New Moon in Libra

Justice (1550/69) by Bernardino India

New Moon in Libra

Libra is a sign of weighing balances, associated with the fall equinox in the northern hemisphere and the spring equinox in the southern hemisphere when there is an equality of day and night around the world. The New Moon in Libra on September 25 is only a few days after the equinox, initiating us into a new season that will feature the most volatile astrology of the year. Libra excels at contemplation, intellectual pursuits and aesthetic arrangement, a sign that exalts the calculations of Saturn and consideration of consequences, a place where the centeredness of the Sun has its fall. The New Moon in Libra following the equinox so closely makes it ideal for reflection upon our path, ruminating upon the many strands of present development to lay plans for the meaning and purpose we wish to explore for the rest of the year.

The Libra New Moon is opposite Jupiter retrograde in Aries, amplifying themes of justice associated with the sign of the Scales and the necessity of taking the time needed to think through options and issues in order to distill the essence of what needs our focus. The Sun in Libra will oppose Jupiter a day after the lunation on September 26, an alignment that demarcates the heart of Jupiter’s retrograde passage when Jupiter is at its brightest peak in the night sky, as close to earth as it gets within its orbit. As a result, Jupiter is in a liminal passage during the Libra New Moon, transitioning from its morning star phase into its evening star phase that will bring increased opportunities for aligning our purpose with the needs of our surrounding community. The brightness of Jupiter can illuminate the deeper meaning within our circumstances, helping us to separate from what is no longer serving our purpose and distinguishing the decisions that need to be made in our next steps forward. 

The tension of the opposition between Jupiter and the lunation invites the objectifying analysis of Libra that can reflect upon ways in which we may have been too full of hubris, too ungrounded with the visions we are developing, too idealistic or too righteous in our own personal sense of justice. Not only is the Sun in its fall of Libra, but Venus as the ruler of the Libra New Moon is also in her fall of Virgo. As a result, there’s a need to ground and step back from ambitions enough to analyze if the goals we are developing our truly aligned with our authenticity or focused too much on fitting into cultural standards and conditioning of success. 

Fortunately, there is a productive trine aspect between Mars in Gemini with Saturn retrograde in Aquarius that will become exact on September 27 a couple of days after the lunation. The flowing trine between Mars in Gemini with Saturn in Aquarius can help in focusing the inventive qualities of Mars in Gemini that can become too scattered at times or indecisive regarding the numerous options available to pursue with its multifaceted talents and skills. Due to Mars stationing retrograde at the end of October, this will be the first in a long sequence of trine aspects that will be forming between Mars and Saturn over the next six months, with the next exact trine occurring on November 28 with Mars retrograde and Saturn direct in motion. The careful consideration of the Libra New Moon can be applied to contemplating one’s present relationship with Mars as the red planet begins to slow down over the course of the subsequent lunar cycle. Mars in Gemini will have an increasingly intensified presence, and while it may bring increased volatility it also holds the promise of dramatic change and exciting new desires and passions to pursue and cultivate. 

Aphrodite by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Venus rules the New Moon while separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn and toward a conjunction with Mercury retrograde in Virgo. The flowing trine between Venus and Pluto is the closest aspect within the lunation, and combined with Mercury simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with Venus and a trine with Pluto brings penetrating depth of insight into hidden patterns and patterns that have been operating under the surface. Both Venus and Mercury are in the midst of underworld journeys while empowered by the forces of Pluto. Mercury recently was reborn by its union with the Sun on the Libra Equinox, but is still in its invisible phase due to being in close proximity with the Sun. In contrast, Venus more recently has descended into the underworld in her invisible phase and will eventually become reanimated through her solar conjunction on October 22. Mercury and Venus are considered to be the two rulers of the third decan of Virgo (Mercury in descending order; Venus in triplicity order), a face that facilitates incisive awareness regarding the consequences of actions.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces on the decans ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo as there are many associated images of decay in old texts. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” There is a strong contrast of essential dignities between Venus and Mercury, with Venus in her fall and Mercury exalted as well as fully resourced by being at home. There are themes of Nemesis and Necessity within the relationships between Venus, Mercury, and Pluto, with the potential to cut through places we have obscured our viewpoint by pride in order to open deeper awareness. Venus in her present phase mirrors the mythology of Inanna’s descent to the underworld during which she must remove her talismans and release her pride in order to prepare for the mystery of her rebirth.

At the same time, with both Venus and Mercury in range of an opposition with Neptune we can open perception beyond the ways in which we typically restrict our awareness, sifting through any recent experiences of disillusionment in order to realign with the deeper truth we are coming into relationship with. With Venus separating from Neptune and applying to both Mercury and Pluto, there will be opportunities for grounding and coming back into more pragmatic relationship with reality if we have more recently been overly idealistic or inflated. Mercury will not complete an opposition with Neptune due to stationing direct in Virgo on October 2, yet will remain in Virgo in range of an opposition with Neptune during the waxing phase of the forthcoming lunar cycle. As a result, as the Moon waxes toward fullness we will have opportunities for coming to terms with our larger dreams and inspirations, our idealistic hopes that can sustain our excitement about life despite difficulties we are facing. Neptune will be a key player in the volatile astrology that will developing in the season ahead, and so it will be worthwhile to utilize the Mercurial focus available within the Libra New Moon for cutting through illusions to come into relationship with the deeper truths and meaning that can be revealed by Neptune.

2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon in Libra is in the first decan of Libra associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a blindfolded woman sits in front of an oceanic expanse while crossing two swords in front of her.  The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, and indeed this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find equipoise, resolving conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.  T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets stated that the blindfolded woman reveals how the “Swords have do to do with what can and can’t be known,” and that the covered eyes in the image “represent minds that only partly grasp their situation” yet want to know more. Chang links the Two of Swords with setting aside preconceptions, giving opposing points of view “equal airing,” utilizing practices that help “clear your mind, and listen for silence.” It’s a fitting image for the New Moon involving an opposition between the lunation with Jupiter as well as an opposition between Venus and Mercury with Neptune.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces referenced Smith’s illustration by ascribing the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to the first face of Libra, describing it as a place which awakens awareness to injustice and disequilibrium within both societal and personal levels of interaction. Coppock wrote of the significance of the Two of Swords holding symbols that “allude to the arousal of an as yet unconscious force” such as the nocturnal and oceanic setting making it a landscape “beneath the threshold of waking consciousness.” Since the Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra and the Moon is being reanimated within its own face, the meaning of the first decan of Libra will be amplified. Coppock emphasized the essence of this face being about relationship and “the balance between two entities” in all forms within the social order, stating it “shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition.” Coppock declared that the first decan of Libra not only illuminates dynamics of “fairness and reciprocity” based upon “core principles of ethical interaction with other beings,” but also can incite assertive attempts to address injustice or imbalances. 

