations from transfiguration of inner roots. Within the darkness before the Scorpio Sun rises on the day of the New Moon, as the Dark Moon in Scorpio approaches its union with our hidden solar light, Venus will bring light into predawn skies as a Morning Star. Venus retrograde has returned not only to its heralding role as a Morning Star, but also has firmly established itself back into its home of Libra.

Thus the New Moon arrives in time to set intentions for the final week of Venus retrograde, a period in which Venus will only be moving about one degree before stationing in stillness. Due to Venus occupying its outwardly directed, airy domicile of the Scales, as well as stationing in close proximity with the beneficial fixed star Spica, the week of the waxing Moon following the New Moon can be used to actively gather whatever brilliant insights, ideas, and talents have been brewing and developing during the space of the Venus retrograde transit that began October 5.

At the same time Uranus maintaining its opposition with Venus retrograde will be amplifying the pace of developments and making everything more exciting, surprising, and ultimately liberating. Uranus retrograde returns to Aries the day before the Scorpio New Moon, bringing a torch of Promethean fire to the revelations arising in the final phase of Venus retrograde. Uranus has been in Taurus since May of 2018, and so its return to Aries will wrap up with finality the arc of narratives that developed across the seven year stretch of Uranus being in Aries that began in 2011 after an initial ingress in 2010 from the end of May through mid August. No longer under the rulership of Venus in Taurus, Uranus has now returned to being ruled by Mars in the fiery, independent, and impulsive sign of Aries. Uranian fires will bring the heat to needed to volatilize matters to a level that pushes us to take action to rebalance elements of life ready to shift in the final phase of Venus retrograde in Libra.

Scorpio New Moon

Shepherd chases away a wolf, from Thornton’s Pastorals of Virgil (1931) by William Blake

Mars in Aquarius rules the Scorpio New Moon while forming a flowing trine with Venus retrograde in Libra and receiving Uranus in Aries through a harmonizing sextile.  There has been an embattled dynamic involving Venus and Mars at times this year, with Mars in Aquarius previously stationing retrograde in range of square to the degree that Venus later stationed retrograde at in Scorpio, and Mars in Aquarius forming a square to Venus at the beginning of its retrograde in Scorpio.  Mars is now in a mediating position between the opposition of Venus and Uranus, which means the significations of Mars such as vitality, courage, protection, defense, assertion, and separating from undesirable circumstances are all strongly available to be used in negotiating the final phase of Venus retrograde.

Mars has been in Aquarius since May 17 (with a return to Capricorn in August and the beginning of September); we have had a long time to work with whatever aspects Mars in Aquarius has been making in our astrology charts, and we are now in the final week of experiencing Mars in the sign of the Water Bearer. Mars in Aquarius is able to use the airy placement to forge supportive connections and pinpoint areas of growth to focus on that can bring far ranging benefit.  Allow yourself to be surprised if necessary by whatever arises to demand your attention in the week following the New Moon.

Scorpio New Moon

Moonscape (1959) Kurt Seligmann

The Scorpio New Moon forms a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces and a creatively harmonious sextile with Pluto in Capricorn.  These are deep aspects that promote our capacity to align with the larger changes happening across our global collective. Since its likely we may not agree or like what’s happening in many areas, we need to cultivate how to nurture ourselves and loved ones in personal spheres while at the same time not becoming overwhelmed by how the tides of mass change in the greater collective are swirling outside our control. The Scorpio New Moon supports the popular mantra of being the change you want to see in the world, taking the responsibility available to participate fully in the world in line with inner integrity.

The Scorpio New Moon also arrives at the same time that the nodes of the Moon ingress into new signs, with the North Node of the Moon leaving Leo to enter Cancer, and the South Node of the Moon leaving Aquarius to enter Capricorn. As a result while Saturn in Capricorn remains the ruler of the South Node of the Moon, the Moon itself becomes the ruler of the North Node of the Moon. We will be experiencing the lunar nodes as well as eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn for the next year and a half, an alignment that supports taking the responsibility to temper and structure whatever is needed to nurture and cultivate desired growth. Yet with the fast moving Moon as the ruler of the North Node in Cancer, we will be constantly navigating a waxing and waning of tidal forces rather than being led by the steady course of the Sun that had been ruling the North Node in Leo for the past year and a half.

It is notable that as the lunar nodes switch into Cancer and Capricorn, they immediately form a catalytic square aspect with the opposition between Uranus in Aries with Venus and Ceres in Libra. Ceres in Libra was waiting to embrace Venus as she returned from the underworld with her light as a Morning Star, and the involvement of Ceres in this dynamic nodal configuration amplifies the importance of nurturing the new growth ready to emerge from the past month of shedding and release. Yet the volatility of the cardinal square formed by the lunar nodes with Venus retrograde, Uranus retrograde, and Ceres suggests it’s not a time to force things to happen but instead make assertive choices aligned with the changing currents.

