Full Moon in Scorpio

Scorpion Scarab (about 1550–1186 BCE)

Full Moon in Scorpio

The Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26 will uproot and open emotions, sinking senses down into contact with the ceaseless stream of circulating desires within subconscious sources. Since Scorpio penetrates into the roots of desires like no other sign in the zodiac, the Scorpio Full Moon will dig underneath the surface of our motivations to the primal forces that fuel our resiliency in persevering with participation in life despite the suffering we experience. There is an eruptive quality to the lunation, as the Scorpio Moon is separating from a flowing trine with Mars in Cancer and applying to a volatilizing opposition with Uranus in Taurus and a disruptive square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that can engender breakthroughs and dramatic shifts in storylines.  Although the feelings unleashed by the Full Moon in Scorpio may involve difficult emotional material to process, the cathartic and purgative pulse of the lunation will also draw us into deeper relationship with our inner vitality so that we may intuitively coalesce a more strongly felt sense of the direction forward and what we want to create within our relationships.

In the northern hemisphere the Full Moon in Scorpio will arrive at the height of spring, whereas in the southern hemisphere it will illuminate descent into the season of fall. Taurus and Scorpio are a fixed polarity that anchor our seasons as well as our consciousness, not only rooting us into the ground we stand upon but also pulling us under the earth into the fecund source of the blooming life around us. While the Sun in Taurus centers purpose within our senses, patiently cultivating sources of security from our inner values, the Full Moon in Scorpio will probe into the shadows cast by our yearnings, unearthing the deeper source of  our desires and how they interface with our needs for security. Being fixed signs, the immense capacity of Taurus and Scorpio for stabilizing can also lead us to become stuck through fixating upon controlling dynamics so as to avoid the grief of loss when things end and change.  Due to the Full Moon activating the clash between Uranus and Saturn, however, change will be unavoidable and so we can allow the piercing night vision of Scorpio to open our bodily senses into a more visceral sense for how our inner desires are changing so that we may come into greater alignment with the essential transmutations emerging.

Indeed, while the activation of Uranus by the Full Moon may incite desire for rapidly rushing in an exciting new direction or bursting free from constraining influences, the harsh square between the lunation with Saturn in Aquarius will make us acutely aware of the limitations and restrictions present within our current circumstances. Ideally the emotive impact of the Scorpio Full Moon can help us find a balance between the tension constellating between Saturn and Uranus rather than becoming excessively frustrated by their friction. Due to the Sun applying to a conjunction with Uranus and Mercury and Venus also being present in Taurus, there will be more emphasis on the liberating side of Uranus that seeks to force open the walls of Saturn to let in more inspiring sources of creativity and far reaching vision. Yet we must also relate to the hard reality of Saturn if we wish to be effective, and so we will need to apply steady effort and discipline while keeping in mind the longview of what we will be capable of building over time rather than insisting on rushing forward too fast.

It’s important to consider the mutual reception between the Full Moon and its domicile ruler Mars, as the Full Moon is in the watery home of Mars and is separating from a trine aspect with Mars in the watery home of the Moon. Since both the Full Moon and Mars are in the signs of their fall, the lunation will call for a descent into boggy terrain that will necessitate coming to terms with the feelings we have been harboring within our inner darkness as well as within the shadows cast by the work we have been projecting into the world. Due to being in signs of their fall, the Moon in Scorpio and Mars in Cancer are in zodiacal terrain where they are not exalted by the dominant culture and therefore can be overlooked until demanding attention. Constructively, Mars and the Moon in their fall can draw us into material that is undervalued by the dominant culture and the manner in which we have been conditioned to pursue whatever is considered to be successful within our culture. As a result, the passionate potency of their watery convergence can instill greater fortitude in following an unorthodox path that is aligned more so with our inner authenticity than the external expectations of society. 

Mars in Cancer can be a fierce protector, and so we also need to be aware that the emotional material dislodged by the Full Moon may feel so overwhelming that the defense mechanisms of Mars will be standing ever ready at guard. Rather than shutting down, lashing out at others, or closing oneself off from feelings, see if the slow, steady, and stabilizing presence of the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Taurus can help modulate emotions to a level that can be more securely felt and integrated.  Due to Mars being more strongly influenced by the polarized force of the Full Moon than normal, keep in mind that feelings will be especially sensitized including triggers to our anger that can lead us into conflict. In some cases we may need to get in stronger contact with our anger and use it to make change or separate from a problematic situation, but in other cases there will be greater potential than normal to overreact before fully understanding the larger context of the issue.

