Jupiter in Scorpio

Hokusai_Dragon

Dragon by Hokusai

O come and go. You, still almost a child,
with your spell transform for an instant
the dance figure, make it one of those pure
constellations in which we fleetingly

transcend dull ordering Nature. For she was roused
to full hearing only when Orpheus sang.
You were still swayed by those ancient chords
and a bit annoyed if a tree took stock

before it followed where your hearing led.
You still knew the place where the lyre
rose resounding—; the undreamt-of center.

For it you practiced those beautiful steps
and hoped one day to turn toward
total happiness your friend’s face and stride.

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter enters the dark waters of Scorpio on October 10, 2017 and remains within its shadowy depths until November 8, 2018.  Scorpio is not a natural match for Jupiter in terms of its intrinsic meaning aligning smoothly with the uplifting purpose we receive through Jupiter.  Yet the tension between the meaning of Scorpio and Jupiter is fertile ground for provoking the types of struggles and determination necessary to foster greater strength in developing past previous limitations and obstacles to growth.  The signs of Cancer, Sagittarius, and Pisces are considered to be the zodiacal terrain most akin to the essential nature of Jupiter, yet Scorpio may be embraced as a sign in which we can work with Jupiter for unique ends like nowhere else.  Jupiter descending into the underworld atmosphere of Scorpio brings passion for penetrating into the heart of the matter and unearthing wisdom from the deepest levels of focus and experience.

Scorpio is a sign transitioning Jupiter from Libra, the airy home of Venus which is comfortable for Jupiter, into its fiery home of Sagittarius where it enjoys all of its resources needed for grand visions of imagination and higher mind.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio, however its time in Scorpio is absolutely necessary in terms of helping us delve deeper into our own subconscious as well as gain insight into the sea of collective unconsciousness swirling around us.  There are numerous mythic figures who reveal aspects of the meaning we can find with Jupiter in Scorpio, such as Dionysus the subterranean Zeus whose epiphanic experiences include chaotic moments of being torn apart so as to be brought back together again into wholeness.   We may also consider Osiris, the generous and noble cultivator of ancient civilization whose destiny necessitates descent into the underworld realm of spirits and ancestors.  The more we are willing to probe within and contemplate our depths, facing our fears and whatever else has been buried inside, the more we will be able to leap and embody the potential of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius which will begin in November 2018.

Jupiter does possess a level of essential dignity from nineteen degrees and beyond of Scorpio:  the Egyptian bounds of Jupiter within Scorpio extends between nineteen and twenty-four degrees, and Jupiter is also the ruler of the third decan of Scorpio within the triplicity rulership scheme.  Jupiter will be in these degrees from mid January 2018 through the beginning of May 2018 and then return again at the beginning of September 2018 for the rest of its transit through Scorpio.  These degrees are more within the domain of Jupiter than the rest of Scorpio, and we may find that in correspondence we can more readily transmute our experience of Jupiter in Scorpio into the sort of wisdom we can integrate into our daily life.

georgia-okeeffe-stormcloud-at-lake-george

by Georgia O’Keeffe, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Player Piano)

Jupiter loves to coalesce meaning from experience, stabilizing our lives at the same time it expands, elevates, and progresses personal narratives.  Since Scorpio is a water sign, it brings Jupiter the opportunity to do this through penetration into personal feelings and emotions, allowing our watery depths to both absorb lessons while dissolving old hangups and restrictive patterns.  Jupiter does not have triplicity rulership over water signs, yet finds both its exaltation (Cancer) and inner home (Pisces) in the other two water signs.  Perhaps it is the fixed nature of Scorpio that can bring both obsession and stubbornness that makes Scorpio a more challenging testing ground for Jupiter.  However, the fixed quality of Scorpio does align with the stabilizing nature of Jupiter, for Scorpio will fight for security against all odds.

Scorpio as a fixed water sign can help us deepen the relationships and projects we initiated during the past year with Jupiter in Libra into long lasting enterprises nurtured by strong foundations.   Scorpio facilitates merging with others, and so during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we will be able to dive deeper through sexuality and cultivate new levels of intimacy with partners.  Jupiter in Scorpio also bolsters realization of higher meaning through intensifying studies of spiritual or philosophical bodies of knowledge.  Through philosophical studies and spiritual experiences with Jupiter in Scorpio our entire being can become transmuted so as to realize a vaster whole that contains our expanding perceptions.  We will need to be careful at times of becoming overly obsessed with merging with external sources and remember to re-center and ground within following experiences of cathartic, transformative union that bring a new sense of self.

The inward energy of Scorpio supports allowing things to take shape more at their own pace, yet the gifts Scorpio possesses for Jupiter need to be activated by courageous determination rather than passive acquiescence. The stability we can experience with Jupiter in Scorpio needs to be balanced with a willingness to push the envelope and pierce the veil of material illusions to discover the animated soul qualities underpinning our reality.  Jupiter in Scorpio does not necessarily involve spiritualism, however, and in fact could also correlate with those exploring atheist or existential lines of thought.  The unifying feature of Jupiter in Scorpio is engagement in obsessive pursuits in which our entire being is thrust into embodied exploration at the deepest levels of wherever we direct focus.  We will need to temper going overboard with obsessive desires and remember to be respectful of ethical boundaries.

In particular we will need to be honest about inner feelings and be curious and open with whatever arises from within our unconscious into awareness without denial.  Exploring the shadow of whatever is in our conscious awareness is a constant balancing act we will need to be engaged in, for the slippery shadow continually mutates as we bring light to our own darkness.  We will be rewarded in the year ahead with Jupiter in Scorpio when we take responsibility for nurturing our inner wounds and embracing natural change, avoiding emotional manipulation of others or refusing to compromise in manipulating the desired outcomes of effort.  Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”

— Terrence McKenna, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio is within the home of Mars, and so the wisdom we gain will often come through displays of willpower and determination in the face of difficulties, through resiliency while struggling with conflicts.  According to the ancient philosopher Empedocles, the constant fluctuating between forces of Strife and Love are at the root of Creation and our experience.  Peter Kingsley in his book Reality argued that our modern wishful thinking idealizes Love and demonizes Strife, but reading of Empedocles indicates the necessity of Strife in developing presence and cultivating awareness to enable direct experience.  Kingsley wrote we can work with Strife to destroy “our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the way things are,” as “the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die” (p. 435).

In contrast to the significations of harmony and union brought by Venus to Jupiter transiting through Libra in the past year, Mars brings significations more aligned with challenges requiring courage.  Our process of learning lessons through Jupiter in Scorpio will include the alchemy of elements becoming separated in order to become purified and brought back together into a cohesive whole.  Jupiter in Scorpio will facilitate severing yourself from past toxic addictions and patterns, bringing determined willfulness into intentional alterations and change.  Through whatever struggles we endure with Jupiter in Scorpio, a more meaningful approach to life imbibed with intrinsic purpose may be distilled.

Mars signifies the warrior and protector, and so Jupiter in Scorpio will also amplify efforts of political activism centered around protecting human and environmental rights.  Jupiter in Scorpio will help deepen bonds of camaraderie among those aligned in purposeful value, intensifying efforts to promote social justice that were triggered during Jupiter’s catalytic transit through Libra that featured powerfully charged interactions with transiting Uranus and Pluto.  Notably, Jupiter in Scorpio will now be heading toward harmonious aspects with the outer planets Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn, bringing opportunities for profound integration of wisdom from our experiences.

Monet_waterlilies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter trine Pisces Neptune

The ocean-like immensity of joy

Arising when all beings will be freed,

Will this not be enough? Will this not satisfy?

The wish for my own freedom, what is that to me?

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

Perhaps the most exciting element of Jupiter’s time in Scorpio will be its trine to Neptune in Pisces that will open greater access to the potential of Neptune’s transit through Pisces.  Jupiter previously formed a trine to Neptune in Pisces when it was in Cancer in 2013, however Jupiter’s time in Cancer then also involved it being opposite Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The stability of the trine between Jupiter and Neptune across the next year will be more easily accessed, and it should also help that Jupiter will be in a harmonious aspect with Pluto.  There is enormous potential for spiritual insight, cathartic works of imagination, and the shedding of beliefs we realize are illusory.

Neptune can be associated with escaping the harshness of reality through various forms of illusions, yet the trine from Pisces Neptune to Scorpio Jupiter calls us to awaken and courageously meet the world as it is with all of its suffering, without denial.  Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.  In addition, for those who study astrology, other esoteric arts or spirituality, as well as other forms of philosophy and science, the year ahead with Jupiter in trine to Neptune holds extraordinary potential for deepening understanding.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between mid November and mid December of 2017, becoming exact on 2 December 2017.  Jupiter will again be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between May and September of 2018, becoming exact on 25 May 2018 and again on 19 August 2018.

Monet, water lillies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter sextile Capricorn Pluto

“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Slaughterhouse Five)

In Scorpio, Jupiter shifts from being in a harsh square with Pluto into a harmonious sextile, bringing the opportunity to integrate vital lessons from the past year of Jupiter being shook by intense aspects from Uranus and Pluto.  Many modern astrologers associate Pluto with rulership of Scorpio, but no matter your astrological framework the sextile between Jupiter and Pluto brings the potential for gaining empowerment through embodying integrity and purging inauthentic aspects accumulated through cultural conditioning.  With Jupiter harmoniously interacting with both Pluto and Neptune, we have the ideal climate for a heartfelt dive into Soul for guidance.  In Scorpio, Jupiter will support breaking free from cultural judgments, conditioning, and taboos that have previously repressed expression of essential nature.  It will be necessary in this process to contemplate the parameter’s of one’s ethical framework so as to act within the bounds of our values and ideals.

As Jupiter forms its sextile with Pluto, Saturn will also enter Capricorn and begin to complete the end of its cycle with Pluto.  Those already entrenched within power structures will be likely to use whatever means necessary to hold on to their control, and here we will experience the dangerous manipulative side of Jupiter in Scorpio through attempts to coerce public opinion with deceptive tactics.  For those seeking to expose the corruption of hierarchical systems of power, however, Jupiter in Scorpio while in sextile with Pluto brings enormous capacity for discovering and revealing information that can bring corrupt tyrants to their downfall.  The polarized political climate around the world is likely to get even more combative with Jupiter in Scorpio, but the resources Scorpio provides for revelation of truth can be utilized for significant results and progress by activists fighting for social justice.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from the end of December 2017 until the beginning of May 2018, becoming exact on 15 January 2018 and again on 13 April 2018.  Jupiter will once again come within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from late August 2018 until the end of September 2018, becoming exact on 12 September 2018.

The Woman in White 1871 by Frederick Walker 1840-1875

by Frederick Walker, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio at the Bending

Jupiter in Scorpio will pivotally begin to form a square to the transiting lunar nodes as it moves through the sign of the Scorpion.  Ancient astrology called this aspect being at the bendings, as planets in square to the lunar nodes are at a far away bend of arc away from the lunar nodes.  Planets in square to the lunar nodes must be dealt with and have an air of unavoidable necessity in our lives.  In our personal lives the impact of Jupiter in Scorpio in square to the lunar nodes will be karmic, since the nodes are intersection points for the paths of the Sun, signifying our source of Soul, and the Moon, signifying our incarnated bodies in reception of Soul.

As a result, all of the significations of Jupiter in Scorpio have something vital to add to our experience of the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The penetrating depth of insight brought by Jupiter in Scorpio will bring increased awareness into how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms, and how we can share our gifts in service to community.  The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.

Since the lunar nodes mark the places of eclipses, this also means that Jupiter in Scorpio will be forming catalytic squares with the degrees of Lunar and Solar eclipses and will be a key influence in collective and personal events emanating from the eclipses.  Judith Hill in her book Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides put together the following list of mundane events influenced by the planet Jupiter impacting eclipse degrees:

Popes, organized religion, schools, large craft, the air travel industry, trains, large ships, trains, trade, immigration/emigration, travel industry, loans, stocks, speculation, publishing, great men, philanthropy, famous benefactors and philanthropists, benign legal decisions, elections of good people, judges, great generals, benign or beloved heads of state, bail-outs, charity, senators, congress, congressmen, conferences, colleges, education, advertising, publicity, expansions, liberal laws, lawyers . . . joyous celebrations, heads of organized religion, great saints. (p. 130-131)

Jupiter will end up stationing retrograde in range of a square to the Leo and Aquarius eclipses on 9 March 2018 at 23º13′.  This degree forms a tight square to the first Leo Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 10 February 2017.  It also is within range of a square to the monumental Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred on 21 August 2017.  The stationing of Jupiter in mid March will catalyze storylines that developed in accordance with these past two Leo eclipses.  In addition, there is a Solar Eclipse in Aquarius that will occur on 15 February 2018 at 27º Aquarius that will add another major wave of influence into the narratives that will be further amplified when Jupiter stations retrograde in March.

The internal darkness of Scorpio will help nurture our experience of Jupiter so as to help transform our beliefs and faith into greater alignment with the underlying natural order and fabric of our reality.  We will feel compelled to challenge and confront the dictates and doctrines of the dominant paradigms found within society, including religious, political, and metaphysical systems.  There will be many treasures to uncover from within the waters of Scorpio in the coming year as long as we maintain the fortitude necessary for the dive.

How the cry of a bird can move us . . .
Any shaped, created cry.
But children, playing out in the open,
cry beyond real cries.

Cry hazard. Into the narrow crevices
of this world-space (through which the uncaught
bird-cry slips, the way we enter dreams—)
they drive their shrieking’s wedges.

Alas, where are we? Drifting freer and freer,
like kites torn loose from their strings
we lurch about in midair, frayed by laughter,

ripped by winds. —O array the criers,
singing god! Let them awake as a roaring,
one deep current carrying head and lyre.

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Rodin, Balzac photo

Balzac, Toward the Light, Midnight (1908) Photograph by Edward Steichen of Auguste Rodin’s Balzac statue. Rodin was born with Jupiter in Scorpio.

References

Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides. Stellium Press.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Shantideva. (1997). The Way of the Bodhisattva. Translated by the Padmakara translation group. Shambhala Library.

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Capricorn Full Moon & Pluto

 

fluorite waterfall

Full Moon in Capricorn

The Full Moon in Capricorn on July 8 is applying tightly to a union with Pluto, dredging up more intensity from interior realms than is the norm for a Full Moon.  Invisible to the naked eye, Pluto rules the celestial underworld of the Kuiper belt.  Though we may at times ignore or deny the guidance offered by Pluto, any built up resistance ultimately floods our systems and forces us to make necessary changes.  The placement of Pluto in our birth chart reveals a theme we can become compulsively attached to for security, and so the Full Moon aligned with Pluto will illuminate what old attachments and projections need to be now shed and washed away.  The surrounding aspects to the Full Moon suggest a decay and decomposition of past ambitions at the same time that fresh desires for growth emerge.

The Full Moon in Capricorn is not only a key moment in the current retrograde phase of Pluto, it also provides penetrating insight into our experience of the current transit of Jupiter in Libra.  The Moon in Capricorn at the peak moment of fullness is transferring the light of Jupiter to Pluto, separating from a catalytic square with Jupiter.  As the Moon begins to wane in light, it will next form another square with Uranus in Aries.  The t-square forming between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto is the volatile source of astrological intensity that has been building and will break open in August as we enter a season of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo.  In collective events, for example, we can see the correlation of the Full Moon with these aspects in the form of the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg that featured combative protests from the public as well as tense conflicts amongst world leaders that revealed the incredibly divisive nature within political power structures.

Pluto has been in Capricorn for the past nine and a half years and will make its first ingress into Aquarius six years from now.  The Full Moon in Capricorn is the perfect moment this year to review and reflect upon all of the changes wrought by Pluto’s slow passage through Capricorn since 2008, as well as how you want to respond to the death and creation found in the present moment.  Any feelings we have been clinging to desperately despite nothing in our current reality supporting our attachment to them need to be now released resolutely, for there is incredible potential available to seize within current transits to facilitate bold and dramatic shifts in direction.

Enki(Ea)

Enki / Ea

Jason Holley gave a talk at the 2017 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) on Capricorn that linked the sign of the Sea Goat with the ancient Babylonian deity Enki or Ea.  Known as the antelope of the deep waters, Enki in myth has been described as a crafty and wise problem solver who is the sole initiator of civilization and the molder of matter for every possible use.  Enki discovers rules and order for everything, divining the organizing principles and plans that underlie all of civilized life.  Irrigation of course was instrumental in the development of agricultural civilizations, and Holley further made the point that humans also dug canals so that gods could live on Earth.  Holley in his talk used the metaphor of opening up channels of fresh water irrigation to the importance of Capricorn replenishing and nourishing itself with the endlessly fertile, deeply subterranean waters of the subconscious.

The message Jason Holley transmitted regarding Capricorn is vital to take to heart at this stage of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn.  Instead of severing connection to the fresh waters of our inner desires due to fear that these impulses go against societal norms and could be dangerous and disruptive, we open ourselves to our subterranean waters and craft the order of our daily life accordingly.  Instead of living by consensus cultural “shoulds” and “oughts,” we step into a presence in which playfulness is embedded in our daily work in a process of constant creation and regeneration.

second beach tree cave (1)

As previously mentioned in past lunation forecasts, we are in the middle of an underworld season of Mars in which the red planet is being consumed in combustion by the purifying and regenerating rays of our Solar Light.  One question for this Full Moon in Capricorn is thus, what is the universe asking for you to release and let go of in terms of the willful force of Mars in your life?  You may in the past week or so have noticed a lack of motivation, ambition, or drive in certain areas of your life you are accustomed to investing more easily with energy.  At the same time, you may have been noticing desires for new areas of development that do not yet have completely stable foundations to support.  It is vital to realize that Mars will continue to be in combustion throughout the waning half of the upcoming lunar cycle and will not enter the heart of the Sun to be completely regenerated until July 26 following the subsequent New Moon in Leo.  I do not mean to avoid embarking on new ventures in the weeks ahead, only to have awareness that due to the current dark, clearing phase of Mars that it’s phase more readily supports release and reseeding rather than peak moments of drive.

paul klee suspended fruit

Paul Klee (1921) Suspended Fruit

Within the surrounding tumultuous aspects of the astrological landscape at the Full Moon in Capricorn, the inner planets Mercury and Venus are forming the vivaciously pleasing sextile.  Mercury in Leo is visible as the Sun sets as an Evening Star, while Venus is brightly visible in Gemini as a Morning Star.  Thus when awaking from dreams in the morning we will be greeted by Venus in the actively curious and intellectually stimulating sign of Gemini.  Venus can therefore guide our daily journey into reception of new perspectives and information as well as creatively activating conversations and connections within our wider community.  Mercury in contrast will become visible in the twilight of our Sun’s descent into night, helping us to digest and assimilate the various exchanges and expressions of our day.  Mercury in Leo is also an active and creatively stimulating placement, and so in tandem Mercury and Venus are in ideal positions to support new directions in creativity and pleasure.

In addition, Mercury will move across Leo to form a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in the waning half of the lunar cycle ahead while Venus will be making its way toward an opposition with Saturn.  There results an interesting astrological phenomenon in which Mars is experiencing a cleansing purification at the same time that Mercury and Venus are in active, potent positions.   Both Venus and Mercury will be forming harmonious aspects with Jupiter in Libra, and so while Jupiter is under the weight of intense aspects at the Capricorn Full Moon, as the Moon wanes  in coming weeks there will be exciting interplay occurring between Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter that can help facilitate exciting and productive action.

pents03

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The full Moon falls in the second face of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of the Three of Pentacles we see a highly skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  This is a fitting image for the second decan of Capricorn as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort.  The integral aspect of necessary effort and drive is supported by Mars being the ruler of this face.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which the magnum opus is completed, sublime works of material manifestation whose perfect form almost appears inconceivable to create in hindsight.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work and discipline  in collaboration with numerous resources.  Coppock wrote that this face “binds one, or many, to the accomplishment of a daunting task” and so it is important to carefully discern what projects and relationships you are committing to as well as the consequences of your choice.  Fitting for the current combustion phase of Mars, Coppock also wrote that “ambition and hubris are not easily separated,” and so “Ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose” (p. 217).

