Capricorn Solar Eclipse: the Holly and the Axe

Gawain_and_the_Green_Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Once upon a Christmas time in Camelot, the court of King Arthur was filled with feasting, fellowship, carousing, and carolling. The noble knights of the Round Table were gathered along with the most lovely of ladies, surrounded by the most lavish of Yuletide decor, with the luminous Queen Guinevere and King Arthur at the center. As the revelry settled for the first sumptuous serving of supper to be served, a massive, mighty, and mountainous man appeared in the doorway, eclipsing the merrymaking with awe and amazement in all- for this fearsome figure was “entirely emerald green” in every detail of his handsome features. All of his garments were green, with green flowing hair and a green bushy beard growing down his body- even his horse was pure green in color, with a green mane groomed with gold that had been tinseled, tied, and twisted with beads and chiming bells. “His look was lightning bright / said those who glimpsed its glow. / It seemed no man there might / survive his violent blow.”

Yet the green knight wore no helmet nor armor, held no sword nor shield, “but held in one hand a sprig of holly – of all the evergreens the greenest ever – and in the other hand held the mother of all axes.” The green knight demanded audience with their sovereign, and asked King Arthur to gracefully grant his wish for a game of guts. The green knight called for one present to step forward and strike him with his axe one stroke and then be struck by him in return. After King Arthur gripped the axe while the green knight calmly awaited his attack, the King’s virtuous nephew Gawain intervened and took responsibility for the daring deed. Gawain swore an oath that after striking the green knight with a blow he would be struck in return in twelve months’ time by the green knight, and then proceeded in one clean stroke to cut off the green knight’s head. As the separated head rolled across the floor, the blood covered and headless green knight stoically snatched it off the ground as he swung himself into the saddle of his steed. He held up his severed head which opened its eyelids to stare straight at Gawain and spoke a reminder of the vow he had made to receive his blow the next New Years dawn.

The late fourteenth century chivalric poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight goes on to tell the magical tale of Sir Gawain’s journey to fulfill his oath made to the green knight, a quest that serves as a mysterious test of his mettle, faithfulness, virtue, and courage. Those in pacific, mountain, and central time zones will experience the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the night of Christmas, while those in other time zones will experience the blackening of Sol’s light on December 26, 2019. In any case, the Capricorn Solar Eclipse occurring four days after the Solstice is a dramatic initiation into a tumultuous year that will feature another Solar Eclipse at the Cancer Solstice and will end with the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Capricorn Solstice of 2020. The rise and fall of collective fortunes that will correspond with the extremely volatile astrology of 2020 will test the character and determination of each of us, calling forth our heroic capacities, tender compassion, and creative potency. It will be a year necessitating that we engage the world as active creative agents and receptive responders to those in need, allowing ourselves to be reshaped through participating in the changes to come.

Druids_Trilithon_by_Blake_relief-etching_British_Museum

by William Blake

“There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”  — Aragorn, son of Arathorn

Since ancient times across many cultures, eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. Like the ouroboros imagery of a dragon devouring its own tail in alchemy which mirrors the dissolution of nature that seeds new forms, the dark void of eclipses function as a fertile matrix which can suddenly unleash shifts in storylines we had not been prepared for. Realities that had been hidden from our perception can arise forcibly into our awareness, and in the weeks surrounding eclipses there can be an intensification of forms and relationships entering and leaving our lives.

Since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse is aligned with the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, there will be an emphasis on the sacrifice of making the changes sacred, releasing fixations and being willing to enter the mysterious unknown. Rather than focus on expansive new growth, themes such as releasing, purifying, emptying, cleansing, resting, meditating, and letting go will be favored. As the dissolution of the eclipse loosens the binding of the innumerable strands of historical and cultural conditioning bound up within and without, we may reforge our presence and knowing when immersed in stillness, just as the Sun recently stood still at the Solstice.

The December 25/26 eclipse is the second and final solar eclipse to occur in Capricorn during the 2018 – 2020 period of the transiting lunar nodes occupying the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The previous Solar Eclipse in Capricorn was on January 5, 2019 and there will be one more powerful solar eclipse along the Cancer-Capricorn axis six months from now on June 21, 2020. While you may be familiar and used to working with whatever themes in your life have arisen with the eclipses and nodes moving through Cancer and Capricorn in your nativity, a new chapter filled with new storylines will commence as the Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiates a lunar month in which the midpoint features a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 followed by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12.