In contrast to Venus which recently re-emerged into visibility after a period of invisibility, Jupiter is on the threshold of going under the beams of the Sun into an invisible phase at the time of the Scorpio New Moon. Jupiter is co-present with the New Moon in Scorpio, at the final degree of Scorpio on the cusp of entering Sagittarius the day after the lunation. The co-presence of Jupiter with the New Moon in Scorpio brings a lift to the lunation, but most importantly the ingress of Jupiter into its fiery home of Sagittarius the next day brings a major boost of inspiration and hope.

Jupiter will be joining Mercury in Sagittarius, with Mercury shining brightly at maximum elongation as an Evening Star. Though Jupiter will be undergoing its own period of purification and rebirth and will not re-emerge in light as a Morning Star until approximately December 14, the return of Jupiter to its expansive home of Sagittarius serves as a fire kindled in the darkness bringing hope of victory where fear had previously clouded vision of possibility.

Scorpio New Moon

In Engelshut (1931) Paul Klee

Mercury in Sagittarius being at maximum elongation as an Evening Star in the darkness of the Scorpio New Moon signals that Mercury is crossing the threshold of its alchemical retrograde process as outlined by Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Indeed, in the following week on November 16 we will experience Mercury stationing retrograde in Sagittarius on the same day that Venus stations direct in Libra.  Mercury is at about eight degrees of Sagittarius at the time of the Scorpio New Moon and will return to this same area of Sagittarius while retrograde on November 27 when it will enter the heart of the Sun and be reborn at six degrees of Sagittarius. Thus just as we are wrapping up an alchemical, retrograde process of Venus we are entering another one focused upon Mercury. With Jupiter ruling Mercury in its own sign of Sagittarius, it promises to be a powerful Mercury retrograde for revisioning your life.

Mercury in Sagittarius is a quick learner, communicating with a rapid, adventurous spirit that asks the big questions and is willing to search long and hard for the answers. Mercury in Sagittarius is the polarity of its airy home of Gemini, and looks to Jupiter for guidance. Since Jupiter is also co-present in its own home of Sagittarius while also undergoing a purifying rebirth with the Sun, the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius will be a time to shed outdated beliefs and regenerate an inspirational vision of how to find meaning in life.

Vitally, Mercury will be stationing in range of forming a square to Neptune in Pisces, so an important part of the process will be uncovering and facing illusions that have been operating under the surface of our perceptions. Though corresponding disillusionment may be difficult, the eventual reorientation towards the actual truth of circumstances will be beneficial in the longterm.  Interestingly, Mars will finally leave Aquarius and enter Pisces at the same time that Mercury stations retrograde in Sagittarius. This means that Jupiter in Sagittarius will be ruling both Mercury and Mars, with Mercury stationing in square to Neptune as Mars begins moving toward a conjunction with Neptune. There can be a corresponding dissolution of previous beliefs as well as powerful potential in imaginal realms to tap into.

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Scorpio 2 Decan

The second face of Scorpio is associated with the 6 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the 6 of Cups, we find the child-like innocence of purely giving for the pleasure of giving and receiving the joy of witnessing gratitude upon the face of the recipient.  Fittingly, both the Sun and Jupiter are considered rulers of this face, revealing the restoration of expansive vision that may be found within the darkness of the Scorpio New Moon. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan, as it is a face in which the desires of Scorpio interchange in relationship:

The parties here [in the 6 of Cups image] are children and their affection for one another is natural and unconditioned . . . It is a vision of ideal exchange between two parties, poignant and perfect.

The dynamic suggested by the children 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 . . . Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 180-1).

As the Scorpio New Moon falls in the final phase of Venus retrograde in Libra, with Venus united with Ceres in opposition to Uranus in Aries and in square to the lunar nodes, attention to the dynamics within our myriad relationships will be of the utmost importance. This is the time to make use of whatever inner revelations you have uncovered about your relational patterns during the past month of Venus retrograde. The involvement of Uranus demands taking the risk to be authentic and honest in expression of true inner feelings. Moreover, by insisting on genuine interaction while being open to inner vulnerability, it will become possible to reshape relationships with regard to increased intimacy or increased boundaries, depending upon the dynamics involved.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Titan goddess Leto to the second face of Scorpio. Sister to the starry, divinatory goddess Asteria and mother to the twin lights of Artemis and Apollo, Leto’s presence in the space of the Scorpio New Moon is a further symbol of the need for protective nurturance to whatever we hold most dear and is need of cultivation. Leto had to flee and take refuge on an isolated island unattached to the ocean floor in order to escape the wrath of Hera, who had made all lands exclude Leto from entry due to her anger over the affair between Leto and Zeus.  It was said that the twin offspring of Leto would stabilize the new order of Olympian deities, and so her persistence in nurturing the birth of Apollo and Artemis was additionally a birth of a new collective age.  Similarly, today we can also witness a war of ideologies spanning around our planet, as we can simultaneously sense the birth of a new era on the cusp of manifestation. Like Leto, take whatever steps are necessary to give birth to the world you wish yourself and the generations to follow to inhabit.

