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)

MercuryStationRetroWRIGC2A

MercuryInferiorConjunctWRIGC1A

MercuryStationDirectWRIGC3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

New Moon in Aries

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Paul Klee (1929) Strong Dream

The quality of each New Moon helps guide our intention setting accordingly, and the New Moon of April 18, 2015 is active, bold, and deeply shifting.  Occurring in Aries at the 29th degree, this New Moon has the fitting sabian symbol of the “Music of the Spheres.” To Dane Rudhyar this meant finding our part to play on our path within the evolution of life on our planet, as “the immense Chord of the harmony of the universe” resounds around us (An Astrological Mandala, p. 70).  This Aries New Moon will produce a Plutonic chord that will strike us at a core level, as it is ruled by Mars in Taurus and Pluto will have stationed in Capricorn during the dark of the Moon leading up to the New Moon.  On April 16, 2015 Pluto stations retrograde at 15°33′ of Capricorn, and it will remain retrograde until September 24, 2015 when it stations direct at 12°59′ of Capricorn.  Saturn is the only other retrograde planet impacting us now, yet this is paramount to reflect upon as Saturn signifies our structures and conditioning, and when Saturn appears to move backward from our perspective on Earth it opens us to the potential of re-structuring our lives and consciousness while in a process of our past conditioning being stripped away.  Pluto stationing to move retrograde in timing with this Aries New Moon amplifies the potency of Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius when we confront the past conditioning of our societal and belief system influences at a core, soul level.  Along these lines it is important to realize that the South Node of Saturn is in Capricorn, and so Saturn is deeply bound for us to these past societal conditioning influences on our soul and personality.

Part of societal conditioning often involves influencing people to ambitiously pursue self-rewards within the existing power structure, whether that be through monetary and material trappings or public recognition.  Instead, in accordance with the music made by the spheres of this New Moon we can tune into the evolving needs of our environment and the people living in our global society, discerning the attributes we possess that can serve some of these needs.  We need to be careful of past conditioning influences that make us hold back from the visions that can make both ourselves and others feel more fulfilled within:  if we notice we are afraid to pursue something because of not having enough money or social status, we need to be aware of how we could be severely restricting not only our future life, but the future lives of others we would bring joy and inspiration to by pursuing our desired vision.  This New Moon follows the past Moon cycles of eclipses, and we are working with a potent energy field that has not only called us to let go of past attachments, but also to welcome in a new vision of a more fulfilling and authentic life we can live.  At this Aries New Moon, we only need to focus on setting an intention to manifest the life we want to live:  there are numerous astrological aspects in the coming months to help us figure out how to make it happen on a more practical and grounded level.

The personal planets Mars, Mercury, and Venus are all extremely significant guides for us in the coming Moon cycle, Mars in particular as the ruler of the New Moon, and Mercury applying to a conjunction with Mars in Taurus at the time of the New Moon.  Mars in Taurus has a grounded, determined quality that can help us patiently build our new structure brick by brick with great care and attention to our inner pleasure in the process.  Mercury in the days following the New Moon will become an Evening Star again and shift into the phase of it’s cycle that can help us reflect upon and integrate all of the deep material of our psyche that was stirred up recently by the eclipses and the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Mars and Mercury together in Taurus are crucially in trine to the stationing Pluto in Capricorn, and are also in square to a conjunction of Jupiter and Juno in Leo.  These aspects can activate an assertive actualization of our creativity in pursuit of expansive conceptions for ourselves and within our relationships with others, and our actions along these lines will be more effective when rooted in genuineness rather than self-glamour.   The trine between Pluto with the conjunction of Mars and Mercury means the deeply felt reverberations of our soul that have coincided with Pluto stationing in square to Uranus can help fertilize and seed goals and purpose aligned with our inner values instead of outwardly conditioned values.

Mercury in Taurus is furthermore in a mutual reception with Venus in Gemini through the semi-sextile aspect between them, another indication of magic being available when we center on a path forward to bring us inner pleasure. Most noteworthy in connection to Venus in Gemini, Venus at this Aries New Moon is opposite Saturn in Sagittarius and their opposition creates a t-quare with Neptune in Pisces.  This aspect accentuates the tension between our fantasies and reality that has come up with the square between Saturn and Neptune in the past couple of months, and in the waning Moon cycle in between the Lunar Eclipse on April 4 and the New Moon of April 18, we have had to confront the aspects of our desired dream that needed to be adjusted and re-aligned with our actual reality.  Yet the containment of an active, inquisitive Venus in Gemini within the structure of Saturn also serves as a container to hold an expansion of our consciousness.  It’s like when you find someone you fall so deeply in love with that you know you want to devote yourself to them exclusively, instead of feeling restricted by solely desiring them in contrast to the plethora of other potential romantic partners in your environment, you feel radiantly alive and bursting with new growth and potential from within.  Neptune in Pisces in square to this opposition between Venus in Gemini and Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius calls us to dissolve the conditioned belief systems we have held around our outer relationships and inner values, and open our heart and mind to receive more bliss as we release the limiting beliefs about ourselves we realize now were delusional.

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Falling Star (1884) by Witold Pruszkowski

Venus goes “out of bounds” in extreme declination following the New Moon, adding a wild, rebellious vibe to the expansively curious qualities put on by Venus while in her time in the sign of Gemini.  Additionally, Venus is an especially vivid Evening Star of sheer brilliance for us at night now. Though briefly tempered by her transit through the t-square with Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, Venus will remain out of bounds for the rest of April and through May, meaning she will be more likely than normal to do as she pleases.  The intentions we seed at this New Moon carry the quality of the t-square between Venus, Neptune, and Saturn, however, and some deep soul searching and questioning can arise in correlation.   Since Venus is also in trine to the North Node of the Moon in Libra, and sextile the South Node of the Moon in Aries, whatever is getting stirred up for us with this transit is going to be nutritive for soulful strengthening and personal evolution. One significant archetype that connects with the t-square between Venus, Saturn, and Neptune and this theme of a dark night of the soul leading to personal redemption is Lilith.  The Lilith asteroid #1181 is at 16° of Scorpio and so creates an additional t-square through being opposite the Mars and Mercury conjunction in Taurus and in square to Jupiter in Leo.  In addition, Black Moon Lilith is at 16° Virgo and forming a Grand Earth Trine with Pluto stationing in Capricorn and Mars conjunct Mercury in Taurus.

On the one hand, Lilith symbolizes our core wound of rejection, wherever we have felt excluded by others, ostracized, or unaccepted.  This is most prevalent in the t-square created by the Lilith asteroid in Scorpio with Jupiter in Leo and the Mars and Mercury conjunction in Taurus.  This can also connect with where we have felt oppressed by the dominant culture, such as through sexism, racism, or any other form of persecution.  The more we can become aware of this wound and realize it’s impact on us through contemplation, the more we can open to resolution and redemption through the Grand Earth Trine created by Black Moon Lilith in Virgo with Pluto and the Mars-Mercury conjunction.  In the process of contemplating our past wounds of rejection, we will realize how we have projected this personal suffering onto others or attempted to distract ourselves from our personal pain through pursuits that are more about escapism than connecting with the deeper recesses of our soul.  As a result we can strip away these aspects we discern are false about ourselves, and re-focus on the qualities we recognize as being embedded in our essential nature.  When we live from our authenticity, we discover the quality of Lilith that does what she wants to do for her Self and those she cares about and does not care about accommodating or pleasing others when it does not feel genuine to do so.

