Mercury Cycles podcast interview on Holes to Heaven

Holes to Heaven title card - Mercury Cycles

I was interviewed by Adam Sommer on May 23, 2019 for his Holes to Heaven podcast about Mercury cycles. We talk about Mercury’s synodic cycle and how to begin applying its phases to the secondary progressed chart.

If you become more interested in Mercury in the secondary progressed chart, I have a recording available to purchase from my site in the “store” section from UAC 2018. It’s called “The Light and Shadow of Mercury in the Secondary Progressed Chart,” and I will send you a copy of the slides as well. It’s much more clear how to use it with more details and examples than we were able to provide in this podcast.

I’m also available to give you a consultation about Mercury in your secondary progressed chart if you would like to get deeper with its meaning in your life.

Click below to listen:

 

Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

siren water bearer

from Alcuni monumenti del Museo Carafa (1778)

Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

The Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius on February 15 is not cloaked in total blackness such as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred last August 21, yet still opens us to the mysterious matrix of eclipses that bring significant shifts in circumstances and perception.  Aquarius is the constellation of the Water Pourer, and even within the use of the tropical zodiac we still associate Aquarian meaning with the one who carries the enlivening celestial waters to nourish collective lives and ideals. The diurnal home of Saturn, it is a place of work yoked to transcendent vision and creates the contemplative space needed to break free of cultural conditioning at odds with essential values.

Astrology has an ancient tradition of associating our Sun with the celestial source of soul and our Moon with the worldly reception of soul in our human forms.  At a solar eclipse, we can infer that our sense of soul purpose and creative actualization we associate with our Sun is being eclipsed by the mysterious darkness found deep within our body and psyche, a darkness full of rich fertility that brings forth new life.  New forms move through our life with eclipses while old forms pass away, while what was previously hidden for whatever reason emerges with stark clarity.  Since Aquarius is a fixed sign, a lot of the changes happening in correspondence with the eclipse will be slower to develop yet long lasting.  Since Aquarius is an air sign as well as the location of the transiting South Node of the Moon, we can expect shifts in old mental patterns and complexes, with new ideas percolating and ready to fill freshly created space.

The Aquarius Solar Eclipse is taking place near Mercury and the asteroid Juno, signifying that our mental framework of relational patterns is primed for release of aspects that have been keeping us stuck.  Mercury in particular is a vital component of the eclipse, as it will enter the heart of the Sun and perfect its Superior Conjunction within a couple of days of the eclipse.  This means Mercury is being purified and in a rebirth process within the eclipse, facilitating the letting go of mental debris to clear space for the influx of dynamic new ideas.  With Juno also present near the eclipse, we can gain new insight into our current relationships through shedding the skin of old relational wounds, peeling away perceptions keeping us blocked from meeting the actual needs of relationships in the moment.  Eclipses tend to bring in new relationships while some of our older relationships begin to fade away, but with Juno also present with the eclipse it is worth paying attention to relationship dynamics more than usual and discerning which newly emerging relationships are worth focusing on going forward.

Manjuvajra Mandala

Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom (11th Century; Bangladesh or India; black stone)

Saturn is the traditional ruler of the eclipse, situated in the twelfth place from the syzygy.  Though not in aspect to the eclipse, Saturn does find its joy in the twelfth place due to its more isolated and hidden conditions creating fertile ground for rich contemplation.  Uranus is considered by many to be the modern ruler of Aquarius, and Uranus is engaged with the eclipse through a harmonious sextile.  The Solar Eclipse as well as Mercury in Aquarius interacting with Uranus through a sextile amplifies the potential of the eclipse to facilitate a liberation from old mental wounds and negative thought cycles that have kept us in a loop of limitation in one way or another.  Uranus is moving direct through its final passage in Aries before entering Taurus later in May this year, and so there is a dynamic Uranian wave to catch at the eclipse and ride with the full force of the sign of the Ram.  At the previous Solar Eclipse in Leo last August, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect, and during the last Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect with Mercury.  If you have been working toward greater Uranian emancipation over the course of the past six months, pay attention to openings emerging with the eclipse that can make the desired changes enduring.

It will be helpful to consider all of the changes in your life that have been taking place over the past year of eclipses occurring in Leo and Aquarius, since the Aquarius Solar Eclipse is roughly in the middle of their trajectory.  There was a Full Moon in Aquarius on 16 August 2016 that some labeled an eclipse (but it had absolutely no visibility), but the sequence of Leo and Aquarius eclipses did not fully kick in until the Leo Lunar Eclipse that arose on 10 February 2017.  The most potent of the eclipses was the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that happened 21 August 2017, and since the current one is at the polarity of that eclipse, its possible to now gain clarity regarding the changes in life direction and relationships that have corresponded with these eclipses.  It’s always important to focus on the houses of your natal chart as well as aspects with Leo and Aquarius to fine tune your analysis, but simply reflecting upon the overall narrative will bring insight that can help you acclimate to the new shifts arriving with the current eclipse.

hand with images

from the Alcuni monumenti del Museo Carrafa (1778)

The partial solar eclipse in Aquarius is in a saros series that began with an eclipse in 1729 that featured Mercury conjoining the South Node of the Moon. While Mercury has separated eleven degrees from the South Node of the Moon in the present eclipse, Mercury is closely conjoining the eclipse itself on the side of the South Node of the Moon, echoing the eclipse at its origins.  Bernadette Brady in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark wrote “this family of eclipses is concerned with ideas and their enthusiastic expression,” leading to an onrush of ideas that may flood one’s system, “but if you can go with the new ideas, they will have positive outcomes.”

Mercury is separating from a sextile with Uranus and applying toward a conjunction with the eclipsed Aquarius Sun.  Mercury has also separated from a square with Jupiter in Scorpio, adding to overarching influence the Star of Zeus in the sign of the Scorpion exerts over the eclipse.   With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our ideals, with the Jupiter and Mercury tension pulling us into the core of difficult questions regarding the current state of the multiplicity of civilizations around the planet.  Though Jupiter has now separated from its previous opposition with Uranus, we are still in the wake of the catalytic tidal wave instigated by Jupiter and Uranus reaching the peak of their cycle in 2016.  The influence of Uranus and Mercury within the eclipse facilitates opening minds to answers that reframe circumstances and allow a bigger vision to help discern smaller choices made in the present.

Fantasy novelist Ursula Le Guin passed away earlier this year about nine days before the recent Lunar Eclipse in Leo, revivifying the memory of her work that was able to create entire worlds unto themselves, often centered around idealistic perspectives such as feminism.  After receiving the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014 she spoke the following words:

I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. …

We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.

– Ursula Le Guin

Gary Caton’s recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year does a marvelous job of illuminating the elemental meaning of the six pointed star Mercury forms each year within its synodic cycle.  In the present year we have Mercury forming retrograde unions with the Sun in the Fire triangle, while forming direct unions with the Sun (like we are experiencing now) in Air signs.  Caton wrote that since Air and Fire share the characteristic of heat, yet differ in that Fire is dry and Air is moist, it means that the Aquarius lesson of moistness “means curbing your tendency to go it alone, and joining with like-minded allies before adventuring.”  Be alert for opportunities to join with like minded souls in coming weeks and months; after the eclipse Mercury will begin shifting into becoming a visible evening star again and will be moving direct until stationing retrograde in Aries on March 22 following the equinox.

