Scorpio New Moon

roberta matta nascitur

Nascitur by Roberta Matta

Scorpio New Moon

The blackness of the Scorpio New Moon on November 14 beckons descent and falling into feelings, probing underneath surface appearances into material that has been obscured by shadow. Within the absence of lunar light, its regenerative darkness will be full of turbulent intensity due to the surrounding influences of Mars stationing direct and Mercury opposing Uranus. Scorpio is a place of willing confrontation with death and decay,  zodiacal terrain known for intensifying feelings of being alive as it simultaneously reveals the limits of our own mortality.  Lay your fears to rest within the dark waters of the lunation, surrendering to deepening while making space for necessary rest and reflection.

The New Moon in Scorpio is at the precipice of extraordinary change, as the forthcoming lunar cycle will culminate with a Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on November 30 that will prod us into a volatile eclipse season centered around a total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14. Moreover, the lunation cycle initiated by the Scorpio New Moon will be the final lunar cycle to begin and end within the era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs that began in 1802. Since we are only a month away from the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, the seismic shifts across societal systems that will emerge in its wake can already be sensed within the sensitizing atmosphere of the dark Scorpio Moon. 

While the harmonizing sextile formed between the Scorpio New Moon with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn will open intimations of the coming new era from the swampy depths of Scorpio, the fact that Mars is simultaneously stationing direct in Aries will unleash jarring currents of agitation that can incite both anger and exhaustion. Mars has been retrograde in Aries since September 7, and so as it momentarily pauses in stillness we may feel overwhelmed by the build-up of its volcanic fire coursing through us. Mars stationing is a big deal due to it happening less often than the other planets: there will be many Mars related events and conflicts erupting during the days following the lunation we will need to navigate as mindfully as possible.

Make time and space to contemplate and feel into the new desires and directions that have emerged for you since the beginning of September. There may be aggravations and blocks frustrating forward movement as Mars barely moves in the week following the Scorpio New Moon, but at the end of November as we approach the Lunar Eclipse in Gemini we will be able to make substantial progress as Mars will kick back into accelerating forward. Rather than trying to force things to happen faster than they are naturally coming together, use the days following the Scorpio New Moon to center within your circumstances and ground into a sense of an effective strategy for achieving your goals over the next month.

Due to Mars moving retrograde in the past couple of months, it has already formed two different square aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn since the beginning of August. While Mars will not complete its third and final square aspect with Jupiter and Saturn until January 2021 after Mars has entered Taurus and Jupiter and Saturn have entered Aquarius, Mars will complete its third and final square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 23 a couple of days after the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Since there remains to be a deeper potency to forge from our martial furnace in the final months of 2020, the greater clarity we can gain now regarding whatever has been stirred up by Mars in recent months, the more directly we will be able to set our freshly forged desires into motion in the months ahead.

Remedios Varo (1948) Cambio-De-Tiempo

Cambio de Tiempo by Remedios Varo

The New Moon in Scorpio will form while completing a supportive sextile aspect with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn, and is additionally applying to a sextile with Saturn in Capricorn. The sextile between the New Moon with Jupiter and Pluto is especially significant due to the fact that Jupiter and Pluto recently completed their third and final conjunction of 2020 on November 12. Previously, Jupiter and Pluto completed conjunctions on April 4 and June 30 and so there has likely been something significant you have been cultivating since April that is now reaching a stage of culmination. As Chris Brennan and other astrologers have noted, a couple of major correspondences with each union of Jupiter and Pluto this year have been spikes in cases and deaths related to COVID 19 as well as conspiracy theories about the pandemic and many other things. Presently in the USA as Jupiter and Pluto have come together for the final time both topics have returned to prominence with record breaking numbers of coronavirus cases and the unprecedented situation of a sitting President losing an election and refusing to concede due to false allegations of voter fraud.

Jupiter and Pluto form conjunctions roughly every twelve and a half years, including in previous years of immense volatility in society such as in 1968 and 1931. The present union of Jupiter and Pluto has been similarly disruptive as 1968 and 1931 due to it also being part of larger outer planetary alignments. While in 2020 we have Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all beginning a new cycle together, in 1968 we experienced Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto ending and beginning new cycles together. In comparison, the 1931 conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto was in opposition with Saturn in Capricorn while Uranus in Aries was forming square aspects with both Saturn as well as the Jupiter Pluto conjunction.

When Jupiter and Pluto meet we must aspire to the expansive heights of Jupiter through incredibly intense periods of volcanic upheaval, breakdown and decay. It’s further typical for extraordinary power struggles to erupt over societal injustices, with numerous systemic issues of oppression in need of reform being exposed. While we necessarily are brought down into purgative processes of purification and catharsis when Jupiter and Pluto come together, we also gain the opportunity to form impactful alliances and fellowship to address the issues needing attention. While we must endure catastrophic extremes of corruption by those intent on gaining extreme amounts of wealth and power, on a personal level their synergy can guide us into inner depths to churn visions of imaginal ideas and essential purpose. While Jupiter combined with Pluto can kindle devotional focus to expansive work, it also requires us to nurture faith in the unknown while traversing a collective dark night of the soul.

Vitally, Venus in Libra is forming a catalyzing square aspect with Pluto and Jupiter during the New Moon in Scorpio. Venus will complete its square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto on November 15 and then will complete a square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 19. The friction between Venus in Libra with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn will test relationship dynamics and expose imbalances of power and authority, bringing issues that had been lurking under the surface out into the open to be faced. Yet Venus can also stoke creative tension with Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn that we can utilize through disciplined effort in crafting creative projects we have been slowly but steadily making progress on over time.

Finally, it’s notable that the asteroid Pallas Athena was exactly conjoining Jupiter and Pluto when they united on November 12 and was also nearby Jupiter and Pluto by degree during their two previous conjunctions in 2020. The presence of Pallas Athena with the tension building between Venus with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn brings all of the complicated mythology of Pallas Athena into the dynamic. While Pallas Athena is an upholder of law and order in civilization, her mythic origins link her further back to the divine goddesses of Cunning Wisdom and Justice whose power goes far beyond attempts of control by ruling empires. Above all, Pallas Athena brings the gifts of strategy and the kind of prophetic vision that can anticipate troubles and formulate effective strategies in response.