It is further notable that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra. As the Erinyes are chthonic goddesses who serve natural law and punish transgressors, the first face of Libra is a place of becoming aware of previously hidden evidence that reveals inequities.  The fearless insight into hidden matters signified by the Furies fits well with both Venus and Mercury being in the middle of invisible, underworld phases while also forming flowing trine aspects with Pluto. If you have been feeling the festering of the Furies within, make space for purifying and releasing the associated toxic components while coming to terms with the deeper meaning found within your own shadowy inner realm. The image of blind Justice fits well with the darkness of the Moon opposing the full brightness of Jupiter retrograde in Aries. Making space to explore the inner patterns behind recent events in the days following the Libra New Moon will help in coming to terms with the adjustments to plans and goals that will be needed in the season ahead.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press. 

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra and Virgo

Victor Brauner, The Nuptial March of the Sorcerer

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury in astrology is known for guiding us across thresholds and making his presence known in the plot twist, sudden slip or surprising boon that changes the direction of narratives. When Mercury stations retrograde, the star of Hermes demarcates a turning point in events as well as whatever processes of development we have been experiencing. Mercury’s retrograde in Libra and Virgo in 2022 will be especially pivotal as it’s regenerative process will be centered upon the Libra Equinox with Mercury helping to bridge the change of seasons from summer to fall in the northern hemisphere, winter to spring in the southern hemisphere. Just like the time of the harvest in the northern hemisphere in which cool air begins to rebalance the excessive heat of summer, Mercury’s retrograde movement from Libra to Virgo will facilitate a separation of wheat from the chaff, stepping back from heated dynamics to gain clarity for what to deepen in cultivation versus what needs to be released or reformed.

Mercury will station retrograde on September 9, embarking upon a three-week journey in which the star of Hermes will backtrack from 8°55’ Libra until stationing direct at 24°11’ Virgo on October 2. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from twenty-four degrees of Virgo to nine degrees of Libra, personal material in need of deeper engagement will become excavated, bringing opportunities for insight that can catalyze significant growth and foster breaking out of stuck patterns. As part of the process, however, we may need to return to longstanding issues in need of release, reworking, or reintegration. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification that will be especially intense leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun on the September 22 equinox, we may experience renewal on the other side as Mercury returns to forward motion in October. Mercury first crossed 24°11′ Virgo on August 20 and will not move beyond 8°55’ Libra until October 16, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

Mercury will station retrograde in Libra as the Moon in Pisces will be waxing toward fullness, with the Full Moon in Pisces on September 10 applying to a conjunction with Neptune. The lunar spotlight upon Neptune at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde passage is fitting, for Mercury’s descent through his underworld, retrograde journey will mine the underbelly of idealistic dreams to aid us in examining how to build a more solid foundation underneath the visions for creative expression and growth that have been developing. By questioning our beliefs and being willing to consider where we are misleading ourselves with illusions, by the end of Mercury’s retrograde we will be able to realize what aspects of our future visions are too idealistic and lack grounding in practical potential. Mercury will be in position to stress-test dreams due to beginning his retrograde with a prolonged opposition with Jupiter that will not become exact until September 18, and ending his retrograde by stationing direct on October 2 in range of an opposition with Neptune. In the bigger picture, Mercury’s retrograde passage will draw us into deeper exploration of whatever meaning, plans, events, and relationships have been developing in correspondence with a new cycle between Jupiter and Neptune commencing during 2022.

The conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces on 12 April 2022 was one of the most important astrological alignments of the year, as it was both the beginning and end of another cycle within the transcendent dance between Jupiter and Neptune. Jupiter and Neptune form conjunctions every thirteen years or so, but their union in Pisces was especially potent due to it taking place in the nocturnal domicile of Jupiter with the star of Zeus receiving Neptune into its oceanic home. Unions between Jupiter and Neptune evoke the feeling of dreams coming true, yet the waves of expansive hope and inspiration that correspond with their conjunction can also be counterbalanced by experiences of disorientation and disillusionment. While Jupiter and Neptune created powerful tides during the first five months of 2022 while they were co-present in Pisces, they have remained within fifteen degrees of one another after Jupiter entered Aries on May 10. In fact, they were brought back together into a sacred marriage of intermingling influences by being contra-antiscia to one another during the first two weeks of June. Crucially, at the time of Mercury stationing retrograde on September 9 there will once again be a close contra-antiscia relationship formed by Jupiter and Neptune. Planets in contra-antiscia have their midpoint on the world axis of zero degrees of Aries (the point at which the celestial equator of Earth intersects with the ecliptic), bringing their combined influence into a powerful impact within world events.

Not only will the influence between Jupiter and Neptune be powerful within current events when Mercury stations retrograde on September 9, there is the added significance that Jupiter’s retrograde motion will eventually lead it back into Pisces on October 28 and into close proximity with Neptune. Jupiter will remain in Pisces with Neptune until 20 December 2022, creating almost two months of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces once again rippling their tidal forces through personal and collective events. Thus the reorientation toward the meaning of the new cycle between Jupiter and Neptune we can gather through Mercury’s retrograde passage will be helpful not only in reflecting upon connections between our present circumstances with experiences and ideas that developed during the previous conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in April, it can also provide a beneficial review of where we currently stand in relation to our creative visions so we can be better prepared to bring our dreams into material manifestation when Jupiter and Neptune combine forces in Pisces again at the end of October.

The dissolving impact of Jupiter and Neptune combined in Pisces during 2022 has been amplified in intensity due to it occurring during the same time as the shattering square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus that has been dismantling global systems that previously brought a sense of security to many. The influence of Jupiter and Neptune can be tricky to handle due to it washing away the stability of the familiar while simultaneously revealing the deeper truths that will endure the mists of misguided perception. Dane Rudhyar in a 1958 article described the confusion that accompanies the call from Jupiter and Neptune to take a visionary step forward, writing that many people out of fear can experience a regressive pull back toward the security of familiar institutions and beliefs rather than risk the unknown.