The sabian symbol of the eclipse reflects the symbolism of releasing Aquarian air to fuel the fire of the Leo north node: “A tree felled and sawed to ensure a supply of wood for the winter.” Dane Rudhyar wrote the keynote of this symbol involves “knowledge and skill used in its natural surroundings for the satisfaction of vital basic needs,” based upon “intelligent foresight.”  Rudhyar beautifully concluded that “in meeting the hardships inherent in an existence close to nature, strength, efficiency and intelligence are needed, but they are incorporated in a life in which every act can be part of a harmonic and beautiful ritual permeated with deep significance.”  Moreover, the sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury’s superior conjunction with the Sun that will occur on February 17 is a “butterfly emerging from chrysalis,” again reinforcing the themes release and rebirth.  As we let go of the past and what has been holding us back, a new presence may emerge deeply sensitized to both the resources and needs of the surrounding environment.

black iris

Black Iris (1926) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Venus in Pisces is closely applying to an integrative sextile with Saturn in Capricorn, the ruler of the eclipse, heading toward union with Neptune.  At the same time, Mars in Sagittarius is applying to a superior square with Neptune in Pisces and as the Moon waxes full in the forthcoming lunar cycle, Venus will form a waxing square with Mars.  Additionally, as Venus moves across a union with Neptune in the forthcoming lunar cycle toward a square with Mars, Venus will also be forming a harmonious trine with Jupiter in Scorpio.  Venus in Pisces is playing a mediating role within the eclipse and portends positive potential growth within relationships.  The influence of Neptune brings some fogginess of illusion to cut through, as well as over zealous martial crusaders to contend with. Yet the coming union of Venus and Neptune is also the sort of dreamy transit to allow yourself to indulge in, luxuriating in whatever you find pleasing and soothing.

swords07

7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Solar Eclipse in Aquarius rises in the third face of Aquarius associated with the Seven of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Similar to the union of Mercury with the solar eclipse, we can see a bit of Hermes in the image’s thief stealthily removing five swords from the scene, leaving two firmly planted in the ground.  The five swords bears numerical resemblance to the Five of Swords card associated with the first decan of Aquarius, a face that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to in his book 36 Faces on the decans.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius aligned with the 7 of Swords card, noting that the figure of the thief in the image has already undergone a process of what to leave behind in the place of the known as he embarks with what he has selected to take with him on his journey into the unknown.  Coppock astutely used the symbol of the knot to explore the karmic binds that often keep us bound in the place of the known and familiar, rather than liberating ourselves from frustrating situations in order to enter the unknown and risking exile in the process.

Venus rules the third decan of Aquarius within the triplicity rulership scheme, while the Moon rules the third decan of Aquarius within the descending rulership scheme.  Since the Moon rules this face and the Moon in Aquarius is eclipsing the Sun, the Moon is at an advantage with regards to essential dignity as it darkens our view of the Sun.  The Moon will additionally occult Mercury in Aquarius hours before the eclipse forms.  While the hectic pace of daily life and its gravity of responsibilities may make it difficult to create space for reflective solace at the exact moment of the eclipse, make the effort to create room for contemplation when the moment allows.  Allow your mind to open to the possibilities of the vast unknown of the future, and as you gain intimations for who you can become find places, even within the most mundane of choices, to begin realizing more of your envisioned potential in the present.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1999). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser.

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

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

Mercury melds into the Sun as Neptune stations

Mercury Superior Conjunction

Altarpiece, No. 1 by Hilma af Klint (1907)

Mercury Superior Conjunction

On November 17, 2015 at about 6:53 am Pacific time, 9:53 am Eastern time, and 3:53 pm Central European time, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun meaning that Mercury will be at the exact degree and minute of the tropical zodiac as the Sun:  24º56′ Scorpio.  This concept in astrology is known as cazimi, and when it happens the planet in cazimi is said to be vivified and regenerated in the burning solar rays, purified and open to insight.  Considering the importance Mercury plays in our moment to moment perception and discernment of reality, this is always a powerful moment to make the space to go within and center in your practice of choice.  As Mercury will be cazimi for a broader time period than the exact time noted above, it isn’t worth the stress to force a Mercury moment at the exact listed time- anytime in the hours before or after this time can work.

The current phase of Mercury we are in is known as its superior conjunction with the Sun, in contrast to the inferior conjunction that occurs when Mercury is retrograde.  When Mercury is retrograde it is between our Earth’s orbit and our Sun at the inferior conjunction, whereas at the superior conjunction Mercury is orbiting on the far side of the Sun from us on Earth. Whereas the inferior conjunction has a symbolic meaning of an underworld inception of core depth, the superior conjunction has a celestial resonance, a soaring, surging quality of an onrush of information that can lead to a moment of ingenious insight.

In Scorpio, the overwhelming processing of information at this superior conjunction occurs in the dark secretive recesses of our desires and consciousness.  Mercury here opens us to humanity’s heart of darkness, but we must first address our own shadow, not only the fears and desires circulating in our conscious mind but also the fears and desires we hold tightly bound in the caverns of our interior away from the light of perception.  A Scorpio superior conjunction of Mercury calls for honesty, for grieving what needs grieving, for releasing what needs to be transformed, and for realigning with the burning path of our essential desires.  Scorpio is also about courage, and Mercury being regenerated here will not shirk from protecting whatever is most dear to our hearts.  On the positive side, a Scorpio superior conjunction of Mercury helps us attune to the core soul desires that we now need to prioritize and focus upon.

Integrating the geocentric planetary nodes of Mercury is further illuminating at this particular superior conjunction, as it is conjunct both the South Node and North Node of Mercury.  The current South Node of Mercury is 23 degrees of Scorpio, while the North Node of Mercury is 28 degrees of Scorpio.  An astrologer friend of mine, Bradley Naragon, has a theory regarding this nodal arrangement of Mercury in Scorpio in which the South Node of Mercury in Scorpio is akin to an outwardly directed Mercury, while the North Node of Mercury in Scorpio resonates with an inwardly directed Mercury.  As Bradley is an evolutionary astrologer, the meaning of this in part is that the evolutionary movement of Mercury at this time is toward self discrimination regarding all of the past information gained from outer curiosity and exploration.  In Scorpio, Bradley has interpreted this to mean inner insight can occur regarding past betrayals, violations of trust, and abuses of power.  With this Scorpio superior conjunction of Mercury now occurring conjunct both the South and North Nodes of Mercury in Scorpio, we are at a time in which we can sense how we have been impacted by past violations and abuse, as well as penetrate into the dynamics of our own times of betraying or hurting others.

As if this is not deep enough of an astrological transit to be occurring, at the same time that Mercury is cazimi we will also be experiencing Neptune stationing direct in Pisces.  Neptune stations direct the day after Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on November 18, and so we are already in the vortex of feeling this Neptunian influence in our lives.  This stationing of Neptune is further intensified by the fact that as it is stationing, Saturn in Sagittarius is applying to a square with Neptune.  The last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces is the most impactful transit we will be experiencing in this next year, and so the superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio happening as Neptune stations will give us great insight into the underlying inner dynamics at play in our current experiences related to Saturn in square to Neptune.

Mercury Superior Conjunction

The Swan, No. 18 by Hilma Af Klint (1915)

North Node of Moon in Virgo

An additional significance to this Scorpio superior conjunction of Mercury is that the transiting lunar nodes have recently shifted into the mutable signs of Pisces and Virgo, and so Mercury is now the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon.  The lunar nodes are one of those aspects in astrology in which you can hear different interpretations from different astrologers.  A more traditional view is that the North Node of the Moon amplifies associated energy aspected, whereas the South Node of the Moon takes away.  Personally, while the amplified aspect of the North Node does go along with many of my astrological observations, the idea of the South Node taking away to me only tells a small part of the story.  A more unique interpretation of the lunar nodes I have heard was given in a lecture by astrologer Bernadette Brady at NORWAC in 2014, in which she linked the idea that the lunar nodes pinpoint eclipses to the concept of chaos, stating that the South Node of the Moon is a place in which we access chaos through our unconscious, and the North Node of the Moon being a place where we consciously access chaos.  I feel the link of the South Node to the unconscious can work on many levels, as sometimes the South Node of the Moon aspects do not actually take away but instead bring something important, and to me this links with Carl Jung’s conception of the unconscious being a fertile source for our lives.

Another view of the lunar nodes is found in the system of evolutionary astrology developed in part by Jeff Green, in which the South Node of the Moon signifies the totality of past influences of conditioning on the present moment, while the North Node of the Moon signifies the inner and outer experiences that the Soul desires in order to facilitate its ongoing evolution.  Within this system of astrology, Jeff Green created an interpretation for the transiting lunar nodes that I have consistently found to work and bring insight with anyone I work with in astrology.  Here the transiting North Node of the Moon as it makes aspects in your chart and crosses a specific house is pointing toward new choices that will help one move away from whatever has been preventing necessary growth.  In addition, one can look at the transiting ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon to gain further insight into where new growth-oriented choices can be found.  Bearing all of this in mind, it means that the insights we gain at this time of a Scorpio superior conjunction of Mercury are vitally important.  Mercury’s superior conjunction is always important, but it does indeed possess amplified significance now that transiting Mercury is also the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon.