With Mars stationing direct and Venus clashing with the Capricorn trio of Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn, the side of Pallas Athena that Demetra George likened to a bodhisattva will be relevant, as we will need to enter the fiery frey of conflicts erupting across society to revision a more equitable order. Indeed, Walter Burkett in Greek Religion wrote that Pallas Athena “is not an elemental force, but the force of civilization” who brings the “organizational wisdom” that can achieve a “just division of roles.” As we are collectively leaving an era of earth to enter a new era of air at the end of 2020, we can benefit from the intellectual weaving of Pallas Athena that can reorder societal systems of law and order to address the imbalances that have been exposed. Rather than falling prey to rage and destructive reactions as Mars dominates the week following the New Moon, let the lucid eyes of Pallas Athena center you so you can make the most effective response imaginable. In Greek Religion Walter Burkett cited the fitting proverb, “in league with Athena set your own hand to work.”

remedios varo Insomnio-1947-1

Insomnio 1 by Remedios Varo

The final major influence underlying the New Moon in Scorpio is the applying opposition between Mercury in Scorpio with Uranus in Taurus. While the tension between Mercury and Uranus will be very volatile, it will likely involve storylines and issues that have been developing for over a month. Mercury formed an opposition with Uranus for the first time on October 7, and then after stationing retrograde formed its second opposition with Uranus on October 19. It will be worthwhile to reflect back upon these previous periods to note what issues or patterns were jarred loose then and could be reemerging now. While there could be resolution experienced in certain circumstances, the propensity of Mercury for shifting storylines and Uranus for upending them could also coincide with new developments that move things in unexpected directions.

Since we are living in an incredibly polarized collective moment, especially in the United States of America, the combination of Mercury opposing Uranus with Mars stationing is potentially explosive. Do your best to not provoke confrontations more so than necessary. On a personal level, however, this same combination can bring about catalytic insight that reveals a glowing path to follow through the chaotic darkness that will coincide with 2020 drawing to a close. It may be helpful to make space for reflection, meditating, journaling, brainstorming, anything that can help get ideas moving, turning, and coalescing into new forms.

Soon after Mercury finishes its final opposition with Uranus on November 17, it will leave its retrograde shadow zone on November 19 when it will finally move beyond 11°40′ Scorpio.  Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 13 at 11°40′ Scorpio, and has been traversing the entire range of its retrograde shadow zone that began at 25º54′ Libra since September 23. As a result, as Mercury is carrying forward the propulsive liberation of its oppositional aspect with Uranus on November 19 we likely will experience resolution or pivotal developments regarding narratives that stretch back all the way to the end of September. This is even more so the case due to Venus in Libra completing its square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 19 as well.

7 cups

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The New Moon will be reseeded by the Sun in the third decan of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The third face of Scorpio has an amplified alchemical quality that is well suited for the lunation coinciding with Mars stationing direct in Aries while Mercury opposes Uranus. Ruled by Venus and the Moon, it is a decan in which we must come to terms with the essential desires driving us through experiences of loss and decay that reveal the heart of the matter. In the image of the Seven of Cups each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers. The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire that cast a shadowy veil that became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image. Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires. Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that the essence of this face involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire. Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires. Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

 In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the curious deity Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities. Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect.

The presence of Kairos in the third face of Scorpio points toward the importance of being in touch with the ripening of the moment during the Scorpio New Moon. The fertility of our destiny cannot be rushed or forced, and often relies on specific moments in which we realize essential elements of our past to reweave into the path we are following forward. Now that both Mercury retrograde as well as Mars retrograde are finished, as we turn toward an eclipse season on the horizon that also holds the grand conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, we will be well served by taking as much time as needed to sort through all of the desires that have been stirred in recent months. May you welcome the fleeting appearance of Kairos and seize the moment that holds the next movement of your life.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

become_a_patron_button

References

Burkett, Walter. (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press.

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

New Moon in Libra

griffins

ca 1st – 2nd Century

New Moon in Libra

Darkness surrounds every New Moon, as the Moon withdraws its reflected light to be reseeded by the Sun. With the Moon shrouded in black each month as it approaches its revivifying solar union, we are invited to silently recenter within the mysterious liminality of an old cycle ending while another begins anew. It’s a time fit for feeding ancestors and engaging in cleaning and clearing, opening awareness to whatever next wants to emerge while we tend to what came before. A sense of initiatory descent will be especially palpable during the New Moon in Libra on October 16, as we will need to incubate our knowing intuition to navigate through the rocks and hard places surrounding the lunation.

The New Moon is separating from an opposition with Mars retrograde in Aries and applying toward a demanding square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, with the Sun in its fall in Libra. The New Moon is also separating from a catalyzing square with Pluto in Capricorn and applying toward a discordant opposition with Eris in Aries. The syzygy in the sign of the Scales will be measuring how we have been impacted by the weight and gravity of the past year that began with the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, as well as the disorienting eruptions that have shattered expectations during the past couple months of Mars volatilizing Saturn and Pluto.

The Libra New Moon demarcates our movement beyond the midpoint of the Mars retrograde period as well as Saturn slowly beginning to separate from Pluto for good, yet simultaneously brings us down into the depths of  all the trouble they have stirred up. Innumerable injustices and instances of oppression and corruption have been exposed creating an impossibly large list of problems in need of solutions. Rather than exhausting yourself by spinning out in too many directions at once, the New Moon in Libra beckons to find nurturance in chthonic caves where wells of restorative cleansing may quench excessive inflammation. Necessity demands cultivating a strength that will sustain instead of drain.

The New Moon is near the degree of the fixed star Spica, the Spike of the Virgin whose light represents the wheat held by the Winged Goddess of the Virgo constellation. Bernadette Brady wrote that the wheat sheaf symbolism of Spica “can be considered a symbol of her [the Goddess] gifts to humankind,” as Spica is a source of brilliant, extraordinary talents and skills. The Coptic people of Egypt named Spica as “Solitary,” which goes well with the New Moon being in the exaltation of Saturn. Though the lunation is surrounded by difficulty on every side, by engaging with the slow, thorough contemplation of Saturn we may receive the gift of realizing the circumstances we need to separate ourselves from and the hardships we need to endure that will be worth it in the end.

