The Jupiter and Saturn Cycle

Graves-Chalice

Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

“If you know the Saturn in your chart,
it will become Jupiter.”
–Edith Wangemann
  • July 17, 2013:  Jupiter in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 5 degrees.
  • December 12, 2013:  Jupiter retrograde in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 19 degrees.
  • May 24, 2014:   Jupiter in Cancer was in the final trine in this cycle with Saturn retrograde in Scorpio at 18º59′ degrees.
  • The last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 22º43′.  They reached their opposition first on May 23, 2010 at 28 degrees, with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo.  Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 at 3 degrees, with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra.  Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition at this time on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.  In the calendar shift from 2011 into 2012, Jupiter stationed direct at zero degrees of Taurus while Saturn began to station retrograde at the end of Libra- however, although they got within a couple of degrees of one another they did not reach an exact opposition at this time. In 2012 Jupiter moved away from the opposition.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will enter into the last quarter square phase on August 3, 2015 at 29 degrees of Leo and Scorpio.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will again reach an exact last quarter square on March 23, 2016 at 16-17 degrees at the same time as a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  Jupiter and Saturn will complete the final exact last quarter square aspect on May 26, 2016 at 13-14 degrees with Jupiter direct and Saturn retrograde.
  • The next Jupiter and Saturn conjunction will be on December 21, 2020 in Aquarius at 00º29′.

Jupiter and Saturn since the dawn of astrology stood at the outer rings of the known solar system, rulers of the last four signs of the zodiac, gatekeepers to the realm of Spirit. Today in modern astrology, they still stand as gatekeepers between the more personal planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) and the transpersonal (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto), at an intersection between the archetypal asteroid realm of the dwarf planet Ceres and the centaurs like Chiron and Chariklo, and all of the other more recent celestial discoveries with far out orbits.  One of the biggest popular trends in current astrology, however, is actually traditional astrology and there are many young, gifted astrologers focused upon ancient theory involving the sacred seven more so than the modern psychological astrology that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  No matter your astrological philosophy, however, Jupiter and Saturn are unquestioned as pre-eminent points of focus in every astrology reading in every astrological tradition.  Working in tandem together on your behalf they create the necessary structure enabling you to express the full light of your consciousness into the world around you.  As my dear friend once wrote to me regarding her Saturn, “I have actually learned to like it more and more.  If I find a purpose, an aim to shoot my arrow at (Jupiter), then I am able to persevere and have extraordinary discipline.”

In the moment in which I am writing this, mellifluous Venus has passed through a conjunction with magnanimous Jupiter in the majestic sign of Leo.  It is always a good idea to honor Venus and Jupiter, but right now is an especially auspicious time. Interesting from a traditional astrological perspective, at the same time the two benefics of Venus and Jupiter are joining, the two malefics, Mars and Saturn, are approaching a conjunction.  In fact, on the next New Moon of August 26, Mars and Saturn will have reached a conjunction that is in square to Venus in Leo.  By the time of the Libra Equinox on September 24, Jupiter in Leo will be five degrees away from a square with Saturn in Scorpio.  However, Jupiter in Leo never quite reaches its exact last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio this upcoming season, as Jupiter will station retrograde and move back within its current disseminating phase.  In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will not leave the disseminating phase and enter the last quarter square phase for good until August of next year, 2015.

The terms “benefic” for Jupiter and “malefic” for Saturn are part of the protocol for Hellenistic, Medieval, and other forms of traditional astrology, as they help guide astrologers in predicting fortunate or unfortunate events, as well as help to pinpoint the challenges and obstacles on the horizon most in need of a remedy if the client desires to be successful.  However, getting wrapped up in thinking that Jupiter is “good” and Saturn is “bad” can mislead one into both overreaching on an undeveloped plan as well as fearfully retreating from a golden opportunity (though it does make sense to pay attention to whether or not Jupiter and Saturn are afflicted or supported in the natal chart or by transit).  Just as Jupiter in the chart and by transit can correlate with generosity, good fortune, gregariousness, and gorgeous gifts, the expansive archetypal force of Jupiter can also lead into quixotic egotism, greed, and an attitude enveloped in delusions of grandeur that lacks the disciplined effort necessary to turn starry-eyed visions into matter manifested with purpose.  In comparison, just as Saturn can correlate with times of darkness, solitude, suppression, and grief, so can Saturn in the chart or by transit help one give birth to transcendent experiences through applied focus and effort, through a letting go of what is ready to be released in order to strengthen what is ready to ripen.  We are in a constant balancing act between Jupiter and Saturn, and while some time periods call for more of the synthesizing growth of Jupiter, other times require more of the methodical approach of Saturn.  Yet the more we can unify their attributes together in our being, the more we will persevere in our endeavors.