A further facilitator of our healing at this Aries New Moon is Vesta in Pisces, as Vesta is exactly conjunct Neptune in Pisces and so acting as a mediating agent between the transpersonal, otherworldly Neptune, the intimately personal Venus in Gemini, and the societal conditioning Saturn in Sagittarius.  Vesta is devotional and capable of sustaining incredible focus as a container of Spirit, and so brings us a greater capacity to tap into the oceanic field of Neptune with our perception in order to receive guidance in how to liberate ourselves from the past conditioning signified by Venus being opposite Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Vesta in this position can also involve breaking with past conditioning concerning our belief systems around our sexuality, including religious conditioning, so that we become unashamed to express our sexuality in whatever way is sacred for us.  Vesta has the diligence and discipline to stand firm within the constriction of Saturn and the dissolving of Neptune and channel charged, purifying energy for us to express through Venus.

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4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The Aries III Decan where the New Moon occurs is associated with the Four of Wands card in tarot, illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith as holding two female figures hoisting fragrant flowers in celebration under a garland and within a container of four sturdy rods, with a bridge and a castle-like structure in the background.  The Aries III decan is ruled by Venus, and Austin Coppock in 36 Faces noted that Eros was also attached to this decan in the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.   Coppock analyzed this decan as signifying “The Burning Rose” as it’s symbol, as it holds “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions” (p. 64).  Coppock discerned that we find in the final decan of Aries “the power of art to overcome hostility,” such as the ability of a singer, speaker, comedian, or dancer on stage to transcend the hostility of an audience through their heartfelt performance that can inspire and arouse the passions of an unruly crowd (p. 64).  Yet Coppock cautions:

There is a remarkable potency here-  to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.  Yet the bonds that form here often require that intensity to endure.  The bond shared by military men, the celebrated esprit de corps, decays outside of war’s pressures.  The audience members soon forget the performers who so moved them.  In love’s battlefield, once the friction and fire of the first conjunctio, with its terror and elation, have subsided, the lamp of raw passion burns low.  A less volatile fuel is required for the flame to continue on.  ( p. 65)

Thus it is imperative for our burning Venusian passions that can be aroused at this time to channel the ecstatic heights of Eros into our creativity and relationships with the presence of mind to ground back into our more mundane reality and work with the more earthy energy signified by Mars in Taurus that rules this New Moon and is conjunct Mercury.  Again, an excellent guide for this facilitation is Vesta, the master of sustaining our inner fire, as she is exactly conjunct Neptune in Pisces and in square to Venus in Gemini and Saturn in Sagittarius at this New Moon.  Vesta brings with her the type of inner contemplation that Dane Rudhyar felt was imperative to attune with the cosmic order expressed through “The Music of the Spheres” symbol of this New Moon:

The message to the seeker for meaning which is implied in this symbol is TO LISTEN TO THE INNER VOICE; to listen without personalizing this Voice in a glamor-producing manner.  It is the Voice of the Whole, of which one begins to realize that one is a tiny little part- yet a significant part, for every note of the universal Chord has its place and its ineradicable meaning.  (Rudhyar, p. 70)

There is an epic symphony playing to lend your harmony to:  through your participation you will help create it’s next movement.

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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.

Neptune stations in Pisces

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The image above from Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds centers around a moment of epiphany, an opening of consciousness resonant with the dissolving of personal structures that can occur when Neptune stations direct as it has now at five degrees of Pisces.  People love to write about the Age of Aquarius, but Neptune stationing direct is a reminder that we remain in the Age of Pisces, an age dominated by harrowing experiences of war rooted in conflict between idealistic ideologies.  Ashes and Diamonds is set in Poland on the last day of World War II, a war in which Poland passed through unspeakable terror during its time of Nazi occupation and concentration camps that haunt collective memories with agonies incapable of description.  On the day of events in Ashes and Diamonds, modest celebrations over the end to the war occur in air saturated with the heavy fog of lingering trauma and the encroachment of the Soviet state on Polish independence.  Immediately prior to the image above inside a bombed church, the Lovers shown here discover an engraved fragment of a poem by the legendary Polish poet Cyprian Norwid: 

From you, as from burning chips of resin,
Fiery fragments circle far and near:
Ablaze, you don’t know if you are to be free,
Or if all that is yours will disappear.

Will only ashes and confusion remain,
Leading like storm into the abyss? Or will there be
In the depths of the ash a star-like diamond,
The dawning of eternal victory!

The phoenix of transformation found within these words fits our current astrological climate.  When pondering the nature of an archetypal force such as Neptune stationing, it is important to consider the surrounding astrological context: new cycle of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, Mars triggering the approaching square between Pluto and Uranus in Aries, new cycle between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio, a Leo Jupiter in square to the Sun, Saturn, and Venus in Scorpio, and Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Moreover, making the exact timing of this Neptune stationing more palpable on a personal level was that the Moon was in Virgo opposite Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces as the planetary symbol of oceanic consciousness stood still from our Earth-bound perspective.  Easing our ability to integrate meaning from all of this, Mercury has regained full strength as a Morning Star, re-emerging from it’s retrograde shadow zone to form a harmonious trine with both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.

Images are a realm of Neptune, and cinema in particular resonates with the myriad meanings of Neptune’s archetype.  Looking at the image from Ashes and Diamonds above, those who grew up immersed within the United State’s Hollywood will recognize the archetypal rebel stance drawing perplexed interest from a lover (and indeed, the actor Zbigniew Cybulski playing the lead was known as the “James Dean of Polish Cinema” and experienced an early traumatic death).  This scene unveils a Neptunian dissolution of interior structures and complexes, as each character had previously experienced an unlocking of inner vaults in the union of their embrace. The heart-centered words of a poet are another entry point into Neptune, and after hearing this poem recited from the lips of his desired lover, the lead character opens to the awareness that he could be leading a different life from a different form of consciousness. In the same scene, surrounded by ruins of wars and relics of dominant religion, he expresses that as he had never before realized he could fall in love he also had never thought that his life could be arranged around something different than his own pure survival.

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Ewa Krzyżewska reading Norwid’s poem in Ashes and Diamonds

Neptune’s symbolic association with water relates to the dissolution of former structures of our self and reality we experience under a Neptunian wave. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

The tragedy of Ashes and Diamonds and the tragedy of many lives is that we label the epiphany the illusion, call the realization a magical fantasy as if magic can not truly happen.  Yet while attempting to re-adapt to our former perspective that was not so discontinuous with the surrounding consensus reality, the yearning of Neptune can take root instead in escapist pursuits like drug use or absorption into fictional or non-fictional stories about other people instead of living our own dream.  Addictive relationships can fall into this category as well, the type of attachment we form for a relationship that does not nourish our deep self but instead brings us a sense of security within our consensus surroundings no matter how unfulfilling.  Ironically from this space we are likely to view a truly fulfilling opportunity for relationship as a romantic fantasy we are imagining from our childhood fairy tales.