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius: Crossing of Cronos

Saturn with Mercury caduceus

Saturn photo by NASA; Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

In the twilight of encroaching darkness Mercury disappears at sunset toward the beginning of its retrograde period, initiating its invisible phase.  As nightfall and its bed of glittering stars overtake our senses, we lose the light of Mercury during the liminal time of its retrograde until it’s reflected light returns again at dawn on the other side of its backward movement through the zodiac.  During the time we have no hope of glimpsing the light of the star of Hermes, we can feel bewildered as our perceptual awareness shifts in correspondence as elements of our life pass away.  The volatility of Mercury can be found in its mythic sources:  Carl Jung called Hermes the “many-hued and wily god,” while Karl Kerenyi noted that the ingenious leaps in gain brought by Hermes also coincide with loss.  Since Mercury stations at the beginning of December aligned with Saturn, there is adversity to face on the horizon.  The solidifying stillness of Mercury stationing with Saturn also can bring the types of tests that ultimately foster increased strength, endurance, and structural foundations.

Mercury’s retrograde cycle comes at least three times each calendar year, each manifestation unique and notable for more than a few reasons.  However, the Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius that commences December 2 or December 3, depending upon your time zone, is especially remarkable for ushering us from our experience of Saturn in Sagittarius (12/23/2014 – 12/19/2017) into Saturn in Capricorn (12/19/2017 – 12/17/2020) while Mercury also spends an unusually long time in close proximity to the star of Kronos.  Mercury first united with Saturn on November 27 at 27º27′ of Sagittarius, and after shifting retrograde will align with Saturn for a second time on December 6 at 28º23′ of Sagittarius.  Mercury will remain within three degrees of Saturn until December 9, capping off a couple of weeks of close alignment.  Mercury will eventually conjoin Saturn for a third and final time on January 12, 2018 at 2º47′ of Capricorn, and at this point we will be able to gain sharper clarity for how the events of the Mercury retrograde fit into vaster narratives.  Mercury is serving as a messenger for Saturn, and though not the only meaning to be found in this period is certainly a fundamental aspect to contemplate.

Mercury’s protean nature shifts and mutates more so than any other planet, weaving together polarities and delighting in the grayness of being in between dualities.  Mercury can be both yin and yang, nocturnal and diurnal, spiritual and material, masculine and feminine, and readily accords itself with whatever planetary engagements it finds itself within.  Additionally, the retrograde phase of Mercury is the time in which the meaning of Mercury itself changes, as its swift pace slows to a standstill at the beginning and end of its backward movement through the zodiac.  Instead of firing quickly with curiosity in numerous directions of outward expression, Mercury when retrograde focuses internally with greater propensity for intuiting guidance through symbols and discerning the underlying meaning of both waking and dreaming life. Aligned with Saturn, Mercury retrograde takes on the significations of the star of Kronos, and so to navigate this passage optimally we need to consider how the archetypal forces of Mercury retrograde and Saturn commingle.

Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus floor panel in Siena Cathedral

Hermes, ruler of the world, dweller in the heart, circle of the moon,
Round and square, inventor of the words of the tongue,
Obedient to justice, wearer of the chlamys, shod in winged sandals,
Guardian of the many-sounding tongue, prophet to mortals.

— translation of a Magic Papyrus in Carl Jung’s Alchemical Studies

In our astrological tradition, the affinity between Saturn and Mercury is generally positive:  the 17th century text Christian Astrology by William Lily stated that both Mercury and Saturn are friendly toward one another, while the 9th century Vedic astrological text Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra stated that Saturn considers Mercury a friend while Mercury in comparison is neutral about Saturn.  In the 20th century archetypal tradition that synthesized ancient understanding from Hermetic sources within a depth psychology framework, the lineage from Carl Jung through James Hillman found a vital relationship between Saturn and Mercury within alchemy as well as through the conceptual duality of the senex (elder authority) and puer (eternal youth).  In Alchemical Studies, Carl Jung noted that Mercurius contains the dual  nature of senex and puer. Hillman later illuminated that the senex brings structure, discipline, tradition, and grounding, while the puer injects the vibrancy of idealism, imagination, creativity, and wanderlust.

We can imagine the union of Mercury’s creative bridging with the structural discipline of Saturn through authoritative sources that sustain openness to invention and visionary change.  Mercury retrograde periods bring the ability to focus deeply into mercurial research and communication projects, and so the influence of Saturn brings opportunities to base understanding from traditional lineages while opening awareness to how it fits within the current moment and zeitgeist.  Fantasizing or speculating while disconnected from the responsibilities of reality during this Saturnine retrograde of Mercury will bring repercussions, however, and so flights of imagination need to sustain a level of grounded application.  Whatever philosophical, intellectual, or spiritual frameworks we have been thinking and acting from will be confronted and tested and it will become obvious (if we are paying attention) where we have been deluding ourselves or how are belief system leads to adverse consequences we had not formerly recognized.

