Libra New Moon

Mirror of Venus by Edward Burne-Jones

“Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divining, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”

Libra New Moon

Cycles are central to astrology, at the core of the rhythm within the nature around and within us that we perceive in correspondence; at the root of our imaginal revelations, feelings, and the stories we participate in with our lives. Each and every New Moon brings a death and rebirth. Approximately aligned with the calendrical timeframe of a month, each time the Moon approaches her regenerative union with the Sun, we experience a putrefaction and decomposition of matters belonging to the past month, while simultaneously experiencing the reanimation of meaning to be brought forth in the cycle ahead. During the dark of the Moon, when her silvery light is cloaked in night due to being too close to the Sun, we also draw sustenance and resources from the past. Cultures across time have used the dark, invisible lunar phase to feed and commune with their ancestors, receiving guidance on the path to come and the inborn gifts to cultivate in the process. Within the liminal embrace between Sun and Moon, we move through a threshold of intersecting narratives, sensing how to embody and tell our next chapter.

The New Moon on October 6 is much more regenerative than normal, as it involves new cycles between the Moon and Mars beginning with the Sun at the same time. Just after the Moon’s coming cycle of light becomes rekindled by her solar union, within an hour of clock time she will conjoin Mars, followed by Mars becoming reanimated by the Sun a day later on October 7. In contrast to the Moon’s monthly mingling with the Sun, it takes Mars approximately two years to move from one solar conjunction to the next. The last time there was a conjunction between Mars and the Sun was on September 2, 2019 in Virgo. And so the gestative darkness of the Libra New Moon also bears endings and beginnings of your relationship with Mars, a regeneration of patterns and stories related to courage, conflict, dynamic creativity, how you fight for what you love and want to protect, how you draw from the inner forge of fiery desire to pursue goals and dreams of purpose in the world.

Yet there is more, for also lingering nearby the Sun, Moon, and Mars in Libra is the star of Hermes. Mercury is also invisible, also traversing an underworld landscape as it moves backwards through retrograde motion toward its inferior conjunction with the Sun that will take place a few days later on October 9. In stark contrast to Moon and Mars, Mercury typically makes six conjunctions with the Sun every year, a six pointed pattern in which three solar unions occur while moving fast and direct, and three other solar unions occur while moving slow and retrograde. Just like the newly revivified Libra Moon will form a conjunction with Mars later in the day on October 6, so will she unite with Mercury and draw us more deeply into internal processing of the myriad aspects of our perceptual, intellectual, vocational, and relational patterns being actively transmuted by the liminal passage of Mercury.

Mercury so close to Mars and the Sun will be wielding their piercing heat which distinguishes and separates matters within the thoughtful terrain of Libra, where Mercury can deftly oscillate with probing analysis that turns issues around on every side, reflecting back and forth between questions and responses within relationship, deciphering where imbalances need reform and restoration. The Mercury cycle ending and beginning can be traced all the way back to the last time Mercury formed an inferior, retrograde conjunction with the Sun in Gemini on June 10, the same day as a Solar Eclipse in Gemini. More recently, Mercury was reanimated by the Sun while moving direct on August 1 in Leo while also setting off the propulsive tension of the ongoing square between Saturn and Uranus, as it formed an opposition with Saturn and a square with Uranus. As a result, Mercury’s past cycle has been connected to sources of immense, radical change within the astrology of the past six months, and so its skills for recalibration and noticing the pivotal way our stories are changing will be much needed medicine in the week following the Libra New Moon.

While the Libra New Moon is applying to conjunctions with Mars and Mercury, it is separating from a trine with Saturn in Aquarius and an opposition with Chiron in Aries. In between aspects with Saturn and Mars, the lunation calls for initiation into the next stage of our story. As in all initiations we must process loss as part of making a sacred transition across a new threshold of experience, and so whether we feel suffering over the present state of the world or more personal travails, the Libra New Moon forming in between aspects with Saturn and Mars will call attention to the challenges that need our attention. When possible find moments of stillness and rest to better orient with whatever personal patterns and issues need your full presence, so better to begin adapting to the new visions of future growth that will soon begin stirring within.

Themes of the underworld, death, rebirth, and what lurks in hidden places will be further amplified due to Pluto in Capricorn stationing direct on October 6, the same day as the Libra New Moon. Moreover, the Libra Moon will also be applying to an intensifying square aspect with Pluto within her orb of daily motion, deeply stirring the inner cauldron of unconscious desires and feelings. While stories in current events will involve major power plays and falls with those in positions of power, within our personal stories we may realize important revelations regarding how to shift balances of power within not only our external relationships but within our inner life. The stationing of Pluto brings the invisible gravity of Hades into palpable contact with our surface awareness, demanding we pay attention to issues at the root of embodying a more empowered presence. Old identities may need to be shed, old patterns released; let the psychopomp Hermes receive the message from Pluto most needed to be integrated, and allow the simultaneous rebirth of Mercury to shepherd you from where you have been to where you need to go with your full being.

from Anonymous version of Rosarium Philosophorum published in 1578

“I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing. For this reason the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there anymore,- is already in our blood . . . We cannot say who has come, perhaps we shall never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to transform itself in us long before it happens . . . The more still, more patient and more open we are when we are sad, so much the deeper and so much the more unswervingly does the new go into us, so much the better do we make it ours, so much the more will it be our destiny, and when on some later day it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to others), we shall feel in our inmost selves akin and near to it.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”

As the Moon, Mars, and Mercury enter and pass through the sacred, inmost chamber at the heart of the Sun from October 6 through 9, Saturn will be saturating the astrological atmosphere with its sobering and ponderous significations due to stationing direct on October 10. As the New Moon is in the exaltation of Saturn and in range of a trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, we may receive meaningful insights into the aleatory aspects of changing conditions by moving slowly and patiently taking our time surveying the scene. Saturn previously stationed retrograde on May 23, and so its stationing direct signals a pivotal turn of the tide that promises important new developments beginning to take shape. Yet the shift most readily felt from Saturn as it stands motionless in stillness may be felt within moments of deep, solitary contemplation and reflection. Rather than trying to rush ahead, take your time coming into deeper relationship with the ways in which inner desires are continuing to be reshaped and will be continuing to alter forward trajectory.

While Mars and Mercury are both invisible during the Libra New Moon, Venus is continuing to glow bright as an Evening Star during twilight. As Venus is the ruler of the Libra lunation, her capacity within the nocturnal waters of Scorpio for absorbing surrounding emotions and underlying dynamics within relationships will bring an additional level of intensity to the insights that may be received during the New Moon in Libra. Venus is separating from a sextile with Pluto, a square with Jupiter, and a trine with Neptune that altogether has helped Venus bring whatever deep material has been inhabiting the underbelly of relational patterns and attractors to the surface of awareness. While Venus may have taken us into uncomfortable material and feelings to confront, she is ultimately leading us through an incredibly cathartic process that can enable us to redream our life to be more authentically aligned with the present state of our authentic desires and purpose.

After Venus leaves the churning waters of Scorpio for the fiery expansiveness of Sagittarius on October 7, she will first pass through a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon during the same period of time that Mercury will be regenerated through its conjunction with the Sun. The visionary flame kindled between Venus with the South Node of the Moon will provide a sacred spark for offering relational patterns in need of being burned off within the flames of Mercury becoming regenerated by the fire of the Sun. Yet while we may experience a decomposition of what needs to be released from the past, there may also be treasures of insight to excavate through measured contemplation. Regarding creative ideas and goals we wish to further cultivate in the future, we may also experience a sharpening of focus into the essential qualities that need to be prioritized versus the excess weight that can be shed. Listen for the new ideas, dreams, symbols, and meaningful purpose that Mercury will be calling your attention to on October 9.