Regarding the second face of Capricorn, it is written in the Latin Picatrix that this is a decan “of seeking to do what cannot be done and to attain what cannot be.”  In contrast, Three Books of Occult Philosophy suggested this face signifies demanding “what is unable to happen, and searching for what cannot be known.”  In the Birhat Jakata, the image of “a woman, skilled in the arts, broad eyes like lotus petals, greenish and dark” emerges in this face, “searching all kinds of articles and wearing iron ear ornaments.”  Evocatively, the Liber Hermetis ascribed the image “of a bull on the body of a man dressed with the skin of a scarab” to this decan.  Clearly, the ancient images associated with the second decan of Capricorn suggest a face in which groundbreaking works of determination and grace can be created while dealing with whatever obstacles or tumult arises in the process of creation.  As the Capricorn Full Moon peaks and illuminates the depths of your desires, embrace the courage necessary to bring your inner visions into reality.

References

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

 

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius

georgia-okeeffe-grey-tree-lake-george

Grey Tree, Lake George (1925) by Georgia O’Keeffe

At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are flowers;
in their vase of mud
they are nourished by silt…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are the hearts
that greatly suffered for living life…
And then the rocks
and the grey beasts…
The pipes of the sewers,
blowing out poison…
The rings thrown away
by misunderstood lovers,
feet that a propeller cut off from their trunk…
And the cursed fruits of sterile wombs,
the innocent abortions that no one loved…
The vomit of the big city…
At the bottom of the Seine,
it is there…
Oh, lenient Seine where the cadavers go,
oh, bed with the sheets made from silt,
river of losses without beacon,
nor haven,
singing a lullaby to the morgue and the bridges,
welcoming the poor one,
welcoming the woman,
welcoming the drunkard,
welcoming the crazy one,
mixing theirs sobs to the sound of your blades,
and carrying their hearts among the rocks…
At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…

— Kurt Weil, “Complainte de la Seine,” translated from French by Sean Mabey

Mercury Stations Retrograde in Capricorn

In the quickening of shadows at sunset, Mercury disappears in a flash, shifting from an evening star into the invisible realm of the underworld where Hermes guides souls.  After Mercury stations retrograde and transitions from being a visible evening star into an invisible planet moving slowly in retrograde, the variable nature of Mercury transmutes into an alternate realm of perception requiring an alert intuition and a patient mind open to changes of plan and revelation of previously concealed insight.  Though Mercury retrograde carries the projection of a scapegoat in popular culture in which all mishaps and mayhem are attributed to the whims of Hermes, there is vital meaning to be found in the experience of Mercury moving retrograde through our zodiac.  Mercury retrograde periods can destabilize and force issues to the surface we may rather not deal with, but truth reveals that whatever arises for us to face during times of Mercury retrograde are necessary for us to gain awareness of and respond in a way that nurtures self-development and growth.

Mercury stations retrograde on 19 December 2016 while forming a close (but not exact) conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  Mercury stationing, standing still only one degree behind Pluto in the days leading up to and following its transition into retrograde motions dramatically amplifies the charge of issues that emerge to surface awareness through daily  conversations and commerce.  It is further significant that Mercury does not complete an exact conjunction with Pluto, but rather pulls back at the last moment in a tight balsamic conjunction.  Mercury pulls away from Pluto and will re-enter Sagittarius at the beginning of January 2017 where it will station direct conjoining the zodiac degrees associated with our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately complete a conjunction with Pluto and begin a new cycle with Pluto on 29 January 2017, a time period in which we will be able to coalesce deeper understanding into all the various affairs that transpire in the next few weeks of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury moving back and forth in balsamic relationship with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of our foundational beliefs, like a miner dredging through earth in search of buried gold.  Events associated with Pluto also involve compulsive attraction in addition to subconscious triggers that repel us, and yet with reflection we can discover that both what we are drawn to as well as repulsed by holds key insight into our underlying development of meaning.  Mercury retrograde delights in fields of gray in-betweeness, and combined with Pluto any rigid black and white mental constructs one has been fixated upon may dissolve in the confrontations of thought that will come.  Though we may initially resist and defensively argue against perspectives threatening beliefs we have wound our sense of emotional security around, through reflection and an open mind the Mercury retrograde can facilitate integration of a new perspective regarding ourselves or our world that will rejuvenate our inner feelings of soulfulness and purpose, helping us discover a path forward that is more fulfilling than the one we had been previously been set to follow.

deborahturbeville

Deborah Turbeville Montova, Italy, 1978

The beginning of Mercury retrograde is intensified through its conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, opening a subconscious portal into exploration of the constructs of time and space we apply to phenomenal reality.  Capricorn involves the maturity and responsibility cultivated through facing and dealing with natural cycles of change,  and so there is compelling synchronicity that the beginning of Mercury retrograde occurs at the time of the Capricorn Solstice, the peak period of darkness in the Northern Hemisphere and of light in the Southern Hemisphere.  Regarding Pluto in Capricorn’s relationship with natural laws of change, Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology taught that structural change comes from crystallized and outdated levels of reality that require a breakdown of collective forms to bring about growth.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will thereby bring opportunities to claim one’s inner authority and ability to express one’s individuality within the seismic societal shifts erupting around our planet.

We know that our societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos designed to create a stable whole, yet we sometimes forget to reflect upon how our conformity to societal norms can limit our experience of essential growth in the moment.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will destabilize elements of societal norms and rules, breaking open and purging numerous taboos. Like the ancient Saturnalia in which societal conventions are overturned, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn compels us to realign our conformity to societal conventions that have been blocking our authenticity. While we are able to co-create reality, if we want to make a direct impact on society we also need to discern a method of successful integration so that an audience may receive our shared values and meaning.  Within the tumult of tempestuous collective events and mutating norms, Mercury retrograde may guide us into inner awareness of modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.

victor-brauner-the-surrealist

Victor Brauner (1947) The Surrealist

I slide my face along to the mirror
sideways, to see
that side-smile,
a pale look, tired
and sly. Hey,

who is glancing there?
Shadow-me, not with
malice but mercurially
shot with foreknowledge of
dread and sweat.

— Denise Levertov, Looking-glass

Since Mercury stations retrograde in the home of Saturn and will station direct in the home of Jupiter, its retrograde phase has intense resonance with the harmonious aspects formed between Saturn in Sagittarius with the full phase opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will complete its first exact alignment during the Mercury retrograde.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus involves the nature of beliefs we are conditioned to project upon reality, as well as the process of liberating from past influences in order to find a meaningful vision of life to live from.  For ages, human beings have been developing belief systems around trying to control and regulate, in a Capricorn manner, the interactions of humans within societies and the natural world.  Yet we also hold subconscious (Uranus) memories that extend into the nomadic time period of humanity that predated the development of agricultural civilizations. This necessitates at times for our experience of the Uranus archetype to come into conflict with the myriad consensus belief systems in place focused upon the way human beings should interact with one another in society. When our vision of life fueled by the knowledge we are gaining from our personal experience (Jupiter) comes into conflict with the norms dictated by consensus belief systems (Saturn and Capricorn) we arrive at a crux in which we can feel judged and ashamed or instead individuate with self assertion in the direction of the vision being felt within.

At the same time that Mercury stations retrograde in Capricorn, Mars enters Pisces and begins its movement toward the transiting South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   On a collective level the movement of Mars across Pisces in this section will correspond with numerous eruptions of violence and trauma connected with religion, politics, and other belief systems that have been in conflict with one another for centuries.   On a personal level, this same transit brings the opportunity to go within and reflect upon our own shadow and those aspects of ourself we like to pretend are not really there, aspects often conditioned by the belief systems of our culture.  As Fyodor Dostoyevsky (born with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius in square to his lunar nodes) wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, “what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself.”  The Mercury retrograde will bring numerous opportunities for powerful self awareness that will lead us into opportunities to make choices within a presence rooted more firmly within our wholeness.  Facilitating this process will be Venus in Aquarius, as Venus will move into a harmonious sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries, as well as a stabilizing trine with Jupiter in Libra.

If you have been reading my writing on the Mercury retrograde transits this past year, you may remember with the Taurus retrograde in May 2016 I wrote about its link with the Hathor asteroid, and that in the Virgo retrograde in September 2016 I wrote about its link with the Sekhmet asteroid.  The current Mercury retrograde in Capricorn has a link with the Isis asteroid #42, as Mercury is conjoining Isis in addition to Pluto when it stations retrograde, with Mercury at 15º03′ and Isis at 14º47′. Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology, and so has connection to the transiting lunar nodes of Virgo (North Node) and Pisces (South Node). Mercury’s rulership of Virgo further connects with Isis, as both Mercury and Isis can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web unifying seemingly disparate points of focus. Isis further links to Virgo’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.   Isis is Love, the quality of our consciousness that proves we are all connected, just like the stars above us, the minerals of our Earth below us, and our neurons and other cells inside us.  Isis weaves the web of love through times of trauma and dismemberment of our parts, our physical body parts and our etheric soul fragments, in order to bring about a healing and retrieval of our wholeness.

mercury-philosophical-italy-15th-century

A form upon the quilted
overcast, gleam, Sacre
Coeur, saltlick
to the mind’s
desire-

how shall the pulse
beat out
that measure,
under devious
moon
wander swerving

to wonder-

hands turn
what stone to uncover
feather of broken
oracle-

— Denise Levertov Threshold from O Taste and See

Mercury in Heart of the Sun

The Inferior conjunction of Mercury occurs when it forms an exact alignment in between the orbit of our Earth with our Sun, bringing Mercury retrograde and the Sun into an exact conjunction.  Called cazimi or being in the heart of the Sun, this rebirth of Mercury will occur on 28 December 2016 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  In fact, later on the same day that Mercury retrograde unites with our Sun, we will experience a New Moon in Capricorn. When Mercury retrograde enters the heart of our Sun, we experience a purification of Mercury and how we interpret and convey meaning in our life.  In the time leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun, we may sense a release and death of outmoded constructs, perceptions, and habits.  As Mercury retrograde begins to slowly separate from the Sun as we next experience a New Moon in Capricorn, we will find ourselves in an opportune moment to form intentions and resolutions for the calendar year of 2017 and what we want to share and integrate into the world and our daily lives.

There are numerous powerful astrological transits occurring at the same time, such as Jupiter and Uranus in an exact opposition, with Saturn in sextile to Jupiter and in trine to Uranus.  In addition, Venus in Aquarius will be in range of harmonious aspects to Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, and Mars in Pisces will be in between the South Node of the Moon and Neptune, conjoining both.  This is a beautiful moment for complete and utter honesty with oneself and reawakening from whatever dreams and illusions we have had about our life we now realize do not align with our current reality.  There is tremendous energy involved in all of these aspects that can be utilized to bring visionary ideals into manifestation in the material world, but to do so requires a full presence attuned to what is actually occurring rather than what we wish was occurring.  It also involves taking the responsibility intrinsic to Capricorn in every moment in how we respond to what we are receiving from life.

matta-space-travel-star-travel-1938

Roberta Matta (1938) Space Travel

Silent friend of the many distances,
feel how your every breath enlarges space.
Amid the rafters of dark belfries
let yourself peal. Whatever feeds on you

is taking strength from such fare.
Know every path through transformation.
that one experience at the core of your sorrow?
If drinking is bitter, become wine.

Now in this night of fire and excess
be magic power at your senses’ crossroads,
the meaning of their strange encounter.

And if the earthly should forget you,
say to the silent loam: I flow.
To the rushing water speak: I am.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct in Sagittarius

Mercury moves backward into Sagittarius on 4 January 2017, stationing direct on 8 January 2017 at 28º51′ of Sagittarius in range of a conjunction with the zodiac degrees linked to our Galactic Center.  Philip Sedgwick has written that astrological connections with the Galactic Center facilitate the release of old memories that have been inhibiting growth and development, creating an emptiness of inner space that can welcome new, invigorating emotional experiences that will spur progress in life and the reception of new insight.  Mercury will remain in Sagittarius until 12 January 2017 when it re-enters Capricorn.  Mercury stationing and then slowly moving direct in the home of Jupiter amplifies the potential of the Mercury retrograde phase to uncover a more fulfilling vision of life to embody and share.  Fascinatingly, Pluto in Capricorn is also highlighted at the time of Mercury stationing direct, as the Sun will be conjoining Pluto.  To reach the full potential of these aspects it will be necessary to take the responsibility of claiming one’s inner authority to make the choices available that support and resonate with one’s inner values.

At the time Mercury stations direct, Venus will have entered Pisces and will be conjoining the South Node of the Moon and Neptune. Venus exalted in Pisces will nurture the capacity of our sensual nature to enter the flow of life and not only envision a reality in which we may behold our soulful desires, but also alter reality to bring about manifestation of our deeply felt values.  It is also a period in which the stationing direct of Mercury may jolt us with a shock of awareness regarding illusions we had been carrying about relationships, or unveil an epiphany into an underlying relational pattern we have been unconsciously perpetuating that now needs to be let go in order to cultivate healthier, growth-oriented relationships.

Mercury will return to the zodiac degree it stationed retrograde in Capricorn around the time of a New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017.   Interestingly, with regards to the previous mention of Mercury stationing in conjunction with the Isis asteroid, there will be a union of the Isis and Osiris asteroids that brings an added level of healing our wholeness on the same day.  Two days after the New Moon, Mercury will finally complete its exact conjunction with Pluto on 29 January 2017.  As Mercury begins a new cycle with Pluto as we  enter the month of February, we will be able to receive a more complete understanding of the full ramifications of events associated with the Mercury retrograde.  Through utilizing Mercury retrograde to both nurture our inner security and take the responsibility to act from our inner authority, we will be guided into understanding of how to integrate our essential vision of meaning and individuality within our greater society in a way that will make a tangible impact.

References

Arts Summary blog post about Deborah Turbeville’s photographs. (2016)

Complainte de la Seine translation.

Green, Jeff. (1985). Pluto: the evolutionary journey of the soul. Llewellyn.

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

New Moon in Aquarius

56.171.53

Greek water jar (490 B.C.) with Triptolemos bringing wheat to humanity in his winged chariot

Aquarius New Moon

The New Moon in Aquarius on February 8, 2016 ushers in the Year of the Fire Monkey in Chinese culture, and similarly holds an array of aspects facilitating bursting forth with new endeavors.  Mercury remains in its retrograde shadow zone, yet has separated from triggering the Pluto and Uranus square.  Venus is close behind Mercury in Capricorn, and also separating from its conjunction with Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding this New Moon.  While January and the first week of February this year contained heavy, chthonic, cathartic astrological aspects, a New Moon in Aquarius brings a moment to detach from feelings in order to objectify and envision pioneering intentions.  Aquarius is the sign of the purifying idealist who can bridge diverse worlds, crossing intellectual boundaries such as time and space, finding the future through exploration of the old.  Aquarius is a fixed sign of yang energy that can help foster the setting and achievement of goals that will bring stability.  However, since this particular Aquarius New Moon is in square to Mars in Scorpio, we will also need to beware of a shadow side of self-righteousness.

This New Moon is in the home of Saturn, and the transiting Sagittarius Saturn is in sextile to this Aquarius New Moon.  In addition, the modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, is also in sextile to the New Moon as well as in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius.  These aspects highlight the innovative nature of Aquarius that can not only brainstorm progressive ideas and solutions, but also create the necessary structure to bring inventive concepts into material manifestation.  In the past month collectively we have passed through intense astrological transits that brought up core issues, fears, and desires.  In the dark of this Aquarius New Moon we can  begin to separate from past compulsions and enter a more objective mental space. Here in the cool, airy mentality of Aquarius we will not be completely free of the feelings we have been overly fixated upon, but the influence of these gripping, irresistible desires can be less restrictive on our vision going forward.

Klee inner forces

Inner Forces (1939) by Paul Klee

Mars holds significant influence over this New Moon as it is in a superior square to the lunation as well as fully fulfilled in its own domicile of Scorpio.  The New Moon arrives following a crashing wave of Mars, as the Sun will have formed a square with Mars a day before the New Moon, and the Moon itself will square Mars about an hour before the exact timing of the lunation.  This can bring a more righteous, fervent quality to the intentions and goals we are envisioning, and also signifies that incredible effort and determination will be needed in achieving them.  While anger over what appears to be in the way of goals could come up, the activated Mars embedded in this New Moon contains the impetus necessary to launch bold ventures.  As we simultaneously enter the Year of the Fire Monkey, this New Moon evokes the feeling of fireworks traditionally associated with the dawning of a New Year.

In the next seven months Mars will become one of the most significant planets in transit, as it will be retrograde from April 17 through June 28.  About a week after the New Moon, Mars will enter the shadow zone of its upcoming retrograde, and so this New Moon in square to Mars opens a window to the torrential storm of Mars brewing outside.  As the upcoming Mars retrograde will begin with Mars conjoining the red star Antares, found in the heart of the Scorpion constellation, we will experience another Royal Star retrograde activation such as we did last July when Venus stationed retrograde conjoining Regulus.  Mars retrograde periods tend to bring pivotal twists of fate, and so beginning with this New Moon it will be worthwhile to begin intuiting what could be coming in tandem with the approaching retrograde of Mars.

Mars has been conjoining Juno over the past couple weeks, and though still in range of a conjunction at this New Moon, Mars has now separated from Juno.  At the same time Mars and Juno are both in sextile to Venus and Pluto in Capricorn.  Altogether, these aspects suggest that Mars and Venus are stirring up the core relationship desires that we will be needing to focus on and process over the next seven months.

Klee may picture

Paul Klee (1925) May Picture

Venus in Capricorn like the New Moon is in a sign of Saturn, though in Capricorn more focused upon initiating from an inner sense of value.  The Aquarius New Moon arrives at a harmonious time in the transiting cycle of Venus and Mars, as Venus will have entered into a Crescent, waxing sextile with Mars.  In 2015 we experienced three conjunctions between Venus and Mars, meaning that it took most of the year in order to fully initiate their new cycle.  Now in a Crescent sextile, Venus in Capricorn can facilitate the structuring of the deep Scorpio Mars desires in order to help lay down solid roots to bolster new growth and resist the pull of past patterns no longer serving our developing purpose.  There is tremendous potency between transiting Venus and Mars at this New Moon, as Venus is carrying the tumultuous energy from its conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus into the formation of its sextile with Mars.

Venus is also in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Capricorn, following the blazed trail formed by Mercury’s back and forth movement in retrograde.  In the predawn sky we can now glimpse both Mercury and Venus as brilliant Morning Stars, in addition to the morning appearance of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Mercury and Venus will remain within five degrees of one another over the next couple of weeks as the Moon waxes Full in Virgo on February 22.  Venus following in the footsteps of Mercury means that much of what was stirred up by the Mercury retrograde in January will be revisited within our emotional body and Venusian passions, ultimately helping to clarify the associated issues.

While most of the pivotal aspects formed by this New Moon are “after effects,” meaning aspects that perfected before the time of the New Moon, Venus in Capricorn is applying toward a trine with Jupiter in Virgo.  This means that the trine between Venus and Jupiter is intensifying at the New Moon, whereas most of the other major aspects discussed here will have already occurred.  For example, Mercury in Capricorn is also in range of a trine with Jupiter, only separating.  Mercury and Venus coming into range of a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon, following their conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus, means that out of the recent cathartic transits there is now an opportunity to seize and integrate the myriad material dredged up into a regenerated vision.  This New Moon supports being resolute in pursuit of new opportunities and growth leading into the unknown future, rather than relying upon the old and familiar ways of being.

Redon Upon walking

Upon Walking, I Saw the Goddess of the Intelligible, with Her Severe and Hard Profile (1885) by Odilon Redon

The conjunction of Jupiter with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo is also becoming tighter in opposition to the conjunction of Chiron with the South Node in Pisces, and the opposition between Jupiter and Chiron will continue to build with intensity in the coming lunar cycle.  While Jupiter conjoining the North Node clearly signifies opportunities to develop new belief systems and philosophies to live from, the opposition with Chiron implies we will be arriving at our new vision through a process of old wounds re-emerging not to hold us back, but rather to provide circumstances for us to have breakthrough experiences that liberate us from past restrictive beliefs.