The courageous nature of both Jupiter and Saturn can be traced all the way back into the myths and astrology of Babylon, as Michael Baigent revealed in his book From the Omens of Babylon that in ancient Mesopotamia the mythic representations of both Jupiter and Saturn embodied heroic qualities that could defy any odds or challenging crisis.  Indeed it was Marduk, the Babylonian Jupiter, who saved humanity by defeating the great serpent of chaos, Tiamat.  At the crescent moon closest to the Spring Equinox every year, a new year’s celebration was held in which the people ritualized the fear of chaos overwhelming the city with the imprisonment of Marduk, as chaos was given space to express itself before Nabu, the Babylonian Mercury, rescued his father Marduk to re-establish order:

During those eleven days of rituals, both public and private, the rights of the king along with the stability and strength of the civilization itself were first called into question and then symbolically reasserted- as though disintegration were so close to the surface that only a deliberate and conscious regular revocation could hold chaos at bay.  And so, symbolically, within prescribed limits, this festival allowed the primordial chaos a chance to emerge once again, briefly; to tear aside the fabric of civilization built by order and hierarchy. It emerged to be again defeated, for another year. (Baigent, p. 141)

Similarly, Baigent also showed through his research that the Babylonian Saturn, Ninurta, was also a hero of the people who retrieved the “tablets of fate” which “conferred the power over fate upon the owner” from the clutches of Zu, a “winged dragon of storms . . . who was in league with the great sea-dwelling dragon of chaos” (Baigent, p. 128).  Well, to be more accurate, apparently Ninurta nimbly nabbed the tablets from the nest of Zu, becoming a hero who was given custody of the tablets when he returned them to the people.  Therefore, similar to how in astrology Saturn is seen as a ruler of time who confronts us with the limits of time and space, so was Ninurta seen as a ruler of fate who confronted one with their destiny.  By also showing how Ninurta was connected with law and order in a similar way to Saturn in western astrology, Baigent takes us to what in the end may be the core meaning for us on an archetypal level of Jupiter and Saturn:  how to manage the chaos of life.

While the mythic link between figures associated with Jupiter and Saturn beating back goddesses of chaos to establish order make many of us associate them with the horrific oppression that arose along with the order of hierarchical patriarchy, it is important to remember that at heart the archetypal Jupiter is a divinely creative intelligence.  Robert Bly’s book on modern masculinity, Iron John, was helpful for me in breaking down my negative feelings regarding patriarchy that impacted my self-image of my own masculinity, especially with regard to his illumination of the significance of Zeus:

There’s a general assumption now that every man in a position of power is or will soon be corrupt and oppressive.  Yet the Greeks understood and praised a positive male energy that has accepted authority.  They called it Zeus energy, which encompasses intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will, generous leadership.  Zeus energy is male authority accepted for the sake of the community. (Bly, p. 22)

This idea of Zeus energy being in service to the community is important when considering the meaning behind the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, as Jupiter and Saturn are the planets that are less concerned with personal matters like Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and more concerned with society, culture, beliefs, customs, and how we fit in and find our own role to play.

Zeus,_altemps

Zeus

Dane Rudhyar in his 1958 article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle wrote that the meaning behind Jupiter and Saturn involves how human beings interact in groups and form societies that create shared culture, language, laws, values, ideals, religions, needs, and institutions.  Rudhyar also listed memories as another manifestation of the community produced by Jupiter and Saturn, and this feeling of belonging, or nostalgia, that can come from shared memories with others is an especially poignant aspect of Jupiter and Saturn to bear in mind.  Along these lines Rudhyar connected Saturn with how people participate with embodied boundaries in the role they function through and act from in society.  The particular boundaries one develops for their role often has to do with a shared sense of consensus expectations a particular culture develops for the role, often linked to the shared memory of tradition.  For example, how one may parent a child or teach a classroom in one culture may tend in general to be dramatically different from how one parents a child or teaches a classroom in a dramatically different culture.  As a result cultural taboos can be formed to define what is outside the lines of consensus expectations for a behavior or role in society, and this is very important to realize as we are now mid-way through the transit of Saturn in Scorpio.  Since an important aspect of the Scorpio archetype is a willingness to breach taboos and break free of cultural codes of conduct, the unique cultural taboos getting in between our desires being unfulfilled and fulfilled have been in the process of being revealed to each and every one of us.

In contrast, Rudhyar wrote that Jupiter is less about the boundaries of behavior we express in our role, and more about the quality of feeling generated for us through a role that brings us a sense of being connected and belonging to a community or culture.  And yet, for Rudhyar here is the place where we can pivot into the shadow side of Jupiter that can too easily conform to cultural expectations in order to be rewarded by feelings of validation from others.  Rudhyar was interested in intergalactic evolutionary growth and being a seed of future visions, and this type of evolutionary development in one’s self is unlikely to happen if one is tied into being accepted and understood by a great many people in the populace.  Often it takes going alone, and going misunderstood by most except one’s tribe of affinity in order to do groundbreaking and dynamic work in the world.  To Rudhyar, “conforming is not taking the next evolutionary step” but rather, the new step will involve “an initial loss of balance, a fall, immediately followed by a recovery” (para. 24).  With Neptune in Pisces dissolving what is left of our past attachments to what Uranus in Aries has been shattering, we can use the transformative nature of Saturn in Scorpio to help us ultimately recover from whatever has knocked us off balance in this past year.  Jupiter spent a long time in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn while being in square to Uranus in Aries, eventually creating a cardinal grand cross with Mars in Libra.  This was a time of dislodging making space for not just chaos but a vision of our evolutionary path forward. Today, though Jupiter is still within range of a square from Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in the sign of Leo has the fiery nature of a pioneer who can blaze a trail forward for us, especially if we focus with the intensity of Saturn in Scorpio.

