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.

 

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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.

Hilma_af_Klint_-_1922_-_Birch

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.

CancerNewMoonWRIGC1

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.

TaurusNewMoonWRIGC3

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.

LibraEquinox2014WRIGC2

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:

LibraNewMoonWRIGC1

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.

George, Demetra. (1992).  Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess. HarperCollins.

Murakami, Haruki. (2014).  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Knopf.

Rites of Lilith: Venus stations at a New Moon in Aquarius

rites-of-lilith

Venus Stations Direct conjunct Pluto

  • Venus stations direct on January 31, 2014 at 13º34′ conjunct Pluto in Capricorn (12:49 pm PST).

  • January 31 to February 1 is the traditional time of Imbolc, a holiday at the cross-quarter between the Solstice and Equinox (by zodiac degree, however, this will be happening more like February 3 – 4 when the Sun hits 15 Aquarius).

  • There is a NEW MOON on January 3o at 11 Aquarius at 1:38 pm PST, the day before Venus stations direct.

  • LILITH in her triple form is activated by this New Moon.  The asteroid Lilith (#1181) will be at 14 Leo (retrograde) opposite the New Moon.  The true node of Black Moon Lilith will be at 2 Leo squaring the North and South Nodes of the Moon in Scorpio and Taurus.  The Dark Moon (or Waldemath) Lilith will be at 25 Taurus opposite to Saturn in Scorpio.

Anytime Venus is stationing brings added intensity as she stands still from our geocentric perspective, concentrating Venusian themes in our lives and drawing us to face or contemplate our inner relationship with her archetype.  However, this week is more intense than normal, as Venus is stationing conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and in direct opposition to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer.  Additionally, less than twenty-four hours before she officially stations direct, there is a New Moon in Aquarius which also ushers in the Chinese New Year of the Wood Horse.  The day of Venus stationing direct is also a holiday in Gaelic and other “pagan” cultures, the traditional time of Imbolc which is at the cross-quarter of the Solstice and Equinox, heralding the coming Equinox.  In the Northern Hemisphere this is also the time of our “groundhog day” when we look to a groundhog to tell us when Spring is approaching.

The South Node of the Moon at this time is still in Taurus, ruled by Venus.  Whether your astrological frame of reference calls you to consider the transiting South Node of the Moon to be an indication of personal or collective past lives, connections, comfort, or attachments, most likely you have a sense of the Lunar South Node indicating a comfort zone of security in one form or another, like a habit impossible to break without conscious work and effort.  Add in a square from Uranus in Aries to Venus, and you can see how Venus is highly charged at the moment for all of us (though anyone with planets or angles at 11-15 degrees of cardinal signs should especially take note).  As many people have a perspective that connects Venus to goddesses, the divine feminine, and mythic heroines, her influence at this time in conjunction to Pluto and in opposition to Jupiter is even more pronounced when you factor in the placement of Lilith in her astrological forms at this time.

Lilith has become a popular archetype in astrology in relation to Black Moon Lilith, the empty focal point of the Moon’s orbit that some calculate through the true node, others the mean node.  From my own experience, I have come to favor the true node placement, but both the true and mean nodes of Black Moon Lilith at this time are significant:  the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes, resolving toward the South Node that Venus is ruling, and the mean node of Black Moon Lilith is in Cancer in opposition to the degree of Capricorn that Venus stationed retrograde on the December solstice of 2013.  There is also a Lilith asteroid #1181 that is moving retrograde in opposition to the Aquarius New Moon on January 30.  Finally, there is also the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith, a more controversial Lilith placement that I personally do not use much, but that Demetra George and others have integrated into this triple goddess form of Lilith for precisely the reason that its controversial nature reflects the Lilith archetype to such a large degree.  Speaking of Demetra George, I utilize her triple goddess theory of the meaning of Lilith that looks to the Lilith asteroid as a point of wounding, repression, or suppression that potentially can erupt into anger from us and cause us to become alienated or ostracized (this point is being triggered by the Aquarius New Moon).  Along these lines, the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith is a point where we can gain a vengeful rage of indignation at our persecutors and develop an unhelpful victim mentality that can get us into difficult situations (this point is being triggered by Saturn in Scorpio).  Finally, in this context the Black Moon Lilith placement is the resolution point where we can work through and integrate this past wounding or repression, cut away delusional or false aspects of ourselves or patterns, and come into more of an authentic presence reflecting more of our true nature (this point is being triggered by the lunar nodes).  The energy of the Black Moon Lilith is like the Dark Goddess of the Dark Moon phase in the lunar cycle, a clearing energy to prepare for the new phase, perfect for a New Moon in which Venus is stationing direct conjunct Pluto.  However, since the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in a square to the lunar nodes at this time, it suggest that what needs to be cut or cleared may be an intense issue or pattern we have been deeply attached to:   in other words, shifting whatever this pattern may be will be much easier said than done.