Yet while we are collectively traversing a period of accelerated destruction of familiar institutions and beliefs that will become even more intense during the eclipses in October and November that will accompany the return of Jupiter to sharing the sign of Pisces with Neptune, there will be increased opportunities for seeking success free from the dominant power structures instead of feeling a need to conform to them. Ultimately, Dane Rudhyar wrote that it can be the accumulation of the smaller changes with our relationships that occur in correspondence with the merging of Jupiter and Neptune that later allow for the greater revolutionary events in the wider world to materialize. Mercury’s retrograde journey that will take it from an opposition with Jupiter into an opposition with Neptune will be an ideal time for recalibration of relational dynamics and deepening into the path that will lead us into creating the life we truly desire to live rather than resigning ourselves to fitting into societal systems that are falling apart.

Mercury functions well in the airy, intellectual environment of Libra and is at his greatest strength in his earthy home and exaltation of Virgo, and so the skill Mercury possesses for recalibrating dynamics and mediating polarities will be amplified during his retrograde journey. Mercury’s initial retrograde passage in Libra will beckon re-examination through the Scales, a re-balancing that necessitates extremes, tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. The awareness we can access through Mercury retrograde can help us transcend rigid parameters of duality by swinging wildly at times between extremes of perception in a continual process of experiencing oscillating oppositions. It’s necessary to embrace being in between states and forms during periods of Mercury retrograde, and while it will be possible to bring matters into definite form, in some situations we will need to accept the flux of formlessness and fluidity, recalibrating our perceptions and decisions in accordance with changing conditions. With Mercury beginning his retrograde passage while engaging Jupiter in a tense oppositional aspect, a major theme that will initially emerge will be justice; there will be an exacerbation of tensions around injustice, while many will also be inspired to take action on behalf of social justice.

Themis and Nemesis by Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard

Once Mercury moves within fifteen degrees of the Sun on September 14, he will be considered to be invisible under the beams of the Sun by traditional definition. Mercury at this point in his solar phase takes on the role of psychopomp guiding us into interior depths with a chthonic sense of penetrating insight, yet we may find we are more effective at gathering and exchanging information away from the spotlight. Mercury retrograde periods can be excellent for in-depth research in general, but during the initial phase of Mercury’s retrograde passage we can get especially powerful results when breaking free from stuck patterns and old habits as well as when releasing ourselves from aspects of our past that need to be burned off. The closer Mercury gets to his conjunction with the Sun on September 22, the greater his capacity will be for purgation and putrefaction of the past. Since Mercury will simultaneously be picking up the influence of Jupiter leading up to their exact opposition on September 18, we will also become aware of new opportunities for growth that can emerge from the composting of past dynamics.

At the same time, issues involving fairness and balance within relational dynamics will draw our attention as there will be a catalyzing square aspect between Venus in Virgo with Mars in Gemini on September 16 at 14°23’ of each sign. Since both Venus and Mars will be occupying the domiciles of Mercury, the regenerative influence of Mercury being retrograde will facilitate a release of old relational dynamics while we simultaneously come into deeper relationship with new passions, desires, and ways of relating that feel more genuine and authentic. The waxing square between Venus and Mars links back to the previous conjunction between Venus and Mars on March 6, 2022 at 00°01’ Aquarius, another sign that there is an important connection between Mercury’s retrograde movement this month with the experiences that were taking shape in the beginning of the year.

While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, valuable, and distasteful, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from whatever we find intolerable or displeasing. The waxing square between Venus and Mars signifies a period for discovering the emerging desires we will want to pursue, embody, and protect, yet the new desires we wish to experience may create instability and volatility within our relationships. With Venus and Mars clashing while in both signs of Mercury, it will be important to make space for listening to our own needs within relationship and then finding ways to effectively communicate them to those we are in relationship. Even though periods of Mercury retrograde are characterized in popular astrology as signifying communication mishaps and breakdowns, the intensified presence of Mercury during its retrograde in actuality can lead to breakthrough conversations when both people are committed to engaging and working through whatever trouble is present within relational dynamics.

Mercury by Bertel Thorvaldsen

In the Heart of the Equinox

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on September 22 at 00°14′ Libra, the same day as the Libra Equinox when we experience equal day and night everywhere around the globe. The reseeding of Mercury in solar light occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible morning star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. 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.” 

The inferior conjunction of Mercury occurring on the same day as the Libra Equinox, the day of equal day and night that marks the turning of the seasons, is unusual. In mundane astrology, Libra ingress charts for when the Sun enters Libra are used to forecast the three month season that follows for events occurring in the location of the chart, and so Mercury applying to its regenerative conjunction with the Sun will be a theme that shows up in different ways and plays an important role in charts forecasting the season ahead for nations and cities. Moreover, zero degrees of Aries and Libra has been likened by some astrologers to being the nodes of the Sun, as it marks the intersection between the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun that defines the zodiac) with the projection of the celestial equator of the Earth; when the Sun enters Libra it is at this exact intersection en route in the northern hemisphere to descending to the nadir of its southern declination during the Winter Solstice when the Sun enters Capricorn. Mercury will be applying within thirty arc minutes of its union with the Sun when the Sun enters Libra, bringing the death and rebirth process of Mercury into world events with more intensity than normal.

Though the Libra Equinox is traditionally a day for sacred attunement and renewal, it will be especially potent this year when making sacred space for reflection and rebalancing. Allow Mercury to help guide you into insights and realizations regarding whatever has led you to the present moment in your personal journey, letting go of what needs to be released from the past while opening to new directions that may emerge to follow in the season ahead. It will be a powerful time for reseeding ideas and listening for messages and signs indicating new directions to follow in creative and intellectual pursuits.

Astarte by John Singer Sargent

Mercury Stationing Direct in Virgo

Mercury’s underworld journey will bring him into chthonic connections with Venus and Pluto once he leaves Libra and enters Virgo soon after uniting with the Sun. Mercury will backtrack into Virgo on September 23 and immediately apply toward a conjunction with Venus in Virgo that will be completed on September 26, as well as apply toward a flowing trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that will be completed on September 27. Both Mercury and Venus will be in the midst of underworld journeys when they meet, with one crucial difference. While Mercury will have already experienced its rebirth from its union with the Sun, Venus will still be experiencing her descent into darkness that will eventually lead her to be reanimated by a conjunction with the Sun during her superior conjunction at 29°26’ Libra on October 22, 2022. Moreover, in addition to Mercury and Venus being invisible under the beams of the Sun, the Moon will also be veiled in darkness as there will be a New Moon in Libra on September 25. The waning dark Moon will form a conjunction with Venus and Mercury on September 25 before the New Moon occurs later in the day. There will be a mysterious exchange in the heart of darkness between the Moon, Mercury, and Venus at this time that invites curiosity. If feelings become difficult or emotions spiral, keep in mind that it could be part of a larger process of release and shedding taking place.