A powerful aspect of the Aquarius New Moon supporting this process is Ceres in Pisces applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  The day after the New Moon, the Moon will pass over both Ceres and Neptune, and every day as the Moon waxes Full in the coming cycle Ceres will get closer to Neptune.  At the coming Full Moon in Virgo on February 22, Ceres will have culminated in her conjunction with Neptune.  Ceres is in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and among other things signifies how we nourish and manage our willful, sometimes angry, desires of Mars into the Jupiter vision of life we live from. Neptune will dissolve whatever we have been carrying in our emotional and physical bodies that needs to be released as Ceres  approaches Neptune.  Our imagination will be activated, and Ceres can use imaginal forces most effectively when we are willing to enter into our full range of feelings without taking Neptune escape routes such as addictions and delusions.  The book The Eyes of the Skin contains a lucid description of the interplay between mind and body:

In The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura gives a subtle description of the multi-sensory imagery evoked by the simple situation of the tea ceremony: ‘Quiet reigns with nothing to break the silence save the note of the boiling water in the iron kettle. The kettle sings well, for pieces of iron are so arranged in the bottom as to produce a peculiar melody in which one may hear the echoes of a cataract muffled by clouds, of a distant sea breaking among the rocks, a rainstorm sweeping through a bamboo forest, or of the soughing of pines on some faraway hill.’ In Oksakura’s description the present and the absent, the near and the distant, the sensed and the imagined fuse together. The body is not a mere physical entity; it is enriched by both memory and dream, past and future. Edward S Casey even argues that our capacity of memory would be impossible without a body memory. The world is reflected in the body, and the body is projected onto the world. We remember through our bodies as much as through our nervous system and brain.

— Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, p. 45

Ceres is often interpreted in astrology through her mythic associations, an apt association as the planetary body was discovered in a lab near the site of Persephone’s abduction.  The Ceres of myth holds symbols we can associate with the astrology of Ceres: grains (the stabilizing gift of agriculture), opium poppies (solace from grief), and snakes (regeneration). I saw Demetra George lecture about the meaning of Ceres in astrology through connection with her myth, and one of the most powerful moments to me was when Demetra described the ability of Ceres to heal herself and regenerate within the waters of the Ladon river. The capacity of Ceres to heal herself, purifying her anger and rage in the ceaseless currents of water, correlates with the potential Self-nourishment which is available at this New Moon.

swords06

6 0f Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the 6 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the 6 of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and independence:

Once again we see Mercury as ruler of this decan, for the swift planet’s sacred space is every road but no place. Mercury is lord of dualities and the space between them. Unlike the other decans which emphasize dualities, this one, being the middle decan of a fixed sign, is usually fixed, and stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth…

This face is one of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles. There is thus a certain royalty to this decan, for its residents connect worlds without becoming beholden to them. There is great benefit to plying these waters between, for they allow the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown. The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 233 -234

Mercury, the ruler of the second decan of Aquarius is separating from a trine with Jupiter, traveling a few degrees ahead of Venus, and also separating from its square to Uranus and conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Aquarius New Moon.  The recent exact trine in which Mercury in Capricorn received Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo serves as a fitting symbol for the ability of this face to bridge divides, as Mercury entered the trine with Jupiter after triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus, and being in sextile with Mars in Scorpio.  As a result this Aquarius New Moon supports striking out from a place of empowerment and principle, capable of independently acting when necessary to weave together divisions.  This is the final New Moon before we enter the eclipse season of March, and so a time to come to clarity and prepare for the unknown to come.

References

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

Pallasmaa, Juhani. (2005). The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. John Wiley & Sons.

Full Moon in Leo

Lion by Rousseau

The Repast of the Lion (1907) by Henri Rousseau

The Full Moon in Leo on January 23, 2016 illuminates the meaning we have received from Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Aquarius, as Mercury will be stationing while conjoining Pluto. This further means that Mercury retrograde is stationing in range of a square with Uranus in Aries, and so there is something to unearth that speaks of where you sit within the great changes that have swept across our planet in the past five years or so of the Uranus and Pluto square.  In this present moment, with a Full Moon ripening in the sign of the Lion, it is the beast within that clamors for beauty and the creation of a life that brings passion and a sense of validation.  This is a Full Moon in the home of the Sun, with the Sun in Aquarius connecting to the human ability to detach from the dominant narratives running through the mainstream in order to liberate and enable the mind to conceive thoughts free of the systemic static of the status quo. The old constellation image of the Water Bearer associated with Aquarius brings to mind its purifying potential impact when activated, and when the Moon waxes full in its polarity sign of Leo it is the essential force of our burning heart within and all we desire to create that can revivify one’s being.

Mercury is always active and mentally stimulating when retrograde, but since this current Mercury retrograde began in Aquarius in square to Mars in Scorpio, and ends now in Capricorn conjoining Pluto and in square to Uranus, the effect has brought waves of overwhelming forces to mediate.  Many of you reading this no doubt have had to face some of your deepest fears over the past weeks of this Mercury retrograde, as the landscape of our lives has been in process of being fundamentally altered.  The intensity continues as the Full Moon in Leo is also occurring in range of a square to Mars in Scorpio, and as the Moon begins to wane while still in its full phase it will apply to an exact square with Mars.  These aspects will catalyze desire and bring to mind and body what we want at a core level but have been resisting or felt blocked from manifesting.  If the desire does not seem to be available now, or great obstacles appear to be in the way, it will be far more fruitful to utilize the will force of Mars to work toward the desire rather than erupting with anger or disintegrating with futility.

While Mars is in square to the Full Moon, it is coming into range of a sextile with the conjunction between Pluto and Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and is also closely conjoining Juno in Scorpio.  In the light of this Full Moon one’s relationship needs can be more fully felt, a vision of what one wants in partnership formed in the mind with passionate force.  This does not mean that our current circumstances  hold the possibility of uniting now with the ideal partner, only that the vision brings the potential to ultimately experience the union.  If you are in relationship at this time, this Full Moon will illuminate the unspoken as much as the spoken and whatever has not yet been revealed during this Mercury retrograde will now come into sharp awareness for processing.  While conflict could erupt if communication comes from a place of wounding, there is at the same time potential for healing and deep processing of the underlying forces that have been operating between partners.

volcano crater

Crater of Volcano, Quetzaltenango-Guatemala by Eadweard Muybridge (1875)

The Mercury and Pluto conjunction will be simmering through the rest of January, erupting at times through the surface facades of daily interactions.  Mercury will remain within a degree or two of Pluto into the first week of February, and around the time of the waning last quarter Moon of this lunar cycle Mercury will move direct into another conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus. There is also an added component that Vesta is conjoining Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon, and so also in square to the conjunction of Pluto with Mercury retrograde.  With these aspects the mind can now penetrate to the bottom line dynamics of every situation encountered, and feelings previously buried within will emerge.  This is not a time to fear, however, as whatever thoughts and feelings arrive will be absolutely essential to process, heal, and work with in the unknown future to come.  As this Full Moon illuminates what we want to create, use this time with Pluto united with Mercury to explore the depths of the desires emerging to gain greater clarity of the specific aspects and details to center plans around.

The Full Moon in Leo also illuminates the recent ingress of Venus into Capricorn.  As the Moon wanes into the forthcoming New Moon in Aquarius in early February, Venus will move across Capricorn into a conjunction with Mercury and Pluto.  This further re-emphasizes whatever feelings and needs we have resisted expressing due to fear of judgment or rejection- if this has been going on so long that these needs have taken on a monstrous proportion, these aspects support gaining awareness and uncovering the underlying reasons these needs became distorted across time.  For example, we may gain new insight into the imprinting we received from our parents and early development in the society we were born into, leading to the development of our current self-image.  In the waning lunar cycle following this Full Moon in Leo, we can restructure our inner and outer relationships to be in greater alignment with our true emotions and needs.

colour triangle

Johann Heinrich Lambert’s adaptation of Tobias Mayer’s triangle (17772) courtesy of The Public Domain Review

While Mercury is conjoining Pluto over the next week or two, Mercury is also receiving Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo through a trine.  The more we do the deep Mercury-Pluto work of digging into our depths and avoiding denial and escapist pursuits, the more we access the Jupiter-North Node capacity to fully enter the present moment of our material realm and shift life events into a new trajectory in greater alignment with core values and needs.  This is a potent aspect for visioning not only the extraordinary life we dream of living, but discerning the choices available to us now that will take us in this direction.  This is a time to get out of your habitual mind as much as possible and be truly present, embracing every opportunity to look at things differently than ever before.

Further supporting finding new solutions and approaches is a trine between Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries that is now closer in orb than the square between Saturn with Neptune in Pisces.  However, in reality these two very different aspects to transiting Saturn are happening simultaneously, and so radical thoughts and insights will be arising in an atmosphere that will also find us facing disillusionment and skepticism over what aspects of our dreams can manifest in reality.  The unifying principle to connect with the highest potential of both of these transits to Saturn is to not hold back and instead to allow yourself to envision the life you want to live free of the ways you have restricted or repressed yourself previously.  These aspects to Saturn in Sagittarius will be occurring throughout this next year, and so this Leo Full Moon is an opportune time to allow yourself to unleash your imagination and create grand goals to work toward.

wands05

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Leo, ruled by Saturn and associated with the 5 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot the 5 of Wands card is typically associated with entering into conflict and strife, being confronted and needing to  fight to assert oneself, stand one’s ground, or achieve a desired, prominent position.  Astrologer 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 5 of Wands through the five youth battling for dominance, attention, or the spotlight, the starring role.  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.  In addition to “The Spotlight,” Coppock also described the significance of the “magical weapon” of the “Mask” to the power found in the first face of Leo:

 The mask focuses the wearer’s attention on those aspects of their being which are in harmony with the mask’s appearances and enhances one’s ability to express them. The mask serves a similar function with onlookers- it focuses their attention on certain qualities.  The mask is thus the mystical nexus between all of the streams of attention in place . . .

It is interesting to note that the word for mask in Latin is “Persona.”  “Persona” is used in modern English to denote a portion of the psyche, and is the root of the more common term “personality.”  The “persona” does not describe the entire geography of the soul, instead, it describes the social role played by the person . . .

Thus the material of the psyche coalesces and then concretizes into the pattern necessary to function in a given role- the mask. An effective mask creates a nexus point which mediates inside and outside, self and other . . . Masks, like the spotlight which they are created to survive, are perilous tools, for as they are fed by attention they grow stronger, consuming more of the wearer’s energy.  The mask/persona can thus go from being a useful tool to a powerful parasite, feeding off of and devouring their host.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces (p. 123)

The current lunar cycle waxing full in the first face of Leo began with a New Moon in Capricorn that brought news of the death of David Bowie.  Bowie was born with a Moon in the first face of Leo at the same degree as this Full Moon, as well as a Saturn conjoining his Moon also in the first decan of Leo.  Furthermore, David’s Moon is conjunct his descendant, meaning that his ascendant is aligned with the position of the Sun in Aquarius at the time of this Full Moon.  While Bowie’s Moon conjoining Saturn and his descendant is fitting considering how much he thrived upon collaboration with other artists and worked hard to manifest his creativity until the very end of his life, his Moon is also exemplary of the meaning Austin Coppock brought to the first face of Leo in 36 Faces.  As has been celebrated extensively this past week, Bowie was a master of creating masks through which to project his work, taking on a different public identity with each new creative departure.  However, while David Bowie achieved great public acclaim through his talent for mask making, he also became a victim entrapped by the projections of his audience.  As a result, he put his masked identities to death in the process of creating his new identities through which to manifest his art.  It has been said by those who stood close to Bowie on stage that no one else possessed his talent for controlling and directing the attention of a massive audience from stage, and many who met him in person were overwhelmed with the charisma they felt in the meeting place of his gaze.

As David Bowie has been extensively celebrated in the time leading up to this Full Moon, he serves now as a marvelous model for this Full Moon in Leo through his capacity to imagine as well as embody an extraordinary life, vision as well as manifest radical artistic creations that break free from mainstream patterns and conditioning, and direct public attention to his work through the shaping of his public masks.  With Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune and in trine to Uranus, with Mercury retrograde conjoining Pluto while in square to Uranus, and with the square from Mars in Scorpio to this Full Moon in Leo, it is also important to realize the process Bowie went through in destroying each vehicle he created for himself once it no longer aligned with what he authentically desired to create.  Similarly, this Full Moon will guide you to release any mask or persona you have developed to navigate the public sphere that no longer matches how you truly want to be.   Within the catalytic atmosphere of the aspects surrounding this Leo Full Moon, there is a fertile matrix from which to embark in a direction more attuned with the passion arising from within.

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Saturn’s Home

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Illustration for The Raven by Gustave Dore

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell

O Bacchic Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius, parent of the vine,
And of celestial Aphrodite Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand’rest thro’ the sacred feats
where hell’s dread empress, Persephone, retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone’s thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow’r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.

— Hermes Chthonian from The Orphic Hymns

Mercury Retrograde

When Mercury shifts retrograde our angelic trickster slips into his role as psychopomp, the guide of souls who can journey into the underworld and back again. On a personal level this coincides with a turn within toward awareness not as readily available when Mercury is moving direct, a process that can birth new presence and shed old habits as Mercury reemerges on the other side (Mercury will station direct on January 25 and leave the retrograde shadow zone on February 17).  Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear but rather an opening to symbolic perception that can divine messages within the darkness of our dreams as well as in the signs that appear during our sunlit daily journeying.  The Mercury retrograde that begins on January 5, 2016 initiates at the first degree of Aquarius, but spends the majority of the time in the second half of Capricorn.  Aquarius and Capricorn are both the homes of Saturn, and so this Mercury retrograde will be deeply linked with the significations we associate with that old devil, Saturn.  The link to Saturn is further intensified by Mercury crossing the South Node of Saturn while retrograde,and then returning to conjoin the South Node of Saturn again once moving direct.

Modern astrology gives the rulership of Aquarius to Uranus, and one result of this is to associate Aquarius with future-oriented, liberated forms of thought.  Yet this same meaning can be found through Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn, a place where Saturn detaches from the conditioned thought forms of consensus culture to develop systems of thought that break free from the constraints of the status quo.  Mercury free from other influences stationing retrograde in Aquarius would support reception of a message beyond self-centered subjectivity, in an objective and clarified mind frame detached from passions and able to rationalize feelings.  Yet instead the stationing of Mercury is painted in bold, impassioned colors by Mars in Scorpio forming an exact square at the time Mercury stations retrograde.  As Mars in Scorpio heats the emotional climate of Mercury stationing retrograde, our feelings could override our ability to be objective or communicate with restraint.  The eruption of cathartic feelings at the dawn of this retrograde will be borne by Mercury into our underworld for deep processing and purification.

The movement of Mercury from Aquarius back into Capricorn is united by both signs being the home of Saturn.  Mercury in the territory of Saturn can readily focus on systems and structures in our life, including rumination upon time and space.  Mercury stationing retrograde while bearing the water of Aquarius holds the promise of illumination that transcends our everyday conception of time, saturating our direct perception of the moment with lucidity.  As Mercury moves backward into Capricorn, goat horns protrude through the messenger’s head as the role of water bearer is released in order to invest fully into the surrounding material realm with its lusty nature.  In Capricorn, where Mercury spends the majority of its time this retrograde, Mercury shifts our focus toward achievement and ambition as well as the degree of determination and discipline that will be needed for manifestation.

In addition to entering the heart of the Sun while retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury will also form conjunctions with Pallas Athene and Pluto, and in fact will station direct conjoining Pluto.  Around the recent solstice Mercury was first conjunct Pallas Athene, and in the first week of its retrograde movement Mercury will again become conjunct with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  Here the creative visioning of Pallas Athene combines with the symbolic perception of Mercury retrograde for penetrating perception into the structural and systematic foundations surrounding us.  In her classic Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George wrote:

Aesthetically, Pallas Athene is very strong in Capricorn representing the ability to formulate precise structures (molds) into which raw creative energy can coalesce.  Instant manifestation is often possible and can be seen as a magical process. Here, Pallas excels in the arts of architecture, drafting, and sculpture.  Capricorn’s association with time connects Pallas Athene with the art of timing- being in the right place at the right time.  Politically, this is a defender of law and order. There is a strong power drive for authority over others in political and social institutions.  The wisdom of Pallas in Capricorn is the wisdom of order- putting things in their proper sequence (p. 105).

The Sun in Capricorn is applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries when Mercury stations retrograde, and then in the weeks ahead after Mercury passes back across the face of the Sun, Mercury will eventually come into a square with Uranus in Aries and then will station direct in conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  As a result, this Mercury retrograde activates and re-triggers the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that has been dominating our astrological landscape for the past seven years, most exactly in the past four years.  As predicted the Pluto-Uranus square has correlated with seismic shifts around our planet, and so this Mercury retrograde is profound for reflecting upon the immensity of change that has passed through our lives.  Furthermore, it’s a potent period for reorienting our plans and structures in greater harmony with the insights we receive for how our world has been altered and continues to change.

Dore_Inferno1

Illustration for Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer?
When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress?
And this heart, always the gods’ possession,
when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle
as Fate would have us believe?
Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise,
in the roots- later on- stilled?

Ah, the spectre of transience,
through the guilelessly receptive
it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving,-
the abiding Strengths assume
that the gods have some need for us.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Retrograde

Hermes is a god of boundaries, with a tradition of demarcating divisions between profane and sacred territory, between rural and urban landscapes, between the graveyards of the dead and the playgrounds of the living.  When Mercury stations retrograde, this normally swift planet gives off the appearance of putting down roots into solid stillness, and as it disappears with a flash of light at sunset there is a cosmic message transmitted.  As Mercury moves retrograde under the beams of the Sun it is not visible, and being in between our planet Earth and our fiery Sun it is symbolically considered to be journeying through our underworld.  Demetra George has connected Mercury retrograde with the work by Jungian Murray Stein on the borderline spaces we inhabit during transitions and gaps between conscious realities.  As Hermes is a god of thresholds and passages between realms, Demetra George has taught that the stationing of Mercury retrograde marks a liminal time in which we are separated from a clear sense of where we are, as Hermes guides us through a transition of an old identity dying and the emergence of a new sense of Self.

This Mercury retrograde primarily occurring in Capricorn introduces the Mercurial theme of the earth element in 2016, as the following two Mercury retrograde periods this year will also occur in the earth signs of Taurus and Virgo.  This brings to mind the unconscious symbolism of the forest as well as other oracular associations with soulful matter such as rocks, plants, and other elements of our natural world.  Capricorn is distinguished in part from the other earth signs through it being the home of Saturn, and the transiting Saturn in Sagittarius is fittingly forming some of the most significant astrological aspects during this Mercury retrograde.  Transiting Saturn being in Sagittarius colors Mercury’s time in Capricorn with a more strident, visionary vibration.  The last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that has been an intense astrological factor over the past couple of months continues to be so during this Mercury retrograde, and in fact becomes all the more dramatic with the passage of Venus triggering their dynamic.

As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is applying tightly to a square with Neptune, within minutes.  Venus is also four degrees away from Saturn in Sagittarius as Mercury stations, and as Mercury moves retrograde over the following week Venus will conjoin Saturn on January 8 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  The square between Venus and Neptune portends a crisis in our relationships, and as Venus is overcoming Neptune in the square while also approaching Saturn, the dreamy unconditional side of our feelings can be overcome by the conditions of circumstance in front of our face, what we feel are the cold hard facts of reality.  However, the square of Neptune in Pisces to Venus and Saturn combining in Sagittarius also reveals that there is a deeper and more far reaching truth to discern, such as the fact that what we are perceiving to be our reality is based more upon our current beliefs than actual reality.  While Saturn can bring up feelings of wanting to cut something off and separate, it is also true that Venus can soften up the old ringed devil for reconciliation.  At a higher potential, we can utilize these aspects during the Mercury retrograde to penetrate into our subjective feelings and perceptions and unveil a vaster conception of personal truth.