Spica is not the only sign of a goddess speaking, however, as Ceres in Aquarius is stationing direct in Aquarius in a flowing trine aspect with the New Moon. Ceres will station direct on October 18 at 28°36′ Aquarius after having been retrograde since it previously stationed on July 6 at 12º49′ Pisces. Ceres in Aquarius will form a supportive air triangle with the New Moon in Libra and the North Node in Gemini that can facilitate vital guidance emerging from purging what needs to be released. Ceres in Aquarius grieves and rages against all the oppression within societal systems she perceives with her piercing intellect. As Ceres stations and speaks out, we can realize essential aspects of our soulfulness through the purgation of emotions that can be likened to the threshing of grain governed by Ceres that reveals the essential vitality hidden in the shedded husk.

Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul wrote that as goddess of fruitfulness, Demeter (aka Ceres) is most closely aligned with the phase of the hero’s journey in which the hero returns from the other world with the elixir to bring into their home community. To Addey, the hero under the influence of Demeter “is no longer serving his own perfection but the universe’s perfection,” operating “essentially” and “from his very being” rather than out “of mundane conquest.” Spend time listening during the Libra New Moon as Ceres stations, so you may discover what elixir you are gathering to ultimately return with from the sequence of intensifying transits that will bring 2020 to a close.

Justice Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

Justice from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

Venus in Virgo rules the New Moon while applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces and a trine with Jupiter in Capricorn. The benefics, Venus and Jupiter, being in trine yet each also being in its own fall is a telling signature for the lunation requiring descent into a deeper sense of whatever circumstances you find yourself within. Venus in Virgo is also heading toward forming a square with the transiting lunar nodes, bringing her critical eye to the northern bending of the lunar nodes where she can survey whatever is out of balance and in need of repair. Exalted status symbols are no concern for the star of Aphrodite during the Libra New Moon, as she will be bringing her attention to those in marginalized communities and those in need who have been neglected or ignored.

Neptune in Pisces is casting a mystifying fog over the Libra New Moon through which Venus in Virgo may discern the path we need to take. The false glamorizing of celebrities, hypnotic manipulation of social media, and all the rest of the inessential dross spilling out from the culture of the times will need to be filtered and processed by Venus so we do not become distracted from the heart of the matter at hand. Venus in Virgo may also transmit imaginal insights through its interfacing with Neptune that may surface in dreams or the emergence of omens on our daily path, since Venus is in the domicile of Mercury and Mercury recently stationed retrograde while forming a harmonizing sextile in Scorpio.

Paul Klee Sibyl

Sibylle (1934) by Paul Klee

The other major source of propulsive volatility underlying the Libra New Moon comes from Mercury retrograde in Scorpio applying to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus that will become exact on October 19. The oscillating wattage between Mercury and Uranus will not be new, for Mercury first formed an opposition with Uranus on October 7 after having spent a week building up tension with Uranus before that. We can expect more unexpected announcements and events that radically upturn narratives and plans as they finally complete their opposition. Yet we can prepare by remaining open to the kind of jolting awareness Uranus can bring to longstanding patterns that allows us to finally break free from their grip on us.

Since Mercury stationed retrograde only three days before the lunation, the star of Hermes is full of mischievous tricks to play and oracular messages to deliver.  The first waxing crescent light of the forthcoming lunar cycle will unite with Mercury in Scorpio on October 17, bringing greater clarity for what needs to be emptied and shed with intention during the following week when Mercury will enter its invisible, underworld phase of putrefaction. The closer Mercury comes to uniting with the Sun on October 25, the more Mercury will take on the quality of the Sun’s calcining fire that dissolves what is stuck and opens deeper attuning with needed messages from our unconscious. 

Whatever messages we receive from the opposition between Mercury and Uranus will be important to pay attention to, for the Moon in the forthcoming lunar cycle will wax into fullness on October 31 during a Full Moon in Taurus that will be conjoining Uranus.

Four of Swords

4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a funerary knight in prayer under a stained glass window of “PAX.” This image also evokes balancing through meditative silence within a sacred space of solace. Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure is in position of re-balancing body and mind like someone laying down to incubate. The funeral atmosphere with the single sword below the figure also evokes cutting away the inessential and false so we may embody more fully the genuine legacy we are meant to leave behind once we depart to the ancestral realm. Fittingly, the stabilizing and providential presence of Jupiter and the psychopomp nature of Mercury are the rulers of the third face of Libra.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to the third face of Libra in his book on the decans 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with the “gyroscopic stability” of “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” as “its secret resides in the eye of the storm, calm and clear as the chaos of desire and fear whirl about.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” that co-exist in the third face of Libra along with the equipoise of the Four of Swords image.  Coppock suggested this face reveals the lesson that “the center of balance is always moving, and those who would walk this face must follow the center, however erratic its motion may seem.” Ultimately, Coppock concluded that those who properly traverse the third decan of Libra can “see through the eye of the storm,” discovering equilibrium and sanctuary in even the most chaotic of circumstances.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Known as a goddess who enacts retribution upon those full of hubris, there are diverse stories of her origin that place the parentage of Nemesis in the primordial (Oceanus as her father in some stories, Nyx as her mother in others) as well as her being a sister to the Fates. Nemesis is a divine force of restorative balance, redistributing fortune to correct for what has come disproportionally out of balance and punishing those who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence in the decan of the Libra New Moon is a warning that repercussions may be striking those who have been hubristically acting out, while also emphasizing the need to tend to whatever has become out of proportion in your life. Let the Libra New Moon guide you to the excess that needs to be trimmed and the outworn parts of yourself ready to be molted and shed. You will want to lighten your load to be more responsive to the many momentous events that will be erupting during the lunar cycle ahead.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

become_a_patron_button

References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

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

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

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

Spica. Constellation of Words.

Warnock, Christopher. (2010). Mansions of the Moon: A Lunar Zodiac for Astrology and Magic. Renaissance Astrology.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio and Libra

Ships in the Dark (1927) Paul Klee

Someday, at the end of the nightmare of knowing,
may I emerge singing praise and jubilation to assenting angels.
May I strike my heart’s keys clearly, and may none fail
because of slack, uncertain, or fraying strings.
May the tears that stream down my face
make me more radiant: may my hidden weeping
bloom. How I will cherish you then, you grief-torn nights!
Had I only received you, inconsolable sisters,
on more abject knees, only buried myself with more abandon
in your loosened hair. How we waste our afflictions!
We study them, stare out beyond them into bleak continuance,
hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas they’re really
our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one
of the seasons of the clandestine year—; not only
a season —: they’re site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury retrograde in Scorpio

As night and its unknowing darkness envelopes us on October 13, Mercury will be cloistered in their cave of pungent roots, fungi, and herbs stirring a cauldron of mysterious brew hung with an iron hook over fire. Mercury has outdone themselves, really, as it’s a concoction into which we may pour all of our laments of loss, grief, vulnerabilities, and fears, cooking and transfiguring their essence into medicine. As Mercury tends to the dissolution, swirling it into a spiral with their spoon, we will be offered a taste.

