Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

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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.

Aquarius New Moon & Mercury

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from the Clavis Artis

New Moon in Aquarius

The Aquarius New Moon on February 4, 2019 lifts us out of the strange vortex of eclipse season for a breath of fresh air that can help us reorient our life in accordance with whatever material has been stirred up since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse on January 5.  The New Moon is at 15º43′ degrees of Aquarius, placing it at the cross quarter point midway between the solstice and equinox. This period is associated with the goddess Brigid in Celtic mythology who signifies the returning healing light of spring, fertility, poetry, and the arts forged through smithcraft. Fittingly, the New Moon is applying to a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius, ideal for  finding a new form of stability to manage following the changes of the past month, forging art out of our experiences, as well as integrating the important lessons that have been revealed about ourselves.

Vitally, Mercury in Aquarius is separating from a sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius and applying tightly toward a conjunction with Black Moon Lilith in Aquarius at the time of the Aquarius New Moon. Mercury was recently reborn at its celestial cazimi in Aquarius, and similar to the darkened moon that we cannot see at the lunation, Mercury also remains within its invisible phase of forging new meaning for us to interpret and express. We truly are in the dark at the Aquarius New Moon, but as the night gives birth to Mercury a week or so after the lunation, with Mercury emerging in light again as an Evening Star in twilight, we will gain greater clarity. Mercury has been working within hidden places during the entire eclipse season, as it first disappeared under the beams of the sun as the solar rays were partially eclipsed on January 5. Applying to Black Moon Lilith, Mercury is highlighting parts of ourselves we had previously cast off that the recent eclipse season have indicated we now need to integrate and express.

In 20th century astrology Uranus became the dominant ruler of Aquarius, and it thus fascinating that Uranus is carrying perhaps the biggest story of the forthcoming lunation cycle. Just before the moon emerges into visible crescent form it will pass through a sextile with Uranus in Aries, highlighting that we have entered the final month of Uranus being in Aries. Uranus first entered Aries in 2010, immediately intensifying a catalytic square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that dominated astrology through 2016. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the Uranus and Pluto cycle as inciting “radical social and political change and often destructive upheaval, massive empowerment of revolutionary and rebellious impulses . . . intensified artistic and intellectual creativity . . . unusually rapid technological advance, an underlying spirit of restless experiment, drive for innovation, urge for freedom in many realms, revolt against oppression, embrace of radical political philosophies, and intensified collective will to bring forth a new world.” We will still be within the influence of the Uranus-Pluto square, but after Uranus enters Taurus and is no longer in a sign-based square with Pluto its edge will be less sharp.

Yet, since Uranus is separating away from Pluto while Saturn is applying to Pluto, the influence of the Saturn and Pluto cycle has been more viscerally felt. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the Saturn and Pluto cycle as being about “conservative empowerment,” as its cycle aligns with “eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression . . . An atmosphere of gravity and tension.” Significantly, Mars in Aries has moved through a square aspect with both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn and is now applying toward a conjunction with Uranus, bringing both cycles together on personal and societal levels.

Mars will complete is union with Uranus in Aries on February 12, and so there will be a great amount of tension building from the Aquarius New Moon to be released at that time. While collective events will reverberate with the changes that have been in process since 2010, on personal levels we will also be coming to terms with our own process of growth. The union of Mars with Uranus in Aries is impulsive and headstrong, and while difficult to restrain we will want to do our best to align the forceful fire of their conjunction with our inner values and integrity.  It will be best to not incite conflict where it is not necessary, but in any circumstance in which we need to stand up for ourselves it will bring an assertive, liberating, propulsive push.

The forthcoming lunation cycle also brings the end of Chiron’s time in Pisces, as Chiron will enter Aries as the moon is waxing into fullness on February 18. Chiron will then remain in the fiery home of Mars until 2027. Chiron first entered Pisces in April 2010 during the time period that the Uranus-Pluto square was beginning to intensify, and so has been with us in the watery home of Jupiter the entire time we have been dealing with the epochal eruptions of Uranus and Pluto throughout our global collective. Considering whatever house in your natal chart belongs to Pisces, in particular if the final degree of Pisces is significant by aspect in your natal chart, you can expect a final lesson of resolution relating to Chiron in the sign of Fishes as the light of the moon grows each day toward fullness.

In Pisces, Chiron has oftentimes needed to lead us into the innermost depths of his cave in order to nurture wounds, integrate lessons, and intuitively attune ourselves to changing currents through his vast array of hermetic medicines. We are now at the final weeks of receiving healing from the inner waters of Chiron before we will need to strike out on a fiery quest as Chiron enters Aries on February 18. Just as Chiron brought us resources from Pisces during the square between Uranus and Pluto, Chiron will now be bringing resources from Aries to assert ourselves during the coming union of Saturn and Pluto. Since the Saturn and Pluto cycle is oftentimes associated with oppressive, reactionary forces, we can link the square formed to Capricorn from Chiron in Aries with freedom fighters and social justice activists, as well as consequences of conflict brought by protest and revolutionary movements.