With regards to the interplay between Mercury and Saturn within alchemy, I was intrigued to find that Gary Caton linked the alchemical process of nigredo with the initial stationing phase of Mercury retrograde in his recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year.  The blackening and putrefaction of nigredo that Jung’s work linked to the dark night of the soul has been associated with Saturn as it brings a decomposition that ultimately leads to illumination.  Since Mercury is stationing in alignment with Saturn at the end of Sagittarius, the peak period of darkness in the northern hemisphere that precedes the rebirth of increased solar light at the Winter solstice, the link to nigredo is even further increased.  Caton wrote that the connection between the initial descent of Mercury retrograde with the nigredo process calls us “to purge the body, the psyche, and the life of extraneous or ‘dead weight’ in order to free up energy for future growth” during the beginning phase of Mercury retrograde (p. 112).

Since Saturn and Mercury are both in the outwardly directed home of Jupiter, Mercury’s retrograde will be pulling us into volatile and stark examinations of our vision for how we create meaning from our experiences in life.   Old thought patterns that have become habitually ingrained in our mind yet are no longer aligned with our authentic development can be dissolved and released with mindful focus and attention.  In a more immediate and mundane sense, we will be called to question some of our goals and plans through Saturnine delays, blockages, or obstacles.  It can be a pop astrology cliche to say that we should expect delays with everything happening in correspondence with Mercury retrograde, but with Mercury stationing in such close proximity to Saturn we are entering a retrograde phase that will force us to slow down and reconsider choices as we encounter restrictions or barriers of one sort or another.  Instead of impatiently shutting down or trying to force things out of frustration, keep a steady and alert focus on how things are developing and be ever ready to spontaneously shift directions or make alterations and revisions as needed.  Saturn and Mercury can guide us toward what needs to be modified for necessary reasons, whether we initially like it or not.

Ancient Mesopotamian astrology also reveals some overlap in meaning between Mercury and Saturn through the associations of the planets with mythic divinities Nabu and Ninurta.  Saturn was linked to the conquering hero Ninurta who retrieved the tablets of fate from a dragon of chaos who had stolen them, subsequently becoming an “overseer of fate and destiny” according to Michael Baigent in his book From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.  Mercury was linked to the messenger Nabu, a divine scribe who recorded the fate for the world in the coming year when the gods met to decide upon the destiny for the year ahead at the ceremonial end of the year.  These ancient connections with Mercury and Saturn are fitting for the Mercury retrograde coming at the close of 2017, as its surrounding aspects portend the arrival of twists and turns in our personal and collective narratives.

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Hermes (27 B.C. – A.D. 68) The Met

Mercury plays the role of psychopomp during its retrograde phase, and if we can make the space to go within for internal contemplation we can receive guidance from the depths of soul.  Chthonic Mercury’s guidance can feel irrational at times, perplexing to habitual, egoic minds.  Since Mercury is aligning with Saturn at the end of its time in Sagittarius and will station direct following the ingress of Saturn into Capricorn, we have a saturnine atmosphere to reflect back over all of our experiences in connection with the star of Kronos since it entered Sagittarius on December 23, 2014.  At the same time we will be dealing with the final lessons Saturn in Sagittarius has to offer, and so the quicksilver of Mercury can help us mutate as needed and prepare us for crossing over the threshold of the forthcoming three years of Saturn in Capricorn.  Mercury is a guardian of gates, doors, and liminal thresholds of all manner.  Maintaining mindfulness will enable us to notice and discern whatever final messages we need to hear and integrate with Saturn in Sagittarius.

Moon in home of Mercury

Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

A Full Moon in Gemini on December 3 launches us into the Mercury retrograde period with a boom and bang.  Most notable in the syzygy are the aspects circulating between the Full Moon, Jupiter in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces.  While the Full Moon forms a tight, catalytic square with Neptune, at the same time Jupiter in Scorpio is forming its first exact trine with Neptune in Pisces. Since the Full Moon is in the home of Mercury, there is incredible timing of the lunation ripening about eight hours after Mercury has officially stationed retrograde in union with Saturn.  Altogether this brings increased potency to Mercury’s stationing much more so than normal, and whatever the Mercury retrograde is initially leading us to recognize and respond to will be obvious.