Following the intensity of Mars being regenerated on October 7, Mercury being regenerated on October 9, and Saturn stationing direct on October 11, there will be a strong undertow of directional change emerging in the following week as Jupiter will station direct on October 17 and Mercury will station direct on October 18. Furthermore, there will be a flowing trine between Mars in Libra with Jupiter in Aquarius on October 18 that will provide supportive wind to spur movement on developing goals. Thus while we may need to sense where subterfuge is lurking within shadows in the days following the Libra New Moon, previously hidden matters will come to light with greater clarity as the Moon waxes into the Aries Full Moon on October 20. Since the Aries Full Moon will form an opposition with Mars in Libra, whatever new desires are beginning to emerge from the new cycle of Mars will be illuminated, enabling deeper attunement with whatever internal changes are simmering in the heat between Mars and the Sun.

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 painful experiences that can be facilitated by Saturn. In times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can ultimately increase our capacity to return to love again, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us. The piercing of the heart by three swords is also resonant with the Moon, Mars, and Mercury all entering the heart of the Sun within days of the Libra New Moon, with Mars melting down its old blade to forge a sword anew.

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.” Oaths and binding contracts are central symbols of this face that hold one of its central lessons: with whom and for what should one pledge themselves in oath. The second decan of Libra promises a bounty of abundance for those who stay true to their commitments in contracts of mutual beneficence. Yet it also contains the heartbreak of betrayal and becoming abandoned by the other side not holding up their end of the agreement. With the Moon, Mars, and Mercury all beginning new cycles with the Sun within the second face of Libra, take time to contemplate the commitments you are forming so that you do not later face the torment of being bound to a contract you do not want to uphold, nor a partner incapable of honoring their side of the oath.

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 where Venus is transiting during the lunation. 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 but rather connects us with a soulful sense of destiny thrust into the moment. We generally know to commit to blessed opportunities brought by the goddess Fortuna when they align with our purpose, but other times we can feel stuck and unsure if the opportunities presenting themselves to us are truly worthy of our commitment. When possible take your time in considering options and the path to commit yourself to in the days surrounding the Libra New Moon, letting the regenerative depth of multiple astrological cycles beginning simultaneously take root within you.

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References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Transmutation by Kate Flückinger

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

T.S. Eliot from “The Hollow Men”

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

In the space between the changing colors of twilight, in a moment of presence within liminal air charged by solar descent, the stillness of Mercury stationing saturates the atmosphere with his divine being. When Mercury stations retrograde, his forward progress as a twinkling evening star halts, giving way to an underworld passage through darkness that the star of Hermes will shepherd us through. We experience an intensification of all things related to Mercury when he stations, including his significations for divination and interpreting omens, and so it will be wise in the days surrounding his stationing to pay attention to signs and symbols of synchronicity that may reveal the important themes and issues that the retrograde movement of Mercury will be continuing to draw your attention to.

Mercury will station retrograde on September 26 or 27, depending upon your time zone, embarking upon a twenty-two day journey in which the star of Hermes will backtrack from 25°28’ Libra until stationing direct at 10°07’ Libra on October 18. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from ten to twenty-six degrees of Libra, he will excavate material that we need to deepen our engagement with, returning our perception to issues we need to release, rework, or reintegrate. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification, we may experience renewal on the other side. Mercury first crossed 10°07’ Libra on September 6 and will not move beyond 25°28’ Libra until November 2, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

Libra as the sign of the Scales involves the perpetual balancing experienced within all of our relationships.  As a symbol the scales conjure the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of the Soul after death, when the heart would ideally be as light as a feather.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of social justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior. In our modern world, however, the societal conventions and laws created by humanity can be at odds with the reordering of nature.  In the constant balancing act of an individual moving through the injustices of this world, the back and forth movement of Mercury through Libra will exacerbate tensions around social injustices, bringing opportunities to contemplate and reconsider any rigid beliefs you have been fixated upon in relation.

In astrology Mercury possesses a liminal identity that can move in between being masculine and feminine, nocturnal and diurnal, mutating in acclimation with the surrounding astrological environment. Mercury retrograde in Libra beckons 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.

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality. The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux in which everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state. Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow. The inherent restoration of balance to our system that results is not unlike the meaning we may discover with Mercury retrograde in Libra.  Though we may want or need to strike out against the injustices of the surrounding world or within our personal relationships, it will be important to simultaneously come into relationship with the shifting sands of the shadow within our own inner darkness, holding the tension so we may make the most thoughtful and discerning choices.

Since Mercury will be residing within the airy home of Venus for a lengthy stay we will be able to take a long look at ourselves in her mirror, using the mirror of Aphrodite to alter appearances and aesthetics while also descending into the depths of relational dynamics with others. As Karl Kerenyi wrote in in Hermes: Guide of Souls, “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence,” and so “finding and thieving in the realm of love are also Hermetic traits.” Kerenyi also ascribed “belonging to the journey” and being “by the road” as part of the essential nature of Hermes, as any “journeyer” connected 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.” Kerenyi further mused that “Journeying is the best condition for loving,” and that “the gorges over which the ‘volatized one’ passes like a ghost can be the abysses of unbelievable love affairs- Circe and Calypso islands and holes; they can be abysses also in the sense that there no chance exists for standing on firm ground, but only for further floating between life and death.” We need to embrace being in between states and forms during periods of Mercury retrograde, and while it is possible to bring matters into definite form when Mercury is moving backwards through the zodiac, in some situations we must accept the flux of formlessness and fluidity, recalibrating our perceptions and decisions in accordance with changing conditions.

While Mercury will be visible as an evening star when stationing retrograde on September 26, about a week later on October 1 he will cross the threshold of being fifteen degrees away from the Sun, disappearing from view into the darkness of his underworld journey during which he takes on the role of a psychopomp guiding souls through thresholds of liminality. The underworld passage of Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear, but rather a world to fully enter and embrace for the invaluable treasure that may be unearthed within its depths. The gifts we can most readily receive from Mercury retrograde are not always the kind valued by consensus culture:  the illuminated thought received in quiet moments, the mysterious meanderings of a creative process that does not provide immediate reward. As Mercury is the divine messenger who weaves the golden rays of the Sun into forms of expression and translates experiences of phenomenal reality into realization, make time and space during the retrograde movement of Mercury to allow your intuition and inner knowing to receive whatever messages the star of Hermes will be providing regarding changes in storylines and opportunities to stoke movement out of places you have felt stuck or stagnated.

Before Mercury disappears from view over the horizon during sunset, however, it’s notable he is occupying a place in the sky close in proximity to the fixed star Spica. Known as Sunbala, Sunbale, Sumbela, Sumbalet, as well as Spica, the Spike of the Virgin, it has been said that the light of Spica which symbolizes the wheat held by the Winged Goddess is a source of cultivating knowledge and bountiful gifts. Bernadette Brady wrote that Spica brings “a gift of brilliance, an innate talent, skill or ability which is out of the ordinary,” a “symbol of knowledge and insight.”  Brady wrote that the wheat sheaf symbolism of Spica “can be considered a symbol of her [the Goddess] gifts to humankind.” Diana Rosenberg wrote that people born with natal placements conjoining Spica “often have literary, artistic, and (especially) musical ability- they seem able to reach out and grasp inspiration from the stars themselves- words and music pour forth from them as from a deep wellspring.”

Moreover, astrologers in India for ages have placed Spica (“Star of Opportunity”) as the defining star of Chitra (“The Bright and Brilliant”), the 14th nakshatra which has been associated with a Bright Jewel or Pearl, making Spica a pearl of divine spirit within the heavens we have within. Dennis Harness in The Nakshatras explained Chitra also translates as a “painting or work of art” and “reflects the many, variegated colors seen in the radiance of a white star.” Chitra possesses Tvashtar, the Artificer, or Shaper, as its presiding divinity, he who is “the master of maya and magic.” Harness wrote that not only is Chitra “one of the most mystical nakshatras,” with “a deep spiritual depth,” it also also brings “sudden flashes of inspiration and the urge to realize one’s true self.”

