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.

Pisces Full Moon

Pisces Full Moon

Like waves which inexorably approach, then retreat into the unfathomably vast recesses of their oceanic source, the siren songs of Neptune call us beyond the constructs of our everyday existence which tend to mold and condition our perceptions. While Neptune transits can correlate with being pulled into illusory experiences, ultimately the resulting disillusionment dissolves the ways in which we had been misleading ourselves, revealing meaningful truths about our reality as we continue to navigate with discernment. The inspirational, imaginal nature of Neptune opens us to possibilities and potential of creative expression and fulfillment outside the confines of current circumstances. The present lunar cycle began with a Virgo New Moon opposing Neptune and peaks with a Pisces Full Moon aligned with Neptune, giving us the opportunity to drink from the impossibly deep well of Neptune. It’s a time for allowing yourself the space to dream the dreams of what you most desire to generate and embody.

The Full Moon in Pisces on September 20 illuminates our entrance into the final season of 2021, as the Libra Equinox will occur two days later on September 22 when the Sun enters Libra. With the primal passions of Pisces spotlighted just before the Sun becomes magnified by crossing the cardinal axis, the point where the ecliptic and celestial equator intersect, there is potential to become flooded by the emotions surrounding whatever major life changes have corresponded with the ongoing square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that has been the predominant force within the astrology of 2021. The final degrees of Pisces are a place where Eros flourishes and continually circulates, zodiacal terrain holding space for the dream of all dreams one may devote themselves to completely. It is also a place of sacrifice in its truly sacred form, and so while the Pisces Full Moon may bring feelings of grief regarding what has been lost amidst the chaotic currents of the year, it can also reveal visions of what may fill the freed space during the coming season.

Vitally, the Full Moon is in the exaltation of Venus as Venus is applying closely to a jolting opposition with Uranus in Taurus. The present transit of Venus in Scorpio has been setting off the ongoing square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, and so during the days surrounding the Pisces Full Moon we will have an overarching, longterm astrological influence catalyzed by the star of Aphrodite and her significations involving desire, relationship, and creativity. As Venus moves from the tense square aspect with Saturn she formed on September 16 into the opposition she will form with Uranus on September 23, we will be traversing a volatile vortex of significant change that can show up within shifting relational dynamics as well as exciting strikes of creative inspiration. Venus in opposition with Uranus can feel unsettling when we have been stuck in places of stagnancy, as the polarity between Venus with Uranus will demand breaking free from people and pursuits misaligned with authentic passions. Yet Venus and Uranus can commit and work together when engaging relationships or creative passions which bring our full being alive and give us space and acceptance for our essential nature. As a result, the silvery light of the Full Moon may reveal the people and projects deserving of your full focus and commitment in the coming season.

Utagawa Hiroshige

Jupiter in Aquarius rules the Pisces Full Moon as it continues to glow brightly through the night during its retrograde phase. Since Jupiter rules the Full Moon and Mercury is the ruler of the Sun in Virgo, the lunation has potential to bring profound realizations due to Mercury in Libra forming a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius. The trine between Jupiter with Mercury is further augmented by Mercury being at the same zodiacal degree as the beneficial fixed star Spica which symbolizes the wheat held by the Winged Maiden of the Virgo constellation and signifies a brilliant gift or talent. Make space during the Full Moon or in the days following to see what insights, ideas, and inspiring visions may coalesce out of whatever creative processes you have been engaged with recently. There will be opportunities to synthesize concepts and deepen understanding as the combination of Jupiter in Aquarius with Mercury in Libra possesses immense intellectual capacity. While Jupiter in Aquarius can supply long range vision, Mercury in Libra will be able to recalibrate whatever needs rebalancing or rearranging.

Moreover, we will be experiencing an unusually long period of time with Mercury remaining in a trine aspect with Jupiter due to Mercury slowing down to station retrograde on September 26. Indeed, Mercury will form its first exact trine with Jupiter on September 20 and then a second exact trine with Jupiter on October 3 while retrograde. As a result, there will be an opportunity for extremely deep research and focused work if you already have a project you are developing. As Mercury stations in stillness and then peels back to form another trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius in the beginning of October, be open to ways in which you need to modify and adapt any ideas you become inspired to work on during the days surrounding the Pisces Full Moon.

Untitled (Study for Out of Nowhere) by Jeremy Moon

In addition to Mercury in Libra forming a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius during the Pisces Full Moon, it is also applying closely to an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. Mercury will form its first square aspect with Pluto on September 22 and then after stationing retrograde on September 26 it will form its second exact square aspect with Pluto on October 1 while retrograde. Moreover, since the Full Moon in Pisces is separating from a harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto, the Pisces Full Moon will bring a visceral sense of whatever Mercury and Pluto are stirring up in the dark within. As Mercury will be crossing back and forth in tension with Pluto over the coming weeks, only to return later for a third and final square aspect on November 2, the Pisces Full Moon is initiating us into deep seated issues within the underworld expanse of unconscious sources to be curious about and explore. Mercury can help in attuning to power dynamics within relationships that have come out of balance and need to be adjusted, as well as internal complexes that can be mediated during the approaching retrograde phase of Mercury in order to increase our own empowerment.