The influence of Neptune over the Gemini Full Moon that initiates us into the Mercury retrograde harkens back to the square between Neptune and Saturn in Sagittarius that dominated 2016 and was one of the most prominent aspects of Saturn’s time in the sign of the Centaur.  Among other current events this coincided with debates over national borders with regards to refugees and immigrants as well as a deterioration in the ability of the general public to discern the difference between fake and accurate media sources.  We now have the transit of Jupiter harmoniously interacting with Neptune as the backdrop behind Saturn and Neptune’s movement through the homes of Jupiter, and during the Mercury retrograde we will also experience Mercury, Venus, the Sun and the Moon moving through Sagittarius.

Since Jupiter in Scorpio is in the twelfth place from Sagittarius, the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can deepen understanding through exposure of the previously concealed.  However, the easy trine aspect could also result in people deluding themselves within dogmatic belief systems if they are unwilling to open their minds to evidence coming from a different perspective.  The influence of Neptune upon Mercury’s retrograde through Sagittarius will not be going away, as Mercury will ultimately station direct in range of a square with Neptune.  As a result disillusionment could arise in related events that can cause depression, but these same difficult events can also become a necessary wake up call with what needs our full attention to change or heal.

The trine aspect between Uranus in Aries with Saturn has been another one of the key aspects within Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius that Mercury retrograde will also activate.  Mercury in Sagittarius formed a trine with Uranus on November 25 while moving direct at maximum elongation, and will form a second trine with Uranus in Aries on December 10.  After Mercury stations direct, it will move into its final trine with Uranus on January 6, 2018.  The trine between Uranus and Saturn has brought opportunities throughout 2017 to innovate and open the structural foundations of our lives to greater freedom and authenticity of expression.  Mercury moving back and forth in aspect with Uranus can help us attune to the aspects of organizational restructuring we have been developing that need additional support or repair.  It also increases the volatility of the Mercury retrograde period through unexpected influences and change that comes rapidly with quick development.

Ananka_i_Mojre

Ananke and the three Fates

The shadow cast across the Mercury retrograde by Saturn means the disintegration of matters we will face are necessary, and so instead of becoming stagnant with depression we need to surrender to the unalterable changes while conserving energy for the creative action we have the time and space to make a difference with.  The ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the primordial Ananke to the third decan of Sagittarius where Mercury will unite with both Saturn and the Sun during its retrograde.  Since Saturn rules the third face of Sagittarius and has been present in transit here, the gravitas of Ananke has been accentuated.  Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that Ananke’s influence over this decan can be seen in daunting trials and tasks demanding uncomfortable endurance and effort.  Forces of Necessity and Eros, Daimon and Fortune lay at the root of our astrological foundations.  We have to deal with elements of destiny we cannot change and must endure, while we are also given opportunities to respond with clarified intention and co-create the life we most desire to lead.  Do your best to flow with the currents brought along with Mercury’s sleight of hand rather than becoming frustrated by the aspects of life you cannot change.

Since Mercury is orbiting through the space between our planet and our Sun during its retrograde, as close to us as it ever gets, it is like the Mercury archetype is more present and gripping us from the inside.  As a result its always important to maintain keen alertness and attention to subtle shifts in the details of daily life so we have the best chance to respond effectively.  Mercury retrograde periods also reward efforts to create space for meditation and inner contemplation, and this aspect is especially intriguing this time around as Mercury retrograde is uniting with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center which is roughly at 27º of Sagittarius.  I find the idea of transits to the Galactic Center compelling, though I do not feel I completely understand the full ramification of their meaning as an astrologer.  I like the following interpretation Melanie Reinhart wrote in her article The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs:

Astrologically, when the Galactic Centre zone is activated by transits . . . the places, people, ideas, notions and events in our life where we have previously projected our own sense of ‘Higher Self’, or ‘Deeper Centre’ as a source of nourishment may collapse, let us down, crumble, turn against us, or simply quietly depart. That which promised ‘immortality’ fails us. Our ‘tribal’ associations, national or racial identities, while valuable on their own level, are relinquished. Through these transitions or crises, our consciousness develops. This may require a great deal of psychological processing, allowing grief and confusion to give way to peace and clarity. Both our physical bodies and subtle bodies may need attention as toxins begin to be eliminated when we travel the ‘celestial pathway’.

Urania's_Mirror_Serpentarius_Serpens

Ras Alhague, Ophiuchus from Urania’s Mirror

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

On December 12 we will experience the heart of the Mercury retrograde phase when Mercury is purified and reborn through a conjunction with our fiery Sun.  Called the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it represents a time of illumination in which Mercury aligns in orbit exactly in between our Earth and the Sun.  All of Mercury’s significations are strengthened during the time in which Mercury is transiting within a degree of the Sun, making it an excellent window of time for all mercurial activities. As we cross this threshold of the Mercury retrograde we enter a phase of deepening meaning and realization. Occurring at 21º14′ of Sagittarius, the influence of Saturn is further amplified by Mercury’s inferior conjunction happening within the Egyptian bounds of Saturn.