As Mercury stations retrograde, the Moon will be passing through a flowing trine aspect with Mercury from its airy home of Gemini on September 27, completing a grand air trine between the Moon, Jupiter, and Mercury. The Gemini Moon will also form a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, activating the mystical dimension one may also associate with Spica. Be curious regarding whatever sources of inspiration and creative pursuits draw your interest as Mercury spends time in the sky near Spica in the week following its stationing. There may be many-colored gifts of insight and inspiration to carry through the intensifying passage of Mercury retrograde in the coming weeks, sources of creativity that you may meaningfully focus upon and deepen into engagement with.

Water Bearer by Kate Flückinger

Whó am I? Whó am I?
It is the old cry wandering in the wind
and with it interwoven
words of reply: I am fiery ember, dispersed
in innumerable fragments
flying in the wind, gray cinders
and black, and all still burning, all bearing
a point of flame
hidden in ashes. Flying upon the nameless
winds and upon those that men
know and name: sirocco,
bise, northeaster, tramontana. I die and again
life is breathed
into me. Whó am I? Whó am I?
My dust burns
in the past and flies before me
into the whirling future,
the Old World, the New World, my soul is scattered
across the continents
in the named places and the named and unnamed
shadowy faces, my years
a hearth from which the sparks wander
and to its stones
blow back at random upon the winds
to kindle the brand again that fades and flares.

Denise Levertov, “Wind Song”

The three passages of Mercury retrograde during 2021 have been significant due to them all occurring in air signs, as the year began in the wake of the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that established an era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs. Each back and forth movement of Mercury through each of the air signs during 2021 has brought important opportunities for recalibrating and readjusting personal perceptions, beliefs, and structures with the way in which collective, systemic structures are being rapidly reshaped or shown to need massive renovations. Along these lines, the retrograde passage of Mercury through Libra is notable due to it occurring in the exaltation of Saturn while making harmonious aspects with both Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Mercury will station retrograde while engaging in an extended, expansive trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius, and will ultimately station direct in range of a clarifying trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. As a result, Mercury will allow us to penetrate into whatever needs our attention in relation to the larger collective shifts that correlate with the influence of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius.

The extended trine aspect between Mercury and Jupiter will hopefully bring awareness of opportunities for growth that can be cultivated during the rest of Mercury’s retrograde journey. Mercury first formed a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter on September 20 and will form a second trine aspect with Jupiter on October 3. In addition to Mercury picking up the starry influence of Spica previously mentioned, it is further compelling that Jupiter in Aquarius is presently near the same zodiacal degree as the projection of the fixed star Deneb Algedi upon the ecliptic. The star lore of Deneb Algedi fits well with the need to adjust to immense collective change, as Deneb Algedi is a star in the tail of the Goat-Fish constellational image associated with the ancient creator god Enki, who brought the gifts of civilization from his realm of subterranean water. A trickster and wise magician bent on reordering civilization with the greater good of the wider community in mind, the flowing freshwater of Enki transfigures the landscape of dry land, creating wetlands and fertile soil in which the food and resources needed to fuel civilization can grow. With Jupiter close to Deneb Algedi while engaging in an extended trine aspect with Mercury, explore what gifts may emerge from the subterranean water within to cultivate during the passage of Mercury retrograde to share with your wider community. Seek to discover how you can reorder your personal structures to be in greater flow with the changing currents altering the wider landscape, staying centered within your own sense of integrity.

In contrast with the potential inspiration contained within the trine aspect between Mercury and Jupiter, Mercury will also be stationing retrograde while engaging with an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. Mercury first formed a square aspect with Pluto on September 22 and will form a second square aspect with Pluto on October 1, the timing of which will correspond not only with the heliacal setting of Mercury and it’s descent into the underworld, but also an extreme intensification of Pluto due to it stationing direct on October 6. The purgative square aspect between Mercury and Pluto that begins its retrograde portends an especially cathartic retrograde passage for Mercury that can draw us into a deepening awareness of inner relational patterns and how they have been playing out within external relational dynamics with others. There may be an upwelling of desire to explore as well as revelations regarding the way relational issues from our past are intersecting with present relational experiences and influences. With Pluto strongly activated, it will be best to face whatever internal issues arise rather than resist or avoid them through denial. Ultimately, by penetrating and exploring whatever deep material becomes stirred up by Mercury and Pluto, by the time that Mercury is moving direct and forms its final square aspect with Pluto on November 2 we may experience greater empowerment around the issues.

Furthermore, the usual underworld atmosphere of Mercury retrograde will be accentuated not only by the tense aspect between Mercury with Pluto, but also by Venus (the ruler of Libra) occupying the subterranean waters of Scorpio during the first half of Mercury’s retrograde journey in Libra. However, the watery landscape of Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also terrain in which decay nourishes and feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that can eventually produce fruit. Venus in Scorpio can facilitate a plunge into emotions and desires, exposing hidden dynamics and penetrating into the underlying emotions of our relations in ways that can cultivate significant growth. Combined with the fact that Venus in Scorpio will be mutually exchanging signs with Mars in Libra, and Mars in Libra will eventually form a conjunction with Mercury in the middle of its retrograde movement, we may need to traverse challenging or intense relational situations at times. Yet by cultivating honest communication and expression of emotional needs we may also find ways of shifting relational dynamics in constructive ways, gaining realization for how to foster greater equilibrium when possible and clarity for when it is not possible and a dynamic needs to end.

After Mercury moves away from its aspects with Pluto and Jupiter, it will get closer and closer each day to forming a conjunction with Mars and the Sun in Libra. The New Moon in Libra on October 6 will occur on the same day that Mars will become regenerated through its superior conjunction with the Sun; Mercury will be less than seven degrees away from the New Moon and Mars, and so the Libra New Moon will demarcate Mercury shifting into a fiery phase of coming under the influence of the Sun and Mars, both of whom will influence Mercury with their heat and dryness that burns with discrimination, separating elements that had become blurred through enmeshment. It will be wise to avoid unnecessary conflicts and contemplate how to respond to those who anger us, yet at the same time as Mercury gets closer and closer to uniting with Mars and the Sun on October 9, the star of Hermes will have increased capacity for burning off whatever needs to be released from the past to make space for new ideas and purposeful meaning to take root.

Moreover, the New Moon in Libra will also demarcate a shift in the sign placement of Venus, as Venus will exit the boggy water of Scorpio to rise to more expansive heights within the fiery sign of Sagittarius on October 7. The enlivening heat of Venus in the fiery sign of Sagittarius will further accentuate the purgative and cathartic quality of Mercury getting closer and closer to forming its fiery conjunction with the Sun and Mars on October 9. Indeed, Venus will form a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius at the same time that Mercury will unite with the Sun and Mars, amplifying the potential for releasing relational patterns from the past as well as drawing forth insight from old relational dynamics into the present. If possible find ways of making space for inner contemplation and exploration during the days between the New Moon in Libra on October 6 and the union of Mercury with the Sun and Mars on October 9, as we may simultaneously dislodge and release significant blocks from the past while also receiving intimations of new visions and desires to begin pursuing and developing.

Ballet Skirt or Electric Light (1927) by Georgia O’Keeffe

A certain day becomes a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me- a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day’s blow
rang out, metallic- or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.

Denise Levertov, “Variation on a Theme by Rilke”

In the Heart

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on October 9 at 16°35′ Libra, followed by Mercury forming an additional conjunction with Mars later on the same day at 16°16′ Libra. 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 union of Mercury with Mars on the same day it forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun is unusual; the last time it happened was at the end of May in 2015. The influence of Mars will make the revelations received while Mercury becomes regenerated more dynamic, incisive, and penetrative. There may be potent reassessments regarding plans aligned with one’s core purpose, as well as a more radical realization regarding the purpose we have been using to direct our goals and life trajectory. The onery heat of Mars may also magnify places of irritability that can lead to quarrels with others, yet by utilizing the thoughtful measuring capacity of Mercury in Libra it will be possible to hold whatever tension we experience in order to find our way to deeper awareness of the underlying issues involved. As both Mars and Mercury are simultaneously beginning new cycles with the Sun, there is immense potential for envisioning a more creatively actualized and fulfilling direction forward.

