Full Moon in Pisces: Flow into Fomalhaut

Pisces fish with ship hermetic

from the book of Lamspring (1607) kept in the library of Salzburg

Full Moon in Pisces

The Full Moon in Pisces on August 26 illuminates the lunar cycle that began with the partial Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11, facilitating the finding of one’s place within all of the volatile changes that have been stirred up since June by Mars retrograde, Mercury retrograde, and a series of three eclipses in a row. Eclipse season has now ended, Mercury retrograde is over with Mercury firmly direct, and Mars is finally stationing direct as the Full Moon forms. The changes stirred up by the eclipses and Mars retrograde will be continuing to take shape in the next couple of months, but the Pisces Full Moon contains many supportive aspects that makes it an ideal time to recenter and revision plans in accord with recent shifts in storylines.

There is a stabilizing, flowing earth triangle formed at the Full Moon by the Sun in Virgo,  Uranus in Taurus, and Saturn in Capricorn. The Full Moon forms what some astrologers call a “kite” with the earth triangle, with the Pisces Full Moon at the midpoint of Saturn and Uranus, forming a harmonious sextile to each. Making this alignment even more potent, Saturn in Capricorn is slowing down to station direct on September 6, making the influence of Saturn especially strong in the week following the Full Moon. Altogether these aspects support breakthrough plans, taking new initiative cut free from inhibitions or restrictions from the past. Most importantly these aspects provide tangible, practical grounding into discerning how to structure and manifest innovative ideas and make real progress toward overarching goals that weave together diverse elements of core values.

The Full Moon is ruled by Jupiter in Scorpio separating from a trine with Neptune in Pisces, and applying toward a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. As a result Jupiter in Scorpio brings a deepening and intensification to all manner of visionary projects and creative expression worked on in the light of the Full Moon.  These aspects with Neptune and Pluto form part of the central promise of Jupiter’s time in Scorpio that began in October 2017, and so the Pisces Full Moon highlights how we can find treasures within the underworld domain Jupiter has been inhabiting while in Scorpio. The gifts Jupiter brings while in Scorpio are not found within easy experiences so much as they are discovered when bravely confronting difficult questions and dynamics. Jupiter remains bright in night skies and is moving direct through its final passage in Scorpio that will end November 8 when Jupiter enters Sagittarius.

As there have been numerous difficult collective experiences occurring with regard to environmental and political toxicity, the Pisces Full Moon points to what positive growth we can cultivate for ourselves and surrounding communities. If things have been falling apart around you and you have been burdened by grief or anger over upsetting events, the Pisces Full Moon also offers a climate supportive for an outpouring of emotion that can bring cleansing through the release. In particular the Pisces Full Moon is well suited for transmuting difficult feelings through expression and creation in any of the arts, whether that process involves tactile building or more intellective, abstract processing.

piscis notius

Pisces Notius aka Piscis Austrinus “the Southern Fish” with Fomalhaut in the mouth drinking the water poured by Aquarius, from Uranographia (1801) by Johann Bode

Fomalhaut

The Pisces Full Moon is aligned closely by zodiacal degree with the great fixed star Fomalhaut, one of the four royal stars of Persia considered since ancient times to be one of the four watchers of the year. Due to precession, around 3,000 BC in Persia it became known as the “Watcher in the South” due to marking the Winter Solstice, according to Bernadette Brady in her book on fixed stars. Its heliacal rising was also aligned with Greek temples devoted to Demeter around 500 BC. Fomalhaut is a star in the mouth of the Southern Fish, a constellation distinct from the fish of the Pisces constellation. Fomalhaut is at the point of intake where the Southern Fish is drinking from the celestial water poured by the constellation of Aquarius, the Water Bearer. Bernadette Brady wrote that Fomalhaut and the Southern Fish can be associated with the fish in Celtic mythology holding great wisdom to be discovered by those willing to venture into its watery depths. Ptolemy linked Fomalhaut with Venus and Mercury and there has been a long tradition by various astrologers of describing it as an angelic, poetic, guiding star of mystics.