The union of Mercury with the Sun is also occurring in range of a conjunction with the fixed star  Ras Alhague in the Ophiuchus constellation.  Ras Alhague is the brightest star in Ophiuchus and the head of the Serpent Holder.  Ptolemy associated Ras Alhague with Saturn and Venus, interesting since both Venus and Saturn are co-present with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius.  Bernadette Brady wrote that “healing, teaching, or wounding” are the themes of Ophiuchus with a focus on reparations for whatever has been damaged.  The healer connection with Ras Alhague is intriguing since the inferior conjunction of Mercury occurring nearby can facilitate attention to nurture whatever needs mending.  Robert Hand and other astrologers have also connected the Serpent Holder with humanity’s attempts throughout history to grab ahold of nature in order to reap energy resources and power.  We are clearly at a collective crossroads in terms of our use and misuse of nature for energy.  Mercury’s back and forth through Sagittarius and across the Serpent Holder will bring significant messages concerning the need for change and the repercussions of inaction.

Hermes print Robert Mapplethorpe

Hermes by Robert Mapplethorpe

Solstice Station of Mercury

A few days after Mercury unites with the Sun, Mercury retrograde will conjoin Venus on December 16 at 17º52′ of Sagittarius.  Venus will be co-present with Mercury in Sagittarius for the entirety of its retrograde, making Mercury’s ability to find pleasure and harmony easier than it would normally be while in the same sign as Saturn.  Similar to the recently reborn Mercury not being at full strength due to being invisible and finishing a purification process, Venus is also not at full strength and engaged in purification on her way toward an eventual union with the Sun.  Venus and Mercury retrograde unite under a Dark Moon in Scorpio.  Nights come full of secrets and delights that are hidden from external eyes.  In the privacy of one’s inner sanctum healing and joy are possible during the interplay of Venus with the retrograde Mercury.

Mercury stations direct in Sagittarius a day after the Solstice on December 22, the peak time of darkness in the northern hemisphere and the peak time of light in the southern hemisphere.  This is also one day after Saturn enters Capricorn and forms a conjunction with the Sun at the Solstice.  Mercury also shifts into direct motion in range of a challenging square with Neptune, while forming a harmonious sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and a stimulating trine with the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  If we have been open to flow with the chaos and allow for the necessary disintegration and dissolution, the coagulation of the Capricorn Solstice will bring needed reordering and rebirth along with the return of the holy light of Hermes.  The close of the year brings a new cycle of Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, with Mercury bright at dawn and ready to take on all of the needed responsibilities in the day ahead.

References

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

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

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

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

Hand, Robert. (2000). A Dialogue Between Heaven and Earth.

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

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

Reinhart, Melanie. (2017) The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs.

 

Gemini Full Moon

scott young FirstExperience

First Experience by Scott Young (2015)

Full Moon in Gemini

The Full Moon in Gemini on November 25, 2015 catalyzes the crescendo of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that becomes exact in its intensity on the following day.  There are numerous aspects at the time of this Gemini Full Moon signifying tumultuous change:  the Gemini Moon is square to Neptune and opposite Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun, while Venus in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Libra is applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, Jupiter in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Chiron and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  With the Moon fully illuminated in the sign of Gemini, our minds will be charged with new connections and thoughts that metamorphose pre-existing beliefs and conceptual frameworks regarding reality.

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, as the two brightest stars of the constellation are named after Castor and Pollux in Greek myth, one of two sets of twins Leda gave birth to after Zeus mated with her as a swan.  One set of twins is male (Castor and Pollux) and one set is female (Helen and Clytemnestra), yet each set also has the unique characteristic of containing one divine twin descended from Zeus (Pollux and Helen), and one mortal twin descended from the human monarch Tyndareus (Castor and Clytemnestra).  Gemini as a result holds a sense of having a divine twin, a twin soulmate other, a soul presence we desire to more fully embody, and a sense of having contrasting selves within.  Gemini is an archetype of dyads through which our minds construct meaning in the creation and commerce of language and abstract systems of thought.  Within this binary, dualistic awareness of Gemini on a deeper level, is also the concept made famous by Carl Jung that what we call God, Goddess, Gods, or Spirit is not only the source of the good and beautiful but also the source of evil.  This leads further to the awareness that within each of us we can find both the potential of our highest good  and love, as well as the potential to create horrible acts from a place of evil or disregard for life.

We can choose to act from love and heart-centeredness.  We can choose to put our passion into collaborative efforts to bridge community and meet the needs of others.  We can choose to explore our depths of darkness within, so as to refrain from projecting upon others what we are in denial about regarding ourselves.  Yet when the global collective erupts in war and conflict, when bombs drop from the sky and terrorists rain bloodshed from the earth, we can feel the paradox of cherishing our life and loved ones while simultaneously falling into waves of disillusionment and depression regarding the senseless stupidity of humanity.  A Full Moon in Gemini unveils the power of our mind to create works of anything imaginable, from arts that inspire love and healing, to arts that inspire fear and wounding.