Continuing the underworld theme, it is further significant that the Full Moon is separating from a sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn and applying toward an opposition with Mars in Libra, while the Full Moon is simultaneously brought together with Mars by passing through an antiscia aspect. Mars is at the end of its synodic cycle, traversing the celestial underworld en route to becoming reanimated by the Sun at the same time as the upcoming New Moon in Libra on October 6. As Mars is closing down a cycle that began on September 2, 2019 when Mars previously formed a conjunction with the Sun, the Pisces Full Moon can amplify feelings revealing what we are releasing from the past cycle of Mars as well as what dynamic new desires are beginning to take form. Mars in Libra is in the opposite sign from its fiery home of Aries, relating with his ruler Venus through the mutual generosity of them each being in one another’s signs. Libra can be a creatively rich placement for Mars especially in terms of music, writing, art, or any form of expression involving aesthetics, and since Mars is presently invisible it can be an opportune time to work and develop projects within intimate, private settings which can later see the light of public display. Positively, Mars in Libra is also within the exaltation of Saturn and will form a productively flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on September 25, making the week following the lunation a good time for making progress on important work.

10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the third decan of Pisces associated with the Ten of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of idealized happiness, the joyous couple enraptured by a rainbow, their children blissfully dancing in front of their picturesque home, is one manifestation of countless images that could be used to display the inspirational vision underlying and driving inner motivation. An earlier image for this face is found in Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which a nude male is present near a beautiful maiden whose head is decorated in flowers. Other traditional images for the third decan of Pisces show the other side of having a great dream: the terror of loss. For example, in Ibn Ezra’s The Beginning of Wisdom the image ascribed for the third face of Pisces involves another nude male, but one armed with a lance and yelling for fear of thieves and fire. The Full Moon shining light through this decan asks us to contemplate the inner images of inspiration that have been motivating our work in the world, the full implications of our dream as well as how well it truly fits our most soulful purpose.

The rainbow pregnant with abundant cups in Pamela Colman Smith’s image for the Ten of Cups evokes the great daimon of Hope found in the ancient story of Pandora’s box. After Pandora opens the box that unleashes evils and ills into the world of humanity, the only presence left in the box is Elpis, the spirit of Hope. It’s the spirit found in cultural ideals such as a young Judy Garland wistfully singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” musing that somewhere exists where the most precious dreams you dare to dream really can come true. Fittingly, the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributed the figure of Elpis, the daimon of Hope, to the third decan of Pisces. The guiding star we wish upon, the guardian angel we pray to for assistance, the hope we are able to muster in even the bleakest and most desperate of times, is essential to the meaning found in the third face of Pisces, the final face of the zodiac full of the passion required to move through the end and rebirth of the zodiacal circle.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to the third face of Pisces, describing it as a place revealing one’s willingness to “sacrifice everything” for the “attainment of one’s greatest desire, no matter the cost.” Noting the images of romantic happiness found in the Ten of Cups card as well as in Agrippa’s masterwork, Coppock wrote that the third face of Pisces “inspires the lust and desire implied” by the images, “but the true object of the passions is a merger with the universe itself . . . The face and body of the beloved are a mask, an entry point into the experience of all-as-bliss.” Coppock noted that “the third face unfolds as the quest for true and perfect love,” yet the willingness to sacrifice all for the dream leads to the third face of Pisces becoming “littered with broken dreams and failed martyrs- those who sacrificed themselves for an illusion.”

The  burning desire pulsating through the third decan of Pisces, its grandiose dreams of ecstatic bliss as well as the agony of loss that comes from the failure to materialize dreams all fit well with the fact that Mars is the ruler of this decan. As Mars will be ending its current synodic cycle with the Sun during the waning half of the present lunar cycle, the Pisces Full Moon may bring revelations regarding where we have given too much of ourselves in pursuit of dreams that will not come to fruition, as well as awareness of the people, passions, and purpose we will want to devote ourselves to fully due to their alignment with our inner world from which dreams are born. Let the light of the Full Moon reveal the sources of hope and inspiration that may spur you on in pursuit of your most cherished creative visions.

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References

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

New Moon in Virgo

 
paul klee the gate of night

The Gate of the Night (1921) by Paul Klee

New Moon in Virgo

The New Moon in Virgo on September 17 draws a season to a close, initiating us into the final season of 2020. While the heat of Summer transitions into the crisp coolness of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere the lunation demarcates the end of Winter and the dawning of Spring. It’s a time of seasonal balancing, with the amount of light and darkness we experience in a day temporarily reaching an equilibrium on the Libra equinox which will occur five days later on September 22. The darkness of the Virgo New Moon is ideal for centering within one’s inner light, sensing surrounding circumstances with full awareness. 

The Virgo Moon is separating from a trine with Pluto and applying toward a trine with Saturn in Capricorn, providing an opportunity to slow down and ground into deeper presence with whatever challenges and difficulties we have been contending with. After completing a trine with Saturn, the Virgo Moon will form a quincunx with Mars retrograde in Aries as the slowly moving red planet intensifies in the tension that it will continue to build with Saturn for the rest of September. The astrology of the next couple of months will not be getting any easier, and so we need to lean into any trouble brewing with discernment rather than trying to escape from problems through denial or distraction.