Bernadette Brady additionally wrote that Fomalhaut is not only associated with “charisma,” “beauty or perfect harmony,” but also “high ideals or lofty visions” that force individuals under its influence “to clash with mainstream thought in order to achieve these ideals.” Brady also noted the warning that comes with all of the Royal Stars, that while Fomalhaut can signify true success it can also lead to a total downfall “if the ideals or dreams are corrupt in any way.” Oftentimes Mars retrograde periods call us to do things differently, taking action in areas we have previously held back from engaging with. When our ideals clash with the status quo, unless we are rebellious by nature it can take time to cultivate the inner fortitude needed to buck convention. With Mars now stationing direct, Fomalhaut’s co-presence with the Full Moon will strengthen resolve to follow through with unconventional visions.

There is interesting symbolism with Fomalhaut drinking the water of the Aquarius constellation, since Mars stationed retrograde in tropical Aquarius and is stationing direct as the Full Moon aligns with Fomalhaut. Fomalhaut’s influence will aid in creatively actualizing whatever has been stirred up by the Mars retrograde, fueling achievement of idealistic visions. Interestingly, the Pisces Full Moon is the most auspicious full Moon we have experienced since the Sagittarius Full Moon on May 29 that was aligned with two of the other royal stars, Antares and Aldebaran (Sun was conjoining Aldebaran; Moon was conjoining Antares). The Sagittarius Full Moon occurred before the Mars retrograde, and so with Mars stationing direct now there can be significant movement on whatever has been developing since that time. The Pisces Full Moon signals a time to take action on developing vision.

lamspring unicorn and deer

from the book of Lamspring (1607) kept in the library of Salzburg

Venus & Mercury: Creative Visualization

The Full Moon is in the bounds of Venus, with Venus at her brightest phase during twilight as an Evening Star. Venus is also at home in Libra and so strongly sovereign in both phase and place: she is embodying her role as Queen of Heaven. Yet she has an important challenge to face and integrate from Pluto in Capricorn, as Venus is in a square aspect with Pluto. This aspect can dredge up deep, previously buried desires to process, as well as catalyze empowering ambition that will benefit from the spacial and relational perception of Libra that can discern how to take action without causing damaging disruption within relationships. Venus in Libra is on the superior side of the square with Pluto, suggesting that social justice conflicts involving plutocratic power structures will have the scales tipped in favor of those fighting for equity and possessing ethical concern for oppression caused by systematic bias. As the fullness in lunar light amplifies feelings, so will the tension between Venus and Pluto lead to an outpouring of emotional expression and catharsis.

After Venus completes her square with Pluto, she will begin moving toward a square aspect with Mars in Capricorn during the waning cycle of the Moon that will finally complete on September 8 during a Dark Moon in Virgo. Venus will also begin to descend lower and lower each night in elevation as an Evening Star as she approaches her retrograde phase in Scorpio that will begin on October 5. Venus will enter the zodiacal degree shadow zone of her upcoming retrograde phase on September 2 at 25°14 Libra, the degree at which she will eventually station direct at the end of her retrograde in November. Since we know a Venus retrograde period is coming in October, we can begin to gain awareness for shifting narratives and changes we can sense are beginning to take shape in relationships.

Fascinatingly, just before entering her shadow zone Venus will form a conjunction with the benefic fixed star Spica on August 31, a conjunction that will not only happen by zodiacal degree but also visually in the sky. Around August 31 we will be able to see Venus as an Evening Star in the same space as Spica, the fixed star that forms the wheat held by the winged goddess of the Virgo constellation. Spica is associated with Venus and has a long tradition of being connected with bountiful gifts, talents, and reception of important knowledge. As a result it as if Spica is initiating Venus into her upcoming underworld journey, giving us a gift of insight to take with us into our experience with Venus retrograde in Scorpio and Libra in October and November.

A day after Venus enters her shadow zone she will form an exact sextile with Mercury in Leo on September 3. At the time of the Full Moon Mercury is already within four degrees of a sextile with Venus and so will be in an extended harmonious relationship with Venus in the week and a half following the Pisces Full Moon. Mercury is also applying to a square with Jupiter in Scorpio at the Full Moon, the third and final time that Mercury has formed a square with Jupiter recently due to its retrograde (previously Mercury was square to Jupiter on August 11 and July 9). This is yet another element of the Pisces Full Moon supporting taking a leap forward toward visions we have previously not felt ready to devote ourselves fully toward.