Mercury is the ruler of the Full Moon far from home in the sign of Sagittarius.  Not only is Mercury estranged in Sagittarius, being opposite it’s domicile of Gemini, it is furthermore combust the Sun and separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Full Moon.  Mercury in Sagittarius is also applying very widely to a square with Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury being in the sign of Jupiter while Jupiter is in the sign of Mercury, means that there is a more unpredictable element at work regarding the way we create meaning out of our experiences.   Mercury’s recent union with Saturn in Sagittarius could have led to disciplined study or other methods of expanding our mental awareness or philosophical understanding, yet it also could have led to further fixation on dogmatic beliefs entrenched in systems of thought that lack grounding in the flux of the moment.   We are at a moment in which a fruitful reorientation of our vision and ability to discover meaning in life could occur, yet to receive this potential wisdom we must be open to releasing our attachment to old conditioned thought forms that are now getting in the way of us opening to the new insight available.

scott young Waitingwithangel

Waiting With Angel by Scott Young (2015)

In addition to the importance Mercury plays with a Full Moon in Gemini, Mercury is also important to consider as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo.    Mercury in Sagittarius  by itself is fast, fiery, philosophical, and can take leaps of thought aligned with belief that may disregard other approaches to the situation.  Yet Mercury in Sagittarius is freshly separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius that could have cooled the heels of the fleet footed messenger enough to slow down thoughts and engage in the Virgo nodal mission of discerning new inner insights and areas of our life that require focus and problem solving.  In the midst of the great destruction occurring in our global collective at this Full Moon, there is enormous potential for new creation infused with integrity.   Our birth process is now occurring in a chaotic climate of sharply shifting astrological tides, yet through Mercurial focus we can make multitudinous connections of meaning that fully flesh out the essence of what we are manifesting.  If it seems the mental energy is too overwhelming, make the space for practices that put you in your body, bring you into nature, and ground your sense of inner rootedness.

As Mercury is also separating from a square with Neptune in Pisces, there is a message being fully illuminated at this lunation concerning the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune that will be dominating the astrological atmosphere in the year ahead.  If we are wiling to shed identification with past attachments now causing disillusionment, we can more readily open to the sources that will be supporting our burgeoning identity.  As things may not be going exactly according to prior plans, it is vital to remain open to possibilities rather than closing oneself off due to frustration or fear.  The shadow side of this aspect can be witnessed in the overabundance of violent rhetoric based in fear and exclusion being proliferated on the world media stage today, as many are communicating from a tight Saturnine grip on dogmatic beliefs in the face of the unknown.  A historical example is that the Salem Witch Trials took place during a transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, and we can notice similar strands of religious persecution and projection going on today that lacks grounding in objective analysis.  In many ways it is now easier than normal to notice the interplay of belief systems and personal expression and reaction in those surrounding you.

It is important to remember that while atrocities based upon belief systems were committed during the Salem Witch Trials, it also ultimately led to massive disillusionment and revelations regarding the ignorance of those in power who are lost in religious illusions.  Similarly, there are countless power structures in conflict today that are mired in ignorant dogmatism, further perpetuated by a corrupt media.  In the end the horrors of this time will be fueling a mass break down and reorientation of belief around the world, hopefully in the direction of ultimate understanding signified by Neptune in Pisces rather than misunderstanding sourced from escapist illusions, delusions, and addictions of one sort or another.  However, in the moment we are only at the beginning of entering into the tumult that will coincide with this catalytic aspect between Saturn and Neptune, bringing up initial crises we will be sorting out over the next year.  On personal inner levels we can reorient in accordance with our essential truth, yet in our interactions in our collective we must be ready to navigate volatile conflicts over competing ideologies.

Full Moon in Gemini

Svanen (1914) by Hilma af Klint

A harmonious and stabilizing aspect involved with the Moon waxing full is a Grand Air Trine that will form between the Moon in Gemini, Mars in Libra, and Ceres in Aquarius.  Ceres in Aquarius is a nurturing force on behalf of individuation and humanitarian concerns in a positive sense, while her shadow side involves cold fixation on past beliefs behind a wall of separation from the needs of those in the surrounding environment.  To me, how our consciousness responds to this air trine between the Moon, Mars, and Ceres depends to a large extent on which of these sides of Ceres we are coming from.  If our sense of Ceres is opening us to de-condition from cultural forces attempting to manipulate us toward selfish greed and grasping for power that harms life, Mars in Libra can be on the side of social justice and meeting the needs of others, and the Gemini Moon can break us out of past rigidity of thinking through insightful connections.