In part due to Capricorn being the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, it was associated in ancient text with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the immortals and ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Capricorn as the southern gate that “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Capricorn is the nocturnal home of Saturn, inwardly directed zodiacal terrain that favors creation through contraction and pulling back to make empty space for new growth to germinate and take root. As Saturn approaches its exact conjunction with Pluto in the next three weeks, even those wishing to focus on external achievement are likely to become grounded by the gravity of graveyards and confronted with personal issues and lessons that need to be accepted and addressed rather than resisted. Make whatever space is needed to contemplate the darkness within, listening for the message you need to receive rather than your preconceived notion of what you want to hear.

“Down in the underworld where western logic comes from, where the roots of earth and water and fire and sky merge into a single whole, the entire world as we think we know it with all its imaginary distinctions and divisions disappears. Everything we cling on to, everything we hold important, is gone.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Kazuki Yasuo black sun

Kazuki Yasuo Black Sun

“All around him, for as far as he could see, lay a rough land strewn with rocks, with not a drop of water, nor a blade of grass. Colorless, with no light to speak of. No sun, no moon or stars. No sense of direction, either. At a set time, a mysterious twilight and a bottomless darkness merely exchanged places. A remote border on the edge of consciousness. At the same time, it was a place of strange abundance.”

— Haruki Murakami (born with Sun and Jupiter in Capricorn) from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage

Jupiter in Capricorn is closely conjoining the eclipse by one degree, and so is seeding the eclipse with its growth-inducing influence and significations. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse marks the end of Jupiter’s synodic cycle, as it will enter the heart of the Sun on the following day to be regenerated with the creative potency of the Sun’s stellar light. It is therefore an old, elder Jupiter ready to fall into death and rebirth that is meeting with the Solar Eclipse, another indicator that promotes investing time in reflecting on the lessons you have learned and the beliefs you have shed in the past year. Like Pan, the wild nature deity who is part of Capricorn’s constellational mythos, Jupiter in Capricorn can function as our shepherd through the fertile darkness of the eclipse, reshaping and organizing our consciousness while attuning with the flux and reordering of Nature and the natural cycles of change coming into form around us. Inspiration may be found through engaging with the constraints of our circumstances rather than through pushing for expansion.

At the same time that the Moon is conjoining with the Sun and its own South Node in Capricorn, Jupiter is also approaching a conjunction with the South Node of Jupiter in Capricorn while Saturn and Pluto are also coming together in close proximity with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This means that the orbital arcs of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be pouring down across the ecliptic at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, saturating our collective field with the putrefaction of the entire archetypal arcs of their past cycles. Not only can we no longer escape our past history at this time, it will be also be a vital responsibility to acknowledge the multiplicity of historical streams of oppression and resiliency feeding into the rising river of collective crises flooding across global civilizations. While we will be motivated to look toward a future of new intentions as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, we also need to look backward for what can be learned from not only our own past but from the legacy of our ancestors as well.

“Our modern democratic age has manufactured a personal spirituality to meet everyone’s needs which is absolutely guaranteed to be calm, sweet, peaceful, polite, positive, comfortable, reassuring, unthreatening . . . But this happens to be almost the exact opposite of the ancient understanding – which is that spirituality and the sacred offer the profoundest challenge to our complacency, as well as presenting the most radical threat . . . truth was seen as something extremely painful, even impossible, for most people to bear.

Truth, or alêtheia, had its own mythology that confronts humans with the grim but glorious reality of what they are “from the beginning”: unimaginably glorious because of their boundless inner potential and unthinkably grim because of the overwhelming responsibilities such a forgotten potential brings.

This is why it- or she, because Truth often appears as a goddess- was always intimately involved in the superhuman effort to stop that process of forgetting. Her role, above all, was to preside over the supremely urgent task of remembering not what happened yesterday or even last month but what happened in the distant past that shaped this present moment and will also produce our future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

kali_shiva

Kalighat painting (19th Century) of Kali dancing on the corpse of Shiva

Saturn in Capricorn rules the eclipse while applying toward a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 12, two days after the forthcoming Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. Though the close balsamic phase between Saturn and Pluto has been a pivotal influence during the past year, there will be a deeper level of impact felt as they finally complete their long anticipated union. The multivalent significations unleashed in collective events during hard alignments between Saturn and Pluto (conjunction, square, opposition) were deftly described by Richard Tarnas in his tome Cosmos and Psyche. Tarnas described periods of historical darkness and gravity requiring moral courage from individuals in the face of severe collective events full of the “morally problematic aspects of human existence” and “the end to naïveté and inflated privilege.” Tarnas also gave a compelling list of artistic masterpieces produced during Saturn Pluto alignments representative of its archetypal meaning, such as The Trial, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, 1984, The Stranger, The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, Crime and Punishment, The Waste Land, The Grapes of Wrath, The Rite of Spring, Heart of Darkness, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. As shown in these artworks, during periods of Saturn Pluto we must encounter the dark underbelly of civilization and a reckoning with humanity’s aspirations for power.