Neptune in Pisces

What a Human Being Is by Hilma af Klint (1910)

Neptune Stations Direct

When Neptune stations direct, this transpersonal planet that is so often in the background and out of consciousness for so many suddenly becomes viscerally felt on a widespread level.  Neptune signifies the multitudinous meaning found in images, the ineffable meaning felt at times through our collective unconscious, and is known as the great dissolver that can melt previous secure structures of thought into a process of disillusionment, confusion, and disorientation that can then lead to a reorientation with reality more resonant with the sense of truth we are gaining from our evolving experiences.   Neptune stationing direct with Saturn applying to a last quarter square is making the feeling of disorientation much more profound, the feeling of disillusionment more overwhelming.

In connection with the transiting lunar nodes, while I am an astrologer who believes that Jupiter rules the sign of Pisces, I have also found through my work in evolutionary astrology that when wielding this system Neptune’s rulership of Pisces clearly works.  It is worth considering that in evolutionary astrology Neptune is now the ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon, and so indicating Neptunian influences of past conditioning interfacing with the present moment.  This brings about inner reflection into one’s personal history of illusions, delusions, deceiving others, and being deceived by others.  The self-knowledge that can be gained out of this comes from taking personal responsibility for whatever inner dynamics contributed to these situations.  The depth of perception offered by Mercury having it’s superior conjunction in Scorpio now is perfect for taking a dive into our internal realms in this way to find what we can discover.  In addition, with the devotional Vesta currently being conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, there is intense focus available to tap into the spiritual lessons that can be gained from this process.

Any process of disillusionment occurring now can be ultimately seen in the Jupiterian, big picture way of Sagittarius and Pisces as leading toward a rediscovery of truth and a release of past attachments of belief and thought that we realize are out of alignment with our personal truth.  In our collective, unfortunately we will also continue to witness a reaction of many clinging to the dogmatic side of Saturn in Sagittarius- these individuals will turn toward beliefs of nationalism and religion that are on the side of exclusion and fear rather than inclusion and love.  Again, with the superior conjunction of Mercury happening now in Scorpio, we can also turn the penetrating senses of the Scorpion into the dark underbelly of our sordid surrounding societies.

Scorpio III Decan

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio III Decan

The Scorpio superior conjunction of Mercury occurs in the third face of Scorpio, associated with the 7 of Cups card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.  In this image we see seven chalices holding strange visions floating above a figure cloaked in shadow. The images held in the chalices are associated with common human desires such as fame, wealth, love, power, and transformation, yet the cynosure of this assembly appears to be a veiled figure with open arms emerging from the center cup. This card is often associated with being overcome by visions to choose from in an atmosphere of illusion and temptation, most of which if not all are unlikely to lead to anything solid we can sustain. There is also a practice of interpreting the card as indicating the possibility of discerning the one choice that will bring clarity, illumination, and increased opportunities for choices one desires.  Since the superior conjunction of Mercury can coincide with spiritual insight and discernment, this latter interpretation is a definite potential gift at this time to unveil.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the 7 of Cups to the third decan of Scorpio through fixation on fantasies and being dominated by obsessive desires. Coppock suggested that the illusions of desires and the loss of being separated from the object of our desire takes us into a destruction and regeneration process and lessons involving the core nature of desire:

This is ultimately a face of wrestling with one’s own desire nature, for it leads one inevitably back to confrontation with the nature of desire itself. It is the property of no one else. The floating cloud of fantasies must be recognized as wholly one’s own . . . It is a matter of the transformation of a desire rather than its immediate gratification in sense-objects . . . The process truly described is the dissolution or putrefaction of desires back into their raw, un-structured form- their prima materia . . . We bury the corpse of past loves and wait for the flowers to grow from their graves . . . When desire’s hungry ghosts have finally been laid to rest, the compost is complete, and a rich loam results. In the grave soil of yesterday’s loves, anything can grow. This face is thus a formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear. (p. 187-188).

Venus is the ruler of the third face of Scorpio where the superior conjunction of Mercury occurs, and Venus is currently in Libra in a very significant aspect of applying to a last quarter square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Venus is at home in Libra, lavishing in the adornments this sign of relationship, art, and justice provide her.  With Venus in square to Pluto in Capricorn, our sense of justice will be outraged in the face of oppression and abuse propagated by hierarchical systems of power.  In accordance with Neptune stationing direct, it also can intensify disillusionment that leads to deconditioning from consensus, mainstream beliefs embedded in the power structure.  On a personal level, we can also begin a reorientation at this time toward taking the responsibility to fulfill our own needs in relationship as well as meeting the needs of our partners in relationship.  In all of this, we find a soulful gift in the form of Mercury entering the heart of the Sun in Scorpio, for perhaps in no other sign can we feel all of this as intensely and burn off what now needs to be purified for our beckoning future life together.

References

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

 

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moon in Scorpio

Night Creatures (1965) by Lee Krasner

Scorpio New Moon

The New Moon in Scorpio on November 11, 2015 envelopes the setting of intention within the deep waters of Scorpio.  Scorpio is the home of Mars, also associated by modern astrologers with Pluto and the soulful source of our desires.  A Scorpio New Moon compels us to dive into desire and feel the whettening of appetite for that which enflames our passion from within.  Scorpio is a fixed sign, and though Scorpio holds potential for transformation at a core level, Scorpio also involves fixation and refusal to let go of an object of desire.  For example in relationships, Scorpio can erupt in emotional manipulation that attempts to control and keep the desired partner at all costs.  While one can give advice to release attachment to desires that honest reflection reveals are no longer fruitful, when under the sway of Scorpio resistance can be futile.  Even though we know from experience that the realization of certain desires do not bring us genuine fulfillment, we flow with the desire nonetheless wedded to memories of fulfilled desires that brought essential satisfaction.  Wherever our current desires are leading us, in the darkness of a Scorpio New Moon we can tap into a visceral feel for our inner passions.  With the New Moon conjoining Mercury and in sextile to both Jupiter and Pluto, we will have amplified ability to probe deeply into the foundational undercurrents of our desires.

This New Moon is pivotal for numerous reasons, in part because it follows shortly after the cross-quarter marker of the Sun passing fifteen degrees of Scorpio, marking the mid-point of Fall in the northern hemisphere and Spring in the southern hemisphere.  This New Moon also comes with Venus having entered her home sign of Libra and separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, as Mars the ruler of the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  Soon after the moment of the New Moon the true calculation of the lunar nodes will shift from Aries and Libra to the South Node of the Moon being in Pisces and the North Node of the Moon being in Virgo, ending the twenty-one month journey that began when the lunar nodes entered Aries and Libra in mid-February 2014.  Furthermore, the lunar cycle beginning with this New Moon will bring us the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in their current cycle, as at the time of the following Full Moon they will enter an exact square.

Mercury in Scorpio is also in an important transition phase as this new lunar cycle commences, closely conjoining the New Moon while combust the Sun.  As the New Moon waxes toward it’s first quarter phase in the following week, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at its superior conjunction on November 17.  The superior conjunction has a different symbolic meaning than the psychopomp underworld association of Mercury uniting with the Sun while retrograde at the inferior conjunction.  In our current phase of Mercury, the angelic messenger is soaring into celestial realms on the far side of the Sun from us, creating openings for an onrush of epiphanies and insights.  As our minds can feel overwhelmed with a lot of information to process, slowing down enough to take in our full perception will help access the penetrating inquiry available with a superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio. Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio can delve to the bottom line dynamic of any circumstance with brutal honesty, and it is likely secrets and hypocrisies will be revealed.

Mercury in Scorpio is further magnified by the Scorpio New Moon conjoining both the geocentric North Node and South Node of Mercury, as well as the heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  Considering that Mercury in astrology directs the discerning functions of our consciousness, this nodal activation of Mercury by the New Moon in Scorpio can unveil the roots of our perception and its connection to our current patterns of communication.  We can gain increased understanding of our underlying desires leading us to perceive and communicate in our current state. As the heliocentric South Node of Mercury is also activated, there is deep inquiry also available on a collective level into the shadow side of society and the underbelly driving current mass movements of feeling.

Carl Jung from his Red Book

from The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung

Mars in Virgo rules the New Moon in the sign of Mercury, while the New Moon is conjoining not only Mercury but also the South Node of Mars.  Mars is further electrified by applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the time of the New Moon.  The North Node of the Moon is Rahu, the desirous head of the dragon hungry to devour our Lights at the times of eclipses, and associated in evolutionary astrology with the leading edge of our desire nature that propels us forward in our development.  As a result this New Moon is ideal for harnessing burning desires to focused intentions formed with Mercurial attention to detail and planning for martial action.  As the South Node of Mars is also activated, it is yet another indication that we can come to a more holistic understanding of our current desires, including our dark side so to speak, the unconscious influences on our conscious will force.  It will be a potent New Moon from which to launch a new initiative of pure intent.

The potency of the Scorpio New Moon to fuel expansive new vision is further seen in it being sextile to both Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, and by it facilitating the polarity of Chiron in Pisces opposing Jupiter in Virgo through the New Moon being trine to Chiron and being sextile to Jupiter.  In particular, if our hearts have been set upon a desire, goal, or vision for a length of time while withstanding numerous setbacks, our patience and determination could be rewarded with an associated breakthrough with the inception of this New Moon.  We may notice a lot of restructuring and realigning of organizations in our environment in correlation, and we likewise have the opportunity to restructure our home environment, work environment, and even our inner psychology.  If you have a tendency to intellectualize and rationally detach from circumstances, make more of an effort to emotionally center and be present in your body so as to attune to the ever changing moment of the material realm.  This New Moon holding stabilizing, fertile aspects between Jupiter, Chiron, and Pluto in water and earth signs suggests we can reorient toward being better able to manifest a more expansive vision for our life.

An additional ingredient to the generative capacity of this Scorpio New Moon is that Venus has returned to her home of Libra, and is separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and applying to a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Venus in Libra is outwardly focused and her beauteous gaze will be focused upon relationships that will support and help to stabilize the endeavors fueled by our desires.  The sextile from Venus to Saturn corresponds with opportunities to structure our environment and build a foundational form that will be able to buttress our desires for Venusian pleasure in the face of any inclement weather on the horizon.  As a result, this New Moon supports taking direct action to protect what is dear to our hearts and to create the necessary related structural reinforcements in our life, and could prove difficult for those procrastinating or spending idle hours in escapist pastimes.

Saturn square Neptune

from Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions (1865) by J.H. Brown

Saturn square Neptune

During this lunar cycle the Saturn and Neptune square will be building each day until it culminates at the time of the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini.  Hellenistic astrology techniques suggest that Saturn in Sagittarius is in the superior position of this square and will overcome Neptune in Pisces, but there is an important additional development in the coming lunar cycle:  Neptune will station direct in Pisces on November 18, a day after Mercury unites with the Sun.  Neptune stationing gives it added emphasis and potency at this time, and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio happening at the same time could tap us into other realms of perception that go beyond the limitations of Saturn.  While Saturn may be in the superior position in its square to Neptune, our Saturn constructs of reality will be vulnerable to becoming dissolved in the waves of Neptune.

If we are carrying a dream and vision of pure heart that we are capable of manifesting with determined effort, then the solution to the tension created by the square between Saturn and Neptune will be to make sure we are responsibly attending to all facets of what needs to be done to achieve our goal.   Saturn and Neptune are forming a last quarter square suggesting that the bigger the dream and vision the better, as the energy of this aspect calls for a reorientation of how we have been constructing our reality.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune does not automatically spell doom for big dreams, but it does spell doom for any illusions we have been under the influence of.  This includes illusions of being smaller and more limited than we actually are, which is why trying to play it safe at this time is not a real solution to the challenges brought forth by Saturn in square to Neptune.

There is likewise a strong possibility of becoming disillusioned with past belief systems, with society, with humanity, with others in our relationships, and even with ourselves as the Saturn and Neptune square builds in intensity each day.  In particular those who have been dishonest and cloaked in lies, secrets, and hypocrisy could be revealed.  Bearing in mind the meaning of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, famously called a “crisis in consciousness” by Dane Rudhyar, this disillusionment is a fundamental aspect to a reorientation process underway that in this case is opening us to the interplay between our Saturnine structures and the transpersonal realm of Neptune.  This is also only the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, as we have two more coming in 2016.  When there is a such a powerful repeating aspect in astrology, oftentimes it is the first aspect that feels the most chaotic and unsettling.  The point is that we have a long road ahead of us involving this square and as the structure of our consciousness and belief systems begin to shift in correlation, we will begin to recenter and stabilize in our newfound perspective.

Scorpio II Decan

Six of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio II Decan

The Scorpio New Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  It is an auspicious sign that the Sun governs this face since we are at a New Moon, meaning that our Lunar Light is regenerating in the rays of our Solar Light.  In the image of the 6 of Cups, we find the child-like innocence of purely giving for the pleasure of giving and receiving the joy of witnessing gratitude upon the face of the recipient.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan, as it is a face in which the desires of Scorpio interchange in commerce with another:

The parties here [in the 6 of Cups image] are children and their affection for one another is natural and unconditioned.  The pleasure signified is thus that which accompanies the expression of passion unencumbered by pretension or decorum.  It is a vision of ideal exchange between two parties, poignant and perfect.

The dynamic suggested by the children is identical to the alchemical process of mutual distillation, wherein the matter passes back and forth between on alembic and another, growing increasingly rarefied and potent. The laboratory technique of mutual distillation can be embodied, as well. A whole category of Taoist sexual energy practice, referred to as dual cultivation, involves exactly this exchange between partners. This process combines and distills the sexual energy both parties possess, resulting in a finer nectar than either could produce on their own. Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 180-1).

Coppock further discerned that in order to cultivate mutual satisfaction in relationships we must have trust, intimacy, and vulnerability present. Noting the image by Ibn Ezra for the Scorpio II decan, who described “A woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea,” Coppock suggested that we need to be careful whom we open ourselves bare to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass” (p 181).

As a result this is a New Moon in which to embrace honest communication and vulnerability with those you wish to deepen bonds of intimacy.  As the square between Saturn and Neptune is simultaneously building, we may need to navigate some toxic exchanges with others at times as glass windows of illusion are shattered.  At the same time, this New Moon holds some beautiful aspects to deepen our most important relationships with each partner opening to a fuller realization of the reality and desires of the other.  The Full Moon that follows at the end of November carries momentous, breakthrough astrological aspects, and so we are now at a key moment of inception to launch new work filled with deepening collaboration from.

Rebirthing the Matrix

Galactic_Cntr_full_cropped

Our Galactic Center

  • Jupiter station retrograde in Leo (23°) on December 8, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Sun in Sagittarius (17°) on December 8, 2014
  • Venus ingress into Capricorn on December 10, 2014
  • Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn on December 14, 2014
  • Mercury ingress into Capricorn on December 16, 2014
  • Venus conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 20, 2014
  • Mars in Aquarius sextile Uranus in Aries on December 20, 2014
  • Uranus station direct (13°) on December 21, 2014
  • New Moon on the Capricorn Solstice (December 21, 2014)
  • Saturn ingress into Sagittarius on December 23, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 24, 2014

Merry Solstice to one and all.  Our Sun was recently conjunct our Galactic Center, as it does every year as we approach the regenerative nature of the Capricorn Solstice that heralds Winter in the northern hemisphere, Summer in the southern hemisphere.  Accordingly we are in a dark and potent re-centering time, a dark moon solstice (with the Sagittarius Moon conjunct our Galactic Center) that is dominated by Uranus stationing direct simultaneously.  This year’s Capricorn Solstice is as fertile for intention setting as it gets, as a couple of hours after the solstice we experience a New Moon at the dawning of Capricorn.  In the moist darkness of this solstice, within awareness of the shadow cast by our unconscious, we can consciously plant a seed that will ultimately burst free with our full color from the deep roots we set as our foundation now.  Uranus in Aries is calling us to completely liberate from the past conditions restricting our growth up until this moment, and with Venus, Vesta, and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes, we are entering a space to change the set of conditions we live our life from, rebirthing the matrix that shapes our lives on both personal and collective levels.

A matrix has been defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something (such as a situation or a set of conditions) in which something else develops or forms,” and also as “a container that can be filled with a material to give the material a new shape.”  Fittingly the etymology of matrix connects to feminine procreation, and like the patterns found in an astrology chart, a matrix has also been defined as “something shaped like a pattern of lines and spaces.”  For those who spend time working with their astrology chart, there can be a tendency to fixate on certain interpretations that reinforce the repetitive patterns we develop our choices and responses to life from. Yet the brilliance of astrology can be found in the awareness it brings to us of our repetitive patterns so that we can liberate ourselves from the patterns that have left us unfulfilled, restricted, or stagnated, even when from an outside perspective it may appear that we are reaching the goals that we chose to focus upon.  The Capricorn archetype prominently featured in current transits connects with the potential that we can climb a mountain or overcome great odds in pursuit of a personal ambition, only to find within our successful achievement that it was not a goal that could bring us a sense of fulfillment.  Venus and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn can facilitate a plunge into our fathomless depths to change our structural nature, so we can assume a regenerated presence of form more naturally attuned to our desires that intrinsically motivate and satisfy our whole being.

CapricornSolsticeWRIGC1Going along with this idea of deep re-structuring, Mercury in Capricorn is sextile to Neptune in Pisces at this Solstice, and the Capricorn New Moon that arrives about two and a half hours after the Solstice is also sextile to Neptune in Pisces.  Furthermore, Venus and Pluto in Capricorn are sextile Chiron in Pisces, and Vesta in Capricorn is at the mid-point of a sextile to both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.  The sextile between Capricorn and Pisces is insightful to ponder now, and brings to mind the sea-goat symbol of Capricorn with it’s watery tail dipped into an ocean of collective unconscious.  Capricorn and Pisces are both much stronger and effective when each draws upon the strengths of the other:  for Capricorn, it is letting go of control and manipulation in order to open their emotions with empathy to both nurture others through their striving as well as to flow with where the watery currents of their true soul desires lead them, instead of where their cultural conditioning expects them to go.  For Pisces, the harmonious help from Capricorn comes through making the unmanifest manifest, taking concrete steps to bring structure and form to their visions and ideals so that their imaginative impulses enter our reality to impact others through a creative expression of some sort, as well as owning the responsibility to be accountable to the demands of life in order to sustain a more stable life from which to continue to produce work.

In the recent past there were a number of planets passing through Sagittarius in square to Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces, and so now that we have a group of planets in Capricorn passing through sextile to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, we can utilize any disillusionment and dissolving we have experienced to re-align and re-structure our lives at a source level so we can live closer to our personal truth.  If we became unbalanced on the Sagittarius side of things, we may also need to reflect upon how we became too dogmatic, too self-centered and narcissistic, or too over-confident that a belief system we felt encapsulates the truth holds more weight than other perspectives, becoming a self-proclaimed guru or fanatic in the process.  In comparison, if we became unbalanced on the Pisces side of things, we may need to realize that we have been victimizing ourselves to an unhealthy extent through our oversensitivity, or becoming so wrapped up in a self-centered illusion that we became completely in denial to vital issues in our environment that require our full awareness.  Since we remain in the wake of a square between Uranus and Pluto, with Uranus stationing direct, there is no doubt something very significant that has been dislodged from our depths for us to work with, confront, or integrate.

Indeed, a week ago we experienced the sixth of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have been ongoing since 2012.  We only have one more exact square in this cycle, which will occur days before the Aries Equinox and a Solar Eclipse. The seven squares between Uranus and Pluto bring to mind our seven traditional planets and our seven chakras, and the associated symbolism.  As a result, the sixth square connects to the sixth chakra as well as the sixth planet, Jupiter.  This symbolism works out perfectly, as Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo prior to the sixth square, bringing the Jupiter archetype into prominence as well as the intuitive shift that comes with its station into a retrograde perspective.  When Jupiter stations and turns retrograde, we have a greater capacity to turn away from the expectations of others and the conditioning of our culture that cause us to act from a false sense of self to meet outside demands, in order to turn within to recover our personal truth and motivation to pursue desires that bring us genuine vitality and fuel our passions.

The traditional symbolism of the sixth chakra also resonates with the astrological aspects surrounding the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto, as issues such as intuition, imagination, insight, image, dreams, and visualization come to mind.  Anodea Judith’s Eastern Body, Western Mind analyzed the developmental tasks associated with this chakra to be about the establishment of our personal identity as well as our capacity to perceive the patterns of our life.  If balanced, we can have a perceptive intuition that can think symbolically, visualize, and both recall and work with the material found within our memories and dreams.  In contrast, if out of balance we can have issues around insensitivity and difficulty with our memories, vision, and imagination.  We can also find ourselves in denial, delusional, obsessive, and becoming fixated that our way is the only way.  Judith also analyzed associated traumas and abuse that I find resonate with the potential danger of this sixth square:  “what you see doesn’t go with what you’re told,” “invalidation of intuition and psychic occurrences,” and “ugly or frightening environment (war zone, violence).”  These same concepts further connect with the sixth planet Jupiter’s rulership of Sagittarius, an archetype featured strongly at this sixth square, as the chart below reveals:

6thUranus-PlutoSquareWRIGC1

When the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto became exact on December 14, the Moon was at the beginning of Libra with Jupiter retrograde conjunct Juno in Leo, highlighting an additional link between the intensity of this square and all of our personal relationships, including our relationship to our surrounding collective culture and conditioning.   In fact, this last Pluto and Uranus square has a relational impact within our psyche that truly goes beyond the ability of words to capture in its intensity, since the lunar nodes are in the relational signs of Aries and Libra, with Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon and opposite the North Node of the Moon, and Pluto in Capricorn square both the South and North Nodes of the Moon.  Moreover, the North Node ruler is a Venus in Capricorn conjunct Pluto and also in square to the lunar nodes, and the South Node ruler is a Mars in Aquarius that is in sextile to Uranus and the South Node in Aries and in trine to the North Node in Libra.

In plain English, this symbology points to the most primal issues connected to our relationship choices, no matter how hidden they have previously been in the far reaches of our consciousness, erupting forward into our present mindset and surrounding environment for us to face.  The silver lining of serendipity within this intensity is the Mars in Aquarius making the previously mentioned harmonious aspects, bringing with it the potential to liberate ourselves from our previous patterns that have disempowered us in relationship, in order to integrate our burgeoning self-awareness into re-structuring our present conditions into a transformed presence more attuned to the vision of life we hold dear to our hearts.  Mars in Aquarius brings a detached objectivity that enables us to step back from the past conditioning that has influenced our sense of will in the direction of consensus reality structures.  With Mars in Aquarius we can feel and realize what about our recent identity and behavior is not truly who we are at heart, giving us the chance to experiment with, rebel against, and change the circumstances that have led up to our present moment.  Mars in Aquarius can sense the future and in correspondence we can make modifications to creatively actualize more of the unique purpose we were born with in order to serve our surrounding collective.

With Saturn at the very end of Scorpio, preparing to enter Sagittarius in a few days, all of the deep rooted feelings we have not yet faced and addressed are coming up now with an intensity to match the level of resistance we have been projecting onto them.  Saturn rules Capricorn where Venus is currently conjunct Pluto in square to the lunar nodes, and so our collective north node direction in Libra demands that we do this important inner work, realize what aspects of our shadow have been impacting our relationships despite our denial, and realize how we have been acting in order to meet the expectations of family or culture instead of our own Self.  Mars in Aquarius has a polarity of Leo, where Jupiter is retrograde conjunct Juno, and so we must take the courage of the Lion to heart in order to break free from the old structures of our life and the status quo we have become acclimated and attached to.

Finding and living from a true sense of personal justice in our relationships is an important theme of this Capricorn Solstice, not only because of the North Node of Libra ruled by a Venus conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus, but also because of the asteroid goddess Themis #24 being at zero degrees of Sagittarius on the day of the Solstice and New Moon, and so conjunct Saturn as it leaves Scorpio to enter Sagittarius. Themis  is the Titaness of natural law, divine order, justice, and custom, the daughter of Gaia who is connected with “divine law” more so than “human-made law.”  Themis connects to the principle that conditioning and law is not necessarily bad, for it is necessary for many to learn how to act and think in accordance with the highest good for all beings in all of our dimensions.  In fact, when we go against the divine law of Themis, we invite the wrathful retribution of Nemesis.  Unfortunately, not all human-made laws and conditioning factors of our culture are actually in harmony with Themis and divine law, and so it is necessary at this Solstice and New Moon to make intentions to re-discover our personal truth liberated from the oppressive aspects of surrounding culture.  Themis was also a mediator of oracular power, and so also connects to the potential of using Mars in Aquarius to guide us toward our liberated future vision.

morris graves black buddha

Black Buddha Mandala (1944) by Morris Graves

It is important to further reflect upon the meaning of the New Moon lunation occurring on the day of the Solstice.  Unlike the powerful Capricorn Solstice of 2010 that was a Total Lunar Eclipse and so a Full Moon of peaking polarity, the Capricorn Solstice of 2014 is more of a New Moon born out of dark, waning lunar tides.  Therefore it is insightful to reflect back upon events surrounding the pivotal peak of this past lunation cycle, the Gemini Full Moon that occurred on December 6, 2014.  This Gemini Full Moon was a catalytic spark to the issues erupting during this time of Solstice and the square between Uranus and Pluto (I was on Kristin Fontana’s Guiding Stars radio show discussing this Gemini Full Moon that you can find an archived recording of here).  Especially important to the context of Uranus stationing direct on the Solstice, the Gemini Full Moon of December 6 was conjunct the North Node of Uranus in Gemini, and the Sun at the time was conjunct the South Node of Uranus.  This means that the entire arc of how the Uranus archetype impacts our life has been completely lit up and illuminated with all of its shattering spectacle in these past few weeks, culminating in Uranus stationing direct at this Solstice.

Working with Uranus can be difficult for many because Uranus demands change and liberation despite your current attachments, and so the things we possess and cling to tightly can explode in the face of a Uranus transit.  In situations in which we have felt oppressed or restricted and yearned for a change of conditions, the implosions of Uranus can also create space and opportunities for us to finally make the changes to our structure that have felt long overdue from a soul perspective.  Following the Gemini Full Moon that lit up the Uranus archetype a couple of weeks ago, two further important astrological events occurred:  (1) Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo as previously mentioned, and (2) there was a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Sagittarius.  This visionary Mercury transit gave us an opportunity to perceive a vision of our future that we can now work to develop with Mercury in Capricorn and conjunct Pluto.

Interestingly in connection to current events, the superior conjunction of Mercury in Sagittarius on December 8 was in trine to the superior conjunction of Mercury in Leo that occurred around the time of the Aquarius Full Moon of August 10, 2014 that was furthermore in trine to the Gemini Full Moon of December 6.  It was at the time of this Aquarius Full Moon that the eruption of events and protests surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri occurred.  While there is nothing new about police brutality and inequitable treatment of people of color by law enforcement, something about the incredible liberating energy of that Aquarius Full Moon and Superior Conjunction of Mercury illuminated awareness that elevated public protest was necessary.  The trines from that time to the recent Gemini Full Moon correlate to the further intensification of public protest following the non-guilty verdicts for the officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  As additional episodes of police killing people of color entered the news cycle, public protest and acts of civil disobedience in connection intensified. This public movement has direct symbolic correlation with the astrology of this time, in particular the prominence that the Uranus archetype has been demanding.

Mars entered Aquarius on the same day that the non-guilty verdict of the officer who strangled Eric Garner to death was announced.  Mars in Aquarius brings with it an energy of potential rebellion and radical action, but when working with Mars in Aquarius on personal levels as well as with intention to create change in the collective, it is vital to use Aquarian foresight in order to structure focused, impactful choices for protest and rebellion.  One of the shadow sides of Mars in Aquarius can be in becoming so intense in the face of oppressive conditions that our desire for change and protest leads us to rebel against not only the system but also our own well-being, or the greater well-being.  For example, in public protest acts of civil disobedience can be very powerful in certain circumstances, but they have the greatest impact when carefully designed to hit a target while spreading a message, instead of simply being about blowing something up.  In our personal lives, we will want to work with the shattering energy of Uranus to carefully re-build our lives and the surrounding system from the inside out, instead of simply rebelling for the sake of rebelling without purposeful intention.

In addition, Mars in Aquarius can become so detached that we emotionally disassociate from the impact of our behavior on the feelings of others, or we do not allow ourselves to feel all of the emotions that can help us nurture the needs of our relationships.  Similar to how we need to integrate the nurturing archetype of Cancer to the polarity of Pluto, Venus, and Mercury in Capricorn now, we also need to bridge the personal archetype of Leo to the impersonal collective polarity of Mars in Aquarius.  From a place of Aquarian actualization that is heart-centered, we can regain our solar Leo luminosity to radiate our pure Self in a manner that lights a path of inspiration for others.

Penseroso_&_L'Allegro_William_Blake

The Great Sun by William Blake

In the evolutionary astrology system developed by Jeff Green, Uranus has an additional meaning connected to our long-term soul memory, meaning not only all of the memories we have stored from our present lifetime that we may or may not consciously remember in this moment, but also all of our memories from past incarnations that we do not consciously remember.  Some people do gain awareness for past life memories, however, and the potent astrological context that Uranus is stationing within now points to the potential for deep soul memories to emerge from our unconscious.  Whether these are memories from past lives, or memories from the current lifetime that have been buried, or a new perspective gained regarding our present behavior that we had previously been in denial of, this Uranus stationing will be bringing something extremely significant to the forefront of our consciousness.  We need to take time out to nurture ourselves with loving care, feel compassion for where we currently are in our development and not be overly critical of ourselves for not being where we think we should be.  Wherever we are, it is a necessary place in our process to be in, and with loving care we can facilitate growth within that will take us beyond any disheartening, distressing, restrictive, or oppressive circumstances in our present or recent past.

“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads ―at least that’s where I imagine it― there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

This awareness of something from our past being recycled and stirred up in order to help us embody a reborn presence is further reflected in the current balsamic phase between Mars in Aquarius and Venus in Capricorn, with Uranus in Aries being sextile Mars in Aquarius.  Mars and Venus in a balsamic phase will bring significant relationship issues and partners to the surface that are connected with our past patterns.  This is a time of facing the way we have been in the past with relationships with an open heart, allowing us to feel all of our emotions no matter how dark or discomforting.  By taking it all in now, we can dissolve and release the relationship patterns that no longer serve us so we can create the relationships that will serve our needs as well as gain a clearer capacity to listen to the needs of all of our relationships.

Following the Solstice New Moon, Saturn will enter the sign of Sagittarius and Mercury will re-ignite the square between Uranus and Pluto by becoming conjunct Pluto, in square to Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and also in square to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  When a pivotal planet like Saturn ingresses into a new sign, we get an immediate sense of some of the major issues that will be coming our way in the next phase of life, and the information we receive through our interactions with others could be very intense considering the fact that Mercury will be conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes at the same time.  As a result, this next week is another important threshold for us to enter with Mercury present as our guide.  With Mercury and Venus both still in Capricorn, taking personal responsibility for our responses to what is coming at us in our life will be paramount, integrating the Cancer polarity of nurturing our Self and our loved ones.

Alchemical Mercury, Aquarius Moon

alchemical mercury

The alchemical Mercury, from Tripus aureus (The Golden Tripod) by Michael Maier, c. 1618.

August 8 presents a moment of legendary proportion to center within a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Leo, as the Moon waxes toward another potent astrological moment two days later on August 10, when we will experience a loaded Full Moon in Aquarius.  Since Mercury goes retrograde into an inferior conjunction and then swings round again into a superior conjunction three times a year, we have three of these superior conjunction moments every year to experience Mercury moving at it’s fastest speed into the heart of the Sun.  However, this is a uniquely special superior conjunction as at this time Mars in Scorpio is square Jupiter in Leo, the Moon in Capricorn is conjunct Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries, and most of all the superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries and in square to Saturn in Scorpio.

Demetra George compares the superior conjunction of Mercury to the detriment label of Mercury in Sagittarius as it can be like an insight of genius as well as a mad overflow of information to process- in either case this is because our minds can be full of so much unintegrated information at this stage of Mercury’s cycle that we can be challenged to fully digest the material.  This meaning corresponds to the speed of Mercury at this time, moving as fast as the fleet footed messenger ever moves, as from our perspective with Mercury on the other side of the Sun, it appears that Mercury is flying into the Sun.  Once Mercury gets close to its conjunction with the Sun, however, it takes on a “cazimi” meaning (some consider this to be less than one degree, others less than seventeen minutes) in a moment in time that brings the potential for a re-integration of all the material collected in the mind since Mercury moved direct in its last retrograde cycle on July 1.

If you want to be a pure astrological magician you may take advantage of this exact moment of Mercury merging into the Sun to center within yourself and within connection to the world soul, but in case you miss this moment it is still possible to gain profound insight into not only recent events and mental exploration, but concepts of our identity and self that go back across our entire lifetime.  This is because of the archetypal meaning of the Hermes of the Greeks who is the guardian of souls, a gatekeeper in between states of being who is always present with us during times of a death of an old identity and the birth of a new sense of self.  The astrological aspects for this particular superior conjunction are especially profound in this sense:

MercurySuperiorConjunctWRIGC1

In the chart above one can see the intense interactions occurring between planets in Leo and planets in Scorpio, including the close conjunction between the calculation of the mean Black Moon Lilith and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Leo with the Sun, all in square to Saturn in Scorpio. This is a square of manifestation that is an apt symbol of this entire astrological period leading up to the Full Moon in Aquarius. Like the idea of Dane Rudhyar that at the Full Moon we can receive illumination and vision that gives symbolic expression to the fulfillment of our past, the square from Saturn in Scorpio to Mercury’s superior conjunction enforces the necessary limitations and structure upon our perception and experience to cause what has been felt inside to now be seen within our reality and consciousness.  With Black Moon Lilith included in this aspect, it can also mean a feeling of any inauthentic aspects of our recent identity being cut away from us as we integrate the illumination of the superior conjunction.  We can emerge with a purified boldness to radiate like the Leo Sun.  Just as the Full Moon receives the full light of the Sun to illuminate us, so Mercury orbiting close to the Sun at the time of its superior conjunction receives insight to transmit to us.

However, at the time of the superior conjunction the Moon is in Capricorn, square to Uranus in Aries, and conjunct Pluto in Capricorn. This is another deep and hard aspect that while challenging, all together makes it possible to receive real knowledge about our self and our world from the trine between Mercury’s superior conjunction and Uranus in Aries.  A dear friend of mine recently told me that she sometimes hardly notices a trine, and that it can feel more like she is going out for some ice cream; however, when she experiences a square from a power agent like Saturn, it can feel like her entire world and reality is shifting.  This is very true of this moment in time-  Uranus can correlate with shocking insight, Pluto with cathartic confrontation, and so this ongoing square between these heavyweights is completely activated by this Leo superior conjunction of Mercury.  With Saturn further squaring it, there is no escape from the truth. If we are centered in our truth at this time we can express it fully and courageously.

But hold on folks, we cannot forget to mention Mars loving it up in the sign of Scorpio, a zodiac sign giving Mars a full expression of all of his passionate, desirous, and yes, manipulative and maleficent nature.  Mars in Scorpio at this time is in square to Jupiter in Leo as well as in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  Our desires and sense of personal will  as a result can lead us into experiences that reveal disillusionment in one way or another- it will be the hands-on knowledge we gain from our experiences that our desires magnetized that cause this disillusionment.  In combination with Mercury’s superior conjunction that is conjunct Black Moon Lilith and in square to Saturn in Scorpio, this can be an essential stripping away of what is false to reveal a more authentic presence.  It may feel very fiery in nature, like the ancient concept of the “art of fire” from alchemy that inspired modern psychologists such as Carl Jung and James Hillman to develop alchemical psychology.

de-Rola-the-Green-Lion-176

emblem by Baltzer Schwan from Johann Daniel Mylius‘s 1622 Philosophia reformata

While some purists like to argue against the plausibility of constructing psychological theory inspired by the chemistry of alchemy, there are nonetheless countless aspects of alchemical psychology that are not only thought provoking but can be very pragmatic at times, no matter how “far out” the ideas may feel to some.  For those who get pushed to the edge of consciousness and beyond, theories like alchemical psychology can actually be an essential guide.  I heard a lecture by Robert Bosnak on the Jung Platform in which he described alchemy as a lyrical mode of perception in an emotional way that is far removed from logic- it feels expressive, emotional, passionate, and deeply felt, like the idea of the world being born as a sea of sparks arising from the unknowable.  Our bodies form around this essential spark and so like an alchemist we can work to connect with this spark of matter inside of us.   Embodied imagination is essential in this process, and all of our imaginations can be sparked by Mercury’s superior conjunction.

The elements of alchemy include sulfur as desire, salt as a slowing down to crystallize, the mutable nature of Mercury, and the lyrical dance of all three.  It describes a quality of heat more so than a quantity of heat, and includes four levels of quality.  Particularly resonant to me about this time is the boundary between the third quality (that is like a burning heart of courage and the isolating anger of Mars driving the work harder) and the fourth quality (that is like a clarification into realization, like endless nights of wandering into penetrating insight).  In the transition between the third and fourth qualities, we can feel like we are too hot, too angry, and yet if we keep going anyway then seemingly out of nowhere clarity and insight will arise.  This feeling could very well correlate now to this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction transitioning into the Full Moon in Aquarius two days later:

AquariusFullMoon2014WRIGC2

Of course, many of the aspects in the Full Moon chart above are the same as at the time of Mercury’s superior conjunction, but the difference is that the full lunation is illuminating everything in starker contrast.  It is important to remember as well that Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius, and so from that perspective the square between Scorpio Saturn and Leo Mercury/Sun is emphasized.  In addition, if you prefer the modern rulership of Uranus of Aquarius, then the trine between Uranus in Aries and the Mercury/Sun conjunction in Leo is highlighted.  Either way, this is a very powerful Full Moon, and not just because it is a Super Moon so close to our Earth.  Whatever sparks of creative inspiration emerge for us now, we will want to take responsibility to integrate this insight into our daily work.

Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala described an interesting Sabian Symbol for this Full Moon at 19º Aquarius:  “a forest fire is being subdued by the use of water, chemicals and sheer muscular energy.”  Rudhyar wrote that the keynote for this symbol is about “the skill and courage necessary to bring under control the destructive potential of carelessness of karmic visitations” (p. 261).  Our world is full of immense and extraordinary conflict, destruction, and trauma at this time.  As the world servers among us want to find areas to focus on and help facilitate productive change in one way or another, many of us are also confronting our own personal demons that we want to shift into more of a connection with a universal “higher mind” that will help navigate us in a direction in line with the “good” of all beings everywhere.  The aspects of this Full Moon make solutions to both of these scenarios a real possibility.

Finally, it is worthwhile to note that there is “sympathy in the square” between Leo and Scorpio according to the ancient astrologer Rhetorius the Egyptian, because they are signs of “equal rising” that are contra-antiscia across the equinox axis of Aries and Libra.  In the days leading up to Mercury’s superior conjunction, both Mercury and the Sun in Leo became contra-antiscia to Saturn in Scorpio, meaning that Saturn could “hear” both Mercury and the Sun.  In addition, at the time of the Full Moon in Aquarius, Mars in Scorpio will be contra-antiscia to Mercury in Leo, meaning that Mars will be able to “hear” Mercury during the Full Moon.  These aspects mean that although these squares between Leo and Scorpio may seem intense, they also hold strong resonance for manifestation, and can help us work productively with whatever conflicts arise.  If you want to read more about antiscia, a good resource is the website of Seattle astrologer Kate Petty.

Life may feel like a whirl wind at the moment, so it will be best to go into the spiral.

Barchusen-Elementa-chemiae-18

Copperplate 7 (of 19) from Johann Conrad Barchusen’s 1718 Elementa chemise, appearing in Johannes Fabricius’s 1976 collection, Alchemy (p18)

Mercury Mediates the Cardinal Cross

Hermes

Hermes. Attic Red-figure Calyx-Krater, by Euphronios, 515 BCE. NYC, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Just as we are in the wake of the exact Cardinal Cross corresponding to a multitude of chaotic current events, Mercury steps into his Superior Conjunction with the Sun.  When Mercury is moving direct and conjunct the Sun it is called a superior conjunction because Mercury is moving very fast (this is in contrast with the Inferior Conjunction that occurs when Mercury is moving retrograde and slow).  Demetra George has compared Mercury at this phase of his cycle with the Sun to his detriment placement in Sagittarius because he has gone invisible under the beams of the Sun and his swift movement can correspond to both ingenious insight as well as a feeling of overwhelm in the face of an avalanche of disorienting information or events.  The challenge is to assimilate and to integrate all of the information that is made available at the superior conjunction:  this is always the case, but the fact that this particular superior conjunction is occurring at the time of the Cardinal Cross, in between a Lunar Eclipse and a Solar Eclipse, makes this a particularly volatile and catalytic superior conjunction.   We may be sensing brilliant insights of genius, the frenzied madness of a manic perspective, or both at the same time.  What is clear is that this time of a Cardinal Cross in between eclipses has lived up to its billing as an intense crossroads:  liberation from past limiting patterns is the potential benefit of this time, and so we need to maintain the mental balance to take in and digest the profound insights available to our perception.

MercurySuperiorConjunctWRIGC1

While one can see in the chart above the square alignment between Mars retrograde in Libra, Jupiter in Cancer, Pluto retrograde in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries, one can also see that Venus is tight in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio as well as conjunct the Moon in Pisces.  Yes, grand squares can be stressful, but they are also a building energy that can initiate new forms and structures, particularly in the cardinal signs.  Venus in Pisces rules the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Taurus, and since she is also aligned with the Moon and in trine to Saturn we have an opportunity at this time to perceive the profound personal message directed at us from the universe that is found in this Cardinal Cross.  Venus in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio also bring in the two other modes of operation besides the initiatory focus of Cardinal signs:  Venus being in a Mutable sign that helps us to flow with changes while breaking up and mediating our experiences into the essential take away, Saturn being in a Fixed sign helping us to solidify and realize the golden insight we can glean while processing all of the events and exchanges occurring in our lives at this time.

Mercury like Saturn is also in a Fixed sign at this time, and in fact in this period will quickly move through Taurus and become exactly opposite Saturn retrograde in Scorpio (May 2, 2014).  Mercury in Taurus is ruled by Venus transiting in Pisces, and in Taurus she is more of an inner Venus focused on our inner resources and values, a Venus that helps us connect with our body, our bodily instincts, and perception open to us through body language and interpretation.  Mercury being in a fixed sign lends stability to an astrological archetype that is very fluid:  Mercury can go between the underworld and the upper world, in traditional astrology he can belong to both the diurnal and the nocturnal sect, and indeed he is able to find the middle ground while mediating between worlds and unifying opposites.  Amazingly, the Sabian symbol for 6 Taurus where the superior conjunction occurs evokes this meaning:  “cantilever bridge across a deep gorge,” with the keynote meaning of a “conquest of separateness through group cooperation” (Rudhyar, p. 74).  To Dane Rudyhar, this symbol stresses the need to participate in a “collective project” in order to build a link “through the power of the collective mind of the group or the community at large, on the basis of the legacy of the past, to make a bridge over the canyon” (Rudhyar, p. 74). We need Mercury at this time to help us make sense of everything occurring around us:  it is not just our own personal patterns that are being revealed for our personal liberation, it is the great collective patterns of our collective history that are also being revealed, and it will only be through collective group effort that we will be able to collectively liberate ourselves from them.

The significant shift that follows the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun is the transformation of Mercury from a Morning Star to an Evening Star.  Mercury is in his Morning Star phase when he is behind the Sun by zodiac degree, and he is in his Evening Star phase when he is ahead of the Sun by zodiac degree.  When Mercury reaches about fifteen degrees before the Sun he disappears in the Eastern sky at sunrise, only to rise again at sunset as an Evening Star when he reaches about fifteen degrees ahead of the Sun.  In the last couple of months as a Morning Star, leading up to our current Cardinal Grand Square, Mercury has been functioning more in his Morning Star role as a more objective, yang energy that is outwardly directed and effective in a more public focus on reputation, honors, and career.  Once Mercury becomes an Evening Star, he will embody a more reflective, yin energy that is both subjective and intuitive, able to perceive information through dreams, memory, and bodily instincts.  At this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction, however, leading up to the Solar Eclipse that will occur around April 29 (or April 28 depending upon your time zone), we are in a time of accelerated perception and information, a vortex in which we may encounter many opportunities and be able to accomplish a great deal if we can maintain our focus amid the catalytic energy of the Cardinal Cross and Solar Eclipse.

SolarEclipseApril2014WRIGC2

One can see here that at the time of the Solar Eclipse, Mercury will be (1) sextile to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, (2) in trine to Pluto in Capricorn, and (3) in sextile to Jupiter in Cancer.  This means that Mercury will be mediating between powerful transpersonal and personal energies during this Solar Eclipse he is closely conjunct in Taurus, giving us the opportunity to perceive information and insight through the collective conscious and unconscious (Neptune in Pisces) that can help us regenerate core aspects of our authentic Self that can in the end help us re-make and re-form structures of the surrounding systematic power structure (Pluto in Capricorn).  We can also gain insight into how we have been conditioned to judge ourselves or allow ourselves to be judged or shamed by the imposed expectations of others.  Remember that very recently at the time of the Lunar Eclipse a couple of weeks ago that Mercury was conjunct Uranus in Aries as we entered this Cardinal Cross time period:  as a result Mercury is carrying a liberating message from Uranus with him into the Sun and the Solar Eclipse.  Making things even more amplified, the opposition between Jupiter in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn has been in place for all of 2014 so far, and has been intensely triggered at this time of a Cardinal Cross.  It is therefore incredible at this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction that also happens at a time of a solar eclipse that Mercury is conjunct, that Mercury steps into such harmonious mediating aspects between Jupiter and Pluto.  This is a time to gain greater clarity for our true values, and the purpose and passion in life we want to direct our inner resources toward in this next phase of our life.

Furthermore, just as Venus in Pisces is ruling the Solar Eclipse occurring at this time, so does Venus also rule Mercury’s journey through the sign of Taurus.  And as previously mentioned, Venus in Pisces is now significantly in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio as we enter the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Taurus.  Love is the great harmonizer that can weave together disparate elements and events into a Venusian tapestry that can help us nurture ourselves during any wounding experience.  Venus was recently conjunct Chiron in Pisces and in trine to Jupiter in Cancer, and now that she is also in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio means that we can get a more visceral feeling in our bodies and bones regarding the deeper meaning of recent events with respect to our core being.  It also gives us the ability to manifest a deeper sense of love into our daily existence, focusing on what we want to have happen with a greater ability to materialize aspects of our authentic desire.

venus_verticordia_1864_1868

Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868)

Mercury is moving fast however, and so will remain in the Venus ruled sign of Taurus for only a few weeks as he travels invisible under the beams of the Sun.  Mercury will appear again as an Evening Star in the sky at his acronymic rise at Sunset, occurring around May 9, 2014 when Mercury reaches fifteen degrees ahead of the Sun:  Mercury will be enjoying himself in the early degrees of Gemini at this time.  Demetra George has compared Mercury in this phase of his cycle with the Sun as being similar to his exaltation in the sign of Virgo.  This is not the youthful, risk-taking, and overly curious Hermes, but rather the sage and bearded Hermes, the educator of youth and the wise inventor of letters and numbers, the discerning interpreter of words and the giver of medicinal drugs.  The combination of this phase of Mercury being similar archetypally to Mercury’s exaltation in the discerning Virgo with the transit of Mercuy in his inquisitive home sign of Gemini is absolutely perfect to help us digest and integrate all of the mind blowing experiences from this time period.

As a result, Mercury moving direct as an Evening Star in the sign of Gemini will help us assimilate, classify, organize, and integrate all of our wild perceptions from this time period with a more deliberate mental process able to flow and navigate with all of the changes arising.  In these ways, Mercury will continue in his role of mediating the intense events of the Cardinal Cross within our perceptions through the Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere where I live; of course in the Southern Hemisphere you are in Autumn now), significantly reaching another phase of his journey on June 7, 2014 when he will station retrograde at four degrees of Cancer in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  This will be the next phase of our mental integration of all the changes happening now, the Mercury retrograde phase, where Mercury will take on more of the meaning of his detrimental placement in the sign of Pisces, a time of release of old thought forms and concepts in preparation for visualizing and envisioning our new future yet to come.  Mercury in this period has a strong ability to interpret omens and signs in our night-time dreams and day-time explorations, and since this retrograde phase will begin with a trine to Neptune in Pisces it will also give us the opportunity for greater acceptance and healing of any wounding changes occurring in our lives during this Cardinal Cross time period.  Again with amazing timing, Mercury in this phase will experience his Inferior Conjunction with the Sun around the time of the June Solstice (the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere; the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) at the very end of the sign of Gemini.  In the beginning of July, Mercury will station direct to move forward again in a month where Mars will finally leave his retrograde shadow zone, Jupiter will leave Cancer to enter the sign of Leo, and this Cardinal Cross time period will be clearly left behind.  So welcome the wise trickster Hermes into your life right now:  Mercury is making himself available at this time to help you navigate literally anything you are currently facing.

References

Demetra George. (2012). Lecture on Hermes: Guardian of Thresholds. UAC.

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