Though there is potential for conflict while the Sun, Mercury, and Mars unite together, the airy zodiacal terrain of Libra may facilitate constructive dialogue in which we express our own needs while listening to the needs of others. A related concept that was emphasized in the work of Carl Jung is auseinandersetzung, German for “taking something to pieces.”  This refers to confrontation in dialogue in which two people verbally engage without running away from the conflict.  By staying engaged in the dialogue, the differences inherent to the disagreement become clarified and distinct, making mediation or compromise possible.  Jung believed it was also possible to engage in such a dialogue with one’s anima/us, clarifying the unconscious being projected into relationships and keeping us perpetuating past relational patterns.  To Jung we gain “mettle” when facing the conflicts between our ego and anima/us, and out of the confrontation between the conscious and unconscious arises awareness of our wholeness, what he called individuation. The clarity that can come from Mercury being reanimated by the Sun may be utilized in seeking the kind of inner integration that supports healthy growth and empowerment.

Furthermore, at the same time that Mercury will unite with the Sun and Mars in Libra, Saturn will be stationing direct in Aquarius on October 10. The stationing of Saturn will saturate the astrological atmosphere with the significations of Saturn at the same time there will also be powerful influences from both Mars and Mercury becoming reanimated by the Sun. The sobering impact of Saturn may be deeply felt in moments of being fully present in one’s being, slowly and surely deepening into awareness of whatever internal stirrings are taking shape. Saturn has been retrograde since May 23, and so as it begins to gain some forward traction during the second half of Mercury’s retrograde phase in Libra we may unveil important insights into the direction we want to follow forward, as well as accumulate more momentum to make solid progress on goals.

Mercury and the Graces (1589) by Agostino Carracci

From the shrivelling gray
silk of its cocoon
a creature slowly
is pushing out
to stand clear-


not a butterfly,
petal that floats at will across
the summer breeze


not a furred
moth of the night
crusted with indecipherable
gold-


some primal-shaped, plain-winged, day-flying thing.

Denise Levertov, “The Disclosure”

Forward Momentum

Mercury will station direct on October 18 at 10°07’ Libra, with Jupiter also stationing direct a day later on October 17 at 22°20’ Aquarius. The simultaneous stationing direct of both Mercury and Jupiter, combined with Saturn also having recently stationed direct, will make the stationing direct of Mercury much more propulsive and potent than normal. Moreover, Venus (the ruler of Mercury in Libra) will receive Mercury through a harmonizing sextile aspect on October 16 while the star of Hermes is stationing. As a result, the days surrounding Mercury stationing direct will be important to seize for inner contemplation and mindfulness. There will be inspirational and creative resources available to draw from while integrating and learning how to embody the internal changes and shifts you have experienced during the course of Mercury being retrograde. Internal shifts and how they intersect with external relationships will be further illuminated by an especially activating Full Moon in Aries on October 20 that will involve the waxing Moon forming an opposition with the recently stationed Mercury.

Although Mercury will not form an exact trine with Saturn once stationing direct, Mercury and Saturn will be within four degrees of one another for days. With the presence of Mercury intensified due to it stationing and becoming visible again as a Morning Star, while also in the exaltation of Saturn, allow the star of Hermes to tease and probe the recesses of your psyche for whatever insight may be gathered concerning the path you wish to chart in the period ahead. The astrological transits for the rest of 2021 portend a time of accelerated volatility and change, and so whatever clarity can be gained as both Mercury and Jupiter station direct can help bring centering and cohesion concerning whatever we wish to develop and cultivate during the coming Morning Star phase of Mercury.

Mercury will begin to generate forward momentum and then will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star a week after stationing on October 25, the point of its phase in which it begins to increase in speed and return to moving faster than the Sun again. Mercury will then form its final flowing trine aspect with Jupiter on October 31, its final square aspect with Pluto on November 2, as well as exit its retrograde shadow zone on November 2, finally moving beyond the point in the zodiac where it stationed retrograde on September 26. The period at the end of October and beginning of November is a sacred time for communing with ancestors as the veils between worlds draws thinner, and so there is synchronous sustenance to be found in Mercury guiding us out of whatever transfiguration we experienced during its retrograde passage at the same time. As the New Moon in Scorpio on November 4 will be in opposition with Uranus in Taurus and will demand an encounter with our own authenticity, we will be able to more gracefully navigate the coming changes the more we can let go of what needs to be released and integrate whatever new desires arise during the period of Mercury retrograde in Libra.

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Snake tapestry by Leonora Carrington

References

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

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

Harness, Dennis. (1999). The Nakshatras: Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Lotus Press.

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

Rosenberg, Diana. (2012). Secrets of the Ancient Skies, Volume 2. Ancient Skies Press.

Stein, Murray. (1998). Jung’s Map of the Soul. Open Court.

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

Mercury air triplicity

Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

I recently joined astrologer Stormie Grace on her astrology show to talk about the significance of the three Mercury retrograde periods in 2021. Mercury will be retrograde in air signs in 2021 and as a result will help facilitate our transition into the new era of air signified by the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. In addition, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius in February and Mercury retrograde in June will also be happening during the first two exact square aspects formed between Saturn and Uranus. As a result, the Mercury retrograde periods will also be directly involved in our adjustment to the sudden changes and rupturing that will correlate with Saturn in square with Uranus during 2021. We talk about the meaning of Mercury and Mercury retrograde in general, and then get into the details regarding each of the three periods of Mercury retrograde next year.

Here is a link to watch the recording:

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.

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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.

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.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Limestone Ram’s head from Egypt (300 – 400 B.C.)

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

On September 27 or 28 depending upon time zone, a total Lunar Eclipse in Aries will arise in which our Moon will turn blood red in the shadow of our Sun.  Since this eclipse is also a Super Moon, it will have a more direct, palpable impact on us than a standard Full Moon. You may question the hullabaloo astrologers make about the transformative potential of eclipses such as this one, when you know that astrologers tend to make a big deal about transits on a regular basis, and we always have at least four eclipses occur every year.  If you spend more time exploring eclipses, however, you will soon recognize that many periods of your life that suddenly took on a completely different trajectory had eclipses as part of the initiation.  This Lunar Eclipse truly does portend breakthrough experiences, not only because of it being total and the Moon being at it’s closest orbit to Earth, but also because of surrounding transits such as Pluto stationing direct, Mars square Saturn, Venus trine Uranus, and the conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.

This Aries Lunar Eclipse is total because the Full Moon and the Sun are only a few degrees away from the North and South Nodes of the Moon, creating the optical effect of a rosy red Moon from the Sun’s shadow.  Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow on the Moon as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness and we can consequently embody a presence less attached to past patterns.  As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, the past activation of our primal will force (Aries) becomes overshadowed by new growth found in re-adjustment, re-balancing, fairness, harmony, and discretion (Libra).  The fiery sign of the Ram is willing to use its horns if necessary to protect personal desires from being lost through assimilation in surrounding relationships, and yet in the shadow of a Libra Sun, we must balance yearning for self-centered independence within the needs of our relationships.

In Aries, the “pulsing of life” — of the creative Breath — is felt. It passes through. It surges forth — and is gone. Aries power is the power of the lightning, which descends from above, which strikes out of the darkness of the Collective Unconscious. It is the power of revelation; power of Destiny released, which burns and fecundates. Such a power, from whatever level it operates in fiery downflows, gives to the actions of an Aries person a peculiar pioneering, impersonal, perhaps cosmic and fateful strength.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Pulse of Life

The burning, fecundating quality of an Aries eclipse that sparks inspired action from within is further augmented by a Vesta retrograde in Aries closely conjunct the Lunar Eclipse and the South Node of the Moon.  Vesta as a result turns us within to focus on activating our essentiality rather than the egotistical ambitions we competitively pursue to advance within our culture.  Vesta draws us into the power found within our inner flame of divinity that is not dependent upon the trappings of status and outer success.  Any creative, spiritual, or philosophical practices and traditions that magnetize you at this time will be fertile ground to discover the self-realization that will fuel your journey in the season ahead.  While Vesta can be steadfastly independent from relationships at times, she is completely devoted to her inner passions and rapture for what she finds holds a spiritual quality.