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Michael Maier, Emblem 12 from Atalanta Fugiens

The way we work with and become impacted by Jupiter is often tied to the familial, cultural, and societal traditions that have been surrounding and influencing us. There is currently a strong influence of Neptune in Pisces on all of this, as Neptune is in a change inducing square aspect with Jupiter, and Neptune is also in a harmonious sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, the ruler of the Aquarius New Moon. Jupiter will expand within the skeletal structures we have erected with Saturn, and so for many Jupiter could be expanding self centered and overly materialistic tendencies, or a nationalistic emphasis that neglects alternative viewpoints as well as more far reaching, global consequences of putting one’s own interests above others. The influence of Neptune is multivalent, in some cases keeping people wrapped up in illusions of belief, in other cases dissolving old belief structures through disillusioning experiences that reveal new awareness of personal truth.  Aquarius is zodiacal terrain ruled by Saturn that promotes the heretic willing to cut ties with corrosive cultural patterns, contemplating a new path to follow aligned in greater accord with inner integrity.

The work of C.G. Jung is interesting in connection with Saturn’s rulership of Aquarius, not only because Jung had both his ascendant and Saturn in Aquarius, but also due to many of his ideas in late 20th century astrology becoming associated with the Uranus rulership of Aquarius. It has been fascinating for me to read the two volumes written by Liz Greene thoroughly researching Jung’s work with astrology, as she revealed that Jung in fact not only emphasized the Saturn rulership of Aquarius, but also that he connected Saturn with “the unconscious darkness within the human being: that which is most despised and ‘inferior’ .  . .”  Saturn to Jung leads us to confront “the darkness of the unconscious,” a necessity for “any integration of the personality to occur.”

Jung also noted the important alchemical link between Mercury and Saturn, synthesizing it into his astrological interpretation of them- meaning which connects to the proximity of Mercury in Aquarius to the new moon. Greene described his interpretation as revealing that the “shadowy, potentially destructive prima materia of the unconscious, represented by Saturn, bears a secret unity with the mysterious mediating agency in the psyche, represented by Mercury, that fosters the conscious recognition of meaning and teleology.” In a similar way, all of the unconscious material that emerged into awareness during the past month of eclipses now needs to be sifted, mediated, and mixed into our actual daily presence, rather than splitting it off or dissociating.

C.G. Jung’s work is also resonant with our historical era of Saturn and Pluto coming together in Capricorn because Jung was born with an almost exact square aspect between his natal Saturn in Aquarius and Pluto in Taurus. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche brilliantly summarized the connection between Jung’s work with the meaning of the Saturn-Pluto cycle:

Throughout his life, Jung stressed the critical need for the modern self to become aware of its shadow, which he named, recognized as an archetypal principle, and examined in the traumas of twentieth-century history: the shadow of European civilization, the shadow of modern man, the shadow of modern technology, the shadow of patriarchy and masculine one-sidedness, the shadow of Christianity, the shadow of the conscious ego, the shadow within each individual. “It is indeed no small matter to know of one’s own guilt and one’s own evil, and there is certainly nothing to be gained by losing sight of one’s shadow . . . Without guilt, unfortunately there can be no psychic maturation and no widening of the spiritual horizon.”

. . . The very notion of the shadow as Jung conceived it represents an intricate synthesis of the two planetary principles: from Saturn, the motifs of judgment, guilt and shame, suppression and repression, splitting and separation, denial, the inferior, that which is regretted and negated; and from Pluto, those aspects of the self that constitute its “underworld,” the instincts, the dark depths of the personality, the animal-like, the often ruthless and ugly, serving impulses for power, domination, lust, and other drives yet also representing that healthy instinctuality from which healing, wholeness, and a higher consciousness can ultimately emerge.

— Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche

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Meret Oppenheim Stone Woman

Venus enters Capricorn the day before the Aquarius New Moon, and then moves toward a conjunction with Saturn as the moon waxes full in the forthcoming lunar cycle. By the end of the lunar cycle, Venus will have moved through unions with Pluto and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in the final degree of Aries. There are a couple of ways to view this journey of Venus in her bright Morning Star phase: on one hand, it can be seen as a rough, restraining passage for Venus necessitating focused hard work. This time period is in stark contrast to last month when Venus was uniting with Jupiter in Sagittarius while aspecting Neptune in Pisces, as it brings Venus back to earth in a way that will force us to mediate the limitations of current circumstances as well as the underlying, unconscious depths of our shadow.

On the other hand, an important viewpoint is that Venus is bringing her unifying significations to mediate the building tension between Saturn and Pluto. Capricorn is a sensual and tactile placement for Venus, and her movement through aspects with Saturn, Pluto, the South Node of the Moon, and Uranus means that we will be deeply feeling all of the associated material within ourselves and within our relational dynamics. Though difficult feelings may come during this transit, the passage of Venus during the forthcoming lunar cycle will help us to orient ourselves toward however the myriad aspects of our lives are taking shape in accordance with the coming union of Saturn and Pluto. As Capricorn is a cardinal sign of initiation, Venus can help guide us toward places we need to make adjustments within our relationships.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness, there will be a major astrological shift away from externally directed signs toward receptive, internally directed signs. Mars will shift from Aries into the inner, earthy sign of Taurus on February 14 where the red planet will look to Venus for guidance. Mercury will enter the inner, watery sign of Pisces a week after the Aquarius New Moon, as it also reemerges into visibility as an Evening Star with a significant Neptunian message for us to receive.  As a result the week following the Aquarius New Moon will feel active with an accelerated pace that will begin to slow down in the days leading into the Full Moon in Virgo on February 19.

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6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

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

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, found in the image of the Six of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” that utilizes the independence of Aquarius to stabilize “commerce between heaven and earth.”  Coppock described it as a place to “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them,” acting in accordance with “one’s principles” in a way that allows for the mediation and forging of “the orthodox and unorthodox, the known and the unknown.” Coppock also noted the link of Phobos to this face in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs, signifying the terror and fear many feel when encountering the unknown and alien.