Mercury will station retrograde on October 13, 2020 at 11°40′ Scorpio, pulling us into a twenty-one day period in which the star of Hermes will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on November 3 at 25º54′ Libra. Uranus and Saturn will be in the role of threshold guardians, as Mercury will begin its retrograde in an opposition with Uranus and will end it while in a square aspect with Saturn. Mercury will thoroughly inspect the zodiacal terrain from twenty-five degrees of Libra to twelve degrees of Scorpio in natal charts, digging up material in need of release, rehabilitation, rejuvenation, or reintegration. Mercury first crossed 25º54′ Libra on September 23 and will not finally move beyond 11°40′ Scorpio until November 19.

While 2020 has been dominated by the grave lineup of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn, 2021 will be fundamentally shaped by three shattering square aspects formed between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius on February 17, June 14, and December 23, 2021. Mercury’s retrograde journey through Scorpio and Libra will bridge the astrological themes streaming from this year into next, since it will begin by triggering issues related to Uranus and then penetrate into the core dynamics of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter. Mercury is at home in liminal states of being in between, and while retrograde will guide awareness into exploration of the issues that require deeper attention so we may more fluidly pass from the way things have been into the way of what is to come.                     

Mercury transitions from being visible in the evening twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase into an invisible phase for most of its retrograde passage, re-emerging into visibility at the end of its retrograde phase at dawn. In between Mercury descends into the darkness of the underworld to be regenerated by the Sun, reseeding our consciousness with new ideas and a refreshened presence. The apparent backward motion of Mercury is due to it orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to its closest proximity with us in orbit. We thus experience an intensification of Mercury during its retrograde phase, as its descent calls for a purging and purification of our mental constructs and the way we process and communicate information and ideas.

Mercury retrograde has a reputation for trouble that it will play at full tilt this time around. Crucially, Mercury will not only station in opposition with Uranus, it will also be under rulership of Mars retrograde in Aries in its full phase with the Sun. This means that after the Sun sets and Mercury shares its final light as an evening star in the few days after it stations retrograde, Mars will be arising over the eastern horizon in its brightest phase of fiery redness and proceed to glow down upon us all through the night. Since Mars will be operating at an extremity of symbolic heat, we can expect the three week period of Mercury being retrograde to be more disruptive and disorienting than normal.

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity will be the kind of medicine we will need to digest. Yet we must also bear in mind that Mercury will utilize sleight of hand trickery while dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The building square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that Mercury will bridge during its retrograde journey is a waning one, signifying that across our global collective the clash between Saturn and Uranus will demand a radical altering of how we perceive and approach the dismantling of societal systems underway. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize the experience of Mercury retrograde for sifting through the unraveling of our inner multiplicity, reintegrating fragmented aspects of ourselves that essentially need to be returned, finding new angles of perception in problem solving in the process.

While we are often called to revisit old issues while Mercury is retrograde, the influence of Mars combined with the hard aspects Mercury will make with Uranus, Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter over the course of its three week retrograde passage has the potential to dredge up core patterns that feel like they have been festering in the deepest recesses of our subconscious for ages. Rather than becoming angry and frustrated over having to re-engage with something from the past, ask what the spirit of the presenting issue is bringing as an underlying lesson. Allow the star of Hermes to guide awareness to the old issues that need to be laid to rest, the repairs and reparations that need to be enacted, and the emptying of what needs to be released in order to more effectively welcome an influx of new developments at the end of 2020.

Walpurgis Night 1935 by Paul Klee 1879-1940

Walpurgis Night (1935) Paul Klee

And so we press on and try to achieve it,
try to contain it in our simple hands,
in our brimming eyes, our voiceless heart.
Try to become it. Try to give it— to whom? Best of all,
to hold on to it all forever . . . Ah, but what can one carry across
into that other relation? Not the art of seeing,
learned so slowly here, and no event that transpired here. Not one.
The pain, then. Above all, the hard labor of living,
the long experience of love, —all the purely
unsayable things. But later on,
among the stars, what then: there the unsayable reigns.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury typically will spend about two years being retrograde in the same element- since March 2019, Mercury has been shifting retrograde in water signs. This will be the final Mercury retrograde in a water sign in the current sequence, as Mercury will be retrograde in the air signs of Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra in 2021. During the past two years the periods of Mercury retrograde in water signs have plunged us into the depths of emotional undercurrents so we may excavate buried treasures of insight. It’s wise to slow down and allow for dreams, synchronicities, and omens to work through us when Mercury is retrograde in water signs, and that will be especially the case while Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio from October 13 until it returns to Libra on October 27.

Mercury will be visible in the liminal hues of twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase, transitioning around October 18 into its phase of invisibility in which it facilitates purging and shedding.  The closer Mercury comes to uniting with the Sun on October 25, the more the cauldron of Mercury will feel the Sun’s calcining fire that can dissolve rigidity and open deeper attuning with needed messages from our unconscious. From the stationing of Mercury on October 13 until its conjunction with the Sun on October 25, let the watery nature of Mercury in Scorpio pull your feelings into the places that need release and resolution within.  After the New Moon in Libra forms on October 16 and the waxing Moon shares its first crescent light while conjoining Mercury in Scorpio on October 17, it will be possible to gain greater clarity for what needs to be emptied and shed with intention. 

As Mercury disappears into darkness it takes on the role of Chthonic Hermes, the psychopomp who was given souls to guide by Persephone. Mercury will descend into the underworld while forming an opposition with Uranus that will become exact on October 19. The emancipatory and jolting wattage oscillating between Mercury and Uranus will not be new, for Mercury first formed an opposition with Uranus on October 7 after having spent a week building up tension with Uranus. On the most simple level the extended interfacing between Mercury and Uranus will bring unexpected announcements and events that radically upturn narratives and plans. Combined with Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be a deeper side of soulful and ancestral patterns becoming volatilized that will feel disorienting but can lead toward fundamental growth and development.   