At the time of the Pisces lunation Mercury will also be at maximum elongation as a Morning Star after having previously gone through its retrograde phase, which is in contrast to Venus being at the maximum elongation that precedes her upcoming retrograde phase.  Altogether this means there is an exchange of insight occurring between Mercury and Venus as we transition from a period of Mercury and Mars being retrograde into a period of Venus being retrograde. We now have the potential to embody increased levels of creativity sourced by the regenerative process of Mercury being retrograde in July and August during a series of eclipses. The week following the Full Moon will support taking risks and initiating change in alignment with whatever wants to emerge from the recent period of volatility.

Mercury will enter its home and exaltation in Virgo as the Moon wanes in light on September 5, forming a trine with Saturn as it stations direct in Capricorn on September 6. Immediately upon entering Virgo, Mercury will re-activate the earth triangle formed by Uranus in Taurus, Saturn in Capricorn, and Mercury in Virgo. Mercury is extremely effective with discerning analysis while in Virgo, and will prove to be a valuable ally in figuring out how to most effectively implement plans and problem solve whatever difficulties arise.

lamspring raptors in tree

from the book of Lamspring (1607) kept in the library of Salzburg

Mars Stationing Direct

An immense influence over the Pisces Full Moon comes from the fiery red planet Mars that is finally stationing direct. Mars will station direct on August 28 at 28°36′ Capricorn, dominating the astrological atmosphere with its assertive, separative, and martial influence in the surrounding week. Mars has been retrograde since it stationed at 9°13′ Aquarius on June 26, and with it finally beginning to slowly shift forward again in the week following the Full Moon, those who have felt frustrated by their experience and expression with Mars retrograde may get the sense of their full will force returning to them. The Pisces Full Moon will also serve as a final illumination of whatever inner transformation has coincided with Mars being retrograde and is now informing outer expression.

Although Mars stations direct a couple of days after the Full Moon, it essentially is not moving  and will remain between 28 and 29 degrees of Capricorn through September 3. Mars will eventually return to Aquarius on September 11, form its final conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius on September 25, and will finally exits its retrograde shadow zone on October 8. This means that we are going to continue dealing with all of the changes brought by Mars retrograde over the course of the next month and into October. Keeping this in mind, the stationing of Mars will bring revitalized desire to strike out in a new direction or go deeper in current direction. It’s also a good time to watch for triggers to conflict and avoid fights that are not necessary and drain energy levels. If you have been dealing with a lot of strife recently involving separations of some kind, there is likely a reborn presence you have recovered in the process to now embody more fully.

8_cups_rws_lg

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 1 Decan

The Pisces Full Moon falls in the first face of Pisces, associated with the 8 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image the Sun appears to be becoming partially eclipsed, an interesting connection with the Pisces Full Moon illuminating a lunar cycle that began with a partial Solar Eclipse in Leo. The image contains a figure retreating into a watery, island realm of caves and seclusion ideal for contemplation. Their staff planted in earth, their red cape and boots signify the flowing vitality they may contact within a cultivated space of sacred meditation and ritual. The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight.

Austin Coppick ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces, noting it signifies “a quest to map invisible walls of reality,” “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality. Coppock wrote that in the first decan of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions.”  Coppock concluded the “liberation is achieved through insight alone,” meaning not only that our soul can re-create our maze-like circumstances, but also that through acceptance of our present labyrinth we may discover what we felt to be a prison can instead be experienced as a palace.

The link between the primal, fertile potency of the unconscious with the first face of Pisces is interesting considering that the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs linked the first face of Pisces with the titanic sea divinity Okeanos. More of a primal sea divinity than Poseidon, Okeanos was also known as the oceanic field surrounding the world where the Sun rises from at dawn and returns to at sunset. Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul stated that Okeanos was considered the “God of Separative Intellect” in Orphic theology. The following Orphic Hymn to Okeanos was translated by Thomas Taylor:

Ocean I call, whose nature ever flows, from whom at first both Gods and men arose; / Sire incorruptible, whose waves surround, and earth’s concluding mighty circle bound: / Hence every river, hence the spreading sea, and earth’s pure bubbling fountains spring from thee: / Hear, mighty fire, for boundless bliss is thine, whose waters purify the pow’rs divine: / Earth’s friendly limit, fountain of the pole, whose waves wide spreading and circumfluent roll. / Approach benevolent, with placid mind, and be for ever to thy mystics kind.