This eclipse occurring a few days after the Libra Equinox makes it a heralding marker of the change of season.  In the perspective of the Northern Hemisphere that dominated development of astrology, the Libra Equinox initiating Autumn can be seen in the glyph of Libra that looks like a setting Sun on the horizon.  At the Autumn Equinox we honor the falling of leaves and other signs of decomposition that will fertilize new growth in the future.  The theme of death that creates new life can be further seen in the association of Libra with Venus and outer relationships, as we can experience an ego death when deeply connecting with a partner and the creation of new life through the conjoined energies of the partnership.  This aspect of Libra is further amplified at this eclipse because the relationally oriented Juno asteroid is closely conjunct the Sun and North North Node of the Moon in Libra.  Juno here sparks a procreative force within drawn to collaboration in relationships in which we can express our authenticity, and will influence us to release or alter those relationships in which we have been struggling to assert our essential nature.

The maverick side of Libra is also activated at this eclipse, as Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Juno, the Sun, and the North Node of the Moon.  Black Moon Lilith is the balance point of our lunar orbit that astrologers have been using to illustrate the exiled aspects of our consciousness we have been repressing or denying.  When Black Moon Lilith becomes potently activated, the parts of our personality and psyche that have been cast off return to heart and we begin to assert this regained quality into our relationships.  Similar to the lucid quality symbolized by the goddess Kali holding the severed head of Shiva, Black Moon Lilith will cut through any recent egotistical patterns we have experienced within ourselves and our relationships to illuminate whatever is essential for us.  As Lilith demands being treated as an equal, co-creating partner, we likewise will face issues around equality and inequality in the coming season.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Mars square Saturn

The astrological rhythm surrounding this Aries Lunar Eclipse has a fervent intensity, as Mars in Virgo rules the eclipse and will be separating from a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Mars square Saturn can bring important changes but also conflict, and the atmosphere is further amplified by Pluto in Capricorn stationing direct a few days before the eclipse.  Since Pluto in Capricorn is bound to Saturn, Pluto stationing direct following the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius carries emboldened force into the plutonian desires flowing into awareness.  Pluto stationing direct is generally an eruptive time, as any deep desires we have been resisting can overcome us from within creating a crisis if necessary to seize our attention.  This cathartic stationing of Pluto amplifies the change of Saturn from Scorpio to Sagittarius that likewise is bringing up what we have dredged from our inner depths to feed the action we are commencing in the sign of the fiery, galloping Centaur.

The recent ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius has brought shifts of direction, and you likely have been sensing a strong urge to set off in pursuit of something related to Saturn and Sagittarius in your birth chart.  Mars in Virgo being in a last quarter square to Saturn in Sagittarius brings up a course correction sourced from attuning our desires in connection with the details of our life in the here and now.  Generally speaking, many if not most of us envision future goals in connection with past emotions, attachments, influences, and dreams.  This Aries Lunar Eclipse ruled by Mars in a last quarter square to Saturn is leveling this field so to speak with the scythe of Saturn cutting off what needs harvesting or release.  This process could involve conflict, but the positive potential of today’s turmoil can help in the reorientation toward making future goals in greater alignment with what we truly want to have happen for us now.

Both Saturn and Mars are making aspects to this Lunar Eclipse, with Saturn in a stabilizing, harmonious trine and Mars in a disorienting inconjunct.  These two aspects are an important detail of the greater movement, as it suggests the object of our deep desire may seem overly daunting, too difficult to achieve or manifest in this moment.  The danger of the Virgo inconjunct to Aries is getting lost in a perpetual cycle of procrastination in which we never feel we are truly ready, continuing to research, train, or practice instead of diving into the fray full steam and letting the dust settle where it may.  The trine from Saturn in Sagittarius to the Lunar Eclipse in Aries points us in the direction of making structural changes and taking even the simplest of steps to begin to build a structure for whatever it is we wish to achieve.  This is a perfect time for releasing the aspects of our old goals no longer serving us and taking concrete steps to build a foundation from which to launch our most viscerally felt desires from.

Aries I Decan

Two of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries I Decan

The influence of Mars on this lunar eclipse is further increased due to the first face of Aries being ruled by Mars.  The Aries I decan where the lunar eclipse occurs is also associated with the Two of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck, which reinforces the theme of envisioning our future from a renewed perspective previously discussed above.  In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find what appears to be a conquering lord of some sort, holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from atop a fortress out into an expanse of terrain containing mountainous as well as watery landscapes. It is the body of water that appears to have secured his focus in this moment, and the presence of the globe seems to imply a moment of reflection regarding expansion of his influence or dominion.

In 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans, astrologer Austin Coppock ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to this decan which has a long association with furiously martial figures who dominate enemies and assure victory in battle. Coppock deepened the symbolism of the axe through linking it to the splitting and separation from the One necessary for creation and growth, for example in the cutting of the umbilical cord of the child from its mother and in the use of axes in controlling nature to make a home in the wilderness. Coppock linked this separation as “a severance from the symbolic mother- the womb from which all things emerge,” setting up a dynamic in which “what is motherly and unifying constricts development” rather than augmenting growth:

The axe is thus a tool of the first individual, bravely severing himself from the primordial mother and building a distinct and individual life. This assertion of selfhood is undiluted yang, and in principle phallic, no matter the gender of who embodies it. The phallus in play here is a symbol of potency, yet its reality involves tremendous vulnerability, the same vulnerability that the lone individual faces in a sometimes hostile world. The axe may be the tool by which the individual liberates themselves from the collective, but it is also the cruel weapon of the primordial mother as castrator, the limiting force with which the warlike figures of this decan wrestle. This is the essence of this face- the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin.

— Austin Coppock (p. 54)

As a result, while there are astrological signs pointing toward growth through creating greater balance, fairness, and equality in our relationships, there is at the same time a raw martial force within this eclipse demanding that we clear a path forward in which we have greater freedom and less restraint.  To unify this opposition we need to respect our need to be authentic while honoring the essential nature of those we are interacting with.  Additionally, the last quarter square between Mars in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously will force us to deal with the structural system of our surroundings and so to be successful, the exertion of our personal power cannot be completely untamed but rather modified in accordance with environmental conditions.

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

Eros by Paul Klee (1923)

ARIES 5°:  A TRIANGLE WITH WINGS

Keynote:  The capacity for self-transcending

In his book exploring Sabian Symbols, Dane Rudhyar described the degree of the Aries Lunar Eclipse as being “the symbol of the desire to reach a higher level of existence, of pure aspiration or devotion, of bhakti” (p. 53).  This ideal yearning Rudhyar wrote about, in which “the whole being experiences a childlike longing for its eventual realization,” is strongly charged by a grand fire trine formed at the eclipse by Venus in Leo, Uranus retrograde in Aries, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  This is a truly visionary grand fire trine sourced at its root by the deep inner material dug up during this past period of Venus retrograde.  At the time of the eclipse, Venus will have returned to place of it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun that happened on August 15, 2015.  In fact, Venus will be less than half a degree away from this point of Venusian rebirth.  As Venus will not leave its retrograde shadow zone until October 9, the Aries Lunar Eclipse will propel us into the final two weeks of the Venus retrograde, catalyzing numerous events giving us opportunities to integrate and express our Venusian passions that have been stirred up.