The strength of the Virgo New Moon is found in the dark caves and black stones of Saturn. The trine from the lights in Virgo with Saturn in Capricorn may feel melancholic due to the tumult of current events, yet the pondering contemplation of Saturn will be what we need to cultivate in the forthcoming lunar cycle. We need to engage with the side of Saturn open to the mystery of the unknown and willing to reflect upon the fullness of the moment, rather than being overly defensive, rigid, and righteously insisting on control or trying to force what we want to have happen. As Saturn begins to slow down en route to stationing direct on September 29, we will be most effective through deep reflection in decision making and taking the time necessary rather than rushing.

Mercury in Libra rules the New Moon and is forming an exact square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Mercury is in the bounds of Jupiter and on the superior side of the square aspect, enabling a thorough questioning of our beliefs about what has been happening so we can make adjustments attuned with the reality of the moment rather than wishful thinking. Mercury will next form a square with Pluto on September 20 followed by a square with Saturn on September 23 as it simultaneously moves into a tense opposition with Mars. With Mercury in the exaltation of Saturn, we can combine the nuanced flexibility of Mercury with the reflective depth of Saturn to come to terms with how we need to handle whatever volatility is being stirred up by Mars retrograde in Aries.

the third shape kay sage

In the Third Sleep (1944) by Kay Sage

The New Moon is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. This means that we are at the midpoint in between eclipse seasons, as the Sun last formed a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon when there was a Solar Eclipse on June 21 and will be forming a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon when there is a Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14. Like the view gained from climbing mountainous peaks, the Virgo New Moon offers a far ranging perspective to help mediate whatever turning points in narratives are arising. Since Mercury and Jupiter, the rulers of the lunar nodes, are colliding in an exact square there is likely a significant twist in your story occurring that will need your undivided attention.

Furthermore, Neptune retrograde in Pisces is five degrees away from a square with the lunar nodes at their southern bending. The square between Neptune and the lunar nodes will be slowly getting tighter during the rest of 2020, with Neptune forming an exact square with the lunar nodes in January 2021. Neptune is more than halfway through its retrograde phase that stretches from June 22 to November 28, having formed an opposition with the Virgo Sun on September 11. With the Virgo New Moon separating from Neptune, the lunation contains more of a movement away from the mists of Neptune rather than into its otherworldly fog. It will be especially important to sift through any lessons learned from recent experiences of disillusionment to help in reorienting toward a more realistic assessment of your situation.

The Philosophia Hermetica

from The Philosophia Hermetica (1790) by Federico Gualdi

While the incendiary heat of Mars retrograde in Aries is only at its beginning stages, the week following the Virgo New Moon will bring a critical juncture of Mercury moving through square aspects with Pluto and Saturn into an opposition with Mars on September 24. A balance will need to be struck between opening to new desires being stoked by Mars while patiently working through whatever obstacles and tests are being set in place by Saturn. It’s a period for laying the foundation of long-term goals rather than grasping for short-term gratification. Yet despite setbacks, it will not be a time to forsake our most authentic and essential desires but rather to allow them to be reshaped and reforged by the crucible of Saturn and Pluto. 

In addition to forming a square with Saturn on September 23 and an opposition with Mars on September 24, Mercury also will be crossing into the “retrograde shadow” degrees of its upcoming retrograde motion that will occur from October 13 until November 3. As it will be an especially volatile and disruptive retrograde phase for Mercury, it will be wise to begin sensing what challenges are coming your way and what needs to be remedied while Mercury is still visible in its evening star phase. Mercury colliding with Pluto, Saturn, and Mars in sequence can be helpful for noticing what is beginning to come out of balance so you can begin rethreading whatever is fraying before it becomes torn apart. 

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 3 Decan

The New Moon in Virgo arises in the third decan of Virgo associated with the Ten of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Fitting for an image of a family enjoying the fruits of their ancestral legacy, the third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury and Venus. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of “the pensive nature of the elder” in the Ten of Pentacles card with a fundamental question this face asks about wealth: “What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?”

Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third decan of Virgo, writing that “the spirit gazes upon its inevitable separation from matter here, contemplating the consequences of its brief union.” A decan of decay and death, old texts such as the Picatrix and Liber Hermetis contain images of mummification, while Abraham Ibn-Ezra pictured a woman praying with leprous hands. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” It’s a decan that asks us to come to terms with the legacy and value we wish to leave behind for our future ancestors, a face of learning to embrace the moment due to the death that awaits all of our loves in the end.

Doubling down on the long game during the Virgo New Moon, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo. Hestia is a sublime guide for the New Moon, as she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the essential value we wish to invest into our relationships, work, and community. Hestia is the devoted one with roots in a legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath for the living force of creation. Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service that does not abandon.

Fittingly for Hestia being associated with the third face of Virgo, Venus in Leo is applying toward a conjunction with Vesta in Leo during the New Moon in Virgo. Earlier in the year there was a conjunction between Venus and Vesta on May 15 when Venus was retrograde in Gemini, and so we may now re-center within our core values that have been reforged since then.  Compared to the other planets engaged in tense aspects, Venus will have smooth sailing through Leo as it heads toward forming a trine aspect with Mars at the end of September. The essential values passed down to us from our ancestors that we wish to pass on to our future ancestors deserve our full commitment and embodiment within the darkness of the Virgo New Moon.