While it’s best with Mercury retrograde in a water sign to go with the flow, the fixed nature of Scorpio can lead to being stuck on compulsive feelings or consumed with trying to maintain control in getting our way. The lightning strikes from Uranus will force release and surrender to the currents, and while we may have to experience strife we may also listen to what message the sleight of hand of Mercury is delivering through the tumult. When it doesn’t feel possible to let go of wounds or loss, the ineffable depth of Scorpio’s waters can help dislodge feelings of grief that need to be released.  Make space for rest and time for descent into incubatory darkness so you may better attune to the inner guidance needed.

the green candle jorge camacho

The Green Candle by Jorge Camacho

With all its eyes the animal world
beholds the Open. Only our eyes
are as if inverted and set all around it
like traps at its portals to freedom.
What’s outside we only know from the animal’s
countenance; for almost from the first we take a child
and twist him round and force him to gaze
backwards and take in structure, not the Open
that lies so deep in an animal’s face. Free from death.
Only we see death; the free animal has its demise
perpetually behind it and before it always
God, and when it moves, it moves into eternity,
the way brooks and running springs move.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Eighth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Chthonic Cazimi

Mercury will become reanimated and reseeded by its conjunction with the Sun on October 25 at 2°48′ Scorpio. Known as its inferior conjunction, Mercury aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. During the time that Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so while Mercury is within sixteen minutes of its solar conjunction, there is enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence,” as Hermes discovers fortune through “accidental happenings” and windfalls that he crafts with “intelligence and the art of living,” shaping every find into “a theft that is put into better use.” Wherever you find yourself in your journey on October 25, invite Hermes to help you make inventive use of your circumstances. Indeed, Kerenyi illuminated that the journeyer in communion with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world.” This “middle domain” of Hermes has resonance with Mercury at the point of its chthonic conjunction with the Sun because, as described by Kerenyi, “a person in this volatized condition has access to everything.” It’s a moment to enter the primordial in the present.

When Mercury becomes revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light on October 25, its ruler Mars will remain retrograde but will have finally finished forming exact square aspects with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. We may draw from the absorptive potency of Mercury in Scorpio to soak in all the feelings that have been stirred up by Mars catalyzing Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn, grounding into a deeper sense of our circumstances. Open your awareness to the seeds of new ideas and visions germinating within your inner darkness.

Victor Brauner origin of the word

Origin of the Word by Victor Brauner

But suppose the endlessly dead were to wake in us some emblem:
they might point to the catkins hanging
from the empty hazel trees, or direct us to the rain
descending on black earth in early spring.-

And we, who always think of happiness
rising, would feel the emotion
that almost baffles us
when a happy thing falls.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury Station in Libra

Mercury slides backwards into Libra on October 27 only eight minutes before Venus enters Libra. This brings a major change in tone that switches the focus of Mercury from Mars retrograde in its fiery home of Aries to Venus in its airy home of Libra, with both Mercury and Venus gaining increased essential dignity on the same day (Venus entering its own domicile and Mercury entering its own triplicity). Mercury will also be in the exaltation and triplicity of Saturn, and will test this relationship immediately by applying to an intensifying square aspect with Saturn. The square between Mercury and Saturn is a double edged scythe, as on one hand there could be rejection to contend with while on the other hand there could be a solidification and harvesting of insight and results.

As the tension between Mercury retrograde in Libra and Saturn direct in Capricorn builds to a peak, there will be a cathartic Full Moon in Taurus on October 31 that forms an almost exact conjunction with Uranus. Notably, the Taurus Full Moon combines the monthly polarity of the Sun and Moon with the yearly opposition between the Sun and Uranus retrograde, the heart of the retrograde cycle of Uranus when it is closest to Earth. The lunation’s alignment with Uranus can bring the electrified spark needed to finally change a deep seated pattern as well as incite far ranging vision that brings a sudden reformulation of whatever we have been planning and working on. The mysterious, nonlinear realm of memory and dreams will be invigorated with activity.

A day after the Full Moon in Taurus unites with Uranus, Mercury retrograde in Libra will form an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 1. As Mercury retrograde in Libra clashes with Saturn under the full light of the Moon, we may encounter extremes in current events as well as interpersonal encounters, bringing a need for balancing within experiences full of tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. Fortunately, the timing of these transits with the Samhain holiday can make for potent rituals, spiritual experiences, and communion with ancestors that can bring pivotal guidance. 

As Mercury slows down to station direct on November 3 while forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, the star of Hermes will also be returning to visibility as a Morning Star sharing its light amongst the birdsong that comes just before sunrise. In the United Sates of America, Mercury will station direct in the vicious political climate of Election Day that will likely be full of conflicting reports and contested results. Mercury will make major pronouncements during the first week of November in global events, and likewise in our personal life we will receive an influx of new vision and an activation of imaginative ideas.

After Mercury stations direct and begins moving forward in Libra, it will form its third exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 7. The final square between Mercury and Saturn brings to completion a process that began on September 23 when Mercury and Saturn formed the first square in the sequence. The meaning found in the relationship between Mercury and Saturn across this time brings to mind the description given by Liz Greene regarding Carl Jung’s understanding of their interplay in her book The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus. Greene wrote that the “shadowy, potentially destructive prima materia of the unconscious, represented by Saturn, bears a secret unity with the mysterious mediating agency in the psyche, represented by Mercury, that fosters the conscious recognition of meaning and teleology.”  One aspect of the realm where Mercury and Saturn may meet is in the imagination, and so it will be worthwhile spending time incubating within the living symbolism of whatever emerges to glean the deeper significance for your life.

Mercury will return to the dark waters of Scorpio on November 10, the same day it also reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star and begins to move faster than the steady course of the Sun. At the same time, Venus in Libra will be forming an opposition with Mars in Aries as the red planet begins to slow down to station direct. The tension between Venus and Mars will intensify the entrance of Mercury into its explorative solar phase that Gary Caton has compared to the rubedo phase of alchemy, as it demarcates the period for manifesting the inspired ideas and revivified presence gathered during the period of Mercury retrograde into our daily routines and reality. Make space for deep listening and delving into your relational dynamics with others, taking note of the underlying patterns and crafting ways to create healthier, mutually supportive dynamics.

Altogether, the period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra will play a crucial role in transitioning us into the finale of Mars retrograde in Aries and comprehending whatever emerges. It will also provoke a vital reorientation to the issues that need our attention in the final stretch of the year as we approach an eclipse season and the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21. After traversing the boggy landscape of Scorpio where we will experience decomposition of past issues, Mercury will retrieve the golden scales of Libra that we may utilize in recalibrating whatever new growth is becoming fertilized. Moving back and forth between the dissolving water of Scorpio and the intellectualizing air of Libra can facilitate the understanding of surrounding relational dynamics we need in order to navigate the social unrest and disruption to societal power structures that will be taking place.