As this is in addition the final eclipse to occur with the North Node of the Moon in Libra that is ruled by Venus, we are at a border crossing transition fitting for an equinoctial period.  The lunar nodes have been in Aries and Libra since February 2014, a time that was dominated in astrology by the final series of squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  If you take the time to reflect back on all of the numerous issues and events in your life that have been brewing since that time, especially around your sense of empowerment within your relationships, there will no doubt be a sense of resolution occurring now in the form of a final test or a peak experience.  This is not the end of the lunar nodes transiting through Aries and Libra, as they will not move into Pisces and Virgo until November 2015. However, the Lunar Eclipse will spark the final lessons we will be learning from the dragon slithering through these two cardinal signs.

Persephone in Aries

Roman marble relief (27 B.C. – 14 A.D.) copy of a Greek marble relief of 450–425 B.C. found at Eleusis. The image reveals Demeter on the left side and Persephone on the right of the relief.

Persephone

Further fitting for the time of the Libra Equinox, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 21° Aries and so conjunct Uranus as well as part of the grand fire trine involving the goddesses Venus in Leo and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  For those who are already working with Eris, you can also add Eris in with Uranus and Persephone on the Aries point of this fiery triangle.  Significantly, at this time Persephone, Uranus, and Eris are all retrograde, taking us deep within for a primal rebirth of soul.  Like Persephone who claimed full embodiment of her role as the underworld Queen, we have Persephone with us in any descent into experiences that strip us of innocence while offering opportunities to cultivate greater resiliency and access to our full range of power.

With Pluto also prominent by having recently stationed direct, at the equinoctial time in which the mythic Hades brought Persephone down into his realm, we have an archetype of Persephone activated with the efficacy of a Uranian lightning strike.  Demetra George in her workbook Finding Our Way Through The Dark, described the descent associated with the Persephone asteroid as enabling “us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.”  Persephone united with Uranus and in trine to Venus in Leo opens us to a time in which we will sense the invisible realm within the visible, sensing the substance of spirit in our body.

Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus in Harmony noted how Persephone is the vivifying force of vitality regenerating the world of the dead:  “Persephone imposed blood on the dead:  not, as in the past, the dark blood of sacrifice, not the blood the dead used to drink so thirstily, but the invisible blood that went on pulsing in her white arms, the blood of someone who is still entirely alive, even in the palace of death” (p. 212).  To Calasso, Persephone is the figure who created a new paradigm between our green world above and the underworld below, for as Persephone descended and separated from the world of her Earth goddess mother Demeter, “Eros penetrated the kingdom of the dead. The slender-ankled Persephone was the supple arrow Aprhrodite ordered Eros to let fly at Hades.”  As Persephone is of the earth, deep within the earth, and deeply erotic, her asteroid conjoined with Uranus and the grand fire trine of goddesses suggests the passions stirred from within us will release previously unconscious soul desires that will lead us toward greater wholeness.

The other aspect of Persephone that fits well with the astrological climate of the Aries Lunar Eclipse is her role in accepting the souls of the dead who have been guided to her kingdom by Hermes, thereafter initiating them into the cycle of rebirth.  Thus the Mercury retrograde in Libra we are experiencing in which Mercury has taken on the psychopomp role of guiding us into core aspects of our soul has the welcoming visage of Persephone to greet us in the regeneration we are experiencing.  Peter Kingsley in Reality wrote that Persephone “is the goddess who greets initiates when they manage to make their way down to her by warmly reaching out to them with her right hand; who accepts them, welcomes them to her home, with a  kindness that defies all human logic” (p. 43).

In the time leading up the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury retrograde in Libra is square to Pluto in Capricorn and it is applying to its inferior conjunction with the Sun at the time of the eclipse.  In the week following the Lunar Eclipse, Persephone will get closer to Uranus each day until becoming exactly conjunct Uranus at the same time that Mercury stations direct, and Venus leaves her retrograde shadow zone.  The intermingling of all of these significations of rebirth is quite incredible, suggesting we truly are on the precipice of a complete change in the course of our life.  The loving embrace of Persephone and the fearless expression of her potency will guide those willing to descend into the depth of her world.

Persephone asteroid

Persephone opening a cista containing the infant Adonis, on a pinax from Locri

References

Calasso, Roberto. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. Knopf.

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

George, Demetra. (1994). Finding Our Way Through the Dark: an astrological companion to Mysteries of the Dark Moon. AFA.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

  • Mercury stations retrograde at 15°55′ Libra on September 17, 2015
  • Mercury unites with Sun at 7°07′  Libra on September 30, 2015
  • Mercury stations direct at 0°54′ Libra on October 9, 2015
  • Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow zone on October 26, 2015

The transit of Mercury retrograde in Libra beginning September 17 opens a doorway within the vivifying void of eclipses, as we will be in between the Solar Eclipse of September 13 and the Lunar Eclipse of September 27.  While Mercury retrogrades are always liminal in quality, the influence of eclipses on the commencement of this retrograde evokes entrance through a magic portal that mysteriously redefines and redirects.  Mercury stations retrograde simultaneously with two other impactful transits, as about eleven hours before Mercury stations there will be an exact opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and about nine hours after Mercury stations, Saturn will ingress into Sagittarius.  Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Sagittarius will be dominant players in the upcoming astrological atmosphere saturated with the deep shifting of Mutable signs. Our move into the preponderance of Mutable signs will create an air of adjustment to the ensuing disorientation, and so it is here that Mercury retrograde arrives.  Since this Mercury retrograde is occurring in Libra, the sign of Scales and the domicile of Venus, an atmosphere of relational recalibration will occur on both inner and outer levels.  In collective events of tension and trauma such as the refugee crisis in Europe, we will witness raised levels of rhetoric and reaction with participants coming back and forth from extreme positions of opposition.  Perhaps there is none other than Mercury more up to the task of guiding us to find a middle way of solutions in response.

The journey of Mercury around the Sun is important to pay attention to, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth never gets too far ahead of the Sun as an evening star, returning three times every year during its retrograde to reunite and regenerate within the purifying solar rays.  Karl Kerenyi in Hermes: Guide of Souls ascribed “belonging to the journey” and being “by the road” as part of the essential nature of Hermes, who is “constantly underway” in motion at all times (p. 33).  Kerenyi wrote that any “journeyer” connected 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” (p. 32).  When Mercury stations retrograde, it marks the time period in which Mercury disappears as an evening star with a flash of light, descending from our view into the invisibility of the underworld.  The underworld passage of Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear, but rather a world to fully enter and embrace for the treasures found within its depths.  There are already innumerable issues occurring that are creating fear, and these have nothing to do with this Mercury retrograde causing them.

Mercury is the divine messenger who weaves the golden rays of the Sun into the words and other forms of communication we express ourselves through, a soulful guide through which our consciousness discerns meaning from phenomenal reality.  The constant variation of Mercury’s synodic cycle influences how we evaluate our experiences, and so during the retrograde when Mercury symbolically descends into the underworld we can more readily access alternate forms of perception resonant with the intuitive meaning found in symbols, signs, omens, and dreams.  Mercury retrograde as a result becomes a time we can seize to turn within and ruminate on the nature of our experiences since the previous Mercury retrograde (Mercury last stationed direct at 4°34′ Gemini on June 11, 2015).  Mercury moving in a radically different motion from our perspective also coincides with radical changes in thought, and we can use this Mercurial phenomenon to directly respond to life less attached to the previous habitual patterns of mind.

This retrograde occurring entirely in the sign of Libra means that Mercury will be residing in the house of Venus, and so we will be able to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror of Aphrodite as well as use Venusian mirrors to alter our appearance to others.  It also means that as Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence” (p. 43), “finding and thieving in the realm of love are also Hermetic traits” (p. 48).  Hermes was born from a secret love affair between Zeus and Maia, and as shown in the Homeric Hymn and the Odyssey, Hermes felt no shame singing about his divinely deceitful origins or loudly proclaiming that he would also love to “bed that golden Aphrodite” when she was discovered in her affair with Ares.  I am not sharing these references to suggest anyone enter into an extramarital affair during this Mercury retrograde, only that we will be overcome at times with eros and that within our impassioned embraces we will enter the magical world of Mercury:

Journeying is the best condition for loving.  The gorges over which the “volatized one” passes like a ghost can be the abysses of unbelievable love affairs-  Circe and Calypso islands and holes; they can be abysses also in the sense that there no chance exists for standing on firm ground, but only for further floating between life and death.