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

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References

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

 

Taurus New Moon & Uranus

Lightning_House_Mountain

Image by Michelle Doucette (2020) for the Taurus New Moon for graycrawford.net – her work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

New Moon in Taurus

The monthly lunar cycle ends and begins in darkness. While the New Moon in Taurus on April 22 is an inception of a new cycle, there is a death and rebirth process for the Moon to undergo under the rays of the Sun that is necessarily nurtured by darkness. There is wisdom to be found from descending into darkness, as ancient scholars such as Peter Kingsley in his book In the Dark Places of Wisdom have described darkness as the source of the light that illuminates our world. Kingsley examined how finding “clarity meant facing utter darkness” in ancient traditions, how not only was the ancient goddess Justice as well as other powers of cosmic law said to reside in the cave of Night, but also how the radiant, enlivening Sun was viewed as having its home in the nocturnal underworld where it is reborn every night. To Kingsley, “it’s impossible to reach the light at the cost of rejecting the darkness,” and so there is vital importance in descending into our inner depths of darkness rather than rejecting or ignoring it, distracting ourselves away from it.  We must be brought down and descend before being able to reascend with the new perspective and needed ideas for reform and renovation we have gathered.

The New Moon in Taurus is full of electricity and chthonic rumblings that can bring feelings of societal and personal structures being destabilized from the roots, corresponding with the many anxieties being stirred up by the unknown extent of how public health and economics will continue to be impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Within the living symbolism of astrology, the element of earth is considered to be the most dense and stable; since Taurus is a fixed earth sign, it can further be considered as the earth sign that is most resistant to change. Uranus within astrology brings the kind of Promethean fire that can dramatically incite change and reshape the most solid of matters in shocking and unexpected ways. Since the Taurus New Moon is applying within three degrees of a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus, it reflects the extraordinary and rapid change caused by the pandemic across all facets of global civilization with the propulsive discharge of a lighting storm.

The Taurus New Moon is separating from a constraining square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius and applying toward a volatile conjunction with Uranus in Taurus. The fears and frustrations of people feeling confined within quarantine have led to numerous unfounded conspiracy theories about the pandemic and a desperation in some to protest the social distancing measures intended to protect public health due to fears over a stalled economy and loss of liberty. The strife and contention over how to manage the pandemic will continue during the forthcoming lunar cycle, as the New Moon is moving from a conjunction with Uranus into a discordant square aspect with Mars in Aquarius that will form on April 23 as the first sliver of crescent light becomes visible. While Mars is finally beginning to separate from Saturn within the sign of Aquarius, the New Moon will reforge the connection between Saturn and Mars in Aquarius that formed at the end of March and coincided with global populations having to come to terms with the grim reality of the pandemic. These are all indicators of caution and protective, defensive measures needing to be maintained in the face of uproar to break free from containment.

In addition to the Taurus New Moon triggering dynamics between Saturn, Uranus, and Mars, during the dark phase of the Moon before the lunation it will also form catalyzing square aspects with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. We have been living through a dramatic time period that has corresponded with the intensifying astrological alignment of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto all coming together within harsh aspects, and in combination with the stark impact of the pandemic it has laid bare numerous inequities across global society. While 2020 will end with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that will signal a new era, during the closing of the old era we are living within we must experience the expansive and growth oriented significations of Jupiter being taken into the underworld of Pluto. Some people are predictably attempting to take advantage of the crisis to accumulate greater power and wealth in accordance with one side of Jupiter and Pluto’s meaning, but the greater potential available is to not only witness injustices but also utilize the exposure of corruption, oppression, and unfairness to reimagine ways to reorder societal systems and to take direct action in helping those who are vulnerable.

Within our personal lives as we have had to release future plans and rearrange daily responsibilities in order to acclimate to the societal disruption brought by the pandemic, there is an opportunity with the New Moon in Taurus to make a complete reappraisal of every way in which we have been using the time and space available to us. The Taurus New Moon is close to the exact degree of the Moon’s exaltation in Taurus, bringing strong imaginal capacity to help contend with the fact that the lunation is surrounded by difficult astrological aspects. It’s also worth remembering that what goes up must come down, and that the motion of Fortuna’s wheel means that what becomes exalted must fall within nature and the natural cycles of our world that astrology reflects. We are in the midst of a collective descent that while difficult is also illuminating our interconnectedness across barriers and borders, and since the New Moon is being mixed with the innovative voltage of Uranus we may receive numerous ideas and brainstorms for solutions and remedies in the forthcoming lunar cycle that had not occurred to us previously.