At the outset of Mercury stationing retrograde, with Mars in Scorpio in square to Mercury in Aquarius, we will want to keep in mind that disillusionment and feelings of disorientation are likely to come up in our relationships and that this amplified aspect between Mars and Mercury can erupt easily into bitter conflict.  While Mercury is in Aquarius, there is a risk that the detached side of Aquarius could combine with the fury of Mars at full force in Scorpio, resulting in explosive fights.  Yet the anger coming out in conflicts at this time has a source within, and it will be the task of this Mercury retrograde to journey within and explore the full ramifications of where these feelings are coming from.  It is important to realize that the feelings and thoughts dislodged at the beginning of this Mercury retrograde by Mars square Mercury, Venus and Saturn square Neptune among other things, is not the end of the story but merely the beginning.  Mercury will be journeying in the retrograde all the way back to unite with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there will be a vital message for us to receive about ourselves connected to the impassioned feelings provoked at the outset of this Mercury retrograde.

There is also the potential that we can rekindle passion from the Mars square in order to then harness corresponding desire to determined effort going forward.  Mercury retrograde in the home of Saturn will reward hard work and effort, and so the square from Mars to Mercury can jolt us into awareness of where we need to concentrate and work with full force.  This square between Mercury and Mars is even more intense as it is the second one to occur within the same week.  The first square in this cycle was on December 29, 2015 with Mercury at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 28° of Capricorn, and Mars at the same degree of Libra.  There is something hugely significant to find within this square between Mercury and Mars that will fuel our work in the year ahead.  Mars and Mercury will form their third square in the beginning of March 2016 with Mercury at the very end of Aquarius and Mars and the very end of Scorpio.  It may take until this later time a few months from now to fully come to terms with the work that will be involving this intense aspect between Mercury and Mars, and in the meantime we will need to persevere in the face of any daunting obstacles.

The other major astrological aspect occurring as Mercury stations retrograde is that a couple of days after Mercury stations retrograde, Jupiter in Virgo will also station retrograde closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  There is a powerful connection here with Mercury as the conjunction between Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon is occurring in Virgo. In fact, as Mercury moves retrograde into Capricorn this connection will intensify as Mercury will be receiving Jupiter through a trine.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury during this retrograde, despite some of the otherwise challenging aspects there also appears to be a confluence of forces supporting us finding a vision for our life that will bring us a fulfilling sense of purpose.  Jupiter moving retrograde also brings an inner visioning in terms of reorienting toward a more authentic personal truth.  Jupiter was previously retrograde in Leo between early December 2014 and early April 2015 if you want to contemplate events associated with the prior Jupiter retrograde.  Jupiter will remain retrograde until the beginning of May 2016, at which time it will station direct in range of an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.

mercury passing in front of the sun

Mercury Passing in Front of the Sun by Giacomo Balla (1914)

Only he who has also raised
his lyre among shadows
may find his way back
to infinite praise.

Only he who has eaten with the dead
from their stores of poppy
will never again lose
the softest chord.

And though the pool’s reflection
often blurs before us:
Know the image.

Only in the double realm
do the voices become
eternal and mild.

–Rainer Maria Rile from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury into the Sun

Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs when Mercury retrograde reaches the same zodiac degree as the Sun, and as Mercury during its retrograde is passing between our Earth and Sun, I am part of the astrological community who interprets this as being similar to a New Mercury.  This is a moment of cazimi, in which Mercury is reborn in the radiance of our solar light, regenerated and purified within the golden rays of the fiery Sun.  On a personal level, this is a moment of new conception regarding the significations of Mercury within our life, and a powerful moment within to attune to an oracular message we may receive.  In Pacific standard time, this magical Mercury moment occurs at 6:05 am on January 14, 2016, while in the Central European time zone this will occur at 3:05 pm on January 14.

Mercury and the Sun will be at 23º50′ tightly in trine with Jupiter in Virgo at 23º10′ and the true North Node of the Moon in Virgo at 23º30′.  Amazingly, the waxing crescent Moon at the moment of Mercury cazimi is at 22º30′ of Pisces, closely applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, a sextile with the Mercury and Sun conjunction, and an opposition to Jupiter in Virgo.   These aspects are remarkably suggestive of the interpretation that Dane Rudhyar gave to the Crescent Moon as fighting off the ghosts of the past, as there is an activation of past patterns of awareness at the same time we sense new choices and opportunities linked to a reborn vision of meaning.  While we may feel a pull back toward the normalcy of old patterns, we can consciously with determination propel ourselves into the unknown with faith despite the fears arising that we will not have what we need to be successful in the new direction.  The close trine between Mercury conjoining the Sun and Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon indicates that we will in fact be able to access the resources we need to successfully transition in the new, unfamiliar direction.

In addition, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be almost exactly conjunct the geocentric South Node of Saturn, and a few degrees away from a conjunction with the geocentric South Node of Pluto.  This intensifies the connection of this Mercury retrograde cycle with the full archetypal arcs of both Saturn and Pluto.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green teaches that the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto being in Capricorn symbolizes the vast shadow cast by the patriarchal paradigm that seized power from a matriarchal collective ages ago.  Mercury retrograde united with the Sun at the South Node of Saturn suggests penetrating insight into the foundation of the structural systems surrounding us will be available.  It also portends we can discern how our behavior in the moment has been conditioned by the vast history of hierarchical power structures vying for power, control, and dominance.

Finally, there are additional indications that Venus is demanding attention from us during this Mercury retrograde, and that the retrograde commencing with a tight square between Venus and Neptune is a sign that we have a deep message regarding our Venusian nature to uncover.  At the time of Mercury’s inferior conjunction, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, as well as a square with the Moon in Pisces and the South Node of the Moon.  Well, we’re always focused on Venus and looking for messages about her, right?  Nonetheless, Venus is holding aspects suggestive of being at a crossroads at the time of this Mercury inferior conjunction, and as she will be received by Jupiter it is yet another sign of the Jupiter conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo being a beacon of light leading us out of the Mercurial underworld.

Dore Gustave Inferno_Canto_1_spirit_guide

Virgil leads Dante by Gustave Dore, from the Divine Comedy

We puzzle over flower, vine-leaf, fruit.
They speak not just the language of the year.
A thing of succor rises from the dark
and its hues may gleam with the jealousy

of the dead, those who strengthen the earth.
What do we know of their share in it?
It has long been their practice to enrich
the loam with their own free marrow.

The question is: do they do it willingly? . . .
Does this fruit, a work of sullen slaves,
push through clenched to us, to their masters?

Or are they the masters, sleeping among
the roots and granting us from their profusion
this hybrid of mute strength and kisses?

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct

Mercury ultimately will station direct on January 25, 2016 at 14º55′ of Capricorn, closely conjoining Pluto at 15º54′ of Capricorn.  As Mercury appears to stand still when stationing, this means we will have an extended period of Mercury and Pluto being a degree apart (roughly January 21 – February 1, 2016).  On January 20 when the Sun ingresses into Aquarius, Mercury retrograde will also form an exact square with Uranus in Aries, and Mercury will still be in range of a square to Uranus when it finally stations direct.  There is deep reckoning to be found in this stationing direct of Mercury, much more so than normal as it is intimately bound to the influence of the Pluto-Uranus square.  This may or may not be a pleasant time depending upon your circumstances, but there is no doubt that an aspect of your ineffable soul will be available to perceive.  Whether you are able to schedule some downtime for yourself or whether you will be forced to be engaged in numerous intense activities, there is immense catharsis found in these aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct.  There is also a harmonious sextile formed between Mars in Scorpio with the stationing Mercury in Capricorn, suggesting that a level of resolution could be reached concerning whatever was stirred up by Mars being square to Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde.

Adding to the vast depth of this time is that Mercury will be stationing direct closely conjoining the geocentric South Node of Jupiter, and also a couple of degrees away from a conjunction with its own geocentric South Node of Mercury.  This is yet another potent activation of the Jupiter archetype during this Mercury retrograde, and points toward Jupiter taking on the role of a guiding shepherd.  As Mercury begins to move direct again as an explorative Morning Star, it will once again begin applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Those who have been working hard with due diligence and determination during the Mercury retrograde will be rewarded during this final period of Jupiter in Virgo receiving Mercury in Capricorn through a trine.  By willingly descending into underworld darkness during the Mercury retrograde, we will reascend nourished by a regenerated vision of life focused upon our essential fulfillment.

References

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Full Moon in Cancer

full moon chinese

Full Moon by Tao Lengyue

Cancer Full Moon

The Full Moon in Cancer on December 25, 2015 occurs on the same day that Uranus in Aries stations direct.  It is also the Full Moon that falls equidistant between Lunar Eclipses, in square to both:  the total Lunar Eclipse in Aries at 4°38′ that happened September 28, 2015 and the annular Lunar Eclipse in Libra at 3°10′ that will happen on March 23, 2016. There is as a result an electrified quality to this Full Moon that reopens past memories for reprocessing whether you are alone or in a holiday gathering.  As we grow older we realize that the story we tell about our life changes across time.  Our past is not bound in a fixed form but rather is as fluid in fluctuation as this present, passing moment.  Uranus stationing direct at this Cancer Full Moon can break us out of a perspective regarding our life we had managed to convince ourselves was an unchanging truth.  Feeling into our emotional bodies in the full light of this lunation, there is something to be found that metamorphoses our viewpoint regarding our past and our trajectory forward, a deeper quality of soul to embody within the vehicle of our body.

In our Northern Hemisphere December 25 is a day in which our Sun is beginning to increase in light, and so there is a loveliness in celebrating the return of light with a Cancer Full Moon.  Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so this Full Moon has a potent pull to draw us into our emotional body and the full range of feeling we are receiving.  The reflection of our Sun’s light by our Moon signifies our moment to moment consciousness and awareness, for in the waxing and waning lunar cycle we correspondingly experience the creation and destruction of our thoughts and emotions.  In a catalytic astrological atmosphere such as today, many are coping with their fear over the dismantling of systems they had believed to be secure by fixating on perceptions and beliefs that bring a feeling of comforting control.  This changes the nature of thoughts and feelings from being fluid into a frozen bedrock anchoring repetitive personal patterns.

Uranus is here now to strike and shatter whatever has become overly hardened and crystallized.  When Uranus stations following the Full Moon, it will be close to an exact square with Pluto in Capricorn and will reignite the issues related to the square between Pluto and Uranus that have been dominating astrology for the past seven years.  Uranus stationing direct brings content forward into conscious awareness much farther back than seven years, however, so much so that memories that feel like they have been buried for lifetimes could erupt from within.  This doesn’t mean that everything is going to change overnight in a liberating reverie of Uranus, or that everything will be transformed in a regenerative matrix of Pluto.  It does mean that this Full Moon is shining light into the deepest reaches of our ineffable darkness within, and here we may find buried treasure.

In addition to being the domicile of the Moon, Cancer is a sign signifying mothers and the womb that gave birth to all of us, family, ancestors, the vulnerability of our raw emotions, and the protective shell we utilize to shield our feelings from being wounded.  Being a Full Moon, of course this means the Sun is in the polarity place of Capricorn, the home of Saturn.   Pluto is also in the home of Saturn, and Saturn meanwhile is engaged in square with Neptune that amplifies the dissonance of the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Considering all of the associated calamity that can go with the pairs of Pluto-Uranus and Neptune-Saturn being in hard aspects, there is grace to be found through this Cancer Full Moon applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces.  Just like Uranus is shattering the structure of Pluto, Neptune has been dissolving the boundaries of Saturn, and so this Cancer Full Moon could correlate with messages from beyond appearing through the realm of family and our ancestors.

Hiroshige,_New_Year's_Eve_foxfires_at_the_changing_tree,_Oji,_1857

Hiroshige (1857) New Year’s Eve foxfires at the changing tree

There is in fact a Grand Water Trine found in this Full Moon through the Moon in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Juno conjoining the true location of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio.  The corner of this triangle held by Juno and Black Moon Lilith is rich to contemplate, a fertile field of deep emotions concerning our past and present relationships and times we have felt oppressed, misunderstood, cast out, and projected upon.  Yet this Juno, Black Moon Lilith point is also full of desire for burning, shared intimacy with a partner willing to accept us and commit to working to understand us.  As we know, the wounds of our childhood oftentimes resurface in our adult relationships and repetitive relational projections and patterns we engage in.  This Full Moon holds potential for tapping into our feelings regarding old wounds and a sense of how they impact our current relational behavior.

Uranus stationing direct in Aries holds numerous aspects activating the themes of this Grand Water Trine, as Uranus is in range of an opposition to the mean (averaged) location of Black Moon Lilith while Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to enter into range of a trine with Uranus (this Saturn-Uranus trine will become one of the major themes in 2016 eventually).  Furthermore, Mars in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus, while Mercury in Capricorn is separating from a  square with Uranus.  These aspects are all potent for activating a vital aspect of our essential nature demanding attention and actualization.  As a result, we will have strong feelings of wanting this essentiality acknowledged by others and so it will be most helpful to have creative outlets available to transmit the energy through.  If overcome by frustration of not being in a position to fully gain or express what you desire, work to find smaller scale steps and situations to get things moving.

While Mars and Mercury are both separating from hard aspects with Uranus at the time of the Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn is applying to a square with Mars in Libra that further intensifies the atmosphere with potential conflict.  While it is possible the square between Mars and Mercury will correlate with arguments and heated rhetoric, it is also an ideal aspect for initiating projects that will require hard work, focused concentration, and collaboration with others.  There may be some clashes with others to work through when going after what we desire, but this first quarter square between Mars and Mercury supports planning and developing the structures we will need to have in place to work through any difficulties that could arise.

Hiroshige_100_views_edo_107

Utagawa Hiroshige (1856) 100 Views of Edo, no. 107, part 4, Winter

There is in fact a long range vision that can be accessed at this Cancer Full Moon through a stabilizing trine between Mercury in Capricorn with the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury in Capricorn is an evening star that is in position to synthesize the extraordinary vision that can be activated through Jupiter uniting with the North Node of the Moon in the home and exaltation of Mercury.  Mercury is also now within its retrograde shadow zone, and in a couple of weeks on January 5, 2016 during the waning lunar cycle Mercury will station retrograde.   As a result of the upcoming Mercury retrograde cycle, this is the first of three trines we will experience between Mercury in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo in the next month and a half.  Pay attention to the messages you receive at this Full Moon as they can help you begin to get a sense of the new sense of meaning you can develop during this upcoming harmonious period between Mercury and Jupiter.

The supportive, stabilizing trine between Mercury and Jupiter at this Cancer Full Moon is further accentuated through both Mercury and Jupiter being in a sextile with Venus in Scorpio.  Venus in Scorpio is willing to be brutally honest if necessary to get to the bottom line dynamics of whatever relationships we are engaged with at this Full Moon, yet the harmonious sextile Venus forms with Mercury and Jupiter at this time suggests there will be a way to communicate in a manner that will facilitate our partner listening to us rather than dismissing us from a place of defensiveness.  These aspects are also supportive for going within and intuitively feeling and envisioning from a place beyond the types of consensus beliefs and morality that repress our ability to create the life we want to live.

Astrologer Jeff Green, who was born with Venus retrograde in Scorpio conjoining his ascendant, wrote in his second Pluto book that Venus in Scorpio individuals radiate an aura “analogous to the eye of the eagle,” as they are “uniquely structured to have the ability to focus on the large picture while at the same time telescopically zooming in on its point of focus” (p. 161).  If we work with what Venus in Scorpio is offering through her sextile with Mercury, Jupiter, and the North Node of the Moon, and trine with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, we can feel within our inner core all of the accumulated past wounds and desires that have created the various relationship projections we have been making, as well as discern the choices and relationships to focus on moving forward.  Venus in Scorpio can enflame intense focus on an object of desire, but also making the time to sit with and heal our past wounding will enable us to create healthier, mutually empowering relationships that will support us going after whatever is in alignment with our evolving sense of growth.

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Cancer, a decan 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 kundalini caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic energy 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, but rather on a deeper level Venus signifies the inner values and needs that source all of our relationship dynamics with others.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the Cancer I decan, 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 analyzed that we find both the nurturing mother in the first face of Cancer as well as the childless, protective figure of Artemis and the principle that as the Moon waxes she gives but as she wanes she takes away. 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):

Though thoroughly romanticized, the actual dynamic entailed herein is a mixture of hunger and sweetness.  Love and need blend together here.  Yet there is an alchemy, for the energy circulates between the two participants.  It is as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted.  It is this miracle of entwined vessels that many long for when they dream of the love that will save and strengthen them.  The possibility of this manner of union can be seen in this decan, yet success in this matter requires more than longing  (p.105).

Venus in Scorpio is in a whole sign trine to this Full Moon in Cancer, and as the Moon begins to wane through the sign of Cancer it will form an exact trine with Venus.  The more we can move away from a compulsive, Scorpio need of Venus to consume and control our relationships and open to feelings focused on understanding our relationships and supporting them with what they need for their own development, the more we can open to the potential available with this Full Moon to develop and deepen the relationships that can become mutually empowering, encouraging, and nourishing.

With Uranus stationing direct in Aries, be ready to receive sudden insight into the relationships you have engaged in across your lifetime, including with family, friends, and romantic partners, and the myriad ways in which the associated needs, desires, and issues created various relationship patterns you became attached to repeating.  With awareness and being willing to stay present with these feelings, we can create a shift away from old, outworn patterns toward new opportunities for growth seen through the sextile between Venus in Scorpio with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 (translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

References:

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

Green, Jeffrey Wolf. (2009). Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.

Sagittarius New Moon

Erte vision

Vision (1928) by Erte (Romain de Tirtoff)

New Moon in Sagittarius

The New Moon in Sagittarius on December 11, 2015 follows a catalytic Full Moon in Gemini that culminated along with an exact square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  The polarity from Gemini to Sagittarius is about synthesizing diverse Mercurial explorations into a unified vision befitting our home for Jupiter.  A Sagittarius New Moon is ideal for sensing how the current scene of our life drama fits inside an over arching narrative, and envisioning our next steps and choices with focused clarity free of extraneous distraction.  In the dismantling disorientation of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, we can sense from a deep place of knowing which desires and beliefs shedding from this moment were delusional and which will become integral threads of the chrysalis shaping our new growth.

The ruler of this New Moon is Jupiter in Virgo that is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is in a square aspect with the New Moon.   These aspects are intensified by Chiron in Pisces that is also square to the New Moon and opposite Jupiter. This is a jolt suitable for the sign of the galloping Centaur, as Sagittarius signifies speed of thought and action aimed with precise concentration.  There are many ways these powerful aspects can play out, depending upon your current circumstances.  For one, as we have witnessed a flood of dogmatic tirades, ranting, and raving in current events, many could be swept up in the undertow of ideological clashes and become lost within delusional belief systems they feel give them a sense of security and control over their life.  There could in contrast be a fertile sense of epiphany cloaked in the shocking garb of disillusionment, as sudden realizations reveal a loss of meaning concerning elements of our life while simultaneously reorienting us toward a more vibrant vision of life.  Furthermore, if we have been passionately and diligently attending to a project, course of study, relationship, or dream of one sort or another, we could experience an enlightening breakthrough that will profoundly inform our path in the coming cycle.

odilon redon charger

The Charger (1894) by Odilon Redon

The New Moon in Sagittarius is in a stabilizing aspect with the volatile t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries that has corresponded with global havoc recently.  Mars in Libra is barely separating from Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon, making it one of the most powerful aspects of the lunation, and the New Moon is in range of a sextile with Mars in Libra and a trine with Uranus in Aries.  In addition, there is a trine between the New Moon ruler Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn.  On one level, this stabilizing connection between the New Moon with these volatile transits could correspond with power grabs by both institutions already cemented in power and various forms of protest movements actively working to expose, deconstruct, and dismantle institutional structures perceived to be oppressively abusing power.  The t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries has incredible intensity that can fuel the crusading side of Sagittarius in diverse manifestations, the unifying principle being a fiery sense of righteousness that instinctively sustains focus on a target.