Interestingly, Mercury is barely present within the second face of Aquarius it rules at the exact moment the New Moon aligns, on the threshold of leaving the second decan of Aquarius to cross into the third decan of Aquarius. In the month of February, all of the planets are direct and after Mercury becomes visible again in the week after the lunation, all of the planets will also be visible. If you are being compelled to take a risk of entering unknown territory, leaving a familiar situation for the unfamiliar, there is plenty of planetary impetus to support getting the work done. Moreover, since the month of March will be dominated by Mercury retrograde in Pisces, the month ahead is opportune for taking strides to make progress and solidify structures in preparation for the mercurial shifting that will be coming in March. Since we can expect the unexpected manifestations of Uranus, the more we embrace change and coming up with new solutions, the better. Heed the ancient words of Heraclitus: “Whoever cannot seek / the unforeseen sees nothing, / for the known way / is an impasse.”

References

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

Greene, Liz. (2018). Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time. Routledge.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Haxton, Brooks. (2001). Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus. Viking.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907) The Past

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

“. . . those historical layers in ourselves which we have just overcome and left behind, or which we think we have overcome. It is like the paradise of childhood from which we imagine we have emerged, but which at the slightest provocation imposes fresh defeats upon us. Indeed, our cult of progress is in danger of imposing on us even more childish dreams of the future, the harder it presses us to escape from the past.”

— Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections p. 244

Our ancestors for as far back as it seems we can imagine have honored the impact of eclipses. Anyone who has witnessed firsthand the blackening of the sun can attest to the otherworldliness conjured by our solar light becoming consumed by the multiplicity of night. When I witnessed the total solar eclipse in August 2017 that was visible in my homeland, Venus, normally shrouded by the rays of the sun, became unveiled in all her brightness at the midheaven of mid-day. Indeed, the quality of light during a solar eclipse is unlike any other, invoking a fertile matrix being opened within a dark void of the sky. Realities that have been hidden from our perception arise forcibly into our awareness, whether their source is from our unconscious or within external dynamics we had been unable to observe due to the glare from our subjectivity.

Similarly, in astrology eclipses are known as times in which we experience an intensification of forms entering and leaving our life. Since the partial solar eclipse in Capricorn occurring on January 5 or 6 (depending on your locality) is the first of a series of Capricorn eclipses, it will bring an amplified introduction of new themes into our life while we simultaneously need to let go of numerous aspects of our old attachments and identity. Themes of release and purification will be especially emphasized as the eclipse is occurring at 15º25’ Capricorn on the side of the South Node of the Moon at 26º43’ Capricorn. We will  have eclipses occurring in Capricorn and Cancer from now through the first half of 2020, and so one way to prepare is to become acquainted with the houses and aspects of your natal chart that will be effected.

Due to Saturn in Capricorn ruling the eclipse less than four degrees away from the syzygy, an immense theme of discharge will involve your relationship with Saturn in Capricorn and concepts such as discipline, hard work, contemplation, mastery, authority, death, the dead, and the enduring. Your relationship with Pluto in Capricorn is also paramount, as the eclipse is applying toward a conjunction with Pluto and is close to the midpoint of Saturn and Pluto. Moreover, the eclipse is occurring within seven degrees of the south nodes of both Saturn and Pluto, with Pluto closely conjoining its own south node. To paraphrase some of Dane Rudhyar’s ideas on the planetary nodes, we are experiencing the essentiality of Pluto affecting our individual roots within civilization, both the putrefaction of plutonic toxicity as well as the creative empowerment that comes from claiming our inner authority within the collective chaos.

As a result, it will be advisable to reflect and meditate upon your interface with Capricorn, Saturn, and Pluto. How are you feeling about your current ambitions, responsibilities, and how you have been measuring up with results? What aspects of your goals do you need to let go of in order to be more nurturing toward yourself? What patterns of behavior and perception do you need to purify or release in order to be more effective in pursuit of your aspirations? What do you need to release, remember, or regain from your past, or honor and bring back as a resource from your ancestors? Instead of focusing upon ambitious, external, worldly ideas of progress, are you instead being called to focus within your inner depths?

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Marc Chagall (1915-19) Anywhere out of the World

“The dragon, or serpent, represents the initial state of unconsciousness, for this animal loves, as the alchemists say, to dwell in “caverns and dark places.” Unconsciousness has to be sacrificed; only then can one find the entrance into the head, and the way to conscious knowledge and understanding. Once again the universal struggle of the hero with the dragon is enacted, and each time at its victorious conclusion the sun rises: consciousness dawns, and it is perceived that the transformation process is taking place inside the temple, that is, in the head.”

— Carl Jung, “The Visions of Zosimos” from Alchemical Studies

From ancient times eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon being 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 seeding new forms, eclipses can also enhance our capacity to purify material attachments.  Especially due to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse emphasizing the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, the emphasis will be on spiritual sacrifice and releasing fixations, entering the mysterious unknown. As the eclipse loosens the binding of the nodal knot, we may weave together new growth from the intersection between our past, present, and future.