The remedy is to swim with the current and be a creative agent, an active magician in your daily life manifesting your internal world into your external environment.  Think of the great magician of recent fiction, Harry Potter, consulting his magical mentor Albus Dumbledore in a Neptunian King’s Cross Station:

Harry Potter:  Professor, is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?

Albus Dumbledore: Of course its happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that its not real?

Whatever signs and symbols you have been drawn to, whatever movies you have felt compelled to watch, books you suddenly knew you had to start reading recently, take note for most likely there is a significant message for you here. Neptune works through mysterious ways that are more musical, imaginal, and intuitive than anything logical.  There are many intense astrological signs pointing to a new cycle, new life, and new reality coming into form and while we may be in mid-process and there may be many tumultuous surrounding events, be courageous enough to follow the vision emerging from your depths in your waking life.

Beatrice_Addressing_Dante_(by_William_Blake)

Beatrice Addressing Dante by William Blake

Following Neptune stationing direct in Pisces, Venus has now entered Sagittarius and will soon send sparks through a square to Neptune.  The image above by Sagittarian artist William Blake unveils the Muse in the form of Beatrice, the inspiring force behind the work of Dante Alighieri.  We can find the shifting archetype of Neptune in this work of passion, in the spinning vortex of chariot wheels carrying the beaming and erotic Beatrice.  Dante serves as an example of an artist able to channel the imaginal visions lit by love for a woman he was never able to be with physically, into works of art that centuries later continue to leave a mark in modern minds.  I was curious to see how this image was interpreted in Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth by Leopold Damrosch, and was surprised to find the language describing Beatrice and the other women as dominating a “meek” Dante.  To me this connects with Venus emerging from its new cycles with the Sun and Saturn while in Scorpio, into Sagittarius and a square with Neptune: are we being overpowered and confused by our vision or being uplifted into creative inspiration.  If we are able to look underneath at the substantive structures sourcing our perception and instinctual reactions we can gain greater awareness of how to ride a wave of Neptune into greater abundance instead of being pulled into an undertow of disintegration.  For example, if we come from a sense that creation comes out of conflict we may find ourselves forever stirring up drama around us, sometimes needlessly so-  with reflection we may find opportunities to be harmoniously collaborative with others while also being creative.

Venus entering a square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces is a gateway into a couple of months of Neptune experiencing squares from planets in Sagittarius.  Within a week on November 22, there will be a New Moon at zero degrees of Sagittarius that will herald our Sun’s entrance into the sign of the centaur. At the end of November, Mercury will enter Sagittarius, and then at the end of December on December 24, 2014 Saturn will also enter Sagittarius.  With this time of Saturn at the end of the depth of Scorpio, with Venus, then the Moon, Sun, and Mercury coming into Sagittarius to square Neptune, it is time to make our dreams and visions real.  What is illusory will be revealed, and what is authentic and genuine will be deeply felt.  If there is unrequited love or romantic projection, it can be channeled into works of creativity and art.  If we can enter into a new nourishing relationship, or go into greater depth and intimacy within a continuing one, we will be called to do so.  If we are studying a subject or exploring the meaning behind a philosophy we have become drawn to, our experiences will reveal to us what about the teaching and knowledge brings us deeper into ultimate understanding of our reality, and what elements ring false from our experience.  The end of November in particular will feature a Grand Fire Trine between Venus in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries that can coincide with liberation, expansion, deepening, and the birth of something vibrant and passionate in our life.

As a final thought in connection with Neptune stationing, many in the spiritual collective community have been concerned over the health of Thích Nhất Hạnh who experienced a brain hemorrhage on November 11, 2014.  His words have been shared to a greater extent as a result, including this beautiful writing resonant with Neptune:

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear

Super Pisces Full Moon

Morris-Graves-1941-The-Moon-The-Sea

Morris Graves, The Moon and the Sea (1941)

The Full Moon on September 8 is another Super Moon, meaning that the Moon will be as close to Earth as it gets in orbit, appearing larger in our sky, having a more extreme impact on the tides of our water, and looming larger in our consciousness as well (the term Super Moon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle and can refer to either a New Moon or Full Moon).  This Pisces Full Moon is also the traditional Harvest Moon in the northern hemisphere, meaning it is the Full Moon closest to the Autumn Equinox.  This is the fifth and final Super Moon of 2014, and the third “Super” Full Moon in a row (July 12 and August 10, 2014 were also Full Super Moons): a time to reap insights from this past year of experiences before we head into the eclipse season of October 2014.

This Full Moon will be stirring up the lunar waters of our emotions and perceptions in the second decan of Pisces (there are three decans, ten degrees each, in the thirty degrees of each sign in the zodiac).  In the recently published 36 Faces, Austin Coppock discerned a core concept of Pisces II: integrating into our material realm the spiritual insights and ideals found in the seeker’s plunge into the deep:

Here the central concept is how to reconcile one’s understandings of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is. It is thus a face of finding harmony with apparent reality of things while living and embodying one’s ideals . . . This is the phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are. The result of this successful reconciliation is “Happiness,” which the associated Nine of Cups takes as its name in The Book of Thoth. The result of an inability to reconcile one with the other, will, however, yield the inverse- misery, the state of one for whom there is no harmony between their inner and outer (p. 251-52).

During 2014 we have had many transits correlating to a greater capacity to go within and explore the subterranean world of our unconscious, our deep-set patterns, and all the gems and ghosts within our psyche.  If we have done the hard work of connecting to our true ideals we may feel shocked when re-entering the world at large and not sensing an outlet or receiver for the cherished beliefs we unearthed, the vision resonate with our more fully realized self.  A Super Moon illuminating the polarity of the Pisces and Virgo axis in the Pisces II decan is like wading out of the ocean under a starry sky ablaze with the glow of a luminous white Moon, feeling aglow with an inexpressible sense of pure being as we take our first steps onto moist sand that turns drier with each step back toward land and away from water.

As the insights into the divine or the eternal we received in our oceanic sojourn are essentially inexpressible or impossible to be captured in a true form, the importance at this time is what we do exactly with the presence we have felt within and how we integrate what we have sensed of the profound into our mundane daily reality.  If we deny ourselves our blissful yearning, if we choose to focus on the realistic, secure, and safe direction instead of risking faith in the unknown beckoning us from our depths, we run the risk of living an unfulfilled life that no level of material security may remedy.  And yet this is the crux of this potent lunation, as the Virgo to the Pisces going on wants us to integrate what we have managed to perceive beyond the boundaries of our consensus societal reality into this same society whose folly we can see through.

Jupiter is a key at this time to help us intuit how to function in our world, as Jupiter is a ruler of the second decan of Pisces in addition to ruling the sign of Pisces traditionally.  Jupiter is in Leo at the time of the Harvest Full Moon, and this fiery Jupiter that wants us to creatively actualize our destiny is holding intense aspects to two mythic figures rooted in harvest equinox time:  Pluto and Ceres.  As a result, we likely have attachments that we will have to release, crippling inner fears that must be made aware to be overcome.  There could be a sacrificial element in all of this in which we must willingly or unwillingly release what is no longer useful to the future that is calling us forward, to which we feel we must surrender.