In evolutionary astrology as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, Jupiter as an archetype correlates with the type of belief and vision needed by an individual to nurture their development and self-realization.  Here Jupiter is the intuitive aspect of consciousness that is non-linear, image-based, and able to perceive in the starry sky at night that we are connected to something much larger than the human societies we live within.  Since the nature of our beliefs is fundamental to what we perceive and how we experience our world, and since each soul incarnates into a culture with a dominant consensus belief system, Jupiter in evolutionary astrology is a key to understanding the relationship between the vision of life we are drawn to as a result of our soul desires and needs, and the beliefs of our culture and family that surround us from birth.   Through this astrological lens, Jupiter’s epic journey through the sign of Cancer, featuring a long opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries, brought up numerous issues and events leading us to examine the beliefs we were living from and whether or not we were living from a sense of conformity to the inherited values of the family, society, friends, or associations surrounding us.  For many of us this transit sparked a critical reflection upon the core meaning of our experience and a re-formulation of the personal philosophy we live life from. While working with Saturn in Scorpio at the same time, as a result we could realize which cultural taboos restricting us were in reality not something we believed needed honoring with conformity.  Now, with Jupiter in Leo, we can take the wisdom gained from the past year of intense reflection to fuel our drive forward in pursuit of the sense of destiny we found inside our ruminations.

In the Hellenistic tradition of astrology an intrinsic concept is the Joy of the Planets, a fascinating theory that seems to be the source of many aspects of our entire western astrological framework, and in various ancient writing is ascribed to a source text by the legendary Hermes Trismegistus.  After listening to a webinar by Chris Brennan on the Joys of the Planets (I’ve posted a link to his pdf paper under references below) in which he discussed how Saturn has its Joy in the house of Bad Spirit (the 12th house) and Jupiter has its Joy in the house of Good Spirit (the 11th house), I found myself continuing to reflect upon Brennan’s observation that the houses above the horizon of the natal chart, the solar hemisphere, have to do with “the realm of the Sun, which the author of the scheme seems to have associated with the spirit (daimōn),” (Brennan, p. 26).  In contrast, this means that the houses below the horizon, the lunar hemisphere, are the “realm of the Moon, which the author of the joys associated with the concept of fortune (tuchē)” (Brennan, p. 26).  Throughout Hellenistic writing, the solar hemisphere of Spirit was associated with the soul, the mind, and the intellect, whereas the lunar hemisphere of Fortune was associated with the body, physical incarnation, and matter.  Brennan showed how this illuminates the meaning behind the 11th house, where the benefic Jupiter has its Joy and we  can experience things beneficial to our soul and mind, such as the Aristotelian connection between friendship and the affinity of souls.  In contrast, the 12th house where the malefic Saturn has its Joy took on a meaning of experiences that can cause our soul and mind to suffer.

However, keeping in mind the more heroic depiction of Saturn, many of us know that it can require passing through the darkness of difficult “12th house events” in order to cultivate our ability to transcend our past “karma” or attachments, and move us out of repetition of past patterns onto a trajectory taking us toward the zenith of our life, represented by the movement of the 12th house above the horizon into the 11th house and beyond to the Mid-heaven of our chart, just as the Sun rises above us every day of our life.  Saturn having its Joy in the 12th House is also illuminating to me from the perspective of moving counter-clockwise through the houses around the chart, beginning with the first house and ending with the 12th.  In this way Saturn rejoices in the final house of the cyle, in the place of letting go, and this concept is paramount in line with keeping our Jupiter energy focused upon dynamic growth instead of conforming growth that leads to stagnation.  A Saturn that is afraid of the limitations of its own time, that is stuck in a depressive cycle of withdrawal is going nowhere, or if it is going somewhere Jupiter is most likely taking us to a place of escapism and overindulgence in one way or another.  However, a Saturn that is open to the change of chaos, the pain that comes with loss and death that leads to the birth of the new, is a Saturn that can work with Jupiter to constantly re-structure and move with the flow of life, into the flow of Good Spirit toward our zenith.

Saturn moving through Scorpio resonates with bearing witness with brutal honesty to all of the pain and challenges swirling within and around us, as we are still within the intense series of seven squares between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and Neptune continues to move deeper into the mystifying nature of Pisces.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to go as deep into our core as we can, and though the loss of anything we have grown attached to can make us become fearful, anxious, or depressed, Saturn in Scorpio is also a fitting placement for solitude, grief, and shadow work if necessary.  The more we can burn off the better, and we will likewise want to utilize the inspiration and courage of Jupiter in Leo to lift ourselves out of any doldrums we have fallen into as we will want to avoid getting stuck at this time as much as possible.  And remember, going into a cave like a hermit is not necessarily being stuck, as what may be a tomb to some is a womb for others, a sacred space to birth a new sense of burgeoning being.

saturn by cristoforo de predis

Saturn by Cristoforo de Predis

It is of further importance to realize that we are in the disseminating phase of the Saturn and Jupiter cycle at this time, as Saturn is the slower moving planet and so from that perspective Jupiter has already moved past the polarity point of opposition, through the disseminating trine aspect, and now for the next year will be moving back and forth within the latter part of the disseminating phase.  The strong connection of meaning between Jupiter and Saturn and the societies we create to live within is very fitting for the disseminating phase, as during this phase we want to live out the values we have developed in this cycle in order to share our message in our community and distribute our meaning through networks of communication.  Using the metaphor of the plant cycle that Dane Rudhyar brilliantly developed for his lunation cycles, in the disseminating phase our ripened fruit is ready to eat and it is time to live our discovered life purpose and communicate our vision not only through activities like teaching, but also simply through living a conscious, intentional life.