There is a sense of the fertile void that gives birth to all we can feel when staring into the ocean and smelling its scent, when drifting within its waves and aquatic life. Open to communion with soul at the Pisces Full Moon, and allow yourself to be guided from what emerges from within. The Pisces Full Moon signals a period of recovery from the stormy astrological weather of recent months, a time to nurture newfound strength and take initiative in helping to create the world we wish to live in. As Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote:

Whoever you are: in the evening step out / of your room, where you know everything; / yours is the last house before the far-off: / whoever you are. / With your eyes, which in their weariness / barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold, / you lift very slowly one black tree / and place it against the sky: slender, alone. / And you have made the world. And it is huge / and like a word which grows ripe in silence. / And as your will seizes on its meaning, / tenderly your eyes let it go . . .

“Entrance” by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Edward Snow

 

References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

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

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (1991). The Book of Images. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Pisces Solar Eclipse 2017

Vasily Kafanov the beginning

Vasily Kafanov (2015) The Beginning

Down by the water the soil is wet with richness.  The currents stream past, the waves inexorably flow in and out.  Water holds us as its dissolving force caresses our skin. The wisdom of ages flows over us, washes off the sweat and stains of daily struggle, cleanses the wounds of past grief and heartbreak.  Water holds the memories of all, the endless repository of the collective unconscious, and the inner knowing of who we are and how we love in this fertile moment.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse arises in alignment with Neptune on 26 February 2017, the final of the series of Pisces and Virgo eclipses we have been experiencing over the course of the past two years.  Both an ending and birth of a potent new beginning, within its watery release we discover both who we were before and who we will become, the memory of our future path circulating through our body in the dissolving second of an instant.

Black Sun from splendor solis

From the Splendor Solis

The eclipses in Pisces and Virgo have been occurring since March of 2015, and so all of the lessons we have learned and integrated, as well as those we may still be struggling with, are embodied in the moist air all around us.  There is a particularly strong mirroring between this Annular Solar Eclipse in Pisces with the Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo that occurred on 1 September 2016 at the time of the square between Saturn and Neptune. The visions of growth felt deeply within that were not yet manifesting at that time may now be more palpably felt and tangibly taking shape.

Being an annular eclipse, it means the void of its blackness will have a ring of light around it.  Annular eclipses occur as a result of the Moon being far enough away in orbit from the Earth that its shadow does not completely cover the Sun.  Rings bring to mind commitment, honoring intentions with serious dedication and devotion.  The ring of light around the Pisces Solar Eclipse is awakening deep knowing about ourselves we realize with crystal clarity is not only true but requires nurturing responsibility and tending.

One of my favorite interpretations of solar eclipses is by Dane Rudhyar, who said the symbolism of the Moon’s shadow covering the face of the Sun suggests that forces from our past, as well as unconscious influences, veil the present with their fecund darkness. Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for. In combination with their unworldly visual element when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon. Yet eclipses do not need to be feared. Dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, similar to eclipses in that greater wholeness can be found through the dissolution they bring about.  There is immense purification within this final Pisces Solar Eclipse that liberates us from old hangups and fosters strident vivification.

The Solar Eclipse is conjoining Neptune in the inner home of Jupiter, the place of boundless inner visions and gnosis.  As the Sun is obscured by shadow, Jupiter in Libra will be forming a mysteriously strong bond with the Solar Eclipse through antiscia, even more strongly pulling in the catalytic firepower of the opposition between Mars and Uranus in Aries with Jupiter.  The Solar Eclipse is also connected to the conjunction between Mars and Uranus through contra antiscia while Neptune also remains involved in longer lasting contra antiscia with Uranus.  This means that the opposition between Jupiter with Mars and Uranus as well as the conjunction between the eclipse and Neptune are all tightly woven together in a pulsating field of release.