Angel! O take it, pluck it, that small-petaled herb of healing!
Create a vase, preserve it! Place it among those joys
not yet open to us; in a delicate urn
let an ornate inscription praise it: “Subrisio Saltat.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Fifth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

become_a_patron_button

References

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2000). Duino Elegies. translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Full Moon in Aries

Morning Fantasy

Morning Fantasy (1904) by Mikalojus Konstantinas

Full Moon in Aries

The Full Moon in Aries on October 1, 2020 will pour a fiery ferment into our lives and stories, inflaming the tension that has been building in the past month. Since the middle of August, Mars and Saturn have been engaged in grinding conflict that has exacerbated impasses, amplified anger, and provoked outrage over abuse and misuse of power. Mars and Saturn are at centerstage of the Full Moon, with Mars retrograde in Aries raging against the stalwart stationing direct of Saturn. The timeless endurance of Saturn will persevere through the onslaught of martial heat, yet matters will be dismantled and irrevocably altered by the frenzied fire from Mars. While longing has been thwarted in many ways during the dissolution, we can remain rooted in our desires that continue to be reshaped into new dimensions.

The Full Moon is in a place of extreme fire, as Aries is the home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. The influx of fire will demand fuel to consume, waste and inauthenticity to be burned off, kindled inspiration to be shared, and faith in our intuitive knowing to be followed. The peak light of Selene adorned in the flames of Aries will illuminate our turn into the final quarter of 2020, yet it is not merely the end of a year we are approaching- it is the closing down of two centuries of Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in earth signs and a reckoning with all of its troubled ghosts. The tumultuous storms of 2020 have exposed innumerable injustices across society, amplifying awareness of long-standing issues of systemic oppression in need of remedy and reparation. The recent clash between Mars and Saturn has magnified difficulties and brought experiences of foreboding toil for many, but these same forces that cause separation can also motivate ferocious determination to resiliently embody and activate our core values.

Pivotally, the Full Moon is separating from a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Chiron can facilitate being present with problems, allowing symptoms to guide discovery and reveal the underlying issues in need of attention. As Melanie Reinhart has spoken of Chiron’s gift in mediating ancestral relationship and healing, there is a larger perspective to integrate concerning how our temporary personal issues are seated within vaster patterns of intersecting ancestral wounds and burdens, as well as ancestral blessings and resources of strength and resiliency to draw from. It will be worthwhile to pull back from busyness to ground into nurtured space of reflection in the wake of the Full Moon. Within a protected space of rootedness not unlike an imaginal cave of Chiron, allow yourself to see through present dilemmas into the larger tapestry of soulful patterns and stories at play.

Paul Klee red house

Red House (1929) by Paul Klee

The Full Moon is in the fiery red home of Mars, placing the extremity of heat inflicted by Mars during its retrograde phase front and center. Mars is separating from a square with Saturn and applying toward a square with Pluto that will be intensified due to Pluto stationing direct on October 4 at 22°29′ Capricorn. Pluto stationed retrograde on April 25 at 24°59’ Capricorn and since then has been instigating a radical realignment between our internal metamorphoses and the shattering of societal systems that have corresponded with Pluto initiating new cycles with Saturn and Jupiter. From the Full Moon until Mars completes its square aspect with Pluto on October 9, there will be a release from the constraints of Saturn and an upwelling of volcanic desire as Pluto takes on the role of blacksmith within the forge of Mars.

The stillness of Pluto stationing direct will saturate the astrological landscape with the chthonic fertility of Hades. As the underworld ferryman emerges to demand offering from Mars, so will we need to examine our inner soil and the seeds germinating within its silent darkness. Look within for guidance rather than to external forms of security, for the volatility incited by Mars across civilization will necessitate finding faith within the deep harbors of psyche rather than the societal structures being dissolved and reforged. The strife and discord within collective events will be rampant with purgative force as Mars additionally will form a conjunction with the dwarf planet Eris on October 4, the same day Pluto stations direct.

While conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto have long been known in mundane astrology to incite collapse and polarized conflict in global events, the irrevocable dismantling of long-standing societal structures that has corresponded with their conjunction in 2020 has been magnified in intensity due to Saturn and Pluto uniting in close proximity with their own south nodes. The archetypal meaning of the entire orbital arcs of Saturn and Pluto crashing down across the ecliptic has been in effect during the past year, and as they both station direct together while Mars crashes into them they will unleash a final flood of accumulated toxicities and oppression built up from ages past.

Thus Mars retrograde is not only forming a square with Saturn and Pluto but also the nodes of Saturn and Pluto, placing it at the unfathomably cathartic place of volatilizing Saturn and Pluto from the southern bending of their own nodes. As a result, we have arrived at a crucially important opportunity to confront societal issues that have been festering and plaguing people for centuries and detoxify their intersection with us as individuals. The Full Moon in Aries will illuminate the importance of claiming responsibility for our behavior and intention, being accountable for the wider collective impact of our individual action. As the tension between Saturn, Pluto, and Mars erupts, we may discover the courage needed within our depths to protect those who are vulnerable and stand up for the world we wish to see rebuilt in the years ahead.

Image 71 from the Red Book

From Liber Novus by C.G. Jung

Vitally, Mercury will be at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star during the Full Moon in Aries, demarcating the threshold of Mercury beginning to slow down before stationing retrograde in Scorpio on October 13. Mercury in Scorpio will be making a sequence of three oppositions with Uranus in Taurus between now and November 17, with its first exact opposition occurring on October 7 and its second occurring on October 19 after shifting retrograde. Mercury and Uranus facing off will make the already volatile astrology even more chaotic, but there will also be enormous creative potential unleashed between Mercury and Uranus for reception of revelations and liberating yourself from whatever needs to be shed and released.

Mercury will be under rulership of the fiery instigator Mars, making the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio especially disorienting and purgative. With Mars retrograde already dislodging stuck patterns, Uranus being opposed by Mercury in the dark watery climate of Scorpio will amplify capacity for absorbing atmospheric undercurrents and penetrating under the surface of dynamics to reveal what has been hidden in the root of the matter. The watery landscape of Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also a place in which decay nourishes and feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that ultimately produce fruit. While we will need to allow for unexpected commotion that can upturn plans, the simmering tension between Mercury and Uranus can also reveal insights buried in the boglands of Scorpio that will prove to be potent catalysts of profound growth.