The Moon in the Marsh by Earl Reed

Pulsating underneath the tension of the Full Moon will be the primal potency of Pluto. Pluto will be saturating the astrological atmosphere with its influence due to stationing retrograde less than twenty-four hours after the lunation on April 27 at 26°48′ Capricorn. The howl from Pluto in the underworld will amplify the deep potency of Mars in the sign of its fall ruling the Full Moon in the sign of its fall, as Pluto can intensify whatever needs to be released with a volcanic force. Feelings may overflow from places and inner parts that have been denied or controlled, as suppressed memories and passions arise to surface awareness. The powerful presence of Pluto can therefore accentuate our capacity for peering into the emotional sources at the root of our interpersonal dynamics with others.

After stationing retrograde on April 27 at 26°48’ Capricorn, Pluto will slowly creep backwards through Capricorn until eventually stationing direct on October 6, 2021 at 24°19′ Capricorn. Since this will be the second time that we will experience Pluto traversing twenty-seven to twenty-four degrees of our natal charts, over the course of the next five months the retrograde movement of Pluto will catalyze reorientation to the deep-seated shifts that have been taking shape within that we may have previously been resisting. However, the necessity of coming to terms with any feelings we have been denying or resisting will be more pronounced in the week following the Scorpio Full Moon as Pluto stands still, as unconscious material that has been simmering under the surface may arise into awareness for the first time. Over the course of the retrograde movement of Pluto, however, we will have an extended period of time to surrender to whatever process of breakdown and purification needs to happen.

After the Full Moon forms an opposition with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn, it will form a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces on April 27 followed by a galvanizing sextile aspect with Pluto and a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius on April 28. While the square aspect between the Full Moon with Saturn may bring realization that some of the desires being stirred up by Pluto and the lunation are presently out of reach, we can utilize our felt sense for what we want versus what we do not want to begin taking steps and setting plans in motion to reach our desired end. The stern glare from Saturn demands taking accountability and claiming the inner authority we possess to do what we can to restructure and realign in our desired direction. Look for ways to bring the inspired vision and excitement stoked by Uranus, Neptune, and Jupiter into relationship with the patient endurance of Saturn in Aquarius that will slowly build something solid with long lasting benefits. 

Fairy Land (1881) by Gustave Dore

The abundance of fertile desires that can be activated by the Scorpio Full Moon is resonant with the fact that it is taking place during the time of Beltane in the northern hemisphere, when the veil into the otherworld of fairies, daimons, and spirits of the land is lifted to allow for more direct relationships. Fittingly for one of the most magical times of the year, the Full Moon involves a conjunction between Mercury with Venus in Taurus. Venus is luxuriating within her earthy home of Taurus where she can directly access her gifts for harmonizing and finding delight within our body and the recesses of our sensory, sensual natures. In contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, Mercury can destabilize, contest, and move with volatility and so the star of Hermes can connect the emancipatory and breakthrough impulses of Uranus with the stabilizing inclinations of Venus in Taurus. Since Mercury is the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our material realm, the union of Mercury with Venus in the instinctual sign of Taurus can allow for our diverse inner senses to bring guidance into how to move with the changes in storylines being incited by the overarching influence of Uranus and Saturn. With the Full Moon applying to an opposition with Mercury and Venus, there can be a propulsive impact creatively that can be channeled into any sort of art, writing, music, design or other realms that draw upon the combined skills of Mercury and Venus. 

Mercury and Venus will continue moving through Taurus in close proximity with one another during the waning half of the lunar cycle, with Mercury returning to its home of Gemini on May 3 and Venus entering Gemini on May 8. As they journey through Taurus together they will form harmonious aspects with Neptune and Pluto followed by a square aspect with Jupiter that will deepen our sense for how to adjust to surrounding changes while being creatively active with our new desires that are forming. While Mercury and Venus are both secluded from view under the beams of the Sun during the Scorpio Full Moon, Mercury will burst into visibility as an evening star with significant messages for us to receive on May 2 as it is moving from a trine with Pluto into a square aspect with Jupiter. At the same time, Venus will be continuing to gestate the meaning of her new solar cycle until finally beautifying the western horizon at sunset as an evening star following the upcoming New Moon in Taurus. For now, listen for the new sense of meaning that Mercury and Venus are shaping together within inner senses.