Mars in Libra is not only in trine to the Gemini Full Moon, but also sextile to Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun and applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn. Mars is also co-present with Venus in the sign of Libra and in coming weeks will be coming into an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Libra can coincide with unpredictability and coercive manipulation in mundane affairs, but on a personal level it could spark desires to improve and expand our relationships and social connections.  As Mars comes into a last quarter square with Pluto, it will amplify the already tumultuous environment triggered by Saturn and Neptune also being in a last quarter square.  The growth offered by this tension can come from reorienting our relational dynamics within our partnerships and society so that our own needs will be better met on the one hand, and we can realize where we have been neglecting the needs of others on the other hand.  This is a time to confront our past beliefs regarding relationships and discover which aspects are illusions that need to be released now so that we can more readily create the life we want going forward.

Further increasing our capacity to liberate ourselves from past relationship beliefs is a Venus in Libra that is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon.  Venus is also applying to a conjunction with Juno and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Libra, meaning that there are essential aspects of our relationship needs to now discover and actualize that we may have formerly felt judgment over.  It is likely that Venus in Libra will dislodge something significant as her opposition with Uranus perfected with the waxing Moon in the days leading up to this Full Moon.  The Full Moon is as a result illuminating the aftershocks of Venus opposite Uranus, and since Venus is at home in her beloved sign of Libra there is potential for important insight into our relationships no matter how challenging recent experiences may have been.  Venus opposite Uranus can strike like lightning, so if we have recently taken a leap without much forethought allow this Full Moon to give you a sense of whether or not any impulsive choices appear to be harmonious or not with your well-being.

Gemini I Decan

8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini I Decan

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini where the Full Moon occurs, a decan associated with the 8 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  It is one of the most intense images of the Rider-Waite deck, and at first glance it may seem difficult to link the bound and terrorized feeling of the image to either Jupiter or Gemini.  Yet when we realize that Jupiter signifies vision and the meaning gathered from experience, and Gemini is connected with the power of our mind to help shape reality, we can sense here the suffocating shadow cast by trauma.  Traumatic experiences such as being a victim of abuse or any form of oppression can envelope us in paralysis and hopelessness.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore interpreted this card as a frozen mental state that eclipses “one’s very sense of free agency and self,” leading to the vital importance of not blaming the victim:

When you pull this card, it is most important to exit that fictive Karmic loop of cause and effect, of blame, of the notion of an economy on pain . . . You may feel persecuted, flawed, or exiled. But feelings are not the measure of reality nor, for that matter, do they indicate what you will feel tomorrow. You will survive this, and if you transmute it properly, you stand to be a force of great healing and compassion in the lives of others… for victimization sometimes happens, with no reason, no rhyme, and no warning. Don’t blame yourself in an attempt to retain the illusion of mastery. Forgive yourself and let yourself open to your own vulnerability. In doing so, you will slowly open up to others, yet again. It’s OK.

— Kelsey Lynore, The Tarot Nook

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, symbolizing the explosion of awareness that struck Eve when she bit into the ripe apple born from the earth.  In contrast to the nightmarish image of the 8 of Swords card, Coppock wrote that traditional images for this decan display “the full power of the mind” including abstract thought, mathematics and the sciences, magic, and the art of the scribe and the seamstress (p. 87).  Coppock found a link between the static found in the 8 of Swords card and the first decan of Gemini in the power of the mind to both enliven as well as immobilize, as seekers of this face can become paralyzed by the overwhelming amount of information available in the world that is ultimately impossible to fully process:

The division of the world and the naming of its parts in this decan generates all arts, crafts and sciences, and gives rise to a bewildering profusion of selves.  It is therefore a face of tremendous curiosity and intelligence.  Within it lies the power to discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities.  It provides clever methods and opens numerous pathways, yet this very profusion de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.

–Austin Coppock (p. 87)

Jupiter, the ruler of this decan, is now in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Jupiter is at the same time the traditional ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Since Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon are both in the sign of Mercury, it is important to consider that their ruler Mercury is residing in Sagittarius, the sign of Jupiter.  Furthermore, in the waning cycle of this Gemini Full Moon we will experience Mercury becoming an Evening Star that enters into a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  All together, these astrological placements further increase the likelihood of feeling a pull to expand our knowledge and assimilation of information, while also risking a feeling of paralysis over biting off far more than our mind can fully process, integrate, and express with understanding.

If we can keep ourselves open and curious, making the space to get out of our minds and back in our bodies when mental frequencies become too intense, there is also a huge opportunity presented by these transits for fundamental change in our ability to find meaning in our life and live in accordance with an authentic vision of values.  Yes, we are going to need to deal with incredible conflict, discord, and destruction in our surroundings, but out of this falling apart a more enriching vision for our lives may arise.  This doesn’t mean things will be easy at all, and in fact we need to be ready to confront many difficulties and obstacles, grieving losses and consoling others.  Nonetheless, these astrological aspects suggest that important meaning can be found in the difficult experiences of this time.  May we share the love and light we discover within with those around us.

References

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