Within the past week I was personally struck by the significance of receiving separate emails from separate colleagues about the alchemy of the invisible simultaneously, all reflecting in different ways about measuring the unseen and reckoning with the invisible unconscious emerging into visible and conscious awareness. The pandemic has constellated a decisive turning point in personal narratives all around the world, a rare occurrence in which shadowy unconscious material will be emerging through the dreams and daily interactions of people at higher levels than normal all across the Earth at the same time. The astrology of 2020 suggests there will be many more twists and turns in storylines to come, creating circumstances in which it will be possible to cultivate an entirely new direction to follow. The fixed, earthy quality of the Taurus New Moon favors embarking upon a slow and steady course to make a better world, nourishing our inner strength so we may hold the tension of present instability to allow new supportive forms and ways of working together to emerge.

Door Sunset Edit

Image by Michelle Doucette (2020) The Dreaming Canvas

The New Moon is in the earthy home of Venus, with the star of Aphrodite continuing to shine brightly at night in its Evening Star phase. After the waxing crescent Moon enters Gemini on April 25, it will begin applying toward a conjunction with Venus that it will complete on April 26. The April 26 conjunction between the Crescent Moon and Venus in Gemini will take place at the same time that Venus culminates in its brightest phase as an Evening Star on April 28, and so it will be worth finding ways to commune with their union in the night sky.  Due to Venus being out of bounds in declination at an extreme northern height, the Moon and Venus will be visible setting together into the western horizon far into the night on April 26.

At the same time that Venus is increasing in light to reach its brightest point within its Evening Star phase, Venus will also be getting closer and closer to our Earth in orbit and therefore becoming more influential in worldly events. Venus shining bright while out of bounds is untethered with wilder instincts for free expression than normal, and so when combined with the New Moon in Taurus conjoining Uranus there will be the kind of chaotic creativity accessible that Venus in Gemini delights in exploring in a variety of versatile ways. While the New Moon in Taurus promotes a consistently thorough path toward completing endeavors, Venus in Gemini swiftly swoops back and forth in seemingly disparate directions when following its muse of inspiration. Venus in Gemini is less interested in sensual earthiness and more excited to converse in stimulating conversation involving a diversity of perspectives, weaving poetry from experiences and using its lilting voice to make melodies to share.

Vitally, Venus in Gemini is applying toward a mystifying square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will become a major astrological theme during the next month. Since Neptune is in the exaltation of Venus it brings a degree of mitigating reception to the tension of their square aspect that can be especially beneficial when engaged in artistic and creative expression. However, the influence of Neptune over Venus can be tricky to navigate and can coincide with illusory attractions that magnetize while concealing the nature of their source. Neptune brings longing for the ideal, yet can also bring debilitating pain once a shattering experience breaks us free from an illusion. This of course does not mean that all new attractions and desires emerging into awareness during the next month will be delusional, but it will be helpful to keep in mind that the imaginal fantasies constellated between Neptune and Venus may not be grounded in reality.  Creative collaboration with others can be especially fruitful as they can be enlivened to inspired heights through Venus and Neptune fantasizing together.

Venus will form its first square aspect with Neptune on May 3 a few days before the Full Moon in Scorpio on May 7. After Venus stations retrograde on May 12 and begins shifting backwards, it will form its second square aspect with Neptune on May 20  that will involve the more intensified form of Venus that emerges when retrograde (the third and final square between Venus and Neptune will not be until July 27). During the week and a half following the Taurus New Moon as Venus becomes increasingly engaged in its square aspect with Neptune, it can be a productive time for journaling, art making, and any other form of creativity that can help process unconscious content and any new desires rising into awareness. Venus is especially curious and interested in pursuing diverse interests in Gemini, and so making time for creative exploration will not only give us a healthy energetic outlet but also help begin to orient us toward the inner changes that will become more prominent once Venus stations retrograde in mid May.

Tower

Image by Michelle Doucette (2020)  The Dreaming Canvas

Pluto will station retrograde three days after the Taurus New Moon on April 25, 2020 at 24°59’ Capricorn, saturating the astrological landscape with its volcanic, underworld force. Pluto will remain retrograde until stationing direct on October 4, 2020 at 22°29′ Capricorn and so its retrograde movement is most impactful for those with natal placements in between twenty and twenty-five degrees of Capricorn, Cancer, Libra, and Aries. The stationing of Pluto may feel like being pulled down into the depths of the underworld to confront unconscious material that has been simmering, but can also correspond with surface level events and experiences that force us to confront our fears on a  primal level. It’s an especially intense stationing in relation to the pandemic as so many people around the world are facing the fear of not having adequate financial, medical, nutritional, and emotional support during the crisis. By going down willingly with Pluto into its purifying purgation we will empty ourselves of what is no longer essential, gaining clarity for what is most important.

Pluto is at the beginning of new cycles with both Jupiter and Saturn, and although Saturn is no longer in the same sign as Pluto the extreme contraction and division within civilizations that becomes provoked when they form conjunctions is continuing to reverberate throughout current events. While Pluto and Saturn will be coming back into close proximity again later in the year, Pluto’s impact is currently being most intensely felt on all things related to Jupiter such as justice, law, knowledge, abundance, prosperity, alliances, and stewardship. As previously mentioned, one shadow side of Jupiter and Pluto coming together involves obsessive drives for extreme power and wealth, and so we will need to be on guard for how some in power will be attempting to manipulate the fears of the public at the cost of what is best for the public livelihood and health. The reality of the pandemic and its invisible threat that can infect and spread without surface symptoms is a hard reality to come to terms with but a necessary one when formulating how to begin reopening sectors of the economy and increased social interactions.