fairy tree

The Fairy Tree at Colinton (1846) by David Hill and Robert Adamson

Fittingly for the season of Beltane during which diverse fairies and daimons are more readily present, there are a number of asteroids playing significant roles within the astrology surrounding the Full Moon. Vesta recently stationed direct at 6º41′ Virgo on April 21 and is mediating the polarity of the lunation through forming a sextile with the Full Moon in Scorpio and a trine with the Sun in Taurus. Vesta is the goddess of the hearth and the keeper of the sacred flame who has primal significations around centeredness and dedicated devotion. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses described Vesta as having a role of centering the psyche within its coordination of our inner multiplicity to allow for one pointed focus and unobstructed commitment to our purpose in the world. Demetra George also noted that Vesta will retreat from the outer world in order to purify, replenish, and reintegrate following periods of being depleted of resources from excessive external involvement, and so we can imagine that while retrograde that Vesta had been bathing in a sacred spring in order to regenerate a sense of wholeness. As Vesta emerges from her time in retreat she will be in position to help us generate momentum sourced from our essential nature and authentic values. During the waning half of the lunar cycle, Mars in Cancer will be applying toward a sextile with Vesta that it will complete on May 5, an initiatory encounter in which Vesta can instill Mars with firmer resolve to persist in leading us forward while rooted in our inner purpose.

In contrast to Vesta recently stationing direct, the asteroid Juno stationed retrograde following the recent New Moon in Aries and is now mutually applying to a disintegrating square aspect with Neptune in Pisces. The square between Juno with Neptune may stir up the influence of our ideals and fantasies concerning relationships upon the actual circumstances of our present relational dynamics. We may become aware of ways in which we may be projecting our ideals on a partner or relationship, giving us the opportunity to pull back the projection and find ways to relate better with the actual presence of our primary relationships. On the other hand, if we have been resistant to opening ourselves to forming more intimate relationships we may experience a dissolution of inner blocks that will allow us to deepen into new relational dynamics with others. 

Further revealing desires presently underlying relational dynamics are the asteroids Psyche and Eros. Eros is at 9º43′ Capricorn and forming a sextile with the Full Moon and a trine aspect with the Sun and Uranus in Taurus, adding another layer to the intensifying desires unleashed by the lunation. In contrast, the Psyche asteroid has been traveling close to Mars by zodiacal degree recently, forming a conjunction with Mars on April 20 at 28°15′ Gemini. Psyche is occupying the first degree of Cancer during the Full Moon, less than two degrees away from Mars. The continued presence of Psyche with Mars points to the importance of following internal desires and devoting oneself to one’s eros and undergoing whatever processes ensue. Fittingly for the placement of Mars within its fall of Cancer, Psyche’s journey toward uniting with Eros necessitated repeated falls that took her not only to the depths of her being but all the way to the underworld and back. Due to the Eros asteroid beginning to slow down to station retrograde (it will station retrograde at ten degrees of Capricorn on May 3), Psyche is heading toward an opposition with Eros that will be building with tension until becoming exact on May 18. It appears that the Psyche and Eros asteroids are illuminating the point of Psyche’s journey in which Eros is out of reach yet begins to be called back to her through her resilient devotion and capacity for completing each impossible task given to her by Aphrodite. 

5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the first decan of Scorpio associated with the Five of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is full of desire and despair, as a figure cloaked in black stares with fixation upon three spilled chalices. Yet the remaining two upright chalices suggest the possibility of quenching the thirst of desire elsewhere, regenerating the cycle of desirous pursuit and sudden loss all over again. There is also a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, evoking the flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice due to the river as well as the person always changing. It is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with the loss of what we desire most of all. As T. Susan Chang has written, “by facing the 5 of Cups, we learn what matters most in life and resolve to fight for it.” Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the first face of Scorpio. 

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Jawbone” to the first decan of Scorpio, declaring hunger as its chief concern. Coppock synthesized the ancient textual images of this face around the constantly circulating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, satiation, the loss of what one desires, and the competitive violence that can be constellated when pursuing desires. Coppock concluded that within the first decan of Scorpio “we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being,” yet by coming into relationship with it “we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.”  