The meeting between Venus and Mercury at 26°47’ Virgo will take place in the third decan of Virgo, a decan ruled by both Venus and Mercury. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces on the decans ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to this decan as there are many associated images of decay in old texts. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” The potency this decan possesses for revealing what is truly valuable will be worth remembering during Mercury’s extended stay here from September 23 through October 10, but especially while Mercury and Venus are both present here from September 23 through September 29. There may be hard experiences related to whatever needs to be laid to rest from the past, but the process of putrefaction will be capable of revealing potent insights regarding the path forward.

After Mercury passes through its conjunction with Venus and trine with Pluto it will slow down in speed until stationing direct at 24’12 Virgo on October 2. Mercury’s stationing degree places it within range of an opposition with Neptune in Pisces and a trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. With Mercury stationing in its place of domicile and exaltation rulership, there may be volatile events and changes in direction to traverse, yet Mercury will be capable of providing a sobering analytical perspective grounded in the details we need to pay attention to.

Once Mercury is moving direct it will form its final exact trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on October 6, only two days before Pluto stations direct on October 8. The intensified prescence of Pluto will be picked up and transmitted by Mercury at the same time that Mercury will be reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star on October 8. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates another threshold to cross, as it initiates us into the phase of Mercury speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being. With Mercury forming its final trine aspect with Pluto at the same time Pluto is stationing, we can expect the sort of chaotic processes to emerge that can also give birth to exciting new forms of creative expression and presence.

Mercury will return to Libra on October 10, form its final opposition with Jupiter in Aries on October 12, and then leave its retrograde shadow zone on October 16. As Mercury continues to pick up speed this week, pay attention to how storylines shift as Mercury completes its final opposition with Jupiter. The first opposition in the series was on September 2 with Mercury moving direct, followed by the second opposition on September 18 with Mercury in the middle of its retrograde journey, and so there may be insights to be found within the arc of narratives across these dates. With Mars stationing retrograde in Gemini and Jupiter returning to Pisces at the end of October at the same time we enter a powerful eclipse season, there will be immense changes taking shape on the horizon. May the fleet footed messenger guide us into reflection, focus, and action on the matters that need our attention as we enter another period of accelerated collective and personal change.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to discover the benefits and learning opportunities you will gain by joining.

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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.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1958). The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle. Horoscope Magazine.

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

Chagall TheSouloftheCity.jpg

Marc Chagall (1945) The Soul of the City

Capricorn Lunar Eclipse

“History is inside us, as Henry Corbin always insisted, not we inside history. History is a psychological material where the eternities of soul leave their traces in time. As the soul moves in circles, so does history display the soul’s ricorsi as records . . . Soul can always be lost, for that is its nature; lost even as it is found in the noblest of intentions . . . Soul is necessarily shadowed, its enlightenment never accomplished.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology (p. 314)

The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 signals a peak moment of 2019, a gateway releasing the pent up pressure and karmic debris that has been gathered by the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn during the past six months. The nodes mark eclipses and were envisioned by the ancients as a monstrous dragon consuming our luminaries, with the North Node the Head, the South Node the Tail of the dragon. Because the Full Moon in Capricorn is roughly seven degrees away from the nodes, it will become partially covered in blood red shadow cast by the Sun. The eclipse is not only ruled by Saturn, Saturn will be in the same vicinity of the sky as the Moon, while also forming a close conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. Since the Lunar Eclipse is also closely conjoining Pluto, there will be an intensified underworld quality to the time involving the necessity of digging up and facing certain issues that have been buried. The influence of the South Node on Saturn and the eclipse invites a shedding and release of wherever in life you have been neglecting authentic desires and feelings in order to conform to societal expectations.

2019 began with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn and henceforth the close conjunction of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn have emphasized the gravity as well as the ambition of the earthy sign of the Sea Goat. While the North Node has been in Cancer the entire year, it was not until mid June when Mercury and Mars ascended over it, followed by the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2, that the Cancer side of the nodal axis became amplified. The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn, between Moon and Saturn, midwives and morticians, tender searching and patient austerity, has been the dominant astrological theme of the year. The prodigal Moon which waxes and wanes ever forward in its shifting phases of generation and corruption, translating the life-giving light of the sun between all of the planets just as it also signifies our changing feelings and capacity to empathize with others, is in stark contrast to the sluggish taskmaster Saturn who stands guard at the gateway between visible and invisible planets, imagining the boundaries that reorder forms, demanding we persevere and endure its tests that necessarily temper our extremes and shape our path forward. Within the potent polarity betwixt Cancer and Capricorn, the fluidity of feelings flow into the cold gravity of stone.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness and then becomes eclipsed in shadow, Venus in Cancer will be applying toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and an opposition with Saturn. Vitally, Venus is no longer visible and has entered her regenerative underworld phase of combustion in the fiery rays of the Sun.  Yet the meaning found within the purification of Venus is also drawing us toward new growth in our relationships, aesthetics, and our underlying values since she is crossing over the degree of the North Node of the Moon. At this point within her synodic cycle Venus is moving fast as she chases after the Sun to become reseeded and reborn in the heart of the Sun on August 14. The pull of Venus is inward, inviting descent into inner realms where we can discover our hidden power as well as vulnerability. Feelings will be intensified, even irrational at times, due to Venus being ruled by the Moon as it becomes partially eclipsed.

Indeed, while Venus is magnetizing us to reflect upon and explore whatever is truly most worthwhile to pursue and create through desires as well as embody within relationships, the opposition with Saturn can trigger issues of rejection, fear, and insecurity we will need to endure in order to gather the wisdom available through the experience. Moreover, since Venus is also applying toward a conjunction with Pluto that will complete on July 21, there can be an intensification of relational dynamics that reveal issues or patterns that have been hidden or that we have been in denial of. It is one of those transits that can dredge up difficult feelings while also inciting opportunities for significant growth on the other side of the process. Venus in the sensitive sign of Cancer will be asking us to feel it all deeply.