With Ceres, Mercury, and the Sun also conjoining the coming together of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, it is clear from current events how their significations are combining with Saturn and Pluto around themes such as environmental destruction and the plundering of natural resources for human consumption, grave moralistic questions concerning the use of technology and its interface with global power structures, women’s reproductive rights, as well as coming to terms with historical oppression of women and many other identities and cultures by those representing dominant cultural identities. As the volatile force of eclipse season will be mixing with the union of Saturn and Pluto, although the collective crises we are facing feel overwhelming we also have the opportunity to take responsibility for doing our part in reshaping the world that will be taking form between now and next year when Jupiter and Saturn move through their conjunctions with Pluto to initiate their new cycle in Aquarius on December 21, 2020.

The Nobel Prize winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who was born with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, recently gave a powerfully penetrating acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature that evoked the quality of time we find ourselves in:

“The climate emergency and the political crisis in which we are now trying to find our way, and which we are anxious to oppose by saving the world have not come out of nowhere. We often forget that they are not just the result of a twist of fate or destiny, but of some very specific moves and decisions―economic, social, and to do with world outlook (including religious ones). Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.

That is why I believe I must tell stories as if the world were a living, single entity, constantly forming before our eyes, and as if we were a small and at the same time powerful part of it.”

Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize for Literature speech on 12/07/19 translated by by Jennifer Croft and Antonia Lloyd-Jones

2 of pentacles

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The Capricorn Solar Eclipse falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a  juggler dancing while holding the ouroboric motion of two pentacles, against a backdrop of a pivotal sea change, embodies the capacity of the first decan of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Tarot author T. Susan Chang recently posted an insightful article on the first face of Capricorn, calling it “The Difference Engine.” Chang described one of its lessons being that since “the only constant is change” we need to find the opportunities available to make our own luck, but that simultaneously it also offers greater ease communicating with the past and with ancestors while reconciling “the turn toward light and life in the midst of the darkest hour.”

Fittingly for a South Node Solar Eclipse taking place in this face, Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn. Coppock stated that the first face of Capricorn “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.” Coppock analyzed the ancient attribution by Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new work of art or sources of sustenance.

The “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the ancient Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributing the ancestor of earth and body-based healers, Asklepios, to the first face of Capricorn. Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, is a compelling figure in relation to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, for he embodies a centered focus which integrates all surrounding realms, both material and immaterial. Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity, and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures. Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious. With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through the type of disciplined spiritual practice which pleases the ruler of the eclipse, Saturn in Capricorn.

Jupiter is the ruler of the first face of Capricorn, and since Jupiter is not only transiting through the first face of Capricorn but is also closely conjoining the Solar Eclipse, the meaning of this decan will be noticeable in personal and collective events. Walking with the tender awareness of Asclepius for not only the interconnectedness of our surroundings but also the visions of new forms we can churn from subconscious depths will be a way to navigate the chaotic changes that will be rippling through our global collective. Since periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning correspond with an intensification of collective scape-goating and projecting dark, unrecognized material onto others, the capacity of Asclepius for exploring one’s shadow and accepting one’s inner multiplicity through contemplation of dream images as well as passing omens and synchronicities will be vital skills to develop.

The connection of Asclepius to the first face of Capricorn is further interesting in the context of Robert Hand’s work demonstrating that through precession of the solstices that the Capricorn Solstice point in recent years has passed through the hand of the Serpent Holder (a figure often connected with Asclepius) in the Ophiuchus constellation that is holding the Serpent. Hand has connected the meaning of this alignment in current events with ecological disasters and crises in which nature rebels against human attempts to tame or control it for power and resources. Hand has stressed this alignment indicates the critical necessity for coming to terms with climate change and human consumption of natural resources for energy.