Fascinatingly, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed a different representation of desire to this face: the Numphai (Nymphs), feminine nature spirits who reside in sacred streams, springs, groves, and grottoes. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces speculated that the attribution of the nymphs to this face relates to them being shown as objects of desires for mortals and immortals in mythology. Combined with the desirous nature of this face, the presence of the nymphs also brings to mind the ecstatic Dionysus who often ran freely with wild nymphs and whose all consuming desires incited dismemberment and rebirth. 

Returning to the image of the Five of Cups, the flowing river in the background can also be viewed as a habitat of nymphs that contains the medicine we need for coming to terms with the endless cycle of desires present in the first face of Scorpio. Like Psyche who repeatedly leapt into rivers during her quest to unite with Eros, we must follow desires through their mysterious initiations and reckonings of soul in order to have a fully lived life. In commentaries in the appendix of Liber Novus, Carl Jung described Eros as a force of “dissolution and movement” that runs counter to the “ordering and insistence” of Logos. Jung declared Eros to be “a principle that contains a commingling of all the fundamental activities of the soul,” stating that it “is not form-giving but form-fulfilling . . . it is not the bed and direction of the stream but the impetuous water flowing in it.” May the light of the Scorpio Full Moon plunge you into contact with the gushing stream of desires within and the the enlivening currents of its magical potency and strength. 

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

become_a_patron_button

References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press. 

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

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

Jung, C.G. (2009) The Red Book (Liber Novus). Translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani. Philemon Series. WW Norton & Company.

 

Planets in Fall on the Liminal Light Podcast

Mythopoetry of Planets in Fall

Planets in Fall arranged in the places of the Thema Mundi

I recently joined Chris Reppucci on his Liminal Light Podcast to discuss planets in fall and how we might think about them and where we might look to find stories that help us in better understanding their condition.

I gave a talk at the NORWAC astrology conference in May 2019 exploring the fall of Venus in Virgo and Mercury in Pisces through the telling of the Psyche and Eros story found in the Hellenistic novel The Golden Ass by Apuleius. Chris was inspired to read The Golden Ass after hearing my lecture and so we spend a good amount of time discussing the novel by Apuleius, as well as Psyche and Eros, mystery traditions, initiatory experiences, magical procedures, the underworld, the celebration of life, the Daimon, fate, and fortune.

I make a lot of references to the placement of planets in fall in the Thema Mundi, the legendary birth chart of the universe which is Cancer rising and has the domicile and exaltation schemes of essential dignity embedded in it. If you are unfamiliar with the concept you can reflect upon the image I have inserted at the top of this post when listening to our discussion, as it shows the planets in fall arranged in accordance with the Thema Mundi.

We didn’t make time to fully explore the Psyche and Eros story in relation to planets in fall during our talk, so if you are interested in hearing my approach to Psyche and Eros in my talk from NORWAC you can purchase it through my store page for $13. I will send you a MP3 recording as well as the slides.

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius & Scorpio

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

Cracked Ice by Maruyama Okyo

My room and this vastness, / awake over the darkening land,– / are one. I am a string, / stretched tightly over wide / raging resonances.

Things are violin-bodies / full of murmuring darkness: / in it dreams the weeping of women, / in it the grudge of whole / generations stirs in its sleep . . . / I shall vibrate / like silver; then everything / beneath me will live, / and whatever wanders lost in things / will strive toward the light / that from my dancing tone– / around which the heavens pulse– / through thin, pining rifts / into the old / abysses endlessly / falls . . .

–Rainer Maria Rilke, On the Edge of Night translated by Edward Snow

Many live life sourced from beliefs they hardly take time to consider. Not the idealized philosophy or vision of life you find most inspiring, but how you actually live your life.  It’s the image shot forth from inner realms at the target of thought pondering what’s around the corner and what choices you have in response. Sometimes we have a moment of realizing how these beliefs have been conditioned by external influences, or rather shaped by internal waters that have become frozen into rigid patterns over time.  The Mercury retrograde that begins in Sagittarius on November 16 and ends in Scorpio on December 6 will bring opportunities to discern how well our daily perceptions and underlying beliefs are aligned with both the hard reality of present circumstances as well as the future oriented, imaginal vision of the life we wish to bring into our reality.

“It is a soul-realm as the primordial foundation of all actualizations in life . . . a middle realm between being and non-being . . . The primordial mediator and messenger moves between the absolute ‘no’ and the absolute ‘yes,’ or, more correctly, between two ‘no’s’ that are lined up against each other, between two enemies, between woman and man. In this [Hermes] stands on ground that is no ground, and there he creates the way. From out of a trackless world – unrestricted, flowing, ghostlike- [Hermes] conjures up the new creation.”

— Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury weaves together polarities in shades of gray and particularly when retrograde guides us into a liminal state of being in between. Mercury retrograde is an essential phase of the Star of Hermes, a time to seize for breaking down old constructs and breaking free from habitual thought patterns, finding new angles of perception in problem solving. When Mercury stands still at 13º29’ Sagittarius on November 16, glittering in twilight as it stations retrograde, it has the great benefit of the co-presence of Jupiter in Sagittarius.  It’s a more Jupiterian, expansive, and inspirational Mercury retrograde than normal, but due to Jupiter also undergoing its own rebirth within its cycle with the Sun it will be most fruitful in terms of inner visioning, awareness, and realization.  Rather than becoming overwhelmed by difficulties coming up in correspondence, allow the polarizing pattern weaving of Mercury to help you tease out the larger meaning.

Here are some of the key dates of Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio:

  • November 6: Mercury direct at 8º Sagittarius at maximum elongation as an Evening Star; same time as a New Moon in Scorpio. This date marked a threshold crossing into an intensification of the pending Mercury retrograde.
  • November 16:  Mercury stations retrograde at 13º29’ Sagittarius on the same day that Venus stations direct in Libra.
  • November 27:  INTERIOR/INFERIOR conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun at 5º03’ degrees Sagittarius. Rebirth of Mercury at the same time that Jupiter also begins a new synodic cycle in Sagittarius. Mercury retrograde also conjoins Jupiter at 4º18’ Sagittarius.
  • December 1:  Mercury re-enters Scorpio
  • December 6:  Mercury stations direct at 27º16’ Scorpio
  • December 12:  Mercury returns to Sagittarius
  • December 15:  Mercury at maximum elongation as Morning Star at 3º Sagittarius
  • December 21:  Solstice and final conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter at 9º34’ Sagittarius

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

Ariadne by Giorgio de Chirico

And again my inmost life rushes louder, / as if it moved now between steeper banks. / Objects become ever more related to me, / and all pictures ever more perused. / I feel myself more trusting in the nameless: / with my senses, as with the birds, I reach / into the windy heavens from the oak, / and into the small ponds’ broken-off day / my feeling sinks, as if it stood on fishes.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Progress translated by Edward Snow

The stationing of Mercury in Sagittarius on November 16 is more dramatic than the usual shift of Mercury from direct to retrograde motion, as it occurs later on the same day that Venus finally stations direct in Libra. When planets station they have a collective and personal announcement to make and tend to dominate the astrological atmosphere; and so we have both Venus in Libra and Mercury in Sagittarius simultaneously proclaiming messages that are vying for our attention. Mercury and Venus are in starkly different circumstances within their synodic cycles: Venus is now direct and shining bright as a Morning Star, while Mercury is descending in twilight from being an Evening Star into its invisible, underworld role of guiding us into unconscious content, loosening conscious control.

Venus stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 5, and so while the beginning of the Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius is simultaneously weaving together the end of the forty day Venus retrograde, we are not yet actually at the end of the Venus retrograde narrative.  One primal reason is the opposition between Venus and Uranus that has been going on since early September before Venus went retrograde, and will not complete until we cross the boundary between November and December. The opposition between Venus and Uranus calls for a radical upgrade of what we expect from life, leading us to initiate breakthrough choices that crack open old constraints. It’s here in the final stages of a revelatory process that Mercury gladly accepts the role of psychopomp to whatever old beliefs and identities are ready to pass away, making space for the expansive growth stirred up by Jupiter in Sagittarius.

Amping up the extremity of tidal forces is that while both Venus and Mercury station with Venus in opposition to Uranus, Mercury is out of bounds in southern declination while forming a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces. Any planet 23º27′ or more in north or south declination is considered to be out of bounds- beyond the boundaries of 23º26′ set by the course of the Sun. Tony Howard has described planets out of bounds as being inherently freedom oriented rather than in reaction like Uranus, meaning that instead of acting rebellious in reaction to external constraints, people with a planet out of bounds in their natal chart act have an inner liberating vigor that flows from within without regard to external circumstances.