In addition to Saturn and Pluto playing enormous roles within the dynamics of the partial solar eclipse, Uranus is also holding a strange, impactful influence as it is stationing direct at the same time as the solar eclipse while forming a square to the transiting lunar nodes.  Uranus at the southern bending of the lunar nodes is also forming a quincunx with Venus in Scorpio, which is notable due to the long opposition between Uranus and Venus that fertilized new meaning from September through the end of November. As Uranus stations direct in Aries for the final time (a transit that has been building since 2010), there is a fiery aspect of your inner light and vision wishing to break free and liberate you from any fear of fully committing to  manifesting it. The barriers you feel are in the way, all your reasons for making excuses to not do it, will be obvious. Uranus wants to know what you plan to do about it anyway.

Uranus is also in a 7th harmonic aspect to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse through a bi-septile. It’s not the only 7th harmonic aspect within the eclipse, as there is also a septile between Venus in Scorpio with Pluto in Capricorn as well as a tri-septile between Mercury in Capricorn with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. My first astrology teacher Rosie Finn has described the 7th harmonic as an otherworldly descent of the strange and mystical, a dissolving of boundaries that creatively enables us to transcend everyday reality.  With Uranus stationing while squaring the lunar nodes, this could feel more like the bizarre blasting into our life. By opening to letting go of some old attachments, we will clear space for something new to alter our sense of what is possible.

Our ability to imagine the possibility of bringing inner dreams and visions into reality, no matter how strange, is further emphasized by the Capricorn Solar Eclipse forming a harmonious sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces. Furthermore, Jupiter in Sagittarius is also applying toward a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact a week later on January 13. This will be the first of three square aspects between Jupiter and Neptune (June 16 and September 21 will be the subsequent two), one of the dominant astrological themes of 2019 that provides a potent remediation of boosting capacities for imagining possibilities that counterbalances the constrictive influence of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The dissolving, visionary influence of Neptune is mediating between Saturn and Jupiter all year, through a sextile aspect with Saturn and a square aspect with Jupiter.

The square between Jupiter and Neptune is a waning one stretching back to the beginning of their current cycle in 2009, and therefore involves a deep change in what we envision is possible and the meaning of life we live from. These aspects also indicate disillusionment striking about civilization and our place within it; though these feelings can be difficult they also allow a reorientation to a deeper personal truth. Rather than having fear or anxiety underly vision, find a place of centered empowerment from which to cast your creative intentions and dreams into the unknown future. The influence of Neptune and Jupiter make the Capricorn Solar Eclipse potent in terms of revisioning the beliefs underlying your aspirations, opening yourself to the potential of creating more of the life you want to live in a way that also involves realistic steps for fulfillment.

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

from the Clavis Artis (18th Century)

“The wise old man is what he is because he has endured everything the earth can throw at him but, although he can seem so thoughtful to others, doesn’t think or consider. This is the state he always abides in, which is the place of no abiding at all where spirit is united with earth. He just is the earth’s suffering, made conscious; its beauty and pain; its humanity.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Mercury in Capricorn is co-present with the Solar Eclipse, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn and is headed toward a conjunction with Saturn. In between eclipses, Mercury will unite with Saturn on January 13, the same day as the exact square between Jupiter and Neptune. Mercury will them move on to form a conjunction with Pluto on January 18 a couple of days before the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo that ripens on January 20. Mercury is hidden under the beams of the sun during this liminal time of eclipses, doing the secret work of the subconscious by mixing together the meaning of Saturn and Pluto being enveloped by the eclipse.

It’s an alchemical role for Mercury to play, and in Capricorn while applying to Saturn there is incredible thoroughness willing to soak up the sentience of stone within the dexterous movements of Mercury. However, Mercury is also applying to a catalytic square aspect with Mars in Aries at the time of the eclipse, adding an impulsive, initiating quality to the work of Hermes. If there is a great ambition you are harboring within to manifest in 2019, Mercury is in ideal position at the eclipse to bring your attention to the hidden, underlying issues at its root. No matter your intentions, Mercury will be probing under the surface of your daily routines and effort noticing where there can be greater efficiency and effectiveness. Due to the friction between Mars and Mercury, there can be inspired communication but be careful to not needlessly provoke conflict or rush off into an enterprise before you are properly prepared.

Venus remains a beacon of bright light before sunrise, and has finally reached the final degrees of Scorpio at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse. Venus has separated from Ceres in Scorpio while forming a watery triangle with Chiron in Pisces and the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. We will have opportunities to grieve loss, soothe our old wounds, and take responsibility for our part in past dynamics, but there is a vital quality of Venus at the eclipse beckoning us into the present in order to bring value to what needs our attention in the here and now. In the forthcoming waxing of the Moon, Venus will be entering Sagittarius and then heading toward a union with Jupiter which will culminate at the same time as the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo. Venus is drawing us to engage with the type of epic vision that Jupiter in Sagittarius loves best.

Amazingly, while we will have a union of the benefics, Venus and Jupiter, during the upcoming eclipse season, we will also experience the malefic friction of Mars and Saturn forming a change inducing square aspect at the same time as the upcoming lunar eclipse. Mars in Aries forming a square with Saturn in Capricorn can demand direct ordering and coordination that enables a quick and smooth implementation of plans, and if we are not careful we can burn under its glare for not meeting expectations of optimal performance. However, with Venus and Jupiter also uniting in Sagittarius we are being asked to imbibe the integrity of our essential values and meaning into whatever we are working on, being willing to patiently wait for a more natural manifestation of form.  At its best these aspects support putting in disciplined exertion to a craft or art we have filled with meaning and purpose, focusing on the intrinsic motivation of creation rather than external judgment.

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The Solar Eclipse falls in the second decan of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Three of Pentacles we see a skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in a monastery.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  Fittingly, Mars and Venus are the co-rulers of the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort bonded with artistic vision.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, noting it is a place where sublime works of material manifestation are completed.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work in collaboration with numerous resources if we want to complete our grand vision. Coppock wrote that while there is a necessity to bind our effort to the form and guidance of a blueprint, he also cautioned to take care in the “enduring consequences” created by becoming consumed by the creation of a grand magnum opus. Coppock described the need to distill ambition from hubris in order “to achieve purity of purpose,” a worthy separation to keep in mind as we tangle with the tail of the dragon in the Capricorn Solar Eclipse.

Capricorn involves the maturity and responsibility cultivated through facing and dealing with natural cycles of change, listening within for when it is time to act as well as refrain from excessive activity. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse has the unique astrological timing of initiating us into the starry themes of 2019 at the same time that the human designed calendar begins, not long after the rebirth that comes with the solstice. Though we know that our societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos designed to create a stable whole, we sometimes forget to reflect upon how our conformity to societal norms can limit our essential growth and make us too concerned with external judgment. As the sun becomes partially eclipsed by the moon, we can likewise retreat within our own darkness to reformulate how we work with time and space in creating our world.

References

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

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

Jung, Carl. (1965). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffe. Vintage.

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

 

Capricorn Full Moon: Mars Stations Retrograde in Aquarius

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Felix Vallotton (1909) La nuit, effet de lune

Full Moon in Capricorn

The Full Moon in Capricorn which arises on June 27 or 28, depending upon your time zone, has a ripeness best enjoyed by those who possess resilient persistence and can maintain diligent insistence on doing what must be done. Saturn and Mars take center stage at the Capricorn Full Moon, the planets who have borne the roles of malefic and trouble making nemesis with dramatic flair within the history of astrology. Yet there is also the ancient line of thought that essentially all of the planets are holy agents of the world soul who always bring opportunities for developing and refining our nature. It’s true that Saturn can open us to transcendent insight, while Mars can incite the courage needed for dynamic reform and inspired creation. However, much of the time we experience growth through hardship, letting go, surrendering, or needing to overcome overwhelming odds. The Capricorn Full Moon signifies a time in which challenging difficulties are highlighted rather than unobstructed flow. The Moon’s fullness irradiates how to work with energy levels within the stinking decay of societal structures and promising movements of fresh innovation.

The Full Moon in Capricorn illuminates a reality check on deep, underlying shifts beginning to take shape in our lives. The Full Moon is in the earthen, inwardly directed home of Saturn and forms an exact conjunction with the ringed planet as it culminates in full light. This creates an intensely Saturnine lunation, and while Saturn may generally make you think of the hardening and solidifying of forms that resist change, there is another astrological event occurring simultaneously that signifies a monumental alteration of life narratives. This is because a day before the Full Moon the fiery red planet Mars stations retrograde in Aquarius, the airy, outwardly directed home of Saturn that readily formulates plans to structure future vision. The Full Moon uniting with Saturn thus brings a fully lit glare of Kronos to the changes underway, whether they are already occurring at a rapid pace or instead are slowly showing initial signs of deep-rooted modification.

The Full Moon peaks less than sixteen hours after Saturn forms an exact opposition with the Sun, demarcating the heart of its retrograde period (Saturn is retrograde from April 17 – September 6) when Saturn is at its brightest phase as an Evening Star as well as closest to us in orbit. Saturn has been in Capricorn for over six months now, and so with reflection the correlations within both collective and personal experiences will become clear. Saturn in its nocturnal home brings the gravity of stone to decision making, and so we can feel the weight of our choices more tangibly, more readily sense the realistic amount of time and space we have to work with. Saturn in Capricorn demands responsible and patient persistence, yet its cardinal and earthy nature also opens the potential to source foundational change in the sustenance of our life.  When we work with Saturn in Capricorn while detaching from the dogma of how we have been conditioned to believe things must be, the nourishment of imaginative visioning allows us to actively work with the Capricorn gift for molding materials in new and improved ways.

Saturn receiving the spotlight of the Full Moon is ideal for looking back over the course of the past six months and contemplating what’s been working well and not so well in your co-participation with its plodding course through the sign of the Sea Goat. While many people appear to react in habitual, unmindful ways to the changing currents of life, we all possess the capacity for the self awareness necessary to break ourselves free from past patterns of behavior and open ourselves to direct engagement in the moment. As the Saturnine light of the Full Moon blossoms while Mars stations retrograde, it will be easy to feel overwhelmed by past and current sources of stress. If possible, find ways to detach in protective space in order to access the gift the lunation offers for reformulating strategies for the next steps to take in future plans.

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Georgia O’Keeffe (1922) A Storm

Mars stationing retrograde is a big deal because the retrograde movement of Mars is the most rare of all the planets, occurring roughly every twenty six months or so. Furthermore, Mars moving retrograde in Aquarius has been the most rare of all Mars retrograde transits in the recent era, as we have not experienced a Mars retrograde in Aquarius since 1971. This particular Mars retrograde in Aquarius is even more volatile than normal for a few reasons. For one, Uranus in Taurus is in range of a catalytic, change inducing square aspect with Mars, ramping up the unexpected quality of martial change immeasurably. In addition, Mars is stationing in conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius as we enter a season of lunations aligned with the transiting lunar nodes- this results in three eclipses in a row following the Capricorn Full Moon (Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 12; Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo on July 27; Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11). Weaving all of this together, we can know for certainty that more than the normal amount of unpredictable change  is on the horizon. As a result, the Full Moon aligning with Saturn is a gift in terms of digging into the roots of our situation to assess the state of our foundation.

Life narratives shift when Mars moves retrograde, pivotal figures enter our lives while other relationships fade away. Unlike the underworld retrograde movements of Mercury and Venus that involve both planets disappearing from view, Mars is brightly lit against a backdrop of starry firmament the entire time it is retrograde. In fact, Mars will be as bright during the upcoming retrograde as it has been since 2003. The wandering celestial objects such as Mars signify how we live in a world of constant flux, ceaseless death and birth; in contrast, the fixed stars that rise and set each night in the same places they have for ages past signify enduring aspects of the eternal. The glowing redness of Mars will be bound to our night sky as it appears to move backward through our zodiac, providing the opportunity to turn away from passing fancies and toward our inner realm of deep desire resonant with the eternal world of soul. Mars retrograde is less effective for the usual, status quo operations of the consensus, more resonant with a turn toward the unusual, irrational, unexplainable places where passions are visceral, purely sourced from within rather than projected based upon external rewards.

Mars in Aquarius is a fascinating sign for the red planet to station retrograde in while conjoining the transiting South Node of the Moon. Mars is an outsider in Aquarius, and this unique environment for Mars to operate within cultivates a martial force like nowhere else.   Mars can be fierce and protective in Aquarius, yet also has a strange mix of objectivity, humanitarianism, experimentation, and determination we do not quite find in any other sign. Mars retrograde in Aquarius can ultimately aid us in discerning how to catalyze necessary growth through detaching from consuming, subjective emotions like anger and frustration. Its union with the South Node of the Moon brings the opportunity to burn off old martial identities on the fires of purification. However, we also need to remain aware of the shadow side of Mars in Aquarius that can become overly detached from the consequences of its actions due to the fervor of its idealistic convictions. While we will need to have the awareness to cool it down when rising inner heat is leading us into unnecessary conflict, our relationships and community will also need us to maintain a heart-centered connection with what needs to be done and who needs to be protected.

Aquarius is the sign of the Water Bearer who carries and shares the enlivening water of consciousness that nourish humanitarian impulses. With Mars retrograde, the water poured throughout the collective will be dissolving fixed structures and opening spaces within the fields of power for new voices to emerge within a state of rearrangement and reformulation of dynamics. Moreover, with Mars wrapped up intensely with Uranus in Taurus during its retrograde, its more likely than normal that rapidly developing, nonlinear revelations will emerge that can be challenging to integrate into our sense of personal identity as well as work with in the established structures of our life. Rather than dissociating or splitting off what feels difficult to embody or receive within surrounding circumstances, it will be important to find ways to responsibly work with the sudden Uranian insights in tangible ways, finding acceptance for how old conceptions of our identity mutate.

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Alder Wolf (2012) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Aquarius hosting the opening of the Mars retrograde signifies that outsiders will take center stage, and so it is not surprising that a ramping up of debate and conflict over immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers erupted as Mars slowed down to station. The collective conflicts building now will not be resolved any time soon, and similarly we can expect that any personal conflicts arising now will also endure an extended battle before finding resolution. Aquarius is a sign known for being able to keep a steady pace of endurance, a quality we will need to integrate rather than insisting on rash, impulsive action. Aquarius is also optimal for abstract strategizing, and so as we navigate the storms brought by Mars retrograde clashing with Uranus and a season of eclipses, we can receive new ideas and solutions for old dilemmas, new questions that lead us to new answers and reframing.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the trajectory of the Mars retrograde leads it to eventually station direct at its exaltation of 28°37′ Capricorn on August 27. Mars ending its retrograde on its most exalted degree of the zodiac suggests out of all of the struggles that come about in the next several months, in some way a refinement of a more exalted martial quality may be discovered and then embodied on the other side. For the time being, it will be much more important to stay present with the task at hand rather than becoming distracted over future expectations. The stationing of Mars also has an important impact on the transit of Jupiter in Scorpio, since Jupiter is in the home of Mars and so looks to the red planet for resources. Interestingly, the Capricorn Full Moon is separating from its conjunction with Saturn and is applying toward a sextile with Jupiter retrograde in Scorpio. This is yet another sign of growth being able to be found through suffering and deep penetration into the actual reality of circumstances rather than denial over what’s really going on beneath the surface.

Jupiter is getting closer to the end of its retrograde phase at the Full Moon, eventually stationing direct during the forthcoming waning cycle of the Moon at 13º20′ Scorpio on July 10.  Mars is stationing in range of a wide square to Jupiter, and since they are occupying signs that square one another it signifies we will be going through one of our deepest dives yet into the realm of shadow with Jupiter in Scorpio. A pull into the shadow of our subconscious, revealing intimations of what we have been refusing in one way or another to acknowledge about ourselves, will be amplified further by the fact that the Mars retrograde will be taking it into extreme southern latitude relative to the ecliptic. Gary Caton has been doing innovative work with the retrograde loop patterns of Mars and at UAC 2018 gave a talk I was fortunate to attend in which he stated that when planets go into southern latitude they call us to dig deep into our subjective senses to discover how we are unconsciously acting out from our shadow. In combination with Mars also stationing in conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, we have repeated signs indicating that the greatest meaning will be found in contemplating our depths, pulling in our energy around a purifying fire we stoke to burn off the past identities and patterns we are ready to now let go of.

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Vincent Van Gogh (1888) Starry Night Over the Rhone

Not only will Mars become an extremely bright Evening Star in the midnight hour, so will all of the traditional planets be visible following the setting of the Sun as the luminous, silvery Moon rises. As the Sun sets it will be possible in some locations to view Mercury briefly in the shifting hues of twilight, while both Venus and Jupiter will be higher, brighter, and more easily seen for an extended period following sunset. Eventually both Saturn and then Mars will emerge in the night sky. There is fascinating symbolism occurring that as Venus in Leo sets on the western horizon, Mars in Aquarius will begin to rise on the eastern horizon. Taking a break from the toil of the day to attune to the starry night sky will be one available remediation strategy to help with cooling down and opening to a more reflective state of mind as the inner heat stoked by Mars retrograde intensifies.

A day after the Full Moon, Mercury will enter Leo and begin to apply toward an opposition with Mars retrograde and a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon. Mercury will form an exact opposition with Mars retrograde on July 5, and so the tension between Mercury and Mars will be intensifying until then. Mercury’s time in Leo this year is one of its most pivotal journeys of the year, for Mercury will later go through a retrograde phase in Leo at the end of July resulting in Mercury remaining in Leo until September 5. The inner desires incited by Mars retrograde can be transmitted into fiery, inspirational communication with Mercury in Leo, but as the opposition with Mars builds in the week following the Full Moon it will be necessary to remain on high alert over the potential of getting drawn into vicious and unnecessary arguments that drain energy and serve no real purpose. There will also be many necessary conflicts to engage in and courageously persist through, and within collective events there will likely be numerous examples of protest movements and fierce public debates between competing interests.

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2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The Full Moon illuminates the first decan of Capricorn associated with the Two of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image is fitting for the Saturnine Full Moon coinciding with Mars stationing retrograde, as the juggling magician set against a backdrop of a pivotal sea change embodies the capacity of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn, stating it “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 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. There is also an Asclepius asteroid #4581 which at the Full Moon is forming an opposition to Uranus in Taurus and square to the stationing Aquarius Mars, at 3º11′ Scorpio.  Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, 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 disciplined spiritual practice.

Jupiter is the ruler of the first face of Capricorn in the Chaldean descending rulership scheme, Saturn the ruler in the triplicity scheme. Both Jupiter and Saturn are key elements of the lunation as already mentioned, but Saturn of course is most impactful due to not only residing in its own face but also its own domicile while receiving the full light of the lunation. If we link a responsible, reverent engagement with Saturn to the noble attributes of Asclepius, we find the ultimate manner in which to navigate the chaotic changes which will be continuing to tear through our global collective in coming months. Walk with full presence, sensual awareness of the myriad fluctuations in growth and decay all around, with willingness to contemplate the synchronous meaning found in dream images as well as passing omens along one’s daily course. There are no easy answers at this time, and it will be necessary to draw upon reservoirs of inner strength to respond to emergent crises. Centering within the integrity of our own essential values, remaining open to protecting and nurturing those in need, will be ways to find the optimal path forward.

References

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

 

New Moon & Venus in Capricorn

 

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

New Moon in Capricorn

Within the heart of the dark forest we seclude ourselves from the tumult and toxicity of civilization.  We feel the slow rhythm of the earth under our feet, the songs of the wild in the air, the sense of the trees reaching out from and sinking deep into subterranean nourishment.   The canopy of trees shelter the surrounding diversity of nature, the natural cycles of growth and decay clearly observable.   A Capricorn New Moon is similarly an opportunity to center and ground within the changes of what is ready to be developed and what is passing away or in need of release.  Capricorn is most potent and fertile when we allow our inner life to help us navigate through the labyrinth of external conditioning structures and influences.

The New Moon in Capricorn on January 16 takes us into a season of eclipses, with a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo (12º) coming January 31 followed by a Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15 (27º).  The emphasis on Capricorn calls us to formulate plans and fixate determination to persevere, yet the nature of the forthcoming eclipse season portends a wave of events on the horizon bringing changes in circumstances requiring adjustment. This theme is reemphasized by the New Moon forming a square with Uranus in Aries.  The places in your natal chart impacted by the coming eclipses in Leo and Aquarius are important to take into consideration at this New Moon.  Ultimately, the Capricorn New Moon is fertile ground to launch the work and endeavors you are most passionate about, with a willingness to consistently put in the necessary amount of practice, study, and effort needed to achieve successful manifestation.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

Saturn rules the New Moon from within the stability and strength of its own home in Capricorn.  Co-present with the New Moon and Saturn in Capricorn are Mercury, Venus, Pluto, and Black Moon Lilith.  During the darkening of the Moon leading up the Capricorn lunation, Mercury finally completed its final conjunction with Saturn in Capricorn that links back to its previous Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius (December 2 -22, 2017) that began with Mercury united with Saturn.   Direct action toward goals and strengthening of foundations are needed now more than reflective restraint.  Contemplation must be yoked to determined effort and disciplined focus.  Distractions flee under the glare of Saturn, revealing the core desires, needs, and issues to prioritize.  The plethora of placements in Capricorn support creative visualization of developing plans that pragmatically discerns a path forward with solutions that are both realistic and imaginative.

