Mercury melds into the Sun as Neptune stations

Mercury Superior Conjunction

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

Mercury Superior Conjunction

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Superior Conjunction

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

North Node of Moon in Virgo

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

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

Neptune in Pisces

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

Neptune Stations Direct

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

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

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

Scorpio III Decan

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio III Decan

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

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

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

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

References

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

 

Neptune stations in Pisces

ashesanddiamonds1

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.

Ewa reading poem in Ashes and Diamonds

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