The ability of Black Moon Lilith to help us cut away what is false in our thoughts and beliefs goes well with the Sabian symbol for 14 Capricorn where Venus is stationing direct: “an ancient bas-relief carved in granite remains a witness to a long-forgotten culture.” Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala found the keynote for this symbol to be “The will to unearth, in our culture as well as in any culture, what has permanent value, and to let go of nonessentials” (p. 237).   Lilith for many is a long forgotten goddess or heroine of wisdom who was cast out and ostracized from Biblical, monotheistic religion and portrayed as a deadly femme fatale of evil seduction, when upon closer inspection of myth we get a sense that all she wanted to do was be on an equal level of power to Adam and preserve a sense of her own independence in their relationship.  The following quote from Joseph Campbell (in a new book published in December 2013 when Venus was first conjunct Pluto and entering her retrograde shadow zone) cuts with insight to the core problem resulting from traditional monotheistic interpretations of the Bible that neglect the divine feminine:

Freud asks in “Moses and Monotheism” why it was that just when all the other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean were learning to read their myths poetically, the Jews became more confirmed than ever in the concretist (Freud calls it “religious”) way of interpreting their idea of God.  The obvious reason, I would say, is that both they and their tribal deity failed to realize that the waters of the Deep (tehom) over which Elohim was brooding and blowing in the first two verses of Genesis I was not just water, but the old Babylonian goddess of the primeval sea herself, Tiamat (ti’amat), and that his failure to appreciate the poetry of her presence there was the beginning of his whole misunderstanding even of himself.  It was to her, his cosmological wife, that he should have turned to listen, occasionally, when moved to throw the Book at their disobedient children.

–Joseph Campbell, Goddesses, p. xxv

Lilith is a polarizing figure in myth and religious doctrine that goes well with the polarity between Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing the conjunction of Pluto and Venus stationing direct in Capricorn.  On the one hand, if we are fixated on a particular belief system and lock horns in argument with another individual with an opposing belief system they are equally fixated upon and attached to, we could come into great conflict at this time in the outer world of mundane events.  On an inner personal level, however, I see the totality of these archetypal signs indicating an opportunity for us to do deep inner cathartic work on the ideas and thoughts operating inside us, that we act from, the sort of habitual patterns we have been living from and at times forgetting we have the power of choice to work on and change if they are not in alignment with what we want to attract and manifest in our lives.  Leading up to this New Moon and Venus stationing is an opportune time to do the inner work of lovingly questioning ourselves and our inner relationship with our Self, becoming more aware of how we talk to ourselves or emotionally react to a triggering comment from everyone from a passing stranger to an intimate partner.

Indeed, the sabian symbol for this New Moon at 11 Aquarius is “during a silent hour, a man receives new inspiration which may change his life.”  Dane Rudhyar even connected the inner work revealed through this sabian symbol with our “need to rely upon inner inspiration and guidance at the start of new developments,” again another fitting correspondence to a New Moon with Venus stationing (p. 255).  Rudhyar described this process as finding the “value of keeping open to the descent of spiritual or Soul forces, especially when a new period of individual activity is about to begin” (p. 255).  To connect with our Soul requires work, effort, and the use of our Will:  the term “transformation” is often used in this context because it can feel like we are becoming a new person, even though it may accurately be more like becoming the person we truly were the entire time underneath it all.  There is one more part of Rudhyar’s interpretation of this New Moon sabian symbol I want to include here, because it also connects this process to the creation of art and what we can find within when we are willing to take the solitary dive inside of ourselves:  “There is a creative power within, a power that can be tapped, or rather that should be allowed to flow into the brain-consciousness or the hands which write or fashion materials into original forms” (p. 255).  True, that:  making art, writing, or any other creative act that can help us process our emotions at this time is felicitous.

Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing Venus and Pluto in Capricorn can relate to the family karma we know from our own lifetime, as well as more ancestral karma we may get inklings of from time to time.  Since Jupiter and Venus are both synthesizers that can transcend the challenge of their current polarity, setting intentions at this time to clear the issues that we are not truly responsible for, and to face and be accountable for the karma and patterns we are responsible for can be very powerful.  Venus can be the fire in an alchemical process of these elements, by allowing ourselves to feel the burning sense of what is truly passionate and joyful at our core, there is a new presence for ourselves to feel and embody that brings together the polarity represented by Cancer Jupiter retrograde/Capricorn Pluto.  Jupiter is capable of great projection from a deep inner realm of bottom line principles and thoughts, like an underworld ruled by Pluto, we live from.  Any external conflict at this time can be utilized to reveal past inner dynamics we have been perceiving and intuiting from that are ultimately limiting for us, that we have been operating from more as a result of the conditioning from our early childhood, family, or society more so than our true nature.  Now is the time to set intention for any such inner adjustments or modifications.

Pluto usually has a regenerative quality to the intensity of his aspects, and so whatever Venusian tumult we could be experiencing on a Jupiter-like scale at this time most likely is offering us something to work on to become more aware of our soul and true presence.  Jupiter always wants us to grow, so moving retrograde in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn is calling for a descent into the inner emotional feeling realm for greater Self-awareness.  The fact the exact opposition of Jupiter and Pluto at this time is fairly close in orb to a t-square with Uranus in Aries is a reflection to the years of 1968-1969 when Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto were in a triple conjunction.  In Cosmos and Psyche Richard Tarnas noted this time was like the peak culmination of many 1960 themes involving the Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo we are now feeling the first square from:  riots like Stonewall and the Chicago 8, protests, Woodstock, and notable for the type of inner work I am speaking of, this was also the time in which Stanislov Grof founded Transpersonal psychology, James Hillman founded Archetypal Psychology, and the man formerly known as Richard Alpert stepped into being Ram Dass.  During this past month, if we have been utilizing the Venus retrograde cycle for a spiritual or artistic practice of some sort that has been working with and releasing a lot of the energy that otherwise could have built up in this time, we have an amazing opportunity at this time to birth a new presence for ourselves.  However, no matter our recent experiences, this is an important New Moon on which to set a clear intention going forward.

In the chart below for the New Moon on January 30, you can see how the true node for Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes.  Again, the mean node of Black Moon Lilith can be placed into this chart at 26 degrees of Cancer (opposite the degree that Venus stationed retrograde on December 21, 2013), the Lilith asteroid #1181 can be placed at 14 degrees of Leo retrograde (opposite the New Moon), and the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith can be placed at 25 degrees of Taurus (opposite Saturn in Scorpio):

AquariusNewMoon2014WRIGC1

If we have been experiencing some recent events that have triggered feelings of past repression, suppression, judgment, alienation, or persecution, if the archetype of Lilith being active at this New Moon and Venus stationing feels resonant for you, then there is also a strong possibility of this past wound being opened wide at this time.  But in the end this can lead to the sort of heart opening that makes true healing possible, the type of healing that allows us to move forward no longer burdened by that past pain or repressive pattern any longer.  Remember, even though Venus is stationing direct, she will still be in her retrograde shadow zone until March 4, 2014 which will also take us through an entire Mercury retrograde cycle (most of February 2014) and into the beginning of a Mars retrograde transit in Libra (March 1 – April 20, 2014).  The fact that this New Moon with Venus stationing leads us into Mercury stationing retrograde a week later in conjunction to Neptune in Pisces makes it even more important to state very clear intentions for ourselves at this time.  What do we truly want, not out of a sense of need, but out of a true sense of what will bring us joy?  We have a full Mercury retrograde cycle, and then the beginning of a Mars retrograde cycle to experience before Venus will finally leave her retrograde shadow zone, so there is still a lot of inner work to be done even though we may become increasingly called to focus on external events and actions.  Today and the Imbolc season that follows is a perfect time to re-assess and re-form our purpose, vision, and goals moving forward.

slow-swirl-at-the-edge-of-the-sea(1)

Mark Rothko and Venus Retrograde

As we are entering a time in which we are leaving a Venus retrograde transit only to enter a Mercury retrograde cycle as Venus is still moving through her retrograde shadow zone, a historical figure I feel is interesting to consider is the artist Mark Rothko, born with a Mercury retrograde in Libra and a Venus retrograde in Virgo.  If you noticed, this means his Mercury and Venus were in mutual reception, with his retrograde Venus ruling his retrograde Mercury, and his retrograde Mercury ruling his retrograde Venus.  Fitting to such a natal aspect, Mark Rothko was a deeply contemplative artist whose artistic expression and perception were rooted to his core inner Self more so than consensus cultural norms of society or the art world.  When we work with planets moving in retrograde, we have the opportunity to turn inward to find new ideas and ideals we can ultimately bring forth into the world.  The progression of Mark Rothko’s art in his lifetime was a fascinating example of this internal/external process in motion.

For example, in the painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, Rothko had entered a new phase in his art in which he was painting with greater abstraction:  this painting supposedly relates in some ways to his romance with the woman who became his second wife, while some have also interpreted it as integrating a reference to Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”  In any event, the energy of love, movement, passion, and music found in the image certainly connect to Venus, but the more abstract depiction of Venusian themes is what had changed in this period of Rothko’s art.  Previous to this period, Rothko painted more realistic depictions of ideas that often connected to myth and other subjects of timeless meaning.  Rothko was known to be a great admirer of Nietzsche, Carl Jung, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot, with the sort of internal, mythic perception of soul in matter found in people with Mercury and Venus retrograde in their charts.  Eventually, Rothko shifted into further, or maybe better said, purer abstraction in a style that has been called “multi-form” and involved large fields of color:  this is the style that ultimately brought him his greatest fame.  About his art at this time, he made a very Mercury/Venus retrograde statement of saying, “my paintings’ surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles, you can find everything I want to say” (wikipedia).  The depth of feeling he put into his work was further exemplified when he said he was only interested in “expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point” (wikipedia).

The painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, as well as the painting at the beginning of this post, “Rites of Lilith,” were both shown in 1945 following a dramatic shift in Rothko’s art.  In a letter to the Art Editor of the New York Times you can read here, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb articulated a manifesto expressing a re-visioning of their art away from a more literal representation of myth in their painting into a form inspired by surrealist and abstract art from Europe.  This letter came out immediately following Mercury stationing direct in June of 1943, still in its shadow zone.  A few months later in August of 1943 there would be a Venus retrograde transit of Virgo matching the same Venus retrograde cycle in which Rothko was born.  Thus this shift in the art of Rothko (which would become even more dramatic in a few more years) was a good example of Mercury-Venus inner work, an inner change of values, ultimately re-emerging into a new vision for external manifestation.  This is exactly the sort of opportunity available for all of us at this time, in whatever realm of thought and action your current interests are found.   Here are a few of their key points found in their manifesto:

  1. To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.
  2. This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.
  3. It is our functions as artists to make the spectator see the world our way—not his way.
  4. We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.
  5. It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it  is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art.

Over a half century later, excerpts from this manifesto appeared in a song crafted by another artist with a link to retrograde personal planets, Kathleen Hannah, born on November 12, 1968 with a Scorpio Mercury direct a few degrees out of it’s retrograde shadow zone of October 3-23, 1968 when she was in her mother’s womb:

Of course, Kathleen Hannah is no stranger to manifestos as she wrote a Riot Grrrl manifesto including lines like “BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t” and “BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-hierarchical ways of being and making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.” She is a strong example of how to use a Mars in Libra with power and force for social justice through art (she also has a Uranus conjunct Mars in Libra, also conjunct Jupiter at the very end of Virgo).  As Mars in Libra in March will station retrograde following the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius (that’s going to be February 2014), we will no doubt hear from many astrologers how Mars “doesn’t like” being in the sign of Libra.  Look no further than Kathleen Hannah to learn you can kick ass with Mars in Libra when working for social change.  Now is a good time to figure out where you want to re-focus your energy to ultimately become the change you want to see in the world.

References

Campbell, Joseph. (2013). Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. New World.

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

Rothko, Mark. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko

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

Sirius New Moon in Cancer

Chagall - so i came forth of the sea

New Moon in Cancer

The image above is by my favorite painter, Marc Chagall, a Cancer who is enjoying his birthday today wherever he is, as I write this.  It is called, “So I came forth of the Sea and sat down on the edge of an island in the moonshine,” and to me it encapsulates the watery astrological energy of the moment and the possibility of intuitively moving with the flow of it all, finding some sense of stillness within.  In case you haven’t heard, this is going to be a very potent New Moon in the midst of a grand water trine involving  Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.  Saturn is of particular prominence in the moment, having stationed direct yesterday.  Saturn being in Scorpio, ruled by a Pluto in Capricorn undergoing a square from Uranus in Aries, has the sort of energy that makes the more squeamish of astrologers run for the underground.  However, why not invite this energy in and have it help resurrect our truest path from within, just like the Moon itself emerges from its dark phase at this time to new light?

Examination of the Sabian symbol of this New Moon, as we astrologers love to do (if you haven’t noticed) bears in this case the repetition of you maybe having already read this one by Dane Rudhyar:

Cancer 17:  The unfoldment of multilevel potentialities issuing from an original germ.

Keynote:  The life urge to actualize one’s birth potential.

What is pictured here is simply the process of germination. As it unfolds from the sundered seed the plant pierces the crust of the soil and reaches up toward the light. This is a dynamic process turned outward, in contrast to the more static or introspective process of integration-through-understanding depicted in the preceding symbol. Germination is the crucifixion of the seed . . . The expanding process of self-actualization- which may mean nothing more than ego-expansion through conquest- contrasts with the introspective study of the structural relationship between, and the meaning of, the various energies and potentialities of one’s nature (svarupa in Sanskrit). The keyword is GROWTH.

from An Astrological Mandala, p. 121-2

The “preceding symbol” Rudhyar references is from sixteen degrees of Cancer, “A man studying a mandala in front of him, with the help of a very ancient book” and so is about more of a deep internal process of personality integration, in contrast to the outward expression of the potential of the individual found in the symbol associated with this New Moon at seventeen degrees of Cancer.  Rudhyar’s analysis that this self-actualization process may appear to be an “ego expansion through conquest” links with the tumultuous process we undergo through individuating ourselves, and how part of this can look like narcissism or self-absorption because of the need to figure out who we are, as part of the process of then being able to move out into the world embodying more of our multilevel potential. Again, though, this symbol points to this being more of a time of germination, or feeling the urge of our potential, not necessarily that we would actually be already living the vision at this phase of our process.

One supportive New Moon aspect going with this symbolic meaning is the fact that Venus in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries.  Another one is Mercury moving in retrograde in Cancer conjunct this New Moon, perfect for helping us perceive and reveal our inner potential- also, Mercury retrograde energy can be utilized in outer expression like this symbol suggests more so than you may realize from the pop astrology stereotypes about the dangers of it’s retrograde movement.    However, I cannot think of a more harmonious change in planetary movement to support such a symbol than Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio on the day before the New Moon.  Saturn being a boundary planet that is more about the collective and our role in society than a personal planet like Mercury, it’s stationing direct or retrograde can often coincide with major global events.   This is particularly the case in connection with modern Egypt, as the Arab Spring there began in 2011 with Saturn stationing retrograde, and the new phase of the Egyptian revolution that took effect this past week happened with Saturn stationing direct.  July 3 being the date of this most recent phase of Egyptian revolution is interesting because it is a date in which the Sun in Cancer is conjunct the fixed star Sirius, an important star in the ritual and myth of ancient Egypt.  In fact, conspiracy theorists believe the Founding Fathers of the USA chose the date of July 4 to be the date of “America’s Independence” because it is a date in which the Sun is aligned with Sirius.  The shifting of Saturn corresponding to major global events is also a symbolic correspondence to the power available to us on a personal level to revolutionize aspects of our lives when it stations direct.  The fact that Saturn is doing this now in the sign of Scorpio, in a grand trine aspect to Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces, is an extraordinary symbol of transformation available to us on the deepest level of our being, if we are brave and honest enough to avoid denial and take accountability of our actions, release what is holding us back, and invoke what will propel us forward.

Today’s New Moon also happens to be conjunct Sirius, a beautiful star to behold in the sky and a star that carries a deep well of myth and tall tales encircling it from the most ancient of days, among the widest variety of indigenous cultures imaginable.  One mythic figure who is especially connected to Sirius through myth is Isis (to read my archetypal analysis of Isis click here). I was reading recently about the Isis and Osiris myth in Carl Jung’s revised version of his Symbols of Transformation, thinking there could be something there about Isis to connect with this New Moon energy.  The following quote I found I feel is a perfect addendum to the sabian symbol cited above by Dane Rudhyar:

But it is far from clear, because a new adaptation or orientation of vital importance can only be achieved in accordance with the instincts.  Lacking this, nothing durable results, only a convulsively willed, artificial product which proves in the long run to be incapable of life.  No man can change himself into anything from sheer reason; he can only change into what he potentially is.  When such a change becomes necessary, the previous mode of adaptation, already in a state of decay, is unconsciously compensated by the archetype of another mode.  If the conscious mind now succeeds in interpreting the constellated archetype in a meaningful and appropriate manner, then a viable transformation can take place.  Thus the most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood state is indicated.  One such succesful interpreation has been, for instance, Mother Church, but once this form begins to show signs of age and decay a new interpretation becomes inevitable.

Even if a change does occur, the old form loses none of its attractions; for whoever sunders himself from the mother longs to get back to the mother.  This longing can easily turn into a consuming passion which threatens all that has been won.  The mother then appears on the one hand as the supreme goal, and on the other as the most frightful danger- the “Terrible Mother.”

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation (2nd edition, with corrections, 1967) , p. 236

Isis giving milk

Carl Jung’s interpretation of the Isis and Osiris myth in Symbols of Transformation has an almost obsessive attachment to viewing it through the lens of incest as a taboo.  Jung focused on the sibling sexual relations between brother-sister Osiris and Isis, as well as Osiris and Nephthys being connected to the marriages between brothers and sisters that were common among the aristocracy of ancient Egypt.  Jung then connected the concept of cultural taboos to the repressive effect they can have on human instincts, and then how the separation humans developed with their instinctual natures led to cultural prohibitions associated with various taboos.  Jung believed that when children are bound to unconscious attachment to their mothers they are “still one with the animal psyche,” but that  “development of consciousness inevitably leads not only to separation from the mother, but to separation from the parents and the whole family circle and thus to a relative degree of detachment from the unconscious and the world of instinct” (p. 235).  This is the source of why in the quote above Jung reasoned that as consciousness develops away from the instincts of childhood, we are forever tempted “to make evasions and retreats, to regress to the infantile past” (p. 235).  We can look for other new sources or mother archetypes to compensate for our detachment from our mothers, but this can at times also take us down the road of illusion and addiction as coping strategies.

The fact that Sirius is known as the dog star makes me think of the instinctual strength of dogs, and the significance Jung drew to the idea of us not being able to transform ourselves only through reason, but that the process to be successful would require a transformation in accordance with our instincts.  This makes me think that if the star Sirius could symbolically embody a sense of instinct like a dog, it could be a guide at this time for helping us germinate a new level of potential from within ourselves that is aligned with the deepest levels of our instinctual nature.  In Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung connected the myth of Isis and Osiris to Sirius, the dog star, because of the role of Annubis, the jackal-headed deity of death, in helping Isis to reanimate Osiris after he had been dismembered into many pieces by Set, and how Sirius as the dog star played a major role in ancient Egyptian ceremony:

. . . the deeper meaning is connected with the astral form of the dog ceremony, i.e., the appearance of the dog-star at the highest point of the solstice.  Hence the bringing in of the dog would have a compensatory significance, death being made equal to the sun at its highest point.  This is a thoroughly psychological interpretation, as can be seen from the fact that death is quite commonly regarded as an entry into the mother’s womb (for rebirth).

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, p. 238

These themes connect strongly to me with the zodiac sign of Cancer in general, and how in mundane astrology it is ruled by the Moon, and how in esoteric astrology it is ruled by Neptune.  With the associated astrological symbolism of the Moon and Neptune, such as themes of family, mother, Spirit, Source, . . . many of us are on the wheel of spinning through stages of desire to separate from these as well as a desire to return to them, with all sorts of ramifications of this separation/return theme impacting our daily life and actions in connection with our relationship to our unconscious and instincts.  The esoteric rulership of Neptune makes me think of the birth-death-rebirth theories of Stanislav Grof, in which he connected the stage of the womb with Neptune.  This womb stage evokes the imagery of Neptune not as the wrathful Poseidon, but as the Divine Mother, the mother of matter. It also connects the sign of Cancer to the complications of connection to the oceanic psychic realm of Spirit in a manner that goes along with Neptune currently being in the sign of Pisces.  Having psychic urges or inclinations, or a desire to connect with God or Spirit or what have you, requires a strong sense of self in order to avoid drowning in the numinous ocean.  At times we may think we are engaging in a psychic experience, or a communion with the divine, when in fact we ultimately realize we were off on some sort of illusory folly.  In Soul Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated the connection between Cancer with the Moon and Neptune:

The waters of the Soul/Neptune wish to pull the individual into the ocean of the collective life experience. Yet the individual cannot “swim” safely in these universal waters without first having anchored its own sense of psychological independence and particular focus of self-expression.  It is here that we come to understand that the more individualized a person becomes, the more universal he can be.  Through the expanding consciousness, the many is seen as a reflection of the One, and the Ones is seen as whole in each of Its parts.  This revelation (which some would rightly call “mystical”) is the gift of Neptune, as well as the product of a Soul-centered consciousness.

The Moon relinquishes its control to Neptune when attachment is released from those facets of life ruled by the Moon on the personality level.  Then the root chakra- the center wherein dwells the unconscious urge for self-preservation . . . loosens its dominance as the driving force behind life.  The removal- or, at the very least, the objectification- of the desire to be attached to form frees the individual in increasing stages toward the identification with the Will-to-Be at the crown center . . . The root center can then be utilized for the externalization of matter which has become consciously linked to Divine Cause . . .

The connection to Neptune as the Soul-centered ruler of Cancer is very profound.  Neptune “unveiled” is not the same influence as it is when masked by the unconscious waters of the emotional life.  It is by her actions on the unredeemed lower self that Neptune earns her reputation as the primary force behind self-destructive addictions.  If the personality is not safely anchored through a strong, integrated, and aligned ego structure, the magnetic force of the waters of the psyche will indeed try to pull the struggling individual back into unconscious and undifferentiated beingness.  One has to work incredibly hard to unmask the mirages of Neptune (as focused through the Moon) to arrive at the illumination of Neptune as a vehicle for the Sun!

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 182

Saturn stationing direct at this time in trine to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer corresponds to an increased ability for us to discern what sorts of mirages or illusions could have been impacting us in this recent time period. It is no coincidence in this way that Saturn in this cycle stationed retrograde back in February during an incredibly intense time period of planets lined up in Pisces.

An additional enlightening element of Cancer I have come across from looking more into esoteric astrology is the stage of incarnation it symbolizes, following the mental birth of incarnation in Aries, the solidifying of form and desire in Taurus, and the movement between the mental and emotional in Gemini.  Cancer along these lines represents a new cycle of physical incarnation that synthesizes the three previous stages of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini.  This does not mean incarnating for the first time in form, but rather means that “an incarnation in Cancer indicates that this is the first cohesive anchoring of the Soul in a physical body for a particular cycle of unfoldment”  (Oken, p. 179).  For me this brings us back full-circle to the sabian symbol interpretation by Dane Rudhyar I brought up at the beginning-  this New Moon in Cancer amid all of the other aspects of this time, calls our attention to the “particular cycle of unfoldment” we each are here on planet Earth in this moment to enact.  This is a time of germination of that multi-level potential we have within ourselves- and with the upcoming magical yet heavy astrological aspects on the horizon, it will be a time in which we can manifest our potential into tangible results.

Below is a link to a video of a dynamic drawing of the zodiac sign of Cancer developed by Wolfgang Wegener.  I learned of this technique from Evelina, an astrologer and translator of ancient texts who lives in Bulgaria, and appears to be a star sister of some sort to me, or someone whose thoughts on astrology give me a jolt to my own thinking.  I somehow managed to find her blog pretty much as soon as it was published through a link to the Chiron archetype, and I recommend reading this post here that she made, for I feel it encapsulates the larger context of what I am writing about this New Moon and the current “above” our “below.”

At this time may we be still enough to hear the birdsong, the wind, and the streaming of water ahead of us on our path, and may we have the courage to follow it.

References

Jung, Carl. (1967 edition revised from original 1912). Symbols of Transformation. Bollingen.

Oken, Alan. (1990). Soul Centered Astrology. Ibis.

Rudhyar, Dane. ( 1973). An Astrological Mandala: The Cylce of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic phases. Vintage.

Gemini and the Ugly Duckling

Aphrodite_swan_BM_D2

Gemini New Moon: meetings of Mercury & Venus

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head, p. 99

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

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

Gemini Dreaming

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

Cancer 22:  A young woman awaiting a sailboat.

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

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

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 125

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

duckling_clarke1

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

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

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 167

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

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

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

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

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

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 172

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

swan

References

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

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

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