Altogether these aspects at the time Mercury stations retrograde and descends into invisibility could lead us to consider doing things differently than we ever have before. Due to the influence of Neptune in Pisces, however, we will need to discern what possesses a deeper, imaginal truth versus what is a misleading illusion. Mercury will leave its out of bounds state on November 20, around the same time it also disappears from twilight view. Taking the risk to try something new may not go according to plan and expectations at this time, but the potent reflective quality of Mercury retrograde will facilitate sifting through the experience for important lessons that will ultimately bolster achieving success in a new direction. While the opening section of Mercury retrograde is powerful for putrefaction and breaking down the outworn, it can also be fertile for cultivating a fresh path going forward.

“Whoever does not shy away from the dangers of the most profound depths and the newest pathways, which Hermes is always prepared to open, may follow him and reach . . . a greater find and a more certain possession. For all to whom life is an adventure- whether an adventure of love or of spirit- [Hermes] is the common guide.”

— Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls

Ghost of Maruyami Okyo

Maruyama Okyo by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi illustrating story of Okyo painting a ghost so viscerally that it came to life.

The blind man who stands on the bridge, / gray like a boundary stone of nameless kingdoms, / he is perhaps the thing, ever unchanging, / around which the far-off stellar hours move, / and the constellations’ still midpoint. / For everything around him strays and struts and runs.

He is the immovable upright one / set down in many tangled paths; / the dark entrance to the underworld / amid a surface-dwelling race.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Point Du Carrousel translated by Edward Snow

Hermes in myth delights in putting people to sleep with his serpentine wand, guiding them into inner visions of dreamscape where the irrational may reveal insight through discernment of deeper meaning. Mercury retrograde periods draw upon this beguiling quality of Hermes, leading perception to more readily pick up meaning from symbols, signs, and synchronicities. As as a result it’s fascinating that Neptune, the planetary archetype of dreams and imagination, is a dominant force during the first two weeks of Mercury retrograde. Not only does Mercury form a square aspect with Neptune when it stations retrograde, Neptune stations direct a week later at 13º41′ Pisces on November 24. When Neptune stations it has a gravitas like a whirlpool pulling us into the Neptunian, such as experiencing a heightened imagination or feeling boundaries dissolve that awaken awareness of interconnection with others.

Mercury and Neptune have a complex relationship, as Neptune can easily fog or bewilder the clear reception of Mercury in communication and interpretation. Yet while some may have an ideal of a logical Mercury organizing everything crisply in categories, the reality is that Mercury is an archetype in-between definitions that questions unifying theories while also weaving together meaning from the innumerable contradictions within our changing world. The ancient philosopher Heraclitus noted not only the constant flux of our world with its ceaselessly changing meanings of truth, but that the underlying Logos or Word from which “all things follow” is not understood by most people. It’s possible that the square aspect formed between Neptune in Pisces with the Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius can help us open to understanding beyond culturally conditioned, preconceived notions.

One way or another, Neptune in Pisces will come to the forefront just as a Full Moon in Gemini peaks on November 22 and as Jupiter begins a new synodic cycle with the Sun on November 25 at 3º56′ Sagittarius.  Jupiter in the heart of the Sun on November 25 and 26 places Jupiter at the helm of our solar chariot and seeds an inspirational, uplifting vision of meaning to manifest in the year ahead.  The last solar conjunction for Jupiter occurred on October 26, 2017 at 3º30′ Scorpio and so it is an ending of a Jupiter cycle just as it is simultaneously a beginning of life affirming growth and expansion for the year ahead. Yet this is not the sort of dry clarity that can be found on top of a mountain, but rather the oceanic breadth of imaginal vision that can only be encountered through Neptune.

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid’s Garden  by John William Waterhouse

“Even the tilings of the floor, made of precious stones cut fine, are divided into registers, mosaics in pictures and patterns of all sorts . . . And the other wings of this palace, arrayed from side to side and round about, are similarly precious and priceless, and all of it, with the walls constructed of bricks of gold, flares in a radiant glory all its own, so that the house makes its own day and daylight, even when the sun refuses to shine; so too do all the bedrooms, the colonnades, and even the doors explode with their own light. The household goods are no different: in their opulence they match the dignity and grandeur of the palace, so that you would rightly conclude that here is a heavenly imperial residence fashioned by great Jupiter himself so that he may dwell among mortals.”