You may or may not remember the Lunar Eclipse in April 2014 that set off the Cardinal Cross of Mars retrograde in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Cancer- well, Mars in Libra at the time of this Sagittarius New Moon is at the same degree it was then, and Pluto in Capricorn is less than a degree away from its position in April 2014 that was also the time period of the fifth (out of seven total) exact square between Pluto and Uranus.  This link across time further amplifies the cacophonous climate and many issues and events surfacing at that past time are now fully formed and demanding our attention.  For example, in March 2014 Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea when Mars was at the beginning of its retrograde headed toward Pluto and Uranus, and today the residents of Crimea have lost the power of electricity after an attack by saboteurs and there are active efforts attempting to restore power.

Mars may be opposite its favored sign of Aries right now, but it is still Mars and so the last quarter square between Mars and Pluto we experienced this past week was full of conflict in corresponding events. Mars in Libra can be just as aggressive as in any other placement of the red planet, yet in Libra tends to be more strategic, more politically manipulative, and less direct and to the point as it is when in Aries.  Mars being opposite Uranus in Aries means that Mars is receiving the shocking force of Uranus , correlating with great potential for good and evil.  In the evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green, Mars in Libra being set off by both Pluto and Uranus could trigger themes such as learning to actualize our soul intentions through initiating relationships with people from different beliefs, values, and backgrounds, learning to expand our consciousness through understanding our reality in a new way through relationship, learning to understand ourselves in a new way through the perceptions of others in relationship, learning to balance our need for independence versus our need for interaction, learning how to balance giving and receiving on an equal basis in relationship, and learning how to understand the nature of projections we receive from others as well as the nature of the projections we make on others in relationship.

With Jupiter being in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, while ruling a Sagittarius New Moon that is mediating the opposition between Mars in Libra and Uranus in Aries, this can also be a lunar cycle to seize for liberating yourself out of past restrictions in order to make intentions for the creation of the extraordinary life you want to live.  The emphasis on Virgo means it is vital to be present and aware of surrounding details that need tending, while simultaneously weaving each small choice and act into the creation of an envisioned tapestry of meaning.

Pandora by Redon

Pandora (1914) by Odilon Redon

Venus in Scorpio is also highlighted at this New Moon, as it is in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  There is also a resonance between Venus and Mars even though they are not in aspect, as Venus is now in the home of Mars and Mars is in the home of Venus.  It is further fascinating in this context to consider that the asteroid Juno will be at the beginning of Scorpio at the time of the New Moon.  Venus in Scorpio tears the lid off social conventions and niceties to probe deeply into what others keep hidden, exposing the full range of emotions and unconscious forces underlying desires.  Venus in Scorpio will cross boundaries and be willing to engage in the taboo, yet is also an inwardly directed Venus that can be self-contained.    In our inner world at this New Moon, Venus is positioned to help us move away from consensus opinion, mainstream morality, and a need to be liked and gain the approval of others.  Venus in Scorpio can help us uncover new values from within we can then later bring forward into the collective, a bold Venus that can also be unflinching in the face of opposition.

At the time of this Sagittarius New Moon, Venus is connected to Neptune through a trine but is not connected to Saturn in a major aspect.  Meanwhile Saturn is entering into range of a trine with Uranus in Aries that will become one of the most pivotal aspects in the near future, and Saturn is co-present with the New Moon in the sign of Sagittarius.  Venus separating from a trine with Neptune means that in the darkness of this Sagittarius Moon we will have greater visceral access in our emotional and physical bodies to the galactic messages of Neptune that transcend our normal sense of boundaries we associate with Saturn.  As Sagittarius is a visionary sign, this is an opportune intention setting time to go within and listen to the ethereal murmur of Neptune.  Venus in Scorpio in trine to Neptune in Pisces can help us reorient to deep soul desires that will become a fecundating source in the coming cycle.

odilon redon celestial art

The Celestial Art (1894) by Odilon Redon

Mercury will have recently entered Capricorn at the time of the Sagittarius New Moon and will be applying to a sextile with both Neptune in Pisces and Venus in Scorpio.  Mercury is picking up speed and on the cusp of becoming visible again as an Evening Star at the time of the New Moon, and so is auspiciously aligned to support us accessing a significant message connected with the trine between Venus and Neptune.  As Mercury re-emerges at sunset with a message in its Evening Star phase, while also being in the home of Saturn, we are supported in synthesizing meaning out of the past period of time and creating mental structures to organize and more effectively communicate the knowledge gained from recent experiences.  Mercury in Capricorn is inwardly directed and discerning, focused upon initiating new projects and work on the material plane.  In the context of this Sagittarius New Moon, Mercury here is in a beautiful position for not only intention setting but disciplined follow through.

Significantly, on account of the upcoming retrograde Mercury will be in Capricorn from now until February 13, 2015 except for a week in the beginning of January when it stations retrograde at the first degree of Aquarius.  From the traditional perspective that Aquarius is also the home of Saturn, we can extend this period to say that Mercury will be in the home of Saturn from now through the beginning of March 2016.  In the context of the waning square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, this means that Mercury will be operating more so on the side of Saturn and facilitating a restructuring of our mental framework and belief system.  This can be supportive for Mercury, as Mercury can handle the influence of Saturn and direct it toward studious research and determined, persevering effort.  With Mercury spending so long in the home of Saturn, if we can avoid the delusional influence of Neptune and open to the transcendent inspirational influence of Neptune we can experience profound learning and acquisition of knowledge.

As the Sagittarius New Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Cancer that will culminate on December 25, Mercury will form a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then a square to Uranus in Aries, setting off the Pluto and Uranus square again.  At the time of the upcoming Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will be applying to a trine with Jupiter in Virgo and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo. This means that Mercury will be one of the most pivotal players in this upcoming lunar cycle, even more so as it will coincide with Mercury entering into its retrograde shadow zone.  While in the outer world the rhetorical wars and military wars will continue, on inner levels we can experience a throwing off of outworn beliefs and attitudes while simultaneously connecting us with new information and opportunities supporting our evolving growth forward.

wands09

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Sagittarius, associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, and ruled by the Moon.  The Moon ruling this face can give us a greater degree of agency and focus in the darkness of this Sagittarius New Moon.  When we contemplate the image of the Nine of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck,  we can sense the wounded yet determined stance of a warrior who will defend himself and his territory at all costs.  In this image the bandaged head suggests survival of heated conflict, yet the fierce look in the eyes reveals unwavering resilience.  Tarot author Kelsey Lynore explored this theme regarding the card in expanded terms on her Tarot Nook blog:

Although the Rider-Waite image captures the pain, opposition, and isolation that can sometimes accompany this card, the traditional image is really only one possible manifestation of the energy that the 9 of Wands describes. Another possible manifestation is travel and movement — of the hiking, rock climbing, or pioneering variety. You’ll have nothing left by the end, but you’ll also be in completely new territory. Thus, it’s worth the struggle.

Psychologically, this card resembles an almost-too-long climb. The only danger is that the querent will give up; and giving up is the only way that the querent will not meet their desired destination. The closer one gets, however, the harder it is to continue.

As such, the “battle” that the 9 of Wands indicates is much more a war with the self and its limitations than a war with others. Of course, the limits of the self are revealed by way of brute exterior opposition, but like a distance that must be crossed, it doesn’t necessarily have intent.

— Kelsey Lynore

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, as “the assault of contrary forces” suggested by the bandaged figure in the 9 of Wands card “produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose” (p. 198).  Coppock wrote:

The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will.  There is no hero without a nemesis.

. . . There is a dignity to the alchemical generation of strength which takes place in this decan. Yet while its fruits are virtuous, they are not moral, for naught guarantees that the great strength generated be put to a noble cause.  The figures that result from this process are ruthless, bold and of undivided will, for they have triumphed over their antagonists.  Yet it is important for those who reside within this decan to recognize that not all that is contrary to their will should be met with fierce resistance.  This face represents a formula for strength in the face of opposition, yet many circumstances do not demand, nor reward, such a response.  Those possessed of this decan’s formula must also learn when to yield in order to gain mastery.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, pages 198 and 200

This New Moon in Sagittarius is thus sublime for sustaining concentration no matter what challenges and obstacles are before us, and for cultivating the persistence to continue our desired work without giving up.  Yet in the astrological atmosphere of Saturn in square to Neptune, Mars in opposition to Uranus and in square to Pluto, and a global environment full of volatile conflict, we will not be able to have control over everything and as a result will need to flow with the currents and be open to modifying plans in order to reach our desired destination.  If we have hurt feelings of frustration overwhelming us because of desires seeming too far out of reach, it will be important to find sources of inspiration in our daily struggles and to use the pain as motivation to persevere toward our long-range vision while maintaining integrity.  This is a time in which our blazing heart can help shine a light into a darkness of fear and anxiety that has overcome many.  In the dark fertility of this New Moon, we can vivify hope and faith from within that the cherished desires we are setting intentions for will manifest.

 

References

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

Gemini Full Moon

scott young FirstExperience

First Experience by Scott Young (2015)

Full Moon in Gemini

The Full Moon in Gemini on November 25, 2015 catalyzes the crescendo of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that becomes exact in its intensity on the following day.  There are numerous aspects at the time of this Gemini Full Moon signifying tumultuous change:  the Gemini Moon is square to Neptune and opposite Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun, while Venus in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Libra is applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, Jupiter in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Chiron and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  With the Moon fully illuminated in the sign of Gemini, our minds will be charged with new connections and thoughts that metamorphose pre-existing beliefs and conceptual frameworks regarding reality.

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, as the two brightest stars of the constellation are named after Castor and Pollux in Greek myth, one of two sets of twins Leda gave birth to after Zeus mated with her as a swan.  One set of twins is male (Castor and Pollux) and one set is female (Helen and Clytemnestra), yet each set also has the unique characteristic of containing one divine twin descended from Zeus (Pollux and Helen), and one mortal twin descended from the human monarch Tyndareus (Castor and Clytemnestra).  Gemini as a result holds a sense of having a divine twin, a twin soulmate other, a soul presence we desire to more fully embody, and a sense of having contrasting selves within.  Gemini is an archetype of dyads through which our minds construct meaning in the creation and commerce of language and abstract systems of thought.  Within this binary, dualistic awareness of Gemini on a deeper level, is also the concept made famous by Carl Jung that what we call God, Goddess, Gods, or Spirit is not only the source of the good and beautiful but also the source of evil.  This leads further to the awareness that within each of us we can find both the potential of our highest good  and love, as well as the potential to create horrible acts from a place of evil or disregard for life.

We can choose to act from love and heart-centeredness.  We can choose to put our passion into collaborative efforts to bridge community and meet the needs of others.  We can choose to explore our depths of darkness within, so as to refrain from projecting upon others what we are in denial about regarding ourselves.  Yet when the global collective erupts in war and conflict, when bombs drop from the sky and terrorists rain bloodshed from the earth, we can feel the paradox of cherishing our life and loved ones while simultaneously falling into waves of disillusionment and depression regarding the senseless stupidity of humanity.  A Full Moon in Gemini unveils the power of our mind to create works of anything imaginable, from arts that inspire love and healing, to arts that inspire fear and wounding.

Mercury is the ruler of the Full Moon far from home in the sign of Sagittarius.  Not only is Mercury estranged in Sagittarius, being opposite it’s domicile of Gemini, it is furthermore combust the Sun and separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Full Moon.  Mercury in Sagittarius is also applying very widely to a square with Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury being in the sign of Jupiter while Jupiter is in the sign of Mercury, means that there is a more unpredictable element at work regarding the way we create meaning out of our experiences.   Mercury’s recent union with Saturn in Sagittarius could have led to disciplined study or other methods of expanding our mental awareness or philosophical understanding, yet it also could have led to further fixation on dogmatic beliefs entrenched in systems of thought that lack grounding in the flux of the moment.   We are at a moment in which a fruitful reorientation of our vision and ability to discover meaning in life could occur, yet to receive this potential wisdom we must be open to releasing our attachment to old conditioned thought forms that are now getting in the way of us opening to the new insight available.

scott young Waitingwithangel

Waiting With Angel by Scott Young (2015)

In addition to the importance Mercury plays with a Full Moon in Gemini, Mercury is also important to consider as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo.    Mercury in Sagittarius  by itself is fast, fiery, philosophical, and can take leaps of thought aligned with belief that may disregard other approaches to the situation.  Yet Mercury in Sagittarius is freshly separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius that could have cooled the heels of the fleet footed messenger enough to slow down thoughts and engage in the Virgo nodal mission of discerning new inner insights and areas of our life that require focus and problem solving.  In the midst of the great destruction occurring in our global collective at this Full Moon, there is enormous potential for new creation infused with integrity.   Our birth process is now occurring in a chaotic climate of sharply shifting astrological tides, yet through Mercurial focus we can make multitudinous connections of meaning that fully flesh out the essence of what we are manifesting.  If it seems the mental energy is too overwhelming, make the space for practices that put you in your body, bring you into nature, and ground your sense of inner rootedness.

As Mercury is also separating from a square with Neptune in Pisces, there is a message being fully illuminated at this lunation concerning the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune that will be dominating the astrological atmosphere in the year ahead.  If we are wiling to shed identification with past attachments now causing disillusionment, we can more readily open to the sources that will be supporting our burgeoning identity.  As things may not be going exactly according to prior plans, it is vital to remain open to possibilities rather than closing oneself off due to frustration or fear.  The shadow side of this aspect can be witnessed in the overabundance of violent rhetoric based in fear and exclusion being proliferated on the world media stage today, as many are communicating from a tight Saturnine grip on dogmatic beliefs in the face of the unknown.  A historical example is that the Salem Witch Trials took place during a transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, and we can notice similar strands of religious persecution and projection going on today that lacks grounding in objective analysis.  In many ways it is now easier than normal to notice the interplay of belief systems and personal expression and reaction in those surrounding you.

It is important to remember that while atrocities based upon belief systems were committed during the Salem Witch Trials, it also ultimately led to massive disillusionment and revelations regarding the ignorance of those in power who are lost in religious illusions.  Similarly, there are countless power structures in conflict today that are mired in ignorant dogmatism, further perpetuated by a corrupt media.  In the end the horrors of this time will be fueling a mass break down and reorientation of belief around the world, hopefully in the direction of ultimate understanding signified by Neptune in Pisces rather than misunderstanding sourced from escapist illusions, delusions, and addictions of one sort or another.  However, in the moment we are only at the beginning of entering into the tumult that will coincide with this catalytic aspect between Saturn and Neptune, bringing up initial crises we will be sorting out over the next year.  On personal inner levels we can reorient in accordance with our essential truth, yet in our interactions in our collective we must be ready to navigate volatile conflicts over competing ideologies.

Full Moon in Gemini

Svanen (1914) by Hilma af Klint

A harmonious and stabilizing aspect involved with the Moon waxing full is a Grand Air Trine that will form between the Moon in Gemini, Mars in Libra, and Ceres in Aquarius.  Ceres in Aquarius is a nurturing force on behalf of individuation and humanitarian concerns in a positive sense, while her shadow side involves cold fixation on past beliefs behind a wall of separation from the needs of those in the surrounding environment.  To me, how our consciousness responds to this air trine between the Moon, Mars, and Ceres depends to a large extent on which of these sides of Ceres we are coming from.  If our sense of Ceres is opening us to de-condition from cultural forces attempting to manipulate us toward selfish greed and grasping for power that harms life, Mars in Libra can be on the side of social justice and meeting the needs of others, and the Gemini Moon can break us out of past rigidity of thinking through insightful connections.

Mars in Libra is not only in trine to the Gemini Full Moon, but also sextile to Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun and applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn. Mars is also co-present with Venus in the sign of Libra and in coming weeks will be coming into an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Libra can coincide with unpredictability and coercive manipulation in mundane affairs, but on a personal level it could spark desires to improve and expand our relationships and social connections.  As Mars comes into a last quarter square with Pluto, it will amplify the already tumultuous environment triggered by Saturn and Neptune also being in a last quarter square.  The growth offered by this tension can come from reorienting our relational dynamics within our partnerships and society so that our own needs will be better met on the one hand, and we can realize where we have been neglecting the needs of others on the other hand.  This is a time to confront our past beliefs regarding relationships and discover which aspects are illusions that need to be released now so that we can more readily create the life we want going forward.

Further increasing our capacity to liberate ourselves from past relationship beliefs is a Venus in Libra that is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon.  Venus is also applying to a conjunction with Juno and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Libra, meaning that there are essential aspects of our relationship needs to now discover and actualize that we may have formerly felt judgment over.  It is likely that Venus in Libra will dislodge something significant as her opposition with Uranus perfected with the waxing Moon in the days leading up to this Full Moon.  The Full Moon is as a result illuminating the aftershocks of Venus opposite Uranus, and since Venus is at home in her beloved sign of Libra there is potential for important insight into our relationships no matter how challenging recent experiences may have been.  Venus opposite Uranus can strike like lightning, so if we have recently taken a leap without much forethought allow this Full Moon to give you a sense of whether or not any impulsive choices appear to be harmonious or not with your well-being.

Gemini I Decan

8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini I Decan

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini where the Full Moon occurs, a decan associated with the 8 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  It is one of the most intense images of the Rider-Waite deck, and at first glance it may seem difficult to link the bound and terrorized feeling of the image to either Jupiter or Gemini.  Yet when we realize that Jupiter signifies vision and the meaning gathered from experience, and Gemini is connected with the power of our mind to help shape reality, we can sense here the suffocating shadow cast by trauma.  Traumatic experiences such as being a victim of abuse or any form of oppression can envelope us in paralysis and hopelessness.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore interpreted this card as a frozen mental state that eclipses “one’s very sense of free agency and self,” leading to the vital importance of not blaming the victim:

When you pull this card, it is most important to exit that fictive Karmic loop of cause and effect, of blame, of the notion of an economy on pain . . . You may feel persecuted, flawed, or exiled. But feelings are not the measure of reality nor, for that matter, do they indicate what you will feel tomorrow. You will survive this, and if you transmute it properly, you stand to be a force of great healing and compassion in the lives of others… for victimization sometimes happens, with no reason, no rhyme, and no warning. Don’t blame yourself in an attempt to retain the illusion of mastery. Forgive yourself and let yourself open to your own vulnerability. In doing so, you will slowly open up to others, yet again. It’s OK.

— Kelsey Lynore, The Tarot Nook

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, symbolizing the explosion of awareness that struck Eve when she bit into the ripe apple born from the earth.  In contrast to the nightmarish image of the 8 of Swords card, Coppock wrote that traditional images for this decan display “the full power of the mind” including abstract thought, mathematics and the sciences, magic, and the art of the scribe and the seamstress (p. 87).  Coppock found a link between the static found in the 8 of Swords card and the first decan of Gemini in the power of the mind to both enliven as well as immobilize, as seekers of this face can become paralyzed by the overwhelming amount of information available in the world that is ultimately impossible to fully process:

The division of the world and the naming of its parts in this decan generates all arts, crafts and sciences, and gives rise to a bewildering profusion of selves.  It is therefore a face of tremendous curiosity and intelligence.  Within it lies the power to discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities.  It provides clever methods and opens numerous pathways, yet this very profusion de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.

–Austin Coppock (p. 87)

Jupiter, the ruler of this decan, is now in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Jupiter is at the same time the traditional ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Since Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon are both in the sign of Mercury, it is important to consider that their ruler Mercury is residing in Sagittarius, the sign of Jupiter.  Furthermore, in the waning cycle of this Gemini Full Moon we will experience Mercury becoming an Evening Star that enters into a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  All together, these astrological placements further increase the likelihood of feeling a pull to expand our knowledge and assimilation of information, while also risking a feeling of paralysis over biting off far more than our mind can fully process, integrate, and express with understanding.

If we can keep ourselves open and curious, making the space to get out of our minds and back in our bodies when mental frequencies become too intense, there is also a huge opportunity presented by these transits for fundamental change in our ability to find meaning in our life and live in accordance with an authentic vision of values.  Yes, we are going to need to deal with incredible conflict, discord, and destruction in our surroundings, but out of this falling apart a more enriching vision for our lives may arise.  This doesn’t mean things will be easy at all, and in fact we need to be ready to confront many difficulties and obstacles, grieving losses and consoling others.  Nonetheless, these astrological aspects suggest that important meaning can be found in the difficult experiences of this time.  May we share the love and light we discover within with those around us.