–Karl Kerenyi from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury’s capacity to travel the extents of both the upper and underworld brings the association of being a psychopomp or guide of souls, the wily thief and shepherd who carries a golden staff that can lull others into trance states as well as startle wide awake.  During Mercury retrograde it is as if the wave of Hermes’ wand takes us into a realm of perception counter to the dominant narrative of how one’s awareness is expected to operate.  Gleaning wisdom from Mercury retrograde is like embracing the “mythological treasure” described by Peter Kingsley in his book Reality:  “the invaluable object that has been lost and misused and has to be rediscovered at all costs” (p. 21).  The gifts we can most readily receive from Mercury retrograde are not always the kind valued by consensus culture:  the illuminated thought received while watching the flight of birds or the flight of leaves falling from trees, or the mysterious meanderings of a creative process that does not provide immediate gratification or reward.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Revolving Doors (1926) by Man Ray

 Enantiodromia

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality.  The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state.  Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow.  There is an inherent restoration of balance to our system that results that is not unlike the astrological meaning we can find in Libra, the sign of the Scales.

In astrology Mercury has been defined clearly across centuries, yet delights in defying definitions as it has been known to identify as both masculine and feminine, nocturnal and diurnal, capable of mutating identity in acclimation to its surrounding environment. Mercury retrograde in Libra beckons a re-examination of the Scales, the concept of finding balance that necessitates extremes, tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. The awareness we can access in Mercury retrograde can help us transcend rigid parameters of duality through swinging wildly at times between extremes of perception, experiencing extremities of oppositions in a continual process of re-balancing. As this Mercury retrograde occurs during the final days of the lunar nodes being in Aries and Libra, one realm of extremes we will experience will be our desires for independence and self-empowerment in tandem with our desires for relationship and mutual sharing.  Since the Mercury retrograde begins with Jupiter in Virgo exactly opposite Neptune in Pisces, the extremes of vision we can find between Virgo and Pisces, between skepticism and inspiration, between reductionism and holism, will also come up in a process in which we will be redefining our belief system.

As Mercury stations retrograde in opposition to Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn, the stationing Mercury will dig into our core and a morphing from one extreme to another could result from what was formerly repressed entering conscious awareness.  This Libra Mercury retrograde bridges Uranus and Pluto more intensely together than they have been recently, and so corresponding contrariness could involve strong impulses for liberation and emancipation in the face of judgmental shaming or oppression, or strivings for a freedom from restraints coming up with a need to take responsibility within boundaries.  The opposition between Mercury in Libra and Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn creates a t-square in which the missing point is found in Cancer, which means our issues around emotional insecurity and security will be important triggers.

The influence of the North Node of the Moon being in Libra is further amplified not only because this Mercury retrograde occurs entirely in Libra, but also because at the time that Mercury stations, Juno will be in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct the North Node of the Moon. Juno here in Libra makes our desires for relationship all the more soulful and procreative, drawing feelings to work through difficulties that have arisen in the relationships that resonate with our deepest longings.  As Juno is also a protector of those abused or victimized in relationship, her meaning in combination with the fiercely independent Black Moon Lilith and the Lunar North Node means that those being victimized at extremes in relationship can experience a sudden shift that impels them to leave for good.

Black Moon Lilith also brings added meaning that aspects of our essential nature that we have formerly not integrated into our relationships will now demand attention with the swift force of enantiodromia.  In the Libra realm of balance and counterweight, Black Moon Lilith is a fascinating calculated point in space that serves as a point of balance in terms of the Moon’s orbit.  Indeed, the true node of Black Moon Lilith is even called the “oscillating” Black Moon Lilith, and by name association both the “true” and “mean” calculations of the point have taken on the mythological meaning of Lilith.  Here we find the exiled and the estranged, but like one who must runaway from one’s home environment for safety as well as to find one’s true joy, the issues of Black Moon Lilith are necessary challenges for us to face in our healing and empowerment.  If we have been coping with certain issues at an extreme of perception, the other side holding an important perspective for us to embrace will flood our awareness.

Along these lines, the beginning period of Mercury’s retrograde seems to hold a powerful moment of integration from the previous Venus retrograde, as Venus is direct while still within her retrograde shadow zone, and is receiving the stationing Mercury in Libra through a sextile.  As Mercury begins to move backward into the initial phase of its retrograde motion, Venus will continue moving forward through Leo in the degrees of its retrograde shadow zone, resurrecting the issues from this past Venus retrograde for us to readdress.  If you have important placements or aspects in the second half of Leo, this Mercury retrograde time period will be your third opportunity to experience the transit of Venus there.  The third time will be the charm in the sense that the issues needing to be addressed will now be crystal clear if you have been paying attention, and the magical thinking of Mercury retrograde could bring a new perspective to the situation previously unthought.

Mercury Inferior Conjunction in Libra

Man Ray (1922) Rayograph

Cazimi

The initial phase of the Mercury retrograde begins on September 17 and extends until September 30, 2015 when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction.  The union of Mercury with the Sun during its retrograde descriptively is similar to an interior conjunction, as it is the conjunction of Mercury with the Sun that happens when Mercury is between us on Earth and our Sun.  As a result this is a powerful moment of conception, likened to a New Mercury for us to set intention with in accord. To the ancients this is the time of Mercury being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, the moment when Mercury is reborn with purifying vivification by the rays of solar light.  When Mercury and the Sun are cazimi at eight degrees of Libra, Juno and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct a few degrees away- this makes themes related to Juno and Black Moon Lilith absolutely vital to a new conception of Mercury we create at this time.  There is also an opposition of Vesta in Aries to Juno and Black Moon Lilith that brings a counterpoint of wanting independent focus on needs not being met in relationships.  Vesta is also retrograde, signifying a strong inner urge of devotion operating independent of our outer relationships.  The Vesta opposition to Juno and Black Moon Lilith is further emphasized by its alignment with a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a couple of days before Mercury becomes cazimi.

Convictions, beliefs, opinions,

certainties, principles,

rules and habits have abandoned me.

I woke up naked at the edge of a civilization

which seemed to me comic and incomprehensible.

— from After by Czeslaw Milosz

The period around the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury is a time of incubation, and so it is interesting that we will be experiencing the initial return of Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously.  Whatever house Sagittarius rules in your birth chart is important to reflect upon at this time as you will experience a sudden jolt of the associated issues arising in your life.  The jolting pace of the half human half horse Centaur found in the symbol of Sagittarius is another theme that we will need to address through Mercury retrograde in Libra, as Sagittarius thrives on swiftness and taking off in new directions.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter that is in the Virgo sign of Mercury, it means that the shifting relational perspectives we experience during this Mercury retrograde are deeply rooted to the changes that will occur with Saturn re-entering the sign of Sagittarius.  We can open to the gifts of Sagittarius by opening perception to the unknown without preconceived assumptions, discerning directly in the moment as much as possible.

It was a riverside meadow, lush, from before the hay harvest,

On an immaculate day in the sun of June.

I searched for it, found it, recognized it.

Grasses and flowers grew there familiar in my childhood.

With half-closed eyelids I absorbed luminescence.

And the scent garnered me, all knowing ceased.

Suddenly I felt I was disappearing and weeping with joy.