However, although Venus is facing the intensity of confronting the Head of the Dragon during a Lunar Eclipse while also opposing Saturn and Pluto, she is also forming a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on July 18. Neptune is also mediating the polarity of the eclipse, as it is forming a trine with the North Node of the Moon and a sextile with the eclipsed Moon, Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto. As a result, when emotions become overwhelming we can cope through imaginative creative expression fueled by the feelings, relaxing in or nearby water, or fantasizing through art, storytelling, music, or other combinations of Venus and Neptune. One song that evokes the dynamic tension between Cancer and Capricorn, Venus and Saturn is “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. In the music video she deftly directed herself, the imagery accentuates her lyrical portrayal of fearfully being pursued by love like chthonic hounds, while also discovering if love is actually not something to fear after all:

I thought of sharing “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush not only because I consider it to be a masterful song and video evocative of Venus conjoining the North Node while opposing Saturn conjoining the South Node, but also due to a newsletter from the astrologer Nina Gryphon I read in which she remarked how the two hounds of the fixed stars, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are connected with the eclipse. The Lunar Eclipse is opposite Procyon, the alpha star of Canis Minor, while Venus is close to a degree-based conjunction with Sirius, the alpha star of Canis Major which is also the brightest star in the sky. Notably, however, both Sirius and Procyon are currently in their hidden phases, invisible just like Venus. Just as Kate Bush utilized the symbolism of hounds to write about confronting the fear of falling in love, hounds are also associated with psychopomps into the underworld and being the companions of goddesses such as Hekate who exist in the crossroads between worlds. As we process and integrate the emotional experiences of the eclipse, as Venus continues to engage in her underworld journey the rest of the month, turning within toward the fertile realm of inner senses will help cultivate a regenerated, more authentic presence.

Further deepening an underworld process, Ceres stations direct in the first degree of Sagittarius a day after the Lunar Eclipse on July 17, having been retreating in backward motion since April 8 when it stationed retrograde at 14º16′ Sagittarius. Ceres signifies not only our issues around mothering and nurturance but also our capacity for undergoing cathartic experiences of grief in order to return to a place of creative productivity. Just as Ceres in her myth had to withdraw away from the world in order to mourn and nurse her wounds from losing her beloved, so may we need to focus more on allowing ourselves to do the same rather than trying to force something to happen through ambitious, external striving. The stillness of Ceres is an additional invitation to tend to one’s inner wounds at this time so we can then become strengthened to provide nurturance to others as Ceres begins shifting forward again. Ceres is preparing to embark upon a pilgrimage toward an eventual conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will not become exact until the end of October.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)  Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)

The Lunar Eclipse marks a dramatic moment within the present cycle between Saturn and Pluto, as not only will the Moon become eclipsed, but the Moon itself will also be occulting both Saturn and Pluto. This is due to not only the Full Moon being conjoined with the South Node of the Moon, but also Saturn being conjoined with the South Node of Saturn and Pluto being conjoined with the South Node of Pluto. We are at the end of a Saturn and Pluto cycle that began in 1982 and 1983 (a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto will begin in January 2020), a cycle that has been strongly connected to the nodes of Saturn and Pluto due to the 1982 and 1983 conjunction taking place at the northern bending of Saturn and Pluto, with Saturn and Pluto both forming catalyzing square aspects with their own nodes. Since this time Pluto has been steadily descending in latitude toward its current place of being on the ecliptic.

This means that not only is the Capricorn Moon becoming eclipsed as it descends downward across the ecliptic in union with its own South Node, Saturn and Pluto are also being occulted as they also are on the ecliptic in union with their own South Nodes. Altogether in archetypal terms, this is an incredibly intense dynamic involving the entire orbital arcs of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto intersecting with our own orbit during the time of the Lunar Eclipse. This profound dynamic relates to the necessity of facing not only our own individual karma, but also an intensified encounter with numerous intersecting waves of karma regarding civilization and its wounding impact upon our ancestors across time. There are crucial issues to face not only regarding the living of our own personal lives but also how we are being shaped by the forces of civilization and what is being created and enforced through societal structures, heads of state, governing bodies, and courts of so called justice.

An eclipse in Capricorn signifies sudden endings and changes impacting corporations, governments, heads of state, and hierarchical power structures. As we witness the corresponding volatility in current events, each of us is also being asked to dislodge ourselves from the conditioning of dominant power structures in order to realize whatever we truly wish to create and cultivate. While we may need to continue working somewhere in order to survive and provide for loved ones, we can embrace our performance in a way that can uplift others rather than negatively resigning ourselves to it. We can imagine ways to create time and space to engage in more activities we feel passionate about and enlivened by. We can refuse to conform with dictates from societal power structures that ask us to passively enable oppressive acts of social injustice.

John Everett Millais (1856) The Blind Girl

Just as Venus in Cancer is in her dark phase of invisibility during the eclipse, so is Mercury. Mercury has ancient associations with alchemical water due to its capacity for blending and dissolution, a remedy we will need to utilize to navigate the changing currents to come. Alchemists such as Paracelsus identified Mercury as part of the primal trio along with sulfur (animating soul) and salt (matter, body), with Mercury fluidly mediating the below with the above, the above with the below. In astrology Mercury also has ancient associations with mediating polarities such as the above and below, the spiritual and mundane, the solar and lunar. As a result, it is notable that the Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is separating from a conjunction with Pluto and applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Leo. Though Mercury retrograde has a notorious reputation for bringing delays in external striving, it can be utilized for powerful inner work of purging, processing, clearing, and clarifying.

As I previously wrote in my article on Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer, after Mercury shifts from Leo into Cancer a few days after the eclipse on July 19, it will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination as the Moon wanes toward its dark phase at the end of July. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

Furthermore, after Mercury is reseeded in the heart of the Sun through its inferior conjunction on July 21, it will head backwards toward a mutually applying conjunction with Venus in Cancer on July 24. Both Venus and Mercury will be in the middle of a regenerative process of purification when they meet, with Venus moving away from an opposition with Pluto and Mercury heading toward an opposition with Pluto. While deep issues and emotions will continue to be stirred up, the encounter between Mercury retrograde and Venus can bring a shift into greater healing and nurturance toward whatever needs tending. Though the Lunar Eclipse is a temporary moment of shadowing, the feelings stirred up by it linger, with experiences manifesting at a later date that have their roots in the blood red shading. Let yourself contemplate and explore whatever images emerge into awareness in the coming weeks through dreams of night and travel by day, for they will hold key insights to ponder. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology, “Anima comes to its knowledge by an imaginative proces: by the study of its own images.”