Neptune and Amphitrite

Amphitrite and Neptune, 16th Century French, Lead

Many modern astrologers believe that Neptune in Pisces, and not Jupiter in Leo, is ruling this Full Moon. No matter what your astrological belief, however, Neptune in Pisces looms large at this time, as Venus in Virgo is opposite it.  In fact, Neptune in Pisces has been integral to the entire waxing Moon we have been experiencing, as the last New Moon in Virgo was opposite Neptune.  While Neptune enjoys itself in Pisces, Venus has not been known to have such a rollicking time in Virgo and in fact has been given the label of being in its “fall” in Virgo.  This is because Virgo is seen as a mental sign of critical discrimination that may not be open to all of the pleasure that Venus has to offer.  But while Virgo may be seen by some as too judgmental and too much of a perfectionist for the good of Venus, we also find here in the fertile Virgin the ultimate spiritual receptacle capable of receiving the full expanse of the illumination available at this time.

Venus in Virgo opposite Neptune in Pisces at a time of the Sun in Virgo being opposite a Pisces Moon of great gravity brings with it the issue of reality versus illusion, and spiritual discernment versus spiritual delusion.   Everything depends upon the quality of one’s consciousness at this time and one’s capacities of perception:  some could experience an epiphany whereas others could find themselves lost in a fog of illusion.   Going within, getting away from the associations overwhelming your everyday reality, re-connecting with your source inside of yourself, all of these are ways to help you figure out what is really brewing in between your gut, heart, and mind.  Venus in Virgo can help us with discernment, but we also do not want to discriminate to such a degree that we cut ourselves off from desires connected to us getting more in touch with our authentic self because of a judgmental sense that these desires are not realistic, practical, or capable of manifesting for us in our reality at this time.  This is tricky terrain with no easy answers, so do not take the easy way out.  Connecting with your authentic nature, actualizing more of your core calling, is not only good for you, it is good for all of us.

Along these lines this intensity between Virgo and Pisces is amplified to the highest extremes by Chiron in Pisces being conjunct the Full Moon and opposite the Virgo Sun. In combination with Venus in Virgo opposing Neptune in Pisces, there is an electrical charge to the atmosphere at this time instigating flashes of insight into the entire collective story swirling around all of us, including not only the full arch of this epic storyline across time but also how exactly we are fitting into it in this moment of now.  Yes, Chiron is associated with wounds and we may have a gaping wound of our psyche exposed at this time. Yes, Chiron is associated with unflinching heroism, and we may seize the opportunity to take a courageous stand against the sickening oppression saturating our collective.  Yes, Chiron is associated with healing, and we may suddenly notice something in our environment at this time that is the exact remedy capable of nurturing our needs or injuries.  It may be an overplayed storyline that we are all connected but it is nonetheless true, and we can now more easily feel the inter-connectivity of all and the resulting significance of every daily choice we make contributing at least a small ripple to the wider tides.

amaranth by leo kenney

Amaranth by Leo Kenny

If one opens perception to the asteroid goddesses, there is a Grand Water Trine occurring at this Full Moon between Juno in Cancer, Saturn conjunct Vesta in Scorpio, and the Full Moon conjunct Chiron in Pisces.  This triangular circuit is a mainline into the undercurrents and emotional atmosphere of our surroundings and beyond into the greater collective consciousness of this time.  As there has been a lot of darkness and despair in current events, it would be wise to focus on self-care to purify and nourish our sense of self so that negativity around us does not lead us to turn it on ourselves.  It will please Juno to withdraw for a time in order to develop a greater capacity to return to relationships with a renewed ability to nurture, and Vesta collaborating with Saturn in Scorpio is not going to want us to be in denial of where our focus truly needs to be directed at this time.  All together these aspects align well with the earlier stated intent of this Full Moon in Pisces being about integrating our ideals in some way into our environment.  If we cut ourselves off from our ideal, from that cherished person, desire, or belief that makes us feel alive, these same aspects could make us spin out in despair. We need to use the supreme sustaining power of Vesta and Saturn in Scorpio to find a way to bring our dreams into our reality in whatever way we can right now.

A fortuitous ally in this pursuit will be Pallas Athena, who is joining her supreme creative intelligence with Mercury in the sign of Libra.  This Pallas Athena-Mercury conjunction has a lot of aspects at this Full Moon:  opposite Uranus in Aries, square Pluto in Capricorn, sextile Jupiter in Leo, opposite the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  Mercury and Venus are having somewhat of an affair at this time, as they are in the mutual receptivity of Venus being in the sign ruled by Mercury and Mercury being in the sign ruled by Venus.  Add in the crafty Pallas Athena to the equation and we have a mix that can help us strategize a creative use of our spiritual perceptions, as both Mercury and Pallas Athena can perceive in between worlds.  Since the material world may seem to be operating on a more distasteful wavelength than the vibe of our desired vision, we may need to be assertively evoke Pallas Athena to preside over the manifestation of our ideal:

Female and male, the arts of war are thine,
Fanatic, much-formed dragoness, divine:
Over the Phlegrean giants, roused to ire,
Thy coursers driving, with destruction dire.
Sprung from the head of Jove, of splendid mien,
Purger of evils, all-victorious queen.
Hear me, O Goddess, when to thee I pray,
With supplicating voice both night and day,
And in my latest hour, give peace and health,
Propitious times, and necessary wealth,
And, ever present, be thy votaries aid,
O, much implored, art’s parent, blue-eyed maid.

–from the Orphic Hymn to the Goddess Athena

http://www.goddess-athena.org/Encyclopedia/Rituals/Hymns/Orphic.htm

We will need Pallas Athena to lend all of her dynamic power to a Mercury in Libra that can move between worlds to unite us with our beloved in the form of a Venus in Virgo receiving emanations from Neptune, because we must face the crisis and catharsis associated with Pluto in Capricorn.  For many of us this is the power structure surrounding us and the constraints and impositions of hierarchical societal systems that do not seem to be open to us pursuing our yearnings and instead seem to want to enslave us through needs to pay off debts, rents, bills, and so on.  Coming in for additional support, however, are a couple of heavyweights who know how to handle Pluto:  Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries.  At the time of the Full Moon, Jupiter and Uranus are beginning to enter a trine of Fire, and though Mercury, Pallas Athena, and Uranus are all square to Pluto, the Sun and Full Moon hold harmonious aspects to the Lord of the Underworld.  All together these are yet another sign that we can have the ability at this time to ignite ourselves from within and configure a way to integrate more of our ideals into our reality.

morris graves offering

Offering by Morris Graves, 1957

All of the Scorpio energy in recent times seems to be heavy on the hearts of many: Ceres, Vesta, Saturn, and Mars all in Scorpio, with Ceres tightly in a square to Jupiter in Leo at the moment.  Jupiter is also inconjunct Pluto in Capricorn, and so our desire to integrate our ideals or insights into our society at this time will be difficult, it will mean we have to release attachments and suffer losses, but it is entirely possible.  There has been a piercing quality to this energy making it difficult if not impossible to be in denial of our core feelings or hide from the truth being revealed about the identity for ourselves we have been fixated upon.  However, Mars is now entering the end of the final decan of Scorpio, giving us a final period of time to root ourselves further into our deepest soul desires.  The more we can connect with our authentic desires with the aid of this luminous Full Moon, the better, for Mars next enters Sagittarius and by the end of September we will have a Grand Fire Trine of Mars in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, and Jupiter in Leo to propel us forward with passion toward our ideal.