While there are no easy answers to fix the myriad collective issues demanding attention, individually we can each take steps to nurture reservoirs of inner strength to draw upon when needed in response to difficulties or when devising creative solutions. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiating our entrance into the new decade of the 2020s serves as a fitting omen for the new year bringing to a close an old way of being while intimations of a reordering to help shape comes into greater awareness. As the Solar Eclipse conjoining the South Node suggests letting go of old patterns, we can shed and release any beliefs we have been holding or actions we have been taking that are not aligned with our values and do not serve the greater good.  Make the time and space to explore your inner darkness, listening for the gifts you possess to cultivate and share with the wider world. Be open to connecting with creative collaborators with whom you can combine skills and strengths while mutually supporting one another. Claim the courage to creatively actualize more of your potential in 2020 and help make the changes you wish to see happen.

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References

Armitage, Simon. (2018). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Revised edition. Faber & Faber Ltd.

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

Hand, Robert. (2014). The Precession of the Capricorn Solstice and the Importance of 2017 to Humanity. The Mountain Astrologer. October/November 2014 issue.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

Murakami, Haruki. (2014). Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.  Alfred A. Knopf.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs  (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

 

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

Chagall TheSouloftheCity.jpg

Marc Chagall (1945) The Soul of the City

Capricorn Lunar Eclipse

“History is inside us, as Henry Corbin always insisted, not we inside history. History is a psychological material where the eternities of soul leave their traces in time. As the soul moves in circles, so does history display the soul’s ricorsi as records . . . Soul can always be lost, for that is its nature; lost even as it is found in the noblest of intentions . . . Soul is necessarily shadowed, its enlightenment never accomplished.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology (p. 314)

The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 signals a peak moment of 2019, a gateway releasing the pent up pressure and karmic debris that has been gathered by the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn during the past six months. The nodes mark eclipses and were envisioned by the ancients as a monstrous dragon consuming our luminaries, with the North Node the Head, the South Node the Tail of the dragon. Because the Full Moon in Capricorn is roughly seven degrees away from the nodes, it will become partially covered in blood red shadow cast by the Sun. The eclipse is not only ruled by Saturn, Saturn will be in the same vicinity of the sky as the Moon, while also forming a close conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. Since the Lunar Eclipse is also closely conjoining Pluto, there will be an intensified underworld quality to the time involving the necessity of digging up and facing certain issues that have been buried. The influence of the South Node on Saturn and the eclipse invites a shedding and release of wherever in life you have been neglecting authentic desires and feelings in order to conform to societal expectations.

2019 began with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn and henceforth the close conjunction of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn have emphasized the gravity as well as the ambition of the earthy sign of the Sea Goat. While the North Node has been in Cancer the entire year, it was not until mid June when Mercury and Mars ascended over it, followed by the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2, that the Cancer side of the nodal axis became amplified. The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn, between Moon and Saturn, midwives and morticians, tender searching and patient austerity, has been the dominant astrological theme of the year. The prodigal Moon which waxes and wanes ever forward in its shifting phases of generation and corruption, translating the life-giving light of the sun between all of the planets just as it also signifies our changing feelings and capacity to empathize with others, is in stark contrast to the sluggish taskmaster Saturn who stands guard at the gateway between visible and invisible planets, imagining the boundaries that reorder forms, demanding we persevere and endure its tests that necessarily temper our extremes and shape our path forward. Within the potent polarity betwixt Cancer and Capricorn, the fluidity of feelings flow into the cold gravity of stone.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness and then becomes eclipsed in shadow, Venus in Cancer will be applying toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and an opposition with Saturn. Vitally, Venus is no longer visible and has entered her regenerative underworld phase of combustion in the fiery rays of the Sun.  Yet the meaning found within the purification of Venus is also drawing us toward new growth in our relationships, aesthetics, and our underlying values since she is crossing over the degree of the North Node of the Moon. At this point within her synodic cycle Venus is moving fast as she chases after the Sun to become reseeded and reborn in the heart of the Sun on August 14. The pull of Venus is inward, inviting descent into inner realms where we can discover our hidden power as well as vulnerability. Feelings will be intensified, even irrational at times, due to Venus being ruled by the Moon as it becomes partially eclipsed.

Indeed, while Venus is magnetizing us to reflect upon and explore whatever is truly most worthwhile to pursue and create through desires as well as embody within relationships, the opposition with Saturn can trigger issues of rejection, fear, and insecurity we will need to endure in order to gather the wisdom available through the experience. Moreover, since Venus is also applying toward a conjunction with Pluto that will complete on July 21, there can be an intensification of relational dynamics that reveal issues or patterns that have been hidden or that we have been in denial of. It is one of those transits that can dredge up difficult feelings while also inciting opportunities for significant growth on the other side of the process. Venus in the sensitive sign of Cancer will be asking us to feel it all deeply.

