New Moon in Libra

Chicago_Hrosvitha Test Plate, 1979

Judy Chicago (1979)  Hrosvitha Test Plate

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon on September 28 arises in Libra, the airy home of Venus, the exaltation of Saturn, and the living image of the Scales. When gazing at scales, even if they appear to be still their form suggests the ceaseless, endless calibration going on within everyone, everything, in every moment. Libra as the sign of the scales is a place of perpetual balancing within all of our personal relationships as well as how we relate to our environment and arrange elements of time and space to meet our own needs as well as the needs of others. The Libra New Moon comes at a pivotal juncture of 2019, as the lunar cycle it initiates is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a catalyzing square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes as well as the zodiacal degrees of the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse that occurred in July.  As a result, numerous strands of stories that have been stirred up in recent months will become activated, and as we sense how things are settling and coalescing we will have the opportunity to make a measured response. Traditional Libra keywords such as rebalancing and recalibrating elements that are in a volatile state of oscillation will be needed.

The symbol of the scales also conjures the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of souls after death, at which time the heart would ideally be as light as a feather instead of heavy with the gravitas of unresolved issues.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of social justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior. As the Libra New Moon is separating from a tense opposition with Chiron retrograde in Aries, while also applying toward a harmonizing sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius, focus will be brought to how the societal conventions and laws created by humanity can often be at odds with natural law and order. For example,  it was estimated that approximately six million people around our planet took part in protests over the impact of human pollution on climate change in the week before the Libra New Moon as the Libra Sun formed an opposition with Chiron.

Fittingly for a Libra New Moon, both sides of the scales balancing benefic and malefic astrological influences are fully loaded. On one side, Pluto is in the process of stationing direct within the darkness of the Libra New Moon while Saturn is forming an exact conjunction with the true South Node of the Moon, bringing focus to whatever needs to be shed and released.  On the other side, both the New Moon as well as Venus in Libra are applying to a harmonious aspect with Jupiter, inciting visions of how to address whatever has come out of balance in order to fertilize and nurture productive growth forward.  It will also be important to not only find balance in our external work in the world however, but to also descend within one’s inner darkness to discover what is in need of mending within our psyche.

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality. The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state. Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow. The inherent restoration of balance to our system that results from this process will be important to pay attention to in the forthcoming lunar cycle. Insight will be gained by paying attention to signs indicating how our unconscious is mediating what we have been consciously attempting to achieve, such as drawing us to focus on an area of life we had been neglecting.

pelican brass 15th century

15th Century brass Pelican plate from Netherlands

Venus in Libra rules the New Moon while forming an exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius. Moreover, within a day of  the lunation the waxing Moon will form a creative sextile with Jupiter followed by a potent conjunction with Venus. At the same time, Venus is also in the middle of a process of separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Saturn and the lunar nodes while applying toward an intense square aspect with Pluto that will complete on September 30. Venus is sovereign and securely at home in Libra and so can draw on the strength of her own resources to mediate and mend the complicated dynamics she is engaging.  While in some areas of life we will need to realize that we need to let go of our attachment to things working out a certain way and instead surrender to the process of change at work, in other areas of life it will be possible to initiate important new stages of development.  Instead of resisting whatever change is being demanded from the stationing of Pluto on October 2, see how you can integrate the deep shifting into your creative engagement with the world.

In the week leading into the Libra New Moon, Mercury re-emerged into visibility as an Evening Star and brought numerous significant announcements in collective events. At the time of the Libra New Moon, Mercury is forming a conjunction with the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Spica.  Across diverse cultures, Spica is universally known as a supremely positive fixed star and marks the ear of wheat in the left hand of the Winged Goddess in the Virgo constellation. Spica has also been connected with images of lamps, pearls and other symbols of bringing knowledge like the wheat cultivating Ceres. Known as the Spike of the Virgin, it has been said that the light of Spica which symbolizes the wheat held by the Winged Goddess is a source of cultivating knowledge and bountiful gifts. Bernadette Brady wrote that Spica brings “a gift of brilliance, an innate talent, skill or ability which is out of the ordinary,” a “symbol of knowledge and insight.”  Brady wrote that the wheat sheaf symbolism of Spica “can be considered a symbol of her [the Goddess] gifts to humankind.”

Traditionally both Mercury and Venus have been associated with the nature of Spica, and so it is compelling that not only is Mercury forming a conjunction with Spica but also that in the following week Venus will form a conjunction with Spica on October 3 as she is finally re-emerging into visibility as an Evening Star. Doubling down on the symbolism of the goddess bearing the gift of wheat for humanity,  the dwarf planet Ceres is applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius at the same time.  While the transits of 2019 have been difficult, they will not be getting any easier in 2020 and in fact will bring increased levels of volatility into collective events. As a result, it will be vital for each and everyone of us to reach into our depths to bring out the gifts and talents we possess to share with others who are in need of what we have to offer.  As the Libra New Moon waxes into light, as Mercury and then Venus forms a conjunction with Spica, make a commitment to cultivating the skills you have to offer than can help shape the world to come for the highest good of all.

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Judy Chicago (2015) In the Shadow of Death

2019 has been dominated by the movement of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, and so it is not a surprise that they are also a primal influence upon the forthcoming lunar cycle. Since Pluto will station direct a few days after the Libra New Moon on October 2, its stillness will saturate the astrological atmosphere with its significations of being initiated into an underworld process of transformation. Furthermore, since Saturn is forming its final exact conjunction with the true South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, the Libra New Moon also serves as a threshold to cross of Saturn finally beginning to separate from the transiting South Node of the Moon.  While the influence of Saturn combined with the South Node of the Moon will persist in the month ahead, and the influence of Saturn and Pluto coming together in a new cycle will be intensifying in the year ahead, the influence of Ketu upon Saturn and Pluto will finally begin to lessen.

As a result, within the darkness of the Libra New Moon take the time to reflect upon what has needed to be released and what has been honed to a more essential form in your life during the past six months of Saturn traveling close together with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. In the past year of eclipses setting off the combination of Saturn and Pluto uniting with the South Node of the Moon, what can you now see more clearly has coalesced out of the dissolution that came with their influence? While Saturn in Capricorn promotes hard work, it will also be necessary to simply sit and reflect upon all of the destabilizing changes that have happened in correspondence. If things have felt too overwhelming to handle, as Saturn begins to separate from the South Node you will likely gain increased clarity for how to best respond.

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2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon arises in the first face of Libra associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a blindfolded woman sits in front of an oceanic expanse while crossing two swords in front of her.  The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, and indeed this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find equipoise, resolving conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.  Austin Coppock in 36 Faces referenced Smith’s illustration by ascribing the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to the first face of Libra, describing it as a place which awakens awareness to injustice and disequilibrium within both societal and personal levels of interaction.

Since the Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra and the Moon is being regenerated in its own face, the meaning of the first decan of Libra will be amplified. Austin Coppock described the meaning of this face as not only illuminating dynamics of “fairness and reciprocity” based upon “core principles of ethical interaction with other beings,” but also inciting assertive attempts to address injustice.  It is further notable that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra. As the Erinyes are chthonic goddesses who serve natural law and punish transgressors, the first face of Libra is a place of becoming aware of previously hidden evidence that reveals inequities.  Thus it is likely that those who have been extremely out of balance will  be facing a karmic reckoning.

As a result, it will be important to reflect upon levels of equity within your interactions with others in the forthcoming lunar cycle and making sure you are acting with integrity. As the Moon waxes in light, Mercury will enter Scorpio on October 3 followed by Venus on October 8, with both immediately forming an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. Meanwhile, Mars will enter Libra and begin heading toward harsh aspects with Saturn and Pluto as the upcoming Full Moon in Aries on October 13 forms a catalytic square aspect with the lunar nodes, Saturn, and Pluto.  The combination of these aspects means that hidden dynamics within relationship are likely to be exposed. While there are supportive aspects in the coming lunar cycle for cultivating growth and making progress on goals, it will be necessary to make an honest appraisal and adjustment to the balance of giving and receiving in relationship.

References

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

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

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

Virgo New Moon

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Virgo 1 Decan image by Cosimo Tura from Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia (1476-84)

Virgo New Moon

Following the radiant and raging fire set by the Leo Sun during August in which the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars were all occupying the sign of the Lion, the New Moon in Virgo on August 30 initiates us into a month dominated by the cool calculations of Virgo. As the Moon unites in darkness with the Sun in Virgo, they are joined by the co-presence of Mercury, Venus, and Mars in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  It was written long ago that the lack of bright stars in the head of Her constellation is why so many various figures have been identified as the starry Virgin with Wings, including Demeter, Isis, Fortuna/Tyche, Justice/Dike, and Erigone. Mythic themes shared by these figures include facing the grief of loss, whether over the loss of a beloved or the loss of justice, ideals, and integrity within humanity.  Mercury joins the Sun and Moon in Virgo, the home and exaltation of Mercury, saturating the lunation with its capacity for weaving in between and bridging polarities such as spirit and matter, the rational and the emotional. In the forthcoming lunar cycle we will need to rely on the ability of Mercury to serve as a psychopomp guiding us into and out of underworld experiences, gathering the meaning found within the dark.

Underlying all of the changes in 2019 has been the pivotal relationship between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune are at the waning square aspect of their cycle that began in 2009 and have been calling us to deeply question the beliefs, philosophy, and vision of meaning we have been living life from. Within the waning square of Jupiter and Neptune we can experience a harvesting of wisdom, a gathering and sifting through of ideas and experiences from their cycle through which we can discern meaning and resources to share with others. Yet the final square of their cycle can also incite a dramatic confrontation with how we have been shaped and conditioned by the surrounding culture, realizing where we have been led astray by illusory ideals or beliefs. Though disillusionment brings difficulties, it ultimately guides us to realization of what needs to be released and let go. The Virgo New Moon brings an influx of planets in Virgo that will volatilize Jupiter and Neptune, as the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Sun, and Mars will be forming a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in the coming month followed by a tense opposition with Neptune.

The Virgo New Moon setting off the charged dynamic between Jupiter and Neptune is an invitation to make time and space for inner contemplation, digesting and processing the changes that have been taking shape within personal and collective spheres during the past year. Vitally, the Virgo New Moon is forming a square aspect with Ceres in Sagittarius and a flowing trine with Uranus in Taurus.  There may be loss to process, anger over acts of injustice, frustration over plans not working out as had been hoped, yet it is only through descending into the depths of inner sensation that we will unearth the necessary insight that will lead to making substantial changes. The Virgo New Moon in Virgo brings gifts for finding solutions that will be wasted by attempting to deny or escape from whatever has been happening. Since Mercury, Mars, and Venus are invisible in transition from old and new cycles with the Sun, the lunation brings the opportunity to descend into inner darkness in order to bring about a metamorphosis of our presence in the months ahead. Yet as part of this process we will need to make space for mending and nurturance, keeping in mind that visible results may take time to form.

In addition to the influx of archetypal forces in Virgo mediating the dynamic between Jupiter and Neptune, the waxing Virgo Moon as well as Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Sun will be forming a trine aspect with Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto in Capricorn in the month ahead. This means that the Virgo stellium is forming whole sign aspects with all of the other planets as well as the lunar nodes, bringing the focused gaze of the Winged Maiden into analysis of whatever has been working effectively as well as ineffectively. The New Moon will promote taking action and doing the necessary work, being in service to whatever needs to be taken care of as well as whatever inspiration strikes. In the midst of handling daily responsibilities, set aside some personal time in which to open your imagination towards new ways to approach old issues as well as reception of inner vision and purpose that can guide you toward the next steps to take.

Mercury in Virgo rules the New Moon while applying to a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Mercury is in both its home and exaltation of Virgo, but is also in its invisible and regenerative phase of transitioning from being a Morning Star to an Evening Star. Since Mercury is at the end of its cycle it amplifies the capacity of the Virgo New Moon to transition us from old endings toward new beginnings, yet patience will be needed regarding the seeds we plant. During its present phase Mercury is moving at its fastest speed toward a solar conjunction on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit. The speed of Mercury during this phase can bring an overwhelming sense of needing to sift through an overabundance of ideas, yet since Mercury is in its home and exaltation we have enhanced capacity to shed the inessential in the days following the Virgo New Moon. As Mercury unites with the Sun a few days after the New Moon on September 3 at 11º16′ Virgo, we can experience a regeneration of clarity and insight that will help with discernment as well as synthesizing meaning. This is a powerful day to meditate, reflect, and seek inner guidance for not only the beginning of new cycles for the Moon and Mercury, but also for a new Mars cycle.

Indeed, Mars is being regenerated by the creative potency of the Virgo Sun at the same time as Mercury. Mars will enter the heart of the Virgo Sun on September 2 at 9º39′ Virgo, and so the Virgo New Moon occurs during the final days of the Mars synodic cycle which began at 4º12′ Leo on 25 July 2017. Mars holds a strong influence over the Virgo New Moon in the archetypal form of the blacksmith who can melt down old martial patterns while reforging our relationship with Mars for the cycle ahead. In contrast to Mercury and Venus being in transition toward their Evening Star phases, Mars is in transition to being seen again as a Morning Star in mid October. Take time to reflect upon the past two years of themes in your life related to Mars, while simultaneously revisioning how you would like to change and evolve the expression of Mars in your life. Consider what is worth fighting for or protecting, areas you need to be more courageous and assertive, places you feel pulled toward directing your passions and vigor.

With Mercury and Venus also beginning new cycles at the same time as Mars, the month of September will be a powerful period of revivification regarding the values and ideas we wish to embody and express in the world. Mercury will unite with Mars on September 3 about ten hours before it forms its exact conjunction with the Sun, bringing the guidance of psychopomp Mercury into the underworld rebirth of Mars. Mercury will then quickly begin to separate from Mars and the Sun into forming a flowing trine with Saturn in Capricorn on September 5, a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius on September 6,  followed by an opposition with Neptune in Pisces on September 7 and a trine with Pluto in Capricorn on September 8. Since all of these connections being made by Mercury will occur while it is still in its invisible phase, Mercury’s sequence of aspects could help in becoming aware of hidden dynamics that have been impacting us without our conscious awareness; yet there will also likely be a powerful unconscious shaping force due to Mercury, Venus, and Mars remaining invisible.

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Gustave Courbet (1865) Girl with Seagulls

While Mercury and Mars are at the end of cycles with the Sun during the Virgo New Moon, Venus is at the start of a new cycle with the Sun and is beginning to return from being in the depths of the underworld. Not only is Venus in an underworld solar phase, it is also in a place of underworld initiation due to Venus being in its fall of Virgo. Venus in Virgo calls for descent into inner senses and discernment, a willingness to be brought down low to the ground rather than struggling to ascend to exalted heights. While dwelling in low lying places Venus can incubate insight from within, inspecting the foundations and the underbelly with a willingness to get dirty and get to the root of the matter. Under rulership of the psychopomp Mercury, Venus can gather resources from subterranean places like Persephone. Although in its fall of Virgo, Venus has essential dignity at the time of the New Moon due to being in its own bounds, decan, and triplicity and so can use its critical eye to ascertain what needs our focus for reform and improvement.

As the Virgo New Moon begins waxing towards its first crescent light, Venus in Virgo is applying closely to a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius and a flowing trine with Saturn in Capricorn and the South Node of the Moon. Venus will trine Saturn on September 1, form a square aspect with Jupiter on September 2, and then form a pivotal opposition with Neptune in Pisces on September 4.  As a result our newly revivified relationship with Venus will be shaped by the two major planetary cycles of 2019, the Saturn and Pluto cycle and the Jupiter and Neptune cycle. We may feel stress and anxiety within relationships or have to deal with difficulties in other Venus related areas of life, yet there is a necessity in Venus in Virgo taking us down to confront the underlying factors at play in our present circumstances. Venus and Virgo brings a gift for analysis, details, and craft with a magical capacity for productive distribution of whatever can be harvested from experiences.  In particular the opposition between Venus with Neptune can be useful in stripping away illusions and utilizing the strength of Venus in Virgo for unifying and weaving together meaning from disparate threads of experience.