The stationing of Pluto close to Jupiter will be further amplified due to Mercury in Aries applying toward a square aspect with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn that will become exact on April 25 and 26. Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn (a fact that is now true in both the tropical and sidereal zodiac) signifies that the way is down into descent and into relationship with the earth at our foundation. Making time to simply lay down in the grass or on your floor in order to incubate and receive guidance from within can be a productive way to interact with Jupiter’s present condition. The hardships being faced by so many have been revealing the myriad ways present societal systems are inadequately arranged, and so while being brought down by Jupiter and Pluto we can remember that when we rise back up together it will be up to each one of us to persist in full participation in reshaping our societal systems to better address the inequities being presently exposed.

At the same time that Mercury in Aries is forming a square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto, it will also be forming a conjunction with Eris in Aries and highlighting the ongoing discordant square aspect formed between Jupiter and Pluto with Eris. The union between Mercury and Eris is yet another indicator of needing to pay attention to those on the fringes and outskirts of society such as the homeless, the incarcerated,  or those weighed down by poverty, and how their present condition is intrinsically related to the condition of all of us. In particular the living symbolism of a New Moon in Taurus is especially resonant for those laboring in agricultural systems and fields, including the immigrant workers who lack access to services.

pents05

5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 1 Decan

The New Moon is in the first face of Taurus associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Five of Pentacles is often associated with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources, or experiencing bodily or material hardship. These material concerns and fears are fitting for the dire circumstances brought by the present pandemic, yet there is a deeper meaning found in relationship between the Five of Pentacles and the first face of Taurus that can be glimpsed through the light of the stained glass window in the image. The light from the cathedral window reveals resources that can be found when in duress, not only through the charitable sustenance of societal services but also through the living spirit found in the earth.

Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile, earthy nature of the sign of the Bull. Mercury makes the connections we need for our livelihood, physical as well as spiritual nourishment. In the first decan of Taurus we discover our capacity not only to plan, grow, and gather enough resources for our own survival but also to contribute assistance to those in greater need. The New Moon in the first face of Taurus is a call to notice those in need around you, those suffering from lack of housing, food, and other forms of financial or emotional support, and to join with others in finding ways to address the societal inequities being presently exacerbated by the pandemic.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first face of Taurus, noting the “face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land.” Yet Coppock further described that the first decan of Taurus is not only associated with the fertility of the land but also our own inner agriculture, adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated.” Coppock stated that though the first decan of Taurus “reveals the ways one may work with whatever one has to gain more,” that the images and interpretations associated with the Five of Pentacles card bring up the shadow of fear that we will not have enough money, food, or material resources and that bleak times may arise if we disengage from our constant planning around cultivating resources. Thus the threat of not having enough in the future inspires us to work hard and plan for how to gain enough resources for the moment as well as save for later times of need.

In the Liber Hermetis there is a striking image for the first decan of Taurus that evokes both the material and spiritual fertility of the land. The body of Osiris, adorned with gold and dark tie-strings, is found buried in the ground while a goddess with a queen’s crown is standing in between the horns of a bull. This link between the divine and the land is further shown in the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs, which ascribed Charis to the first face of Taurus.  While Charis is a Greek name for “grace, kindness, and life” it is also associated with the mythic Charites who are associated with the three Graces that include Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, though various traditions have additional names and numbers for these charming, fertile beings who were said to dance and sing with the muses and attend to the adornment of Aphrodite. Ancient cults of the Charites have been described as similar to the nature worship of nymphs near rivers and fresh springs, chthonic deities associated with the fertility of the land.

While humanity is struggling in many places to come to terms with the pandemic, the natural world around us is continuing to bloom and pass away in its constant cycles of growth and decay. With many external systems and structures of society no longer serving as stable supports, the New Moon in the first face of Taurus reminds us of the wealth of resources to be found when engaging with the divine fertility of the land around us and the inner realm of soul within. May you find moments of grace and good cheer amidst whatever difficulties the pandemic has brought into your life.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I am currently offering a 50% discount on all natal consultations for patrons until further notice.

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References

Brennan, Chris. (2017). Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. Amor Fati Publications.

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology: In Theory and Practice. Rubedo Press.

Kingsley, Peter. (1999). In the Dark Places of Wisdom. Golden Sufi Center Publishing.

 

Aries Full Moon + Uranus

isadora-duncan-at-parthenon-e-steichen

Isadora Duncan at the Parthenon (1920) Edward Steichen

Full Moon in Aries

Her magnificence unfurled from a darkly clouded horizon, the radiant light laid bare in the rising of the Full Moon heralds insight and illumination every month when Luna reaches the peak of her cycle.  Yet the Full Moon in Aries on October 15 or 16 (depending upon your location) will electrify thoughts and feelings beyond the norm as it is united with Uranus and is also a perceptually larger “Super Moon.”  Super Moons were defined by astrologer Richard Nolle as New or Full Moons within 90% of the Moon’s closest orbit to Earth, and besides being simply bigger in the sky they have also been found to impact tides more dramatically.  Events speed up in alignment with this dramatic lunation, and since Uranus awakens with a jolt, there will be no hiding from whatever is unleashed.  Any aspect of our life in which we have been asleep, unmindful, or in denial will receive an accordingly large dose of revelation.  September was full of intense astrological transits dredging up buried material: two potent eclipses intertwined with Mercury retrograde in Virgo, and the final exact square between Saturn and Neptune that had been building over the past year.  There is deep-rooted force from Mars united with Pluto underneath the swift flames of this lunation that brings catharsis and power to face arising challenges with accountability.