— Apuleius, “Cupid and Psyche” from The Golden Ass: Or, A Book of Changes translated by Joel C. Relihan

One avenue for imaginal exploration of the influence of Neptune upon Mercury retrograde in the fiery home of Jupiter is the Psyche and Eros story written down by the Hellenistic author and philosopher Apuleius. There is both a thematic as well as cosmic connection, as the Psyche asteroid is at 15º09′ Sagittarius and within three degrees of Mercury on the day it stations retrograde, while the Eros asteroid stations retrograde at 18º11′ Gemini on the same day, in opposition to Mercury and Psyche.

The famous love story involves Psyche, incarnated as a human yet worshipped as a living embodiment of Aphrodite, falling in love with Eros, the divine son of Aphrodite who brings her to his Neptunian palace where he descends to her each night cloaked in mysterious darkness. In the pivotal plot moment, Psyche shines light through a lamp upon Eros while clutching a sharp blade, fearing he could be a monstrous dragon devourer. Yet upon witnessing his divine radiance, she not only falls under the spell of his legendary arrows, but also startles him awake with hot oil which causes him to flee from her. Psyche next undergoes a series of seemingly impossible trials set forth by Aphrodite, going so far as to descend to Persephone in the underworld.

Keeping in mind the ancient line of thought from Empedocles that creation is born from love and strife, we can see how disharmony and discord were sealed off from Psyche’s initial experience of Eros in his archetypal castle, bringing the necessity of her consciously shining light to shatter the illusion. We similarly may feel disillusioned during the Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, but the vital component will involve illuminating and reorienting our personal truth without negating our experience of the numinous and divine we can encounter in both relationships as well as the dreams we wish to manifest. Over and over again Psyche gives herself over to her feelings and pain, while over and over again the living soul of her environment comes to her aid. She finds her center through following her eros, surrendering to reshaping from the world around her rather than forcing control.

Marie Louise Von Franz beautifully described this process in her book The Golden Ass of Apuleius: The Liberation of the Feminine in Man:

“The chaos of the unconscious always contains a relation to order as well. In talking about the unconscious one must always talk in paradoxes, and when we emphasize its chaotic aspect we know at the same time that the unconscious is not only chaos but is also order . . .

So one can say that in the right way faith is a great achievement, or rather pistis: loyalty to the inner law. When this loyalty or feeling constellates, it calls forth the the secret order which is in the chaos of the unconscious . . .

There is an instinct of truth in the human psyche  which, in the long run, cannot be suppressed. We can pretend not to hear it, but it remains in the unconscious . . . Jung always said that truth does not speak with a loud voice. Its low but unsuppressible voice announces itself as a malaise, or a bad conscience, or whatever one may want to call it. Great quiet is needed in order to feel these small hints.”

— Marie Louise Von Franz

By following this same attitude, we can bring acceptance to whatever challenges and difficulties emerge in correspondence with Mercury retrograde, even a sense of humor where we can manage it, allowing the process of reshaping to unfold. This doesn’t mean to be passive, as we will of course need to take initiative and be decisive. It does mean, however, that the benefit we can gain from Mercury retrograde is through allowing a new order from our unconscious to emerge without stifling, controlling, or negating it. If we can do so, we can experience a symbolic sacred marriage like Psyche and Eros when Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun on November 27.

Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius

from the Rosarium Philosophorum (1550)

Out of infinite desires rise / finite deeds like weak fountains / that fall back in early trembling arcs. / But those, which otherwise in us / keep hidden, our happy strengths– / they come forth in these dancing tears.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Initial (The First Book, Part Two) translated by Edward Snow

In the Heart of the Sun

The inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun on November 27 is the center of the retrograde process, offering a sacred marriage of conscious and unconscious in quiet moments of reflection. This is the rebirth of Mercury that seeds the coming cycle of Mercury in which it return to visibility in pre-dawn skies as a Morning Star. Remarkably, the rebirth of Mercury on November 27 comes only two days after the rebirth of Jupiter with the Sun on November 25. Since Mercury retrograde is in the home of Jupiter, it means Mercury and the Sun are being received by a revivified Jupiter. As a result this is an incredibly fertile moment of potency for Mercury, and yet since both Mercury and Jupiter are being regenerated it also means it is a newborn phase for both planets that suggests inner realizations to be found more so than external, grandiose manifestations of Jupiter.