However, although Venus is facing the intensity of confronting the Head of the Dragon during a Lunar Eclipse while also opposing Saturn and Pluto, she is also forming a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on July 18. Neptune is also mediating the polarity of the eclipse, as it is forming a trine with the North Node of the Moon and a sextile with the eclipsed Moon, Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto. As a result, when emotions become overwhelming we can cope through imaginative creative expression fueled by the feelings, relaxing in or nearby water, or fantasizing through art, storytelling, music, or other combinations of Venus and Neptune. One song that evokes the dynamic tension between Cancer and Capricorn, Venus and Saturn is “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. In the music video she deftly directed herself, the imagery accentuates her lyrical portrayal of fearfully being pursued by love like chthonic hounds, while also discovering if love is actually not something to fear after all:

I thought of sharing “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush not only because I consider it to be a masterful song and video evocative of Venus conjoining the North Node while opposing Saturn conjoining the South Node, but also due to a newsletter from the astrologer Nina Gryphon I read in which she remarked how the two hounds of the fixed stars, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are connected with the eclipse. The Lunar Eclipse is opposite Procyon, the alpha star of Canis Minor, while Venus is close to a degree-based conjunction with Sirius, the alpha star of Canis Major which is also the brightest star in the sky. Notably, however, both Sirius and Procyon are currently in their hidden phases, invisible just like Venus. Just as Kate Bush utilized the symbolism of hounds to write about confronting the fear of falling in love, hounds are also associated with psychopomps into the underworld and being the companions of goddesses such as Hekate who exist in the crossroads between worlds. As we process and integrate the emotional experiences of the eclipse, as Venus continues to engage in her underworld journey the rest of the month, turning within toward the fertile realm of inner senses will help cultivate a regenerated, more authentic presence.

Further deepening an underworld process, Ceres stations direct in the first degree of Sagittarius a day after the Lunar Eclipse on July 17, having been retreating in backward motion since April 8 when it stationed retrograde at 14º16′ Sagittarius. Ceres signifies not only our issues around mothering and nurturance but also our capacity for undergoing cathartic experiences of grief in order to return to a place of creative productivity. Just as Ceres in her myth had to withdraw away from the world in order to mourn and nurse her wounds from losing her beloved, so may we need to focus more on allowing ourselves to do the same rather than trying to force something to happen through ambitious, external striving. The stillness of Ceres is an additional invitation to tend to one’s inner wounds at this time so we can then become strengthened to provide nurturance to others as Ceres begins shifting forward again. Ceres is preparing to embark upon a pilgrimage toward an eventual conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will not become exact until the end of October.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)  Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)

The Lunar Eclipse marks a dramatic moment within the present cycle between Saturn and Pluto, as not only will the Moon become eclipsed, but the Moon itself will also be occulting both Saturn and Pluto. This is due to not only the Full Moon being conjoined with the South Node of the Moon, but also Saturn being conjoined with the South Node of Saturn and Pluto being conjoined with the South Node of Pluto. We are at the end of a Saturn and Pluto cycle that began in 1982 and 1983 (a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto will begin in January 2020), a cycle that has been strongly connected to the nodes of Saturn and Pluto due to the 1982 and 1983 conjunction taking place at the northern bending of Saturn and Pluto, with Saturn and Pluto both forming catalyzing square aspects with their own nodes. Since this time Pluto has been steadily descending in latitude toward its current place of being on the ecliptic.

This means that not only is the Capricorn Moon becoming eclipsed as it descends downward across the ecliptic in union with its own South Node, Saturn and Pluto are also being occulted as they also are on the ecliptic in union with their own South Nodes. Altogether in archetypal terms, this is an incredibly intense dynamic involving the entire orbital arcs of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto intersecting with our own orbit during the time of the Lunar Eclipse. This profound dynamic relates to the necessity of facing not only our own individual karma, but also an intensified encounter with numerous intersecting waves of karma regarding civilization and its wounding impact upon our ancestors across time. There are crucial issues to face not only regarding the living of our own personal lives but also how we are being shaped by the forces of civilization and what is being created and enforced through societal structures, heads of state, governing bodies, and courts of so called justice.