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

  • Mercury stations retrograde at 15°55′ Libra on September 17, 2015
  • Mercury unites with Sun at 7°07′  Libra on September 30, 2015
  • Mercury stations direct at 0°54′ Libra on October 9, 2015
  • Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow zone on October 26, 2015

The transit of Mercury retrograde in Libra beginning September 17 opens a doorway within the vivifying void of eclipses, as we will be in between the Solar Eclipse of September 13 and the Lunar Eclipse of September 27.  While Mercury retrogrades are always liminal in quality, the influence of eclipses on the commencement of this retrograde evokes entrance through a magic portal that mysteriously redefines and redirects.  Mercury stations retrograde simultaneously with two other impactful transits, as about eleven hours before Mercury stations there will be an exact opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and about nine hours after Mercury stations, Saturn will ingress into Sagittarius.  Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Sagittarius will be dominant players in the upcoming astrological atmosphere saturated with the deep shifting of Mutable signs. Our move into the preponderance of Mutable signs will create an air of adjustment to the ensuing disorientation, and so it is here that Mercury retrograde arrives.  Since this Mercury retrograde is occurring in Libra, the sign of Scales and the domicile of Venus, an atmosphere of relational recalibration will occur on both inner and outer levels.  In collective events of tension and trauma such as the refugee crisis in Europe, we will witness raised levels of rhetoric and reaction with participants coming back and forth from extreme positions of opposition.  Perhaps there is none other than Mercury more up to the task of guiding us to find a middle way of solutions in response.

The journey of Mercury around the Sun is important to pay attention to, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth never gets too far ahead of the Sun as an evening star, returning three times every year during its retrograde to reunite and regenerate within the purifying solar rays.  Karl Kerenyi in Hermes: Guide of Souls ascribed “belonging to the journey” and being “by the road” as part of the essential nature of Hermes, who is “constantly underway” in motion at all times (p. 33).  Kerenyi wrote that any “journeyer” connected with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world” (p. 32).  When Mercury stations retrograde, it marks the time period in which Mercury disappears as an evening star with a flash of light, descending from our view into the invisibility of the underworld.  The underworld passage of Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear, but rather a world to fully enter and embrace for the treasures found within its depths.  There are already innumerable issues occurring that are creating fear, and these have nothing to do with this Mercury retrograde causing them.

Mercury is the divine messenger who weaves the golden rays of the Sun into the words and other forms of communication we express ourselves through, a soulful guide through which our consciousness discerns meaning from phenomenal reality.  The constant variation of Mercury’s synodic cycle influences how we evaluate our experiences, and so during the retrograde when Mercury symbolically descends into the underworld we can more readily access alternate forms of perception resonant with the intuitive meaning found in symbols, signs, omens, and dreams.  Mercury retrograde as a result becomes a time we can seize to turn within and ruminate on the nature of our experiences since the previous Mercury retrograde (Mercury last stationed direct at 4°34′ Gemini on June 11, 2015).  Mercury moving in a radically different motion from our perspective also coincides with radical changes in thought, and we can use this Mercurial phenomenon to directly respond to life less attached to the previous habitual patterns of mind.

This retrograde occurring entirely in the sign of Libra means that Mercury will be residing in the house of Venus, and so we will be able to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror of Aphrodite as well as use Venusian mirrors to alter our appearance to others.  It also means that as Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence” (p. 43), “finding and thieving in the realm of love are also Hermetic traits” (p. 48).  Hermes was born from a secret love affair between Zeus and Maia, and as shown in the Homeric Hymn and the Odyssey, Hermes felt no shame singing about his divinely deceitful origins or loudly proclaiming that he would also love to “bed that golden Aphrodite” when she was discovered in her affair with Ares.  I am not sharing these references to suggest anyone enter into an extramarital affair during this Mercury retrograde, only that we will be overcome at times with eros and that within our impassioned embraces we will enter the magical world of Mercury:

Journeying is the best condition for loving.  The gorges over which the “volatized one” passes like a ghost can be the abysses of unbelievable love affairs-  Circe and Calypso islands and holes; they can be abysses also in the sense that there no chance exists for standing on firm ground, but only for further floating between life and death.

–Karl Kerenyi from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury’s capacity to travel the extents of both the upper and underworld brings the association of being a psychopomp or guide of souls, the wily thief and shepherd who carries a golden staff that can lull others into trance states as well as startle wide awake.  During Mercury retrograde it is as if the wave of Hermes’ wand takes us into a realm of perception counter to the dominant narrative of how one’s awareness is expected to operate.  Gleaning wisdom from Mercury retrograde is like embracing the “mythological treasure” described by Peter Kingsley in his book Reality:  “the invaluable object that has been lost and misused and has to be rediscovered at all costs” (p. 21).  The gifts we can most readily receive from Mercury retrograde are not always the kind valued by consensus culture:  the illuminated thought received while watching the flight of birds or the flight of leaves falling from trees, or the mysterious meanderings of a creative process that does not provide immediate gratification or reward.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Revolving Doors (1926) by Man Ray

 Enantiodromia

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality.  The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state.  Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow.  There is an inherent restoration of balance to our system that results that is not unlike the astrological meaning we can find in Libra, the sign of the Scales.

In astrology Mercury has been defined clearly across centuries, yet delights in defying definitions as it has been known to identify as both masculine and feminine, nocturnal and diurnal, capable of mutating identity in acclimation to its surrounding environment. Mercury retrograde in Libra beckons a re-examination of the Scales, the concept of finding balance that necessitates extremes, tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. The awareness we can access in Mercury retrograde can help us transcend rigid parameters of duality through swinging wildly at times between extremes of perception, experiencing extremities of oppositions in a continual process of re-balancing. As this Mercury retrograde occurs during the final days of the lunar nodes being in Aries and Libra, one realm of extremes we will experience will be our desires for independence and self-empowerment in tandem with our desires for relationship and mutual sharing.  Since the Mercury retrograde begins with Jupiter in Virgo exactly opposite Neptune in Pisces, the extremes of vision we can find between Virgo and Pisces, between skepticism and inspiration, between reductionism and holism, will also come up in a process in which we will be redefining our belief system.

As Mercury stations retrograde in opposition to Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn, the stationing Mercury will dig into our core and a morphing from one extreme to another could result from what was formerly repressed entering conscious awareness.  This Libra Mercury retrograde bridges Uranus and Pluto more intensely together than they have been recently, and so corresponding contrariness could involve strong impulses for liberation and emancipation in the face of judgmental shaming or oppression, or strivings for a freedom from restraints coming up with a need to take responsibility within boundaries.  The opposition between Mercury in Libra and Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn creates a t-square in which the missing point is found in Cancer, which means our issues around emotional insecurity and security will be important triggers.

The influence of the North Node of the Moon being in Libra is further amplified not only because this Mercury retrograde occurs entirely in Libra, but also because at the time that Mercury stations, Juno will be in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct the North Node of the Moon. Juno here in Libra makes our desires for relationship all the more soulful and procreative, drawing feelings to work through difficulties that have arisen in the relationships that resonate with our deepest longings.  As Juno is also a protector of those abused or victimized in relationship, her meaning in combination with the fiercely independent Black Moon Lilith and the Lunar North Node means that those being victimized at extremes in relationship can experience a sudden shift that impels them to leave for good.

Black Moon Lilith also brings added meaning that aspects of our essential nature that we have formerly not integrated into our relationships will now demand attention with the swift force of enantiodromia.  In the Libra realm of balance and counterweight, Black Moon Lilith is a fascinating calculated point in space that serves as a point of balance in terms of the Moon’s orbit.  Indeed, the true node of Black Moon Lilith is even called the “oscillating” Black Moon Lilith, and by name association both the “true” and “mean” calculations of the point have taken on the mythological meaning of Lilith.  Here we find the exiled and the estranged, but like one who must runaway from one’s home environment for safety as well as to find one’s true joy, the issues of Black Moon Lilith are necessary challenges for us to face in our healing and empowerment.  If we have been coping with certain issues at an extreme of perception, the other side holding an important perspective for us to embrace will flood our awareness.

Along these lines, the beginning period of Mercury’s retrograde seems to hold a powerful moment of integration from the previous Venus retrograde, as Venus is direct while still within her retrograde shadow zone, and is receiving the stationing Mercury in Libra through a sextile.  As Mercury begins to move backward into the initial phase of its retrograde motion, Venus will continue moving forward through Leo in the degrees of its retrograde shadow zone, resurrecting the issues from this past Venus retrograde for us to readdress.  If you have important placements or aspects in the second half of Leo, this Mercury retrograde time period will be your third opportunity to experience the transit of Venus there.  The third time will be the charm in the sense that the issues needing to be addressed will now be crystal clear if you have been paying attention, and the magical thinking of Mercury retrograde could bring a new perspective to the situation previously unthought.

Mercury Inferior Conjunction in Libra

Man Ray (1922) Rayograph

Cazimi

The initial phase of the Mercury retrograde begins on September 17 and extends until September 30, 2015 when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction.  The union of Mercury with the Sun during its retrograde descriptively is similar to an interior conjunction, as it is the conjunction of Mercury with the Sun that happens when Mercury is between us on Earth and our Sun.  As a result this is a powerful moment of conception, likened to a New Mercury for us to set intention with in accord. To the ancients this is the time of Mercury being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, the moment when Mercury is reborn with purifying vivification by the rays of solar light.  When Mercury and the Sun are cazimi at eight degrees of Libra, Juno and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct a few degrees away- this makes themes related to Juno and Black Moon Lilith absolutely vital to a new conception of Mercury we create at this time.  There is also an opposition of Vesta in Aries to Juno and Black Moon Lilith that brings a counterpoint of wanting independent focus on needs not being met in relationships.  Vesta is also retrograde, signifying a strong inner urge of devotion operating independent of our outer relationships.  The Vesta opposition to Juno and Black Moon Lilith is further emphasized by its alignment with a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a couple of days before Mercury becomes cazimi.

Convictions, beliefs, opinions,

certainties, principles,

rules and habits have abandoned me.

I woke up naked at the edge of a civilization

which seemed to me comic and incomprehensible.

— from After by Czeslaw Milosz

The period around the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury is a time of incubation, and so it is interesting that we will be experiencing the initial return of Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously.  Whatever house Sagittarius rules in your birth chart is important to reflect upon at this time as you will experience a sudden jolt of the associated issues arising in your life.  The jolting pace of the half human half horse Centaur found in the symbol of Sagittarius is another theme that we will need to address through Mercury retrograde in Libra, as Sagittarius thrives on swiftness and taking off in new directions.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter that is in the Virgo sign of Mercury, it means that the shifting relational perspectives we experience during this Mercury retrograde are deeply rooted to the changes that will occur with Saturn re-entering the sign of Sagittarius.  We can open to the gifts of Sagittarius by opening perception to the unknown without preconceived assumptions, discerning directly in the moment as much as possible.

It was a riverside meadow, lush, from before the hay harvest,

On an immaculate day in the sun of June.

I searched for it, found it, recognized it.

Grasses and flowers grew there familiar in my childhood.

With half-closed eyelids I absorbed luminescence.

And the scent garnered me, all knowing ceased.

Suddenly I felt I was disappearing and weeping with joy.

— A Meadow by Czeslaw Milosz

A further link between this Mercury retrograde in Libra and the previous Venus retrograde in Leo is at the time that Mercury has its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on September 30, Venus will be in range of the same degree at which it had its own Inferior Conjunction with the Sun back on August 15, 2015.  As a result this is a magic portal moment in which our new conception of Mercury arises at the same time we are re-awakened to our new conception of Venus that happened over a month ago.  As we enter this New Mercury phase we release our old thought forms in preparation for the envisioning of the new.  Any deep soul desires we have been resisting could erupt with volatility at this time, as there is an incredibly transformative astrological climate surrounding the build up to this New Mercury:  Pluto will station direct in Capricorn six days before it, and there will be a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a few days before Mercury enters the heart of the Sun.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1926) The Meeting

Oracular Meetings

“The diverse shall be no less diverse, but they shall flow and unite . . . .

they unite now.”

∼ Walt Whitman from [The Sleepers] in Leaves of Grass

Beginning October 1, Mercury will shift into the final phase of its underworld journey that lasts until October 9 when Mercury stations direct as a Morning Star.  There are a number of important astrology aspects occurring during this period, and the sign of Virgo that Mercury calls its home is highlighted.  For one, Venus will have re-entered Virgo and will only be a couple of minutes away from leaving her retrograde shadow zone at the moment Mercury stations direct.  As Mercury stations Venus will also be applying closely to a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This final week of Mercury’s retrograde motion thus holds a powerful ingress of Venus from the solar sign of Leo into the Mercurial sign of Virgo, a transition symbolized for many by the form of the half maiden half lioness Sphinx.  With Saturn in Sagittarius awaiting Venus here, there is a demand for us to catalyze and activate all of the changes that have been stirred up during the long Venus retrograde journey from the beginning of Virgo to the heart of Leo and back again.  As soon as Venus enters Virgo, she is welcomed by a delighted Mercury into his hermetic home.  Venus traditionally has been classified as being in its fall in Virgo, and so with Mercury already in retrograde in Libra this can be a profound falling into our inner realm for transformative realization.

In addition, there will be an opposition between Mars in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces that occurs leading up to the stationing of Mercury, bringing the boundlessness of Neptune in opposition to Mars in the home of Mercury.  Mars in Virgo utilizes Mercurial facilities to focus on the details of our surrounding environment to accomplish work.  In the Virgo capacity to refine and develop techniques and tools, Mars necessarily needs to separate this from that in order to find the necessary focus for desired growth.  In the face of Neptune, the invisible realm opens around Mars in Virgo, evoking mystical, mysterious desires and experiences.  As e.e. cummings once wrote, “love is a deeper season than reason,” and with Mercury retrograde in Libra during this Mars and Neptune opposition we will know this beyond rational comprehension in one way or another.

By the time we get to Mercury stationing direct, Mars will be further conjunct the Moon in Virgo and applying closely to a conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo.  The Moon in the sign of Mercury therefore will be bringing the spirit of Neptune opposite Mars into its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo as Mercury stands still in the sign of the Scales.  This seems like a time of inner epiphanies such as the macrocosm the poet Walt Whitman described through the microcosm of the leaves of grass before him. With Neptune in Pisces activated so strongly with Venus, Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter all essentially in an opposite area of the zodiac, and Saturn having now entered Sagittarius to begin to initiate its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune, there is an amplified otherworldly quality to the approach of Mercury retrograde into the heart of the Sun.  This does not spell disaster for our dearest dreams, but rather asks us to open ourselves to the boundless quality of our vision as well as the pragmatic work needed for successful manifestation.  At the time of Mercury uniting with the Sun, however, it will be most effective to enjoy the timeless quality of the moment that transcends reasoned defining:

what time is it? it is by every star
a different time, and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

-nor all their times encompass me and you:

when are we never, but forever now
(hosts of eternity; not guests of seem)
believe me, dear, clocks have enough to do

without confusing timelessness and time.

Time cannot children, poets, lovers tell-
measure imagine, mystery, a kiss
-not though mankind would rather know than feel;

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our) merely to undie

— e.e. cummings

At the time that Mercury is stationing direct, it is phasis which means in this case it makes its first appearance in our morning sky after having been invisible during the retrograde.  This means that Mercury will be emerging from “under the beams” of the Sun, which generally means it is moving beyond fifteen degrees from the Sun, and our ancients saw this re-appearance in the sky as signifying a vital message.  In a recent episode of the Hermetic Astrology Podcast, Gary Caton used the term “oracular” in tandem with the  “appearance that speaks” made by Jupiter recently emerging from under the beams of the Sun in Virgo.  Oracles have strong association with Mercury, as Hermes was given an oracle from Apollo found under the cliffs of Mount Parnassus on Delphi, driven by three sisters of Fates who feed on honey.  At this oracular phase of its retrograde journey, Mercury will no longer be invisible and will emerge with a flash of light at dawn as a Morning Star. At this moment Mercury will be closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, in addition to Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter lined up together in Virgo. Wherever we are, whatever is happening for us at this time will be saturated with the delightful, curious, mischievous, erotic presence of Mercury, and the message transmitted being so closely aligned with the North Node of the Moon means there is an essential and necessary push forward in growth for us to experience in relationship.

Mercury in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Morning Star

Following Mercury stationing direct on October 9, Mercury as a Morning Star will no longer be retrograde in motion but will remain in the retrograde shadow zone until October 26.  Demetra George has compared this phase of Mercury’s journey as being similar to Mercury in Gemini, in contrast to her viewpoint that Mercury’s retrograde motion makes it similar to Mercury in Pisces.  At this point Mercury goes through an identity shift that leaves the magical, symbolic, subjectively intuitive mode of the retrograde behind, and transitions into a mindset eager to learn multiple new things with a sense of adventure toward the future.  Mercury in this phase as Morning Star is the friendly, fleet footed messenger who stimulates thoughts, connections, and conversations everywhere travelled.  Mercury with a flash of light heralding sunrise appears as we wake up from the dream world, guiding our thoughts through the haze of morning toward the objectives we need to focus on in the light of day.  This Promethean role of foresight will be played with full aplomb by the clever Mercury in the weeks ahead.

During this phase of Mercury direct and beginning to gain in speed again, Venus finally moves beyond her retrograde shadow zone and glides through the sign of Virgo making a series of crucial aspects.  First, immediately following Mercury stationing direct Venus will square Saturn in Sagittarius on October 10.  Less than a week later, Venus will oppose Neptune in Pisces on October 16,  and then on October 25 when Mercury is emerging from its retrograde shadow zone, Venus will conjunct Jupiter for the third time this year in Virgo.  Meanwhile, Mars in Virgo will also conjunct Jupiter on October 16 at the same time Venus is opposing Neptune, and day by day as we approach the end of October Venus will be getting closer and closer to Mars in Virgo.

Thus as we exit the Mercury retrograde shadow zone, with Mercury direct in Libra, the passions of our relationships will continue to be stirred up as Mercury moves through the sign of Venus and Venus heads for her eventual union with Mars in the sign of Mercury on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  The combination of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo in this period, purified from the recent retrogrades of both Venus and Mercury, will be a very different affair than the unions of Venus with Jupiter and then Mars that occurred in Leo earlier in the year.  It seems the more we let this Mercury retrograde in Libra lead us where life takes us, knowing that our travels astray will ultimately return us to center again, the more the full range of our experiences can inform this late October, early November timeframe where it appears important work can be crafted from within our mind.  This Mercury retrograde in Libra can help us discover the inner truth that will source our later works to come.

life is more true than reason will deceive
(more secret or than madness did reveal)
deeper is life than lose:higher than have
-but beauty is more each than living’s all

multiplied with infinity sans if
the mightiest meditations of mankind
cancelled are by one merely opening leaf
(beyond whose nearness there is no beyond)

or does some littler bird than eyes can learn
look up to silence and completely sing?
futures are obsolete;pasts are unborn
(here less than nothing’s more than everything)

death, as men call him, ends what they call men
-but beauty is more now than dying’s when

— e.e. cummings

References

cummings, e.e. (1994). Selected Poems. Liveright.

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2011). Selected and Last Poems, 1931-2004. HarperCollins.

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.

Full Moon in Capricorn

Full Moon in Capricorn

Gold coin from India dated A.D. 1621–22, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Full Moon in Capricorn

Cancer and Capricorn are signs of solstices, peak times of birth and maturation, stages of intentional visioning and full illumination.   This Full Moon in Capricorn is the first full lunation since the solstice, and holds a thread to the previous season as it is square to the Libra Lunar Eclipse that happened on April 4, 2015, thus triggering all associated issues.  Cancer is connected to the living image of the crab, yet also associated with the child birthed from the womb of the mother.  Capricorn is the living image of the sea-goat, a creature who emerges from the oceanic source of life to climb onto the elevated heights of the material plane.  In the polarity from Cancer to Capricorn lit up in this Full Moon, we gain a sense of our personal identity that has emerged from the primordial oceanic matrix and the roles and responsibilities we are called to take on for the benefit of family, relationships, and community.  There is a compulsive quality to the urge we can feel to manifest our ambitions at this Full Moon, as the Moon is conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and the Sun is conjunct Mars in Cancer.