References

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

Mercury Retrograde in Leo & Cancer

Chagall BetweenDarknessandLight.jpg

Marc Chagall (1938-43) Between Darkness and Light

Mercury Retrograde in Leo & Cancer

It’s the main highway leading in, / the sun soon down. / Traffic backs up, creeps along, / it’s a torpid glittering dragon. / I am a scale on that dragon. / The red sun all at once / blazes in my windshield, / pouring in, / and makes me transparent. / Some writing shows / up inside me- words / written with invisible ink / appearing when the paper / is held over a fire. / I know that I have to go far away, / straight through the city, out / the other side, then step out / and walk a long time in the woods. / Walk in the tracks of the badger. / Growing hard to see, nearly dark. / Stones lie about on the moss. / One of those stones is precious. / It can change everything. / It can make the darkness shine. / It’s the light switch for the whole country. / Everything depends on it. / Look at it . . . touch it . . .

— Further In by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

The stillness of Mercury when it stations retrograde demands attention. The fleet-footed Star of Hermes which is capable of questioning and curating with quicksilver speed, ever cunning in its capacity to incite changes in perspective, stands still in contemplative pause. In the liminal transition of twilight, Mercury shares the final light of its cycle before descending into its invisible phase of rebirth. It is always advisable to pay closer attention than normal when Mercury stations, as well as making space for reflection regarding inner shifts beginning to take shape. When Mercury stations retrograde on July 7 at 4º27′ Leo, however, it will be even more important than normal due to it stationing in range of a conjunction with Mars in Leo and a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. These aspects indicate more than the usual amount of unexpected twists and turns in storylines suddenly appearing, even more so since it is also happening within the mysterious vortex of change that comes in between eclipses.

It’s common to hear warnings from astrologers to not sign any contracts or make major purchases during periods of Mercury retrograde, due to it being associated with delays and erratic volatility, but the fact remains that life for most cannot go on hold for the rest of July while Mercury is retrograde. It is possible to successfully initiate new enterprises, sign contracts, and make purchases during Mercury retrograde periods, but it is important to recognize it possesses a different quality of time than when Mercury is moving at its usual speed while direct. The slow, churning, backward motion of Mercury calls for introspection and paying close attention to inner guidance and intuition in relation to whatever is undertaken. While Mercury is retrograde we can become aware of numerous signs indicating it’s not the right time to do something we have been consciously fixated on making happen. However, if  everything is lining up well to embark on a new initiative, there is no reason to refrain from acting just because of fear over the fact that Mercury is retrograde.

We are often called to revisit an old issue or pattern while Mercury is retrograde, but rather than becoming angry and frustrated over having to rework or re-engage with something from the past, it’s better to utilize the opportunity for resolving old issues, making reparations and repairs where needed, and coming to terms with whatever needs completion in order to more effectively welcome an influx of new developments.  In the week following Mercury stationing retrograde on July 7, take time for reflection regarding whatever you have outgrown and feel that the time has arrived to release. Mercury retrograde periods are always powerful in terms of purging and breaking free from old habits, but this particular Mercury retrograde will be even more powerful than normal due to Mercury stationing in strong aspect with both Mars and Uranus, while also happening in between a solar and lunar eclipse. There is an old way of expressing ourselves in the world that is ready to be shed, while at the same time a potent new form or source of creativity is ready to be embraced.

Dragon ouroboros Hermetic Sun and Moon

From The Hermetic Child of Sun and Moon (1752)

The Fixed & Volatile Fire of Leo

The dwarf pine on marsh grounds holds its head up: a dark rag. / But what you see is nothing compared to the roots, / the widening, secretly groping, deathless or half-deathless root system.

I you she he also put roots out. / Outside our common will. / Outside the City.

Rain drifts from the summer sky that’s pale as milk. / It is as if my five senses were hooked up to some other creature / that moves with the same stubborn flow / as the runners in white circling the track as the night comes misting in.

A Few Moments by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

As Mercury stations on July 7 to begin slowly shifting retrograde on July 8, we will experience the unusual occurrence of Mars applying toward a conjunction with Mercury that completes on July 8. While Mars will continue to charge forward into a volatile aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will complete on July 11, Mercury will turn around and head backwards before completing an exact square aspect with Uranus. As Mars completes its catalyzing aspect with Uranus, Mercury will be disappearing from view in twilight and entering its invisible, psychopomp role of pulling awareness into subconscious depths. In combination these aspects portend extreme volatility with mental unrest and overwhelm at times overcoming us, as well as sudden conflicts arising that could provoke frustration and anger. There may also be a connection of events back to the period of June 18 when Mercury previously formed a conjunction with Mars for the first time in this series.

Yet the volatile, destructive quality of time signified by Mercury stationing retrograde while engaging both Mars and Uranus can be utilized in breaking free from situations that have been limiting or stagnating us. There is a highly charged dosage of liberating creativity and courageous determination within these aspects that can spur us to act on desires for new growth and dynamic exploration. However, it will be vital to keep in mind the tendency of Mercury retrograde periods to bring delays, so be patient and do your best to not add fuel to fires of frustration when events do not move as quickly as you had expected. Positively, Mercury retrograde periods can help cultivate incredible focus directed toward research, writing, and other mental pursuits when we are able to make time and space free from distractions. As long as we don’t insist on making fast progress, Mercury in its retrograde path through Leo can facilitate work on creative projects that can eventually manifest powerful results in the months ahead. Rather than cursing Mercury retrograde when we lose track of something or are surprised by a sudden twist of fate, see where the unexpected turns take you and discover whatever revelations your mind becomes opened to receive.

Mercury will remain retrograde in the first decan of Leo until July 19 when it will return to the watery sign of Cancer. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power to focus massive attention through the role, mask, or persona we bear in public performance for an audience. Since Mercury retrograde will be stoking the flames of the first face of Leo as the Sun forms a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on July 10 and then eclipses the Capricorn Moon on July 16, take time to contemplate whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona you have been engaging the wider world through. What aspects of soul and psyche have you been neglecting in your pursuit of worldly ambition or insistence on doing things a certain way to conform with external expectations?