The Full Moon aligned with Uranus is a breakthrough marker on our astrological calendar that ushers us into a time period in which Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus will be in a relationship enabling rapid growth and development.  The end of 2015 and first three quarters of 2016 were dominated by a square between Jupiter and Saturn, a square between Neptune and Saturn, and Uranus in Aries being generally isolated to Jupiter while in a sign based trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Jupiter and Saturn are important to always consider in tandem, as Jupiter expands growth within the form and structures dictated by Saturn.  As a result, this past year involved deconstruction and falling apart of old relationships and supports, with mixed results in the attempt to reorient life in a more enlivening and authentic direction.  Uranus is the planet that can explode the boundaries of Saturn in order to facilitate the vision of Jupiter moving beyond previous limitations.  As Jupiter in Libra forms a sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius with reception, and Saturn begins to slowly move toward an exact trine with Uranus that will come at the end of 2016, the containment of Saturn is energized with mutable activation opening portals to perception of how to manifest emboldened vision free of past limitations.

Those who have strong aspects of Uranus to planets in their birth chart are familiar with the necessity of working with the nonlinear field of Uranus that has commonly been likened to the dispersion of energy released from a strike of lightning in a thunderstorm.   This doesn’t necessarily make this lunation easier for those who live everyday with a hard aspect between Uranus and their Moon, Mercury or Venus, but it does mean that whatever coping skills you have developed in relation to dealing with Uranus strikes will be helpful.  Uranus can throw one off kilter into rebellious, freedom seeking behavior that is not in our best interest or the highest good, and so with Uranus it is beneficial to find outlets of release to actively engage with and transmit its primal vibrations.  For example, pouring energy into a collective cause/movement you feel passionate about, discharging tension through vigorous exercise or balancing movement, focusing one’s energy into development of a project, creation of art or music, or cultivation of personal writing are some ways to let Uranus move through you into something productive you care about.

The Full Moon is also united with the mysterious dwarf planet Eris which befitting its moniker creates discord in astrology as not only did its discovery lead to the demotion of Pluto from its planetary status, but many astrologers are in disagreement over whether or not the meaning of Eris can be, or even should be, understood in astrology at this stage.  Since Uranus has been co-present with Eris in Aries for years, and now is in almost exact conjunction, the one thing that is clear is that whatever meaning Eris has is merged with the meaning of Uranus in this period.   One thing we do know is that the eccentric orbit of Eris goes beyond Pluto and at a point crosses in between the space separating Pluto and Neptune, approaching the orbit of Neptune before once again moving beyond the orbit of Pluto.  It’s orbit is incredibly inclined compared to the other planets we use in astrology, so much so that it passes through only a few of the traditional zodiac constellations (it is now passing through Cetus the sea monster).  In my own work in looking into Eris, similar to other astrologers I have noticed those with exact aspects of Eris in their chart often disrupting the consensus of a familial or mainstream cultural context, becoming individuals driven to break out of old paradigms that have dominated belief systems.  We could view Eris aligned with Uranus and the Full Moon as reflecting a tidal wave of pattern breaking force.

graves_serpent_copy

Serpent and Moon (1937) Morris Graves

Mars in its exaltation of Capricorn rules the Full Moon while applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto.  This is the close of the cycle between Mars and Pluto that began on 10 November 2014, and in the distillation of its building intensity our most compelling desires rise to surface awareness.  We can simultaneously feel ambitious while also sensing acutely the power dynamics surrounding us and anywhere we have been losing our self-authority in relation to another.  The blowout quality of this Aries Full Moon requires taking the responsibility to be assertive in pursuit of desires while being fully accountable for our behavior in the process of developing needed structures and relationships for support.  The most fruitful way to navigate will be through cultivating mutual respect and cooperation in relationship with whomever we feel a healthy draw to engage with.  The relationships in which we are out of balance in toxic or unhealthy ways will become obvious and feel intolerable to continue giving energy to.  Mars in Capricorn facilitates being cool and resolute enough to sever ties where needed, while also being receptive and energized to collaborate with those of shared resonance and purpose.