We bask in the glow of this Capricorn Full Moon in the aftermath of the glorious conjunction between Venus and Jupiter that has been captivating our attention in the night sky for weeks.  Not only is Venus separating from a conjunction with Jupiter at the time of the Full Moon, this Venus and Jupiter conjunction is also separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries.  Since Neptune in Pisces is also forming a sextile to the Full Moon and trine to the Sun and Mars, there is a clear transpersonal activation in this Full Moon to our most pressing issues on a soul level.  The expansive liberation that could have entered your life through Venus, Jupiter, and Uranus recently can be linked to the Sun and Mars in Cancer at this Full Moon through the symbolism of the crab and the molting of its crustacean shell.  Crabs create a new shell for themselves through re-absorbing elements of the old exoskeleton in order to separate the old shell from their skin, and in this symbol we can interpret the crab’s shell as being the personality formed around our soul.  Our soul likewise expands beyond our conditioned, personal identity in order to generate a new sense of self, reabsorbing some elements and shedding others, and this process is slow and in need of patience and nurturing.

The constriction and tension we could feel being compelled to expand beyond the limitations of belief conditioning our past can be seen in another aspect at this Full Moon, the square between Venus and Jupiter with Saturn in Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio is the ruler of this Full Moon and can help in the release of what needs to die and be let go, and the re-structuring of a new form for our personality to live from.   With the Full Moon conjunct Pluto, the aspect of Pluto taught by Jeff Green in his evolutionary astrology is important to keep in mind, as this shows that our personality will be emotionally bound to deep soul patterns we have been attached to.  Self-care may be necessary if we feel overwhelmed by compulsive fixation on anything currently out of reach.  The associated issues can vary from person to person, but the Full Moon being in Capricorn means in general a strong pull toward the role we desire to take responsibility for playing in our community.  Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn holds resonance together at this Full Moon through their capacity to regenerate a more fitting structure for our life and calling, and we can receive a message in how to reformulate plans along these lines.

Cancer silver coin

Cancer silver coin from India dated A.D. 1622–23, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mars in Cancer

This Capricorn Full Moon follows the previous New Moon in Gemini that was connected with a new cycle between the Sun and Mars, and Mars is holding a pivotal place in aspect at this Full Moon.  Mars in Cancer is conjunct the Sun and opposite the Capricorn Moon, and crucially is square to the lunar nodes just as the Full Moon is square to it’s own nodes.  While the Full Moon in Capricorn has a strong pull to resolve its significations with external goals through the North Node in Libra, Mars in Cancer seeks resolution through the South Node in Aries that is closely conjunct Vesta at the time of the Full Moon.  This connection between Mars in Cancer and the South Node of the Moon is further augmented by the fact that Mars is the  transiting ruler of the South Node. As Mars is combust the Sun at an early, more vulnerable feeling stage of its new cycle with the Sun, this potent aspect reveals choices that must be made between desires to satisfy our Self versus feeling compelled to satisfy the needs of the Other in relationships.

In traditional astrology we know Mars is considered to be in it’s “fall” in Cancer, which means among other things that the direct, blood-pumping drive of Mars does not find an easy fit in the sign of the compassionate, considerate Cancer.  The crab (Cancer) has a side-step motion in comparison to the signs of the charging ram (Aries) and venomous scorpion (Scorpio) that Mars favors.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of active initiation, yet significations of Cancer tend to be around creativity and the arts, and creature comforts of home and family, rather than traditionally martial activities.  Part of the conflict involving Mars at this Full Moon could center around wanting to simply relax in comfort and attend to emotional needs versus aggressively pursuing the drive toward goals associated with Capricorn.

Integrating the perspective of evolutionary astrology is helpful to sort out the meaning of Mars square the lunar nodes, as this system of astrology focuses more on the “why” of Mars being in Cancer rather than its “fall.” Jeff Green has taught that Mars in Cancer desires security and safety, and while we have the tendency to seek security through external structures such as career, salary, and validation from relationships, the core lesson to learn here is that to achieve true security we must feel it within without reliance on outside reinforcement.  Until Mars in Cancer develops this inner security, Mars can tend to use the psychic sensitivity and claws of the crab to attempt to control others and manipulate situations in order to achieve its security needs.  The Full Moon in Capricorn conjunct Pluto calls for an evolution of Mars in Cancer to take complete responsibility for our emotions and the actions that come out of our feelings.  Through secure self-determination, we can more full embody the best qualities Mars in Cancer has to offer in terms of being protective, nurturing, compassionate, and empowering toward others.

With Vesta closely conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries and square to Mars in Cancer, we may face challenges in being able to devote ourselves to independent self-focus on our own needs at this Full Moon.  Vesta here suggests that making the time to focus on our own deepest desires instead of attempting to accommodate others inauthentically in our relationships will increase our ability to achieve a genuine sense of inner security.  Connecting Vesta conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries to the fiery conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in Leo that is in trine to both Uranus in Aries and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius,  there is potential for true creative breakthroughs in our works of passion and artistry at this lunation if we consciously make the determined effort of focus.

boat-in-the-moonlight

Boat in the Moonlight by Odilon Redon

There are also strong aspects in this Capricorn Full Moon to both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, suggesting the symbolism of maintaining a workable structure for our boat that will carry us across the oceanic expanse before us.  The Cancer Sun is trine to Neptune in Pisces, and the Moon in Capricorn is sextile Neptune.  Furthermore, Pluto in Capricorn is also in range to a sextile with both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.  All together this suggests striving forward at this full lunation with steps and actions to further develop skills and build forms to work toward manifesting deep dreams and visions.  In combination with the Jupiter conjunction with Venus separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries, these are additional signs of a dynamic leap forward in growth available.

The Venus and Jupiter conjunction in Leo is quincunx to Chiron in Pisces, and the adjustment necessary to bridge the differences between Leo and Pisces can be worked out well in the realm of creativity or the arts.  Now that Saturn has moved back into Scorpio, we also have a return to a trine between Saturn with Chiron in Pisces that can help bring in Uranus to our process through its trine to Jupiter and Venus.  Since Saturn in Scorpio is the ruler of this Full Moon, it opens up an opportunity for giving form to information and inspiration we are receiving from our environment or channeling through concentrated focus.

The importance of concentrated focus is further amplified by Mercury in Gemini applying to a square with Chiron in Pisces.  Mercury is moving direct in Gemini free of its earlier retrograde shadow zone and picking up speed each day.  Chiron is the master teacher in Pisces who can connect his knowledge of star patterns in the sky with the patterns of healing found in the green world, as well as instill discipline and skill building in the martial arts.  Mercury in Gemini is the willing student who can soak up learning and discern profound meaning in the interconnections of multiple disciplines of study.  This aspect is yet another sign of potent growth available by diving into whatever we are passionate about studying, exploring, and developing excellence in, all themes that this Full Moon in Capricorn supports.

2 of Pentacles

Illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn I Decan

The Full Moon in Capricorn falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the 2 of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see a Mercurial juggler or magician playfully dancing while holding the motion of two pentacles in the form of an ouroboros or infinity symbol.  Behind the figure is an ocean in which ships are surging over large tidal waves.  The image expresses the perpetual motion and movement of matter, the procreative spirit contained within the material plane.  Interpretation of this card tends to focus on change and the adjustments required to attend to competing interests in changing circumstances, such as balancing relationship obligations with changing career concerns.  This angle on the card fits well with aspects of the Full Moon, in particular Mars conjunct the Sun in Cancer and square to the South Node of the Moon in Aries and North Node of the Moon in Libra.

Jupiter rules the first decan of Capricorn, which further increases the significance of the conjunction of Venus with Jupiter that is barely separating at the time of the Full Moon.  The visionary quality of Jupiter that helps us find meaning in our life on earth connects to the attributions Austin Coppock gave to the first decan of Capricorn in his book 36 Faces, including the descent of spirit into matter and the corresponding ability of our mind to descend through strata of the natural world (animal, plant, rock/mineral kingdoms) for deepening of understanding.  Coppock explained the changing circumstances of this decan revealed in the image of the 2 of Pentacles as “ultimately a matter of the spirit, floating free, selecting the section of the world in which the drama of its incarnation will take place, and then taking root according to the law of the soil chosen” (p. 211).

Coppock further showed this first face of Capricorn holds not only images of moving across matter, but moving the material plane itself by a”cattle prod” carried by a “bestial man” being Ibn Ezra’s image for the decan.  Coppock stated that while a cattle prod can be used “to drive great forces within the world, such as public opinion, or the direction of an institution,” in the end “the stubborn, heavy, powerful beast is ultimately a layer of self” (p. 211).  Thus this decan holds the complexity set in motion by our attempts to stimulate and manipulate material power, and the vital importance to not only “bring consciousness to these deeper strata” but also to “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course” (p. 212).

The inspirational beauty and reverence for all forms of life you can feel staring at the illumination of Venus and Jupiter joined together in the night sky of this Full Moon is a good start in terms of the quality of consciousness best able to help you make plans and take action in accordance with your highest good.  We carry this beauty forward with us into astrological intensity building in the upcoming waning cycle of this lunation in the next two weeks, culminating with Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the Dark Moon transition to New Moon around July 15, 2015.

CapricornFullMoonWRIGC1

References

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

Lunar Eclipse in Libra

August_2007_Lunar_Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse of August 28, 2007 courtesy of wikipedia

A Moon the red of roses will appear on April 4, 2015 for those living in view of the Lunar Eclipse in Libra (regions of East Asia, Western North America, Australia, New Zealand).  The Full Moon will be conjunct it’s own North Node in the Venusian sign of Libra, causing the Sun’s light to cast a shadow of our Earth across the Moon’s face, changing it’s normally milky white color into a blood red hue.  The Sun will be conjunct the South Node of the Moon, Mercury, as well as Uranus in Aries, and so this Lunar Eclipse is the final activator of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have been occurring since June of 2012.  Potential meaning of this Lunar Eclipse connects with the dramatic red color of it’s visual appearance, as the Rubedo (aka Red) stage in the alchemical process signifies the Great Work:  in the synthesis of Carl Jung, this translates as the union of the ego and the Self, the discovery of wholeness and our true nature.

Yet, similar to the Phoenix being a symbol of the Rubedo stage, the merging of our personality with our Soul is not an easy experience, but rather the result of a foray through intense heat that brings us renewal only after we have confronted our shadow. In the extreme polarity of our experience we gain the capacity for Self-actualization that can be guided from within, as we discover that the false has been burned off and our essential remains.  We have now entered the first quarter square phase between Pluto and Uranus that will last for years to come, and this Lunar Eclipse marks a Rubedo phase passage in relation to the seven previous squares that initiated us into this active phase between Pluto and Uranus that calls for us to take meaningful, purposive action. Since the Moon is covered in shadow during a lunar eclipse, it can have a similar symbolic meaning to the renewal of the Rubedo stage because it portends an opportunity to respond to our life from a new sense of presence that is free of our past patterns and conditioning.

Full Moons are extreme in quality and can be both a high of illumination as well as a low of a breakdown, yet the vibrational magnitude of our experience is more heightened at a lunar eclipse than at a full moon.  In The Lunation Cycle, Dane Rudhyar wrote that if one has been focused on growth and liberation from past patterns in the waxing Moon time period leading up to a Full Moon, one will experience the “fulfillment, illumination, or revelation” of receiving a new message in “clear, objective consciousness,” and that as “some new factor is given a high valuation,” consequently “an old value is either altogether repudiated or placed under a new light in contrast to the new realization” (p. 29).  From this change one can re-orient one’s life in accordance with the true purpose one is finding in life.  However, Rudhyar also warned that if one has been mired in tentative and negative behavior leading up to the Full Moon, resisting growth and refusing to break free from past patterns needing release, the polarity between the Sun and Moon can be too much to hold for the personality and both “destructive organic conflict” as well as “a mental dilemma of which no integrating solution appears possible” will occur (p. 30).  The fact that this Lunar Eclipse sets off the Pluto and Uranus square amplifies the meaning behind these points made by Rudhyar.

With the Sun, Uranus, and Mercury all conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries and set off by the polarity of the Lunar Eclipse, growth comes in connection with our past karmic and unconscious issues related to Aries.  For astrological guidance, analyze the house placement and aspects made by eight to seventeen degrees of Aries in your chart, as these nine degrees hold the transiting Mercury, Sun, Uranus, and the South Node of the Moon.  There are old personal patterns and identities related to these unconscious,karmic issues that are now ready to be purged and released.  Resisting the release of this outdated and heavy personal baggage could bring on the tipping point of a catastrophic loss or crisis that will force a letting go in the aftermath of this Libra Lunar Eclipse.  With all of these planets in Aries, a sign of instinctive initiation, we can feel the fire of wanting the changes we sense to manifest for us immediately, or impulsively desire to step into our new vision we have for our life as quickly as possible.  Yet there are still many steps to come in the process of integrating all of the new changes that have happened during the past three or four years of the Uranus and Pluto squares, and even the form we ultimately create will be fluid and continuing to change.  It is also vital to realize that Venus in Taurus is the ruler of this Libra Lunar Eclipse, and so sustaining patient, unrelenting, and grounded focus on going step-by-step toward our envisioned new life will be the most effective course of action to take.

Although this is a particularly potent lunar eclipse, it is worth remembering that we experience a lunar eclipse every six months, and so twice a year.  Our last lunar eclipse on October 8, 2014 (Moon at 16° Aries) was exactly opposite the April 4 eclipse (the Moon of the 10/08/14 eclipse was conjunct the Sun of the 04/04/15 eclipse), and the lunar eclipse that occurred a year ago in Libra on April 15, 2014 (Moon at 26° Libra) was an incredibly powerful one that created a Cardinal Grand Cross involving the Pluto and Uranus square as well as Jupiter in Cancer and Mars in Libra.  Going even further back, the first Aries-Libra lunar eclipse in this series occurred on October 18, 2013 with the Moon at 26° of Aries.  This series of lunar eclipses have been extraordinary in the change and liberation they have coincided with in our lives:  think back to where you were on 10/18/2013,  04/15/2014, and 10/08/2014 and compare it with where you stand today.  The impact of each eclipse is far-reaching, the manifestation of change not always immediately felt.  On a personal level for me, the pivotal change and ideal vision I felt within reach at the lunar eclipse of April 2014 has still today not completely materialized, yet it is also still clearly in process of materializing and it’s impact on my life has only deepened.

Félix_Vallotton_-_Sonnenuntergang,_orangefarbener_Himmel

Sunset, Orange Sky (1910) by Felix Vallotton

Venus rules this Lunar Eclipse in her home, the sign of Taurus.  As the Moon is in the relational sign of Libra, the entry point into the mystery found in this potent lunation is through discovering the interplay between our inner relationship and it’s manifestation in our outer relationships.  Instead of allowing external opinions to dictate how you feel on an inner level, connect with your personal essence as free as possible from outside conditioning and radiate this nature outwardly.  Venus continues to be a resplendent Evening Star dazzling us with her light every evening at Sunset, so taking time to honor her with our purest intentions of heart will be auspicious.  When we absorb ourselves in the moment, such as in blissfully savoring the light of Venus in a darkened sky, we are in a space free of our past limitations of thought.  It’s not like all of your past troubles are going to go away at the stroke of the Libra Full Moon turning ecliptic red, yet the type of extraordinary shifts and unexpected change that can follow the wake of a lunar eclipse stem from the concept that our ties to our past conditioning can be severed in the ecliptic light of the lunation.

The potential of liberation in this particular Libra Lunar Eclipse is magnified by the fact that the Moon is opposite Uranus, and that the Sun, Mercury, and the South Node of the Moon are also all conjunct Uranus, the transpersonal  planet of breakthroughs in deconditioning. Indeed, there is a Grand Fire Trine around the time of the lunar eclipse between Mercury in Aries, Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, and a Jupiter in Leo that is beginning to station direct.  Jupiter in Leo is also in trine to Uranus, the Sun, and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and is in sextile to the North Node of the Moon and the Full Moon eclipse in Libra.  With a Lunar Eclipse opposite Uranus, in square to Pluto, with Mercury moving fast in Aries within the rays of the Sun, we could experience accelerated thought difficult to logically organize and communicate.  The more we can creatively respond in the flow of the events we experience, without getting caught up in the need to be rational, the better we can work with the blazing Mercurial potential of the moment.  Saturn now settled into it’s retrograde movement in Sagittarius is further drawing us into removing layer after layer of past conditioning of societal belief, and with Mercury in Aries in trine to Saturn, and Jupiter in Leo stationing direct in trine to Uranus,  a liberated image of our future Self can appear to guide us forward.

These incredibly activated Aries aspects defiantly stare into the Libra mirror of the Lunar Eclipse, driving us to boldly assert our desire toward personal growth instead of repressing our evolution in order to fit in with the expectations of relationships.  I recently read an interview of Robert Hand in The Mountain Astrologer (Oct/Nov 2014 issue) in which he explained spiritual evolution as manifesting our authenticity, and in which he also referenced an idea from the Renaissance astrologer Marsilio Ficino that Saturn can become beneficial for us when we divorce ourselves from “ordinary reality.”  Aligning ourselves with an alternative reality from the status quo social conditioning surrounding us that allows us to manifest our authenticity is a message of this lunar eclipse, but does not mean we should neglect the needs of our relationships in favor of our own personal needs.  Ideally, we can strike a better balance toward focusing on mutual growth in our relationships and constructing scenarios in which we give ourselves the freedom to pursue our authentic growth while also honoring the unique need for growth of others with whom we are in relation.

When we open our perception to aspects beyond the traditional planets, we will notice that Ceres will have freshly entered Aquarius at the time of the lunar eclipse and will be in opposition to Juno in Leo.  Ceres in Aquarius can help turn the face of our relationships toward collective needs of our wider community, instead of becoming wrapped up in overdramatic interpersonal dynamics with others.  If we can hold the polarity of Ceres in Aquarius to Juno in Leo, we can bring a liberating energy into our relationships allowing ourselves to both express ourselves more freely while also connecting with the wider humanitarian needs of our local and global community.  An Aquarian Ceres facing a Leo Juno can also bring opportunities to transmute interpersonal dynamics with others into creative expression that can not only impact our wider community but also help foster alliances with others of like mind and ideals.  Through the portal of this eclipse we will feel an augmented emphasis to engage relationships that connect with our future growth and shed the relationships that align with our past patterns we are in process of releasing.

moonlight-1895

Moonlight (1895) by Felix Vallotton

Libra signifies balance, but we only know and recognize balance through the experience of imbalance. Thus the lessons of Libra involve extremities of emotions and feeling a lack of harmony in order for us to gain the capacity to bring things into balance and ultimately create greater harmony around us.  The moment of the Libra Lunar Eclipse will shift our self-absorption toward recognizing the needs of others in our environment and what aspects of our perception and behavior could be adjusted accordingly.  With the Sun applying to a conjunction with Uranus in Aries, and a square to Pluto in Capricorn, a large aspect of self-realization could revolve around issues of control in our relationships.  The Cancer polarity point to Pluto in Capricorn that does not hold a transiting planet, yet is also in square to the Libra Lunar Eclipse, signifies the emotional security issues that are the deep well from which our grasping for control in relationships arise.  In accordance with these emotional security issues, it is important that the ruler of the lunar eclipse is a Venus in Taurus that is separating from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn, while at the same time Mars is at the beginning of Taurus and beginning to move into range of a trine with Pluto.  All together these aspects call us within to love ourselves with compassion and to attend to the needs of our bodies and our most cherished inner values.  Through attending to our own inner needs, we lose the desperate co-dependent desire for someone else to “fix” us.