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8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

The New Moon arises in first face of Virgo, associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Eight of Pentacles we see a craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment. This image evokes the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts. Coppock wrote that the first face of Virgo inmates us “into the mysteries of incarnation . . . the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe.” While Coppock noted the first decan of Virgo involves “humility” at a core level, “it results in works of surprising glory.”

A maiden is seen in the images for the first face of Virgo in several ancient texts, wearing an old dress while holding a pomegranate in the Picatrix, holding a jug while standing in myrtle in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra. The 36 Airs ascribed the ancient goddess Themis to the first decan of Virgo, a Titaness of divine law and order who was present at oracles to have her voice transmitted to querents for divine guidance. The chthonic wisdom and divination of this decan is further revealed in the image appearing in Liber Hermetis: “a serpent put together awry,” whose “head is the likeness of the Moon.” There is a unique quality of inducing growth in the first face of Virgo which has resonance with its description in the Picatrix of being a place of “sowing, plowing, the germination of plants, of gathering grapes, and of good living.”

The Sun is the ruler of the first face of Virgo, and so since the Sun is in its own face it will seed the New Moon with the creative potency and symbolism of this decan. There is a grounding and self-assured humility that is part of the solar quality to embody in this face, and as the Sun continues to move through the rest of Virgo in the month ahead there will be ample amounts of creative potency to harness into our work.  As the Moon waxes in light we will be able to receive a more realistic perspective regarding the deep seated changes happening as well as configuring ways to find solutions to dilemmas. It’s especially notable that the forthcoming Full Moon in Pisces on September 13 will be conjoining Neptune and opening awareness to potential directions we had not previously considered. With Mercury also co-present in Virgo, remember that Virgo is not only a place of analysis and organization but also a lucid transmitter of imaginal revelations.

References

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

Eratosthenes and Hyginus. (2015). Constellation Myths. A new translation by Robin Hard. Oxford World’s Classics.

New Moon in Leo: Tending the Forge’s Fire

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Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Overseer’s Tale” from 1001 Arabian Nights

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on July 31 seeds solar fire illuminating the dawn of a new lunar cycle, bringing an end to a month of eclipses and the strange descent into soul making and twists of fate that occur when our luminaries become devoured in shadow. Though the Leo New Moon officially marks the end of eclipse season, its fiery light will be casting shadows full of revelations from the eclipses that will continue to foment change.  Whatever came through during the Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2 and the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 will be cohering into new forms during August, bringing the potential to gain clarity regarding whatever shifts in storylines emerged in the past month. There is also a liberating quality to the lunation that can help in making creative breakthroughs, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square with Uranus and applying to a trine with Jupiter. Just in time, the ever nimble Mercury will be making sure we get the message we need to receive as it will be stationing direct as the Moon and Sun unite in Leo.

Not only is the Moon in Leo being reseeded with solar light in darkness, Venus in Leo has also descended into her invisible phase of dark initiation, death and rebirth. While star power radiates from Venus in Leo when in her visible phase, in her current solar phase she has turned away from external pursuits in order to experience an inner rapture and epiphany. Venus is at the end of her cycle which will ultimately transition her from being the glorious Morning Star role she played previously during 2019 into the Evening Star role she will take on toward the end of September into October when she becomes visible again in the twilight of sunset. As the Moon waxes toward fullness, Venus will be experiencing a period of regeneration and purification as she races toward her sacred union in the heart of the Sun at 21º11′ Leo on August 13 or 14, depending upon your time zone. Venus will be encountered in hidden realms and in the shared secrecy of intimacy during August.

For the rest of the month, Venus will be inviting you to ponder the mystery of the past month of eclipse season, letting  whatever has been stirred up to settle, giving yourself time and space to integrate the changes in feeling and desire. Venus in Leo is calling us to reconsider the values we have been living by as well as the style and aesthetics we express ourselves through and utilize to magnetize and attract what we want to create. It may be necessary to surrender to a metamorphosis of identity, with old layers of our persona peeling away to reveal a new sense of self ready to begin emerging. There could be difficulties and doubts swirling around us as we recover from an intense eclipse season that was aligned with Saturn and Pluto, but if we are willing to let Venus lead us into our inner depths there will be passion, power, and purpose for us to discover alongside the vulnerability that comes within liminal states of change.

Moreover, the Leo New Moon also marks the entrance of Mars into its invisible phase of darkness at the end of its synodic cycle that began on 25 July 2017 at 4º12′ Leo. Mars is also calling us to regenerate our desires and will-force as it undergoes a period of purging and purification until it is reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2 at 9º41′ Virgo. Allow yourself to consider in the darkness of the Moon the trajectory of your life in the last two years, which desires you were able to achieve with satisfaction, which ones led you astray, and the wisdom you have gathered from all of the martial adventures you have undertaken. If you feel anger and frustration over unfulfilled ambitions or barriers that have obstructed you while Mars is in the process of burning up in the Sun, look for healthy physical outlets to transmit the energy through. Mars in Leo has the fiery heart of the lion and the courage we need to descend with the star of Ares into the underworld to experience a rebirth of how we wish to wield the force of Mars in its forthcoming cycle.

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Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Tale of the Third Dervish” from 1001 Arabian Nights

As the Leo Moon waxes towards its first crescent light it will pass through a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Sagittarius that will aid in elevating vision from the watery depths of July into conception of how the volatility of eclipse season is coagulating into new forms. Furthermore, Venus and the Sun in Leo will both be applying toward a trine with Jupiter which the Sun will complete on August 7 and Venus on August 8. While Jupiter in Sagittarius was out of aspect with the eclipses in July, the star of Zeus will dramatically come back into prominence during August. Jupiter will station direct on August 11 on the same day that Uranus in Taurus will station retrograde, which is notable due to Venus applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus during the New Moon, with the Sun and Moon beginning to separate from a square with Uranus. As a result, the first couple of weeks of August will be full of the emancipatory influence of Jupiter and Uranus, inciting flights of inspiration and vision.

Jupiter has been retrograde since April 10 when it stood still at 24º21′ Sagittarius in order to turn backward toward its direct stationing point at 14º30′ Sagittarius. For four months Jupiter has been glowing bright in night skies asking us to integrate and make meaning from our myriad experiences. As Jupiter stations while forming a flowing trine with the Sun and Venus in Leo, we have an opportune period to take stock of whatever we have been working on, the ideas for what we want to conceive and create, as well as the current state of our relationships and how to adjust our co-participation based upon the inner changes that have been brewing in recent months. Meanwhile, the square between Venus and Uranus will shake up whatever has become stuck or stagnant in the way we have been relating with others or expressing ourselves. August begs us to invite eros into our psyche and let the fires of our imagination guide us forward.

Amazingly, just as Jupiter is beginning to slow down to station direct on August 11, it is entering into an antiscia aspect with Saturn in Capricorn that will extend all the way through September 21. This means that while Saturn and Jupiter are not in a traditional aspect, they can still see one another through being equidistant to 0º Cancer, mirroring each other across the solstice axis at places that share the same amount of daylight. Reinhold Ebertin noted that “patience and perseverance” comes with Jupiter and Saturn in a planetary picture, a worthy attitude to bring toward whatever material and events have been stirred up by the recent eclipse season, especially since the transiting South Node of the Moon will also be traveling with Saturn and making its antiscia with Jupiter more deeply karmic.

Jupiter has been in balsamic relationship with Saturn during 2019, bringing the revisioning and karmic release that always comes at the ending of their cycle. Jupiter and Saturn began their current cycle on 28 May 2000 at 22º42′ Taurus, and their forthcoming union at the end of 2020 in Aquarius is the great conjunction that will launch us into a new astrological era centered around the element of air. After Jupiter enters Capricorn on 2 December 2019 we will have an intensification of the reseeding and release that comes at the end of any cycle, but from now through September the mirroring of Jupiter and Saturn through antiscia can give us an early start on conceptualizing how to begin adjusting our long-term plans to align with the wider collective shifts emerging as we enter the new decade. The 2020s will be initiated by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that also forms a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, and so it will be worth considering what direction you want your life to go and what you want to create in the next couple of years as both Jupiter and Uranus station simultaneously this month.

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Kay Nielsen illustration from The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain

While the Moon, Venus, and Mars will all be invisible, overwhelmed by proximity to the indomitable flames of the Sun in Leo, Mercury is making a dramatic appearance and announcement at the same time the New Moon in Leo is reseeded. Mercury is stationing direct at 23º56′ Cancer while forming an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn, as well as becoming visible again as a Morning Star. Thus as the Moon in Leo waxes into its first crescent light of a new cycle, we have a potent opportunity to deepen the understanding and revelation we have gathered during Mercury’s retrograde phase that began July 7 at 4º27′ Leo. We can expect an upsurge of information to enter our awareness from subconscious depths and unexpected sources, or a new insight into whatever material was stirred up by the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. The tension between Mercury and Pluto can facilitate penetrating underneath the surface of conventions, probing beyond societal boundaries to understand the essence of whatever you have been exploring.

As the Moon waxes in light, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 9 at 29º Cancer, and then will return to Leo on August 11 and begin applying toward a harmonious trine with Jupiter as the star of Zeus stations direct in Sagittarius. However, before we get to mid August when Mercury is picking up speed and creative potency, we need to make the space to integrate the revelations brought by Mercury stationing direct during the darkness of the Leo New Moon. It’s always necessary to maintain sharp focus toward picking up whatever signs and omens cross our path when Mercury is stationing direct, but this is especially the case this time round with Mercury forming an opposition to the degree of the recent Lunar Eclipse. Let the cunning tricks and deft mixing of Mercury work itself on your mind, loosening plans and preconceived notions in order to open awareness to what your soul is guiding you to receive from within.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon in Leo strides forward in the first face of Leo, associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature.

Saturn rules the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and connect with a receptive audience. The past month of eclipses were difficult for many in part due to the fact that Saturn was playing an integral role in both, with Mercury retrograde at the same time. Use the gift for slow and steady contemplation that Saturn offers toward considering whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona through which you have been engaging the world. As Saturn in Capricorn will be continuing to plod along backwards in alignment with the South Node of the Moon for the rest of the month, there are aspects of your old identity and ambition to shed in order to make space for a more vital passion to follow forward.

While the New Moon in Leo is in the first decan of Leo, it is also within the Egyptian bounds of Venus, meaning that Venus will be setting the terms of the lunation while in process of being burned up and regenerated by the flames of the Leo Sun. Thus Venus can help guide us in remaking the mask we wear in public, drawing us into interior depths to discover inspiration attuned to our soul. Fittingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down old structures that can be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results in August, letting our creative process align with the changes of nature taking shape within us and outside us.

Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:  /  Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:  /  All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow’r, ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:  Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.  /  To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffus’d thro’ mortal bodies bright and strong.  /  Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:  /  Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

Aquarius New Moon & Mercury

Clavis Artis mercury snake woman

from the Clavis Artis

New Moon in Aquarius

The Aquarius New Moon on February 4, 2019 lifts us out of the strange vortex of eclipse season for a breath of fresh air that can help us reorient our life in accordance with whatever material has been stirred up since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse on January 5.  The New Moon is at 15º43′ degrees of Aquarius, placing it at the cross quarter point midway between the solstice and equinox. This period is associated with the goddess Brigid in Celtic mythology who signifies the returning healing light of spring, fertility, poetry, and the arts forged through smithcraft. Fittingly, the New Moon is applying to a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius, ideal for  finding a new form of stability to manage following the changes of the past month, forging art out of our experiences, as well as integrating the important lessons that have been revealed about ourselves.

Vitally, Mercury in Aquarius is separating from a sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius and applying tightly toward a conjunction with Black Moon Lilith in Aquarius at the time of the Aquarius New Moon. Mercury was recently reborn at its celestial cazimi in Aquarius, and similar to the darkened moon that we cannot see at the lunation, Mercury also remains within its invisible phase of forging new meaning for us to interpret and express. We truly are in the dark at the Aquarius New Moon, but as the night gives birth to Mercury a week or so after the lunation, with Mercury emerging in light again as an Evening Star in twilight, we will gain greater clarity. Mercury has been working within hidden places during the entire eclipse season, as it first disappeared under the beams of the sun as the solar rays were partially eclipsed on January 5. Applying to Black Moon Lilith, Mercury is highlighting parts of ourselves we had previously cast off that the recent eclipse season have indicated we now need to integrate and express.

In 20th century astrology Uranus became the dominant ruler of Aquarius, and it thus fascinating that Uranus is carrying perhaps the biggest story of the forthcoming lunation cycle. Just before the moon emerges into visible crescent form it will pass through a sextile with Uranus in Aries, highlighting that we have entered the final month of Uranus being in Aries. Uranus first entered Aries in 2010, immediately intensifying a catalytic square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that dominated astrology through 2016. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the Uranus and Pluto cycle as inciting “radical social and political change and often destructive upheaval, massive empowerment of revolutionary and rebellious impulses . . . intensified artistic and intellectual creativity . . . unusually rapid technological advance, an underlying spirit of restless experiment, drive for innovation, urge for freedom in many realms, revolt against oppression, embrace of radical political philosophies, and intensified collective will to bring forth a new world.” We will still be within the influence of the Uranus-Pluto square, but after Uranus enters Taurus and is no longer in a sign-based square with Pluto its edge will be less sharp.

Yet, since Uranus is separating away from Pluto while Saturn is applying to Pluto, the influence of the Saturn and Pluto cycle has been more viscerally felt. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the Saturn and Pluto cycle as being about “conservative empowerment,” as its cycle aligns with “eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression . . . An atmosphere of gravity and tension.” Significantly, Mars in Aries has moved through a square aspect with both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn and is now applying toward a conjunction with Uranus, bringing both cycles together on personal and societal levels.

Mars will complete is union with Uranus in Aries on February 12, and so there will be a great amount of tension building from the Aquarius New Moon to be released at that time. While collective events will reverberate with the changes that have been in process since 2010, on personal levels we will also be coming to terms with our own process of growth. The union of Mars with Uranus in Aries is impulsive and headstrong, and while difficult to restrain we will want to do our best to align the forceful fire of their conjunction with our inner values and integrity.  It will be best to not incite conflict where it is not necessary, but in any circumstance in which we need to stand up for ourselves it will bring an assertive, liberating, propulsive push.

The forthcoming lunation cycle also brings the end of Chiron’s time in Pisces, as Chiron will enter Aries as the moon is waxing into fullness on February 18. Chiron will then remain in the fiery home of Mars until 2027. Chiron first entered Pisces in April 2010 during the time period that the Uranus-Pluto square was beginning to intensify, and so has been with us in the watery home of Jupiter the entire time we have been dealing with the epochal eruptions of Uranus and Pluto throughout our global collective. Considering whatever house in your natal chart belongs to Pisces, in particular if the final degree of Pisces is significant by aspect in your natal chart, you can expect a final lesson of resolution relating to Chiron in the sign of Fishes as the light of the moon grows each day toward fullness.

In Pisces, Chiron has oftentimes needed to lead us into the innermost depths of his cave in order to nurture wounds, integrate lessons, and intuitively attune ourselves to changing currents through his vast array of hermetic medicines. We are now at the final weeks of receiving healing from the inner waters of Chiron before we will need to strike out on a fiery quest as Chiron enters Aries on February 18. Just as Chiron brought us resources from Pisces during the square between Uranus and Pluto, Chiron will now be bringing resources from Aries to assert ourselves during the coming union of Saturn and Pluto. Since the Saturn and Pluto cycle is oftentimes associated with oppressive, reactionary forces, we can link the square formed to Capricorn from Chiron in Aries with freedom fighters and social justice activists, as well as consequences of conflict brought by protest and revolutionary movements.

atalanta fugiens saturn emblem 12

Michael Maier, Emblem 12 from Atalanta Fugiens

The way we work with and become impacted by Jupiter is often tied to the familial, cultural, and societal traditions that have been surrounding and influencing us. There is currently a strong influence of Neptune in Pisces on all of this, as Neptune is in a change inducing square aspect with Jupiter, and Neptune is also in a harmonious sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, the ruler of the Aquarius New Moon. Jupiter will expand within the skeletal structures we have erected with Saturn, and so for many Jupiter could be expanding self centered and overly materialistic tendencies, or a nationalistic emphasis that neglects alternative viewpoints as well as more far reaching, global consequences of putting one’s own interests above others. The influence of Neptune is multivalent, in some cases keeping people wrapped up in illusions of belief, in other cases dissolving old belief structures through disillusioning experiences that reveal new awareness of personal truth.  Aquarius is zodiacal terrain ruled by Saturn that promotes the heretic willing to cut ties with corrosive cultural patterns, contemplating a new path to follow aligned in greater accord with inner integrity.

The work of C.G. Jung is interesting in connection with Saturn’s rulership of Aquarius, not only because Jung had both his ascendant and Saturn in Aquarius, but also due to many of his ideas in late 20th century astrology becoming associated with the Uranus rulership of Aquarius. It has been fascinating for me to read the two volumes written by Liz Greene thoroughly researching Jung’s work with astrology, as she revealed that Jung in fact not only emphasized the Saturn rulership of Aquarius, but also that he connected Saturn with “the unconscious darkness within the human being: that which is most despised and ‘inferior’ .  . .”  Saturn to Jung leads us to confront “the darkness of the unconscious,” a necessity for “any integration of the personality to occur.”

Jung also noted the important alchemical link between Mercury and Saturn, synthesizing it into his astrological interpretation of them- meaning which connects to the proximity of Mercury in Aquarius to the new moon. Greene described his interpretation as revealing that the “shadowy, potentially destructive prima materia of the unconscious, represented by Saturn, bears a secret unity with the mysterious mediating agency in the psyche, represented by Mercury, that fosters the conscious recognition of meaning and teleology.” In a similar way, all of the unconscious material that emerged into awareness during the past month of eclipses now needs to be sifted, mediated, and mixed into our actual daily presence, rather than splitting it off or dissociating.

C.G. Jung’s work is also resonant with our historical era of Saturn and Pluto coming together in Capricorn because Jung was born with an almost exact square aspect between his natal Saturn in Aquarius and Pluto in Taurus. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche brilliantly summarized the connection between Jung’s work with the meaning of the Saturn-Pluto cycle:

Throughout his life, Jung stressed the critical need for the modern self to become aware of its shadow, which he named, recognized as an archetypal principle, and examined in the traumas of twentieth-century history: the shadow of European civilization, the shadow of modern man, the shadow of modern technology, the shadow of patriarchy and masculine one-sidedness, the shadow of Christianity, the shadow of the conscious ego, the shadow within each individual. “It is indeed no small matter to know of one’s own guilt and one’s own evil, and there is certainly nothing to be gained by losing sight of one’s shadow . . . Without guilt, unfortunately there can be no psychic maturation and no widening of the spiritual horizon.”

. . . The very notion of the shadow as Jung conceived it represents an intricate synthesis of the two planetary principles: from Saturn, the motifs of judgment, guilt and shame, suppression and repression, splitting and separation, denial, the inferior, that which is regretted and negated; and from Pluto, those aspects of the self that constitute its “underworld,” the instincts, the dark depths of the personality, the animal-like, the often ruthless and ugly, serving impulses for power, domination, lust, and other drives yet also representing that healthy instinctuality from which healing, wholeness, and a higher consciousness can ultimately emerge.

— Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche

meret-oppenheim-stone-woman-steinfrau-1938

Meret Oppenheim Stone Woman

Venus enters Capricorn the day before the Aquarius New Moon, and then moves toward a conjunction with Saturn as the moon waxes full in the forthcoming lunar cycle. By the end of the lunar cycle, Venus will have moved through unions with Pluto and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in the final degree of Aries. There are a couple of ways to view this journey of Venus in her bright Morning Star phase: on one hand, it can be seen as a rough, restraining passage for Venus necessitating focused hard work. This time period is in stark contrast to last month when Venus was uniting with Jupiter in Sagittarius while aspecting Neptune in Pisces, as it brings Venus back to earth in a way that will force us to mediate the limitations of current circumstances as well as the underlying, unconscious depths of our shadow.

On the other hand, an important viewpoint is that Venus is bringing her unifying significations to mediate the building tension between Saturn and Pluto. Capricorn is a sensual and tactile placement for Venus, and her movement through aspects with Saturn, Pluto, the South Node of the Moon, and Uranus means that we will be deeply feeling all of the associated material within ourselves and within our relational dynamics. Though difficult feelings may come during this transit, the passage of Venus during the forthcoming lunar cycle will help us to orient ourselves toward however the myriad aspects of our lives are taking shape in accordance with the coming union of Saturn and Pluto. As Capricorn is a cardinal sign of initiation, Venus can help guide us toward places we need to make adjustments within our relationships.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness, there will be a major astrological shift away from externally directed signs toward receptive, internally directed signs. Mars will shift from Aries into the inner, earthy sign of Taurus on February 14 where the red planet will look to Venus for guidance. Mercury will enter the inner, watery sign of Pisces a week after the Aquarius New Moon, as it also reemerges into visibility as an Evening Star with a significant Neptunian message for us to receive.  As a result the week following the Aquarius New Moon will feel active with an accelerated pace that will begin to slow down in the days leading into the Full Moon in Virgo on February 19.

swords06

6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius falls in the second decan of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride. The image also reveals three of the swords staked into the dark void at the front of the boat, while the other three are placed in protection around the mother and child.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, found in the image of the Six of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” that utilizes the independence of Aquarius to stabilize “commerce between heaven and earth.”  Coppock described it as a place to “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them,” acting in accordance with “one’s principles” in a way that allows for the mediation and forging of “the orthodox and unorthodox, the known and the unknown.” Coppock also noted the link of Phobos to this face in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs, signifying the terror and fear many feel when encountering the unknown and alien.

Interestingly, Mercury is barely present within the second face of Aquarius it rules at the exact moment the New Moon aligns, on the threshold of leaving the second decan of Aquarius to cross into the third decan of Aquarius. In the month of February, all of the planets are direct and after Mercury becomes visible again in the week after the lunation, all of the planets will also be visible. If you are being compelled to take a risk of entering unknown territory, leaving a familiar situation for the unfamiliar, there is plenty of planetary impetus to support getting the work done. Moreover, since the month of March will be dominated by Mercury retrograde in Pisces, the month ahead is opportune for taking strides to make progress and solidify structures in preparation for the mercurial shifting that will be coming in March. Since we can expect the unexpected manifestations of Uranus, the more we embrace change and coming up with new solutions, the better. Heed the ancient words of Heraclitus: “Whoever cannot seek / the unforeseen sees nothing, / for the known way / is an impasse.”

References

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

Greene, Liz. (2018). Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time. Routledge.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Haxton, Brooks. (2001). Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus. Viking.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Sagittarius New Moon of Changes

Sagittarius New Moon

Dionysus Ear by Vera Berdich

Sagittarius New Moon

The fertile darkness of the New Moon in Sagittarius on December 7 pulsates with imaginal and visionary undercurrents. There is a powerful interplay between the signs of Sagittarius and Pisces, as the New Moon and Jupiter in Sagittarius are in a catalyzing square aspect with Mars and Neptune in Pisces. While Mars uniting with Neptune brings creative willpower to the lunation, the fiery force of Jupiter behind the New Moon ignites determination for expansive goals which flow from a sharpened focus toward the sparked inspiration. While Sagittarius and Pisces are signs that promote far reaching dreams that go far beyond present circumstances, neither sign is known for taking the time to build stalwart foundations to launch endeavors from. As the Sagittarius Moon darkens and is reborn in solar light, survey the roots of burgeoning plans in order to redirect imaginative problem solving toward any underlying aspects in need of tending.

Mercury takes center stage at the New Moon, as it is stationing direct at 28° Scorpio and saturating the astrological atmosphere with its tricky nature of curious questioning, contesting, and interconnection. Thus the New Moon brings to a close the transit of Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio that began November 16, and so just as the meaning of the forthcoming lunar cycle begins to take form we will also be integrating the insights gleaned from Mercury’s liminal retrograde passage. This past Mercury retrograde has been especially otherworldly and at odds with focused diligence at times, yet within the underworld path blazed by the star of Hermes we have been given opportunities for dissolving old patterns and opening to new purposeful paths to follow forward. With Mercury stationing it is imperative to maintain awareness of whatever details demand our attention and any signs indicating shifts of shapes to come.

Since the recent Mercury retrograde began in strong aspect with Neptune it may have brought some communication mishaps, but it has also been powerful for revisioning life and dreaming up new plans for the future. Mercury returning to predawn skies as a Morning Star while shifting direct provides impetus for making the preparations and finding the resources to embark in a new direction. Because Mercury in Scorpio is ruled by Mars as it applies to Neptune in conjunction, it suggests we can now take determined action toward manifesting whatever ingenious ideas began brewing in the time surrounding November 16. Mercury in Scorpio brings the resolve to push through unforeseen obstacles and the penetrating determination necessary for persisting along a path that shakes up whatever had become status quo.

Jupiter Luna

The Alchemical Manual by Ulrich Ruosch

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the New Moon at the beginning of a new cycle with the Sun. Although Jupiter remains invisible during the New Moon, as the Moon waxes in light one week later Jupiter will become visible for the first time in Sagittarius as a Morning Star.  Ever since Jupiter has been in Sagittarius it has been undergoing the regenerative purification it experiences in the weeks surrounding its solar conjunction. Similar to how New Moons are effective for inner visioning and intention more so than projecting willpower in action, so has the new synodic phase of Jupiter we have been experiencing so far in Sagittarius been ideal for letting go of outdated beliefs and kindling a more authentic inner purpose to bring into life.

Due to the close co-presence of Jupiter with the New Moon, the darkness of the Sagittarius lunation nurtures with an uplifting quality that restores enthusiasm for engaging inner desire and directing energy toward whatever cultivates intrinsic motivation. If you can create time for reflection it is a beautiful lunation for allowing  yourself to imagine new possibilities without constraints and negation. After you allow yourself to fully visualize the essential meaning you wish to bring into the world, you can then reorient your ideal image with the reality of what you can currently begin working on in your present circumstances.

At the same time, the mutable nature of the Sagittarius New Moon and Jupiter clashing with Mars and Neptune in Pisces also indicates a great deal of volatile conflict in collective events, in particular within polarizing disputes in which each side is engaging from separate realities and dogmatic beliefs making mediation near impossible.  We are entering the last quarter, waning square aspect between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces which will be one of the major aspects of 2019. The last quarter square between Jupiter and Neptune signifies a collective shift in consciousness stemming from the beginning of the current Jupiter and Neptune cycle in 2009 in Aquarius. Though conflicts may intensify, the deeper meaning of the Jupiter and Neptune cycle indicates that the repercussions from the discord will bring the disillusionment needed to reorient beliefs around new knowledge gained from the experience.

Sagittarius New Moon

The Alchemical Manual by Ulrich Ruosch

Though the signs of Sagittarius and Pisces share the mutable modality and the rulership of Jupiter, their core friction comes from a dissimilarity in elemental nature. While Sagittarius is an outwardly projected, swift and spirited fire sign stimulating change, in contrast Pisces is an inwardly directed, receptive and soulful water sign that dissolves and coheres new forms.  Mars and Neptune in Pisces slow down our driving will force so as to allow events to take more of their own shape rather than the rapid, visionary trail blazing preferred by Jupiter and the New Moon in Sagittarius. The fires of the martial forge may be brought under the surface to spark self realization regarding the irrational depth of our inner nature and motivation. Since Jupiter is receiving Mars and Neptune through an inciting square aspect, it’s likely that the matrix of the lunation will seed a crucial change in the purpose we live life from and the inspirational sources spurring us forward.

There is a large influence from water signs within the lunation: Mars, Neptune, and Chiron occupying Pisces, Venus, Ceres, and Mercury inhabiting Scorpio, and the North Node of the Moon transiting Cancer. Moreover, there is also a water triangle formed by Mercury stationing direct in Scorpio, Chiron stationing direct in Pisces, and the North Node of the Moon in Cancer.  These aspects will draw us even deeper into the roots of present circumstances, probing to uncover previously hidden factors and absorbing emotional poisons for purification. Emotions may be deeply stirred and felt, and so making space to simply be present with feelings or sharing feelings with others will help in moving through this period rather than becoming stuck in emotive stagnation.

The return of Venus to the first decan of Scorpio means we are finally entering the final phase of the recent Venus retrograde, bringing to a close whatever tales of Venus began to take shape toward the end of September. Venus is direct as a Morning Star having been purified and regenerated during its underworld passage, and so its watery relationship with Mars in Pisces will aid in integrating the essential lessons gathered over the past few months. Venus in Scorpio is finally moving away from its opposition with Uranus, bringing whatever breakthrough ideas emerged forward into its intuitive, emotive association with Mars and Neptune. We may find healing from wounds that first became tender back in June when Mars stationed retrograde, healing from whatever was torn asunder in 2018.

After Mercury stations direct on the same day as the Sagittarius New Moon, Mercury will remain in watery Scorpio until December 12 when it will return to the mutable fire of Sagittarius. Just as we are taking in the final lessons of the recent Venus retrograde, in the week after the New Moon we will also want to integrate whatever lessons we learned through the course of the Mercury retrograde that has been going on for the past three weeks. Venus and Mercury moving direct as Morning Stars in Scorpio will demand honest exchanges and appraisals, and are perfect placements for being uncompromising in manifesting whatever new creation is ready to emerge.

Sagittarius New Moon

Sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons

The Full Moon in Cancer that follows the New Moon in Sagittarius will ripen in full light only a day after the Capricorn Solstice on December 21. The time of peak darkness in the northern hemisphere that heralds the return of solar light (while the time of peak light in the southern hemisphere initiating summer), the solstice this year will host the magical convergence of a fully waxing Moon combined with the final conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter in Sagittarius. Interestingly, while the union of Mercury and Jupiter at the solstice speaks of soaring vision and songs of muses, the Cancer Full Moon that follows will be applying to an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn and thus involves serious, determined gravitas. There is enormous potential within the surrounding aspects of the solstice for birthing forms and ideas that combine inspiring imagination with the sturdy structure and foundation of Saturn.

In particular, the union of Mercury and Jupiter at the solstice will bring to a close a complex process that has been taking shape since October 29 when Mercury and Jupiter first united at 28° Scorpio, the same degree that Mercury stations direct at during the Sagittarius New Moon. As the Sun stands still at the solstice, with Mercury and Jupiter uniting in predawn skies, we can receive an expansive flowering of whatever seeds we nurture at the New Moon in Sagittarius.

Sagittarius New Moon

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 2 Decan

The New Moon arises in the second face of Sagittarius associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a bandaged and alert figure stands with his chosen staff planted firmly in the ground, with eight other wands of varying size rooted behind him. There is a resilient strength and courage to persist in the face of opposition found here that resonates with the meaning of the second face of Sagittarius. It is significant that the figure has been wounded at the top of his head, as a modus operandi of Sagittarius is the unification of fiery spirit with the will of the body.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, stating that the battles and conflicts pictured in the Nine of Wands card “are necessary to inflame the will and provide the heat necessary for the fusion of the mind and body.” Coppock praised the capacity of the second face of Sagittarius “to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces,” but cautioned against bringing “fierce resistance” to all opposition as the decan also holds a lesson of learning when “to yield in order to gain mastery.”

The Moon (descending rulership scheme) and Mars (triplicity rulership scheme) are the co-rulers of the second face of Sagittarius, more deeply unlocking the fertile friction between the Sagittarius New Moon forming a square with Mars and Neptune in Pisces. This tense aspect between Mars and the Moon at the heart of the lunation echoes the core meaning of the second face of Sagittarius described by Austin Coppock in 36 Faces. While the lunation can promote unifying assets around a targeted goal, it is vital that we also deeply consider the underlying motivation and ethical considerations of our quest and its rippling impact in the wider world. Rather than stubbornly maintaining defensive attitudes, we need to remain open to being wrong and having the willingness to modify and reorient vision as necessary.

The dichotomy of fighting to protect a vision, whether it is securing a boon through victory or bewailing the loss of defeat, is found in ancient textual images of the second decan of Sagittarius. In the Birhat Jakarta a golden woman of grace picks up gems from the ocean, while in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra as well as the Yavanajataka there is a chest of golden ornaments and jewels set before a beautiful woman. These images are in contrast to images in other tomes signifying sadness and fear, such as a “lamenting woman” in Three Books of Occult Philosophy.  These images of mourning and unearthed treasure are also curiously resonant with the figure of Kore (aka Persephone) who was ascribed to the second face of Sagittarius by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Austin Coppock linked Kore’s presence here with her form as Persephone Praxidike, mistress of the furies and the forces of nemesis that create the adversarial force necessary to bring forth our most heroic qualities.

Kore, daughter of the sky god and earth goddess, queen of the underworld, is interesting to consider in relation to the Sagittarius New Moon coinciding with the conclusion of our experience of the recent Venus retrograde. Venus has now returned to Scorpio having completed her underworld journey, and is applying to a conjunction with Ceres, the dwarf planet named after the mother of Kore. Venus stationed retrograde on October 5 while conjoining the Persephone asteroid, and when Venus re-entered Libra at the end of October after being reborn in the heart of the Sun, Ceres was waiting to unite with her at the end of Libra. Venus journeying with Ceres now in Scorpio is seasoned and savvy, bearing a penetrative eye and productive spirit similar to the mature Kore who returns to the side of her goddess mother above ground.

When Kore ascends to the upper world she retains connection with her presence in the underworld where she is a mediatrix of soul. While Kore conducts work and connects in relationship above ground, she remembers her role underground guiding souls. The repeated retrograde, underworld transits we have been experiencing since June 2018 may have brought dark nights of the soul, yet as we come to the ending of the year we can sense the renewed strength, talent, and understanding we have been able to harvest from inner landscapes. In the blackness of the Sagittarius New Moon, feel the fire of electrifying, animating creative vision rising from within, allowing yourself the freedom of taking in a widening of potential possibilities.

References

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

New Moon in Virgo

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Winged Sphinx from Petra, Jordan

New Moon in Virgo

Virgo is a mutable sign of seasonal transition, as in the northern hemisphere we shift from Summer into Fall, while in the southern hemisphere we complete Winter in turn for Spring. The New Moon in Virgo on September 9 similarly serves as a bridge between distinct astrological seasons. Previously, we experienced a volatile series of eclipses with numerous planets in retrograde, most notably Mars and Mercury. Now within the darkness of the Virgo New Moon we are experiencing the gravitas of Saturn having stationed direct a few days before the syzygy, bringing us into a lunar cycle ideal for generating forward momentum and taking care of whatever responsibilities need our attention following a season of volatility.  Within a month, however, Venus will station retrograde and by the time the star of Aphrodite has completed her backward motion in November we will also have experienced the lunar nodes moving into Cancer and Capricorn, Uranus moving back into Aries, and Jupiter entering its domicile of Sagittarius. The Virgo New Moon thus connects two distinct periods of change inducing astrological influences.

The recent stationing of Saturn makes the ringed planet’s significations take precedence, and with Saturn in Capricorn in range of creating an earthy triangle with Mercury in Virgo and Uranus in Taurus, there is great potential for clarifying goals and the priorities and tasks necessary for effective manifestation. Yet the Virgo New Moon is separating from an opposition with Neptune in Pisces, an aspect which lends itself more so to simply enjoying the presence of being rather than diligently taking care of work details. As I wrote about recently, the planetary nodes of Neptune were strongly activated in recent months, and transiting Neptune in Pisces has likewise been an important influence.  If we have been able to take time for imaginal exploration of whatever we most want to bring into the world, the Virgo New Moon is perfect for discerning choices and following through on action for development.

The Virgo New Moon is full of resilient, visionary aspects as it is applying to a harmonious sextile with Jupiter in Scorpio and an empowering trine with Pluto in Capricorn. Rather than being lost in a cloud of Neptunian fog, the Virgo New Moon can aid in recovering from disillusionment with the state of the world in order to invest energy in our own personal projects or in helping others in collective efforts toward the greater needs of our surrounding community. Jupiter in Scorpio has completed its final exact trine with Neptune in Pisces and is applying tightly toward its final exact sextile with Pluto in Capricorn.  We’ve been experiencing Jupiter in Scorpio since 10 October 2017, and the Virgo New Moon signals the time to make a final push to complete or make significant progress in realizing whatever growth opportunities have coincided with Jupiter’s time in the fixed sign of the Scorpion.

the-sacred-wood-arnold-bocklin

Arnold Bocklin The Sacred Wood

Mercury rules the New Moon from its home and exaltation of Virgo, separating from an earth triangle with Saturn in Capricorn and Uranus in Taurus. Mercury is experiencing a phase change during the New Moon, heading under the beams of the Sun and disappearing from view on its way toward a union with the Sun in Virgo on September 20. This means we have come to the end of the synodic cycle of Mercury that began with its superior conjunction on June 5, which was interestingly in square to Neptune in Pisces. With the ruler of the New Moon at home in Virgo, it amplifies the potential of the New Moon to help us recover and move forward from all of the change that has occurred since the beginning of June. Mercury in Virgo is ideal for analysis, organization, and clarifying decision making.

As Mercury moves toward its rebirth with the Sun on September 20 at 28º02′ Virgo, it will recreate the same aspects with Neptune, Pluto, and Jupiter that the New Moon possesses. On September 13 Mercury will form an opposition to Neptune in Pisces, then on September 15 Mercury will form a trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and then on September 16 Mercury will form a sextile with Jupiter in Scorpio. All of this will occur in the build-up not only to the superior conjunction of Mercury on September 20, but also to the Aries Full Moon on September 24. Thus during the week of September 13 through the 20 we can experience a manifestation or significant development toward whatever we set in motion at the Virgo New Moon.

Bocklin Schwanengrotte

Arnold Bocklin Schwanengrotte

One of the most significant elements of the Virgo New Moon is the entrance of Venus into Scorpio that coincides with the lunation.  One reason is that as soon as Venus enters Scorpio, it instantly begins to tightly form an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. The tension of the polarity between Uranus and Venus is somewhat mitigated due to Venus receiving Uranus, but it is likely to coincide with sudden and rapid developments in associated areas of life (for example whatever places in your natal chart are occupied by Scorpio and Taurus). Most importantly, this is the first of three oppositions that will be formed by Venus and Uranus in the coming months. This is due to the fact that after Venus completes the opposition with Uranus on September 12, it will be slowing down as it approaches its retrograde station on October 5 which will lead it to forming two more oppositions with Uranus on October 31 and November 30. Thus more so than a temporary activation of Venus and Uranus, the Virgo New Moon launches us into an extended process of change we will not fully have understood until December. For now, it will be helpful to begin taking note of whatever changes arise in storylines while also realizing we are only at the beginning of navigating the corresponding developments.

Venus remains a bright evening star during the night of the Virgo New Moon, so enjoy her luminescence as each subsequent evening she will be descending lower and lower during twilight as she approaches her retrograde in October when she will disappear from visibility.  Venus is also forming harmonious, pivotal aspects as not only is she opposing Uranus in Taurus, but also forming harmonious sextile aspects with both Saturn in Capricorn and Mercury in Virgo. In addition, Venus completed a catalytic square aspect with Mars the day before the New Moon on September 8, an aspect which stirred up all of the material that has been in a process of change over the course of the past few months. Due to Venus stationing retrograde at the beginning of October, it means that Venus and Mars will form another exact square on October 10. Therefore, similar to the opposition formed by Venus with Uranus, its square aspect with Mars also takes us into an extended process of change rather than a temporary impetus.

Mars returns to Aquarius on September 10, a day after the Virgo New Moon, meaning that it will basically be sustaining tension with Venus over the course of the next month.  Mars will be approaching its final conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius during the waxing cycle of the Moon, forming its exact conjunction with the South Node on September 25, a day after the Aries Full Moon. Taking all of this into account, it means the lunar cycle we begin with the Virgo New Moon will not only bring significant developments, but also deeper understanding regarding whatever changes we have been experiencing, or however we have been feeling stuck or obstructed.  The forthcoming lunar cycle demands clear thinking bound with decisive action and a willingness to confront whatever is not working, devising solutions as needed.  We will need the resilient desire of Venus in Scorpio that will penetrate to the depths of dilemmas, and with Jupiter co-present in Scorpio there is strength to be found in taking a stand and persisting in the face of opposition.

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9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 2 Decan

The New Moon in Virgo falls in the third face of Virgo associated with the Nine of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is resplendent with a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure, and fittingly Venus is the ruler of the second face of Virgo.  On her hand sits a bird of prey ready to strike out for resources, while ripening grapevines surround her.  This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes.  Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:  “Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus . . . . [and] brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof” (p. 146).

Interestingly, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked the Moirai to the second face of Virgo.  These are the daughters of Necessity, the goddesses of fate: Clotho the spinner of the threads of life, Lachesis the measurer of fateful threads, and Atropos who cuts the threads.  These goddesses of fate appearing in this decan remind us to center within the actual currents of life so that choices can be discerned that will allow one to navigate accordingly.  In Plato’s Myth of Er, the Moriai not only ascribe ones destiny but also the guardian daimon who can bring guidance in accordance with virtue and authentic character. While there are many upsetting events occurring in collective events we cannot change, we do possess the inherent character to respond with responsible virtue rather than in a way that goes against the nature of our higher self.  The current shift toward a time of Venus retrograde will bring tests and events saturated with the feel of destiny, bringing forth deeper aspects of our Self and realizations of purpose and potential. To paraphrase Carl Jung, free will is doing that which one must do.

References

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

 

Leo New Moon & Mars

Paul Klee Pride of Lions

Paul Klee (1924) A Pride of Lions (Take Note!)

New Moon in Leo

The Leo New Moon on July 23 is united with Mars, bringing primal intensity and vigor to the lunation.  New Moons are a time to set intentions, yet the symbolism of the Moon being invisible correlates with the necessity of embracing the unknown for no matter how much passion we invest into our intentions, we must ultimately surrender when forces out of our control emerge to contend with.  This is especially important to keep in mind at this martial New Moon in Leo, for the coming astrology suggests that unexpected elements are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead.  The influence of Mars on the New Moon points to the vital importance of standing up for yourself and reasserting your energy toward the role you wish to play within our global collective.  There will be challenges to face in the lunar cycle ahead that are capable of reshaping the course your life trajectory is taking, and so it will be imperative to boldly flow with the changes with courage and a presence ready to respond responsibly in accordance with the vision you wish to manifest.

The Leo New Moon escorts us into the most impactful period of astrological aspects in 2017.  The darkness of the New Moon will ripen into a Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, to be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  The Leo Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Pisces Full Moon united with Neptune, and in between the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Full Moon we will experience Mercury moving retrograde from Virgo back into the same area of Leo as the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. Interestingly, Mercury is in Leo at the time of the Leo New Moon very close to the same degree it will later station direct on September 5.   Mercury is furthermore separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon while forming a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result the Leo New Moon is opportune for going over the plans you wish to initiate in the coming months and strengthening their structural foundations.

ClavisArtis.Lion

from the Clavis Artis

Rebirth of Mars in Leo

The New Moon in Leo arrives at the very, very end of the synodic cycle of Mars that goes back two years.  The last time that Mars was regenerated in the heart of the Sun was on  14 June 2015 at 23º15′ of Gemini, and so it will be fruitful to reflect upon this two year period and the desires that you manifested as well as those that remained dormant.   Since we have been at the close of the Mars and Sun cycle in the past weeks, its important to realize that if you have felt a lack of energy or a need to rest as part of a feeling of something being reborn, that you have likely been tapped into the current Mars cycle.  Mars will unite with our Sun on July 26 at 4º12′ of Leo, and so this is a beautiful time period to ritualize a rebirth of Mars in your life and reinvest your passions toward whatever you most desire to create or whoever you want to be in our world.  Since the Sun will be receiving Mars in its home, there is enormous creative potency available in their union.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the god Hephaistos to the first face of Leo where Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun.  Hephaistos is another aspect of Mars associated with smiths and artists who at heart is an embodiment of the primal potency of fire.  The Orphic hymn to Hephaistos calls the fiery artist to “suppress the rage of fire’s unwearied frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.”  Hephaistos carried wounds of abandonment and rejection he transmuted into a creative process of fire that burned up the old to manifest his new inventions.  Similarly, as we have been facing old wounds and emotional issues through the course of Mars closing its past cycle with the Sun in Cancer, we are now given the opportunity to transmute the pain of the past into beautiful works of artistry and tools we can wield in the journey ahead.

Hephaistos created both the chariot of Helios as well as the winged sandals and helmet of Hermes.  What heroic role do you wish to play in the forthcoming two year cycle of Mars, and what symbolic or literal tool can you now forge in the solar fires to support the talents and skills you wish to share?  How do you want to direct the ambition, aggression, and courage of Mars being consumed and reborn in the Sun?  The mythic figure of Hephaistos is also fitting for the fiery triangle being formed by Mercury and the North Node in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Saturn in Sagittarius.  Hephaistos can forge and create whatever image we desire, yet to succeed in our endeavors we will also need a level of courage that knows when it is necessary to fight as well as let go.  The Leo New Moon is perfect for discerning the inner principles that align with our authenticity and whatever we wish to creatively actualize, and then assertively pushing forward with our work in accordance.

pamela colman smith scythe woman

by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus opposing Saturn

The other major aspect of the Leo New Moon finds Venus in Gemini applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This takes us back to the Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces in which Venus stationed direct in Pisces in a square with Saturn.  Now Venus has moved forward into her first opposition with Saturn since their long engagement during her retrograde cycle.  Whatever shifting began happening in our life during February, March, April, and May as we entered and left the Venus retrograde period has now in hindsight become clear, and we can now witness and evaluate how the elements of our life have been rearranged.  Similar to the fiery triangle of Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn, the opposition between Venus and Saturn is also opportune for strengthening the foundations of the plans we wish to enact as we enter into eclipse season.   In fact, Venus is strongly activating the aforementioned fiery triangle, as she is in sextile to both Mercury and Uranus at the same time she is in opposition to Saturn.  The opposition between Venus and Saturn can not only help us figure out what aspects of our life and relationships need to be modified, but how exactly they need to be altered.

During the waxing lunar cycle Venus will move from her opposition with Saturn toward a trine with Neptune in Pisces following her ingress into Cancer.  At the same time Mercury will leave the creative fires of Leo for its home and exaltation of Virgo during the waxing of the Moon, toward an opposition with Neptune that does not perfect due to Mercury stationing retrograde.  Neptune in Pisces is veiled in the background of the Leo New Moon but does form the shadowy aspect of antiscia with Jupiter in Libra for the remainder of July.  The more we can effectively work with Neptune in Pisces at this time, such as shedding the illusions of the past and opening our imaginations in our creative process, the better we will be able to enter the flow of the coming eclipse season.  It will be helpful in working with Neptune to create some sort of daily spiritual practice for yourself, however you connect with Spirit.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Five of Wands is associated with conflict and competition, and though its meaning could be linked to an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control, oftentimes the strife among competing external interests is literal.  In one way or another it suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired, prominent position.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo which can be connected to the imagery of the Five of Wands through the five youth battling for the attention of the starring role of the spotlight.  Coppock wrote that the “power of this decan is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person” (p. 122), and analyzed that the decan’s rulership by Saturn signifies the ability to direct the spotlight in order to both reveal as well as conceal, binding the attention, and projection, of an audience to one’s performing image.

Importantly, Coppock also noted that Saturn’s influence can be found in that the performer can become bound to their public image to such an extent that it can drain their energy and betray their inner authenticity.  Keeping all this in mind, remember at the Leo New Moon to make sure that the image you desire to project into our world aligns strongly with your essential authenticity.  Saturn in Sagittarius in trine with Mercury, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon is available to assist with the discipline and integrity necessary to separate and sever whatever does not align with our inner values, and bind oneself with commitment to whatever does align.  Within the catalytic atmosphere of the coming eclipse season, there  will be found a fertile matrix through which to embark in creative directions attuned to the passions arising from within.

References

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

 

Cancer New Moon & Mercury

chagall la nuit blanche

by Marc Chagall

New Moon in Cancer

The New Moon in Cancer on June 23 follows closely behind the Cancer Solstice in which our Sun stands still, as well as the rebirth of Mercury within the heart of the Sun.  The solstice in Cancer is one of the peak moments of the year, the beginning of Summer in our northern hemisphere and the beginning of Winter in our southern hemisphere.  This year as our Sun stood still at the pinnacle of its furthest northerly reach, Mercury united within its fiery rays for an extremely powerful superior conjunction of the Star of Hermes with our Light of Spirit.  The longest day in our northern hemisphere and the longest night in our southern hemisphere, the Cancer Solstice pulls us within to explore the deepest desires of our heart, while also calling us to express our feelings and visions in our wider community, finding appropriate forms and mediums through which to communicate our message.

The last time Mercury formed a superior conjunction with our Sun was in March at the beginning of the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Following Mercury’s union with the Sun during its retrograde in April, Mercury spent an extended period of time moving backward and the forward again in union with Uranus.  The first half of 2017 has brought significant shifts, some unexpected and all necessary, as we moved from a period of eclipses into extremely volatile phases of Venus and Mercury retrogrades.  The Cancer New Moon comes at the perfect time to look backward to the first half of the year and what has and has not come into manifestation, while looking forward with focus on configuring what we need to shift and restructure in order to bring more of our desires into form and expression.  The second half of 2017 will continue to bring volatility and immense change.  As a result, the Cancer New Moon is ideal for centering within and nurturing ourselves and loved ones with intimate attention.  Tenderness and gentle strength that calms and soothes volatilized nerves will be important medicine in the lunar cycle ahead.

hilma-af-climt-2

by Hilma af Klint

Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so the New Moon in Cancer is always an especially powerful moment for setting intention.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of initiation and leadership that simultaneously connects with the emotional realm within as well as the emotions of those we meet in relationship.  Cancer holds our memories and in the reflection of its waters we catch glimpses of our essential nature and most cherished desires.  While the season of Cancer may make us think of ruminating over past memories, the current New Moon in Cancer is most vital in terms of making new memories that will enliven our passion for life and bring sustenance to our sense of soul.  This is a New Moon with which to launch yourself into living life fully in the moment, seizing the opportunities brought by day and night to receive the pleasure of being alive.  Humanity on our planet has been going through a difficult time of immense suffering on many levels, and the amount of change and reform in need of being enacted can feel overwhelming to achieve on an individual level.  The Cancer New Moon will support expressing yourself into your wider community and in so doing discovering collaborators who possess a sense of mutual purpose.

Mercury separating from the Sun while applying toward a conjunction with Mars is an important aspect of the New Moon, for in the lunar cycle ahead Mercury will unite with Mars in opposition to Pluto while both are invisible under the beams of the Sun, and then as Mercury emerges as an Evening Star around July 4 it will form a catalyzing square with Uranus in Aries.  Allow Mercury to soothe and open up whatever defense mechanisms have been internally preventing you from risking your heart in action.  As Mercury gets closer and closer to Mars, look for remediation outlets to express passions through so that they are less likely to become bottled up and unleashed in anger.  Its likely that many aspects of collective current events will incite anger and inspire action, and so this is also an excellent New Moon to look around your community for volunteer, service, or organizing opportunities.  Mercury combined with Mars can be volatile, yet in the end Mercury loves to connect and bridge and so by taking action there can be significant new connections made linked with purpose.

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Birch (1922) by Hilma af Klint

Mars is playing a leading role in the New Moon as it is applying closely to a square with Jupiter in Libra.   Mars is currently invisible under the beams of the Sun, undergoing a period of purification and regeneration that will not complete until the Sun unites with Mars in Leo on July 26.  As a result the Mars square with Jupiter is potent and will dredge up deep issues of ambition and desire, some of which is in need of shedding while other aspects can be returned to our inner soil to reseed future visions.  Mars in Cancer is known as being in its “fall” since it is the opposite sign of its exaltation in Capricorn, and yet there is an interesting aspect in which Jupiter is receiving Mars through the square since Mars being in Cancer means it is in the exaltation of Jupiter.  An empowering interpretation can be found through realizing the wisdom we can gain when pursuing passionate desires even when we do not achieve our intended success.  The importance is in taking action and risking our emotional involvement and full presence.  It will be important to not become overly critical of ourselves for not having already achieved certain grand ambitions, but rather acknowledge and find value in whatever point of our journey we find ourselves within.

Mars in Cancer can bring about emotional outbursts and so it will be vital to find appropriate outlets for our feelings and focus on the relationships that can offer us nurturance and support.  The period from June 28 through July 4 is important to be aware of, as Mercury will unite with Mars and then oppose Pluto as Mars also forms an opposition with Pluto, followed by Mercury forming a challenging square with Uranus in Aries.  Further interesting is that just before Mars and Mercury enter into these intense aspects, they will have recently formed a supportive trine with Neptune in Pisces.  It will help to find work and projects you can pour your heart and energy into without become overly upset if the results do not match your idealized expectations.  There is tremendous power and inspiration found within these aspects, and we will gain strength through courageously engaging life fully rather than withdrawing through fear or defense mechanisms.

Another significant intersection between personal planets with the transpersonal at the Cancer New Moon is Venus in Taurus applying closely to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  At the previous New Moon in Gemini, Venus was in a square with Pluto that brought up some deep issues we can now integrate and find deeper stability around.  The trine from Venus to Pluto can also help us deepen intimacy with both ourselves and others through opening ourselves to the sort of full emotional involvement that facilitates buried issues reemerging into the light of conscious awareness.   Venus in Taurus can help stabilize and harmonize whatever has become out of balance, so look for ways to embrace Venus in your life in whatever forms bring you pleasure and comfort.  While opening ourselves to deep emotions may not always feel pleasurable, significations of Venus such as music, color, food, and intimacy can be a balm that helps us cross over the threshold of old inner obstacles.

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2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche.  We can also find a connection between Venus with the first face of Cancer and the Two of Cups through the inner values that underlie all of our relationship dynamics with others, a source that can alchemize magical healing and power within the relationships that resonate with our essence.  The New Moon in Cancer is ideal for honoring the relationships that receive, support, and protect our unique expression and presence.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104).  Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, the type of relationships that seem “as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted” (p. 105).

As the lovers in the image of the Two of Cups are greeting one another with chalices, consider at the Cancer New Moon what sort of chalice you are carrying into your relationships.  Who are you willing to share your chalice with and why, for what reasons.    The relationships in which equity and reciprocity coexist naturally will emerge with magnetic force in the lunar cycle ahead and will feel most deserving to share in mutual nurturance.  Remember to also pour an offering to the Earth and Spirit, and set intention to manifest your most cherished desires in the season ahead.

References

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

 

Cancer New Moon

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Der_Mönch_am_Meer_-_Google_Art_Project

Caspar David Friedrich (1810) The Monk by the Sea

New Moon in Cancer

Memories envelope the New Moon in Cancer on 4 July 2016, memories which nourish as well as memories which torment with the pang of loss.  The Moon is home in Cancer, and the blackness of the New Moon lacking solar light signifies the pure, raw emotions of the lunar realm.  The Moon’s constant waxing and waning, reflecting and holding the light of the Sun, illustrates why we associate Cancer and the Moon with the ebb and flow of our moods and the ever present influence of our memories.  We hold memories of past loves and peak emotions in Cancer and the Moon, as well as remembrances of family, cultural, and ancestral origins.  While memories bring sustenance and source our flights of imaginative vision, the reminiscences of our most blissful times can also become torturous in the pain of losing their source.  Attachments to memory can overburden us when grieving what we have lost, and can also be sources of disruptive illusions in those attached to sentimental nostalgia rather than the arising change of the moment.  In collective events there has been a Nationalistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and bigoted monstrosity raging that has its roots in a nostalgia for cultural illusions of the past. The positive message found in the Cancer New Moon is resolution through reconciling the past with the present, and in the stillness of a reflective moment experiencing the flowering of grace.

The New Moon in Cancer brings a cathartic release through its opposition to Pluto.   Instead of a soft and supple lunar goddess we will feel more in the protective presence of a hard and skeletal Santa Muerte.  Pluto has been associated with Shiva and his fierce destructive aspects by many astrologers, as the experience of a hard aspect from Pluto can not only feel like a complete destruction of one’s personality, but also be experienced through devastating losses of structures and relationships we had been attached to.  When we stop resisting, denying, or being overly defensive,  allowing our ego to be destroyed in the quakes of Pluto, in the resulting dismemberment we are given the opportunity to reassemble ourselves into a more authentic presence, remembering our essentiality through the dismembering.

Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche associated Pluto with Dionysus because it shatters and brings forth new forms in transit, and dismemberment also circulates through the stories involving Dionysus.  James Hillman in Mythic Figures wrote that the dismemberment of Dionysus is “necessary for awakening the consciousness of the body,” because the loss of central control resurrects the light of each separate organ making up the whole.  Hillman saw this alchemical dismemberment as an awareness that can cut through the “habitual ways we have ‘grown up’ and ‘grown together,’” by making us aware of the light found within each distinct part of our body- so it is not really a process, and “not a movement from integration to dis-integration to re-integration.”  It is more of a loosening that “results in the activation of the psychic life of the organs.”  Similarly, within the chaos of recent collective events that has caused fear and destruction in multitudes, the Cancer New Moon brings an opportunity to reawaken from within, impacting the external world through healing and vivifying internal fractures.

JMWTurner_Sunrise_with_Sea_Monsters

J.M.W. Turner (1844) Sunrise with Sea Monsters

Modern astrology associates Cancer with mothers, the womb, and birth, and in ancient astrology Cancer was noted as the rising sign and first house of the thema mundi, the birth of the universe.  The New Moon occurs in the second decan of Cancer, and Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces noted that the fragmentary Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the figure of Heracles to this decan, the legendary hero who was tormented from birth by his stepmother Hera.  My good friend Jason Holley gave a brilliant talk linking Cancer and the Moon with Heracles at the recent Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) of 2016.  In the Greek myth connected with the constellation of Cancer, a crab was sent by Hera to attack Heracles as he was engaged in battle with the Hydra.  After the armored crustacean emerged from the watery depths and charged, sideways, toward Heracles as its claws protruded into the ankles of the hero, Heracles obliterated the crab with his foot.  From the shattering of the crab, Hera thus placed it into the sky as a constellation rewarding its service to her.

In his talk “Exquisite Attunement: the Moon and Empathy,” Jason Holley described lunar material as being emotional openings to the fertile void, a realm of memories that is nonlinear, somatic, and implicitly pulls things into its own rhythm.  Hera’s wrath stems from her being betrayed and abandoned, similar to a devaluing of the lunar realm that sees the fertile void as valueless.  Hera nurtured the Hydra to destroy Heracles, and the Nemean Lion has been said to have fallen from the Moon, sprung from Selene and brought forth at the bidding of Hera.  Holley interpreted Hera’s desire to attack Heracles as an undermining of the solar self that seeks to bring the self back down into the unconscious and the emotional body.  The crab emerging from the lake has come ashore from the undifferentiated unconscious, yet as Heracles shows is vulnerable to attack.  Holley noted that when our internal world lacks a sense of structure and order it leads to reliance on external sources for a sense of stability and safety.  If one’s capacity to contain emotional experience internally is not developed, it will be delegated to others rather than claimed from one’s own sense of inner authority.

The Cancer New Moon is fruitful in terms of regaining inner security and authority following a period of loss and disillusionment that has caused deep questioning of one’s value and how it is accepted and nurtured by others.  The New Moon is separating from a trine with Neptune and therefore pulling away from the square between Saturn and Neptune, applying toward harmonious aspects with its own lunar nodes.  Following its opposition to Pluto, the waning Moon will form an exact sextile with Jupiter and conjunction with Venus.  The embrace of loved ones will be a balm that calms, but the true potency of this New Moon is found through genuine self love and discovering security that is not dependent upon approval or admiration from others.

georgia black abstraction

Georgia O’Keefe (1927) Black Abstraction

The New Moon is also notable for intention setting related to all things Mars, as Mars is finally direct in Scorpio and beginning to slowly generate momentum in the black of the Moon. The opposition between Pluto and the New Moon reinforces the slow metamorphic feeling, akin to the tension of a butterfly wing struggling against the confines of the releasing chrysalis.  Mars moving forward again in the final decan of Scorpio is a slow inferno burning off desires needed to be laid to rest, a funeral pyre releasing and transfiguring what has passed away.

Those who have felt confused or thwarted in action during the Mars retrograde, or hung up on past pain that continued to poison rather than purify, will now be able to feel greater capacity to navigate into favorable currents of change and forward momentum.  Laying desires to rest is never easy, and when dealing with heartbreak or mourning the pain may never be fully released. With Mars beginning to move direct again, however, there is powerful support to commit to a path and the practical actions and steps in need of the zealous force of Mars.  The quincunx from Uranus and trine to Chiron are further indications of the depth of material being purged and purified in the forward crawl of Mars.

klee rhine at duisburg

Paul Klee (1937) The Rhine at Duisburg

my way is in the sand flowing
between the shingle and the dune
the summer rain rains on my life
on me my life harrying fleeing
to its beginning to its end

my peace is there in the receding mist
when I may cease from treading these long shifting
thresholds
and live the space of a door
that opens and shuts

— Samuel Beckett

Mercury is applying to a conjunction with the New Moon, approaching its superior conjunction with the Sun in which it is on the far side of the Sun in orbit from Earth.  Mercury reaches its Superior Conjunction a couple days after the New Moon on July 6, where Mercury rules from the throne at the heart of the Sun and is strengthened in all of its significations.  At the time of the New Moon, Mercury is combust meaning it is undergoing a period of purification and regeneration in the flames of the Sun.  With Mercury in Cancer it is possible moods, memories, emotions, or fears circulating could overwhelm capacity to maintain centered focus, especially within a tumultuous environment of chaotic collective events stirring up hysteria.

Although this phase of Mercury can feel overwhelming,  the surrounding potent aspects to Mercury suggest epiphanies can be unveiled.  The Mercurial atmosphere will contain moments to soak within the elements of our past whose memories will nourish us going forward, while simultaneously opening to a regenerated presence. Insights into one’s family or ancestral karma and influences can be found, as well as greater awareness of relational patterns and emotional dynamics we have been constellating.  As a result, the New Moon supports intention setting for a strengthened sense of inner security less needful of external attachments to feel stable.

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3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

The second face of Cancer where the New Moon occurs is associated with the 3 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The mirthful image of merriment radiates mellifluous metaphors, a tarot card that signifies harmonious collaborations of inspired thought and creativity.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “a walled garden in which something precious is kept” to this face, adding an element not obvious from the above image:  the need of protection and nurturing to allow for an incubating space that can bring forth joy, beauty, and abundance.  A glance through images of this face from ancient texts reveal a profusion of beautiful women of melodious voice, some “seated on a snake-throne” (Yavanajataka) and all adorned with flowers or wreathed in myrtle (Picatrix, The Beginning of Wisdom, 777).  A man appears in Three Books of Occult Philosophy in this decan, dressed elegantly in style and engrossed in play.

The second decan of Cancer is ruled by Mercury.  Mercury at the moment of the New Moon is applying to a trine with Neptune as well as a conjunction with the Sun and Moon.  After Mercury separates from its conjunction with the Sun, it will be opposing Pluto and then receiving a sextile from Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury is in position to mediate the fracturing and ruptures created by the last quarter squares between Saturn and Neptune, and Saturn and Jupiter.  Though current events are rife with destruction, murder, and desperation, though many are wrestling with struggles and fears over poverty, if one can enter into a protected space of nourishment the astrological aspects of this New Moon can also foster enlivening creativity and collaboration.  Joining with others to create structured and protective spaces that filter out the mayhem of the surrounding world can help to circulate and amplify the potential for shared fulfillment and beauty.  This can be a beautiful time to share your own precious gifts with others while being emotionally present to receive the inspiriting blessings of what others have to share.

Fig-tree, for such a long time now, there has been meaning for me,
in the way you almost wholly omit to flower
and urge your pure secret, unheralded,
into the early, resolute fruit.
Like the jet of a fountain, your arched bough
drives the sap downward, then up: and it leaps from its sleep
barely waking, into the bliss of its sweetest achievement.
See: like the god into the swan
……….We, though, linger,
ah, our pride is in flowering, and, already betrayed,
we reach the late core of our final fruit.
In a few the urge to action rises so powerfully,
that they are already waiting and glowing with their heart’s fullness
when the temptation to flower, like the mild night air,
touches their tender mouths, touches their eyelids:
heroes perhaps, and those chosen to vanish prematurely,
in whom Death the gardener wove different veins.
These plunge ahead: they go before their own smile,
like the team of horses in the slightly
hollowed-out relief of Karnak’s victorious pharaoh.

The hero is strangely close to those who died young. Lasting
doesn’t contain him. Being is his ascent: he moves on,
time and again, to enter the changed constellation
his risk entails. Few could find him there. But
Destiny, that darkly hides us, suddenly inspired,
sings him into the tempest of his onrushing world.
I hear no one like him. All at once I am pierced
by his darkened sound carried on streaming air.

Then, how gladly I would hide from the yearning: O if I,
if I were a boy, and might come to it still, and sit,
propped on the future’s arms, and reading about Samson,
how his mother first bore nothing, and then all.

Was he not a hero already, O mother, in you, did not
his imperious choice begin inside you?
Thousands seethed in the womb and willed to be him,
but see: he grasped and let go, chose and achieved.
And if he shattered pillars, it was when he burst
out of the world of your flesh into the narrower world,
where he went on choosing, achieving. O mothers of heroes,
O sources of ravening rivers! Ravines into which
weeping girls have plunged
from the high heart’s edge, future offerings to the son.
Because, whenever the hero stormed through the stations of love,
each heartbeat, meant for him, lifting him onward,
he turned away, stood at the end of the smiles, someone other.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sixth Elegy, Duino Elegies

References

Beckett, Samuel. (1977). Collected Poems in English and French. Grove Press.

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

Hillman, James. (2007). Mythic Figures. Spring Publications, Inc.

New Moon & Uranus in Aries

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Birth of a Galaxy (1969) by Max Ernst

The New Moon on April 7 is aligned with Uranus in Aries and animates the creative field within, inciting feelings and visions of the extraordinary life we wish to manifest.   This is the first lunar cycle to follow the deep dark purging and regeneration of the previous lunar month that began with an incredibly potent Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces and peaked with  a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  One theme of the previous lunar cycle was dredging up old wounds, patterns, attachments, and karmic complexes in need of awareness and decomposition, creating a fertile matrix through which to reveal a brighter, more essential presence.  In contrast to the blackest black sourcing of the previous lunar cycle that held the cosmic seed of potential, this New Moon in Aries gives birth to a new lunar cycle awash in flames of fiery rhapsody.  Though there are fireworks embedded in this Aries New Moon, however, the lunar cycle that commences is filled with chthonic and constrictive forces in the form of both a Mars retrograde and Mercury retrograde that will initiate during the waxing and waning of our lunar sphere.

Uranus is known as a planet that corresponds with the great revolutions of humanity, a maverick transpersonal force correlating to electrifying, liberating, shocking, and traumatic experiences.  Uranus is an awakener, a force that goes beyond human sensitivities of what feels good and nurturing versus what feels scary and troubling.  In the end when working with Uranus, it is a matter of how much you feel alive and able to radiate your being into your surroundings more so than whether or not you have the material comforts and ideal relationships in your life.  It is possible to direct the vivifying, creative matrix of Uranus toward the matter and relationships you want to develop in your life, however, and this New Moon brings an ideal opportunity to set intentions for a radical vision of what can be manifested in life.

Uranus can be a liberating force, yet in the transpersonal, unconscious realm it activates we can also find ourselves acting in scenes and faced with choices that mirror past repetitive patterns.  The liberating potential Uranus brings is the possibility that we have broken free of our old mindset and can now make a radically different and supremely empowering choice.  With this in mind, consider that Uranus in Aries is now three degrees away from its square with Pluto in Capricorn as Pluto is beginning to station retrograde.  This New Moon conjoining Uranus as a result marks a turning point in the square between Uranus and Pluto that has dominated astrology for the past several years, as Uranus will now begin to slowly separate.  While the Pluto and Uranus square is still in orb and still in effect, this New Moon offers the opportunity to embrace the Uranian side of the equation and break free from Plutonic resistance to working toward a liberated vision of what life could be.

elective-affinities

Elective Affinities (1933) by Rene Magritte

Mars is the ruler of this New Moon in Aries, yet the primal yang nature of Mars is full of constriction and constraint since Mars is stationing retrograde in range of a conjunction with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Mars is going to barely move during the upcoming lunar cycle, and by the time the Moon waxes full Mars will be retrograde.  There is no way to fully know at this Aries New Moon what is to come in the upcoming Mars retrograde, and though it may lead to separation or loss from some current desires, this New Moon is a perfect time to gain clarity within the structure and pressure of Saturn for the core desires to forge in the fires of the pending Mars retrograde.

Mars is also in range of a square to Neptune in Pisces, while the Aries New Moon is in square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Furthermore, the Aries New Moon is in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius as Saturn’s retrograde movement is leading it backward toward squares with both Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  Mars direct yet deeply constrained in forward momentum lights an inner fire increasing in magnitude yet lacking a full release.  There is enormous potency felt, an intuition of incredible change on the horizon, yet it is a slowly simmering sense of something cooking and incubating rather than full ripeness ready for birth.

the-cardinals-are-dying-1962.jpg!Large

The Cardinals are Dying (1962) by Max Ernst

Venus is in early Aries, the home of Mars, at the New Moon following a Dark Moon in Aries that occults Venus at the first degree of Aries.  Venus is applying to a first quarter trine with Mars in the blackness of the new lunation, further activating a fiery sense of purposeful potential to initiate.  Venus in Aries is a strong signifier for self-empowerment and interdependent empowerment of those we are in relationship with.  In the morning sky, Venus is still visible at the time of the Aries New Moon but on the brink of making a disappearance under the beams of the Sun.  During the upcoming lunar cycle Venus will become invisible within our solar rays, entering into a purification process that will last until the end of July 2016 when Venus reappears as an Evening Star.  This New Moon is ideal for opening to receive a message concerning expression and embodiment of your Venusian nature.

Mercury is now in Taurus, the home of Venus, where the winged messenger will reside for the next two months.  Mercury is now increasing in light as an Evening Star and in a phase that will facilitate integration of all of the old karmic material stirred up by the past lunar cycle of eclipses.  Mercury in Taurus can assist in developing grounded processes that can cultivate growth from a perspective focused upon long-term rewards rather than immediate gratification, yet Hermes in the home of Venus will also delight in sensual, hedonistic pleasure when given the opportunity.  Mercury will station retrograde at the end of April resulting in Mercury remaining in Taurus through June 12, yet the Evening Star phase occurring now is a unique part of the journey to savor.

In addition to Mercury gracing our sunset as an Evening Star, a magnificent omen appearing as the Sun falls below the horizon is Jupiter rising in the east in the tropical sign of Virgo and the constellation of the Lion.  Jupiter can now be watched in the sky all night long and offers himself as a wishing star for your grandest dreams and ambitions.

wands03

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The second face of Aries where the New Moon arises is associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  As the second decan of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a proud figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second decan of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth, high rank, and rulership to this face.

The Sun as ruler of the second face of Aries is further strengthened by the Aries New Moon conjoining the exact degree of the Sun’s exaltation, enlivening the solar symbolism of this face and one’s capacity to vigorously initiate purposeful enterprises.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).

With the New Moon conjoining Uranus, as well as in range of a conjunction with the paradigm bursting dwarf planet Eris, the opportunity found within the fiery electric aspects of this New Moon to manifest radical vision should be seized and not taken lightly.  Glory may fade, but in the fearless splendor of striving for our deepest desires despite the perpetual possibility of heartbreak we discover the sacred.  The ability to integrate the transpersonal, liberating, and shocking realm of Uranus into the creation of artistic worlds was described by Virginia Woolf in Moments of Being:

And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer. I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words.  It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together.  Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me.  It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we-  I mean all human beings-  are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art.  Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.  And I see this when I have a shock.

— Virginia Woolf

References

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

Woolf, Virginia. (1976). Moments of Being. Harcourt Brace & Company.

New Moon in Leo

New Moon in Leo

by Arrington de Dionyso (original painting for sale at http://www.arringtondedionyso.bigcartel.com)

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on August 14, 2015 heralds a shift that wakes us up in our bones like the sound of a lion’s roar as dawn approaches.  The past two weeks of the waning Moon cycle has brought about pivotal change associated with Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury all initiating last quarter squares with Saturn and sparking thoughts of future-oriented vision.  In the Dark Moon shedding leading up to this New Moon, the transit of Venus retrograde will take us into an Underworld of fiery flames that can burn off a previous pattern of limitation.  We will be in a Venusian purification process that may feel disorienting in the sensation of new passions stirring from within our unconscious.  There is astrological reasoning behind these feelings, however, as this New Moon ushers in a visceral rebirth of Venus in our life.

This week’s New Moon in Leo happens a day before the inferior conjunction of Venus retrograde with the Sun, and so Venus retrograde is conjunct this New Moon.   Venus this close to embracing the Sun in the Sun’s domicile of Leo makes this an even stronger solar rebirth for Venus than normal, as the Sun is receiving Venus and engulfing her with enlivening rays of sunlight that cast her golden shadow over everything.  As Venus steps through the flames of the Sun on August 15, the next aspect on her horizon will be a trine to Uranus in Aries that her coppery essence can conduct to create an electrical vibration of liberation, further amplifying Venusian passions.  Stepping into greater emancipation can be challenging, however, when we begin to sense so strongly the repressive forces at work in our surrounding relationships and realize the necessity of altering the dynamic so we can more freely express ourselves.  This New Moon is therefore a powerful moment to set intentions for how to effectively change the way we interact in our relationships so that we can embrace our genuine nature and release attachment to a persona we were embodying in order to accommodate previous relationship dynamics.

Jupiter in Virgo

from the Aurora Consurgens (15th Century)

Jupiter in Virgo

Jupiter’s ingress into Virgo with Mercury also in it’s home sign of Virgo means that the sign of the Winged Maiden is accentuated at this New Moon.  In many ways, this New Moon is the dawn of a time period in which Virgo will be one of the most significant signs, as Jupiter will remain in Virgo for the next year and in the months ahead the North Node of the Moon will shift into Virgo, leading us to experience Virgo eclipses as well.  No doubt you have heard that Jupiter is in its detriment in the sign of Virgo, since Virgo’s opposite sign Pisces is one of Jupiter’s domiciles.  This does not mean that Jupiter is weak in Virgo, only that according to our astrological foundation Virgo’s focus on details is at odds with the grandiose essential nature of Jupiter that favors expansive vision and an all-encompassing perspective over analysis of details.  In contrast to Jupiter’s time in Leo in which the atmosphere promoted creative actualization and boldly pursuing our passions without restraint, Jupiter’s time in Virgo emphasizes a detailed focus on producing quality work that serves a purpose for others.  In line with the theory of essential dignities at the heart of traditional astrology, Jupiter being in detriment in Virgo also means that Jupiter will be less predictable and more open to change and fluctuation.

Classical astrology places the two Mercury domiciles of Gemini and Virgo in polarity to the two Jupiter domiciles of Sagittarius and Pisces.  In Virgo we experience the expansion of Jupiter through Mercurial discernment of how to efficiently organize elements of our life so we can more optimally act in connection with the ever evolving moment.  Jupiter in Virgo will take us through an alchemical process led by the changing speeds of Mercury into how to effectively work with the spirit embedded in the surrounding material world in order to create a healing context for ourselves and others.  Jupiter in Virgo is not about attracting accolades and praise from others, but rather focuses on humbly using our visionary nature to serve the highest good of others in our community.  However, since Virgo is the ultimate sign of analysis, we need to keep in mind how Mercurial labeling and categorization inherently can lead us to set limits and conditions on the vision and sense of meaning we are deriving through our Jupiter functions.

Jupiter in Virgo as a result means we need to pay closer attention to the transit of Mercury in connection with our evolving sense of Jupiterian vision.  At this time of the New Moon, Mercury is also in Virgo which in classical astrology is considered both the domicile and exaltation of Mercury, meaning that the sign of Virgo is aligned harmoniously with the essential nature of Mercury.  This means that while both Jupiter and Mercury are in Virgo, it is an excellent time to diligently research and study subjects aligned with your life purpose.  At this New Moon, the sage Mercury in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune, applying to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and applying to a square with Pallas Athena in Sagittarius and a conjunction with Juno in Virgo.  This is a loaded Mercury that as an Evening Star can take on a role of guiding us into the deep rooted soul experience of the current Venus retrograde phase.

At the time of this New Moon aligned with the inferior conjunction of Venus, Jupiter brings its visionary nature into conjunction with the fixed star Regulus and the degree of the zodiac at which Venus previously stationed retrograde less than a month ago.  In the ancient light of Regulus we find stored ageless stories of nobility and leadership, the rise to power and the fall from power.  The connection of Regulus with a fall from power could connect to the shadow side of Virgo that can become overly critical out of desires for perfection.  If we are not currently where we want to be and doing what we want to do with our life, we need to be careful not to project our own self-criticism into the relationships surrounding us.  The Virgo remedy to this ill is complete acceptance in the moment of where you are in life, and acknowledgment that when we fully enter the presence of the moment we allow ourselves to feel our idealized sense of perfection.  Instead of taking out our frustration on others, we can instead utilize the potent mental attributes of Virgo to creatively problem-solve our current dilemmas.

Venus in Leo

Three Tahitians by Paul Gauguin

Venus Inferior Conjunction

It is stellar synchronicity that this Venus cycle’s Inferior Conjunction commences a day after a New Moon, creating fertile ground to plant the seed of a new Venus cycle.  Whether you are experiencing the rapture of a new romance, the deepening of an existing relationship, the release of a previously wounding partnership, or feeling a burgeoning inner blossoming of new purpose in life, one way or another your relationship with Venus is transforming on a core level at the time of this Leo New Moon.  Yet this new sense of Venus is in a budding phase that will not be realized in full bloom until a later time, and so there will also be a vulnerable and sensitive quality to our reorientation in need of nurturing and support.  Whether events are incredibly dramatic or surprisingly quiet for you now, in one way or another Venus is altering the trajectory of your life into a completely new direction.  Take time in the dark of this New Moon and in the birthing of a new cycle between Venus and the Sun on August 15 to ritualize and meditatively reflect upon how your relationship with Venus is changing and where she is leading you.

There is also another retrograde goddess worthwhile to pay attention to:  Ceres, celestial Queen of the asteroid belt, who is retrograde in Capricorn and in trine to Black Moon Lilith in Virgo at the time of the New Moon.  Furthermore, both Ceres retrograde and Black Moon Lilith are in sextile to Saturn in Scorpio.  These aspects are strong support to utilize the Venus retrograde to claim full responsibility for our responses to life, including being accountable for taking steps to express our authenticity into the world around us without fear of shame or being cast off in exile for speaking our mind.  In addition, in the next couple weeks of the waxing Moon cycle, Mars in Leo will be getting closer and closer to becoming conjunct with Venus retrograde each day, ultimately becoming exactly conjunct a couple of days after the upcoming Pisces Full Moon.  This adds even more fiery assertion into our new sense of Venus we will begin to feel more strongly around August 19 when she arises from the underworld, heralding dawn as a Morning Star.  As a result in the week following this New Moon we will be called to begin asserting our reborn embodiment of Venus, and we will want to likewise be aware of the conflict this new expression from us could provoke in those wanting us to remain in our old presence.

Leo III Decan

7 of Wands illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

This New Moon falls in the third decan of Leo, associated with the 7 of Wands card in which a man is bravely fighting for his life, using his wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands.  He is standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet his stance and face suggests someone putting his whole being into his struggle with extraordinary determination.  One of my favorite writers on the tarot, Kelsey Lynore, through her interpretation of this card in the Dali deck linked it’s meaning to issues around “the cause of the one” versus “the cause of the many,” and since the “presumed opinion of the masses . . . is probably wrong” the querent is encouraged to “not relent and do not back down,” and to “stand your ground courageously, no matter the apparent odds.”  This link between the struggle for life shown in the image of the 7 of Wands to a struggle against asserting one’s personal truth in the face of consensus opinion and judgement is strongly resonant for the timing of this New Moon at the heart of the Venus retrograde and in the aftermath of the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter.

Fittingly Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, and since transiting Mars is also in the sign of Leo it appears this time will call for boldness on behalf of whatever you hold most dear.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces wrote that the third face of Leo signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present” (p. 133).  To Coppock it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the Leo III decan’s power, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit:

Yet this divine fire does not issue forth to defend the personal and the petty. Its nature transcends the confines of the identity, and to be roused, something bigger than the ego must be invoked.  A principle must be raised a loft, a banner bearing the name of Truth, Justice or Beauty. The power which winds through this last face of Leo demands a spiritualization of the solar fire present in the Lion’s sign, for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes  (p. 134).

Venus retrograde will be in the underworld, invisible and combust the brilliant Leo Sun at the time of this New Moon in the third face of Leo.  What we hold with love in our heart, the vision of our beloved that can enflame even the bleakest environments with the full force of life and meaning, is what we must now support and remember will be reborn in the full light of sunrise for us to embrace.  If circumstances require you to have to persevere in some way to protect your Venusian values and desire, allow the passion of your heart to direct your speech and action to victory.

New Moon in Leo

References

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

New Moon in Cancer

New Moon in Cancer

La Nascita (The Birth) by Marc Chagall (1911)

Cancer New Moon

New Moons are a time of visioning and nurturing the intentional seed we plant in the hidden depths of fecund darkness.  Cancer is a sign associated with birth, the creation of new life from the wombs of mothers, the arising of a new season at solstice, and the development of our personal identity from the matrix of our soul.  The New Moon in Cancer on July 15, 2015 falls in the final decan of Cancer and brings to our awareness a sense of separation from sources of past comfort and a vague dawning of realization into the new direction arising out of this dark genesis.  Creating a new lunar cycle following a Full Moon in Capricorn that was conjunct Pluto on July 1, this New Moon in Cancer resurrects the potency of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus we have lived through in the past several years, as it is square to Uranus in Aries while Mars and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer and directly opposite Pluto in Capricorn.

As an infant must bravely breathe in air separated from the sheltered nurturing of the womb, so must our identity shed the comfort of past security attachments if we wish to embody the full radiance of our potential in the moment.  Amplifying the air with instinctual individualism is a Uranus currently stationing in Aries, standing still by zodiac degree from our earthbound perspective and preparing to turn retrograde in less than two weeks.  Since the New Moon in Cancer is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries, it triggers the discomfort, insecurity, anxiety, or fear that can strike from within when we realize that the burning force beckoning us to embody a liberated presence creates the possibility and even likelihood that we will become disconnected in the process from our ties to family, culture, and other elements of the accustomed reality we take comfort in.

We may find it necessary now to create a sacred space of some sort to nurture the vulnerability we feel in the unfolding of our current creativity.  Even when we consciously have desire to free ourselves from the conditioning of culture and the way we felt our family of origin limited our full creative actualization, a fear of losing the security we gain from our relationship with these same influences can still overcome us.  In addition, due to sensitively observing authorities in positions of power taking advantage of the more vulnerable, we can also come to fear the potential impact of expressing our full power into the world around us.  Synthesizing together the strength that can come from hard aspects between Cancer, Capricorn, and Aries, we can ultimately learn to take the responsibility for expressing our personal power in a way that protects and empowers ourselves and our relationships.  Yet the calamitous aspects held by this New Moon of Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn, with Saturn in Scorpio in square to Venus and Jupiter in Leo, means that there will be a number of oppressive power dynamics between people on display in our surrounding environment to observe and mediate.

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

Image of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 13, 2015

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

It is simply incredible that as the first images of Pluto enter our consciousness through the completion of the epic journey of the New Horizons spacecraft, Mercury is exactly conjunct Mars and in opposition to Pluto, while Saturn shapes structure in the Plutonic sign of Scorpio.  It is further fitting that this binary planet named for the Lord of Souls and the Ferryman of the Underworld claimed center stage in mainstream media in the dark of a balsamic Moon that was opposite Pluto.  Whatever shift in collective consciousness happens as a result begins to build in accordance with a potent New Moon that places the messenger (Mercury) and will-force (Mars) of consciousness in a full polarity to Pluto.

Due to a number of astrological factors, in the past couple of months there has been an emphasis on a new quality of Mars to exert through an influence of Mercury.  Mercury is an unstable planet of wild extremes and variation in speed, and so while on the one hand it can bring challenges in our ability to focus our Martian drive, on the other hand when we align instinctually with their unified energy it brings the eloquent cleverness of Hermes to our life force of desire.  With Mercury and Mars unified in polarity to Pluto, we need to be ready for the possibility of extreme power conflicts and emotional confrontations occurring around us.  Yet on a personal level, there is also an initiation found in this aspect to journey into our core depth to discover a regenerated treasure of gifts from within to begin to integrate and express in the cycle ahead.  There is a purification involved in this process, as Mercury is now under the beams of the Sun and preparing to enter into the heart of the Sun a week from now around the first quarter Moon, while Mars is also under the beams having already united with the Sun and beginning to get some clarified separation away from the fiery center of our solar system.  Emotions may feel raw and overly sensitive, but are the material through which we can now gain penetrating insight into the core emotional patterns and compulsions most in need of attention.

Venus stationing

La Paresse by Felix Vallotton (1896)

Venus stationing

Meanwhile, our Queen of pleasure, luxury, and glamour, Venus in Leo, is slowing down and preparing to station at the time of this New Moon in Cancer.  Venus is now at the final degree of Leo and in a few days will enter Virgo where she will station retrograde on July 25- meaning that basically for the next few weeks Venus is not going anywhere and holding space at the first degree of Virgo and final degrees of Leo.  This would be intense under any circumstance, but is so even more as Venus is conjunct Jupiter and in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio.  As Saturn is stationing direct at the beginning of August and will also be standing still then, this means that from now through the beginning of August we get to experience the seriousness of Venus in a last quarter square to Saturn, while simultaneously buoyed with a sense of expansive vision by Jupiter.  Venus now in Leo, soon to be in Virgo, in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio, brings about a reorientation of our inner values that at times could feel severe as the scythe of Saturn cuts away the old value structures that must now be released.  At this moment, we are only at the precipice of a deep transformation with many dramatic experiences coming our way.

Thus, while we may feel a burning sense of desire through the union of Venus and Jupiter, their last quarter square to Saturn brings a constricting sense of an obstacle or major challenge standing between us and the full manifestation and experience of our desire.  Powerful work on an inner level and on an outer level through our vocation and creative expression can come about through this aspect, but we are being asked to be disciplined, focused, organized, and thorough in our approach if we wish to realize the full potential available to us.  This is not a lighthearted skip through the woods singing without a care in the world, but rather a courageous and focused trek into a deep region of the forest we have previously avoided exploring.   This is not to say that it will not be possible to experience moments of pure pleasure and luxuriation, as in fact bringing a sense of joy to our daily experience will be a vital help.  It is only to suggest that if we bring passion into our work with a sense of disciplined persistence to work through the upcoming obstacles, on the other side of these aspects we can experience a deep sense of fulfilled desire.

Cancer III Decan

4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer III Decan

The third decan of Cancer is ruled by the Moon and so is a potent place for a New Moon, a particularly auspicious new lunation to set intentions toward the new direction sensed from within.  In the image of the 4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered out of thin air by an otherworldly hand.  The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, and appears to either not notice the fourth cup or be dismissive of it.  In fact, this protagonist’s stance of crossed arms, crossed legs, and eyes cast down suggests someone unwilling to go after what is being offered, perhaps until after completing an inner exploration.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces found that the third decan of signs are synonymous with the “Solve” phase of separation in alchemy in which “the constituent pieces must part ways,” similar to “the spirit forced to separate from the matter,” and “those factors which press for an abandonment of the balance created in the second” decan of the sign (p. 264-265).  Along this line of thought Coppock gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the Cancer III decan, declaring that it “juxtaposes the advantages and dangers of luxurious excess with the truth of scarcity” (p. 115).  Our cherished sense of luxury we desire is shown in contrast here to a sense of scarcity rooted in “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 116).  Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the 4 of Cups tarot card with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.

Importantly, Coppock additionally linked the karmic significance of further investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works, so as “to be a conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” (p. 116).  Furthermore, he brought up the spiritual dimension of luxury:

While this face has much to teach about the material dynamics of scarcity and excess, not all matters relevant to it can be confined to matters of food, wealth and shelter.  Our world also provides gifts not so easily exhausted. The ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things- is an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain.  Likewise, the spirit offers cups ever-refilled.  This decan thus offers a vision not only of hoarding the finite, but the endless luxury of the limitless.  (p. 117)

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the great goddess Hekate with the Cancer III decan.   Hekate  ruled over the three phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, and also crossroads, magical craft, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  In short, we could not have a better spirit to associate with the dark richness of this Plutonic New Moon than Hekate, and it is worth remembering there is a long tradition of praying to Hekate in order to receive wealth.  Hekate is also a goddess of midwives, and therefore an apt ally for us in the intense birthing process that will follow this Cancer New Moon.

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References

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

Taurus New Moon

BullPainting

Lascaux Cave painting (15,300 B.C.) with Pleiades above the bull in the center

As we are in a time of intense collective events rife with catastrophe, perhaps it is fitting that on May 17, 2015 we will initiate a new lunar cycle at 27° Taurus conjunct the fixed star Algol, known as both the blinking demon star as well as a symbol of the severed head of Medusa.  Though this fixed star has been dumped on in the past with a lot negative projection from astrological authorities, there has been a post-modern approach to re-interpret Algol through placing this past malefic analysis within the context of the oppression of women and the sacred feminine.  Similarly, the asterism of the Pleiades that this Taurus New Moon is also conjunct has been on the receiving end of negative projection in our astrological past, yet in more recent times has been gaining an empowering and healing reputation.  The conjunction of this New Moon in Taurus with the seven sisters of the Pleiades is an important point of focus, since in the Greek story of these seven stars one of them is the exquisitely beautiful Maia, the mother of Hermes.  The astrological synchronicity with this mythic detail is that on the day after this New Moon, Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini and head backwards in zodiac degree toward the place his mother in myth resides.

Whenever a planet is stationing, it takes on great prominence in our astrological landscape.  Mercury in Gemini is particularly potent at the New Moon because it is at the threshold of the phasis point of being fifteen degrees away from the Sun, a range of zodiac degree that in Hellenistic astrology marked the point at which a planet either disappeared or reappeared in our view of the sky.  Mercury in its current stage is preparing to disappear at sunset to no longer appear as an Evening Star, symbolically descending into the underworld of our psyche, and so altogether this means that Mercury is holding an important message for us to attune to as we set intentions.  Mercury will be retrograde from May 18 – June 11, 2015, so to investigate its impact check the aspects made from 14° to 5° of Gemini in your chart.  As Taurus is known for patient and stable cultivation of growth, keep in mind that since the lunar cycle following this New Moon holds a retrograde phase of Mercury, the unexpected is likely to arise within any carefully made plans we are making.  A fertile period of growth can be initiated with this new lunation, especially with Mercury retrograde in its home sign, but we will need to let go of expectations for a perfectly imagined, idealized outcome.  Whatever surprise setbacks or obstacles come our way, if we draw on the purposeful manifesting capacity of Taurus while being mutable enough to shift our responses in line with coming changes, we can ultimately achieve an outcome that is richer in creative depth than one produced from a smoothly uneventful process.

There is a powerful visioning quality to the upcoming waxing Moon, as Jupiter in Leo will be applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries for the duration of this next lunar cycle that culminates with a Full Moon in Sagittarius at 11°49′ on June 2, 2015.  This Sagittarius Full Moon will be square to Neptune in Pisces, and in addition Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun will all be conjunct in Gemini and square to Neptune.  Jupiter trine Uranus is an aspect to take advantage of while it is still applying, as it can facilitate breaking of new ground in thought, identity, and action.  In combination with Mercury moving through a retrograde phase in square to Neptune, we can access the potential of this next lunation cycle by dropping a need to rationally explain everything, opening ourselves to the magic of being present and listening to the messages found in the symbolic patterns of life surrounding us.  A New Moon in Taurus is a fitting time to ground our intentions in earth, matter, and our physical bodies, avoiding becoming lost in our minds through awareness of the needs of our bodily form.  Whenever you find your mind spinning frantically, take the time to relax with mindful breathing in nature or another calming choice that will help dissolve excess stress.

JWW_Ophelia_1889

Ophelia (1889) by John William Waterhouse

Venus is in charge of this New Moon in Taurus, and as Venus is in the lunar sign of Cancer there is an especially strong connection between this New Moon and Venus.  Venus at this time is in a complicated mess with all of the signs of a crisis, as Venus in Cancer is separating from a square to the Lunar Nodes, and applying to an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries.  In addition, Venus is also in square to the true node of Black Moon Lilith that is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of the New Moon.  Furthermore, while Venus in Cancer is separating from a trine to Neptune in Pisces at the exact time of the New Moon, in the days of the Dark Moon leading up to the New Moon Venus is applying to a square with the lunar nodes as well as its trine to Neptune. This is a complex Venus transit that could be received by us in a myriad of ways depending upon our current consciousness, circumstances, and inner dynamics.

As Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node in Libra, its square in Cancer to the lunar nodes brings to the forefront our underlying emotional needs that we have been repressing or not expressing in our relationships.  In addition, this square could also coincide with increased awareness of the emotional needs of others we are in relationship with that we have either not been listening to or were previously unaware of due to a lack of communication about them. The trine from Neptune to Venus could be received as blissful absorption in the moment, yet could also take us into a Dionysian space of ecstatic feelings toward a vision that then falls into agony over the vision not being presently manifest in our life.  We may want to distract ourselves from our own drama through immersion in the illusions of literature, cinema, or other fictional tales, and this may not entirely be a bad thing as the symbolic awareness we can access through the poetry of a story that serves as a metaphor for our current predicaments can be a form of Dionysian medicine.  There is a potential with the trine from Neptune to Venus for us to open to a larger field of awareness that places our current difficulties in a collective context, thereby giving us greater capacity for acceptance of our present life. Yet with Venus simultaneously activating the lunar nodes and then the square between Pluto and Uranus, most likely we have complicated tensions within us to process.

The polarity point to Venus in Cancer is the sign of Capricorn where Pluto currently resides, an archetype of the Sea-Goat that calls for us to take responsibility for our Venusian feelings and needs.  Yet as one of the significations of Pluto in Capricorn is the hierarchical oppression exhibited by those in positions of dominant control and power, it can be easy at times to become overwhelmed with emotions of being a victim to the inequities of the surrounding power structure.  The need for survival of oppressed groups within society is implied by the Sabian symbol for the Taurus New Moon, “An old Indian woman selling the artifacts of her tribe to passers-by,” which to Dane Rudhyar signified “peaceful adaption to collective needs,” as the woman finds a function within her society through selling products from her traditional culture (p. 86).  Rudhyar analyzed this stage of Taurus as being a point at which “the aging mind of the individual peacefully reintegrates itself into the psychic matrix of his group and culture, in serene ADJUSTMENT to the vital needs of the whole of which he sees himself as a fleeting part” (p. 87).  Instead of merely feeling victimized by societal power structures, this Taurus New Moon can be a beneficial time to acclimatize how we can integrate ourselves into the system in order to create shifts and bring about change through sharing of our unique gifts.

pents07

7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

The Taurus III decan holding the Taurus New Moon is associated with the 7 of Pentacles in tarot, as seen in the image above from the Rider-Waite deck illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here we see a farmer overlooking his growing crops with care and mindful attention to how to facilitate the development of a bountiful harvest.  Yet patience is a necessity, as all of the hard work that has been put into planning, sowing, planting, watering, and other necessary actions will not lead to the manifestation of the desired end for a long period of time.  This image of patient cultivation is particularly apt for this Taurus New Moon that initiates three weeks of Mercury retrograde, and the calm, prudent, and attentive countenance of the farmer in the image will be a helpful presence to cultivate in the face of adversity.

Saturn rules the Taurus III decan, and while it corresponds to the hard work put into the sowing and planting in the image of the 7 of Pentacles above, as well as into the mindful tending of ensuing growth, it also signifies unforeseen turmoil and devastation the farmer can only hope to protect their harvest from.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces created the symbol of “A string of prayer beads” for this decan, as it “represents a confrontation with destructive factors which impede completion,” and the need to enact remediation and “make plans to accommodate the unforeseen” (p. 80 – 81).  While Coppock acknowledged that we must face toil and difficulty at times in this decan out of no fault of our own as well as a consequence of prior choices, he also listed virtues such as “wisdom, patience, humility, and foresight” as being “the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face” (p. 81).  Coppock further declared that the great strength of this decan is its capacity to support us in developing remedies to overcome threats:

Thus, the power to call upon greater power in order to atone for folly or repair damage done is great here. It is a place of humility. The proper image may be painted to petition the call for help amidst catastrophe, whether it be self-caused or not. In cases of hubris, the formula must involve confession- the ritual sacrifice of the folly which was at cause.

While repair and repentance certainly feature prominently, equally important is the power of preparation. Acts, both magical and mundane, to ward off the visits of evil are potent in this face . . . Ultimately this face teaches us how to preserve our works, both from our own folly and the titans’ rages. (p.82)

Taurus is a survivor full of perseverance that can bear the brunt of any destructive storms or setbacks.  In Taurus we can be gracefully drawn into our inner realm to connect with our authentic values, and it is the strength of our inner values that can come to our aid in times of trouble.  Set course for the direction you want your life to take at this Taurus New Moon, with faith that remaining heedful of your inner principles will enable you to sustain focus on your desired end with resilience, no matter what difficulties approach in the coming tides.

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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.

Dark Moon Equinox

Black Madonna

Black Madonna of Einsiedeln, Switzerland

Because the light that we see as coming from the moon is the sun’s reflected light, the dark moon is in a sense the moon’s true face.

–Demetra George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon

Balancing light and dark, equal parts lunar and solar, the Libra Equinox of 2014 occurs on a Dark Moon in Virgo charged with the archetypal force of Pluto stationing direct in Capricorn.  In our Northern Hemisphere this is the Autumn Equinox, in the Southern Hemisphere the Spring Equinox, but in either case a myth deeply resonant with this seasonal shift is the story of Persephone, Hades, and Demeter.  Three thousand years ago in Eleusis, Greece the Greater Mysteries initiated participants into the underworld, where epiphanic experiences in darkness revealed illumination participants returned with to their upper world existence, imbibed with transcendent knowledge.  While our global culture no longer participates in such Mysteries, in moments of darkness many do reach out for the Virgin Mary, the Black Madonna, and in her embrace beyond religious boundaries we find the archetypal story of the Great Goddess alive in our World Soul.

Venus in Virgo is conjunct a Dark Moon in Virgo in our moment of equinoctial balance this year, and if we remember that Venus is considered to be in it’s fall in Virgo, then let us embrace this symbol and fall and fall again into a descent that re-balances the light and dark, the past and future, the conscious and unconscious.   Entering the void of darkness within where we will find no one to save us other than our soul itself, we will find the presence of the Black Madonna, the love of the Dark Goddess, the force that will Animate us forward again like “the One who walked in terrible chaos and brought life by the way of love” (Abraham, Chaos in Myth and Science).  Dark Moons are not so much a time to be striking out boldly on a new plan, but rather a moment of visioning, an oracular space to enter in which out of the darkness of turning back into our past, what may feel like dormancy is in actuality a germination of our future livelihood.  We may ultimately clear past patterns, liberate ourselves from repressive wounds we have been grieving, yet to reach this state necessitates what is left to be released to arise from the depths of our unconscious.

With Pluto stationing direct, the unconscious forces we have been resisting, the calling of our soul we have refused to answer, will arise from the deep earth.  Yet this chthonic force is not a monster to be feared, but rather is embodied in the beautiful, wise, and fierce form of Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld whose shadow falls across the Black Madonna more widely worshipped today:

In the tale of the mother searching for her daughter, Demeter often merged with Persephone. For Jung, the merging presages the psychological phenomenon wherein “every mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother, [so] that every woman extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter.”  This gives rise to a sense of time reaching backward and forward, suggested in the phrase, “remembering the future.”  In the christian age the merging of mother and daughter became the fusing of mother and son evident in images of black madonnas.  Persephone as queen of the underworld was worshipped as a goddess of the dead, holding the keys of heaven and hell before they were given to saint Peter in the christian age.

–Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Black Madonnas, p. 37-38

This Jungian perspective on the Black Madonna and Persephone as “remembering the future” is an apt phrase for Pluto stationing on an equinox with Venus conjunct a Dark Moon in Virgo.  If we take time out of our busy lives at this equinox to go within the darkness of our Self without distraction, denial, and escapism, whatever we encounter, no matter the emotions and feelings we must bear witness to, is going to be exactly what we need to recover on a soul level to re-balance our authenticity.  Now is the time to make conscious whatever needs to arise so that we can make adjustments between our sense of soul and personality, because not only does our consensus culture not support such a re-balancing, we are also going to enter an October of eclipses that may bring unexpected changes in need of balanced navigation.

The Libra Equinox is ruled by Venus, and Venus in Virgo is now a morning star getting less and less visible in the pre-dawn sky everyday.  We are approaching the time in which Venus will be getting close enough to the Sun to no longer visible, as her Superior Conjunction with the Sun will ultimately occur at the end of October in Scorpio.   But before we get to that point, we will go through a lunar eclipse in Aries conjunct Uranus, a Mercury retrograde phase from Scorpio to Libra, a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, and a movement of Venus across Libra that will involve a conjunction with Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Libra, and a square to Pluto in Capricorn. In ancient times this would be a period in which widespread fear that the great dragon of chaos would rear its monstrous head would overcome the general populace.  Today, we can be aware that sudden shifts are on the horizon, but if we go within we can find the middle way through this impending portal of change that will allow us to keep focus on the vision we are cultivating to manifest.

Demeter Torch

Demeter with torch and ears of barley stalks bearing the opium poppy. Athens National Museum

Indeed, focus is a key word at this time, as there is a powerful conjunction in Scorpio occurring between Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta.  This is a powerful symbol of the Great Mother who was equally a Goddess of Birth and Death, a creative progenitor and guide to the underworld.  This triple conjunction demands authenticity, demands brutal honesty, demands focus and discipline, and yet if we do this work, the rewards will be great as this is a truly transformative energy that can take us to our greatest depths in order to give us our most beloved desire.  The potential to find harmony by focusing through whatever challenges arise is further shown through Venus in Virgo being sextile the conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta at this equinox.  This energy is intense and not unlike the dark chthonic goddesses of old:

It could be said that what scholars term the chthonic aspect of the Goddess- her portrayal in surrealistic and sometimes grotesque form- represented our forebears’ attempt to deal with the darker aspects of reality by giving our human fears of the shadowy unknown a name and shape . . . designed to impart to the religious initiate a sense of mystical unity with both the dangerous as well as the benign forces governing the world . . .

. . . But with all of this, the many images of the Goddess in her dual aspect of life and death seem to express a view of the world in which the primary purpose of art, and of life, was not to conquer, pillage, and loot but to cultivate the earth and provide the material and spiritual wherewithal for a satisfying life. And on the whole, Neolithic art, and even more so the more developed Minoan art, seems to express a view in which the primary function of the mysterious powers governing the universe is not to exact obedience, punish, and destroy but rather to give.

–Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade, p. 20

To work with the energy emerging at this equinox, we will want to focus not only on giving ourselves the space to process events and emotions and fulfill our own needs, we will also want to focus on how to give to others what they need.  There is an amazing liberating force occurring at the same time as the heavier aspects of depth, especially Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries, and yet with a square between Leo Jupiter and the Scorpio conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta, this is not a time to be focusing on selfish desires that are only about gaining power or prestige for yourself.  This is a time to pursue a soulful passion, but a passion that will not only bring you alive but give inspiration, healing, or hope to others.

Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries is a radically creative energy that in the wrong hands could lead to great transgression of others or abuse of power.  Remember, however, that Ceres in the story of Persephone knows how to make Jupiter listen to her, and likewise a bargain must be struck between an energy that makes us want to leap and an energy that makes us want us to take a very deep look.  Fittingly enough, just as Demeter made Zeus send Hermes down to Hades in order to release Persephone, so is there a mutual reception occurring between Venus in Virgo and Mercury in Libra  that will help guide us toward discerning and perceiving how to work with our depth in a way that will not weigh us down, but rather will fuel our fire forward.

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I have been reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, a book that thematically takes the reader into the void, into the deepest recesses of soul, in order to rebirth love.  In a crucial scene, the character of Sara Kimoto, a woman driving the title character into his depths through his desire for her, challenges Tsukuru Tazaki to confront his past.  Like many of us, Tsukuru initially resists, feeling that he has already done this work and moved on with his life:

Tsukuru waited until the waiter left before he spoke.

“Like I told you, I want to put it all out of my mind.  I’ve managed to slowly close up the wound and, somehow, conquer the pain.  It took a long time.  Now that the wound is closed, why gouge it open again?”

“I understand, but maybe it only appears, from the outside, that the wound is closed.”  Sara gazed into his eyes and spoke quietly.  “Maybe inside the wound, under the scab, the blood is still silently flowing.  Haven’t you ever thought of that?”

We will not be able to hide from the wounds of our past at this time, and even if we feel that we have already completed the hard work of clearing out our past, it is likely that a challenge to this belief of ours will arise in one form or another in the coming weeks.  If we need to relapse into previous wounding again, so be it, for eventually as we sort through the darkness of this past issue we will re-emerge with a stronger sense of self that will arise from within along with growth through intensification.  Keeping in mind the balance of the equinox, anything demanding our attention or surprising our psyche in our dreams or waking consciousness is exactly what we must address and process now.  We can truly get to the core of our past wounding and issues now and light a final fire of release.  Surrendering to an internal adjustment at this time will help us be present through the shifting of the coming eclipses from a centered position.

thracian-girl-carrying-the-head-of-orpheus-1864

Thracian girl carrying the head of Orpheus (1864) by Gustave Moreau

For those experiencing a dark night of the soul at this time, there could be an element of great disillusionment in the experience.  With Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces, some of us may come to the realization that we have been operating inside of a great illusion either in our relationships or in our beliefs about the world.  However shattering it may feel to realize we have been delusional about someone or something in our life, it is vital for our own well-being that we finally gain this self-realization at this time so that we can make the necessary adjustments that will lead to fulfillment in our future.  There may also be conflicts and disagreements happening around us or between us and others, but this is more than likely to occur if we are insisting on getting our way or fixating our perceptions through past patterns of belief, irregardless of the information coming to us in the present moment.

The strength of the square between Mars in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces is its mutable nature and desire for ultimate understanding.  In many ways this aspect is resonant with a challenging or difficult experience in one way or another opening our minds to a deeper knowing regarding our world.  The mutability of this square will help us to shift appropriately to the motion of soul in the moment, and the understanding we gain from this test of our beliefs and desires we will be able to integrate into the Grand Fire Trine that also awaits us between Jupiter in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Sagittarius.  Roughly twenty-eight hours after the equinox we will have a New Moon in Libra on which to set intention informed from our Dark Moon Equinox insights:

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This will be a New Moon of the other we are in relationship with, in all the myriad forms the other appears in our life, mirroring back to us key issues and insights for us to integrate.  Monika of the Symbol Reader blog recently wrote a brilliant depiction of Juno as the source of the soul’s procreation, and Juno is a truly procreative force to inform the intention we set at this upcoming New Moon.  Juno in Cancer is in sextile to Venus in Virgo and in trine to the Scorpio triple conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta.  Who we desire will bring us understanding, who we collaborate with will bring us understanding, who we argue with will bring us understanding, and who we become angered by will bring us understanding.  If jealous feelings overcome us, for example, it will be an opportune time to get to the heart of the underlying reasoning and take responsibility for the way we communicate our emotions with the other person or people involved.

It will please Juno if we are authentic and accountable in all of our interactions with others, and if we claim the emotional security to open our hearts to who or what we desire, risking the possibility that our relationships may not play out as we had wished. There are also intense aspects involving Juno now that could coincide with significant obstacles, challenges, confrontations, or misunderstandings that come about in our relationships.  Yet, all of our relationships at this time will be holding ingenious illumination regarding ourselves and our path forward if we take the time to reflect upon their dynamics.  Soaking in our sacred spring like Juno during this equinox will be a vital rejuvenation, so prepare a sacred space for yourself however best you can.

Below I have listed the current astrological aspects I focused on for the most part:

  • Pluto stationing direct at 11 degrees Capricorn
  • Ceres conjunct Saturn and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Dark Moon in Virgo at the Equinox, conjunct Venus in Virgo
  • Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries
  • Jupiter in Leo square Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces
  • Juno in Cancer trine Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Juno in Cancer sextile Venus in Virgo
  • Juno in Cancer square Mercury in Libra, Uranus in Aries, and the Nodes of the Moon
  • Mercury in Libra and Venus in Virgo in Mutual Reception
  • Uranus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon
  • Pallas Athena in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon
  • New Moon in the first decan of Libra following the Equinox, ruled by Venus in Virgo

References

Abraham, Ralph. Chaos in Myth and Science.

Birnbaum, Lucia Chiavoloa. (1993).  Black Madonnas: Feminism, Religion, and Politics in Italy. toExcel.

Eisler, Riane. (1988). The Chalice and the Blade. HarperCollins.

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