The past lunation cycle has re-connected the Pluto Uranus square that dominated the astrological climate from 2011 – 2015, as during the waxing of the Moon the Sun in Libra passed through a square with Pluto into an opposition with Uranus in the culmination of the Aries Full Moon.  While Uranus can be liberating, the unconscious realm activated by Uranus can lead us into scenes in which we must face choices mirroring past repetitive patterns. The liberating potential Uranus brings is through actively breaking free of our old mindset to make a radically empowering choice.  Issues that have held us back in one way or another in recent years may emerge again in the full light of the Moon, creating opportunities for new responses and wholistic understanding.

sonia-delaunay-2

Syncopated Rhythm, so-called The Black Snake (1967) Sonia Delaunay

Mercury in Libra is barely beginning to separate from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the Full Moon, and is one of the most exact aspects of the lunation.  In the week leading up to the Full Moon, Mercury completed the final of three exact conjunctions it has formed with Jupiter since the period of Mercury going retrograde in Virgo in September, an unusual amount of unions between Mercury and Jupiter to experience.  Mercury then moved into a square with Mars before entering its square with Pluto at the peak of this potent lunar cycle.  Mercury as a result is at the “crisis in consciousness” point of the last quarter square in relation to both Mars and Pluto as it begins a new cycle with Jupiter. Our Mercurial perception is shedding and emptying itself from old beliefs and conditioning we are not aligned with.  In the space opened up there is vital re-visioning available that will guide us toward relationships and experiences more essentially resonant.

Collective events have featured ugly discourse recently, as well as continued important exposure of individuals facing oppression within the power dynamics of society.  The union of Venus, Juno, and Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio in the build up to these intense Mercurial aspects added visceral emotional power to revelations of injustices.  Reflecting upon how we have been wronged by others and how we have wronged others, and any other messages unveiling whatever has been out of balance makes it possible for profound reorientation toward embodying a more receptive presence in relationship.  Dealing with others fixated on bigoted and biased perspectives is also more excruciating under these hard Mercurial aspects, yet the lesson seems to be about how to remain in one’s own integrity while being confronted by perspectives antithetical and offensive to one’s own viewpoint.

Mercury is combust for most of the waning cycle of this Moon cycle, becoming purified under the rays of the Sun until it reaches cazimi at the heart of the Sun on 27 October a few days before the New Moon in Scorpio on 30 October.  The insights gained into our relationship patterns can be used to burn off whatever needs to be released as Mercury heads into a union with the Sun in the week and a half following the Full Moon.

klee-theater-mountain

Paul Klee (1920) Theater-Mountain-Construction

Saturn in Sagittarius continues to be in square to the lunar nodes at the Full Moon, focusing attention on Saturn being in a harmonious sextile with both Mercury and Jupiter in Libra.  While Mercury formed its exact sextile with Saturn during the Moon waxing full this cycle, during the ensuing waning of the Moon the sextile between Saturn and Jupiter will slowly build in strength.  The structural walls of Saturn are now more receptive and open to mutating, and the union of the Full Moon and Uranus in a whole sign trine to Saturn signifies that outdated forms can now be torn down in order to erect edifices that are more attuned to internal shifts of meaning and purpose.  Significantly during the realization of meaning as the Moon begins to wane into its disseminating phase a couple of days after the Full Moon, Venus will enter Sagittarius.  Once Venus enters Sagittarius it will begin to form a mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter in Libra capable of imbibing developing forms with one’s arising sense of pleasure and aesthetics.   Take advantage of this building sextile between Venus and Jupiter from October 18 – 26, 2016.

In addition to her mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter, Venus will also begin to apply to a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius in the waning cycle of the Moon.  Venus will form an exact conjunction with Saturn at a Dark Moon in Scorpio at the end of October, and will be at the beginning of a new cycle with Saturn at the New Moon in Scorpio on 30 October.  The shift of Venus from the slowly churning waters of Scorpio into the leaping fires of Sagittarius as a result will mean the galloping pace of Venus in Sagittarius will be somewhat restrained due to the impending encounter with Saturn.  This can be a period of serious commitment to all things Venusian, bringing love and joy to the cold realm of Saturn.  In addition, as Venus forms her mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter and approaches her conjunction with Saturn, her aesthetic senses will be altered by a square to the otherworldly Neptune in Pisces.  These aspects appear to be fantastic to apply to any creative process involving imagination.

4 wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find two figures hoisting fragrant flowers in celebration under a garland within a container of four sturdy rods, with the protective structure of a castle in the background.  Venus rules the third face of Aries and possesses dynamic charisma in this fiery decan.  Indeed, Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces noted that Eros was bound to this decan in the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to this face as it holds “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions” (p. 64). Coppock discerned that we find in the final decan of Aries “the power of art to overcome hostility,” such as the ability of a performer to transcend discord through a heartfelt performance that inspires and arouses the passions of an audience. Yet Coppock also cautioned that while the torrid potency found in the third face of Aries can bring union even in the most difficult circumstances, attention must be given to sustaining the flame of connection with less volatility so that it may last.

Integrating the meaning of the third face of Aries holding the union of the Full Moon with Uranus, there is incredible potency available to performers of all arts to beguile and enchant.  Venus is in the third face of Scorpio, which happens to be another one of the decans of the zodiac ruled by Venus.  This means that while Venus is not in the same face as the Full Moon, Venus nonetheless possesses the dignity of face that enables her to achieve success despite being in the sign opposite her home of Taurus.  As previously mentioned, there is an electrical field found in the light of the Aries Full Moon that can be transmitted into dynamic performance or any creative process.  In the light of the glowing Moon, open awareness to whatever brings inspiration and joy and find ways to share your passion so as to uplift others of resonant accord.

References

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

 

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.