Mercury retrograde in the fire of the first face of Leo can be utilized to burn off and purge however we have allowed ourselves to stray from our essential purpose, or however we have been restricting ourselves from pursuing and achieving what we want to create.  In particular, whatever fears and blockages have arisen as barriers during the recent months of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon aligning in Capricorn will become triggered during the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. While we will need to face and deal with issues of necessity during this time, the sleight of hand offered by Mercury retrograde can help open a new awareness for how to handle responsibilities while also nurturing the life we desire to cultivate. After Mercury moves backward into the lunar-ruled sign of Cancer on July 19, a few days after the lunar eclipse, we will need to sift through irrational feelings and messages from our depths that will be able to ultimately help guide us forward into a more fulfilling direction.

Remedios Varo-Personaje-En-Lancha-1957

Remedios Varos (1957) Personaje En Lancha

From Flames to Waves

“We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us.”

— Marcel Proust from Within a Budding Grove volume two of In Search of Lost Time 

Mercury will return to Cancer on July 19, making the incongruous transition from the hot and dry fire sign of Leo into the cold and moist water sign of Cancer. Whereas the scorching, fiery light of the Sun rules Leo, Mercury will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

While Mercury will station direct and return to visibility as a Morning Star at the end of July, it will remain in the third decan of Cancer from July 19 through August 11 when it will finally return to Leo. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, linking it with both the endless energy of the natural world as well as the danger of facing scarcity within societal systems in which people compete for limited material resources. The importance Coppock noted for being a “conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” through investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works relates well to the societal upheaval which will likely correspond with eclipses volatilizing the combination of Saturn and Pluto with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. As Mercury moves retrograde and stations direct within the third face of Cancer, consider how its regenerative process may reshape your work to not only be more personally fulfilling but to also provide resources to benefit others.

Mercury retrograde will reenter the third face of Cancer only a couple of days before it becomes regenerated through its conjunction with the Sun on July 21, placing it at the end of a cycle similar to a Dark Moon. Fittingly, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs named the lunar goddess Hecate as presiding in the third face of Cancer. Hecate has always been honored at the crossroads during the dark phase of the Moon as well as when facing the darkness of the unknown. The wise crone and dark goddess who rules over all lunar phases and all realms of the upper and underworld, Hecate for ages has been available to call for regenerative guidance and assistance during dark nights of the soul. With Mercury going through a death and rebirth process in the inner, watery home of the Moon, we will need to discern inner guidance from the deep stirring of our emotions. Old memories that bear a soulful message will likely demand attention and call us to re-integrate them into the way our regenerating perspective is reshaping our life narrative.

“When from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”

— Marcel Proust from Swann’s Way volume one of In Search of Lost Time

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

Remedios Varo (1945) Icono

Chthonic Cazimi in Cancer

“On the way there a couple of startled wings fluttered, and that was all. One goes there alone. It is a lofty building made entirely of open spaces, a building which sways all the time, but is never able to fall. The sun, changed into a thousand suns, drifts in through the open slivers. And an inverse law of gravity takes hold in the play of light: this house floats anchored in the sky, and what falls falls upward. It makes you turn around. In the woods it is all right to grieve. It’s all right to see the old truths, which we usually keep packed away in the luggage. My roles down there in the deep places fly up, hang like dried skulls in an ancestor hut on a remote Melanesian island. A childlike light around the terrifying trophies. Woods are mild that way.”

– A Place in the Woods by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

On July 21, Mercury will unite with the Sun at 28º28′ Cancer during its inferior conjunction in which Mercury aligns in between our orbit with the Sun, as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mercury to be. Astrological texts named this time of rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun, when Mercury is seated upon the throne of the solar ruler and revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light. This is a moment of solar re-seeding in which Mercury is regenerated and purified within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” As a result, July 21 will be especially potent in terms of turning within for reflection and contemplation regarding all of the material stirred up by the eclipses of July. We may not only set intention for release and to manage whatever is demanding our attention, we may also plant the seeds of whatever we wish to cultivate during the coming cycle of Mercury.

At the same time that Mercury is being reborn in the heart of the Sun, the disseminating Moon in Pisces will be conjoining Neptune. The Moon’s union with Neptune supports setting time and space aside to luxuriate within your senses and imagination, to meditate away from the monotony of daily responsibilities when possible. It will also be a potent time to pay attention to dreams or actively work with any recent dream images, as well as contemplate messages received from signs and synchronicities in your environment.

There is a compelling connection between the conjunction of Neptune and the Moon with the Sabian symbol for the degree where the chthonic cazimi of Mercury occurs. The Sabian symbol for Cancer 29° is “a greek muse weighing new-born twins in golden scales,” a symbol which Dane Rudhyar described as involving “the intuitive weighing of alternatives.” Rudhyar wrote that since it’s “the Muse that is doing the weighing, it is apparent that forces deeper or higher than the intellect are actually at work- the intuitive mind, or what Jung calls the anima, i.e. the psychic function which relates ego-consciousness to the collective Unconscious.” Rudhyar further noted this symbol can also imply that we need to sort through what “may be more a dream or ideal than a practical reality” within choices needing to be made, an important warning to keep in mind when the Moon is under the sway of Neptune.

In addition to the Moon conjoining Neptune at the time of Mercury’s union with the Sun, Venus in Cancer will be forming an opposition with Pluto. The presence of Venus less than six degrees away from the rebirth of Mercury is pivotal, for Mercury has turned backward in order to complete an additional union with Venus on July 24. The mutual application of Mercury retrograde with Venus signifies a sudden insight or turn of events. Both Venus and Mercury are in the middle of a regenerative process of purification, with the opposition from Venus with Pluto dredging up unconscious patterns that have been impacting relationships from hidden realms within. There is incredible depth within these aspects that will be worth the time made for reflection and sifting through the intensification of desire that will be stirred. Though both Mercury and Venus are not at full strength during their union, their meeting can bring healing and nurturance to whatever needs tending.

Remedios Varo-Trasmundo-1955

Remedios Varo (1955) Transmundo

Morning Star of Lunar Tides

One March day I walked down to the lake shore to listen. / The ice was blue as the sky. And breaking up in the sun. /  The sun whispers into a microphone under the ice. / There’s a seething and burbling. Far out it sounds like a sheet / being snapped. / The whole thing is like History: our present. We are lowered / into it, we listen . . .

Radical and Reactionary live together as in a miserable marriage, / diminished by each other, leaning on each other. / But we, their children, have to find our own road. / Each problem cries out in a private language! / Walk down any path where there is a trace of truth.