An eclipse in Capricorn signifies sudden endings and changes impacting corporations, governments, heads of state, and hierarchical power structures. As we witness the corresponding volatility in current events, each of us is also being asked to dislodge ourselves from the conditioning of dominant power structures in order to realize whatever we truly wish to create and cultivate. While we may need to continue working somewhere in order to survive and provide for loved ones, we can embrace our performance in a way that can uplift others rather than negatively resigning ourselves to it. We can imagine ways to create time and space to engage in more activities we feel passionate about and enlivened by. We can refuse to conform with dictates from societal power structures that ask us to passively enable oppressive acts of social injustice.

John Everett Millais (1856) The Blind Girl

Just as Venus in Cancer is in her dark phase of invisibility during the eclipse, so is Mercury. Mercury has ancient associations with alchemical water due to its capacity for blending and dissolution, a remedy we will need to utilize to navigate the changing currents to come. Alchemists such as Paracelsus identified Mercury as part of the primal trio along with sulfur (animating soul) and salt (matter, body), with Mercury fluidly mediating the below with the above, the above with the below. In astrology Mercury also has ancient associations with mediating polarities such as the above and below, the spiritual and mundane, the solar and lunar. As a result, it is notable that the Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is separating from a conjunction with Pluto and applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Leo. Though Mercury retrograde has a notorious reputation for bringing delays in external striving, it can be utilized for powerful inner work of purging, processing, clearing, and clarifying.

As I previously wrote in my article on Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer, after Mercury shifts from Leo into Cancer a few days after the eclipse on July 19, it will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination as the Moon wanes toward its dark phase at the end of July. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

Furthermore, after Mercury is reseeded in the heart of the Sun through its inferior conjunction on July 21, it will head backwards toward a mutually applying conjunction with Venus in Cancer on July 24. Both Venus and Mercury will be in the middle of a regenerative process of purification when they meet, with Venus moving away from an opposition with Pluto and Mercury heading toward an opposition with Pluto. While deep issues and emotions will continue to be stirred up, the encounter between Mercury retrograde and Venus can bring a shift into greater healing and nurturance toward whatever needs tending. Though the Lunar Eclipse is a temporary moment of shadowing, the feelings stirred up by it linger, with experiences manifesting at a later date that have their roots in the blood red shading. Let yourself contemplate and explore whatever images emerge into awareness in the coming weeks through dreams of night and travel by day, for they will hold key insights to ponder. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology, “Anima comes to its knowledge by an imaginative proces: by the study of its own images.”

References

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

New Moon in Aries

New Moon in Aries

Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

New Moon in Aries

The New Moon in Aries on April 5 kindles the star fire of inner soul force and determination in the face of collective events that feel overwhelming with their historical weight. Aries takes its name from the constellation of the charging ram, zodiacal terrain ruled by red hot Mars where our life and light giving Sun is exalted. Aries burns with impulsive heat that invigorates our passions and motivates us to take direct action. There is cosmic synchronicity of this propulsive force initiating a new lunar month during the same time that the combined impact of Saturn and Pluto with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn is intensifying. Wielding the fire of Aries will not move mountains, suddenly change world politics,  or be able to cut through every obstacle we face at this time. Yet we still need to claim the courage to use our force of will to shape the aspects of life we are able to create and guide, surrendering to the need to mediate the barriers and limitations out of our control.

The Aries New Moon comes at the turning point of the astrological year. This is usually the case as in the northern hemisphere the season of Aries occurs during the rebirthing of Spring and the daily increase of light. However, in 2019 with the transiting lunar nodes and eclipses occurring in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn, the New Moon in Aries is occurring at the midpoint between eclipses while forming a change inducing square aspect with the Capricorn Solar Eclipse that happened on January 6, 2019 as well as the Cancer Solar Eclipse that is coming on July 2, 2019. This makes it an ideal time to recenter and regroup regarding whatever shifts have been taking shape in your life, summoning inner strength to respond to whatever needs repair or restoration. It’s also ideal for initiating and generating forward momentum and decisive action regarding whatever goals you want to achieve in the next six months.