Fascinatingly, just as Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun in Sagittarius, the Sun is receiving the Moon in Leo through a harmonious trine. In addition, Mars in Pisces is in a change inducing square aspect with the conjunction of the Sun, Mercury retrograde, and Jupiter; in fact the Star of Ares is being received by Jupiter as it approaches a conjunction with Neptune. This is an incredibly strident, inspirational, passionate, and creative combination that is capable of seeding an entirely new direction cut free from constraints of the past. The influence of Mars can certainly bring conflict and a need for confrontation, yet it is also a call for a deepening of whatever searching for meaning we have been engaged in. There is resilient resolve to be found within capable of fueling your visionary endeavors across the next year. Listen for it in the stillness of Mercury uniting with the Sun, inviting it to integrate into  your embrace of life and navigation of coming currents.

MarleneSevenBremner_Citrinitas_

Citrinitas: To Yellow the Wings, Await the Swelling Haws (2018) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Let your beauty manifest itself / without talking and calculation. / You are silent. It says for you: I am. / And comes in meaning thousandfold, / comes at long last over everyone.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Initial (The Second Book, Part One) translated by Edward Snow

After the solar rebirth of Mercury on November 27, Mercury retrograde returns to Scorpio on December 1 where it will station direct on December 6 at 27º16’ Scorpio. By the time Mercury stations direct it will have reappeared in visibility as a Morning Star, and similarly this marks another threshold to cross in which we bring the new meaning of Mercury sparked at its inferior conjunction into our daily presence and work, imbibing it into our engagement with matter. It is necessary during this phase to persist in the new direction rather than allowing ourselves to fall back into the old patterns we have felt compelled to move on from. It’s also important to accept the process and be nurturing with yourself when you notice you’ve taken a step or two backwards, prodding yourself forward again.  Interestingly, Mercury will be stationing in a watery triangle with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and Chiron in Pisces.

The day after Mercury re-enters Scorpio, Venus will also return to the sign of the Scorpion on December 2 for the first time since the end of October. This is also the same time period in which Venus completes its third and final exact opposition with Uranus. As a result the stationing direct of Mercury is crucial in helping us discover and integrate the final lessons coming forth from the Venus retrograde transit that began at the beginning of October.  It will be a penetrative, probing process as both Venus and Mercury are in the fixed, watery home of Mars with Mars in Pisces forming a whole sign trine to both. At the same time, Mars is applying to a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces that perfects on December 7 at the same time Mercury is stationing.

From December 1 until December 12 when Mercury returns again to Sagittarius, the heavy influence of Scorpio with Mars and Neptune in Pisces will compel an intensification of questioning foundational beliefs and curiously investigating the undercurrents of whatever dynamics we are engaged with. Rather that projecting beliefs from a dogmatic perspective, allow the slippery, thieving Mercury to unlock the hidden places where you source vision and beliefs from. This time period will be opportune for testing the strength of the new vision you want to bring into life, making modifications and reorienting aspects as necessity dictates.

The movement of the current Mercury retrograde from the fire sign of Sagittarius back to the water sign of Scorpio foreshadows the fact that in 2019 we will experience Mercury retrograde transits primarily in water signs. This brings to a completion the past two years of having Mercury retrograde in primarily fire signs.  It will be worth the time to consider what houses in your natal chart are in the fire element (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) and what changes you can note have coincided with Mercury enacting its retrograde regeneration there. Furthermore, the subsequent Mercury retrograde will be in Pisces in March 2019 and will also be significantly stirring up meaning in connection with Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces; there is likely to be some sort of mercurial connection between now and then.

A final element of the visionary meaning stemming from Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio will come at the Capricorn Solstice on December 21, when Mercury will complete its final conjunction with Jupiter at 9º34’ Sagittarius. Both Mercury and Jupiter will be visible as Morning Stars at the solstice, with Venus above them bringing her light to the solstice sunrise. The Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, it is the dark turning of the year that welcomes increasing light. This is a perfect cosmic alignment of the hope and faith that can be kindled at the solstice stoking the flames of inspiration between Mercury and Jupiter. There will be a hard, constraining reality to confront in 2019 as Saturn, Pluto, and the transiting South Node of the Moon come together in Capricorn. As the Sun enters Capricorn on the solstice, as Mercury and Jupiter unite at dawn, allow yourself to dream the life you wish to live backed by the determination to bring it fully into being.

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

Chiron and Achilles by John Singer Sargent

References

Apuleius. (2007). The Golden Ass. Translated by Joel C. Relihan. Hackett Publishing Company.

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

Von Franz, Marie Louise. (1992). The Golden Ass of Apuleius: The Liberation of the Feminine in Man. Shambhala.