And where was the seed of this cycle?  On May 28, 2000 the current cycle of Jupiter and Saturn began at 23 degrees of Taurus.  As a result, we are in a cycle of Jupiter and Saturn with a strong affinity with Venus, and the inner side of Venus associated with the sensual sign of Taurus.  Despite the popular view of our current culture numbing its connection to its environment through technological gadgets and other material possessions, to me the purpose of this current Taurus seed cycle is not to be in possession of the latest technology or satiating ourselves with other material comforts, but rather to go within and get in touch with our bodies, with our subconscious, with our light body, our soul body, to deeply feel and sense our own nature and our surrounding natural environment.  Of course, Taurus also has to do with survival, and indeed this has also been a major theme of this cycle as our global community has had to survive numerous wars and economic collapses.  As we continue to come to grips with widespread environmental devastation, another Taurus theme of the right use of resources has also come to the forefront.  The more we can go within, the more we will be able to sense what is surrounding us, leading in the end to a more highly tuned ability to respond to what needs help in our environment.

Previous Saturn-Jupiter conjunctions in Taurus were on August 8, 1940 at 14º27′ and on October 20, 1940 with both Jupiter and Saturn retrograde at 12º28′ of Taurus.  And before that time, there was a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Taurus on April 18, 1881 at 1º36′.  Among other themes, the previous decades following each of the last two times that Jupiter and Saturn started a cycle in Taurus coincided with dramatic shifts in energy resources.  In the 1880s there was a dramatic increase in electrical power and many inventions coinciding with the Industrial Age coming into full power;  in the 1940s humanity experienced the onslaught of nuclear power, including nuclear bombs and the fear from awareness that nuclear warfare could potentially obliterate humanity from the face of the earth.  Our current Jupiter-Saturn cycle rode an economic boom from the acceleration of Internet resources in the economy into greater warfare across our planet that climaxed into a global economic crisis as Jupiter and Saturn reached their opposition point in 2010.  On a wider time scale, the opposition timeframe of 2010 into 2011 of this current Jupiter and Saturn cycle revealed the devastating impact on earth’s environment since the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus in 1881, as our global community realized stark facts regarding the destruction to our ecosystem wrought by the Industrial Age, and potential danger we must now take responsibility to mitigate.  Since the opposition between Jupiter and Saturn in 2010 and 2011 occurred along the Pisces-Virgo, and Aries-Libra axes, it makes sense that an ultimate understanding of what is in need of healing in our global environment would be polarized and revealed, as well as how we can form relationships with others to initiate efforts at collective reform.

The Gregorian calendar system ruling many lives today has been moving in synchronicity with the Jupiter and Saturn cycle in this past century, as the opening and close of each decade has coincided with either a Jupiter and Saturn conjunction or opposition.  For example, the years 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, and 2000 roughly line up with the new cycle conjunction, while the years 1910, 1930, 1950, 1970, 1990, and 2010 line up with the polarity of the full phase opposition.  In this way, just as the new cycle of economic growth in the 1920s led into the economic collapse and Great Depression of the 1930s, so did the economic growth of the shift into 2000 lead into the global economic collapse of the 2010 time period.

graves joyous young pine

Joyous Young Pine by Morris Graves (1944)

One of the biggest issues on the global stage emerging during the current disseminating phase between Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Leo concerns the right use of power.  James Hillman in his 1995 book Kinds of Power questioned and investigated cultural assumptions regarding power, in particular in connection with our economy that dominates world views, as to Hillman “it is the Economy where the contemporary unconscious resides and where psychological analysis is most needed” (p. 4).  As part of his deconstruction of power, he analyzed the way in which in the past century or so we have considered the word growth, which to me connects well in a similar manner to how in astrology we have come to define the growth associated with Jupiter on an archetypal level (p. 45):

  1. Increase in size (expansion or getting bigger)
  2. Evolution in form and function (differentiation or getting smarter)
  3. Progress (improvement or getting better)
  4. Conjunction of parts (synthesis, integration or wider networking)
  5. Temporal succession in stages (maturation or getting riper, wiser)
  6. Self-generation (spontaneity or becoming creative, independent)

Writing at the end of the 20th Century, Hillman saw this dominant idea regarding growth to be connected in a widely held belief in unending improvement through expansion, and that this was one of our culture’s biggest problems.  Hillman knew that continual expansion is not natural to life, for as there is a yin to every yang so there is a Fall to every Spring and a Crescent Moon to every Dark Moon.  In connection to the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, it is also worth noting that Hillman was writing this book in the waning half of their cycle, the same point we are at now.  Since the last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in 2000, and their opposition in 2010, his thoughts on the damage caused to our planet and ourselves by the dominant idea of growth connected to economic power have become even more obvious and explicit in our surroundings.

Also applicable to the Saturn and Jupiter cycle, Hillman came up with a new list of ideas to associate with growth to correlate with the changes he saw happening at the end of the 20th Century, ideas that to me also correlate well with the meaning of the waning half of the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, as well as anytime we unify the power of Jupiter and Saturn into concentrated effort (p. 50):

  1. Deepening 
  2. Intensification
  3. Shedding
  4. Repetition
  5. Emptying

To Hillman, deepening is a “growth of soul” that “brings ugly, twisted things out of the soil” (p. 52), an idea of staying power that is about “staying in the mess,” cleaning up the mess, and staying “planted,” with “no avoidance and no escape” (p. 50).  In comparison, intensification to Hillman is about “a devotional focus to what you are doing- an intensive concentration that seems like obsession,” like “the love brought to the art of your work and the love in which the work is done” (p. 54).  Ultimately, intensification is a different sort of efficiency, one more focused upon the greatest level of quality in every part of the process, like how poetry “intensifies by packing lots of implications and references into the small space of a word or a phrase” (p. 52).