So much Scorpio energy could have been coinciding with fears of betrayal or being betrayed, grasping and clinging to attachments we are afraid we could lose.  And yet, in Scorpio we also find our capacity to release and regenerate, to enter a death of our old ego identity in order to rebirth a more fully realized self. For now, remember that dark times are necessary in order to fully savor the light, we must become aware of our fears to overcome our inner inhibitions, and we have to realize what we do not want in order to know what we do want.  And if you allow me to insert yet another cliche here, we are at a reaping time: so don’t fear the reaper.

PiscesFullMoonWRIGC1

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces. Three Hands Press.

Mercury retrograde in Cancer and Gemini: in Moon and Mind

Mercury bronze

Mercury (bronze, early 16th century, Italian), The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • May 23, 2014:  Mercury enters retrograde shadow zone of 24°23′ Gemini

  • June 7:  Mercury stations retrograde at 3°10′ Cancer

    • Mercury stations retrograde in trine to Neptune stationing retrograde in Pisces (Neptune stations June 9)

  • June 12/13:  Full Moon at 22°06′ of Gemini–Sagittarius

    • Venus in Taurus opposes Saturn retrograde in Scorpio exactly two minutes before the exact Full Moon in Sagittarius

  • June 17:  Mercury re-enters the sign of Gemini

  • June 19:  Inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun at 29° Gemini

  • June 21:  SOLSTICE

  • June 26:  Lunar occultation of Mercury as Mercury leaves combustion zone

  • June 27:  New Moon at 5°37′ of Cancer

  • July 1:  Mercury stations direct at 24°23′ Gemini

  • July 12: Full Moon at 20°03′ of Cancer–Capricorn

  • July 13:  Mercury re-enters the sign of Cancer

  • July 16, 2014:  Mercury moves beyond it’s retrograde stationing degree

Mercury retrograde time periods have gained a fearful notoriety in popular culture despite being an astrological gift we can enjoy with pleasure three times a year, in order to re-focus, re-tune, and re-integrate the interplay between our thoughts and expression, for a release from our previous patterns of perception.  Just as there are multiple intelligences, there are multiple levels of perceptual and communicative awareness: even though our business/economy obsessed global culture (that has been dominating other cultural mindsets for centuries) attempts to demand linear and efficiently rushed communication more focused upon punctuality than quality, it does not mean that it is the perceptual and communicative mindset we are meant to function through at all times in our lives.  Indeed, planetary cycles such as the Mercury retrograde phase demand that we have a lunar ability to embrace a new phase, or suffer the consequences.  Perhaps the popular culture fear of Mercury retrograde cycles come from, in the end, the manipulative plutocratic agents dominating our culture who do not like the general populace becoming more watery and reflective, and harder to control as a result.

This particular Mercury retrograde is fascinating in the context of the major astrological cycles of 2014.  For example, there is a clear link between this Mercury retrograde cycle and the one that occurred earlier this year in February:  then, Mercury stationed retrograde conjunct Neptune in Pisces, and now, Mercury stationed retrograde in Cancer in a trine to Neptune in Pisces.  Since Neptune is also in the midst of stationing retrograde right now, it means that we have an especially Neptunian Pisces retrograde cycle of Mercury to explore once again.  The year of 2014 has brought forth a series of transits capable of facilitating everything from a shift to complete liberation of past patterns, as we have had a Venus retrograde, Mercury retrograde, Mars retrograde, Cardinal Grand Cross, eclipses, and the fifth of the exact first quarter squares between Pluto and Uranus.  To receive a Mercury retrograde at this time is a blessing enabling us to reflect upon the first half of this year of shifting, in order for us to break free with clarified focus into uncharted territory in July, August, and September.

Mercury delivering Bacchus

Bacchus as a child given by Mercury to the care of the Nymphs (Andrea Procaccini, The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Mercury is the psychopomp who can transgress boundaries, move from the upper world to the underworld and back again in order to save and guide souls.  In myth Hermes/Mercury transports the infant Dionysus/Bacchus, the divine child at risk of being murdered, into the safety of nymphs who raise the child in disguise as a girl.  In line with this myth as metaphor for this Mercury retrograde, we can imagine our own divine inner child in our core surrounded by loving nymphs, nurtured to grow into an authentic presence that expresses our essential nature without inhibition.  While it is important to learn a healthy sense of boundaries as we grow up, we can also restrict ourselves into rigid categories of our culture such as swirl around concepts like gender. The fact Hermes took Dionysus to be raised as a girl in secret by nymphs connects with the Mercurial willingness to use deception and mystery if necessary to work the Mercurial magic of mediating a sense of the in-between, unifying opposites into wholeness.  Mercury can be at its most secretive and magical during it’s initial descent into the underworld in the week and a half before its inferior conjunction, acting as a magician capable of uniting the light and dark aspects of our psyche together.  During the first half of this year we may have felt yearning for an identity or sense of self beyond the boundaries of recent cultural conditioning we have been living within.  If we have any lingering fears or trepidations around this new direction for ourselves, this current Mercury retrograde cycle can help us separate  from recent limiting thought patterns in order to re-connect with the essential seed we wish to keep and plant,  like  finding our divine inner child we can raise to take great risk in our outer environment during the second half of 2014.

Children are magical, fantastic, and imaginal and yet many of us lose touch with this primary part of our nature as we become conditioned through growing up in our society.    When Mercury slows into its retrograde motion, the linear and logical modes of communication we learned as adults do not function as smoothly, and instead the world of dreams, omens, intuition, hunches, and imaginal divination we are more connected with in childhood come to the forefront.  Demetra George has taught that the phase of Mercury’s retrograde journey into the underworld in order to reunite with the Sun at the inferior conjunction is similar to Mercury in Pisces, a placement that in traditional astrology has the fun label of being in both detriment and fall.  Sure, if you want to create an orderly, logical, rational, hyper organized academic essay at this time focused like a laser on a well-crafted thesis statement, this phase of Mercury may not be the best for you.  But who would want to be writing or reading something like that all the time?  Instead, if you want to enjoy passionate and poetic language that evokes the senses and emotions on such a deep level that it can be a struggle to imagine which particular words can best capture the feeling aroused in you, this phase of Mercury will reward you.  During this Mercury retrograde in particular, with Neptune in Pisces stationing retrograde at the same time, we will feel the pull to dive into the inner realm of our unconscious, perhaps even our collective unconscious, into the magic of dreams and divination, into awareness of symbols surrounding us like signs guiding our intuition forward along a mysterious path unfolding step by step.

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups image by “Pixie,” Pamela Colman Smith

The stationing Mercury of this time is in Cancer, a sign ruled by the Moon.  Demetra George has taught that the time of Mercury descending into the underworld during its retrograde phase is like the Balsamic phase of the Moon where we enter a liminal space of past thought patterns dissolving as a new vision of an emerging self prepares to be born at the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun.  In astrology, the Moon is the luminary and Mercury the personal planet with the strongest connection to our mind, to the connection between our thoughts, our response to events and relationships in our environment, and our manner of navigating our world through communication.  This particular Mercury retrograde has a deeply dark moon feel to it that could feel disorienting with Neptune stationing simultaneously, and yet by transit we will actually be experiencing a waxing Moon becoming Full during the first week of this Mercury retrograde cycle.  Indeed, less than a week after Mercury stations retrograde we will experience a powerful Full Moon on June 12/13 that occurs literally two minutes after an exact opposition between Venus in Taurus and Saturn retrograde in Scorpio.  If we can go within to search for the insights beginning to rise from our personal underworld during this initiatory time of the Mercury retrograde, we may find them lit up in sharp relief with lunar luminosity at the time of the Full Moon this week.

This deliciously complex mix of astrological energy connects well to me with the fact that Mercury stationed retrograde in this cycle in the first decan of Cancer, a decan connected to the 2 of Cups in tarot.  In the image of the 2 of Cups above by Pamela Colman Smith, we can synchronistically even notice a Mercurial caduceus ascending from the cups of  lovers in mirror image, evoking the alchemical nature of the sign Gemini that Mercury will re-enter as part of this retrograde cycle.  According to the astrologer, magician, and alchemist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, the first decan of Cancer has the image of a crowned young Virgin full of love, and indeed the 2 of Cups like the first decan of Cancer has become associated with the union of masculine and feminine energy into harmony and pleasure, and the manifestation of love.  And yet, there is also a warning in this card and decan that connects to a stationing Neptune, in that new attraction can also be full of folly and lead to great dissipation of energy.  Since Venus in Taurus will oppose a retrograde Saturn in Scorpio at the same time as a Full Moon in Gemini and Sagittarius a week into the Mercury retrograde, we will be forced to confront any illusory aspects of our developing passions and calling.  Mercury being retrograde in the first decan of Cancer at the time of the Full Moon opposition between Venus in Taurus and Saturn in Scorpio is a perfect tool for mediating the polarity into a unified sense of greater wholeness in our being. Since this is a Full Moon occurring during the magician phase of Mercury’s journey into our underworld, we have the capacity to use imagination and vision disciplined into the focused depth of Saturn in Scorpio to bring form to the Venusian values that will delight our body and mind.  In any event this can be a powerful time of an alchemical merging within ourselves, a re-tuning for our heroic self to begin to emerge with a new vision during this Mercury retrograde cycle.

The degree of Mercury’s stationing in Cancer points to the vital importance of heroic discernment at this time to trust the calling of our soul, and to refuse to pull back from our calling out of fear.  According to Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala book of Sabian Symbols:

Cancer 4 keynote: An attempt at self-justification

We are still involved in the results of an act which brought about a radical reorientation of one’s life . . . A multitude of lesser decisions inevitably follows the big and grand gestures of repudiation and realignment.  The desires of the body still drown the voice of the “new man.”  One argues with oneself, hoping to convince oneself that the old impulses are still legitimate (p. 112).

Again, just as Hermes delivered the infant Dionysus to be mothered by nymphs in order to save his life, so we will also need to intuit during this Mercury retrograde how to nurture the seeds of our liberation from past limitations we found during the intense eclipses and Cardinal Grand Cross of the past couple of months.  It is human nature at times like this to talk ourselves out of embodying a new presence, to fear the disorientation of the new and have the urge to remain in the familiar patterns of the past.  Yet, if we can allow what is rising from our imaginal nature at this time to begin to take form in our mind and thought processes, we will have the opportunity for an epiphany of what needs to be cut away and what needs to be kept to create the life we want to live-  Saturn retrograde in Scorpio through its full confrontation with Venus in Taurus will help make what is not nourishing our growth obvious.

Symbolically, we will in fact be heading for what Dane Rudhyar called a “crisis in consciousness” at the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun on June 19, as the inferior conjunction occurs at the same time as a Last Quarter Moon in Pisces that squares the conjunction of Mercury and the Sun.  This Lunar phase can be about disillusionment, especially so with a Pisces Moon squaring a Gemini Sun, and a sense of discontent in the realization of old, limiting thought patterns that are hindering the evolution of our consciousness and need to be released so our mind can midwife the new vision developing in our soul’s womb.  In particular, the last quarter moon phase highlights the conditioning of our culture and place of birth as a target for self-questioning and skepticism, in order to discern what thought patterns we will want to destroy at this time and which ones we want to re-integrate into our developing new vision.  The sabian symbol for 29 degrees of Gemini of “the first mockingbird of Spring” speaks to our ability to shift feeling of discontent at this time into artistry such as song and music, weaving our emotions into melodious sounds that transform frustration into love and beauty.  Dane Rudhyar analyzed this symbolic degree of the inferior conjunction as “the reaction of the individual who has become sensitive to many life currents in his environment and who is able to exteriorze this welling up response as a gift to his society, displaying VIRTUOSITY” (p. 108).  If we are already working on developing a particular craft or art form to express ourselves, this will be a perfect time for a final re-tunement; instead, if we are only at a point of discovering what exactly we wish to focus on to develop, this is a perfect time to eliminate thought patterns getting in our way of following through on a new passion and to set an intention to devote ourselves toward cultivating our calling, whatever it is.

athena and hermes

Athena and Hermes (?), German engraving, 19th Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Another archetypal figure facilitating a heroic journey for us, in tandem with Mercury, is Pallas Athene.  At the time of Mercury stationing retrograde, Pallas Athene is in Virgo in sextile to Mercury and in opposition to stationing Neptune in Pisces, becoming exactly opposite Neptune at the same time that Neptune stations retrograde on June 10, 2014.  Amazingly, Pallas Athene was also opposite Neptune in Pisces last November of 2013 following the intense eclipses and fourth square between Pluto and Uranus in this cycle, just as now Pallas Athene after a retrograde journey earlier this year returns to once again oppose Neptune in Pisces following another intense eclipse season and the fifth square between Pluto and Uranus in this cycle.  In tandem with Mercury and Neptune stationing at the same time, clearly something is up here.

It pleases Pallas Athene to be in Virgo, a zodiac sign with strong associations to her archetype.  In myth, Pallas Athene has already proven herself worthy of defeating Neptune/Poseidon as they each competed to be the ruler of Athens and Pallas Athene won through her gift of the olive tree that was selected for its beauty and functionality, its practical use in healing, shelter, and other expressions that benefit society. Similarly, Pallas Athene being in Virgo at this time also lends us a powerful archetypal tool-set to utilize in our personal and collective projects, inspiring in us a sharpened focus to penetrate to the core of any issue we are facing.  In opposition to Neptune in Pisces, however, she must be careful of delusion and illusion, falling under the influence of blind faith or an inability to distinguish between what is real and unreal in our environment. Yet, these potential pitfalls of Neptune being in opposition to Pallas Athene are the exact sort of obstacles that Pallas Athene being in Virgo is equipped to combat: in Virgo, according to Demetra George, Pallas Athene has an “analytical perception” that can sense “the essence of things in their simplest forms apart from the surrounding superfluous complications,” like “separating the wheat from the chaff” or “the wisdom of discrimination” (page 103).  This is perfect symbology to utilize during a Mercury retrograde phase in which we can uncover what is true to our nature and what is false, to plant at this time of Solstice to later reap for personal and collective benefit.

bronze herm

Bronze Herm, ca 490 B.C., Greek, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Demetra George has lectured on the connection of the Mercury and Hermes archetype with the heap of stones called “Herms” in ancient times that marked grave mounds, eventually becoming landmarks in a time without roads to guide and protect travelers.  Just as the Herm guided the living toward their journey as well as toward their dead, so Hermes became a god of boundaries:  an archetype marking the boundaries of roads between cities and villages, the boundaries between the sacred and profane, and the boundaries between the living and the dead.  Fittingly, this current Mercury retrograde marks the boundary between the shifting of the first half of 2014 and the unfoldment of the second half of 2014.

In particular, this Mercury retrograde re-connects us with the transits involved in the Cardinal Grand Cross of April 2014, allowing us a final re-integration of the changes wrought in our life from that time period.  The inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun happens just before the June Solstice point, and the Mercury retrograde cycle holds within it the return of Mars in Libra moving direct to re-engage for the last time Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries.  Indeed, just after the Full Moon of June 12/13 that happens at the same time as Venus in Taurus opposes Saturn in Scorpio, there will be the final square between Mars in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn on June 14.  This final square in this cycle between Mars in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn happening just after a Full Moon could be explosive, but since we have already experienced this aspect twice already in the past seven months, the third time could also truly be the charm.  This time we will more clearly have the opportunity to overcome the frustrating aspect of this last quarter square dynamic between these two heavy hitters, as past confrontations since the end of 2013 have probably already helped us eliminate many aspects of our life not serving our authentic will-force.  Now following a glowing Full Moon with a harsh opposition between Scorpio Saturn and Taurus Venus that will further focus us on what we do and do not want in our life, we can use the Mercury retrograde timing of this final square to make a final release of negative past thought patterns in order to make our pure intuition more fully accessible moving forward.

Then, at the end of the Mercury retrograde cycle when Mercury is beginning to station direct, Mars in Libra will oppose Uranus in Aries on June 25.  In stark contrast to the square between Mars and Pluto in this Mercury retrograde cycle occurring after a Full Moon, this opposition between Uranus and Mars will occur in a Balsamic Moon phase.  The similarity to the square between Mars and Pluto in this Mercury retrograde cycle, however, is the fact that this aspect will electrify the old thought patterns we wish to discard during this Mercury retrograde, making what needs to be released in our mind more obvious.  Yet since this opposition between Mars and Uranus occurs during a balsamic moon, we will feel more in the mystery of it all, a little more like fumbling around in the dark when we are struck by the lightning bolt of Uranus opposing Mars.  Mercury at this time is separating away from the Sun about a week away from their inferior conjunction, and as there is a magical lunar occultation of Mercury on June 26, I feel like if we have learned to adapt to the modus operandi of Mercury retrograde by this point we will be able to integrate some significant insights out of the opposition between Uranus in Aries and Mars in Libra at this time.

Fantastically, in the following week we will experience a New Moon followed a few days later by Mercury finally stationing direct at 25 degrees of Gemini.  Thus, the lunar connection with this Mercury retrograde is even more profound than the simple fact Mercury stationed in the lunar sign of Cancer, as we will have a beautiful Crescent Moon forming in Leo as Mercury stations direct.  I love the fact that the New Moon, a time of re-visioning, will occur while we are still under the auspices of Mercury retrograde, and that Mercury will finally station direct during a Crescent Moon, a lunar phase of fighting off the ghosts of past limiting thought patterns in order to find the resources we need to move forward in our evolution within ourselves and surrounding us in our environment.  Dane Rudhyar described the sabian symbol where Mercury stations direct as “the revelation of archetypal form and essential existence,” a place where we discover the essential:

At this third level of “exteriorzation” a contact with archetypes and pure forms of individual selfhood is to be sought–also with the characteristic image of the culture. Externals are left behind. This is a step beyond “pruning”; it is rather a process of removal of all superficialities of existence.  Cyclically, nature helps us to reach this state of bare reality.  It is not that we experience the Buddhist’s void (sunya), but rather that we reach the essence of our individual being, the form of pure selfhood which is the structuring power underneath all external features–all that belong to the “leaf” realm (p. 106).

So prepare to go into the trunk of our tree during this Mercury retrograde, and all the way down into our roots, into our underworld.  In the end we will create beautiful blossoms and bonny green leaves that will dance in the wind for all to enjoy.

References

George, Demetra. (2008). Hermes: Guide of Soul. Lecture.

George, Demetra. (1994). Finding Our Way through the Dark. AFA.

George, Demetera with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.

The Tarot and the Decans: http://www.tarot.org.il/decans.html

Gemini and the Ugly Duckling

Aphrodite_swan_BM_D2

Gemini New Moon: meetings of Mercury & Venus

The Lunar Eclipse on May 24 occurred at the same time that Mercury and Venus were conjunct at 19 degrees of Gemini, also in range of being conjunct Jupiter.  In June the cycle continues, as Venus and Mercury will be conjunct again, magically, at the time of the Summer Solstice.  There is some incredible synchronicity in their cycle of the moment, as the same degree of Gemini at which they were conjunct during the Lunar Eclipse on May 24 is the same degree as the New Moon in Gemini that will be occurring this week on June 8.  In his book An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyhar’s analysis of this Gemini degree is intriguing in connection with intentions we can set for ourselves at this time (p. 102):

Gemini 19: A LARGE ARCHAIC VOLUME REVEALS A TRADITIONAL WISDOM.

Keynote:  Contacting the all-human planetary Mind underlying any cultural and personal mentality.

Occult tradition tells us that all cyclic manifestations of the human mind have had a primordial revelatory Source. It speaks of ancient books made of especially treated papyrus leaves and conveying through symbols the archetypal processes at the root of all earthly existence. Such volumes, said to remain in the possession of certain Adepts, constitute the “exteriorization” of archetypal knowledge and wisdom. They contain the “seed-ideas” from which the human mind grows, cyclically producing cultures of various types.

What sorts of archaic volumes of traditional wisdom are accessible to people today? With the Internet, people have more access to ancient sources of wisdom than ever before.  In our earliest development, however, one of the first sources of traditional wisdom we experienced were found in Fairy Tales and picture books read to us when our language comprehension was first developing.  Through Fairy Tales we gained an archetypal sense and understanding for a number of important lessons in life, but especially in how to individuate, evolve our consciousness, and find our true path in the world.  As toddlers we could sense the great truth of these stories, and it is why the “hero’s journey” is so widely popular in analysis of myth- because it is true.  There is timeless wisdom integrated into each unique hero and heroine’s journey that appears in Fairy Tales.  Telling stories is a Gemini association, and a function of Gemini spirituality.  In Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, author Tom Cowan relayed some of his research into the spiritual role played by storytellers in Celtic culture:

Alwyn and Brinley Rees note that the Latin word historia, from which the word story derives, is also the root for the word history, a term originally meaning “knowing,” “learned,” and “wise.”  In old Welsh the word for story meant “guidance,” “direction,” and “instruction.”  The stem for the Welsh term meant “sign,” “symbol,” “omen,” and “miracle.”  The Rees’s conclusion to this etymological puzzle is that the ancient Welsh  storyteller was indeed a seer and teacher “who guided the souls of his hearers through the world of ‘mystery’.”  Thus we find the Celtic storytellers fulfilling one of the important roles played by classical shamans, the guider and instructor of souls.

–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head, p. 99

A Fairy Tale that has re-emerged for me in the midst of the intense astrological energy of the moment is The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson.  This is in part due to some synchronicity of events at my daughter’s elementary school.  Every year, the students observe the hatching of ducklings from eggs, that then spend some time growing up in the garden on school grounds that is tended by parents, community volunteers, teachers, and students.  In the past, my daughters and I have been part of the duckling caregiving team.  This year, something inexplicable happened:  a chick, baby chicken, was hatched among the ducklings.  The students gave her the endearing name, “Chuck,” and this chicken growing up among ducks brings up one of the most famous fairy tales of identity crisis: The Ugly Duckling.

I feel the story of the ugly duckling connects with this time and the reflection of this time in the transits of the celestial heavens, because the Uranus archetype wants us to find our own unique role, being, vibration, and behavior in the world at this time that can bring us most alive and so will help bring our collective the most alive in the process.  We are being tested in the face of authoritarian control and suppression, oppression visible in every direction we turn.  We can think of the energy needed being like the piercing call of a hawk streaking across the sky, but in reality it can be as gentle as a swan gazing at itself in the reflection of the water.  The symbolism of seeing your authentic reflection in the water is the same as the symbolism of mirrors that can be connected to the seasonal archetype of Gemini we are living in.  The idea of the twin searching for it’s other twin in the world, its soul mate- is connected ultimately for our search for our authentic self we long to find one day when looking at our self in the mirror.

Gemini Dreaming

This potential for the excitable Gemini mind of the personality to contemplatively connect with it’s authentic self and soul connects with the symbolism of The Ugly Duckling as well as the current cycle of conjunctions between Mercury and Venus.  This is because there will be another conjunction between Mercury and Venus in the next couple of weeks as Mercury begins to station to go retrograde, giving Venus the opportunity to “catch up.”  Like magic, this next conjunction will occur on our Summer Solstice of this year, at the same time there will be a grand water trine between Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.    The Sabian Symbol for 22 degrees of Cancer, the degree of the next conjunction between Mercury and Venus, also fits perfectly with the meaning of the seminal swan story by Hans Christian Andersen:

Cancer 22:  A young woman awaiting a sailboat.

Keynote:  The longing for transcendent happiness in the soul opened to great dreams.

Here the symbol pictures the imaginative youthful person who basically cannot be satisfied with what his or her ordinary social environment offers, and who instead is longing for the unknown visitation of which he or she has dreamed.  From the unconscious beyond, the concretization of a spiritual image- spiritual because impelled by the “wind” (pneuma, spirit)- is hoped for and expected.  The Beloved may come- not in a glittering opera house, but in the silence of the inner sea of consciousness.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 125

Indeed, finding symbolic meaning in water birds like swans can be especially resonant now, as we are wading into a water time of the zodiac with Neptune in Pisces currently stationing in preparation to turn retrograde this week, at the same time as the upcoming New Moon in Gemini on June 8.  In addition, Mercury and Venus are both in Cancer now, with Mercury currently in the position of forming a grand water trine with Pisces Neptune and Scorpio Saturn, and Venus preparing to enter a grand water trine with Neptune and Saturn soon. However, we can not expect this current water trine involving some personal planets, as well as the upcoming grand water trine involving Jupiter to be “easy,” as each water trine will be incredibly activated by the square between Uranus and Pluto.  This is especially true now in the moment, with Mercury and Venus in Cancer and slipping into the empty degree of the t-square with Pluto and Uranus, being opposite to Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The image of water birds, beings at home in the air, on land, or in water, could be helpful guides for us at this time.  In the Celtic spirituality, water birds are sacred because of their grace in navigating all three of these elements: earth, water, and air.  Think of a swan gliding gracefully across the surface of the water with all of the external turbulence of the world around it.

duckling_clarke1

The version of The Ugly Duckling written by Hans Christian Andersen was originally published in 1845, fittingly enough in the same time period that Neptune was discovered, and a few years before the last time that Neptune entered Pisces.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes his story as being about “the archetype of the unusual and the dispossessed,” and a timeless lesson at that:

“The Ugly Duckling” has been one of the few stories to encourage successive generations of “outsiders” to hold on till they find their own.  It is a psychological and spiritual root story.  A root story is one that contains a truth so fundamental to human development that without integration of this fact further progression is shaky, and one cannot entirely prosper psychologically until this point is realized.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 167

In Han Christian Anderson’s story The Ugly Duckling, a swan egg gets mixed in with a duck’s nest, and so the mother duck raises the baby swan along with her ducklings and everyone thinks the swan is a duck.  The ducks ostracize the young swan because of his differences, forcing him on a journey where he experiences devastating setbacks over and over again.  During his difficulties the immature swan sees graceful adult swans flying above him and feels a deep calling rise up from inside.  After growing up through his trials, and while resting for a moment in water, he glances down and sees in the water’s reflection that he is in fact a swan, leading him to find a new home in a swan community.

Finding your calling and being brave enough to follow it is a plot that has dominated myths and folktales across time and still to this day is widespread in popular and cult storytelling. As children we are enchanted with the idea of having a Fairy Godmother, a guardian angel, a guiding star, or other magical being, who will help us find our path.  What if a spirit guide is actually inside each of us? Our culture is quick to label the agonizing awkwardness we can experience like the ugly duckling to be mental health issues.  We can be led to believe we are crazy from following the intuitive insight that can come from watching the flight of a bird.  But there is a guide inside each of us that will resonate with experiences that help us find our true calling- the more you try to get in touch with this inner vibration the more clear its advice to you will be.

In my own life I have had times of feeling like I was aimlessly wandering just like the young swan, when now from a distance I can see how that sense of aimlessness was an illusion; I can see how that difficult time was a gift to develop new strength.  I may have felt like I wasn’t making enough money or producing something that would be praised by my culture; I may have felt like I was mired in darkness.  However, I was really in a process of transformation due to facing myself on a deep level.  When we are willing to dive into the depths of our being we create the possibility that we can re-surface with a transformed perspective that can help manifest fulfillment.  Whenever we intuitively experience the rush of excitement that the young swan felt when seeing adult swans, we should follow it.  To interpret the sight of our own majestic swans to be the illusion is tragic.  In the moment when we choose to view reality as being about only the difficulties we are facing, we neglect the fact that we may be in the process of transforming into something transcendent to our current troubles.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes sums up the meaning for her of The Ugly Duckling as follows:

The duckling of the story is symbolic of the wild nature, which, when pressed into circumstances of little nurture, instinctively strives to continue no matter what.  The wild nature instinctively holds on and holds out, sometimes with style, other times with little grace, but holds on nevertheless . . .

The other important aspect of the story is that when an individual’s particular kind of soulfulness, which is both an instinctual and a spiritual identity, is surrounded by psychic acknowledgment and acceptance, that person feels life and power as never before.  Ascertaining one’s own psychic family brings a person vitality and belongingness.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 172

So I invite you to listen- to truly listen to the world around you and the wisdom that can be found everywhere on your path.  Inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime.  If you listen without the filters you have developed on account of others in your culture or a family of origin that did not resonate with your inner self, you will discover significance in places you otherwise would have overlooked.  You will gain a sense that whatever is happening to you right now is just part of your process, part of your calling, part of your story.

swan

References

Cowan, Tom. (1993). Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit. HarperSan Francisco.

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola (1992). Women Who Run with the Wolves:  Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype.  Ballantine Books.

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