Hours after the Moon unites with the Sun, the waxing Aries Moon will move through a catalyzing square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Since the Aries New Moon is applying to a square with the transiting lunar nodes it means it is at its bending, in this case the southern bending in which the Moon dips as far south in latitude as it will reach during its lunar cycle. This is a maximum peak of volatility, and in a southern direction indicates a higher charge of unconscious impulses motivating behavior. A day after the lunation, just after the Moon has reappeared in light in its slender waxing crescent shape, the Moon will form a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus on April 6. There likely will be some explosive collective events during this time, yet on personal levels we will also need to be ready for rapid developments to erupt. The Moon is carrying an emancipatory charge that is facing the friction and resistance of large, oppressive societal forces. We can receive liberating, breakthrough insights during this time and by working hard to bring ideas into form we can cultivate greater strength in the process. At the same time, it will be necessary to be aware of the best use of energy in terms of what we can change and what we cannot.

A day before the New Moon, the asteroid Vesta will ingress into Aries and begin applying to a conjunction with Chiron in Aries. The co-presence of the fiery communion between Vesta and Chiron with the New Moon in Aries draws awareness inward toward the most essential and rarified desires and values to focus attention on. What aspects of your life, what elements of your goals and dreams are irreplaceable and bring forth all of your strength and vitality to protect and nourish? During hard and difficult times when faith is tested, when natural disasters or collective calamities and crises strike, the gift offered is complete clarity regarding what matters most, where are attention needs full unequivocal engagement. Chiron and Vesta are inviting you to join them around their fire, a place of inclusivity, listening, sharing, and empowerment, a protective circle in which you can plant the seed of the vision you most wish to create and cultivate in the season ahead.

Mars in Gemini

Woodblock print of Miyamoto Musashi by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Aries New Moon, separating from a sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries and applying toward a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will not complete until April 25. Mars leaving Taurus and entering Gemini brings increased speed, electricity, and curiosity toward the striving will force signified by the red planet. With Mars in Gemini forming a whole sign sextile aspect with the New Moon in Aries, there is increased potential for taking action and making gains on whatever plans and visions have been taking shape during the Mercury retrograde in Pisces period that dominated the month of March. Mars in Gemini brings increased capacity to handle multiple tasks at a time and decipher connections between diverse interests, with the building tension between Mars and Neptune in April capable of severing awareness from an illusion. A main challenge will be keeping Mars from becoming detrimentally distracted in the airy home of Mercury.

Mercury in Pisces is now moving direct as a Morning Star and finally beginning to separate from its extended conjunction with Neptune in Pisces that expanded visions yet restrained our capacity for quickly and clearly making needed connections and communication. Mercury at the time of the Aries New Moon is a week away from reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that we are entering the phase of Mercury in which we must gather the bravery, faith, and resources needed to embody whatever changes of mind and vision emerged into awareness during the past month. Mars in Gemini has the necessary flexibility to shift and mutate as needed as we figure out how to reshape and rebuild life structures. Yet Mars under the influence of Mercury combined with Neptune also brings risk of becoming inflated, self-righteous, and ungrounded, characteristics we will need to guard against especially if conflict erupts.

Odilon Redon flower-clouds

Odilon Redon (1903) Flower Clouds

Feeling the Fishes

There is a potent pulse of Pisces underlying the Aries New Moon. Just as Mercury is beginning to separate away from a conjunction with Neptune, Venus in Pisces is applying toward a union with Neptune that will complete on April 10. The combined influence of Venus, Neptune, and Mercury in Pisces has a multivalent impact which can range from the sublime to the delusional. The influence of Venus exalted in Pisces increases capacity for us to not only envision a reality in which we may behold soulful desires, but to also alter reality to bring about manifestation of deeply felt values and connections. Hopefully the long phase of Mercury retrograde in March helped clear minds of cobwebs and illusory conceptions, but as Mercury is finally separating from Neptune it will still be worthwhile to claim space for inner reflection and meditation to help enhance clarity. Jupiter in Sagittarius is ruling all of the Pisces planets and can facilitate inner knowing that supports their potential for inner vision as long as we center within authentic inner values rather than being swayed by external conditioning influences.

As Venus forms its conjunction with Neptune on April 10, Mercury will simultaneously be applying to its third and final square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius.  All of this is happening at the same time that Jupiter is stationing retrograde on April 10 at 24º21′ Sagittarius. When planets station their archetypal influence saturates the landscape, and so with Jupiter ruling Venus, Neptune, and Mercury it will intensify experience and meaning. The period of April 10 and 11 notably brings a higher degree of resolution to the wild journey Mercury has been on since February, as Mercury previously formed a square aspect with Jupiter on February 22 and March 24. There will be an opportunity for deepening into clearing or clarification of misleading beliefs while simultaneously receiving intimations of the course to follow into the future. Venus and Neptune will be playing the part of pulling awareness into the pleasures and wisdom of the senses and can be best utilized for soothing stress and creating an atmosphere of recovery, restoration and healing.