Furthermore, Hillman’s conception of “shedding” is well-suited to the limits of time and space we are often tested with through Saturn, times of crisis carrying extraordinary challenge with the potential for profound transcendence if we can face them despite our fears.  To Hillman, “radical shedding happens in those crises that move in on the soul and cannot be easily fixed,” that come “unannounced” with “a specific and immediate cause . . . or no apparent cause at all” (p. 55).  The importance to Hillman is that “the crisis which forces shedding also forces a philosophical re-visioning, as if the crisis were demanding a discrimination between what must be held and what can be let go” (p.  57).  Interestingly, this is the exact type of language used by Dane Rudhyar to describe what happens at the opposition point of a planetary cycle as the cycle shifts into the waning phase, particularly as we reach the last quarter phase.  As we are still in the disseminating phase and not quite at the last quarter phase, this is important to keep in mind. Furthermore, since in this past year Jupiter was caught up in an opposition with Pluto, first quarter square with Uranus, and the cardinal grand square with Mars, we have already been experiencing this concept of “shedding” in relation to Jupiter this year.  Hillman’s advice is to use imagination in the process of facing the fears of “shedding” crises:  he suggests imagining as realistically as possible the consequences of catastrophe scenarios and to let go “of all security structures, comforting identities, realized achievements, forward planning.  See what remains, for only what remains can truly be relied on for growth” (p. 58).

My main aim in quoting James Hillman so much here, is that through his deconstruction of consensus conceptualization of words like power and growth, we can become more aware of how we can potentially conform and condition ourselves to outdated ideas that do not resonate with our ever changing reality.  Through actively working with the movement of Jupiter and Saturn, we can gain insight into how we can work within a collective effort to serve the changing needs of our world, in a manner artfully encapsulated by Hillman:

Our problems are inside our lives, yes; but our lives are lived inside fields of power, under the influence of others, in accord with authority, subject to tyrannies. Moreover, our lives are lived inside the fields of power that are our cities with their offices and cars, systems of work and mountains of trash. These too are powers impinging on our souls. When the wider world breaks down and is sick at heart, the individual suffers accordingly. Since he and she are not the underlying cause of their suffering, neither can they be its cure. The collective power failures in government bureaucracies, education, institutions and corporations, the ineffective transmission of power downward to the disenfranchised, oppressed and impoverished, and the sputtering generators of acrid heat below the streets of America’s cities require attention to the transformers and dynamos beyond the personal fuse box in your basement.  Attention has to be paid to the overhead power lines, those mainline ideas that are the archetypal wirings which energize our individualities. Personal recovery cannot substitute for national recovery. At best, they go hand in hand (p. 15).

Now that we are in the disseminating phase of this Jupiter and Saturn cycle that began in Taurus in 2000, it is time to glean the personal gift we each have to offer our global community and put it forth into our environment with all of our heart like the lion of Leo and the eagle of Scorpio.  It is time to express our message and to listen to the message of others:  at the next stage of this cycle Jupiter in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and Saturn in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, await us to provoke the philosophical debates necessary to bring about the crisis of consciousness found in the last quarter square.

Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

References

Baigent, Michael. (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Penguin Arkana.

Bly, Robert. (1990).  Iron John: a book about men.  Addison Wesley.

Brennan, Chris. (2012). The Planetary Joys and the Origins of the Significations of the Houses and Triplicities.

Hillman, James. (1995). Kinds of Power: a guide to its intelligent uses. Doubleday.

Noelle, Richard. (1999). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.  http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/geo/ju-sa/ju000sa.html

Rudhyar, Dane. (1958). The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle. Horoscope Magazine.

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Queen of Heaven in the Harvest Moon

arrington the star water bearer The Queen of Heaven who walked in Chaos

  • Venus as evening star in Scorpio conjunct Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of the Full Moon on September 19, 2013.

  • This Pisces Full Moon is not only the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s Sabian symbol at 27 Pisces is “The Harvest Moon illumines a clear Autumnal sky.”

  • Mars in Leo square Venus, Saturn, and North Node of Moon in Scorpio.

  • Mercury in Libra square Jupiter in Cancer at the exact same time as the Full Moon.

  • Pluto stations direct on September 20 at 9 Capricorn, with the Sabian symbol: “An Angel carrying a harp: the revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the center of any life situation.”

The Pisces full moon to the sun being in Virgo is one of the most magical full moons to me, in part because it can occur around the time of the Equinox.  Yet there is more to it than that- the Moon in its most magnetic splendor connects well with the passionate and devotional nature of the sign of Pisces, a sign that always calls on us to follow our dreams into the distant beyond, full moon or not.  And this visionary Pisces Moon is a perfect balance point to the more focused nature of the sun being in Virgo, a sign that can be incredibly productive in a detail-oriented manner, but can stand to benefit from the larger emotional view received from a lunar Pisces.  In his book on Sabian Symbols, Dane Rudhyar describes the 27th degree of Pisces where this full lunation is occurring as being “The Harvest Moon illumines a clear Autumnal sky,” a perfect symbol for the fact that in the Northern Hemisphere of planet Earth, we actually are experiencing the Harvest Moon of the Autumn Equinox at this time.  However, no matter what hemisphere we are living in, we are experiencing a full moon a few days before an equinox that is brightly illuminating a significant archetypal scene.