In relationships, there can be the tendency for our projections of romantic ideals to lead us into relationships that ultimately bring shattering disillusionment.  It isn’t even always that the image of our ideal is incorrect, but rather that we want it so badly that we blur our perception to the extremity that we see it where it does not actually exist for us.  In other cases, we realize in the end that the romantic ideal we allowed to guide us was more of a socially conditioned concept from our culture than a genuinely intrinsic desire.  Sometimes it takes repeating experiences of projection and disillusionment over and over again, along similar lines of projection, before we finally learn our lesson and develop the discernment to focus on a romantic partner or intimate friend who will be able to listen to and accept us as we essentially are in the evolving moment.  When we let go of the need to control others, or manipulate ourselves in a way that we think will please others, we allow for the relationships that will naturally support us to emerge more freely.  Venus and Mars in Taurus want to feel pleasure and want us to sustain the partnerships and friendships that will bring us internal fulfillment.

vallotton la mer

La Mer by Felix Vallotton

In The Lunation Cycle Dane Rudhyar defined the waning period of the Moon as the phase in which we receive the “creative meaning” of the cycle (p. 31).  In the week following the lunar eclipse that leads to the last quarter square phase, there are two extraordinary astrological moments to pay attention to that will influence our reception of the creative meaning of the lunar eclipse:  Jupiter stationing direct in Leo on April 8, and the superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Aries on April 9, 2015.

Jupiter has been retrograde in Leo since December 8, 2014 when it stationed retrograde at 23° of Leo.  Look in your birth chart for the aspects contained within twenty-three to twelve degrees of Leo to discern how this retrograde journey of Jupiter has impacted you.  When Jupiter goes retrograde we are pulled toward discovery of our personal truth in contrast to the “truth” propagated by the dominant cultural beliefs surrounding us.  What have you realized about yourself since the beginning of December?  What essential lesson about your personal nature have you learned? Crucially, there is an extraordinary aspect about the zodiac degree where Jupiter is stationing direct to integrate, as Jupiter will be stationing conjunct the North Node of Neptune.  As the North Node of Neptune remains stable at the beginning of the second decan of Leo, the times that Jupiter moves through Leo and becomes conjunct this point along our ecliptic are moments to seize for profound creative actualization.  In the context of receiving the creative meaning of the Libra Lunar Eclipse, Jupiter stationing on the North Node of Neptune gives us an opportunity to integrate all of the deep unconscious energy we are releasing into creative expression and self-actualization.  This is yet another astrological reason to center within and ask yourself what you would want your life to be like if you could remove all of the barriers and obstacles that social conditioning has placed around you.  Whatever image or feeling emerges from this process of contemplation, look around yourself and find whatever resources and opportunities are available to move in this direction in whatever way that you can.  In September 2014 Jupiter was last conjunct the North Node of Neptune in Leo, and it will not be here again for roughly another twelve years so this is truly a time to take advantage of for liberated thought and action.

The very next day following Jupiter stationing direct in Leo, Mercury will merge into the heart of the Sun at it’s Superior Conjunction, this time occurring in Aries at twenty degrees.  In Pacific Standard Time, the exact moment of Mercury’s superior conjunction will be at 9:00 pm on April 9, 2015.  Fitting for a waning Moon in Sagittarius that can facilitate comprehension of the creative meaning of a super charged Libra Lunar Eclipse, the superior conjunction of Mercury in Aries is like a blazing meteor of thought and a moment to tap into cosmic mind.  As Demetra George has taught, at the superior conjunction of Mercury we can feel overloaded with a lot of information to digest and assimilate, yet if we can avoid feeling overwhelmed there is great potential for insights of genius.  Be open at this time to receive new thoughts and ideas and a transformed perspective on your life.  There is a stunning synchronicity in Mercury stepping into this role of magical facilitator, as last April 2014 when we experienced a powerful Libra Lunar Eclipse as well as a Cardinal Grand Square, Mercury also passed through a superior conjunction in the waning Moon phase following the lunar eclipse (April 25, 2014 at 6° Taurus).  In Aries, Mercury will be able to help us receive a liberated message of inspiration from this pivotal Lunar Eclipse in Libra.

LibraLunarEclipseWRIGC1

References

Rudhyar, Dane. (1982). The Lunation Cycle. Aurora Press.

The Jupiter and Uranus Cycle

harlequin-at-a-table-1919

Harlequin at a Table by Juan Gris (1919)

  • Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries at 15 degrees on September 25, 2014.
    • Grand Fire Trine of Mars in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries: from October 1 through October 15, 2014 between the degrees of 12 and 21 in the Fire signs. This is with about a two degree orb for Mars with either Jupiter or Uranus.
    • Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries will again trine March 3, 2015 at 14°35′. Jupiter will be retrograde.
    • Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries will again trine on June 22, 2015 at 20°03′.
  • Jupiter in Cancer square Uranus in Aries included the Cardinal Cross of April 2014 with Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Cancer, and Mars in Libra. Actual dates:
    • Jupiter in Cancer was square Uranus in Aries on August 21, 2013 at 12°04′ with Uranus retrograde.
    • February 26, 2014 at 10°33′ with Jupiter retrograde as Mercury was stationing direct.
    • April 20, 2014 at 13°34′ of Aries and Cancer.
  • The current Jupiter and Uranus cycle began in 2010, when Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at the zero degree Aries point and at the end of Pisces:
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 0°18′ Aries on June 8, 2010.
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 28°43′ Pisces on September 19, 2010. Both Jupiter and Uranus were retrograde at this time.
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 27°02′ Pisces on January 4, 2011.
  • The previous Jupiter and Uranus cycle began on February 5, 1997 at 5°53′ Aquarius.
    • The opposition point of this cycle was on August 30, 2003 with Jupiter at zero degrees of Virgo and Uranus retrograde at zero degrees of Pisces.

The cycle and interplay between Jupiter and Uranus connects us with transformative breakthroughs in thoughts, behaviors, and events that can feel unsettling and liberating.  Here the word “transformative” is not used lightly, as Uranus is force that can enflame Jupiter beyond the boundaries of Saturn to grasp insight unavailable in our former framework. Now is a time to light your creative fire from within, as Jupiter in Leo is entering a trine with Uranus in Aries and unfolding a revelatory opportunity for a new vision of our purpose in life.  As the next month develops we will have an especially potent fire to cultivate as Mars in Sagittarius will create a Grand Fire Trine with Jupiter and Uranus.  Things may get steamy, as this fire trine will occur within the dense atmosphere of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio.

To Dane Rudhyar, Jupiter is the soulful function of our purpose within the form of our Saturn structure.  Removing patriarchal religion associations, in this way Jupiter is like our High Priestess receiving, managing, and initiating within the boundaries of Saturn as our Great Mother.  Jupiter organizes the chaos within the structure of our consciousness through love and yearning, through our senses and feelings, through our intuition and imagination.  Jupiter helps us integrate what the external world has to offer that will contribute to our inner structure, just as Jupiter needs the same protective structure of Saturn in order to operate within.

Rudhyar astutely cautioned that “the inertia of Saturn always tries to pull back to old forms and to old techniques the Jupiterian flights toward the beyond and the vaster wholeness,” and yet it takes strong Saturnian walls bolstered by Jupiter to prevent us from becoming overwhelmed and lost by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, archetypes that Rudhyar called the “messengers of the beyond.”  Though Jupiter in this upcoming time period will not reach an exact square with Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter is only six degrees away from a square and closing now, evoking the crisis of consciousness that can come when Jupiter urges us to breakthrough the gates of Saturn to an immense beyond:

Often it is said of Jupiter that he is the polar opposite of Saturn. This however is true only insofar as Jupiter represents a trend of development that leads in the opposite direction from that of the Saturn process. But Jupiter operates always in terms of Saturn’s prior determination of the form of the being. Saturn contracts, while Jupiter expands. But what Jupiter expands is that to which Saturn gave form. A small sphere may expand into a large sphere; yet it remains always a sphere. . . The basic form thereof is not changed by the Jupiterian action, even though its outer shape may be distorted or distended as it expands. Jupiter cannot change radically the structure set by Saturn. It can only “modify” its outer appearance and the quality and balance of the organic forces which operate within that structure.

Uranus, on the contrary, deliberately and directly challenges Saturn’s power: its exclusivism, its particularity, its rigidity. It “pierces through” Saturn and throws upon the inside walls of the conscious ego images of the more universal and freer world which extends outside of these walls. Thus a two-fold operation: the piercing through — then the projection of images. The first phase may manifest in many ways; perhaps through slow stages of progressive thinning out of the Saturnian shells — so that these become finally like translucent window-panes through which the consciousness centered within the shells may behold vistas of the beyond. In other cases, the Uranian action is sharp and explosive. It bores, through the walls of the ego, holes, telescopes, microscopes, channels through which the “flashes of intuition”, the “inspiration of genius”, may suddenly reveal themselves to the Saturn-bound consciousness. Then there is also the most general process, to which the most vivid and convincing of our dreams bear witness.

–Dane Rudhyar, Uranus- Master of Transformations

Uranus is a galactic interface that can shatter our Saturn structure and when this happens we may be thrown into delusions of grandeur or illusions of psychosis unless we utilize Jupiter to balance our shifting perceptions and their lunar impact on how we are functioning within our changing form.  As Dane Rudhyar imagined, “where the walls of consciousness are strong, the Jupiterian urge opens the gates, that caravans loaded with Uranian gifts from the farther lands may enter.”  While the trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries is happening in the next month, we will have a Mercury retrograde phase occur from the beginning of Scorpio back into the middle of Libra.  This will create potential for us to go deep within and integrate the wild perceptions entering our mind through a more symbolic approach resonant with the dreams of our psyche.

On a global level, our personal epiphanies will be happening within the whole of the paradigm shifts associated with the first quarter square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  Leading up to December 15, 2014, we will experience a ripening of the sixth out of the seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto (look to twelve to thirteen degrees of the cardinal signs in your chart to see how you can be dramatically impacted by this transit).  In Cosmos and Psyche Richard Tarnas spent years thoroughly researching cycles of world events associated not only with the catalytic cycle between Uranus and Pluto, but also the intermediary cycle between Uranus and Jupiter that appeared to inspire creative actualization and liberation within the far-reaching cycles Uranus has with Neptune and Pluto:

In world transits, the cyclical alignments of Jupiter and Uranus correlated consistently with condensed waves of celebrated milestones of creative or emancipatory activity across many fields.  The conjunction of the two planets occurs approximately every fourteen years. During each of these, as well as during the intervening oppositions, decisive crests of remarkably synchronous breakthroughs and innovations appeared to take place within a brief period of time in many areas of human activity.  The evidence suggested that the continuing long-term cultural developments that we saw associated with the longer Uranus-Pluto cycle (and with other longer outer planet cycles . . . such as Uranus-Neptune) consistently burst forth in a more frequent cyclical efflorescence in coincidence with the Jupiter-Uranus alignments.  These cyclical waves of creative and emancipatory cultural activity occurred either as intervening crests between the longer, less frequent Uranus-Pluto alignments or as climactic moments during or just after the period of the longer alignment.”

–Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 294

As the Jupiter and Uranus cycle can be an emancipatory one, being emancipatory necessitates oppressive conditions one must liberate oneself from in the first place.  On the global stage, we do not need to listen to current events broadcast from any source for very long without hearing about tragedy of the most oppressive nature.  In the context of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, we are not at one of it’s “peak” periods like the conjunction that occurred in 2010, or the square that began occurring a year ago and lasted through this past May.  This past April, the astrology world was abuzz with warnings regarding the Cardinal Cross that formed with squares between Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter, and Mars, and while many chaotic and traumatic events occurred at that time, events continued to develop with greater severity as Mars crossed into Scorpio and across the scythe of Saturn.

Now, with Mars in Sagittarius and approaching a grand fire trine with Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, it is time to reclaim our sense of will from wherever we have realized we lost it or gave it away to someone or something else.  Now we can envision our future free from the obstacles we have allowed to restrict our intensifying growth, and take the risk to seize the moment in pursuit of our deepest passions and sense of what will bring our entire being alive with electrical life.

Creation_Prometheus_Louvre_Ma445

Creation of humanity by Prometheus as Athena looks on (3rd century AD)

Richard Tarnas has previously established a strong archetypal link between Uranus and Prometheus.  In myth, Prometheus is a Titan who initially supported Zeus (Jupiter) in his revolution against Cronus and the ruling Titans, only to become a trickster foil to the power grabbing strategies of a Zeus who grew into a tyrannical power not unlike the Cronus he had overthrown.  This trickster energy of Prometheus was directed to help liberate the humans Zeus could delight in controlling through manipulation, since in creation stories Prometheus was the artist who manifested the human race out of clay.  The fact that Prometheus ultimately stole the fire that Zeus was attempting to withhold in order to empower humanity with this flaming resource, can be seen in the emancipatory archetypal force generated by the Jupiter and Uranus cycle.  To Richard Tarnas, in the interplay between Jupiter and Uranus in their cycle, we can discover “Jupiter’s principle of expansion and growth supporting the Promethean impulse of new beginnings” (p. 300).

Indeed, in the many folds of myth Prometheus not only created humans and gave them the gift of fire, he has also been said to be humanity’s benefactor of the arts of civilization such as writing, mathematics, science, agriculture, and medicine.  In the Platonic view that a high esteem for justice is vital in order to manage civilization, we can see how significant the etymology of Prometheus was to their culture:  the Greek pro meaning before, combined with manthano meaning intelligence, forged together with the suffix -eus to create a symbolic meaning of forethinker or foresight. This meaning is in contrast to the twin of Prometheus named Epimetheus, who was associated with hindsight and being an after thinker because he tended to think about events after the fact, or lacked the ability to successfully strategize action beforehand.  In contrast, Prometheus had the ability to not only strategize action in advance, but to successfully strike back at the oppressive powers in control in order to create a liberating impact.

While this dynamic ability to think of how to create radical change can lead one operating with the Promethean impulse to become impassioned with peak experiences, it can also lead one to suffer the consequences of enraging the power structure, just as Zeus attempted to not only punish but torture Prometheus for eternity.  Yet this is the nature of the trickster and the romantic hero who is willing to risk all for their ideal, their true love and calling, no matter the consequences.  When Jupiter and Uranus come together in their cycle it can not only give one courage to pursue their ideal, it can also correlate to times in which one’s perception is opened to receiving a message showing how the ideal will be achieved. This is the sudden flash of insight famous throughout history, like the story of Nikola Tesla seeing an image of a waterfall as a young boy and becoming filled with the knowing that he would one day figure out how to harness its power as electricity, as he did decades later.

It is worth remembering that while astrologers have known about the planet Uranus for a few centuries now, in the expanse of astrology’s history it has been a relatively short time of existence.   Richard Tarnas found through his exhaustive research into historical patterns correlating with the Uranus cycle that it’s nature was similar to Prometheus because it encompasses “sudden radical change, creative breakthroughs, rebellion against constraints and the status quo, the impulse for freedom and the new, sudden openings and awakenings, a tendency to constellate the unexpected and disruptive” (p. 294).  In contrast, thought regarding Jupiter stretches back as far as the entire expanse of time astrology has existed within.  Richard Tarnas gave a brilliant synopsis of Jupiter’s meaning in the context of it’s more ancient use in astrology in Cosmos and Psyche:

As with the other planets known to the ancients, the archetypal significance of the planet Jupiter seems to have been established in the earliest origins of the classical astrological tradition. Linked with specific qualities of the corresponding mythic figures- the Greek deity Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods, the Babylonian Marduk, the Roman Jupiter- it received as well certain symbolic amplifications that emerged in the various contributing traditions:  Platonic, Hermetic, Arabic, and Renaissance. Throughout this historical development, Jupiter has been associated with the principle of expansion and magnitude, providence and plenitude, liberality, elevation and ascendancy, and with the tendency to experience growth and progress, success, honor, good fortune, abundance, aggrandizement, prodigality, excess and inflation.  It also has a frequent association with the realm and aspirations of culture, especially high culture:  high principle, higher learning, breadth of knowledge, liberal education, cultured erudition, a wide and encompassing vision. In general, it seems to impel a movement towards encompassing greater wholes and enlarging one’s world, embracing higher principles of order, higher orders of magnitude, broader horizons of experience (p. 294).

Combined with Uranus, we can see how this expansion toward a greater whole and a higher order of magnitude may appear on the surface as paradoxical when linked to the shattering change wrought by Uranus that can feel like chaos or the dismantling of an old secure order or framework.  Yet this is the necessary urge for creation and change underlying our reality, and the change brought by Jupiter and Uranus take us beyond our previous restricted worldview into a new reality giving us goosebumps with the surge of electricity available from the new surroundings. We realize that our previous conception of the greater whole was a minuscule fraction of our potential existence, and a more expansive whole holding our radically shifting perceptions emerges.

Dove of the Inner Eye by Morris Graves (1941)

For a different perspective on Uranus, in the evolutionary astrology taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green Uranus is the long-term memory mind of our soul- meaning not just all of the memories from our own lifetime beyond the ones we consciously remember this moment, but also all of the memories from all of the past incarnations of our soul. Green explained this is similar to how we do not even consciously remember every single thing that happened to us yesterday, and our long-term memory becomes even more imprecise every following day, week, year, and decade.  Yet those memories are still there held by Uranus, and a memory we had forgotten can suddenly come like a bolt of Uranian lightning into our consciousness. This phenomenon also accounts for why some people can suddenly feel like they are remembering something that has to do with a past incarnation of their soul.

It is primarily our Saturn, our structure of consciousness, that to Green filters out these soul memories covering immense periods of time, so as not to overwhelm us.  As we have all collectively through ages experienced great trauma in past incarnations, this also serves a purpose of protecting us, yet there can also be a phenomenon wherein parts of us freeze as a result of unprocessed and unresolved traumatic soul memories.  Thus we can have a feeling like being struck by lightning by a moment that triggers a deep soul memory- yet this triggering can lead to an awareness that can ultimately liberate us in the true Uranian way.

In his recently revised and re-published Uranus: Freedom from the Known, Jeff Green analyzed the meaning of a natal Uranus in Aries that has some resonance with the current transit of Uranus through Aries:

Mental trauma can occur to these individuals because of an inability to accept physically, psychologically or karmically prescribed limitations that create the effect of blocking them  from achieving their inner sense of special destiny, of not being able to do anything or everything that they feel they could do. Typically, these individuals have a “superhuman” complex that requires circumstantial restraint in order to realign the ego into a state of balance or equality with other individuals. The natural power of leadership and breaking new ground exists within these people, yet they must learn how to integrate this capacity within the “system” as currently defined so that these intrinsic abilities can be actualized. (p. 91)

This natal interpretation of Uranus in Aries to me fits the current transit of Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn, as we are all being confronted with how we can manage to integrate the ideal vision we have for our life into the current reality of the power structure, such as economic and political conditions in our surroundings.  Jupiter in Leo in trine to Uranus in Aries, with Mars in Sagittarius forming a Grand Fire Trine in the next month, is a perfect time to embody the heart of the lion and push past the fears we have had of not being able to manifest our vision in our current circumstances.  For some of us this may look like dynamic outward action, for others this may be an intense inner journey opening immense new worlds within: no matter the method, we must also be aware that we are only one of many in our collective, with a vision as important but no more important than anyone else’s dream.  We will need to discern what aspects of our ideal we can compromise to fit into the current system while maintaining the essential meaning of purpose.

A further interesting aspect of the current first quarter trine phase between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, is that Jupiter in Leo is conjunct the North Node of Neptune.  I recently saw a talk given by astrologer Mark Jones in Seattle in which he expressed his feeling that the North Node of Neptune correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  This is a worthy idea, and one of the possible meanings found within this fiery vastness.  With Jupiter conjunct the North Node of Neptune, and Uranus in Aries in trine, with Mars in Sagittarius also coming in for a trine, the entire evolutionary trajectory of Neptune will be electrified in the next month.  This is another sign of a beautiful opportunity to seize for creative visualization and corresponding action.

And so a trinity of fire unfolds before us, with an individuating force beckoning creative actualization. As we sense our collective history of trauma and tyranny in world events, and from within feel how we judge and tyrannize our own personal power, we gain the awareness necessary to light the spark that will burn it all down into ash.  Purified, what do you want to create?  What do you believe has been holding you back? What if it were no longer there? Who would you be? What would you do? Who are you now?  What will you do?

References

Green, Jeff. (2014). Uranus: Freedom from the Known. The School of Evolutionary Astrology.

Rudhyar, Dane. Jupiter: Organizer of Functions.

Rudhyar, Dane. Uranus:  Master of Transformations.

Tarnas, Richard. (2006). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Wikipedia. Prometheus.