The mystical influences of Venus uniting with Neptune and Mercury contesting Jupiter goes well with the added meaning of Jupiter stationing retrograde. Jupiter shifting into retrograde motion pulls the outward expansion and quest for freedom of Jupiter in Sagittarius into inner horizons, helping one to cohere inner meaning from the free ranging experiences of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius. Jupiter will remain retrograde until stationing direct on August 11 at 14°30′ Sagittarius

Gustave_Courbet_(French_-_Grotto_of_Sarrazine_near_Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne_-_Google_Art_Project

Gustave Courbet (1875) Grotto of Sarrazine near Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne

Saturn – Pluto – South Node

The month of April initiates us into an intensification of the complex gravitas constellated by Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon coming together in Capricorn. By the end of April, both Pluto and Saturn will have stationed retrograde with Saturn coming within three degrees of Pluto (Saturn and Pluto will not complete their conjunction until January 12, 2020). The deepening we experience in April into what to expect from the beginning of new cycle between Pluto and Saturn is amplified due to the transiting South Node of the Moon being in the same place, with Pluto conjoining the South Node of the Moon during the Aries New Moon and Saturn conjoining it by the end of April.

These aspects alone would signify immense karmic issues erupting across societies, but the added influence taking things to an even more extreme degree is that the alignment of Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of the Moon is also happening in the same area as the South Nodes of Pluto and Saturn. This means that the archetypal meaning of the entire orbital arcs of Saturn and Pluto are crashing down across the ecliptic, flooding events with their significations. We tend to imagine the lunar nodes as a dragon in astrology, yet what we have in this alignment is a three headed (or headless) dragon involving not only the lunar archetype but Saturn and Pluto as well. The shadow of the Self described in the work of C.G. Jung can thus be applied to all of global civilization, with numerous issues sweeping across global societies representing the accumulated toxicities and oppression built up from ages past.

At its highest potential, this massive alignment offers opportunities for confronting societal issues and attempting to purify their intersection with us as individuals. Fundamentally, the New Moon in Aries points to the importance for each of us as an individual to claim responsibility for our behavior and intention, becoming accountable for the wider collective impact of our individual actions. While Pluto and Saturn have numerous negative and difficult significations, they also both connect with the empowerment found within our unconscious depths and our capacity to apply hard work and discipline toward manifesting and protecting what is most important to us, building or tearing down structures as needed.

Aries 2 Decan

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Aries associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. As the second face of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a heroic figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Similarly, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second face of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth and rulership to this decan.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second face of Aries.  Coppock described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).  These associations with the second face of Aries work well with the New Moon in Aries having so much potent fertility for vision being offered by Venus, Neptune, and Mercury aligned in Pisces and being received by Jupiter in Sagittarius.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs attributed Persephone to the second decan of Aries, an interesting association as she is also a noble figure who bridges the world of the visible and invisible, the goddess who rules the otherworld of soul, death, release, and resurrection. Additionally, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 16º Capricorn and forming an almost exact square aspect with the Aries New Moon. Persephone’s presence with the New Moon calls us to honor being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death.  While we must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, grieving those who have passed on, Persephone also signifies our capacity for discovering newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear.

There is a further link with Persephone’s presence in this face with the sabian symbol for sixteen degrees of Aries where the union between Sun and Moon takes place: “Nature spirits are seen at work in the light of sunset.” Dane Rudhyar connected this symbol with “attunement to the potency of invisible forces, of nature,” commenting that these “nature forces act as guiding and balancing-harmonizing factors.”  As one of the gifts astrology offers us is coming to terms with natural cycles so that we can flow and harmonize with them, we will need to keep in mind during April the necessity of both surrendering to natural processes of death and rebirth while claiming responsibility for doing what we can to shape matters and offer our own resources for support.

Youth of delight, come hither / And see the opening morn, / Image of truth new born. / Doubt is fled & clouds of reason, / Dark disputes & artful teazing. / Folly is an endless maze, / Tangled roots perplex her ways, / How many have fallen there! / They stumble all night over bones of the dead, / And feel they know not what but care, / And wish to lead others when they should be led.

— The Voice of the Ancient Bard by William Blake, from Songs of Innocence

Songs_of_Innocence_and_of_Experience_copy_AA_The_Voice_of_the_Ancient_Bard

References

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

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