In his article Chaos in Myth and Science, Ralph Abraham quoted the following passage describing the ancient Babylonian deity Ishtar, worshipped since 5,000 BC, taken from the Merlin Stone:

Queen of Heaven, Goddess of the Universe,

the One who walked in terrible chaos

and brought life by the way of love

and out of chaos brought us harmony

and from chaos She has led us by the hand.

Ishtar is the Queen of Heaven who calls us forth on our path through the way of Love, a deity who connects with other prominent Goddesses of myth such as Inanna, Isis, Aphrodite, and Venus.  With the planet Venus in Scorpio conjunct both Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of today’s Pisces Harvest Full Moon, a Venus that is also in her most radiant glory as a bright evening star one can watch set every night, the Queen of Heaven is calling for us to follow the love of our hearts forward at this time through whatever difficulties or cacophonous fury we may have had to recently navigate.  If we have been damaged by life, we have the advantage of knowing we can survive no matter what, and this is a time to take steps forward courageously on the path we can feel our hearts guiding us toward.

Today’s full moon is clearly involved in a time period of great intensity that all of us will need to pay attention to as we move forward on our path.  As already mentioned, just Venus being in Scorpio and conjunct Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of the Harvest Moon would be significant (and if you are living in the Southern Hemisphere, since this Full Moon is happening close to your Spring Equinox it is just as important!).  However, at the same time, Mars in Leo (the traditional ruler of Scorpio) is in a square aspect with Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.  Plus, Mercury in Libra is in a tight square with Jupiter in Cancer. And not only that, there is a wide cardinal grand cross occurring with the mean node of Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, Mercury in Libra, and Pluto in Capricorn.  And to make everything all the more intense, Pluto in Capricorn is stationing direct at the time of the Full Moon, stationing direct exactly in between this Full Moon and the upcoming Equinox.  And yet, there is most likely a hidden gift to this intensity, as Pluto in Capricorn, the modern ruler of Scorpio, is in a sextile aspect to Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.  To better explain how all of this could impact you, especially in connection to mythic patterns of your birth chart, enter Ishtar:

ishtar-owl

Ishtar, Queen of Heaven

The association between Venus and Ishtar is illuminating to consider at this time, as the various aspects Venus in Scorpio is experiencing in transit at the moment seems fitting for the mythic story of Ishtar’s descent to the underworld to face the wrath of Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld.  The planet modern astrologers identify with Venus was originally linked to the Goddesses Inanna and Ishtar by the Mesopotamian people who were one of the original inventors of astrology, with the civilization of Uruk being especially vital to the worship of Ishtar.  Michael Baigent, in his amazing book From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia, researched that it is hard to find a consistent portrayal of Ishtar because of how over time she seemed to integrate the meanings of different Goddess figures.  The planet Venus was originally connected to Inanna by the Sumerian people, and with contact from Semitic and other people, eventually the figure of Ishtar emerged “to be the daughter (and first born) of Sin, the Moon, twin sister to Shamash, the Sun, and sister too of both Erishkigal, the much feared queen of the underworld, and Tammuz, the dying and resurrecting god…” with Ishtar assuming the role of “the queen of heaven, the beautiful goddess of love, sexuality, and childbirth” (Baigent, p. 118).

Baigent also found that tablets dating from the reign of Ashurbanipal, who lived from 668-627 BC, reveal that Ishtar as the planet Venus embodied both male and female characteristics at least at one point in time, with the Ishtar of the morning star being a male, and the Ishtar of the evening star being a female.  Baigent also has found evidence in his research that Venus as the evening star was associated with having a “good harvest” (p. 122), which is a good thing because Venus in Scorpio was also associated with a harvest being destroyed!  Venus being an evening star at this time, and so beautiful to behold in the night sky, to me opens her archetype to embodying more of the harmonizing energy of Ishtar at this time.  Indeed, even in ancient Assyria the planet Venus was seen as being capable of harmonizing difficult energies, as many of the dangers associated with eclipses were seen as being averted with Venus occupying a significant aspect, such as a conjunction with Jupiter or Saturn.  In addition, the interpretation of Venus as an evening star being more of a harmonizing influence continues today in the modern astrological perspective.

Ishtar was also connected to the harvest in addition to the fertility of sexuality, and the planet Venus in various aspects at various times could indicate a bountiful harvest.  However, in addition to her association with abundant fertility and the harvest, Ishtar also had ancient connections with war, although Baigent in his book is careful to note that the planet Venus was only one of many omens taken into consideration surrounding military actions.  This “warring” side of Ishtar, however, is also important to take into consideration at this time, as there are versions of myth that indicate the reason she descended to the underworld and was met by furious hostility by the queen of the underworld, Ereshkigal, was because of manipulative and warring action taken by Ishtar that caused the death of Ereshkigal’s husband, the Bull of Heaven.  Thus, from this interpretation’s perspective, when Ishtar descends to the underworld, having to remove an important garment at each of the seven gates to the underworld, only in the end to be hung on a meat hook by the queen of the underworld, there is more of vengeful anger to Ereshkigal’s actions meant to punish Ishtar than just irrational madness meant to humiliate her (Mark, 2011).  Events in which the more warring side of the Venus and Ishtar archetype is appearing at this time, could in part be corresponding with the current square from Mars in Leo to Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.

There is also the popular Jungian interpretation of Ishtar’s descent, that her becoming stripped down to her barest essentials is a metaphor for becoming more whole, more fully one’s individuated Self.  To me, the important lesson to take from Ishtar’s descent to the underworld is that she experiences the humiliation of losing her most prized possessions, aspects of herself she had become attached to and had begun to derive great vanity from.  She is then practically put to death by the queen of the underworld, with her corpse hung on a meat hook.  So what is the lesson?  The lesson is that Ishtar returns from the underworld.  She is a survivor, she does not die, and she returns to the upperworld a stronger person more in touch with her essential nature.  In our psychological management of creating a sense of stability from what otherwise could appear to be a chaotic life, many of us find our security and sense of self from our jobs, our family, our relationships, or our community.  Ishtar now asks each one of us:  what is inside you?  What do you possess without a home, job, family, partner, or possessions?  If we have been undergoing difficult losses of an external nature, or been experiencing deep changes within our internal landscape, with the current conjunction between Venus, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn, no matter what is happening if we courageously face the present moment, we will get a step closer to the future of our full potential.

goddess-inanna-and-her-lions

When considering the conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio through the mythology of Ishtar, it is also helpful to consider her Assyrian counterpart of Ninurta, who was the God connected to the planet Saturn in ancient Mesopotamia.  Michael Baigent found in his research of Babylonian myths translated from tablets that the ancient Assyrians did not view Saturn as “a stern and cold patriarch but as a conquering hero” (p. 127-128).  In  modern astrology many authors tend to describe Saturn as a limiting or restricting influence, but it is important to remember in the end that necessity is the mother of invention, and so in a similar way can the difficulties of Saturn help father our heroic qualities to emerge in radiant brilliance at the most opportune times in our lives.

Baigent found that Ninurta was a hero in myth because he was able to retrieve the “tablets of fate” containing eternal laws that gave the possessor of the tablets the power over fate (p. 128).  These tablets of fate were stolen by Zu, a winged dragon of chaos who was in league with the great sea serpent of chaos, Tiamat (Baigent, p. 128).  Everyone was too afraid of the dragon to do anything, except for Ninurta, the brother of Nergal (Mars), who not only volunteered to fight the dragon, but also became victorious, was given custody of the tablets in gratitude by the other Gods, and ultimately took on the role of being the “overseer of destiny and fate” in Assyrian culture (p. 128-129).  Ninurta gaining a role in overseeing fate by defeating a dragon of chaos is interesting to me on a personal level, as I recently listened to a lecture given by astrologer Bernadette Brady linking chaos theory with astrology while integrating the Mesopotamian myth of the hero Marduk (Jupiter) defeating Tiamat, the great sea serpent of chaos.  In her lecture Brady described how astrology was created in Mesopotamia as a tool for navigating chaos, but that over time the chaos paradigm was defeated by reason and the mechanical/causal paradigm currently dominating modern worldviews in a manner similar to how Marduk defeated Tiamat.  Brady explained that astrology aligns with chaos theory because it posits that while one cannot predict with certainty what will exactly happen, one can get a sense of the timing of events as well as the level of quality of these events.  As chaos theory also integrates fractals which have re-occurring patterns around “strange attractors,” in a similar manner our astrological birth charts can indicate re-occurring patterns from our family as well as the collective unconscious contained in myths that we are experiencing and re-experiencing.  Using astrology as a tool, one can get a better grasp on these patterns as well as discern a more productive and fruitful path one can follow in greater alignment with the full potential of the birth chart.  Thus we can use astrology to help us predict upcoming time periods that may be especially intense, as well as to figure out what patterns we have been playing out and how to most effectively respond to move forward in a productive manner that will lead to us actualizing more of our full potential.

This idea of astrology being used to gain a greater ability to navigate our “fate,” has an interesting link back to the Ninurta of myth, because Baigent also found that the human representation of Ninurta often portrayed was as a man holding a “seven-headed weapon” which could possibly have been a symbol of the seven planets used in ancient astrology (p.129).  By mentioning this, however, I don’t mean to suggest here that the study of astrology is of particular importance at this time of the Full Moon with Venus and Saturn conjunct in Scorpio.  What I do mean to suggest is the importance of each one of us stepping bravely forward on our own unique heroic journey, with the courage to face whatever dragons or demons arise before us, utilizing the resources around us or that we carry inside us.  Saturn in astrology occurring in an intense aspect, such as currently being conjunct Venus and in square to Mars, does not need to pre-determine you to experiencing great loss, restriction, or sadness.  It very well may correlate, however, with some intense experiences that will require all of your being invested in moving you forward on the most productive path for your unique self, no matter what obstacles may be appearing before you.

The other image often associated with Ninurta is the eagle, which also happens to be one of the symbols of Scorpio, the sign presently holding the conjunction of Saturn and Venus, Ninurta and Ishtar.  The eagle is the higher evolved Scorpio, the Scorpio who has no need to manipulate or unload emotional diatribes on others in response to being overly sensitive to negative emotional environments.  Instead, Scorpio as the eagle is able to utilize its authenticity in order to inspire instead of manipulate others.  Scorpio is a sign that is capable of great loyalty and commitment, as well as an enhanced ability to get down to living the essential nature of one’s Self.  When we connect this Eagle/Ninurta aspect of Saturn into its conjunction with Venus, we find ourselves again with Ishtar, turning to look upward with resolution from the underworld.  Ishtar will survive, and she will continue to walk through the terrible chaos and create new life through the way of love.  Once we connect with the essential Self within each of us, come to more fully realize the full potential of our unique being, we become even more powerful and effective in collaboration and community with others on a similar journey of the soul as our own (Venus and Saturn conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio).

arrrington winged goddess riding lion

If we are undergoing great loss at this time, it may be hopeful to keep in mind that there is a sextile from Pluto in Capricorn to the Scorpio conjunction of Venus, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon.  This sextile is absolutely profound, as Pluto is stationing direct at the moment, putting even more heavy weight on Pluto than normal.  The Sabian symbol for the degree in which Pluto is stationing direct described by Dane Rudhyar in his classic Astrological Mandala is once again a perfect image in the context of the multiple aspects and transits occurring at this time:

Capricorn 9:  An angel carrying a harp

Keynote:  The revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the core of any life situation.

This picture simply says that “heaven is within us.”  All we have to do is to be open and listen to the total harmony of life, a harmony in which we play a part that is necessary to the completeness and meaning of the whole.  In order to do this we have to surrender our separative ego-consciousness and flow with the universal current which, to the religiously minded person, is the Will of God.   (p. 235)

I would like to emphasize here that is not necessary to believe in God, or even Gods, for this symbol to be meaningful, and in case the mentioning of the “Will of God” is a trigger for you, I hope you do not neglect to listen to the actual wisdom of the above symbol.  The point, “to surrender our separative ego-consciousness,” is pretty much exactly what happened to Ishtar during her descent to the underworld, in her experience of her various trials and tribulations.  Similarly, whatever we have been experiencing recently, we must remember that life will be going on and that there is a part that each one of us is uniquely designed to play in the unfolding of future events.  The more we can get into the flow, the more easy this experience could be for us.

However, with many intense aspects going on in the moment, such as Mars in Leo in square to all the Scorpio (Venus, Saturn, North Node), and Mercury in Libra in square to Jupiter in Cancer (following a few days after Mercury in Libra was in direct opposition to Uranus in Aries), it may not exactly feel like we are entering a “flow.”  However, if it has been feeling like we have been in the flow of things, keep at it, because most likely you are then on track.  If in contrast events have felt destructive and depressive, hopefully through a process of deep reflection we can notice signs of what aspects of our loss may have been getting in the way of our full potential, no matter what sense of comfort our attachment to it may have brought us.  If we are in a dark place, it is absolutely necessary at this time to courageously step forward on our path with all of our resources ready at our disposal.  This is not a time to be sitting passively on the sidelines.  This is a time to step forward brilliantly, or at least as brilliantly as we can manage it, on our unique path and calling.

pyreaus_tarot_combo_queen_of_wandsQueen of Wands

  • Full Moon at 27 degrees of Pisces, the third decan of Pisces. The third decan of Pisces (20-30 degrees) is part of the rulership of the Queen of Wands in tarot.

Finally, on an optimistic note I always am excited when doing my own tarot readings when I pull the Queen of Wands in some manner in connection to myself, because I always see her as a sign I will be able to handle whatever is coming my way.  Since in some schools of tarot thought the Queen of Wands is connected with a rulership of the last decan of Pisces where the current Full Moon is occurring,  I wanted to include a description of the Queen of Wands given by tarotologist Pamela Norris, which was published in the August issue of Plants and Planets put out by Olympia astrologer Rosie Finn and Olympia herbalist Carol Trasatto:

Queen of Wands–

Elements and astrology:  The water aspect of fire. Sagitarius.  Rules the last decan of Pisces and the first two of Aries.

Personality traits:  Master of self-knowledge, change and transformation.  The mother of mature love and sexuality.  As a person, she is an older fire sign person who mirrors who you are and who you are not.  She is open minded, strong willed and enterprising, dignified and compassionate, confident, energetic, and charismatic.  She may be intolerant and jealous, temperamental and inconsiderate.

The cautionary note at the end of the above quote, about the potential to be “intolerant” or “temperamental,” is important in consideration of the many intense aspects occurring, such as Mars square Venus/Saturn, and Mercury square Jupiter.  However, if we are doing our hard work on a personal level, we will hopefully be able to rise above such negativity.  I love the image above of the Queen by Pamela Colman Smith from the Ride Waite Tarot deck (on the left) since the Queen of Wands is holding a sunflower, and in the northern hemisphere where I live there are currently sun flowers in full bloom.  The awe inspiring sacred geometry of sun flowers, their immanent power captured in art by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, is tantamount to the full potential that can bloom from our inner being.  If you are currently experiencing a bountiful harvest of your own being in this way, celebrate!  If you are not experiencing this harvest at the moment, remember that whatever you are experiencing is part of your process of self-discovery.  This concept connects with the image of the Queen above on the right, from the Thoth deck, in which she is wearing the glyph for Pisces on her chest.  This is a Queen who has been in touch with the dark places of her psyche that some of you may have been currently experiencing, and it is because of her contact and awareness of these dark places that she ultimately is able to actualize her full potential and come into the full realization of her self and soul nature.  At this Pisces Full Moon, this Harvest Moon of the Northern Hemisphere, fearlessly take stock of where you currently are on your life’s journey and courageously take action on the calling arising from your heart inside.

References

Abraham, Ralph.  Chaos in Myth and Science:

 http://www.ralph-abraham.org/articles/MS%2346.Myth/ms46.pdf

Baigent, Michael. (1994).  From the Omens of Babylon:  Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.

Mark, Joshua. (2011)  Inanna’s Descent…  http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/215/

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases: a reinterpreation of the Sabian symbols, presenting them as a contemporary American I Ching.  Vintage books.