In a field not far from the subdivisions / a newspaper has been lying for months, full of news. / It is aging because of days and nights, rain and sun. / It’s on its way to becoming a plant, a cabbage head. It’s starting / to join the field, / like an old memory gradually changing into you.

– from About History by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

From July 22 through the end of July, Mercury will remain invisible until it returns to visibility as a Morning Star around the same time that it stations direct on July 31. The return of Mercury’s light will bring important messages to receive and integrate, highlighting the importance of making time and space for reflection and paying close attention to the signs we receive in our daily travel. The date of July 31 signals a major transition from the eclipse season of July, as a New Moon in Leo will occur within the same hour in which Mercury will station direct. This will be a potent date to deepen the understanding gained during Mercury’s movement retrograde, as well as setting intentions for the forthcoming lunar cycle, yet the stationary presence of Mercury suggests we will remain in a liminal state of recovery for a time before moving stridently forward with progress in August.

While Mercury will station direct at 23º56′ Cancer, Pluto will be moving retrograde away from an opposition with Mercury at 21º28′ Capricorn. Although Mercury will not reach an exact opposition with Pluto, its intensity will be deeply felt as the transiting Moon in Cancer will pass through an opposition with Pluto and a conjunction with Mercury on July 30. As Mercury stations in the final days of July in opposition with Pluto, we can expect a final upsurge of information to enter our awareness from subconscious depths and unexpected sources, one more installment of whatever material was stirred up by the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. The tension between Mercury and Pluto can facilitate penetrating underneath the surface of conventions, probing beyond societal boundaries to understand the essence of whatever you have been exploring.

Significantly, Mercury will be stationing direct in range of a conjunction with the North Nodes of Saturn and Pluto. This is of vital importance due to the fact that the alignment of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in recent months has ben occurring in alignment with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto, a configuration that has been dredging up intense societal issues that have roots within the oppressive cycles of civilized history. With Mercury activating the North Node side of Cancer, it may feel like peeling off the dead skin of perception you have been attached to using when interpreting meaning, especially those aspects heavily conditioned by external influences within your surrounding civilization. While you may initially feel vulnerable due to releasing perspectives that have brought security to your identity, you can simultaneously begin to feel revitalized by embracing a more authentic way of understanding.

Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 9 at 29º Cancer, marking its entrance into what Gary Caton named the rubedo phase of its alchemical, retrograde process in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make the shift into a new way of being as Mercury picks up speed and moves through its Morning Star phase. After Jupiter in Sagittarius stations direct on August 11, Mercury will return to Leo and begin applying toward a harmonious trine aspect that will facilitate taking ownership over creating what you want to bring into the world free from the weight of however you have held yourself back in the past.

By the time of the Aquarius Full Moon on August 15, Mercury will be crossing the threshold of the degree in Leo in which it stationed retrograde at the beginning of July, finally completing its catalyzing square aspect with Uranus on August 16. The month of August holds dramatically different astrological meaning than the month of July, with a strong focus on fiery inspiration and creativity. The more we can utilize July for clearing and reshaping our perspective, the more we will be able to manifest powerful changes and productive results in August and September.

References

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.

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases.

Tranströmer, Tomas. (2001). The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer. Selected and translated by Robert Bly. Graywolf Press.

Venus & Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Venus receives Mercury Retrograde

Venus conjoins Mercury Retrograde in her own home of Taurus this Friday, May 13.  Venus unifies, harmonizes, brings us pleasure, and in the earthy, body-centered lair of Taurus, she wants to delight our bodily forms and the deepest recesses of our sensory, sensual natures.  Mercury in astrology can destabilize, contest, and create volatility in contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, yet Mercury is also the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our bodily, material realm.  With Mercury retrograde in Taurus, with Mercury recently having passed through a purifying conjunction with the Sun while conjoining its own heliocentric South Node, Mercury is pulling us deeply within our senses to the inner source of our thoughts and discernment.  If you are lucky enough to be in love in this moment, it is an ideal transit of pure pleasure.  If you are alone or dissatisfied in relationship, this is an ideal time for Self nurturance and getting in touch with your deepest feelings and needs in relationship.  By embracing being alone and out of relationship at this time, the inner process that is supported by this transit will help magnetize a deeply resonant relationship that aligns with the uncovered inner values and needs when the time is right.

This lovely transit of Mercury retrograde uniting with Venus in Taurus is embellished by it being in an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and also in range of a trine to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury during its retrograde plays the role of the Herald to Hades, and so aligned with Venus will help release resistance to whatever cathartic changes Pluto in Capricorn has been calling for in our life that we have not yet answered with full presence.  In the next few days there is a lovely opportunity to accept the underlying changes in our life that in the past has created stress, worry, and grief, and instead allow ourselves to be present and open to what has been created for us in this moment out of the destruction.

remedios varo and husband

Remedios Varo

These lovely aspects surrounding Mercury uniting with Venus in her home are happening as the Moon waxes in light, en route to an electrifyingly dynamic Full Moon next week that is aligned with the heart of the current Mars Retrograde.  Furthermore, all of this is happening within the tightening of the tension involving Saturn in Sagittarius in square to the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  With Mercury moving slowly backward in its retrograde, it will be lingering longer than normal in its embrace of Venus, and lucky Hermes is getting to enjoy the experience in the home of Venus.  Although many elements of our lives may feel scary with the degree of changes signified by the surrounding astrological transits, the commingling of Venus and Mercury now can facilitate inner access to the authentic change and growth occurring for you, rather than the collective fears of change circulating in the atmosphere now.

The ideal situation, as far as we can see, is when the ego, with a certain plasticity, obeys the central regulation of the psyche. But when it hardens and becomes autonomous, acting according to its own reasons, then there is often a neurotic constellation.  This happens not only to individuals, but also collectively, which is why we speak of collective neuroses and psychoses.  Whole groups of mankind can drift into that split situation and deviate from their basic instinctual patterns, and then disaster is close.  That is why in hero stories there is nearly always an exposition of a terrible situation . . . Whatever this terrible story is, the hero has the task of putting it right . . .

The hero, therefore, is the restorer of a healthy, conscious situation. He is the one ego that restores us to healthy, normal functioning in a situation in which all the egos of that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive, basic totality pattern.  It can therefore be said that the hero is an archetypal figure which presents a model of an ego functioning in accord with the Self.

—  Marie-Louise von Franz

References

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1996). The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised edition. Shambhala.

film clip from the film Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard.