Pisces Full Moon & Neptune

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Fishermen_at_Sea_-_Google_Art_Project

Fishermen at Sea (1795) by J.M. William Turner

Full Moon in Pisces

The Full Moon in Pisces on September 6 is united with Neptune, bringing amplified access to imaginal fields in which our extrasensory perception can pick up sensations and messages that would normally escape our awareness.  The floodgates opened by this lunation are especially powerful due to it being the Full Moon that follows the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo, with Mercury also stationing direct and ending it’s three week retrograde in Virgo and Leo at the same time.  It was obvious looking far in advance to this lunation that it would correlate with major life changing events due to these elements, and unfortunately in the collective there have been numerous traumatic natural disasters including monstrous floods and out of control wildfires. We can feel the dissolution of Neptune within these tragedies, as political, religious and other societal divisions between people wash away in empathy for those suffering and in united collective responses to bring aid.  For those fortunate to be out of harm’s way at this Full Moon, on personal levels this Neptunian lunation is ideal for taking a break from the fiery ambitions stoked by recent transits in order to rest, recuperate, and dream.

The opposition between the Sun and Neptune is a peak moment in our experience of Neptune, magnified to the extreme with the Full Moon additionally aligned with Neptune.  When the Neptune archetype demands our attention, we can feel more like embracing a loved one, getting lost in thoughts or images, or engaging in spontaneous creative processes rather than focusing on the details of deadlines in our daily responsibilities.  With Neptune it is easier to let ourselves flow, relax, and envision as much as our schedule will allow us to, and if it is necessary to be tightly focused on a schedule it will be important to concentrate on our use of time more so than normal.  Neptune can warp our experience of time which is not necessarily a bad thing, but can make it more difficult to keep sharp focus and make quick decisions of clarity.

Whatever was stirred up for us by the Total Solar Eclipse will now become illuminated, and with Neptune involved there is boundless potential unhindered by limitations of thought to fuel our vision for the future.  I was fortunate to make it within the band of totality to view the Total Solar Eclipse with a clear sky featuring Venus glowing bright in the otherworldly shadows at the midheaven.  There is no way for me to articulate the meaning of what can only be described as a mystical experience, but whether or not you were able to view the total blackness of the eclipse most likely you have already begun to feel irrevocable shifts in your life in correspondence with the timing.  Neptune united with the Full Moon is not the best for gaining objective clarity of the meaning of it all, but it is optimal for letting yourself open fully to the realms of inspiration and imagination.  It’s not necessary at this time to have everything analyzed and classified with interpretation, only to let yourself soak everything up and allow what wants to be born come forth.

Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory)  - the Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis exhibited 1843 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) by J.M. William Turner (1843)

Mercury Stationing

The Pisces Full Moon receives a jolt of volatility from Mercury, as the Star of Hermes stations direct less than twenty-four hours before the lunation on the same degree as the recent Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mercury will remain in Leo picking up speed until September 9 or 10, depending upon your time zone.  With Mercury direct we now have all five traditional planets direct in motion and ready to support forward movement on goals and plans.  Mercury stationing direct can feel like waking up from a powerful dream and needing to reorient yourself to the reality of your circumstances in the shifting colors of dawn.  Once focused upon the tasks of the morning hours, however, you notice a keen mental sharpness restored able to focus at length on whatever needs to be accomplished.  Mercury’s faculties are further amplified by its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and its formation of a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.

Mercury stationing is also inciting the applying opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will be building throughout September.  Jupiter and Uranus make their final exact opposition on September 28 (after previously opposing one another on 26 December 2016 and 2 March 2017), and so the tension of their opposition looms over all events in September.   The peak phase between Jupiter and Uranus brings about collective revolutions that can be inspiring due to opening up new horizons of exploration, yet simultaneously other global events can feel traumatizing due to massive upheavals and dismantling.  The shadow of Jupiter and Uranus involves obsession with grandiose ambitions that leads to an over-reaching and subsequent sudden downfall, and unfortunately when global empires use military force to pursue greater amounts of power we suffer increased levels of destruction as a result.

Mercury is at least making the harmonious aspects of a sextile with Jupiter and a trine with Uranus, leading to the potential for ingenious breakthroughs in thought that can be immediately put into action.  The trine between Mercury and Uranus is especially close, and we may even find that ideas we began developing at the previous Mercury retrograde in Taurus and Aries (that saw Mercury station direct in union with Uranus at the beginning of May) now taking clearer shape in ways bringing about their manifestation.  Any projects you have been working on developing that haven’t quite coalesced together in completion can now enjoy the benefit of Mercury direct and forming strong harmonious aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.  In addition, with Black Moon Lilith united with Saturn in Sagittarius, there is an opening available to more fully embody essential aspects of Self that have previously been repressed or exiled due to fear of judgment.  This is an excellent period to use the inspirational force of a Full Moon aligned with Neptune to make big movement within whatever you have been working on creating.

PartOfAMenat-HariesisStandsBySehkmetFlankedByWadjetAndNekhbet

Part of a meant necklace showing Horus extending a sistrum to Sekhmet, surrounded by the protector goddesses Wadjet as the cobra and Nekhbet as the white vulture.

Mars in Virgo; Venus in Leo

Venus is finally coming toward completing her cycle with Mars at the Full Moon, approaching her union with the red planet that will occur at the time of the next Full Moon in Aries on October 5.  Venus in Leo is forming a waxing quincunx with the Full Moon and Neptune in Pisces, an aspect that Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology connects with embracing humility.  The importance of this aspect to Green centers around preparation to interact in society as an equal, in order to effectively express and integrate developing visions into the surrounding social environment. Humbling is needed in order to make adjustments to overly willful and inflated desires, a potential that is very possible when we are also dealing with an opposition between Jupiter and Uranus and an extended conjunction between Mercury and Mars. The purpose behind the Gibbous re-adjustment is to analyze the structure of the surrounding social environment in order to discern how to integrate developing visions into work or service that is needed by the greater whole.

Mars is in an especially Mercurial section of Virgo at the Full Moon, not only being in the home and exaltation of Mercury but also within its bounds.  Though Mars at the time of the Full Moon has separated by sign from Mercury, by September 10 the Star of Hermes will have returned to Virgo and will begin to apply to another conjunction with Mars.  Mercury will eventually form its second conjunction with Mars in Virgo on  September 16, giving us an extended period of time to mediate the forces of Mercury and Mars coming together.  Though this can certainly correlate with heated conflict, if we can keep a cool head there is immense power involved in the union of Mercury and Mars to imbibe into good works for the greater good.   Mars and Mercury uniting at the end of Leo as Mercury stationed, at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse, brought the sort of scorching heat needed to melt old structures down into more fluid states that can now be rearranged in ways aligned with one’s authentic heart in the moment.  After Mercury re-enters Virgo in coming days we will experience greater ease in melding the forces of Mercury and Mars together into practical problem solving and invention.

Mars entering Virgo while Mercury is in the process of passing back and forth across the threshold of Virgo means that both are in the vicinity of the great fixed star Regulus.  Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195). If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been impacting others.  If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, a burning inner fire may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.  Bernadette Brady astutely warned in her book on Fixed Stars that while Regulus can bring power and success, if we take revenge on others from a place of wounding and anger than we can experience a sudden fall from grace.

Venus will move across Leo into an applying conjunction with the North Node of the Moon by the coming weekend, eventually reaching a union with the head of the dragon on September 14 as the Moon wanes in Cancer and in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.  In the past month we have had a lot of action centered around the North Node of the Moon, with Mercury, Mars, the Sun and the Moon all passing over it, and now Venus takes her turn.  As Venus approaches the North Node, she will also enter into a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and receive Jupiter in Libra through a sextile. Since so much Leo North Node energy has already been stirred up and volatilized, Venus moving across the head of the dragon can bring some reconciliation and harmonizing of whatever was previously torn or wounded.  Take time to not only pursue Venusian endeavors but to also make space for your own emotional nourishment, using the significations of Venus as a balm to calm nerves.
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Pisces 2 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the second face of Pisces associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, and we can see the jovial opulence of the great benefic in the image of rather smug satisfaction.  The Nine of Cups card is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.

Though Jupiter is not within the second face of Pisces at the Full Moon, Jupiter does have face dignity as it rules the third face of Libra it is currently transiting.  In addition, Jupiter is separating from a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and applying toward an opposition with Uranus in Aries-  this not only supports us daring to dream what we most desire but also finding the way with structural supports to manifest and actualize our desires.  Since the Full Moon is conjoining Neptune, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Austin Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the lunation will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.  Discernment will also be needed to make sure that our dreams and goals are not out of alignment with the myriad elements of reality developing around us.  There is a strong component of visioning at this Full Moon able to be accessed, with our imagination supported by a sturdy foundation that will nurture the roots of the dream to ensure flourishing growth and development.

References

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

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1973). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Robson, Vivian. (1969). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. The Aquarian Press.

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The Radical Moisture of Neptune

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Image 131 from Liber Novus by Carl Jung

The tension of the future is unbearable in us. It must break through narrow cracks, it must force new ways. You want to cast off the burden, you want to escape the inescapable. Running away is deception and detour. Shut your eyes so that you do not see the manifold, the outwardly plural, the tearing away and the tempting. There is only one way and that is your way; there is only one salvation and that is your salvation. Why are you looking around for help? Do you believe that help will come from outside? What is to come is created in you and from you. Hence look into yourself. Do not compare, do not measure. No other way is like yours. All other ways deceive and tempt you. You must fulfill the way that is in you.

— Carl Jung, Liber Novus, 130

Neptune stationed retrograde at 12º2′ of Pisces on 13 June 2016, with Saturn retrograde closely applying to a last quarter square at 12º20′ of Sagittarius.  Saturn will perfect its square with Neptune on June 17 or 18, depending upon your time zone.  There is an astrological construct that Saturn has the upper hand in this tension as it is in a “superior” square to Neptune, meaning that Sagittarius is the tenth place from Pisces.  When a planet stations, however, it takes on far vaster significance than normal.  In the case of Neptune stationing retrograde, its numinous significations corresponding to everything Saturn blocks with its stalwart boundaries possess an inexorable tide of salty seawater disintegrating the structures that have been defining one’s identity.  Many are undergoing personal crises in which an identity, relationship, or path they had been attached to has been dissolving.  In the wake of the familiar gone, the once ideal awash in bitter disillusionment, one’s ability to act with integrity can be corrupted by fear, anger, confusion, and insecurity.  Neptune can be difficult to work with because its emanations do not fit neatly into consensus reality like those of Saturn.  Yet when an exact square forms, we need to open to Neptune and begin to integrate what it is asking of us if we wish to be avoid becoming overwhelmed by the dynamic.

In the final paragraph recorded by Carl Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections he quoted Lao-tzu:  “All things are clear, I alone am clouded.”  It is the illusions we carry, picked up from outside sources, that cause us to become disoriented by a Neptune transit. When we realize that a beloved hope we had trusted to bring happiness or meaning is in fact illusory, a sense of drowning and disassociation can envelope our being.  Carl Jung’s work illuminated the sense that both good and evil come from the divine, that the “world into which we are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time of divine beauty” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 358).  This is the realm of Neptune, a planet that signifies both the most wretched states of existence found in suicidal addictions, as well as the most fulfilled feelings of bliss and joy found in true love.  At today’s juncture of the square between Saturn and Neptune, humanity is facing the terror of its own mass destruction, as numerous collective illusions have coalesced into an era filled with mass murder and environmental devastation.

While Neptune is not truly analogous to the prima materia of alchemy, when Jung in “The Visions of Zosimos” wrote of the radical, root moisture that connects the prima materia with the soul, there is a link to the numinous nature of Neptune we sense whenever we tap into the soul of the world.  Contact with Neptune opens us to the collective unconscious, the wisdom found in the images of our dreams, and wherever we feel the presence of the interconnected, underlying field and fabric of reality.  In the dewy mist coloring the earth as we awake from dream, as the solar rays prepare to emerge once again from the fertile night, we are given another opportunity to release ourselves from the illusions of our past and engage with the arising inspiration that brings life to our imagination and being.  While Neptune transits can feel so disillusioning that we lose sense of meaning in life, they can also revivify our connection with the animating spirit of our universal matrix.

Carl Jung in relation to Neptune has been on my mind a great deal recently as I was fortunate to hear two talks given by Richard Tarnas at the Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) of 2016.  In both talks Tarnas spoke of the important influence the modern emphasis on individualism and the solar heroic self has had in terms of supporting the capacity of people to liberate themselves from oppressive authority and prevailing worldviews in order to discover their own authentic nature and beliefs to live from.  Yet this emphasis on the individual also led to the disenchantment of the universe, a dissociative illusion of separateness from the interconnected streams of the Anima Mundi in which humanity has brought itself to the brink of extinction.  Vitally, Tarnas emphasized that the Sun not only ascends, but descends, and that it is the descent into the many of the pregnant night where we experience alchemical transformation in our night sea journey, where the solar hero sacrifices itself to the whole, embraces and loves the whole, succumbs to the multitudinous of the moonlit night.  This is not unlike opening the rigid, dogmatic confines of Saturn to the numinous realm of Neptune.

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Image 55 by Carl Jung from Liber Novus

One word that was never spoken.

One light that was never lit up.

An unparalleled confusion.

And a road without end.

— Carl Jung, translation of text from image 55, Liber Novus

Carl Jung is exemplary as an individual willing to descend into his depths in order to bring back knowledge to share with the collective, not only because of the testament of his work such as the Red Book/Liber Novus, but also within the symbolism of his birth chart.  Jung was born with a setting Sun in Leo, the very image of the solar self’s descent.  Furthermore, Jung was born with an exact square between Neptune in Taurus and his Leo Sun.  When Jung famously had his vision of the coming world war while riding the train to Schaffhausen, Switzerland in October 1913 (overcome by a vision of blood flooding the European landscape, with the Alps protecting his homeland), Uranus was directly on his ascendant in opposition to his Sun while Neptune was coming into range of a conjunction with his Sun and a square to his Neptune.

During Jung’s years of his descent into his depths of fantasies and communication with his unconscious from 1912 through 1917, Neptune approached and formed an exact conjunction to his natal Sun and square to his natal Neptune (this period also saw Uranus conjoin his ascendant, oppose his Sun, and then oppose his own natal Uranus).  In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung called this time of exploring his inner images the most important period of his life, “the prima materia for a lifetime’s work” he compared to a “stream of lava” in which “the heat of its fires reshaped my life,” calling his later works “a more or less successful endeavor to incorporate this incandescent matter into the contemporary picture of the world.”

Richard Tarnas gave a lecture at NORWAC 2016 entitled “The Natal Sun: The Solar Journey & the Forging of the Self” in which he used Carl Jung as a primary example for aspects between Neptune and the Sun. Tarnas illuminated the significance of Jung’s natal square between the Sun and Neptune, and how he serves as an example of how a square can be so well integrated in the course of one’s life that something is brought forth that had not existed previously, in Jung’s case the understanding of the Self with a capital “S” and “his sense that we are always moving toward wholeness and we need to have a coniunctio, a sacred marriage between the conscious and the unconscious, and in this case what he meant by the unconscious was the archetypal psyche and the whole Neptunian dimension.” Tarnas brilliantly made the point that the very word Self with a capital “S” is a great example of the Sun and Neptune together, it being a transpersonal level of the self and “a higher self that guides us to becoming ourselves in our own individuated flowering.”  Tarnas also made the point that Jung’s concept of active imagination is a perfect description of the square between the Sun and Neptune in Jung’s birth chart.

Furthermore, Tarnas focused on the transit of Neptune conjoining Jung’s Sun and forming a square to his natal Neptune in which Jung had to hold on to his solar identity “against this tremendous influx of the Neptunian realm, of the archetypal psyche.”  Tarnas spoke of Jung’s firsthand knowledge that we all need to encounter the Neptunian dimension in order to recover our sense of soul and meaning in life, as “the archetypal domain is where all our sense of meaning and purpose ultimately exists.”  Yet, Jung also taught caution around descent into the archetypal realm, as Neptune also brings the danger of drowning with the influx of the deep psyche.  Tarnas made the point that while the Sun is our center and sense of clarity, Neptune dissolves and disorients it.  Tarnas said the influx of the numinous dimension ruled by Neptune into the solar principle can lead to not only divine inspiration but also inflation, a delusional messianic state.  Tarnas said Jung believed that in most cases of westerners entering the archetypal realm of Neptune that they are likely to enter a state of inflation that must be guarded against, as Jung himself had to face.  Tarnas explained that the western psychological emphasis on forging a sense of individual selfhood and egotism can more often than not lead to Neptunian inflation, instead of an ability to transmit the realm of Neptune with a self that has become “transparent to the divine that is coming through.”

As Jung stated in Memories, Dreams, Reflections:

Numinous experience elevates and humiliates simultaneously . . . Wherever the psyche is set violently oscillating by a numinous experience, there is a danger that the thread by which one hangs may be torn.  Should that happen, one man tumbles into an absolute affirmation, another into an equally absolute negation.  Nirdvandva (freedom from opposites) is the Orient’s remedy for this.  I have not forgotten that.  The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.  The numinosum is dangerous because it lures men to extremes, so that a modest truth is regarded as the truth and a minor mistake is equated with fatal error.  Tout passe–  yesterday’s truth is today’s deception, and yesterday’s false inference may be tomorrow’s revelation.  This is particularly so in psychological matters, of which, if truth were told, we still know very little.  We are still a long way from understanding what it signifies that nothing has any existence unless some small- and oh, so transitory- consciousness has become aware of it.

— Carl Jung

The generation born with Neptune in Sagittarius will experience a square from Neptune as it transits through Pisces, and for those born in the same time period as myself we have Neptune exactly squaring our natal Neptune today while Saturn simultaneously is conjoining our natal Neptune.  Others may have the current Neptune square with Saturn making other catalytic aspects in their natal chart in one way or another.  Carl Jung serves as an example of someone who went into the realm of Neptune and came back with knowledge to share with and heal the greater collective.  He did this through active imagination and making the effort to understand the inner images he experienced, writing in Memories, Dreams, Reflections that he tried “to plant the results of my experience in the soil of reality; otherwise they would have remained subjective assumptions without validity.”

As we head into the time of the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day in which the Sun reaches the zenith of its ascent and begins its descent that will lead us into the regeneration of Fall and the darkness of Winter, a Mutable Grand Cross will form involving Mercury in Gemini in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius, both in square to an opposition between Neptune in Pisces with Jupiter in Virgo.  This could lead to a breakdown or a breakthrough, and to experience the latter Jung’s emphasis on centering within is sage advice.  In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung declared, “There is no linear evolution; there is only circumambulation of the self.” Circumambulating, circling around our sacred center instead of becoming spun out in disparate directions through forces within our outer environment, can facilitate the grounding needed to gather insight rather than delusional, disillusioning experiences.

jung red book 107

Image 107 by Carl Jung from Liber Novus

I accepted the chaos, and in the following night, my soul approached me.

— Carl Jung from Liber Novus, 106

References

Jung, Carl. (2009). The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Norton.

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

Jung, Carl. (1965). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffe. Vintage.

 

 

Tension and Transcendence: Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune

Rodin the Thinker

Edward Steichen (1902)  Rodin—The Thinker

Anyone in touch with their surroundings and relationships knows the present is rife with disruptive change and fracturing, as widespread fear is emanating within the collective along with dynamic, courageous responses.  Creation and destruction are always with us, yet the prevalence today of people struggling with loss and grappling with a need to alter fundamental aspects of their life is striking.   In such times of shifting, it becomes paramount to turn within for guidance from the place of psyche in touch with what we need to feel authentically alive.  This does not mean self-absorbed narcissism cut off from the needs of others, but rather claiming the inner authority to make choices toward the creation of a reality that brings one fulfillment.  As each individual manifests their essential radiance into the world, within the shifting and dissolving of societal norms may emerge a collective structure more open to the expression of individual wholeness.

When time is viewed through the lens of astrology, distinct seasons emerge for us to pass through defined by the slower moving planets (Jupiter and beyond) sustaining integral aspects that stretch across months.  Though our current astrological season has many players, the scenes and dialogues have been most heavily under the direction of Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Virgo, and Neptune in Pisces.  These three planetary giants have formed a “t-square” by zodiac degree, meaning that Saturn is in square to both Neptune and Jupiter, while Jupiter and Neptune are engaged in a full opposition.  This also means that three points of a cross or square are filled, leaving the empty point in the mid-degrees of Gemini.  Even with no planet transiting Gemini, the Gemini archetype has nonetheless been triggered and activated these past months, and if you have important astrological points in Gemini you have no doubt been feeling the impact.  Now with the Sun and Venus in Gemini, we are headed into a full-on Mutable Grand Cross that will culminate with the New Moon on June 4, with all four points of the Mutable Grand Square occupied by planets.

Tension and transcendence are two words that immediately come to mind when considering hard aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.  While transcendence stems from the Latin transcendere, meaning to “climb over or beyond, surmount, overstep,” tension derives from the Latin tendere meaning “to stretch.”  Stretching is rich in associations with these aspects, as there has been a need to stretch conceptions regarding reality in order to respond to the associated ruptures, while the overwhelming stress that has come with the changes has caused the nerves of many to become taut and hypersensitive to pain and loss.  Stretching can also be a remedy to help one transcend, or surmount the challenges.  Yoga and other disciplines involved in opening up what has been held tightly in our body are practical, direct ways to work with the mutating energy. On a symbolic level, we can consider that stretching the strings of an instrument is necessary in order to retune.  Correspondingly, within the stretching of our previous idea of how our life would enfold we can discover the retuning needed to create the music we are meant to make in the world.

Why are these aspects such catalysts?  Jupiter is the planet of vision, expansion of mind and learning, and the ability to create a meaningful philosophy of life to live from out of experience.  Saturn is the planet of structure, boundaries, discipline, cause and effect, and the karmic work and issues we must face without avoidance.  Neptune is the planet of illusion, escapism, and addiction, yet also the indescribable magic that comes alive when falling in love or engaging in bliss.  Neptune is everything about the field of reality and life force that Saturn filters out and excludes with its structural walls, and everything that Jupiter yearns for and can intuitively sense may be found beyond the limits of Saturn.  Neptune in hard aspect to Saturn and Jupiter is a wave of dissolution that washes away what was formerly solid and secure.  While we cannot surmount the challenges without hardship, ultimately these aspects can be supportive in moving beyond past restrictions in the creation of a revivified life.

edward-steichen-pastoral moonlight

Pastoral Moonlight (1907) by Edward Steichen

When Saturn and Neptune come into hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) there can be mass hysteria found in the disintegration, and those not able to cope can become rigid and overzealous in dogmatic judgment that makes them feel more in control. The last time Saturn was in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, the tragic Salem Witch Trials occurred in 1693 in which religious paranoia led to the murder of innocent people based upon fear of the devil. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible about the Salem Witch Trials as an allegory about the Communist Red Scare orchestrated by U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a communist witch hunt that occurred around the time of the Saturn and Neptune conjunction in Libra in 1952. Today there are numerous examples to connect to this theme, obvious ones being persecution faced by Muslims and refugees.  We are presently at the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in a cycle that began in 1989 at the first degree of Capricorn. On November 26, 2015 there was the first square between Saturn and Neptune at 7º02′ of Sagittarius and Pisces, and there are two more to come: June 18, 2016 at 12º02′ and on September 10, 2016 at 10º25′ of Sagittarius and Pisces.

What makes the current last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune even more intense is that it additionally intersects with the cycles between Jupiter and Neptune as well as Jupiter and Saturn. In particular, hard aspects between Jupiter and Saturn make things show up in flesh and form with striking events and experiences rather than invisible undercurrents of change. Last August and September of 2015 was the initiation into the rupturing, with Jupiter and Saturn forming a square at the beginning of August at the final degrees of Leo and Scorpio, and Jupiter and Neptune reaching exact opposition on September 16, 2015 at 8 degrees of Virgo and Pisces. On March 23, 2016 there was a second square between Saturn and Jupiter at 16º24′ degrees of Sagittarius and Virgo, and on May 26, 2016 there will be the final last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter at 13º41′ degrees of Sagittarius and Pisces.

With Saturn in Sagittarius being the apex planet and additionally being in square to the transiting lunar nodes, there is fundamental karma to work out in the intersection between personal belief systems and the reality of personal experience.  There is a reckoning between how we envision our ideal life to be and the cold, hard reality of how things actually are manifesting.  Since Saturn is in the home of Jupiter, Jupiter’s placement in Virgo guides us to attune within our bodies and material surroundings in order to make contact with the ever changing moment and our presence within it. Jupiter further aligned with the transiting North Node of the Moon signifies that the place of expansion and new opportunities is found through inner discernment and discriminating between the authentic and inauthentic path to follow.  However, gaining clarity regarding one’s authenticity is made more difficult by Neptune in Pisces opposing Jupiter while further aligned with the transiting South Node of the Moon.  There is an old, ancient illusion regarding reality and how we create meaning to uncover, and until we do gaining realization that what we think is our authentic presence and path is truly our essential nature will be clouded with Neptunian fog.  In the end, how do we really know what we feel is our soul calling is truly our soul calling, or rather is heavily under the influence of friends, family, culture, or other influences that have shaped our personality?

The current amount of mutation is at a peak as Jupiter’s presence is further catalyzing the extraordinary transmutation of reality that occurs when Saturn and Neptune make pivotal aspects.  Though Saturn can struggle at times to let in the field of Neptune, it is in fact Saturn that is necessary to make Neptune manifest:  indeed, Neptune was discovered when it was conjoining Saturn in Aquarius.  Not only did the American and French Revolutions take place during significant points in the cycle between Saturn and Neptune, but one can trace the global trajectory of communism as the Communist Manifesto was written soon after Neptune was discovered while conjoining Saturn.  Furthermore, in the following conjunction between Saturn and Neptune in 1881 the Czar Alexander II was killed by a People’s Will group, the Russian Revolution then took place during the next Saturn and Neptune conjunction in 1917, in the following conjunction in 1953 communist leader Josef Stalin passed away, and in their subsequent conjunction in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and communism likewise fell apart in the region formerly dominated by the Soviet Union.

The birth and fall of communism is an apt association for Saturn and Neptune as it demonstrates the dream of structuring an ideal vision to serve the greater good, and the subsequent disillusionment and suffering that arises when the vision does not work out in reality the way it had been envisioned in the purity of imagination.  In our personal lives, no doubt many of you reading this have had an ideal dream you had been building with passion fall apart in one way or another in the past months with the tangle of Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn.  To follow a vision and be willing to risk all of your heart and everything else for it takes tremendous courage, not only to brave the tumultuous obstacles but also to simply be willing to open oneself to the extraordinary pain that comes when the dream does not materialize and rather is lost forever.  When the beloved dream had been nurtured by the purity of the heart, when its manifestation would have genuinely been in service of a higher good for the greater collective, bearing witness to its death can feel inexplicably traumatizing.

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Languid Repose (1902) by Edward Steichen

During loss, we are at risk of our grieving making us overly passive with a sense that there is nothing to do about the feeling a cruel Fate has befallen us.  Feeling injured, abandoned or betrayed by a lover, we can stop believing in love or feel we can never trust someone with intimacy again. Experiencing the elation of a business plan or community endeavor we had carefully constructed crash and obliterate itself before manifesting the results we had strived for, we are at risk of giving up on our capacity to reshape reality.  It is necessary to be aware of the negative potential of Saturn, Neptune, and Jupiter in hard aspect:  the depression of Saturn, the illusory escapism of Neptune, and the overindulgent emotional excess of Jupiter.   If we have been fixated on having a certain outcome that did not come to fruition, these aspects can make us feel that everything we had believed about our feelings and the world is an illusion and that all of our efforts ultimately led to the pain of loss rather than the gift we had thought we had been nurturing.  There is, however, a treasure to be found in disillusionment, as it makes it possible for us to reorient ourselves to the truth of our reality found in the moment, within our senses engaging in our environment.

When dealing with the loss of a dream or vision, whether that be a loved one in the flesh or an abstract plan in the imagination, the associated torturous pain can seem bewildering when in fact we have not actually experienced physical torture or trauma to our body.  Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn together involve the level to which we are able to envision a hopeful future and imagine the possibility of experiencing joy again even in times of struggle.  The need to be able to feel a sense of hope despite all of the injustice, oppression, and destruction found in the world is absolutely essential in order to experience happiness, and so when we experience the disillusionment of losing all sense of hope that our vision will manifest, the impact can be devastating.  Both Saturn and Neptune as well as Saturn and Jupiter are forming last quarter squares, a waning aspect that Dane Rudhyar interpreted as a “crisis in consciousness.”  This does not mean we necessarily need to experience a mental breakdown, but it does suggest that fundamental aspects of how we create meaning for ourselves out of life will disintegrate, necessitating that we reorient the vision and beliefs we live our life from.

It is also vital to reflect upon Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune being in Mutable signs, as the double-bodied signs are the living images of the zodiac that transition us from one season to the next.  There is a long tradition of rituals involving a sacrifice when welcoming the Solstice or the Equinox, and similarly the Mutable signs transition us through loss and death into the newly found presence and creation that will emerge from the destruction of the old.  Embracing the loss, entering solitude with full presence, we fall into a void in which we discover our Soul. There is tremendous potency to discover in being able to heal oneself from wounds, in being able to nurture oneself back to a state that can believe again in the power of love and imagination to recreate the world we are experiencing.  There is in fact incredible power within the hard aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune to work toward construction of new structures and forms that are solid and secure, as long as we are aware that during the process of development we must be open to how our plans will need to shift and mutate out of necessity.

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Edward Steichen (1906) The Big White Cloud

With both Saturn and Neptune in traditional homes of Jupiter, with Neptune furthermore comfortably at home in Pisces, within the reflection of continual river currents of change there is a new vision as slippery as a fish to intuit.  The greatest depth will be found by those willing to dive into the underlying waters that source meaning and guide visioning capacities, in order to realize where our dreams are coming from.  Jupiter bound to Saturn can lead to ambitions aimed at mainstream success, conforming to the conditioning of a high paying role in consumer culture out of desire for enough money to overindulge in luxury and expenses.  Adding Neptune without discernment can increase the glamor quotient tenfold, making influences such as Hollywood and the ravenous gluttony of celebrity culture a guiding principle.  Or in contrast, Jupiter with Saturn can lead one to conform to the moral dictates of a dogmatic religion or philosophy rather than the authentic integrity found in the moment, with Neptune leading to complete surrender and devotion to the idealized behavior commanded.  Yet as Dane Rudhyar wrote, Neptune is also an intergalactic ambassador bringing messages from the far beyond that can seed inspirational flights of imagination lifting us out of a conditioned, conforming existence.

Rather than focusing on how to acquire external trappings of success through our vision of life, the t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune can correspond with reorienting toward arising passions that intrinsically inspire and motivate from within, without need of external reward in order to dedicate oneself toward.  Saturn wants us to take responsibility, and so in Sagittarius the ringed planet asks for serious commitment to fiery visions of spirit and imagination, grounded in connection between the earth at our feet and the watery air above.  The know-it-all side of Sagittarius must subside in the floodwaters of Neptune, deftly transmuting with attention to detail in the moment.  Jupiter in Virgo brings expansion through not only exhaustive research in support of the vision, but in discerning the exactitude of expression needed to capture and manifest the essential message and meaning.  While Neptune feeds on love and imagination, its danger of drowning us in waves of the collective unconscious can be navigated through yoking the discipline of Saturn with the invigoration of Jupiter so as to allow the inspirational force to pass through us, expressed into a grounded medium of form.

What wants to emerge from you, voiced with an openness to the inspiration of this moment?  We are in the middle of much longer cycles found in astrology, and while this point is not an ending it is catalytic to such an extend that aspects of our old existence will need to be let go and released.  Repressing the inner vitality simmering now, holding back for fear of judgment or criticism of others is the path sure to take us far off course into dangerous terrain.  Whether moving with authentic flow at this juncture means we need to go it alone or collaborate with many diverse people, the greatest support will be found by embracing the course of life that brings vivifying passions alive in body and mind.

And yet, if mired in the grief of past loss to such an extent that fully embodying joy at this time is too difficult, then the t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune is asking for you to bravely go deeper with the sacred mission of rediscovering the meaning of your life.  Virginia Woolf once mused in Moments of Being if the “things we have felt with great intensity have an existence independent of our minds; are in fact still in existence?”  If so, than even in what has been lost can be found endless folds of  meaning that can be rediscovered continually in acts of artistry and creation.  The gold found between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune is not acquired with lackadaisical lightheartedness, but rather through embracing life with all of its heartbreak and loneliness with devotional passion.

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Road into the Valley – Moonrise by Edward Steinchen

Current Cycle Dates:

  • The current Saturn and Neptune cycle began in 1989 at the first degree of Capricorn, giving the cycle an overarching influence of Saturn.  The beginning of this cycle occurred in correlation with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, the ending of apartheid in South Africa, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China.  The Saturn and Neptune cycle reached its first quarter square between 1998 and 1999 around 30 degrees of Aries to 5 degrees of Taurus.  The full opposition of the Saturn and Neptune cycle then came in 2006 through 2007 with Neptune in Aquarius and Saturn in Leo from 17 to 22 degrees.
  • The current Jupiter and Neptune cycle began in 2009 around 24 – 27 degrees of Aquarius.  It reached its waxing square on June 25, 2012 at 4 degrees of Gemini and Pisces, and its full opposition on September 16, 2015 with Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces at 8 degrees.
  • The current Jupiter and Saturn cycle began on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 23 degrees.  Jupiter in Scorpio reached its waxing square with Saturn in Leo at first on December 17, 2005 at 11 degrees, again on June 22, 2006 at 10 degrees, and finally on October 25, 2006 at 24 degrees of Scorpio and Leo.  The Jupiter and Saturn cycle reached its full opposition on May 23, 2010 with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo at 28 degrees. Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra at 3 degrees. Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.

The following is music that was recorded during recent times in the corner of the world where I live, Olympia. As the album it will appear on will be released at the time of the Mutable Grand Square, I feel “Lion Snow” by Two Ton Boa reflects the energy:

 

Pisces Solar Eclipse 2016

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courtesy of The New York Public Library

O you tender ones, step now and then
into the breath that takes no heed of you:
it will part as it brushes your cheeks
and then tremble behind you, united again.

O you who are blissful, you who are whole,
you who seem the beginnings of hearts.
Bows for arrows and arrows’ aim, through tears
your smile will glow more eternal.

Don’t be afraid to suffer- take your heaviness
and give it back to the earth’s own weight;
the mountains are heavy, the oceans are heavy.

Even the trees you planted as children
have long grown too heavy; you couldn’t bear them.
But the breezes . . . and the spaces . . .

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

In the darkness of change and loss, the shadow of what we consciously envision in the light of day, lies the void that sources our suffering and liberation.  When forces beyond our control overturn every aspect of our life, when what formerly held grounded security becomes flooded and dissolved in unconscious waves, we arrive in the moment.  In the morning waking up with a heart broken in the pang of death, grieving what has been sacrificed in the arising change, there remains the crisp scent of morning air tingling the skin with the sound of multitudinous birdsong heralding the dawn.  Some fall free fall into literal death, some resist and deny in delusion and addiction, while some fully aware of the suffering suffocating this world step bravely forward into the chaos with a heart open though overwhelmed by pain.  In the cavernous shifting that comes in March 2016 there is a necessary letting go.  In the release, in the ceaseless change of river currents, looms Saraswati riding her swan of the essential, communing with her peacock who devours venomous serpents and transmutes the poison into wisdom and art.

The Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8 has been deeply felt this past couple weeks, and as it arrives we will begin to sense its meaning that will reverberate far into the future.  Eclipses vary in intensity, normally happening four times a year, every six months, and though they are always more powerful than the regular New Moon or Full Moon, some are more potent than others.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is of epic proportion, and the change that arises in its shadow can not be resisted.  The Solar Eclipse is total, less than three degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, less than two degrees away from Chiron in Pisces.  Jupiter, the ruler of the eclipse, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is opposite the Solar Eclipse by less than one degree.   There is tremendous loss and letting go associated with these aspects, going into the gone beyond of the Heart Sutra, and yet if we enter fully into this darkness there is a realignment of personal truth and vision to be uncovered.

This Total Solar Eclipse is part of the saros series 130, with the last eclipses in the series being 26 February 1998,  16 February 1980, 5 February 1962, and 25 January 1944 (the series originated in the year 1096).  If you were alive for these previous Eclipses, it is worth the time to ponder the related events and if there are any links to the current moment.  Most importantly, investigate the location of 19 degrees of Pisces in your birth chart to discern the house location as well as the aspects made.  Whatever house the Eclipse is located in will be a place of release that creates an opening for a new beginning, and whatever aspects are made (focus on conjunctions, squares, oppositions, but also take in sextile and trines) will bring sweeping change to the associated meaning of the planet or chart calculation impacted.

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Michael Maier’s Emblem #14 from the Atalanta Fugiens

Solar Eclipses have been feared for millennia because of our great solar light becoming consumed by darkness.  Ancient sky watchers who interpreted celestial phenomenon as omens noted time and time again the tumultuous chaos and change that would erupt in accordance with the blackening of the Sun.  As astrologer Bernadette Brady has taught, astrologers across ancient cultures connected dragons with eclipses, viewing the solar or lunar light as becoming consumed by a monstrous serpent.  In ancient Babylon, it was Tiamat the sea dragon of chaos who inundated the world with disorder as she turned the Sun black.  Marduk, associated with the planet Jupiter in Babylon, helped restore order by severing the great sea serpent, an archetypal theme reiterated innumerably in myths cross-culturally.

Ancient astrologers also attempted to bring greater order by learning how to predict eclipses in order to communicate forewarning, and this is how the lunar nodes were originally discovered.  However, just because one can predict an eclipse, and further know how it will impact one’s birth chart, does not bring control and order to the energies that emerge at eclipses.  Some may fight against, resist, or attempt to control the confusing drama that dawns with a Total Solar Eclipse, yet even when extremely painful it is necessary to flow with the changes in order to realign with the actual developing reality. The modern hero adventure Harry Potter contained an apt metaphor as Harry, Hermione, and Ron did not slay the dragon, but instead freed the dragon and rode the dragon into their destiny.

The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release, whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution.  In a Total Solar Eclipse, the Moon crosses between our Earth and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens all light.  In keeping with the dragon symbolism of eclipses, the ascending North Node of the Moon became associated with the Head of the Dragon in astrology, while the descending South Node of the Moon became associated with the Tail of the Dragon.

Total Solar Eclipses are essentially the most powerful possible New Moons, yet there is clearly a significant difference between whether the Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon or the North Node of the Moon.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, making its impact even more confusing in terms of making important decisions and holding previous plans together.  Solar Eclipses still carry the intention setting of the traditional New Moon, but a potent one like this Pisces Solar Eclipse has a strong pull toward clearing out the past in order to make space for the new. With Chiron and Ceres also conjoining the Solar Eclipse, it is likely something we had been securely holding that now needs to be released.

The lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse being at the Tail of the Dragon magnetizes a release of built up energy, yet there is also a karmic element of doing so with compassion, giving rather than taking.  If the changes arising now feel hurtful and wounding, it is vital to compassionately nurture yourself and transmute the pain through selfless purification rather than egoic greed or anger.  With Ceres and Chiron connected to this Pisces Solar Eclipse, there is likely a huge, ancient wound of the psyche being triggered that could lead to unhealthy self destruction if not handled with care and love.

Though the South Node of the Moon in Pisces is linked to this Solar Eclipse, the North Node of the Moon is also activated because this Total Solar Eclipse is in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter is tightly opposite the eclipse and conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  This brings Jupiter’s focus on stabilizing vision to the Dragon’s Head of the Solar Eclipse, a point of inrushing gain and desire in the material realm that can feel amplified and stormy.  In Evolutionary Astrology, Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon at this eclipse also signifies new choices to make on our path leading into the future unknown.  With Ceres, Chiron, and the Solar Eclipse in opposition to Jupiter, however, there is a wound that needs nurturing and it may be difficult to have faith and believe we can receive the help and healing we need.  This Solar Eclipse is almost exactly opposite the Virgo Solar Eclipse on September 13, 2015 that was aligned with the North Node of the Moon at the beginning of Libra.  Although not a total Solar Eclipse, since this September 2015 Eclipse was aligned with the North Node of the Moon you may find that elements of the desires you were pursuing forward at that time now need to be let go, as well as that the issues arising in September 2015 now shift directions or deepen in meaning.

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from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Since Jupiter is conjoining the North Node of the Moon and is also the traditional ruler of the Solar Eclipse, it is significant that Jupiter is in the home of Mercury and that transiting Mercury is conjoining Neptune in Pisces, the modern ruler of Pisces and this Solar Eclipse.  Mercury also being in Pisces while conjoining Neptune means that there is a throbbing oceanic wave of unconscious forces and extrasensory perception contained in this Total Solar Eclipse.  This can go along with a blissful plunge into the deep of the void, where there is blurry fogginess more so than clarity.  While the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces has been ongoing these past several months, the Solar Eclipse tips the scales in favor of Neptune as the Sun in Pisces is in square to Saturn and Mercury is applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  It may seem as if everything is dissolving, but it is also worth realizing if you can that this is only one point of a process that will be bringing far greater change than what is happening now.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to inner Soul and the symbolic poetry of life, and so flowing into the shifting occurring now is favored more so than resisting the currents.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse also marks the entry of Mars into Sagittarius, where it will station retrograde a month from now.  Mercury in Pisces is separating from a square to Mars in Sagittarius at this Solar Eclipse, and though wide in orb the tension of its aspect is still in effect.  While Mars in Sagittarius may want to lustfully rush forward in self-centered vision, there are far deeper realizations signified by Mercury and Neptune in Pisces that will be needed to take into account.  As a result there is likely to be a lot of confusion centered around this Total Solar Eclipse, as the changes that seem to be overwhelming now most likely are not even the changes that are actually on the way and only one shift amongst a series of unexpected shifts.  If there is a goal or target you desire to focus on going forward, it will be necessary to remain open to the need to make adjustments to additional changes that will be on the way as Mars shifts into retrograde.  As Pisces is the home of Jupiter and the exaltation of Venus, the best we can do at this Solar Eclipse is to attune to our inner feelings and be open to the unknown.

Malevich black square

Kazimir Malevich (1915) Black Square

Saturn, the giant ringed planet of structure and boundaries, death and transcendence, is occupying a pivotal place as it is in square to the Pisces Solar Eclipse, in square to Jupiter in Virgo, in square to the lunar nodes, and in trine to Uranus in Aries.  This placement of Saturn significantly ramps up the karmic significance of this Solar Eclipse and the symbolism that whatever we need to let go of and pass away as the Sun turns black will become fecund fuel for our future.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter will be building in intensity in the liminal space between this Pisces Solar Eclipse and the Libra Lunar Eclipse coming on March 23, as Saturn and Jupiter will reach their exact square on the same day as the Lunar Eclipse.  This is the second of three initiations into the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter, the first having occurred at the beginning of August 2015 in alignment with the Venus retrograde.  The last quarter square brings about a crisis, and as it is occurring between Jupiter and Saturn it is about the very meaning we bring to our lives and discover about ourselves.  Dane Rudhyar called the last quarter square a “crisis in consciousness” because it forces a clearing out of beliefs that no longer serve us in order to bring about reorientation of meaning.  The third and final exact square between Saturn and Jupiter will be in May of 2016, and so there are more changes to come and it will be at least until then that we will be able to gain clarity for the coinciding shifts.

Since Saturn is in square to the lunar nodes and in trine to Uranus in Aries, there can be a sense of standing at a crossroads while receiving intimations of a liberated future path.  The Pisces Total Solar Eclipse is fully capable of overwhelming the dogmatic vision that can be linked to Saturn in Sagittarius, creating space for an entirely new way of approaching our life and trajectory going forward.  The shadow side of these aspects is on the side of Sagittarius crusaders and ideologues who will react defensively and narcissistically in the face of contention and change, provoking conflict over contesting beliefs.  The mix of hard aspects between Saturn with Jupiter, Neptune, and the Solar Eclipse in combination with the trine to Uranus in Aries can feel incredibly disruptive, yet can also force us to make the necessary change now that helps us to reorient most effectively to the shifting tides of our reality.

Profoundly, while Saturn is in trine to Uranus, Jupiter in Virgo is moving retrograde toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  This means that the Pisces Solar Eclipse also connects to the massive Uranus and Pluto square that has been dominating astrology for the past several years and changing the underlying structures of our lives.  Furthermore, the Pisces Solar Eclipse, as well as Chiron and Ceres in Pisces, are all in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn.  For those who are suffering with the changes arising now, the harmonious aspects to both Pluto and Uranus present at this Eclipse signifies that things are beginning to change in ways that we cannot control and do not fully understand, but in the end will connect us to a more authentic, individuated, and liberated path.

Fludd light from black

from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Chiron and Ceres are not taken into account by many in astrology, but both are intimately linked to this Total Solar Eclipse.  The myths of both Chiron and Ceres time and time again reveal themselves to be resonant with the impact made by the astrological Chiron and Ceres, and this again seems to be the case at this Total Solar Eclipse.  Both Chiron and Ceres had to make sacrifices neither felt prepared for, and yet by opening to the release they each birthed monumental change.  In the story of Chiron, it is his willing sacrifice that leads to the liberation of Prometheus.  In the story of Ceres, it is her loss of Persephone as her constant companion that leads to Persephone assuming her vital role as Queen of the Underworld.

While outrage may overcome us with the changes occurring at this eclipse, and though we may feel we deserve to be angry, it will be most important to regenerate ourselves as Ceres did in river currents so we can regain our capacity to be productive and effect change in our surroundings. Ceres is an activator between the personal planets of Mars, Venus, and Mercury with the large gaseous planets of expansion and contraction, Jupiter and Saturn.  Ceres conjoining the Pisces Solar Eclipse thus brings up the importance of nurturing all of the wild passions and perceptions being stirred up by Mercury, Venus, and Mars.  Ceres can signify both abandonment and attachment issues, wounds at our core that can make it difficult to ground and make the choices that will bring opportunities for greater happiness, as well as have the capacity to receive the love and care being offered. As the realm of Jupiter and Saturn is entering into the crisis of their last quarter square, Ceres signifies the visceral importance of nurturing our body, mind, and desires.

Chiron is an activator from the realm of Jupiter and Saturn to the far beyond of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and so the Pisces Solar Eclipse will include experiences that propel us into the transpersonal realm, creating the need to return to the mundane world while integrating our far out realizations. Chiron’s story in myth begins with abandonment and rejection, as the half human, half horse Chiron was seen as an abomination by his divine parents and left to raise himself in mountainous caves.  For many in the collective at this Total Solar Eclipse, issues of being rejected, of not being wanted, of not feeling seen or respected for our inherent value and intelligence could come up.  Chiron teaches the lesson of resiliently following our path no matter how unorthodox it may seem to others in the materialistic mainstream of society.  Chiron not only learned from the wisdom of the stars shining above and the green growth of nature below, but gave his teachings to others and nurtured the unique, undervalued gifts of his students.  This lesson of the Solar Eclipse can be found in the dialogue of the film Brother Sun Sister Moon about Saint Francis, when Clare calls out to Francis: “I am not seeking to be understood, I want to understand! I am not asking to be loved, I want to love!”

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9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces II Decan

The second face of Pisces holds this Total Solar Eclipse, a decan associated with the 9 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a rather smug and opulent man seemingly gloating in front of his carefully exhibited nine golden cups.  The 9 of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure, luxury, and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Since Mercury is conjoining Neptune at the Solar Eclipse, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the Solar Eclipse will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.

Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, notable at this eclipse as Jupiter is receiving the eclipse through an opposition, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and is square to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.  In the last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn, Jupiter is in the superior position and receiving the karmic lessons of Saturn. Jupiter’s potent placement at the Solar Eclipse reveals that to access the fortune contained in the blackening of the Sun, we must flow like water in line with the cosmos above and the soul of the material world in the moment.  Attuning to where we are inwardly directed in the now, we can act with integrity and bridge our inner feelings and realizations with our external actions.

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References

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Sagittarius New Moon

Erte vision

Vision (1928) by Erte (Romain de Tirtoff)

New Moon in Sagittarius

The New Moon in Sagittarius on December 11, 2015 follows a catalytic Full Moon in Gemini that culminated along with an exact square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  The polarity from Gemini to Sagittarius is about synthesizing diverse Mercurial explorations into a unified vision befitting our home for Jupiter.  A Sagittarius New Moon is ideal for sensing how the current scene of our life drama fits inside an over arching narrative, and envisioning our next steps and choices with focused clarity free of extraneous distraction.  In the dismantling disorientation of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, we can sense from a deep place of knowing which desires and beliefs shedding from this moment were delusional and which will become integral threads of the chrysalis shaping our new growth.

The ruler of this New Moon is Jupiter in Virgo that is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is in a square aspect with the New Moon.   These aspects are intensified by Chiron in Pisces that is also square to the New Moon and opposite Jupiter. This is a jolt suitable for the sign of the galloping Centaur, as Sagittarius signifies speed of thought and action aimed with precise concentration.  There are many ways these powerful aspects can play out, depending upon your current circumstances.  For one, as we have witnessed a flood of dogmatic tirades, ranting, and raving in current events, many could be swept up in the undertow of ideological clashes and become lost within delusional belief systems they feel give them a sense of security and control over their life.  There could in contrast be a fertile sense of epiphany cloaked in the shocking garb of disillusionment, as sudden realizations reveal a loss of meaning concerning elements of our life while simultaneously reorienting us toward a more vibrant vision of life.  Furthermore, if we have been passionately and diligently attending to a project, course of study, relationship, or dream of one sort or another, we could experience an enlightening breakthrough that will profoundly inform our path in the coming cycle.

odilon redon charger

The Charger (1894) by Odilon Redon

The New Moon in Sagittarius is in a stabilizing aspect with the volatile t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries that has corresponded with global havoc recently.  Mars in Libra is barely separating from Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon, making it one of the most powerful aspects of the lunation, and the New Moon is in range of a sextile with Mars in Libra and a trine with Uranus in Aries.  In addition, there is a trine between the New Moon ruler Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn.  On one level, this stabilizing connection between the New Moon with these volatile transits could correspond with power grabs by both institutions already cemented in power and various forms of protest movements actively working to expose, deconstruct, and dismantle institutional structures perceived to be oppressively abusing power.  The t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries has incredible intensity that can fuel the crusading side of Sagittarius in diverse manifestations, the unifying principle being a fiery sense of righteousness that instinctively sustains focus on a target.

You may or may not remember the Lunar Eclipse in April 2014 that set off the Cardinal Cross of Mars retrograde in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Cancer- well, Mars in Libra at the time of this Sagittarius New Moon is at the same degree it was then, and Pluto in Capricorn is less than a degree away from its position in April 2014 that was also the time period of the fifth (out of seven total) exact square between Pluto and Uranus.  This link across time further amplifies the cacophonous climate and many issues and events surfacing at that past time are now fully formed and demanding our attention.  For example, in March 2014 Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea when Mars was at the beginning of its retrograde headed toward Pluto and Uranus, and today the residents of Crimea have lost the power of electricity after an attack by saboteurs and there are active efforts attempting to restore power.

Mars may be opposite its favored sign of Aries right now, but it is still Mars and so the last quarter square between Mars and Pluto we experienced this past week was full of conflict in corresponding events. Mars in Libra can be just as aggressive as in any other placement of the red planet, yet in Libra tends to be more strategic, more politically manipulative, and less direct and to the point as it is when in Aries.  Mars being opposite Uranus in Aries means that Mars is receiving the shocking force of Uranus , correlating with great potential for good and evil.  In the evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green, Mars in Libra being set off by both Pluto and Uranus could trigger themes such as learning to actualize our soul intentions through initiating relationships with people from different beliefs, values, and backgrounds, learning to expand our consciousness through understanding our reality in a new way through relationship, learning to understand ourselves in a new way through the perceptions of others in relationship, learning to balance our need for independence versus our need for interaction, learning how to balance giving and receiving on an equal basis in relationship, and learning how to understand the nature of projections we receive from others as well as the nature of the projections we make on others in relationship.

With Jupiter being in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, while ruling a Sagittarius New Moon that is mediating the opposition between Mars in Libra and Uranus in Aries, this can also be a lunar cycle to seize for liberating yourself out of past restrictions in order to make intentions for the creation of the extraordinary life you want to live.  The emphasis on Virgo means it is vital to be present and aware of surrounding details that need tending, while simultaneously weaving each small choice and act into the creation of an envisioned tapestry of meaning.

Pandora by Redon

Pandora (1914) by Odilon Redon

Venus in Scorpio is also highlighted at this New Moon, as it is in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  There is also a resonance between Venus and Mars even though they are not in aspect, as Venus is now in the home of Mars and Mars is in the home of Venus.  It is further fascinating in this context to consider that the asteroid Juno will be at the beginning of Scorpio at the time of the New Moon.  Venus in Scorpio tears the lid off social conventions and niceties to probe deeply into what others keep hidden, exposing the full range of emotions and unconscious forces underlying desires.  Venus in Scorpio will cross boundaries and be willing to engage in the taboo, yet is also an inwardly directed Venus that can be self-contained.    In our inner world at this New Moon, Venus is positioned to help us move away from consensus opinion, mainstream morality, and a need to be liked and gain the approval of others.  Venus in Scorpio can help us uncover new values from within we can then later bring forward into the collective, a bold Venus that can also be unflinching in the face of opposition.

At the time of this Sagittarius New Moon, Venus is connected to Neptune through a trine but is not connected to Saturn in a major aspect.  Meanwhile Saturn is entering into range of a trine with Uranus in Aries that will become one of the most pivotal aspects in the near future, and Saturn is co-present with the New Moon in the sign of Sagittarius.  Venus separating from a trine with Neptune means that in the darkness of this Sagittarius Moon we will have greater visceral access in our emotional and physical bodies to the galactic messages of Neptune that transcend our normal sense of boundaries we associate with Saturn.  As Sagittarius is a visionary sign, this is an opportune intention setting time to go within and listen to the ethereal murmur of Neptune.  Venus in Scorpio in trine to Neptune in Pisces can help us reorient to deep soul desires that will become a fecundating source in the coming cycle.

odilon redon celestial art

The Celestial Art (1894) by Odilon Redon

Mercury will have recently entered Capricorn at the time of the Sagittarius New Moon and will be applying to a sextile with both Neptune in Pisces and Venus in Scorpio.  Mercury is picking up speed and on the cusp of becoming visible again as an Evening Star at the time of the New Moon, and so is auspiciously aligned to support us accessing a significant message connected with the trine between Venus and Neptune.  As Mercury re-emerges at sunset with a message in its Evening Star phase, while also being in the home of Saturn, we are supported in synthesizing meaning out of the past period of time and creating mental structures to organize and more effectively communicate the knowledge gained from recent experiences.  Mercury in Capricorn is inwardly directed and discerning, focused upon initiating new projects and work on the material plane.  In the context of this Sagittarius New Moon, Mercury here is in a beautiful position for not only intention setting but disciplined follow through.

Significantly, on account of the upcoming retrograde Mercury will be in Capricorn from now until February 13, 2015 except for a week in the beginning of January when it stations retrograde at the first degree of Aquarius.  From the traditional perspective that Aquarius is also the home of Saturn, we can extend this period to say that Mercury will be in the home of Saturn from now through the beginning of March 2016.  In the context of the waning square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, this means that Mercury will be operating more so on the side of Saturn and facilitating a restructuring of our mental framework and belief system.  This can be supportive for Mercury, as Mercury can handle the influence of Saturn and direct it toward studious research and determined, persevering effort.  With Mercury spending so long in the home of Saturn, if we can avoid the delusional influence of Neptune and open to the transcendent inspirational influence of Neptune we can experience profound learning and acquisition of knowledge.

As the Sagittarius New Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Cancer that will culminate on December 25, Mercury will form a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then a square to Uranus in Aries, setting off the Pluto and Uranus square again.  At the time of the upcoming Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will be applying to a trine with Jupiter in Virgo and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo. This means that Mercury will be one of the most pivotal players in this upcoming lunar cycle, even more so as it will coincide with Mercury entering into its retrograde shadow zone.  While in the outer world the rhetorical wars and military wars will continue, on inner levels we can experience a throwing off of outworn beliefs and attitudes while simultaneously connecting us with new information and opportunities supporting our evolving growth forward.

wands09

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Sagittarius, associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, and ruled by the Moon.  The Moon ruling this face can give us a greater degree of agency and focus in the darkness of this Sagittarius New Moon.  When we contemplate the image of the Nine of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck,  we can sense the wounded yet determined stance of a warrior who will defend himself and his territory at all costs.  In this image the bandaged head suggests survival of heated conflict, yet the fierce look in the eyes reveals unwavering resilience.  Tarot author Kelsey Lynore explored this theme regarding the card in expanded terms on her Tarot Nook blog:

Although the Rider-Waite image captures the pain, opposition, and isolation that can sometimes accompany this card, the traditional image is really only one possible manifestation of the energy that the 9 of Wands describes. Another possible manifestation is travel and movement — of the hiking, rock climbing, or pioneering variety. You’ll have nothing left by the end, but you’ll also be in completely new territory. Thus, it’s worth the struggle.

Psychologically, this card resembles an almost-too-long climb. The only danger is that the querent will give up; and giving up is the only way that the querent will not meet their desired destination. The closer one gets, however, the harder it is to continue.

As such, the “battle” that the 9 of Wands indicates is much more a war with the self and its limitations than a war with others. Of course, the limits of the self are revealed by way of brute exterior opposition, but like a distance that must be crossed, it doesn’t necessarily have intent.

— Kelsey Lynore

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, as “the assault of contrary forces” suggested by the bandaged figure in the 9 of Wands card “produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose” (p. 198).  Coppock wrote:

The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will.  There is no hero without a nemesis.

. . . There is a dignity to the alchemical generation of strength which takes place in this decan. Yet while its fruits are virtuous, they are not moral, for naught guarantees that the great strength generated be put to a noble cause.  The figures that result from this process are ruthless, bold and of undivided will, for they have triumphed over their antagonists.  Yet it is important for those who reside within this decan to recognize that not all that is contrary to their will should be met with fierce resistance.  This face represents a formula for strength in the face of opposition, yet many circumstances do not demand, nor reward, such a response.  Those possessed of this decan’s formula must also learn when to yield in order to gain mastery.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, pages 198 and 200

This New Moon in Sagittarius is thus sublime for sustaining concentration no matter what challenges and obstacles are before us, and for cultivating the persistence to continue our desired work without giving up.  Yet in the astrological atmosphere of Saturn in square to Neptune, Mars in opposition to Uranus and in square to Pluto, and a global environment full of volatile conflict, we will not be able to have control over everything and as a result will need to flow with the currents and be open to modifying plans in order to reach our desired destination.  If we have hurt feelings of frustration overwhelming us because of desires seeming too far out of reach, it will be important to find sources of inspiration in our daily struggles and to use the pain as motivation to persevere toward our long-range vision while maintaining integrity.  This is a time in which our blazing heart can help shine a light into a darkness of fear and anxiety that has overcome many.  In the dark fertility of this New Moon, we can vivify hope and faith from within that the cherished desires we are setting intentions for will manifest.

 

References

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

Gemini Full Moon

scott young FirstExperience

First Experience by Scott Young (2015)

Full Moon in Gemini

The Full Moon in Gemini on November 25, 2015 catalyzes the crescendo of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that becomes exact in its intensity on the following day.  There are numerous aspects at the time of this Gemini Full Moon signifying tumultuous change:  the Gemini Moon is square to Neptune and opposite Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun, while Venus in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Libra is applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, Jupiter in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Chiron and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  With the Moon fully illuminated in the sign of Gemini, our minds will be charged with new connections and thoughts that metamorphose pre-existing beliefs and conceptual frameworks regarding reality.

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, as the two brightest stars of the constellation are named after Castor and Pollux in Greek myth, one of two sets of twins Leda gave birth to after Zeus mated with her as a swan.  One set of twins is male (Castor and Pollux) and one set is female (Helen and Clytemnestra), yet each set also has the unique characteristic of containing one divine twin descended from Zeus (Pollux and Helen), and one mortal twin descended from the human monarch Tyndareus (Castor and Clytemnestra).  Gemini as a result holds a sense of having a divine twin, a twin soulmate other, a soul presence we desire to more fully embody, and a sense of having contrasting selves within.  Gemini is an archetype of dyads through which our minds construct meaning in the creation and commerce of language and abstract systems of thought.  Within this binary, dualistic awareness of Gemini on a deeper level, is also the concept made famous by Carl Jung that what we call God, Goddess, Gods, or Spirit is not only the source of the good and beautiful but also the source of evil.  This leads further to the awareness that within each of us we can find both the potential of our highest good  and love, as well as the potential to create horrible acts from a place of evil or disregard for life.

We can choose to act from love and heart-centeredness.  We can choose to put our passion into collaborative efforts to bridge community and meet the needs of others.  We can choose to explore our depths of darkness within, so as to refrain from projecting upon others what we are in denial about regarding ourselves.  Yet when the global collective erupts in war and conflict, when bombs drop from the sky and terrorists rain bloodshed from the earth, we can feel the paradox of cherishing our life and loved ones while simultaneously falling into waves of disillusionment and depression regarding the senseless stupidity of humanity.  A Full Moon in Gemini unveils the power of our mind to create works of anything imaginable, from arts that inspire love and healing, to arts that inspire fear and wounding.

Mercury is the ruler of the Full Moon far from home in the sign of Sagittarius.  Not only is Mercury estranged in Sagittarius, being opposite it’s domicile of Gemini, it is furthermore combust the Sun and separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Full Moon.  Mercury in Sagittarius is also applying very widely to a square with Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury being in the sign of Jupiter while Jupiter is in the sign of Mercury, means that there is a more unpredictable element at work regarding the way we create meaning out of our experiences.   Mercury’s recent union with Saturn in Sagittarius could have led to disciplined study or other methods of expanding our mental awareness or philosophical understanding, yet it also could have led to further fixation on dogmatic beliefs entrenched in systems of thought that lack grounding in the flux of the moment.   We are at a moment in which a fruitful reorientation of our vision and ability to discover meaning in life could occur, yet to receive this potential wisdom we must be open to releasing our attachment to old conditioned thought forms that are now getting in the way of us opening to the new insight available.

scott young Waitingwithangel

Waiting With Angel by Scott Young (2015)

In addition to the importance Mercury plays with a Full Moon in Gemini, Mercury is also important to consider as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo.    Mercury in Sagittarius  by itself is fast, fiery, philosophical, and can take leaps of thought aligned with belief that may disregard other approaches to the situation.  Yet Mercury in Sagittarius is freshly separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius that could have cooled the heels of the fleet footed messenger enough to slow down thoughts and engage in the Virgo nodal mission of discerning new inner insights and areas of our life that require focus and problem solving.  In the midst of the great destruction occurring in our global collective at this Full Moon, there is enormous potential for new creation infused with integrity.   Our birth process is now occurring in a chaotic climate of sharply shifting astrological tides, yet through Mercurial focus we can make multitudinous connections of meaning that fully flesh out the essence of what we are manifesting.  If it seems the mental energy is too overwhelming, make the space for practices that put you in your body, bring you into nature, and ground your sense of inner rootedness.

As Mercury is also separating from a square with Neptune in Pisces, there is a message being fully illuminated at this lunation concerning the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune that will be dominating the astrological atmosphere in the year ahead.  If we are wiling to shed identification with past attachments now causing disillusionment, we can more readily open to the sources that will be supporting our burgeoning identity.  As things may not be going exactly according to prior plans, it is vital to remain open to possibilities rather than closing oneself off due to frustration or fear.  The shadow side of this aspect can be witnessed in the overabundance of violent rhetoric based in fear and exclusion being proliferated on the world media stage today, as many are communicating from a tight Saturnine grip on dogmatic beliefs in the face of the unknown.  A historical example is that the Salem Witch Trials took place during a transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, and we can notice similar strands of religious persecution and projection going on today that lacks grounding in objective analysis.  In many ways it is now easier than normal to notice the interplay of belief systems and personal expression and reaction in those surrounding you.

It is important to remember that while atrocities based upon belief systems were committed during the Salem Witch Trials, it also ultimately led to massive disillusionment and revelations regarding the ignorance of those in power who are lost in religious illusions.  Similarly, there are countless power structures in conflict today that are mired in ignorant dogmatism, further perpetuated by a corrupt media.  In the end the horrors of this time will be fueling a mass break down and reorientation of belief around the world, hopefully in the direction of ultimate understanding signified by Neptune in Pisces rather than misunderstanding sourced from escapist illusions, delusions, and addictions of one sort or another.  However, in the moment we are only at the beginning of entering into the tumult that will coincide with this catalytic aspect between Saturn and Neptune, bringing up initial crises we will be sorting out over the next year.  On personal inner levels we can reorient in accordance with our essential truth, yet in our interactions in our collective we must be ready to navigate volatile conflicts over competing ideologies.

Full Moon in Gemini

Svanen (1914) by Hilma af Klint

A harmonious and stabilizing aspect involved with the Moon waxing full is a Grand Air Trine that will form between the Moon in Gemini, Mars in Libra, and Ceres in Aquarius.  Ceres in Aquarius is a nurturing force on behalf of individuation and humanitarian concerns in a positive sense, while her shadow side involves cold fixation on past beliefs behind a wall of separation from the needs of those in the surrounding environment.  To me, how our consciousness responds to this air trine between the Moon, Mars, and Ceres depends to a large extent on which of these sides of Ceres we are coming from.  If our sense of Ceres is opening us to de-condition from cultural forces attempting to manipulate us toward selfish greed and grasping for power that harms life, Mars in Libra can be on the side of social justice and meeting the needs of others, and the Gemini Moon can break us out of past rigidity of thinking through insightful connections.

Mars in Libra is not only in trine to the Gemini Full Moon, but also sextile to Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun and applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn. Mars is also co-present with Venus in the sign of Libra and in coming weeks will be coming into an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Libra can coincide with unpredictability and coercive manipulation in mundane affairs, but on a personal level it could spark desires to improve and expand our relationships and social connections.  As Mars comes into a last quarter square with Pluto, it will amplify the already tumultuous environment triggered by Saturn and Neptune also being in a last quarter square.  The growth offered by this tension can come from reorienting our relational dynamics within our partnerships and society so that our own needs will be better met on the one hand, and we can realize where we have been neglecting the needs of others on the other hand.  This is a time to confront our past beliefs regarding relationships and discover which aspects are illusions that need to be released now so that we can more readily create the life we want going forward.

Further increasing our capacity to liberate ourselves from past relationship beliefs is a Venus in Libra that is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon.  Venus is also applying to a conjunction with Juno and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Libra, meaning that there are essential aspects of our relationship needs to now discover and actualize that we may have formerly felt judgment over.  It is likely that Venus in Libra will dislodge something significant as her opposition with Uranus perfected with the waxing Moon in the days leading up to this Full Moon.  The Full Moon is as a result illuminating the aftershocks of Venus opposite Uranus, and since Venus is at home in her beloved sign of Libra there is potential for important insight into our relationships no matter how challenging recent experiences may have been.  Venus opposite Uranus can strike like lightning, so if we have recently taken a leap without much forethought allow this Full Moon to give you a sense of whether or not any impulsive choices appear to be harmonious or not with your well-being.

Gemini I Decan

8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini I Decan

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini where the Full Moon occurs, a decan associated with the 8 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  It is one of the most intense images of the Rider-Waite deck, and at first glance it may seem difficult to link the bound and terrorized feeling of the image to either Jupiter or Gemini.  Yet when we realize that Jupiter signifies vision and the meaning gathered from experience, and Gemini is connected with the power of our mind to help shape reality, we can sense here the suffocating shadow cast by trauma.  Traumatic experiences such as being a victim of abuse or any form of oppression can envelope us in paralysis and hopelessness.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore interpreted this card as a frozen mental state that eclipses “one’s very sense of free agency and self,” leading to the vital importance of not blaming the victim:

When you pull this card, it is most important to exit that fictive Karmic loop of cause and effect, of blame, of the notion of an economy on pain . . . You may feel persecuted, flawed, or exiled. But feelings are not the measure of reality nor, for that matter, do they indicate what you will feel tomorrow. You will survive this, and if you transmute it properly, you stand to be a force of great healing and compassion in the lives of others… for victimization sometimes happens, with no reason, no rhyme, and no warning. Don’t blame yourself in an attempt to retain the illusion of mastery. Forgive yourself and let yourself open to your own vulnerability. In doing so, you will slowly open up to others, yet again. It’s OK.

— Kelsey Lynore, The Tarot Nook

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, symbolizing the explosion of awareness that struck Eve when she bit into the ripe apple born from the earth.  In contrast to the nightmarish image of the 8 of Swords card, Coppock wrote that traditional images for this decan display “the full power of the mind” including abstract thought, mathematics and the sciences, magic, and the art of the scribe and the seamstress (p. 87).  Coppock found a link between the static found in the 8 of Swords card and the first decan of Gemini in the power of the mind to both enliven as well as immobilize, as seekers of this face can become paralyzed by the overwhelming amount of information available in the world that is ultimately impossible to fully process:

The division of the world and the naming of its parts in this decan generates all arts, crafts and sciences, and gives rise to a bewildering profusion of selves.  It is therefore a face of tremendous curiosity and intelligence.  Within it lies the power to discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities.  It provides clever methods and opens numerous pathways, yet this very profusion de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.

–Austin Coppock (p. 87)

Jupiter, the ruler of this decan, is now in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Jupiter is at the same time the traditional ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Since Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon are both in the sign of Mercury, it is important to consider that their ruler Mercury is residing in Sagittarius, the sign of Jupiter.  Furthermore, in the waning cycle of this Gemini Full Moon we will experience Mercury becoming an Evening Star that enters into a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  All together, these astrological placements further increase the likelihood of feeling a pull to expand our knowledge and assimilation of information, while also risking a feeling of paralysis over biting off far more than our mind can fully process, integrate, and express with understanding.

If we can keep ourselves open and curious, making the space to get out of our minds and back in our bodies when mental frequencies become too intense, there is also a huge opportunity presented by these transits for fundamental change in our ability to find meaning in our life and live in accordance with an authentic vision of values.  Yes, we are going to need to deal with incredible conflict, discord, and destruction in our surroundings, but out of this falling apart a more enriching vision for our lives may arise.  This doesn’t mean things will be easy at all, and in fact we need to be ready to confront many difficulties and obstacles, grieving losses and consoling others.  Nonetheless, these astrological aspects suggest that important meaning can be found in the difficult experiences of this time.  May we share the love and light we discover within with those around us.

References

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

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 Libra

Mercury in Libra

Mercury atop Zurich train station, taken by Gray Crawford (2015 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on October 12, 2015 unleashes a visceral sense of new meaning following a period in which necessary elements of our past beliefs were dislodged in order to be released.  The eclipses are over.  Venus retrograde is over.  We are still in the shadows of Mercury retrograde, but Mercury is now moving direct clear from the beams of the Sun.  A new lunation phase beginning in Libra calls us to rectify what has been out of balance, seizing the opportunity found in the pain of not living the life we want to direct our thoughts and actions toward whatever will bring us happiness.  There is a transcendent Mercurial quality to this New Moon, as its ruling planet Venus is in the sign of Mercury, Mercury is direct in the sign of Venus conjunct the North Node of the Moon (the mean of which recently switched into Virgo, the home of Mercury), and the New Moon itself is opposite Uranus. Mercury direct as a Morning Star now is eager to facilitate new connections and focus toward our long-term goals in the immediacy of the moment.

Since the New Moon ruler Venus is in Virgo along with Mars and Jupiter, it is vital to center in the present moment without denial, being willing to admit we do not have all the answers so that we can shift more harmoniously with the course our life is actually taking us now.  Justice with her scales and sharpened sword will cut through any illusions veiling the degree to which we have felt wronged or oppressed by others.  As we feel the Libra sense of justice and what feels out of balance, it is imperative that we in addition sense how we can take responsibility for whatever circumstance we are currently in.  The most fruitful response to feelings of injustice will prudently side with discretion rather than belligerence so as to attract others to your cause.  Imagination and vision can be worthy allies at this time, but living in a fantasy disconnected from the crux of reality could now cause your undoing more so than normal.

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

New Moon opposite Uranus

The lightning strike shattering the fortresses within our psyche, the epiphany of an illuminated vision, the nonlinear leaps of mind connecting ages past within a precious moment of glimpsing our future, are all within the domain of Uranus.  The New Moon in Libra is opposite Uranus retrograde in Aries, awaking those open to a new frequency of reception and awareness of reality. This New Moon opposition to Uranus is also in square to Pluto in Capricorn, and so resurrects the issues of the Pluto and Uranus square of the past several years.  In our collective, it is likely that some horrific, tragic events will erupt out of this time triggering the traumatic memories of many.  Yet on a personal level, along with unsettling shocks we can potentially experience a liberating sense of calling illuminating our path forward through the current darkness.

Astrologer and psychosynthesis therapist Mark Jones in his book The Soul Speaks included numerous examples of individuals struck by the volatile force of Uranus.  Jones showed that Uranian experiences open us to a sense that “everything is impersonal and arises from the field of energy in which we all participate,” with our inflamed passions coming from places of identification within this knowing field (p. 94).  Jones wrote:

The Moon is the lens through which we identify space/time reality in all its specificity. Yet, when we are shocked or somehow transported into Uranian consciousness, we can escape that filter and return to a more widescreen experience of reality.  (p. 174)

In its pure form, Uranus can be experienced as memory or a mental awareness arising from the soul:  a blueprint of the energy field of the individual’s whole life experienced on a subtle mental level.  This includes information as to the nature of past lives, to prenatal states of existence in the womb and perinatal states.  Through Uranus, the individual learns systematically via his own experience from these nonlinear realms. (p. 120-21)

With a New Moon opposite Uranus there is a new birth to embrace that brings a dramatic disorientation of entering another world or quality of being.  Anytime experiencing such transcendent functions, we must simultaneously discern how to reintegrate into the mundane world of our current reality, enriching our life with the new values we have realized.  The transformational quality of this New Moon is further amplified by Mars having separated from an opposition to Neptune and applying to a conjunction with Jupiter, as Venus is simultaneously applying to an opposition with Neptune, as well as with the Mars and Jupiter conjunction opposing Chiron in Pisces.  This opens us to the collective unconscious phenomenon developed by Carl Jung in which we can tap into patterns underpinning our collective reality, rooted in endless cycles of ages past.  On a personal level the potential liberation of this is found in the moment you realize how a current agony is connected to an old pattern you are now able to release.  In the creative fields such as art, writing, and research these aspects are decadently rich to take advantage of and take your work to a new level of insight and expression.

New Moon in Libra

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

Virgo Vision

Venus is the ruler of this New Moon and has now finally ended her retrograde period, shining at her brightest as a Morning Star.  At the time of the New Moon, Venus is separating from a square to Saturn in Sagittarius and applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces.  The last quarter square between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius is the most dramatic transit of the coming season, and so Venus is now bridging us into the dissolution and rebirth of meaning we will find in the coming experiences that will be linked to this crucial aspect.  While the system of astrology teaches that Venus is not at home in the sign of Virgo, there is actually great potential found in the movement of Venus across Virgo similar to the incredible depth of new perception that can open within us when we travel far from home into foreign territory with only our own wits to rely upon.  If we have the presence to fully participate in the moment there is a huge potential to now restructure and revision our life to align with the deepest desires stirred by the Venus retrograde we experienced from the end of June until the beginning of October in 2015.

Venus can now be seen in the pre-dawn sky along with the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter in Virgo.  Venus, Mars, and Jupiter experiencing this pivotal time together in the sign of Mercury amplifies the significance of Mercury having recently stationed direct  conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  For those who use the true node calculation for the lunar nodes, the nodes remain in Libra and Aries, but for those who utilize the mean calculation the nodes have now switched into the North Node being in Virgo and the South Node being in Pisces.  This is another huge shift brought in with this New Moon, but the fact that Mercury stationed direct conjunct the North Node being in Libra in either system is most important to reflect upon.  Mercury is also in sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius, and so we have a powerful opportunity now to structure elements of our life to align with new intentions and goals that can rebalance our life.  We will gravitate now toward solidifying the relationships that will be most supportive for us in the coming years, and the influence of Libra calls us to find harmony and win-win situations in discourse with others rather than trying to force our own way at all costs.

These themes are further supported by the balsamic conjunction of Mars with Jupiter in Virgo in trine to Pluto in Capricorn that is supporting us to focus on creating the seed of our future visions.  As it is occurring in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury, this new vision involves new connections being made between our mind and body to guide us, and so accessing your mind-body connection through personal practices of choice will be hugely beneficial.  This is the close of a Mars and Jupiter cycle that began in Cancer in July 2013, that took us through a Mars retrograde in Libra in 2014 that also involved a cardinal grand square involving a first quarter square between Mars in Libra and Jupiter in Cancer.  Aspects of our desires that animate our vision of life that have arisen since July 2013 that need to be released we will now be let go of, while the aspects of our desires that will be re-seeding our future will be potently focused upon.

New Moon in Libra

Three of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra II Decan

The Libra New Moon falls at the end of the second face of Libra, a decan that Saturn rules and is associated with the Three of Swords card in tarot illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  While the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the card evokes Saturn, so does the transcendence offered through the pain found here.   Tarot writer Kelsey Lenore wrote this is “a card of revelation, pained comprehension, and sorrow,” a  “rigorously intellectual card whose bruised fruits include empathy, compassion, and a wonderfully rooted and corporeal sense/knowledge that holds its own hubris in check,” as it is ultimately “about coming to grips with one’s own finitude, fragility, and fallibility, and in this it is beautifully human.”  There is nothing more painful than being separated from someone we love most dearly, and in this agony we find both the challenge of Saturn as well as the transcendence of the ringed planet.  For in times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements through betrayal or other wounding experiences.  To Coppock it is a face that holds the power of the Saturnine contract:

This is thus a face of lasting unions and blended karma.  The choice of who to chain oneself to, and under what terms, is therefore critical.  Both sacred covenants and profane deals occur here . . .

It is only earnest commitment which allows relationships to endure both lean harvests and fat returns.  The power of obligation fixes volatile passions, and when properly engaged, lays a firm foundation for the good life. Yet, perhaps the most fundamental and potent promises are those made to oneself, for there is little that one capable of making and keeping such an agreement cannot achieve.

The power of this face is nearly ideal for the binding of two things together, whether they be people in marriage, business entities, or merely a promise to oneself.  It contains the formulae not only for knitting together, but continuing in happy union, and is therefore an arcanum of wonderful power.

— Austin Coppock (p. 163 – 164)

The recent ingress of Saturn in Sagittarius has brought opportunities for us to establish new agreements as Venus is now separating from her third and final last quarter square to Saturn, while Saturn is simultaneously inching closer towards its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune in Pisces.  This New Moon asks us to make commitments to both our Self as well as the relationships we feel deep within will be mutually supportive for the foreseeable future.  Whatever attitudes and beliefs we can sense are getting in the way of following through with this commitment we will be asked to release into the coming dissolving waves of Neptune in Pisces.  Venus ruling this New Moon in Virgo and in opposition to Neptune supports us in magnetizing and opening to the partners that will increase our capacity to feel blissful and find deep meaning in life, thereby being able to transmit the new values arising from this joy back into our collective.

References

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

Jones, Mark. (2015).  The Soul Speaks:  The Theraputic Potential of Astrology.  Raven Dreams 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.

Solar Eclipse in Virgo

Scott Young Virgo Solar Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Virgo Solar Eclipse

On September 12 – 13, 2015 we enter the dark procreative void of a Solar Eclipse held in the arms of the Winged Maiden, the first of a series of eclipses we will experience in the sign of Virgo.  Solar Eclipses are the most intense New Moons, when the alignment of the Moon between the Earth and Sun blackens our solar light.  Although this particular eclipse is partial and not total in its darkening effect, it is potent nonetheless as the ruler of the eclipse, Mercury in Libra, is separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn and in process of stationing retrograde five days afterward.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse furthermore digs up the roots of the past season of Venus retrograde intensity, as it comes less than a week after Venus has stationed direct and its Mercury in Libra ruler is being received by Venus in Leo through a sextile.

New Moons are known as times to set new intentions and begin new journeys while clearing what needs to be released from the past, yet at Solar Eclipses the changes that arise often feel out of our control similar to a tidal force erupting around us.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation ascribed this effect of Solar Eclipses to the fact that the Lunar Light obscures our view of Solar Light in blackness, meaning from Earth we momentarily experience the Moon alone without the Sun.  Since the Moon signifies the intersection of our past in the present moment, it means that forces from our past, including unconscious forces, can likewise veil our present experiences in their fertile darkness.  Again, though this particular eclipse is not total and therefore the Sun will not be completely obscured, the same general symbology applies.

Who is the Winged Maiden holding this Solar Eclipse?  To the Greeks she was Astraea, a daughter of Zeus who helped direct humanity to follow natural law during the Golden Age of peace and prosperity on Earth, coming down from the heavens to mingle with ordinary people on the Earth and foster harmony with the natural world of creation.  Over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted, it was said that Astraea became increasingly full of contempt for humanity, becoming so full of hatred eventually that she left Earth forever to become the constellation of Virgo.  Astraea has an association with Justice also found in the following sign of Libra, yet hers is more of a natural justice governed by the order found in the creation and destruction of the natural world, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay, and the orbit of our Earth around the Sun within the cycles of cosmos.

The Winged Maiden has also been associated with Erigone, the daughter of Icarus,  as well as with the ancient great goddesses Isis in Egypt, and Atargatis in modern day Syria.   Isis and Atargatis in particular bring to mind the double-bodied nature of Virgo as a Mutable zodiac sign, as Isis was able to take flight on wings and Atargatis was sometimes depicted as a mermaid.  Atargatis symbolically integrates the polarity of Pisces to Virgo, as she is a fertility goddess to whom fish are sacred, and is associated with the bodily reception and transmission of spirit through sexuality and ritual.  Furthermore, Isis connects with Virgo through her clear command of logos and Mercurial magical abilities that brings spirit through matter to heal fragmentation of soul.  Liz Greene has previously explored how the purification of Virgo further connects to the sacred sexuality of Isis and Atargatis that bridges blissful pleasures of spirit with base material desire:

Virgo seems to embody a deep paradox, a combination of upright and almost schoolmarmish Astraea set side by side with the orgiastic lunar goddesses of Asia Minor.   This paradox poses an enormous conflict for Virgo, and it is out of the conflict that Virgo’s pattern of development arises. Whether this is enacted as a collision between personal and professional life, between marriage and independence (a common theme), between spirituality and materialism, between morality and abandonment, Virgo struggles with these opposites throughout life, trying to encompass them both. Often the Virgoan individual will try to embody one while sacrificing the other, and this generally provokes difficulties, for the fate of the sign does not seem to permit such splitting . . .

The harlotry of the virgin goddesses does not mean merely sexual availability to all callers any more than ‘virgin’ means merely sexual intactness.  I would understand it more as an openness to the flow of life, a willingness to trust the natural order, an acceptance of penetration and change.  Contrary to the popular descriptions of Virgo, I feel this paradoxical daimon to form the true core of the sign.  But it is difficult to achieve . . . It is far easier, and more common, for Virgo to flee into ritualised or obsessional behaviour, where the sterner aspects of Astraea submerge the fecundity and joy of Atargatis. This is often the prelude to the arrival of psychosomatic symptoms, for Atargatis is a deity who demands entry through that most basic manifestation of life- the body.

— Liz Greene from The Astrology of Fate

The Virgin in the symbolism of Virgo as we know is not about chastity or saving one’s sexuality for marriage, but rather is about the aspect of oneself which is independent and whole upon itself outside the constraints of marriage or the morality of societal conventions.  Virgo is a sign connected to independently acting from a place of inner morality and Mercurial discernment, and so this Virgo Solar Eclipse arriving in the aftermath of Venus having stationed direct in Leo means whatever now lacks alignment with our inner truth will become eclipsed and released.  Instead of using obsessive, ritualised behavior to shield ourselves from the coming changes, we can instead embrace the change in the moment through ritually purifying and tending to our body in order to receive the full message found within the shifting and shedding.

Virgo Solar Eclipse

by Arrington de Dionyso

For thousands of years eclipses have brought fear, being seen in ancient times as events in which our two Lights (Sun and Moon) were consumed by a great dragon of chaos and creation, with the North Node of the Moon representing the head of the dragon, and the South Node of the Moon representing the tail of the dragon.  The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses.  The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth:  the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for manifestation in our life.  To many, the North Node of the Moon is furthermore associated with one’s evolutionary path in life, though this path is oftentimes fraught with struggles over our desire nature.  When our Lights align with the nodes we have an eclipse, with the Sun and Moon on one side of the nodal axis at a Solar Eclipse and the Sun and Moon on both sides of the nodal axis at a Lunar Eclipse.

This Solar Eclipse is the first of a series that will occur in Virgo, and our first one since the Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened on March 20, 2015 in range of a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aries.   In contrast, this Virgo Solar Eclipse is in range of a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, creating an amplified push toward manifestation of our desires and bringing things into being.  With reflection we can note what changes flowing out of that previous Pisces eclipse are coming to a head at today’s Virgo eclipse, with the crucial difference being that this Virgo Solar Eclipse aligned with the North Node of the Moon in Libra brings a heavy emphasis on our needs within our relationships.  For those who embrace the concept of karma, I have found through my work in astrology that the lunar nodes reveal the karma of our growth and development, a viewpoint that was popularized in astrology by Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation:

In the case of the Moon’s nodes, we are dealing with what might be called the karmic way in which the Moon’s function operates in a human being. But the word karma should not be used only in the sense of “bad” karma. Karma simply refers to the fact that any new cycle of existence is always in some manner related to or is a sequence of a previous cycle. The new cycle inherits from the old some unfinished business which needs to be dealt with, but it also inherits the results of some achievements. More specifically, the Moon’s north node symbolizes new possibilities of growth on the basis of what has been accomplished “in the past” — let us say, in “past incarnations”, although the concept of reincarnation is most ambiguous, or at least far more complex than popularly interpreted . . . We should not forget that a person is first of all operating in a biosphere with a long evolutionary past and in a society and culture conditioned equally by ancient, collective failures as well as great achievements. Thus karma is never to be considered solely a personal matter; for it is also produced by a collective situation inherited from a long series of past generations.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Astrology of Transformation

The ruler of this Solar Eclipse is Mercury in Libra that gives even greater emphasis to the fact that the eclipse is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result our minds will be focused more on relationships and expressing what we need and desire, and we will likewise be on the receiving end of needing to listen to the needs of those we are in relationship with.  This relational focus through Libra will involve romantic relationships, friendships, business relations, and all forms our interactions with others take, but there will also be added emphasis in the collective on issues around social justice and oppression, with numerous karmic collective strands coming together in a messy knot of conflict.   Thus while the Venus retrograde in Leo has already stirred up the intensity of these collective conflicts, this Virgo Solar Eclipse will further crescendo passions around issues such as the legalization of gay marriage and institutional racism in law enforcement in the United States, the refugee crisis in Europe, and countless other global crises involving conflicts in society that create oppression.

Our draw into the dynamics of our relationships is catalyzed even further by Mercury in Libra separating from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the eclipse.  As Mercury will also be on the brink of stationing retrograde, there will be key insights into our relationships to be found at this time including awareness for how the conditioning of our culture and early authority figures have helped shape our relational patterns.  We are dealing at this eclipse not only with our own personal karma but also our ancestral and cultural karma, and so part of the Virgoan task will be analyzing what issues are part of our core patterns we need to personally work on, and what issues are more about how our authentic nature has been molded by familial and cultural influences.  Those born with Pluto in Virgo in range of a conjunction with this Solar Eclipse (20-21°) and those born with Pluto in Libra in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Libra (14-15°) have a tremendous opportunity in this eclipse time to feel into the bottom line of their relational patterns.  At times this may feel heavy and in need of grieving, but a metamorphosis into a purified relational dynamic free of past restrictive influences is possible to eventually realize.

Pisces Full Moon

by Scott Young

The recent Pisces Full Moon initiated us into the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and the tension of their polarity has been building in intensity every single day during the waning half of the recent lunar cycle.  At the time of the Solar Eclipse, their opposition is not yet exact but close and applying strongly.  Pisces and Virgo, ruled by Jupiter and Mercury since ancient times, are an essential polarity in astrology through which we develop our sense of meaning, belief, vision, and spirituality.   We need both for healthy vitality of belief and perception:  we need the holistic awareness of Pisces that transcends the labeling and categorization of reductionist thinking, while we likewise need the Virgo ability to penetrate into detailed analysis of the parts that make up the whole so to avoid living our lives lost in illusion of belief.  Neptune has become associated firmly with Pisces because it is the symbol of ultimate reality, the oceanic source that remains beyond the ability of scientists to catalogue and rationally explain.  Jupiter in Virgo coming face to face with Neptune in Pisces therefore means we must come into reckoning with the invisible aspects of reality beyond the ability of language to explain.

As a result this Solar Eclipse marks a pivotal moment of transformation in our beliefs and vision, and you can use astrology as a guide in part by simply looking at the houses in your birth chart occupied by the signs of Pisces and Virgo, and aspects made to the opposition of Neptune and Jupiter at 8-9 degrees of these mutable signs.  Since Mercury in Libra is also the ruler of Jupiter in Virgo, it means the added emphasis on relationships marked by this eclipse also applies to the opposition between Neptune and Jupiter, and so it is in our outer interactions and conversations with others that we will become impelled to reshape our vision and beliefs.

Another astrological force found in the harvesting of this Virgo Solar Eclipse is Ceres, stationing direct at 26 Capricorn a few days after the eclipse in range of a trine.  Ceres has been associated with Virgo in astrology at least as far back as Marcus Manilius in the 1st Century CE, who wrote that “the Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres” (Manilius, Astronomica, 2.433-452, Goold trans., 1977, p. 117-119).  While Manilius was of course referring to the mythic Ceres and not the dwarf planet Ceres, the connection between Ceres and Virgo was further bound by Demetra George in her book Asteroid Goddesses, in which she described Ceres as an agent in transforming our sense of personal awareness into collective awareness through the sign of Virgo and around issues of productivity and acceptance that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.  Ceres stationing direct in Capricorn, in range of a trine to the Solar Eclipse in Virgo, could bring up issues of balance around our ambition and if the goals we have been working toward are about gaining external validation to boost our inner worth, or if our work is instead focused upon goals that will bring us intrinsic rewards without the need for outer acclaim.  In the end, by finding the work that will bring us a true sense of joy to perform we will most likely gain recognition from others who share similar interests and passions.

Ceres is the Queen of the asteroid belt and now considered to be more of a planet than an asteroid, but there is one asteroid goddess in particular who is also highlighted at this eclipse:  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, who forms a t-square with the Solar Eclipse in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces, being square to both.

Pallas Athena in Sagittarius

Pallas and the Centaur (1482) by Botticelli

The most impactful aspect this Virgo Solar Eclipse makes is perhaps its opposition to Chiron in Pisces, the most prominently celebrated of all of the wandering centaurs in astrology.  Chiron bridges Saturn and Uranus, as at its closest orbit to the earth it can at times become closer to the Earth than Saturn, and at its farthest orbit to the earth it can at times become farther from the Earth than Uranus.  This means that the half horse, half human figure associated with Chiron connects the material world governed by Saturn with the boundless realm of the transpersonal associated with Uranus.  As a result Chiron connects to the deep memories and knowledge we hold in our body that can erupt into our consciousness in bodywork and practices aiding our integration of body, mind, and spirit.  Indeed, Chiron’s eruptive impact can be seen in its connection to the Uranian realm of sudden liberation that can feel shocking in its lightning bolt effect, eventually bringing realizations of Self-healing.

Chiron

Liz Greene’s Mythic Tarot

Chiron in Pisces is holding the place of polarity to this Virgo Solar Eclipse, meaning that he has a vital lesson to teach us. Chiron is the master teacher who demands excellence from his students, the mentor of the healing arts including music, plant medicine, and astrology, and the martial arts as tools for self defense and the protection of others in need of help.  There is also the aspect of the mythic Chiron involving his suffering from toxic poisoning and willingness to give himself over to the pain in sacrifice, the “wounded healing” characteristic you have no doubt heard ad nauseam from astrologers.  Although the “wounded healer” analysis may be overused, there is an aspect that I have found tends to be very accurate in terms of Chiron’s impact on us- this is the phenomenon in which the issues we have struggled with and have caused us suffering turn out to be the vehicles that transport us to our greatest strengths and to the gifts of soul we possess to transmit to the collective.

For example, the timing of Chiron’s discovery in 1977 corresponded in popular culture with the development of hip hop and punk rock, two forms of musical expression that countless youths since have seized to express their feelings of pain and suffering in the material realm through, gaining a sense of Uranian liberation, individuation, and higher power in the process.  Chiron wants you to have a vehicle, a tool, a technique, or a practice to express your talents into the collective, and through the interweaving of your inner gift with the outer world, powerful growth and healing can be activated.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse in in range of a sextile with Saturn at the end of Scorpio, while Chiron is also in range of a wide trine with Saturn, so the polarity between Chiron and the eclipse contains a lesson for us that can promote our stability in the material world.

A more challenging aspect is the quincunx between Uranus in Aries and the Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  While this quincunx can bring up fears that our most inspired, boundless visions do not have a realistic chance of manifesting, instead work to find an access point to begin the process and set things in motion.  If you keep putting things off until you feel completely ready or circumstances seem perfect you can continue to put it off indefinitely.   Find a method, practice or form to transmit at least part of your vision through, and work on letting go of criticizing your initial effort through comparison with others or your own idealized standards.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being both square to the Chiron polarity with the eclipse, as well as in trine to Uranus in Aries, means that we can use creative visualization to change our lives, both inspiring us to initiate new steps and aiding us in reformulating to address issues once underway.

scott young rose

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Venus is now direct in Leo and established as divine Morning Star heralding our dawn.  Venus is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, and separating from a conjunction with Mars in Leo, giving her a fiery Morning Star presence that wants to go after whatever she finds inspiring and beguiling.  Venus is strongly tied to this Virgo Solar Eclipse since Mercury is the ruler of the eclipse and occupying Libra, the home of Venus, meaning that Venus is receiving Mercury through a sextile.  This sextile between Mercury in Libra and Venus in Leo brings an opportunity to begin stabilizing within all of the transformation we experienced during the Venus retrograde.  Since we are talking about eclipse season I do not mean stabilizing to imply a quiet and peaceful experience, but rather that through the storms of this time we can begin solidifying our reborn Venusian values through our actions in response to life.

At the time of this Virgo Solar Eclipse, we are within a brief period of time in which we do not have a personal planet retrograde, as Venus finally ended her retrograde six days before the eclipse, and Mercury will station retrograde five days after the eclipse.  If you feel raw and vulnerable in the aftermath of this recent Venus retrograde you are not alone, and it is worth remembering that Venus will remain in her retrograde shadow zone through the rest of September and into the first week of October.   Whatever has been reborn in you during the Venus retrograde is vital to tend and keep sustained, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.

Venus is also the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Libra, bringing Leo passion and a clear push toward fulfilling our desires within relationships.  It also means we will have a difficult balancing process if we want to meet both our own needs and the needs of others in our relationships.  The sabian symbol for this Virgo Solar Eclipse provides a solution in the image of “a girl’s basketball team,” suggesting that through collaboration with others, through being accountable to a role within a team pursuing a common goal, we can find the point of balance between meeting both our own needs and the needs of others we are in relationship with.  The vital point is that if you find yourself in a process of negotiating with a partner over relational dynamics, that you do not suppress and ignore the inner transformation you felt taking form during the Venus retrograde.  While it is important to listen to others and to be supportive, it is also necessary for you to live your own authentic life.

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo III Decan

This Virgo Solar Eclipse falls in the third face of Virgo that is associated with the 10 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot this image of a family enjoying the fruits of their labor and legacy is associated with wealth, both the accumulation of wealth as well as being able to sustain wealth through familial lineages or other legacies.  The image also corresponds with the achievement of a stable, secure lifestyle affording one the possibility of enjoying material luxuries as well as the luxury of a contemplative lifestyle.  In connection to the Solar Eclipse in the third decan of Virgo, we likewise have our own lineages and legacies to draw from in the pursuit and gaining of wealth, though here wealth is more about its root meaning of happiness, health, and well-being than material riches.  This could connect with your blood relatives and ancestors or perhaps more likely with your soul tribe, those beings who are your kindred spirits and have provided you with inspiration and visionary meaning.

The third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury, giving Mercury added emphasis at this Solar Eclipse that also occurs in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces took a Mercurial angle to this card by interpreting that “the pensive nature of the elder pictured on this card suggest that wealth is here posed as a question, to be riddled out.  What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?” (p. 151).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo, as being the third decan it is about the separation of spirit and matter from previous balance, revealing the ultimate value of the work as the final face of the three Earth signs of the zodiac:

In this face we ponder the ultimate result of material things.  The limits of all created works are here considered.  This decan thus has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end . . . One gains the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions. The ability to see unto the 7th generation is gained …

Escorted by wealth on one side and death on the other, the residents of this face cross the threshold into the tomb.  Alone in the burial chamber with silent centuries, they dialogue with the corpse all will become about the value of all things.  The importance of legacies becomes clear, for though all works face eventual decay, some endure for aeons.  For just as no thing continues forever, all leave something behind.  There is no life which does not bestow upon the world an inheritance, even if it is no more than a feast for scavengers . . .

In comprehending the ongoing cycle of generation and corruption, one is freed from fear, for most terrors are petty, and disappear when the shadow of inevitability falls across them.  This discussion reveals the importance of things as they are- arising and receding- and deserving of love and attention.

–Austin Coppock from 36 Faces

Though not mentioned by Coppock in his deft portrayal of this decan, in the tables of the appendix he lists that the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo.  Hestia is a sublime spirit guide to turn towards at this Solar Eclipse, for she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the quality of value essential to our vitality that we wish to invest into the work we perform in the world.  Hestia is the devoted one with a far reaching legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath and action for the living force found throughout all of the natural world of creation.  Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service to all of creation.  Within waves of shattering change, within the decomposition and death of the old and the hatching of the new, Hestia opens herself to the change of the moment through her heart-centered focus on the eternal power of love and devotion.

References

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

Greene, Liz. (1984). The Astrology of Fate.  Weiser Books.

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books.

Seven Stars Astrology (2015).  Manilius, Neptune, and the Fishes. http://www.sevenstarsastrology.com/?p=1980

Pisces Full Moon

Pisces Full Moon

Illustration by Kay Nielson from East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1914)

Pisces Full Moon

The Full Moon in Pisces on August 29, 2015 is full of passion and heralds the coming eclipse season, for  the New Moon to follow is a Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  It is also a Super Moon, and the first Full Moon classified as a Super Moon this year.  Super Moon is a term coined by astrologer Richard Nolle for either New or Full Moons occurring at the Moon’s perigee, when the Moon comes closest to Earth in orbit (Nolle defined a Super Moon as occurring within 90% of the Moon’s closest orbit to Earth).  Super Moons have been measured to have a greater impact on tides, and likewise our emotional tides will overflow as we will be at the culmination of the current lunar cycle that began with the New Moon conjunct Venus retrograde, at the time of a new cycle between Venus and the Sun. This Pisces Super Moon is straight up loaded, with Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, Neptune in Pisces conjunct the Moon, Mercury in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Mars conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo.   We are at the dawn of a new sense of Venus in our lives, as she has arisen from the underworld and settled into a new phase of her retrograde as a Morning Star signaling sunrise.  As a result, this Pisces Full Moon will reveal to us whether or not our life path and structures currently align with our Venusian rebirth of values and desires.

So often we try to convince ourselves we are living a full, contented life.   But there is always something pulling at our heart; ambition, restlessness, are just its shadows.  And it will go on tearing at our hearts until we start to acknowledge what is missing.

— Peter Kingsley from Reality

Jupiter is at home in Pisces, but instead finds itself in the sign of Virgo opposite the Full Moon in Pisces.  Jupiter as the ruler of this Full Moon is activating a polarity of consciousness more extreme than the typical Full Moon, as the Sun will be united with Jupiter in opposition to the Moon in union with Neptune.  Just like Venus being in a new cycle with the Sun, Jupiter is also now in a new cycle with the Sun, the difference being that Jupiter has been initiated into it’s new solar cycle in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  As a result, Jupiter has passed through a purifying initiation administered in Virgo, giving the new Jupiter cycle an emphasis on productivity, refinement of technique, research, analysis, deepened awareness of language, and discerning vision.  While many have been struggling with difficult emotions surfacing during the recent underworld period of the Venus retrograde, Jupiter’s conjunction with the Sun in Virgo can aid us in seeing through facades and the superficial, helping us envision where to focus going forward to bring us a greater sense of fulfillment aligned with our changing state of Venus.

neptune gdansk

Neptune in Gdansk, Poland

As the polarity between Virgo and Pisces has a lot to do with the reception of spirit in one form or another, in service to one’s ideal, the focus on the here and now of the Sun’s conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo is at odds with the otherworldly quality aroused by the Full Moon united with Neptune in Pisces.  Neptune connects to the infinite, oceanic field and in the sign of Pisces has added imaginal emphasis on the potency of the images surrounding us and emanating from within our imagination.  Neptune in Pisces can be like a siren’s call that leads some to crash under waves of illusion, while for others it can dissolve awareness to flow beyond the rigid confines of consensus culture.  Neptune in Pisces can create storms that flood the structures we have grown accustomed to, forcing our identities to mutate and shift in creation of a new livelihood out of the dissolution of the old and outgrown.  There is a balanced reception to strike between Virgo and Pisces that requires self-realization regarding the illusions of belief we have been drifting through in surrounding culture.  For example, we could be under the sway of social programming from religion such as the pervasive influence of the biblical Garden of Eden leading to feelings of shame or judgmental projections.  Or, perhaps we are caught up in the illusory stock market and a financial system of fabrications fabricating fabrications.

Jupiter in Virgo’s reception of this Pisces Full Moon could lead to a penetrating awareness of deeper meaning in our environment, similar to our first realizations in youth of the false pretenses of authority figures, or the blatant evidence of colonial oppression in our surrounding social structures we had previously been ignorant of.  While the Virgo Sun and Jupiter attunes us to the fluctuations of matter made of soul surrounding us, Neptune in Pisces being lit up with a conjoined Full Moon could tap us into another realm of soul seemingly invisible in our surrounding material world.   It feels important to put the emphasis on grounding the insights that arise in the here and now at this Full Moon, and opening ourselves to an unveiling of what aspects of our recent attachments are illusory and which hold a solid foundation for us.

Scott Young

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

There are real fireworks to this Pisces Full Moon, as Mars is applying to a conjunction with Venus Retrograde and creating a heated underlying energy.  We are a week away from Venus stationing direct, and so the arrival of Mars in Leo to unite with Venus amplifies all of the issues we have been experiencing during this Venus retrograde.  Relationships could become a battleground if we are unable to give space for the transformation of each partner engaged in the dance.  As transiting Venus retrograde is ruling the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, there is an overall emphasis on re-calibrating and re-aligning our relationship dynamics in order for each partner to feel empowered to act and speak authentically.  We need to speak our mind and have our needs met, yet we also will need to be open to the changes our various partners in our various relationships are going through, and avoid attempting to manipulate or control things in order to stave off the necessary mutation.

The Mars conjunction with Venus retrograde in Leo also brings a call to take courage in taking bold steps in asserting yourself in line with the Venus retrograde shiftings experienced in the past month.  We will be receiving a visionary lift at this Full Moon from asteroid goddesses, as Pallas Athena in Sagittarius and Vesta retrograde in Aries will be forming a Grand Fire Trine with the conjunction of Mars and Venus retrograde in Leo.  There is devotion found here to an essential aspect of self uncovered by the Venus retrograde, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius can creatively visualize the next steps to take and wants to lead us into direct action forward.  As there are numerous protest movements building around numerous social justice issues, this Grand Fire Trine also feels auspicious for pinpointing and following through with strategies that inspire others to join the movement.

Full Moon in Pisces

Pier and Ocean (Sea in Starlight) by Piet Mondrian

Since Jupiter and the Sun aligned in Virgo are plugged into Mercury, it is further vital to realize that Mercury is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of this Full Moon in Pisces.  These aspects pull our perception and discernment strongly into the realm of our relationships, both our interpersonal relationships and dynamics within the collective.  Our needs in our most intimate relationships will become obvious and demand attention and expression, and we will need to balance this desire with the same desire arising in our partner.  As Libra also relates to justice, issues related to oppression such as sexism and racism will become even further amplified in the collective with tensions rising between those with opposing viewpoints.

It is wise to bring full attention to issues arising within relationships at this Full Moon with Mercury conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, for at this time Mercury has also entered its retrograde shadow zone in the sign of the scales.  Mercury will be in its retrograde shadow zone for approximately a month, first stationing retrograde on September 17 around 16 degrees of Libra, entering the heart of the Sun on September 30 around 8 degrees Libra, stationing direct on October 9 around 1 degree of Libra, and finally exiting the retrograde shadow zone around October 24, 2015.  This Libran retrograde of Mercury could deepen our relational dynamics and solidify the changes we are beginning to embody from the rebirth of Venus we are now experiencing, but this is a potential outcome that will require cultivation of self-reflection, communication, and listening skills.  If our relationships are badly out of balance at this time, the Mercury retrograde could highlight greater degrees of miscommunication instead of penetrating insight.  As a result the issues arising at this Full Moon are vital to reflect upon going forward into September and October.

Making the alignment of Mercury with the North Node even more potent is the fact that Black Moon Lilith has also recently entered Libra through its mean calculation, and so is conjunct both.  The true node of Black Moon Lilith has previously entered Libra so this is not a completely new phenomenon, but the true node calculation of the actual location of Black Moon Lilith oscillates widely from day to day, and so many astrologers prefer to use the steady, ever progressing forward average calculation of the movement of Black Moon Lilith.  From this perspective, this Pisces Full Moon brings an important ingress of this mean node of Black Moon Lilith into Libra at the same time that Mercury and the North Node of the Moon are also residing there.  Black Moon Lilith brings an added value of what aspects of our Self have previously felt judged, shamed, and even persecuted to such an extent that we have ostracized them in exile away from the personality we take into our daily interactions.  This Full Moon can also therefore shine light on the aspects of our Self we have formerly embodied only at times of complete trust and intimacy, helping us realize it is not only possible but necessary for us to begin to embody these qualities in our mundane, moment to moment interactions in daily life.

First Face of Pisces 8 of Cups

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces I Decan

The Pisces Full Moon is in the first face of Pisces associated with the 8 of Cups in tarot, illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here in this image a hermetic recluse walks away from a watery environment into a mountainous landscape, utilizing a walking stick not unlike a magical staff grounding cosmic awareness into the earth plane.  Above the hermit is an image typically described as a Moon, but I can’t help thinking it also looks like the image of a Sun and Moon in union not unlike an eclipse, not unlike the Solar Eclipse the waning cycle coming after this Full Moon is leading us toward.  The eight cups are stacked in the foreground like a wall or a structural container giving space for penetrating inner awareness, with the base foundation of the stack wider and most solid.  Writing about the 8 of Cups, Kelsey Lynore analyzed that it “marks a significant turning away from tradition and that which has previously given you comfort. Your journey into the future will be long and arduous, leading directly into, and through, the darkness of night. The moon, symbol of the Unconscious, is your sole light and guide. Trust your body, trust your hunches, and trust your intuition. You shan’t be looking back. The 8 of Cups represents that moment when you must say ‘no’ to what is, so that you might create or discover that which will be.”

The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight.  As Austin Coppick wrote in his book on the decans 36 Faces, the “relationship with what lies beyond the boundaries characterizes all of Pisces’ decans,” and in the first face of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions” (p. 244):

Beneath the waves, deep within the labyrinth of images and constructs, lies a revelatory truth- we have always existed in this structure, but we are now only discovering it. When pursued consciously, this phase involves a quest to map invisible walls of reality, to find the subtle structures which guide human life . . .

The discovery of the labyrinth also brings with it the question of its maker, initiating a confrontation with the Demiurgos of the reality structure in question. On a personal level, it is the discovery of our unconscious, and the Maker we find is none other than ourselves . . .

The successful confrontation with the demonized demiurgos leads to an internalization of its power.  In discovering that it was none other than a portion of ourselves which erected this reality, we gain the power to build as we see fit, with what materials we have assembled.  The maze is ours to re-create, our soul the architect.  Yet sometimes the tortuous labyrinth holds within its secret heart a wisdom we did not expect. Its being is no abomination, but exactly as it should be. The realization transforms the structure itself from a prison to a palace. Liberation is achieved here through insight alone.

–Austin Coppock (p. 245) 36 Faces

The Full Moon in Pisces conjunct Neptune, opposite Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, is a culminating point of realization that leads us into a waning lunar cycle tapped into the vortex of the coming Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  We find ourselves in the atmosphere of Venus retrograde reborn as a Morning Star, united with Mars in full morning glory.  We are at a time in which the old and familiar is being eclipsed with finality by guiding lights arising out of darkness on the horizon, as from within prescient, visionary urges are instinctually helping us find our path on the earth at our feet.  Open yourself to the immense beauty of this large, glowing, radiant Moon in Pisces, and the one cherished life you are living.

And who has seen the moon, who has not seen
Her rise from out the chamber of the deep,
Flushed and grand and naked, as from the chamber
Of finished bridegroom, seen her rise and throw
Confession of delight upon the wave,
Littering the waves with her own superscription
Of bliss, till all her lambent beauty shakes toward us
Spread out and known at last, and we are sure
That beauty is a thing beyond the grave,
That perfect, bright experience never falls
To nothingness, and time will dim the moon
Sooner than our full consummation here
In this odd life will tarnish or pass away.

Moonrise by D.H. Lawrence

Pisces Full Moon August 29, 2015

References

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

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

Full Moon in Sagittarius

Full Moon in Sagittarius Angel by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Full Moon in Sagittarius

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 2 is extremely mutable in activity, with the Full Moon square to Neptune in Pisces and the Sun also conjunct Mars and Mercury retrograde in Gemini.  Mutable signs are also known as double-bodied signs, as they each symbolize a different aspect of dualism:  the two fish of Pisces, the twins of Gemini, the winged maiden of Virgo, and the centaur of Sagittarius that is half human and half horse.  The transits at this Full Moon contain something in each of these signs:  Black Moon Lilith in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, Mars, Mercury retrograde, and the Sun in Gemini, and Pallas Athena, Saturn retrograde, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  Since this full lunation illuminates the sign of Sagittarius, it is worthwhile to consider how the other mutable signs impact Sagittarius through transit.

Ah, to be a boundless centaur, galloping freely across meadows and within forests, instinctually acting on animalistic passion and impulse, alive with presence in the moment with attunement to the surrounding natural world.  Sagittarius has a mission of evoking fiery vision that coalesces the duality of spirit and matter, intuitively acting from a place of inner knowing.  Yet this inner knowing can also lead to the shadowy side of Sagittarius that assumes it knows what is right, that does not question if their own personal truth is in conflict with the truth of others, and that expresses their ardor without being aware if their passionate action is transgressing the boundaries of others.  The opposition from Gemini and square from Virgo and Pisces to Sagittarius can bring lessons of humility to temper the narcissistic tendencies of Sagittarius, as well as challenges of discernment and the multiplicity of perspectives present in the ultimate philosophical understanding Sagittarius often strives for.  Despite the untethered bravado of Sagittarius, there is potential for the belief system Sagittarius welds from experience to become dogmatic, and so hard aspects from Virgo, Pisces, and Gemini force the centaur to acknowledge that there are many other belief systems circulating with an equally valid perception of truth to their own.

With such strong Gemini energy now (Mercury retrograde, Sun, Mars all within range of conjunction) the Sagittarius Full Moon could spark a synthesis of all the fragments of mental activity we have been exploring recently into a fresh vision to live from, or create a deepening of understanding along a line of thought we have been developing for some time.  The square from Neptune in Pisces to this Full Moon brings a wave of deliquescence and a challenge to our Sagittarian vision that will cause disillusionment wherever the belief system we are perceiving from is out of alignment with our actual reality.  Events can pull us out of abstract theorizing and into the heat of the moment where we experience the stark effect of acting from our beliefs.  Wars, fights, arguments, and debates rooted in ideological conflict are likely to emerge in this atmosphere, with Neptune cloaking the clashes in a fog of idealism.  Yet with a focused use of our mind, there is also potential for the square from Neptune in Pisces, in tandem with the other aspects present in this Sagittarius Full Moon, to help us penetrate into bodies of knowledge that were previously mysterious and facilitate reception of a profound message.

Full Moon in Sagittarius Ascent by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Full Moon in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter in Leo that is conjunct Juno and forms a Grand Fire Trine with Uranus in Aries, Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  This is an incredibly liberating arrangement of potent creative visualization and progenitive insight.  The trine between Jupiter and Uranus has been with us since last September 2014, and we now have less than a month to enjoy it’s dynamic energy as it’s last exact aspect occurs on the Solstice later this month.  Trines generally require something to kick us into gear to activate them, and so the opposition of the Gemini Sun, Mars, and Mercury retrograde to the Sagittarius Full Moon can do the trick.  Open your mind and seize the moment, for this is an opportune time to be pioneering and initiate bold action to propel you into a new level of development.  If a clear direction is not coming to mind, it can also be a powerful time to brainstorm and mind map as many options as possible in order to realize the choice that will be break you out of a past limiting pattern and into a broadened horizon.

Jupiter in Leo has also been holding compelling aspects to the Pluto and Uranus square, as it is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries and separating from a quincunx with Pluto in Capricorn.  These aspects ask us to take the liberating thoughts and expansive visions associated with Jupiter in Leo and the Grand Fire Trine of this Full Moon, and to discern how to integrate the corresponding gift and message into our surrounding community.  Instead of forcing our will like the idiom of driving a square peg into a round hole, Pluto in Capricorn wants us to figure out how we can use the creative actualization of Jupiter in Leo to meet the needs of our society.  While Pluto in Capricorn does have to do with the tearing down of systems of power, there is still a dominant power structure intact.  Instead of hurling ourselves with anger, shouts, and fists at oppressive powers, these aspects between Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter suggest a more subversive route of figuring out how to infiltrate into networks of the power structure and transform the system from the inside out.

Sagittarius Full Moon with Mercury retrograde in Gemini

by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol

This Full Moon illuminates our experience of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini so far, as it comes a few days after the inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.  In keeping with the symbolism of the Sagittarius archer, the Grand Fire Trine between Jupiter and Juno in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Pallas Athena and the Full Moon in Sagittarius is like an arrowhead on a shaft of opposition to Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun in Gemini, with this Gemini trio in sextile to Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Leo.  There is potent force in these aspects, and as a result it necessitates a mindful presence so we can focus on aiming at targets that will inspire instead of harm others.  To make productive use of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini requires that we actively focus our mind, and if we do so now the recent retrograde rumination will clarify into a reception of meaning that has a transformational impact on us.

As the Sun is separating from Mercury retrograde in Gemini at the time of the Full Moon, it is actively chasing after Mars in Gemini.  The Sun gains ground on Mars by zodiac degree each day in the next two weeks, but Mars will manage to barely stay ahead of the Sun until they finally become conjunct on June 14 at 24° of Gemini.  While Mars this close to the Sun may lead to hot tempers difficult to manage, at this Full Moon there is an inspiring sextile between Mars and Uranus as well as between Mars and Jupiter that can link our will-force to our soul-purpose.  Similar to Jupiter, Mars is forming a quincunx to Pluto in Capricorn at the same time as its harmonious aspect with Uranus in Aries.  This means that by transit there is temporarily a yod formed between Mars in Gemini, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Leo.  Crucially, the trine from Uranus to Jupiter and sextile from Uranus to Mars means that if we push past whatever fear is coming up for us with regards to initiating a new, dynamic step forward in our growth, we will experience an upswell of invigorating force that will lead us into acting from a revitalized belief system that liberates instead of limits us.

Full Moon in Sagittarius II Decan

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The Moon is the ruler of the second decan of Sagittarius, and so the Full Moon on June 2 illuminates the depth of this decan.  The 9 of Wands is the associated card in tarot, and in the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a wounded yet resilient figure brandishing a staff in front of the eight staffs of the previous card, the 8 of Wands, planted in the ground.  It’s as if the rushing, quicksilver visions of the 8 of Wands and the first decan of Sagittarius has brought about conflict from adversaries in the surrounding environment.  Receiving an inspired vision, as we may at this Full Moon, is only the first step in what can be a long and arduous process of manifestation full of conflict.  We are often not aware of all of the obstacles standing in the way of our vision becoming palpable in material form until we decide to take action and strive to make our vision a reality.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces paints the second decan of Sagittarius as being a test of the Sagittarian purpose of unifying manifold elements into a cohesive system, as in this decan “the figures struggle to maintain that unity under the assault of contrary forces” (p. 198):

Yet the trying circumstances depicted in this face are utterly necessary to produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose . . . The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will. There is no hero without a nemesis.  (p. 198)

With Neptune in Pisces being in square to this Sagittarius Full Moon, possessing resilient faith in the unknown and our capacity to adjust to change and collaborate with others for help when necessary will be key.  While Austin Coppock described those that emerge from the conflict of the Sagittarius II decan as being “ruthless, bold, and of undivided will” (p. 200), attempting to aggressively fight back against the forces of Neptune in our way is unlikely to yield us positive results.  Instead, we may need to surrender or let go of something, and in the process of eliminating what no longer serves us or is out of alignment with our experience, we will make space for new inspiration. Anyone who is a writer or artist can also utilize this same energy to imbibe their creations with amplified power.  If we are holding a vision dear to our hearts that is truly good and beautiful for us, it will hold up against the square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces- in this case we need to resiliently stand firm in our fiery desire and spirit.

Full Moon in Sagittarius June 2, 2015 chart

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini Dream Shifting

A Measure of Dreams (1908) by Arthur B. Davies

—When I die, I will see the lining of the world.

The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.

The true meaning, ready to be decoded.

What never added up will add up,

What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.

−And if there is no lining to the world?

If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,

But just a thrush on the branch?  If night and day

Make no sense following each other?

And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?

−Even if that is so, there will remain

A word wakened by lips that perish,

A tireless messenger who runs and runs

Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,

And calls out, protests, screams.

Czeslaw Milosz (1991) MEANING

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

On May 18, a day after a New Moon in Taurus, we enter the second of our thrice yearly Mercury retrograde spells, this one occurring in Gemini.  As the Mercury retrograde periods in 2015 all occur in Air signs, this chapter is significant for being in the mutable sign of Gemini where Mercury makes its home and lifts our minds with winds of inspired language.  Mercury retrogrades are not a time to fear, though being aware that Mercury is setting a different tempo can help us orient to how to make productive use of its potential.  When Mercury appears to move backward from our perspective during its retrograde, it is closer in orbit to us and creates the effect of moving slower.  In correspondence, we gain access to a more magical perception that can decode messages from symbolic patterns in our daily experience.  Following Mercury’s retrograde station, Mercury disappears from our view of it hovering over our horizon and moves into the underworld and the role of guiding us into pivotal inner insights of soul.  In Gemini, Mercury plays up his mischievous trickster side that unveils the folly of those taking themselves too seriously, as well as amplifies our capacity to synthesize a multiplicity of perspectives, philosophies, and observations into shared meaning and unified vision.

Muse,
sing Hermes,
son of Zeus and Maia . . .
. . . [Maia] produced her child,
the very crafty,
the super-subtle
Hermes:
thief,
cattle-rustler,
carrier of dreams,
secret agent,
prowler,
and soon to show his stuff

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury is the in-between archetype capable of seeing both sides of a duality, while mediating the tension of opposites in order to unify meaning.  Mercury in Gemini has been stereotyped as scattered and distracted, yet this curious mental quality continually finds new connections between concepts superficially viewed as disparate.  Mercury is a phallic god of fertility with a fully developed femininity that can take it beyond gender categories, a networker in the upper world of matter who can descend into the underworld and guide souls toward their next incarnation.  There is a depth to Mercury retrograde that is simultaneously full of humorous and serious exploration.  No one in society can escape the tricks Mercury plays, whether they be the chief executive of a large corporation hoarding societal rewards or an alienated, unemployed drifter struggling to survive from day to day.  When Mercury strikes with his flash of light and clever grin, the joke he pulls on you holds a profound lesson to glean in meaning.

This youthfully handsome, friendly, and thievish guide, who possesses magical golden shoes that transport him over earth and sea and a magical staff with which he puts people to sleep and awakens them again- has he not all the characteristics and attributes of a seductive and lethal guide of souls, the gentle Psychopompos of the later monuments?

–Karl Kerenyi (p. 28) Hermes: Guide of Souls

During this Mercury retrograde from 14° to 5° Gemini, one of the most significant themes is the unveiling of the archetype of Neptune in Pisces.  A little over a week before stationing retrograde, Mercury in Gemini formed a square to Neptune in Pisces, and during it’s retrograde phase Mercury will square Neptune again, ultimately stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune.  The day after Mercury stations direct at 5° Gemini, Neptune will station retrograde at 10° Pisces, leading to Mercury creating a third square with a retrograde Neptune in Pisces after moving direct again. Since Neptune in Pisces represents our collective tapestry of consciousness and the unconscious, the square from Mercury in Gemini can lead us to penetrate into the connective details found in the interwoven threads of meaning within the Neptunian fabric surrounding us.  If we open ourselves to the possibility of shifting our future visions, we can experience a re-alignment that sheds what has been disillusioning and re-centers us on the dreams that are most deeply felt and authentic.

As Mercury is also a boundary marker whose presence at entryways and borders is especially illuminated during Mercury retrograde time periods, it is further significant that Saturn, the planet of boundaries, is also retrograde when Mercury shifts direction and in range of an opposition to both the Sun and Mars.  This very same sense of restriction we could feel from Saturn toward the Sun and Mars at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde is the very fuel Mercury will consume in order to stimulate our thoughts beyond previous limitations:

Archetypally, we can see in the image of Hermes a mythical statement of the psyche’s innate tendency to give definition to perceptual and mental horizons, to mark edges, to define spaces. Originally Hermes stood at the edge of known space . . . His sign marked the limit of consciousness. Beyond the boundary lies the unknown, the uncanny, the dangerous, the unconscious. When markers are created and limits set, however, curiosity and explorativeness are also excited and new spaces for exploration and discovery invite the bold and courageous traveler. If Hermes marks the boundary between conscious and unconscious, we have to realize that this boundary is always shifting and in flux; it is mercurial. Background and foreground may instantaneously reverse too, and generate new perceptions, novel insights.

Within the area of the known, containers take shape which are reserved for specific types of human activity, while beyond them lies the “other,” the foreign (even if only temporarily), the taboo, the forbidden, the unclean. Hermes standing at the boundary marks a psychological and sometimes a moral limit and calls special attention to the space being entered or left. When he first appears, he may create a new space by dividing a vast horizon into the “here” and the “beyond,” and thus he creates both consciousness and a new unconscious. His intervention in the perceptual and psychological field creates new possibilities for consciousness, also new edges and boundaries beyond which lie the mysterious “others.” When he disappears, there is a loss of identity and definition.

— Murray Stein from Hermes and the Creation of Space (1999)

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini passage

Two Trees (1875) by Odilon Redon

When I ran barefoot in our gardens by the river Niewiaza

Something was there, that I didn’t then try to name:

Everywhere, between the trunks of linden trees, on the sunny side of the lawn, on the path by the orchard.

A Presence resided, I didn’t know whose.

The air was full of it, it touched me, it held me close.

It spoke to me through the scents of grass, the flute voice of the oriole, the twitter of swallows.

Had I then been taught the names of gods, I would easily have known their faces.

But I grew up in a Catholic family, and so my surroundings were soon teeming with devils, but also with the saints of the Lord.

Yet in truth I felt their Presence, all of them, gods and demons,

As if rising within one enormous unknowable Being.

Czeslaw Milosz (2002) PRESENCE 

Once Mercury has stationed retrograde he ushers us into a darker, deeper, underworld phase of our path, a stage during which our Mercurial perceptions function most strongly with intuition and symbolic awareness of patterns perceived in our journeys by day as well as at night in our dreams.  We enter a liminal space of shifting speed that slows things down enough to take in a deeper examination of the underlying patterns we have been living from.  This is a time in which our minds can be more free than normal to take in new insight, and we can ultimately emerge from the period with a revitalized perception.  In a Mercury retrograde it matters less that you have constructed a rationally balanced argument to support your position, and matters more that you have described your perspective with poetic imagery that can strike at the hearts of your audience.

Mercury retrograde is also a time of synchronicity, and in this way we are fortunate that this Mercury retrograde in Gemini begins with the Moon applying to a conjunction with Mercury in the sign of the Twins.  The Moon uniting with Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde increases our capacity to orient ourselves to the changes that will be coinciding with the Mercury retrograde and to begin to attune to the meaning that will be taking shape for us.  There is also an expansive quality to the stationing of Mercury found in the sextile between Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and since Jupiter in Leo is also in trine to Uranus in Aries it signifies that this coming Mercury retrograde could coincide with dramatic breakthroughs in thought that take us to a new level of thinking in whatever realm we have been exploring.  The less we can be tied and bound to rigid, fixed belief systems, and the more we can liberate ourselves from past dogmatic thinking, the better we will be able to access the potential of this Mercury retrograde that appears to be very impressive in the field of creative thought and communication.

The Sun and Mars joining Mercury in Gemini is another important theme, and at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde the Sun and Mars are in range of an opposition to Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, with Mars separating from an opposition to Saturn and the Sun applying to an opposition with Saturn.  Mars in Gemini is full of mental activity, and it’s inquisitive nature could spark us to intellectually challenge authorities in our field of interest.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is retrograde, we could experience a de-conditioning from belief systems that have not been authentically resonant for us through exploring exciting new sources of knowledge.  As Mars separates from it’s opposition to Saturn it will begin to form an exact square with Neptune in Pisces, and so this tension can compel us to go deeper into metaphysical study of our subject.  In particular, the combination of Mercury retrograde in Gemini uniting with Mars direct in Gemini will feed our ability to create new categories and definitions of meaning that will both expand and intensify any subject we sustain focus on.  If we are full of hubris or living in an illusion, the square between Mars in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces could result in a great Mercury retrograde joke being played on us that reveals the foolishness of our ways.

Also during the initial phase of Mercury retrograde, transiting Venus in Cancer will claim center stage by triggering the Uranus and Pluto square with an opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and a square to Uranus in Aries.  These stressful, growth-oriented aspects to Venus will give Mercury retrograde a lot of material to work with, and if you are a writer there could be incredible depth to access and process through your craft.  Venus triggering the Pluto and Uranus square will uncover our emotional needs and insecurities we have been overcompensating for in one way or another.  Significant memories could arise to process that connect back to any point within the series of seven squares between Pluto and Uranus that have been in range since 2011.  This is fortuitous in both the healing and creative realms, as memory is a fertile source from which the Mercury retrograde can weave new meaning from the release of old thought forms.  The connection between Mercury with memory and creativity can be found in the Homeric hymn to Hermes, where it is revealed that Hermes is a follower of the Titaness of memory, and mother of muses, Mnemosyne:

Suddenly [Hermes] started playing the lyre
louder, reciting a prelude-
and the sound accompanying him
was lovely-
about the immortal gods
and the dark earth,
how they were in the beginning,
and what prerogatives each one had.
And the first of the gods
that he commemorated with his song
was Mnemosyne, Mother of Muses,
for the son of Maia
was a follower of hers.

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury Retrograde Inferior Conjunction

Vision (1883) by Odilon Redon

That boundless substance,

different, in any case, from

the flight of a crane, the gait of a tiger,

the underwater gambols of sperm whales.

In dreams I saw cities of gas and metal,

unceasing fabric of the mind.

Music of the spheres, music of violins and flutes.

That, which endures,

while they are born and die.

Higher than the blind energies of matter,

higher than currents running in the body

of eel, piranha, shark, so they may open

their jaws and devour their catch.

A temple full of little gods and demons,

with a vast number of nicknames and tails.

Czeslaw Milosz (2003)

The Inferior Conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Gemini, the point of conception for a freshly synthesized vision, occurs at 9:56 am Pacific Standard Time on May 30, 2015 at nine degrees of Gemini.  Gemini is one of the mutable, double-bodied signs, perhaps through the image of the twins being the most exemplary sign of the human tendency toward dualistic thinking.  Just like the heaven of connecting with another human we consider to be a kindred spirit, soul mate, twin flame, . . . etc . . . it can be the deeply felt experience of our own personal patterns being mirrored back to us through another that sparks an epiphany of self-realization, and demonstrates how the interplay between twins can coalesce transcendent thought.  At the inferior conjunction we have a magical moment to achieve a one-pointed focus of the unity that holds duality within it, that bridges a multiplicity of meaning to a unified perspective, and that guides us into an insightful realization about our soul and associated patterns.  This is a time to meditate or surrender to Hermes the Psychopomp, as we allow the message of the moment to soak into our core and revivify our perception.

The Sabian Symbol for 9° Gemini where Mercury’s inner union with the Sun occurs is “A QUIVER FILLED WITH ARROWS,” and fittingly had a double meaning to Dane Rudhyar.  On the lower level, this symbol represents the human capacity “to extend the scope of his conquest of nature and kill enemies in order to build a larger base for the collective development of a culture and an organized society” (p. 95).  Since a quiver of arrows suggests the existence of a target to aim at, this symbol also represents the penetrating potential of the human mind to go through the target toward which it aims, destroying the obstacles on its path.  At a higher level, Rudhyar likened this symbol to the “Zen practice of archery” in which “the obstacle is the ego” (p. 95).  The unifying concept of this symbol to Rudhyar is “CONQUEST,” whether it is applied to conquering the external world or the restrictive influence of the ego on our inner world. During this Mercury retrograde, it is best to remember Rudhyar’s conjecture of conquest, as the moment our ego grabs hold of us in order to win a debate at all costs, is the moment that the staff of Hermes could suddenly strike and enfold us in a joke of which we are the punchline.  The more we can sustain a collaborative, creative air between us and those holding sharply contrasting opinions, we will be better able to avoid the pitfalls of dispute that stresses more so than enlivens.  The inspiring potential we find here is that by listening to opinions coming from drastically different perceptions to our own, we can fertilize tremendous growth of knowledge from within.

With the Sun and Mercury exactly conjunct in Gemini and in square to Neptune in Pisces, with Mars in Gemini in sextile to Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, we have a regenerating, liberating well to drink from within us even though the current events dominating the global stage are filled with instability, violence, discord, and oppression.  An image that comes to my mind in association with the strong Gemini energy of the Sun, Mercury retrograde, and Mars is that of a WITNESS to life in all of its complex depth, a witness who is then willing to serve as a messenger to inform the surrounding society about what is going on in secrecy behind the proverbial locked doors Mercury can open for us.  When we express the full story we are witnessing within and around us, we beam our light into the collective matrix and move others with the emotive, wakening wind of Mercury.

“World” can be a comprehensive idea if as an autonomous entirety it accommodates the observer as if he were moving about in the world he normally is surrounded by.  The world of the Iliad or that of the Odyssey accommodates us in this way.  Every such world, however, is at the same time a worked-out idea of the world that existed already prior to this expression of it and that lent itself to the finished expression of the idea.  There can be no “world”- even if it is the purely spiritual epiphany of an intellectually luminous god- which is not “worldly,” that is, which does not function as a space to contain the content of the revelation in a fitting way.  If a god is “idea” and “world,” he remains nonetheless in connection with the world that contains all such “worlds”; he can be only an “aspect of the world” while the world of which he is an aspect possesses such idea-aspects. Indeed, it has the ability to shine forth in its totality as idea, it possesses the light of the idea, and is itself in its own way lighted and clear . . . “Light” and “clear” in the sense of “world-like” – and therefore convincing – could also be the idea of Hermes.

— Karl Kerenyi (p. 69) Hermes:  Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini stationing direct

Germination by Odilon Redon (1890-96)

To find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. Not to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in prosperity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness.

Czeslaw Milosz (1981-1983)

After Mercury separates from its inner merging with the Sun, the Sun moves on to initiate a conjunction with Mars in Gemini, as Mercury begins its shifting ways again and starts to station direct. The Sun conjoining Mars in Gemini constellates images of a warrior of words, a passionate poet, an intellectual activist who refuses to collude with oppressive powers and instead expresses her voice in defiance to surrounding injustice.  The Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini as Mercury stations direct germinates our desires with inquisitive thoughts that can reveal new meaning for us through the juxtapositions of language and philosophies we encounter.  At the same time the Sun and Mars are coming together in Gemini, Mercury is stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune that is also stationing retrograde simultaneously.  We have had four years so far to experience the meaning of Neptune in Pisces by transit, and in the first couple of weeks in June 2015 we can receive illumination of any Neptunian illusions that have been sourcing our conditioned beliefs.  As an illusion of Neptune is unveiled, in the winged steps of Mercury we will be able to experience a sharper sense of clarity and direction to follow forward.

In this final phase of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Gemini, one of the most significant transits is the ingress of Venus into the fiery, solar sign of Leo during the first week of June.  Venus in Leo ignites a creative actualization of the mental contents the Mercury retrograde has been brewing, and by the time Mercury stations direct Venus in Leo will have passed through a beautiful sextile to Mercury in Gemini.  There is a potent re-integration available at this upcoming stationing direct of Mercury at five degrees of Gemini, that can unbind and untether us from restrictive thought patterns.  This potential release can be seen in the transits of the Moon conjoining Uranus in Aries at the time of Mercury stationing direct, with the Moon-Uranus conjunction in Aries being in sextile to the Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini and in trine to the Jupiter-Juno conjunction in Leo.  Within this magical mix of astrological aspects, Mercury will arise from the underworld at dawn and with a flash of light illuminate our waking horizon as our Morning Star again.

Hermes, draw near, and to my pray’r incline,
Angel of Jove, and Maia’s son divine;
Prefect of contest, ruler of mankind,
With heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
Celestial messenger of various skill,
Whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill.
With winged feet ’tis thine thro’ air to course,
Emblems of Mercury O friend of man, and prophet of discourse;
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine
In arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine.
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain,
Of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,
Corucian, blessed, profitable God.
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find,
Emblems of Mercury And in necessities to mortals kind.
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,
Be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace,
Give graceful speech, and memory’s increase.

–from the Orphic Hymn translated from the Greek by Thomas Taylor (1824)

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References

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

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Stein, Murray. (1999).  Hermes and the Creation of Space.

Full Moon of Beltane

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Wind_Blown_Grass_Across_the_Moon_-_Utagawa_Hiroshige_(Ando)

Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon by Hiroshige

Merry Beltane to One and All. The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 3 falls at the potent middle degrees of Taurus and Scorpio, marking the cross-quarter time between the Equinox and Solstice known as Beltane (traditionally celebrated on May 1).  In the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane marks initiation into the full season of Spring with rituals such as the maypole dance symbolizing the procreative merging of feminine and masculine energies.  Beltane was a time to take romantic and sexual license, a time of passionate affairs rather than being bound to the institution of marriage that in the past had little to do with passion or love.  At Beltane lovers made love in fields of blooming flowers, drank from and luxuriated in the pure water of wells, and honored the sacred pleasures of their bodily form.  This Scorpio Full Moon activates a potent field of energy released in the past season of eclipses and the initiation of the first quarter square between Uranus and Pluto, and we can take this Beltane message of natural time to heart as collectively we have been facing calamitous and chaotic current events.  Events such as the massive earthquake in  Nepal can strike us with fear at our core, yet also compel our hearts to open with unified response for reparation.  Instead of fearing the destructiveness of nature, or feeling guilty over our own natural desires, this Scorpio Full Moon asks us to bravely open ourselves to the full spectrum of feelings, including the difficult ones, of what it means to be a soul incarnated in our human form.

Classical and esoteric astrology view Mars as the ruler of this Scorpio Full Moon, and transiting Mars in Taurus is in a wide trine to Pluto in Capricorn, the ruler of this Scorpio Full Moon to many modern systems of astrology.  Mars, Pluto, and the Moon are all in significant aspect to astrological symbols of the Primal Feminine:  the Full Moon is conjunct the Lilith asteroid in Scorpio,  Mars is conjunct the fixed star Algol (associated with the decapitated head of Medusa), and Pluto is in a Grand Earth Trine with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo and the Sun in Taurus.  All together this signifies the powerful passion of femininity that in patriarchal conditioning became distorted into the whore and the devouring mother archetypes, and signals a time to honor the archetype of the Great Goddess who is a force of nature behind both our creation and destruction.  As we are also at a collective cultural time of gender questioning becoming more prevalent and distinctions between masculine and feminine less important to many, it nonetheless is important to reflect upon the symbolism of wild women archetypes such as Lilith and  Medusa and how they have been repressed and alienated in dominant cultural paradigms.

In this realm of our collective unconscious, it is further fascinating that this Scorpio Full Moon completely activates Neptune in Pisces, a fertile symbol of our collective past religious and spiritual history.  The Scorpio Full Moon is in trine to transiting Neptune in Pisces, and it is square to the North Node (Leo) and South Node (Aquarius) of Neptune.  We can receive illumination that destroys the illusion of our past patterns of belief and that assists us in re-aligning with the truth of the experiences flowing through our life.  For example, for those living in a culture dominated by a religion such as Christianity, we can more sharply sense the far reaching influence of source text such as the Garden of Eden story with Original Sin and the resulting feelings of guilt that can overcome us when feeling natural desires. These past patterns of belief can also be embedded in any aspect of the dominant cultures surrounding you since birth that helped influence your development.  As a result, we could find this playing out within our current career pursuits or relationships in one way or another, all around the concept of a dissolution of our past fixated perspective and the potential for disillusionment upon realizing that certain aspects of our reality are not what they previously seemed to us.  In the cosmic grand scheme of things, whatever dissolution of past beliefs is occurring now is vital to digest and discover meaning from.

Félix_Vallotton_-_Das_blühende_Feld

Felix Vallotton (1912) The Blooming Field

Insight into the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio can be found through the 4th Ray of esoteric astrology that means “harmony through conflict.”  Here “conflict” relates to the myriad complexes and contradictions we experience while incarnated in the flesh of our human bodies, while the “harmony” relates to the growth of consciousness we cultivate through passing through the intensity of our life and becoming more heart-centered.  Venus rules Taurus in all systems of astrology, and in evolutionary astrology it is the “inner Venus” that that aligns with our most deeply felt values.  Venus draws us into desires of pleasure, such as being surrounded by matter we consider beautiful, delighting in food that brings good feeling to our body, or lavishing in the passionate merging of our flesh with our lover.  A fixed sign, Taurus is rigid when these desires we attach to become so crystallized that we cling to them in resistance of change, even if we are at a point of dormancy in our life in need of stirring and shifting.  In Scorpio we find the death and destruction of form that opens us to the possibility of rebirth or transformation.  Yet again, fear of losing our fixated attachments can lead us into attempting to control situations to ward off the inflow of chaos.  For example in relationships, out of fear of being betrayed or abandoned by a lover we can go out of our way to control situations by any means necessary to stay in favor with our desired partner or manipulate them to not end a relationship we truly may need to let go of..

This Scorpio Full Moon holds a tight square from Jupiter in Leo that signifies the expansive growth opportunities demanding that we change and stop resisting what needs to shift now.  Jupiter is moving direct now and applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, an electrifying aspect that will be intensifying over the next month.  In addition, the Scorpio Full Moon is also applying to a sextile with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn.  Jupiter in Leo in trine to Uranus in Aries calls us to expand thought and desires beyond our normal restrictive boundaries of Saturn and be open to the otherworldly music of spheres playing in the dimensions we normally filter out.  Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries bring the consuming fire of creative actualization that wants us to boldy embody and express our deep authenticity in our day-to-day life.  The blocks we feel toward expression of this energy could feel incredibly frustrating at this Full Moon, so trust that it’s placement in Scorpio is helping to transform the current impediments.  With Mars continuing to be in Taurus and separating from it’s trine with Pluto, we need to patiently continue on the path calling to us with relentless determination.  Drawing from the trine of the Full Moon to Neptune in Pisces, we need faith that by staying committed to our desire for creative actualization we will eventually manifest it.

There is additional assistance for grounded application of our core desires through the Grand Earth Trine between the Sun in Taurus, Black Moon Lilith in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn.  The facilitator of this Grand Earth Trine is Vesta in Pisces, as Vesta is conjunct Chiron, opposite Black Moon Lilith,  and in sextile to both Pluto and the Sun.  Vesta here brings up issues of how sacred sexuality and the sacred feminine became conditioned by dogmatic religious programming across centuries, resulting in people feeling guilt for wanting to express their natural sexuality.  It further connects to any strong desires that we find ourselves repressing because of fear of judgment by dominant culture belief systems. This all aligns with the split between matter and spirit in the worldview of many, meaning that instead of sensing how spirit is embedded in our bodies and matter, people instead analyze spirit as being separate from matter.  The point is that no matter how difficult our current predicament, or how far from our desired outcome we sense we are in this moment, there are potent aspects to this Full Moon spotlighting how to take a strident step forward in the direction we wish to flow.

Serusier_-_the_talisman

Paul Serusier (1888) Le Talisman

Our two inner personal planets, Mercury and Venus, are both in Gemini at the time of this Full Moon and paramount to take into consideration.  Mercury is in it’s home sign of Gemini and separating from an opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, meaning that in the days leading up to the Full Moon we would have felt an intensification of serious thought and challenges to cultivate our curiosity with studious research. Yet since Mercury will have separated from its opposition to Saturn by the time the Full Moon is activated, it means the full lunation energy will be more akin to the reflective relief following intense preparation for an examination or project.

In addition, in the days leading up to the Full Moon, Mercury is approaching the boundary of extreme declination, and in the days following the Full Moon Mercury will cross the threshold of being out of bounds in extreme declination.  Mercury will remain out of bounds until May 19, meaning that in the next couple of weeks our minds will be more free to wander in far off directions than normal.  Thus Mercury separating from an opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius is like our Mercurial minds being given an important assignment to contemplate, and once free from facing its taskmaster Mercury gains the freedom to independently take initiative of thought.  Mercury during this time is in it’s Evening Star phase that Demetra George has compared to Mercury’s exaltation in the sign of Virgo, as it gives us the ability to reflect upon past experiences and patterns and synthesize new understanding.  With Mercury at home in Gemini it should be an auspicious time for work with words and communication.

This is important to keep in mind, because around the same time that Mercury returns from being out of bounds, Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini at fourteen degrees on May 18, 2015.  Mercury will then remain retrograde in Gemini until June 11, 2015 when it stations at five degrees of Gemini.  This means that following this Scorpio Full Moon, Mercury will enter it’s retrograde shadow zone.  It also means that during this retrograde time period Mercury will square Neptune in Pisces three different times.  Look to the house of your birth chart and aspects made involving four to fourteen degrees of Gemini to gain more awareness of how you can be impacted by the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase, as well as the house holding the other Mercury-ruled sign of Virgo.  This Scorpio Full Moon has an important insight to receive in preparation for the upcoming Mercury retrograde period, especially related to your current relationship with transiting Neptune in Pisces.

Things get even wilder when we consider Venus, as Venus in Gemini will be out of bounds in extreme declination for the entire month of May.  At the time of the Full Moon, Venus will be in the third decan of Gemini, separating from a square to Chiron in Pisces.  This means that last week held more of the full on intensity of this square between an out of bounds Venus and Chiron, and indeed as the exact square was approaching the volatile riots broke out in Baltimore, Maryland in protest to the death of Freddie Gray.  After Venus passed beyond the degrees of squaring Chiron, Maryland State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced that the police officers involved in the incident would be put on trial for manslaughter, stating “I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man . . . Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come.”  After this announcement that seemed to echo from the voice of Lady Justice herself, the violence quelled.   Similarly on a personal level, we could have had personal issues that became enflamed this past week seemingly beyond our control at times. By applying the mental synthesizing ability of Venus in Gemini with the determined preparation that can come from Mercury in Gemini opposite Saturn in Sagittarius, we can now move forward with a plan of action to remedy whatever was previously wounding.

rider-waite-six-of-cups

6 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

The Scorpio Full Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  The Moon in traditional astrology is considered to be in it’s “fall” in Scorpio, and let’s face it- in relationships Scorpio partners have the stereotypical reputation of being incredibly intense and bombastic.  For this reason I love applying the sweet image above to Scorpio and looking through it’s window into the child-like innocence that is really at the heart of the hurricane of emotions that can overtake a Scorpio Moon when hurt.  The image above displays a pure sense of giving for the pleasure of giving and witnessing the joy of receiving upon the face of the recipient.  In his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces, astrologer Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan:

The dynamic suggested by the children [in the 6 of Cups image] 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. 181).

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). For example, when writing about the Moon placed in the Scorpio II decan, Coppock wrote that intense emotional needs can overwhelm the individual and cause them to coerce partners out of their desire for intimate union.  With the Full Moon in the Scorpio II decan we therefore have potential to open to a deeper level of fulfillment in relationship, as long as we use discernment in order to establish interchange with partners who will focus more on mutual satisfaction rather than destruction.

Finally, the focus on concretizing circuits of exchange in the Scorpio II decan parallels the image associated with the Sabian symbol for fourteen degrees of Scorpio where the Full Moon falls:  “Telephone linemen at work installing new connections.”  Dane Rudhyar analyzed this symbol as being about the establishment of “new channels of communication,” as well as the wise use of our means of interchange.  In light of the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio embedded in this Full Moon, we have a message here to merge into wider networks of community through the use of new technology and developments in communication.  As we move out of inner isolation into outer exchange with others, we will be better able to attune to the needs of both our local and global environment and what abilities we possess that can serve those needs in some way.  The square from Leo in Jupiter to this Scorpio Full Moon is pushing us to step out and move forward on our path with creative expression and emboldened belief in our ability to manifest our deepest desires. We will create a win-win scenario for ourselves and the greater good when we link our creative manifestation to the actual needs of our surrounding environment.

BeltaneFullMoonWRIGC6A

References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.