— A Meadow by Czeslaw Milosz

A further link between this Mercury retrograde in Libra and the previous Venus retrograde in Leo is at the time that Mercury has its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on September 30, Venus will be in range of the same degree at which it had its own Inferior Conjunction with the Sun back on August 15, 2015.  As a result this is a magic portal moment in which our new conception of Mercury arises at the same time we are re-awakened to our new conception of Venus that happened over a month ago.  As we enter this New Mercury phase we release our old thought forms in preparation for the envisioning of the new.  Any deep soul desires we have been resisting could erupt with volatility at this time, as there is an incredibly transformative astrological climate surrounding the build up to this New Mercury:  Pluto will station direct in Capricorn six days before it, and there will be a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a few days before Mercury enters the heart of the Sun.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1926) The Meeting

Oracular Meetings

“The diverse shall be no less diverse, but they shall flow and unite . . . .

they unite now.”

∼ Walt Whitman from [The Sleepers] in Leaves of Grass

Beginning October 1, Mercury will shift into the final phase of its underworld journey that lasts until October 9 when Mercury stations direct as a Morning Star.  There are a number of important astrology aspects occurring during this period, and the sign of Virgo that Mercury calls its home is highlighted.  For one, Venus will have re-entered Virgo and will only be a couple of minutes away from leaving her retrograde shadow zone at the moment Mercury stations direct.  As Mercury stations Venus will also be applying closely to a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This final week of Mercury’s retrograde motion thus holds a powerful ingress of Venus from the solar sign of Leo into the Mercurial sign of Virgo, a transition symbolized for many by the form of the half maiden half lioness Sphinx.  With Saturn in Sagittarius awaiting Venus here, there is a demand for us to catalyze and activate all of the changes that have been stirred up during the long Venus retrograde journey from the beginning of Virgo to the heart of Leo and back again.  As soon as Venus enters Virgo, she is welcomed by a delighted Mercury into his hermetic home.  Venus traditionally has been classified as being in its fall in Virgo, and so with Mercury already in retrograde in Libra this can be a profound falling into our inner realm for transformative realization.

In addition, there will be an opposition between Mars in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces that occurs leading up to the stationing of Mercury, bringing the boundlessness of Neptune in opposition to Mars in the home of Mercury.  Mars in Virgo utilizes Mercurial facilities to focus on the details of our surrounding environment to accomplish work.  In the Virgo capacity to refine and develop techniques and tools, Mars necessarily needs to separate this from that in order to find the necessary focus for desired growth.  In the face of Neptune, the invisible realm opens around Mars in Virgo, evoking mystical, mysterious desires and experiences.  As e.e. cummings once wrote, “love is a deeper season than reason,” and with Mercury retrograde in Libra during this Mars and Neptune opposition we will know this beyond rational comprehension in one way or another.

By the time we get to Mercury stationing direct, Mars will be further conjunct the Moon in Virgo and applying closely to a conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo.  The Moon in the sign of Mercury therefore will be bringing the spirit of Neptune opposite Mars into its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo as Mercury stands still in the sign of the Scales.  This seems like a time of inner epiphanies such as the macrocosm the poet Walt Whitman described through the microcosm of the leaves of grass before him. With Neptune in Pisces activated so strongly with Venus, Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter all essentially in an opposite area of the zodiac, and Saturn having now entered Sagittarius to begin to initiate its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune, there is an amplified otherworldly quality to the approach of Mercury retrograde into the heart of the Sun.  This does not spell disaster for our dearest dreams, but rather asks us to open ourselves to the boundless quality of our vision as well as the pragmatic work needed for successful manifestation.  At the time of Mercury uniting with the Sun, however, it will be most effective to enjoy the timeless quality of the moment that transcends reasoned defining:

what time is it? it is by every star
a different time, and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

-nor all their times encompass me and you:

when are we never, but forever now
(hosts of eternity; not guests of seem)
believe me, dear, clocks have enough to do

without confusing timelessness and time.

Time cannot children, poets, lovers tell-
measure imagine, mystery, a kiss
-not though mankind would rather know than feel;

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our) merely to undie

— e.e. cummings

At the time that Mercury is stationing direct, it is phasis which means in this case it makes its first appearance in our morning sky after having been invisible during the retrograde.  This means that Mercury will be emerging from “under the beams” of the Sun, which generally means it is moving beyond fifteen degrees from the Sun, and our ancients saw this re-appearance in the sky as signifying a vital message.  In a recent episode of the Hermetic Astrology Podcast, Gary Caton used the term “oracular” in tandem with the  “appearance that speaks” made by Jupiter recently emerging from under the beams of the Sun in Virgo.  Oracles have strong association with Mercury, as Hermes was given an oracle from Apollo found under the cliffs of Mount Parnassus on Delphi, driven by three sisters of Fates who feed on honey.  At this oracular phase of its retrograde journey, Mercury will no longer be invisible and will emerge with a flash of light at dawn as a Morning Star. At this moment Mercury will be closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, in addition to Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter lined up together in Virgo. Wherever we are, whatever is happening for us at this time will be saturated with the delightful, curious, mischievous, erotic presence of Mercury, and the message transmitted being so closely aligned with the North Node of the Moon means there is an essential and necessary push forward in growth for us to experience in relationship.

Mercury in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Morning Star

Following Mercury stationing direct on October 9, Mercury as a Morning Star will no longer be retrograde in motion but will remain in the retrograde shadow zone until October 26.  Demetra George has compared this phase of Mercury’s journey as being similar to Mercury in Gemini, in contrast to her viewpoint that Mercury’s retrograde motion makes it similar to Mercury in Pisces.  At this point Mercury goes through an identity shift that leaves the magical, symbolic, subjectively intuitive mode of the retrograde behind, and transitions into a mindset eager to learn multiple new things with a sense of adventure toward the future.  Mercury in this phase as Morning Star is the friendly, fleet footed messenger who stimulates thoughts, connections, and conversations everywhere travelled.  Mercury with a flash of light heralding sunrise appears as we wake up from the dream world, guiding our thoughts through the haze of morning toward the objectives we need to focus on in the light of day.  This Promethean role of foresight will be played with full aplomb by the clever Mercury in the weeks ahead.

During this phase of Mercury direct and beginning to gain in speed again, Venus finally moves beyond her retrograde shadow zone and glides through the sign of Virgo making a series of crucial aspects.  First, immediately following Mercury stationing direct Venus will square Saturn in Sagittarius on October 10.  Less than a week later, Venus will oppose Neptune in Pisces on October 16,  and then on October 25 when Mercury is emerging from its retrograde shadow zone, Venus will conjunct Jupiter for the third time this year in Virgo.  Meanwhile, Mars in Virgo will also conjunct Jupiter on October 16 at the same time Venus is opposing Neptune, and day by day as we approach the end of October Venus will be getting closer and closer to Mars in Virgo.

Thus as we exit the Mercury retrograde shadow zone, with Mercury direct in Libra, the passions of our relationships will continue to be stirred up as Mercury moves through the sign of Venus and Venus heads for her eventual union with Mars in the sign of Mercury on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  The combination of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo in this period, purified from the recent retrogrades of both Venus and Mercury, will be a very different affair than the unions of Venus with Jupiter and then Mars that occurred in Leo earlier in the year.  It seems the more we let this Mercury retrograde in Libra lead us where life takes us, knowing that our travels astray will ultimately return us to center again, the more the full range of our experiences can inform this late October, early November timeframe where it appears important work can be crafted from within our mind.  This Mercury retrograde in Libra can help us discover the inner truth that will source our later works to come.

life is more true than reason will deceive
(more secret or than madness did reveal)
deeper is life than lose:higher than have
-but beauty is more each than living’s all

multiplied with infinity sans if
the mightiest meditations of mankind
cancelled are by one merely opening leaf
(beyond whose nearness there is no beyond)

or does some littler bird than eyes can learn
look up to silence and completely sing?
futures are obsolete;pasts are unborn
(here less than nothing’s more than everything)

death, as men call him, ends what they call men
-but beauty is more now than dying’s when

— e.e. cummings

References

cummings, e.e. (1994). Selected Poems. Liveright.

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

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