2 of Wands

2 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 1 Decan

The Aries Full Moon will rise in the first face of Aries associated with the Two of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a conquering figure holding a globe, piercing the expanse of the horizon with his gaze is fitting for a decan steeped in will power, as he seems intent on enacting his vision upon reality and expanding his influence. The ambitious confidence and assertion present in the image connects with the fact that Mars rules the first decan of Aries, giving Mars both domicile and face rulership over the Aries Full Moon. 

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to the first decan of Aries, as it has a long association with fierce figures such as in the Liber Hermetis where we discover a man “standing on feet like claws” and “holding above his head a double-sided axe with both hands.” Coppock rooted the symbolism of the Axe in it being “the primordial splitter” that creates the division necessary for growth, as “cosmologies begin with the sundering of the One.” Indeed, not only did the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs identify the mythic Aidoneus with the first face of Aries, so did the ancient philosopher Empedocles identify Aidoneus as one of the four fundamental elements at the root of creation.

While Coppock described the Axe as a magical tool essential for the use of the first face of Aries in “breaking bonds which no longer serve” and bringing “subjective order to the world” through “taming the environment,” he also noted it is a face of raw, unfiltered, and untamed willpower that can evoke the “tyrannical spirit of the infant.” As it is a decan focused upon “the will pressing reality to conform with its pattern,” its strength lies in the personal power of an “unrestrained will” and “the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin.” Yet Coppock also warned of “a tendency in this decan to try to do too much with force alone,” quickly accumulating karmic debts and destructive opponents.

The Aries Full Moon will ignite the fiery, raw individualism of the first face of Aries, and so we need to consider how and why we intend to wield its penetrative potency externally and internally. While the martial ambition found in this face can be linked with empire builders who wish to amass immense power and control, its primordial fire is also what brings the inspiration and foresight required to throw off the shackles of colonizing empire and insist on liberation. However, fighting fire with fire amidst the incendiary astrology of the next month can risk unleashing devouring flames that burn out of control and lead to severe destruction. Considered responses and thoughtful initiatives are advisable within our external relationships, yet within our inner furnace we may more freely direct the fierce flames of the Full Moon to melt down entrenched patterns, fluidly reforging a revivified presence.

Nowhere, Love, will World exist but within. Our lives
pass in transformation. And all the while the outside realm
diminishes. Where once a solid house endured,
some abstraction shoves itself into view, completely at ease
among concepts, as if it still stood in the brain.
The Zeitgeist is building vast reservoirs of power, formless
as the thrusting energy it wrests from everything.
It no longer recognizes temples. Furtively we hoard
what the heart once lavished. Where one of them still survives,
an object once prayed to, revered, knelt before—,
it’s already reaching, secretly, into the invisible world.
Many no longer see it, yet without the gain
of rebuilding it greater now, with pillars and statues, within!

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Seventh Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

become_a_patron_button

References

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2000). Duino Elegies. translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Libra New Moon: Deepening of Venus Retrograde

autumn thoughts arnold bocklin

Autumn Thoughts by Arnold Bocklin

Libra New Moon

The Libra New Moon on October 8 brings us into the deepening of Fall in the northern hemisphere as the days darken and multicolored leaves descend from branches, and seeds buried under the earth pulsate with the promise of new life. The New Moon is in the home of Venus, and also takes us into an intensification of the forty day Venus retrograde period which began on October 5. There is a Plutonic quality to the lunation, as the New Moon is applying to a catalytic square with Pluto in Capricorn. Initiatory, death bringing, regenerative themes of Pluto have been strong in the week before the New Moon as Pluto stationed direct on September 30 and now begins to slowly crawl forward on course to eventually enter new zodiacal terrain. As Venus stationed retrograde on October 5 less than a week after Pluto, it is as if Pluto cleared a path underground for Venus to dig into during her retrograde through Scorpio.

Since Venus retrograde in Scorpio rules the Libra New Moon, and Venus retrograde is also being received by Mars in Aquarius in a change inducing square aspect, the New Moon in Libra is a calling to re-center within whatever changes and strong feelings have been triggered in the past week with the stationing of Venus. Venus retrograde has a different way of working towards Venusian themes of harmony, value, and attraction than when Venus is direct. One way to think about the difference is that Venus becomes more intolerant of whatever is oppressive or working against harmony rather than being accepting or attempting to mediate compromise. Especially with Venus retrograde in the fixed, deep waters of Scorpio, previously hidden or denied emotions and issues within relationships will rise to the surface and demand awareness and renegotiation. The Libra quality of the New Moon can hopefully help with listening within as well as to others so we may begin to rebalance and shift in whatever way needed.

There is also a shedding of Venus that occurs, a process that will become more intense in a couple of weeks as Venus begins to approach its conjunction with the Sun on October 26 and experiences a purifying burning away of accumulated material. Since Venus is retrograde in the home of Mars, and Venus is applying to a square aspect with Mars in Aquarius, the shedding process at the New Moon becomes accelerated and in the week following the New Moon it will become obvious whatever issues are being brought to the surface in correspondence with Venus retrograde. We can set intentions at the New Moon, but due to the square between Mars and Venus we will also be forced to deal with and respond to circumstances and themes that will be deepening in meaning as the Venus retrograde process develops through the next month.

Notably, Mars in Aquarius has finally returned to the degree it previously stationed retrograde at the end of June, and so just as it has now completed its own retrograde journey it is simultaneously an integral part of the initiation of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. The airy quality of Mars in Aquarius that is capable of detaching at times from feelings in order to catalyze needed growth can be helpful in grasping a larger vision of the bigger picture within which we are feeling difficult emotions in the moment. The deep emotions of Venus retrograde in Scorpio can be overwhelming, yet ultimately regenerative through bringing forth a cleansing purge. In the wake of what we release, the visionary capacity of Mars in Aquarius can help us push forward into new areas of growth and development.

Persephone_Opens_Liknon_Mystikon

Persephone opening the Liknon Mystikon, found in the shrine of Persephone at Locri

Persephone

Venus retrograde has a tradition of being associated with an underworld journey for the Star of Aphrodite, and with Pluto having stationed in the same week as Venus, it brings to mind the story of Persephone who was pulled into the underworld by Hades in order to become a Queen mediating between realms of the living and dead. Moreover, the Sun in Libra was conjoining Ceres at the time Venus stationed retrograde, and Ceres in Libra is also conjoining the Libra New Moon. All of these aspects connect with the Persephone myth, including the fact that Mercury is at the final degree of Libra at the New Moon on the threshold of entering Scorpio and uniting with Venus retrograde in the following week (Hermes was sent by Zeus to bring Persephone back to her mother Demeter aka Ceres). Moreover, the Persephone asteroid #399 is exactly conjoining Venus retrograde in Scorpio at the time of the New Moon and was applying to a close conjunction with Venus at the time Venus stationed a few days before the lunation.

Tim Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul analyzed that while Persephone’s name can be translated as “death bringer,” and she does indeed step into the role of ruling over the realm of the dead, she equally signifies our incarnation of being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death. Addey focused upon the 6th century Platonic philosopher Damascius who linked Persephone with the soul’s descent into generation, interpreting how Persephone is drawn toward the narcissus flower, a bloom whose name has mythic associations with the soul falling in love with its reflection in matter. Her innocent, purely spiritual state is shattered by her violent pull into the underworld of death, yet ultimately on the other side Persephone discovers a powerful underworld role of mediation and rulership to embody. We all must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, and with Venus retrograde in Scorpio will be feeling things intensely, yet on the other side of Venus retrograde we may discover newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear.

“Persephone has reached out with both hands…committed to the embrace of the wondrous flower. This…is the key to the true artist, who seeks to manifest the infinite beauty of spirit in finite matter . . . Most human beings have arrived at some kind of stasis in their relationship with the world which could, and often does for awhile, pacify the deep-seated urge to rediscover their spiritual nature. To start out on the mystical path of initiation is to put at risk our mundane contentment for the sake of something unknown, and possibly frightening.”

— Tim Addey, Seven Myths of the Soul

The New Moon in Libra conjoining Ceres also draws attention to the immense grief and trauma experienced by the Earth Mother in losing her daughter to the invisible underworld, and Ceres in Libra will be continuing to play a pivotal role in the enfoldment of Venus retrograde. Ceres in part symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against the injustices and oppression of our world, releasing the emotions felt when experiencing death or loss. For nine days Ceres aka Demeter refused to eat and mourned; Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted the fasting of Demeter as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” Likewise the purging and putrefaction we experience and emote in the next couple of weeks of the opening stage of Venus retrograde will ultimately open deeper levels of self realization.

Ultimately after securing the return of her daughter for part of the year, Ceres brought the gifts of corn and the mystery rites to humanity. Though she endured traumatic wounds she would have to continue to bear and nurture, Ceres managed to bring a source of physical nourishment and profound spiritual understanding to the greater collective. The Libra New Moon conjoining Ceres similarly signals a month of needing to nurture past wounds, hurts, and vulnerabilities, while at the same time reaching out to others in need with warmth, support, and heartfelt action. There are numerous astrological transits coming at the end of October through November signifying immense change that could dramatically change current narratives, beginning with the coming Full Moon in Taurus on October 24.

Eros_Hermes_And_Aphrodite

Pinax of Eros, Aphrodite, and Hermes found in shrine of Persephone at Locri

Mercury is co-present with the lunation at the final degree of Libra and then enters Scorpio the next day on October 9, with the newly waxing Moon joining Mercury later the same night.  The Moon and Mercury upon entering Scorpio immediately begin applying to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, while also becoming co-present in the sign of the Scorpion along with Jupiter and Venus retrograde. Simultaneously the Moon and Mercury begin moving toward a catalytic square aspect received by Mars in Aquarius. Mercury is still invisible under the beams of the Sun these days and in Scorpio is able to penetrate and investigate previously hidden areas. The opposition between Venus retrograde in Scorpio with Uranus in Taurus is the dominant astrological theme of October, and so the contact between Mercury and Uranus can help us adjust to whatever is beginning to come into our life in correspondence. With Uranus involved not only can this be something unexpected, but something that changes everything quickly.

A week after the Libra New Moon around October 15, Mercury in Scorpio will unite with Venus retrograde and further deepen our perception into whatever is brewing and arising from underworld realms. This union between Mercury and Venus retrograde is particularly notable because it happens just after Mercury has ascended again into visibility as an Evening Star, and just as Venus is descending into no longer being visible as an Evening Star. During Venus retrograde periods we always experience Venus descending from being an Evening Star into an invisible underworld phase that ultimately leads into it arising again as a visible Morning Star heralding dawn.  As a result Mercury is playing an instrumental role in transitioning us into this more secretive, subconscious, underworld period of the Venus retrograde transit.

Furthermore, as the Moon waxes toward fullness in the next couple of weeks Mercury will also be moving toward an eventual union with Jupiter in Scorpio that will occur just after the Full Moon in Taurus on October 24 and the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun on October 26.  The co-presence of Jupiter in Scorpio with Mercury and Venus retrograde isn’t going to make things easier or more pleasant, but it does signify a greater potential for wisdom and growth to be harvested from the corresponding experiences. These are the final lessons for us to learn from the time of Jupiter in Scorpio that began 10 October 2017.

swords03

3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Libra associated with the Three of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Saturn rules the second face of Libra, and in the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the image we can observe the transcendence through pain that can be brought by Saturn. In times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us. The piercing of the heart by swords is also resonant with the current Venus retrograde occurring in Scorpio, the nocturnal home of Mars, with Venus also applying to a hard aspect with Mars at the time of the New Moon.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements.  Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to commitments within relationships as well as to oneself is vital to bear in mind as we deepen into the transit of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. Venus retrograde periods can coincide with new attractions and desires for change within relationship, or feelings of needing to change the balance of a relational dynamic. The influence of the second decan of Libra focuses attention on the importance of taking responsibility for clear communication and acting from integrity so as not to destroy the bonds of current relationships should desire for change occur.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the second face of Libra, a curious repetition as it also connected Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities. Kairos was portrayed as moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect. In modern culture the term kairos refers to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. While its comforting to believe we can always use our free will to create the reality we wish to live within, it usually takes an opportune moment of kairos arising that we may then seize to make the desired change. The next two months are full of change inducing astrological transits, and while difficult feelings may emerge in correspondence, so may opportunities arise to fundamentally alter our life. It will be a deep sea change, so keep an eye alert for favorable winds to catch sail with.

References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

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