In collective events the conjunction between Mars and Uranus in Aries opposing Jupiter could lead to greater eruptions of violence and dogmatic diatribes, whether the dogma is rooted in nationalism, religion, or other human constructed belief systems.  In the realm of the personal, this same fiery union of Mars and Uranus can bring about groundbreaking empowerment and self assertion that is not purely selfish but rather also uplifts others through the creative force unleashed.  Mars is powerful and at home in Aries and brings dynamic force to the Pisces Eclipse that will jar loose whatever has become stagnant or restrictive in one’s life.  These signatures call for us to let go of the old illusions that have been keeping us limited through conventional thinking.  From the death and shedding of old restrictions will erupt forth pure vitality that may be expressed through one’s daily actions and choices.

caspar_david_friedrich_rainbow-mountain

Mountain Landscape with Rainbow (1809-10) Caspar David Friedrich

Being the final eclipse to occur with the lunar nodes in Virgo and Pisces, it is worth a deep pondering over the fact that the ruler of the North Node in Virgo, Mercury, is in Pisces and applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Under the turmoil of world events, the ridiculous and frightening posturing of world leaders, exists the eternal wisdom of nature and the soulful spirit weaving throughout our material realm.  Though in times of bleakness it may feel as if we have become more separated than ever from the wisdom of our ancient elders who walked in honor of the sacred life found in every aspect of our environment and surrounding universes, our inner knowing remains connected to the very same sources of divine revelation.  Simultaneous with the immature egotism and aggressions of power hungry humans exists others awakening awareness of interconnection and courageously giving to others in need from loving hearts.

Allow old wounds and emotional complexes you have been identifying with to be washed away in the black ocean of the eclipse.  From purification will emerge a burning heart full of passion that can lend intuitive guidance to every decision needing to be made.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to the nonverbal underlying fabric of emotions and psychic emanations.  Though feelings may be difficult to be placed in clearly defined terminology, love will be readily available to share widely.  At the same time that destructive violence is shattering world structures, a protective force of courageous care may arise that can tend to whomever or whatever is adversely impacted by the rupturing.

8_cups_rws_lg

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 1 Decan

The Solar Eclipse arises in the first face of Pisces, associated with the Eight of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here in this image a hermetic recluse walks away from a watery environment into a mountainous landscape, utilizing a walking stick not unlike a magical staff grounding cosmic awareness into the earth plane. Above the hermit is an image of the Sun and Moon in union not unlike an eclipse. The eight cups are stacked in the foreground like a wall or a structural container giving space for penetrating inner awareness, with the base foundation of the stack wider and most solid. Writing about the 8 of Cups, tarot writer Kelsey Lynore analyzed that it “marks a significant turning away from tradition and that which has previously given you comfort. Your journey into the future will be long and arduous, leading directly into, and through, the darkness of night. The moon, symbol of the Unconscious, is your sole light and guide. Trust your body, trust your hunches, and trust your intuition. You shan’t be looking back. The 8 of Cups represents that moment when you must say ‘no’ to what is, so that you might create or discover that which will be.”

The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight. As Austin Coppick wrote in his book on the decans 36 Faces, the “relationship with what lies beyond the boundaries characterizes all of Pisces’ decans,” and in the first face of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions” (p. 244).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces, noting it signifies both “a quest to map invisible walls of reality” and “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality (p.245).  Coppock concludes:

In discovering that it was none other than a portion of ourselves which erected this reality, we gain the power to build as we see fit, with what materials we have assembled. The maze is ours to re-create, our soul the architect. Yet sometimes the tortuous labyrinth holds within its secret heart a wisdom we did not expect. Its being is no abomination, but exactly as it should be. The realization transforms the structure itself from a prison to a palace. Liberation is achieved here through insight alone.

–Austin Coppock (p. 245) 36 Faces

Saturn has strength in the first face of Pisces and finds itself at the time of the eclipse transiting through the third face of Sagittarius where it also has the dignity of decan.  Saturn in Sagittarius remains in a harmonious sextile with Jupiter in Libra, which is also in a decan that it rules.  This places the ruler of the eclipse in harmonious aspect with the ruler of the eclipse’s decan, with both ruling planets residing within faces that they rule.  The lesson here is clear.  No matter how much despair you may currently be feeling from the suffering of worldly events or personal loss, there is immense astrological potency that supports recreating one’s reality from a place of essential value.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse is ideal for releasing attachments to everything that no longer feels authentic, and focusing intention on creating a life full of deeply felt fulfillment.

References

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