While Saturn in Capricorn intensifies the Saturnine significations of the Capricorn New Moon, Mercury will be a bright Morning Star in Capricorn in the lunar cycle ahead, ready to help make clarified choices within daily tasks.  Mercury will be transitioning from Capricorn into Aquarius as the blood red eclipse in Leo forms on January 31.  While there will be solid astrological support for making headway with work and projects in the next couple of weeks, remember to make time for self care and restful dreaming time.  The emphasis on Capricorn can coincide with intense, pressurized feelings of time and space and deadlines we must meet.  Ideally a balance can be struck between seizing the moment when opportunities appear and nurturing ourselves so we have our full strength to summon when needed.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

A New Venus synodic cycle began in the week before the New Moon that was simultaneously united with Pluto in Capricorn.  The personal meaning found in the January 8 solar union of Venus and Pluto seeds the growth beginning to form within the New Moon.  The reception of meaning stemming from this alignment will continue to slowly deepen in awareness in coming weeks, prodding us to face and overcome whatever fears have been holding us back.  It can be easy to remain stuck in routines and responsibilities we have outgrown due to the comfort of the old and familiar that do not require making radical changes.  The rebirth of Venus in union with the Sun and Pluto, combined with Mercury and Saturn also residing in Capricorn, facilitates asking new questions that demand new answers and a reframing of circumstances.  Old structures can more easily break open within the series of eclipses we will be experiencing within the next month, making this a perfect time to courageously consider how our use of time and space can be rearranged so we are more actively engaged with inspirational activity that grips our full presence.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

The other major aspect of the Capricorn New Moon involves the harmonious sextile with Scorpio holding a formidable influence of Mars and Jupiter.  Mars is separating from a recent union with Jupiter in Scorpio, and Mars has a receptive sextile with the New Moon due to it occurring in the exaltation of Mars.  Amplifying the transmutational potency is Jupiter in a close sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and Mars in Scorpio in square with the degree of the partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius coming February 15.  We have both malefics, Mars and Saturn, at full strength in their own homes.  Malefics are a polarity to benefics due to their correspondences often causing fear and requiring determined resiliency in response.  Often the key to overcoming fears is a willingness to explore their undercurrents and face whatever lies at their root.  As we shed old fears the harmonious interchange between Scorpio and Capricorn within the lunation brings a forceful current to propel us through the upcoming eclipses into bold new levels of development.

In addition, Neptune in Pisces has a less obvious effect within the New Moon as it forms harmonious whole sign aspects with the abundance of planets in Capricorn and Scorpio.  The strongest aspect for Neptune in the New Moon involves Mercury in Capricorn applying to a sextile with Neptune.  Furthermore, the Total Lunar Eclipse coming on January 31 is aligned with the nodes of Neptune, with the Sun and South Node of the Moon conjoining the South Node of Neptune, and the eclipsed Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.   Altogether this ramps up the imaginative fertility of the New Moon to foster a dissolution of restrictive conditioning influences from the past in order to activate creative actualization of core talents and calling.

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4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Decan

The New Moon arises in the third decan of Capricorn associated with the Four of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image of empire building and wielding influence from a seat of power, the Four of Pentacles signifies a cultivation of inner talents to make an impact in the material world in matters that are most meaningful.  The crowned and enthroned figure has pentacles below and above him, with a fourth pentacle cradled at heart level evoking a spinning wheel of fortune.   The figure towers in the foreground, suggesting someone sovereign and able to manage structures to bring material prosperity and security within the wildly fluctuating changes in fortune that come and go within surrounding society.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Throne” to the third face of Capricorn, a fitting image given that the Sun rules the decan.  Coppock wrote that this face of Capricorn involves administering from a throne to control the elements of the world needed to attain material gain and positions of greater power and responsibility.  Notably, Coppock cautioned that hubris can tempt those grasping for power in this face to overlook the weight of responsibility and the loneliness of isolation that accompany achieving ambitions.  Coppock warned that accumulations of material wealth, power, and responsibility “may end up crushing them,” the idealized palace turning into a restrictive prison.

Since Saturn in Capricorn can bolster the application of the New Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Pluto in Capricorn toward whatever ambition we set our mind and will toward, make sure that the achievement of current goals are in accord with a healthy, balanced life that enables inner fulfillment in addition to external success.   If you are feeling overwhelmed and blocked by external circumstances, let yourself surrender to acceptance while remaining watchful and determined to find openings for advancement, no matter how small or temporary.    In fact, the astrological alignments at the New Moon can help prepare and refine an abundance of inner riches and attainment of inner wisdom that has nothing to do with material circumstances.  Within the shifting tides of the material realm, however, perseverance and determination will be required to navigate the sweeping change on the horizon.

References

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

 

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius: Crossing of Cronos

Saturn with Mercury caduceus

Saturn photo by NASA; Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

In the twilight of encroaching darkness Mercury disappears at sunset toward the beginning of its retrograde period, initiating its invisible phase.  As nightfall and its bed of glittering stars overtake our senses, we lose the light of Mercury during the liminal time of its retrograde until it’s reflected light returns again at dawn on the other side of its backward movement through the zodiac.  During the time we have no hope of glimpsing the light of the star of Hermes, we can feel bewildered as our perceptual awareness shifts in correspondence as elements of our life pass away.  The volatility of Mercury can be found in its mythic sources:  Carl Jung called Hermes the “many-hued and wily god,” while Karl Kerenyi noted that the ingenious leaps in gain brought by Hermes also coincide with loss.  Since Mercury stations at the beginning of December aligned with Saturn, there is adversity to face on the horizon.  The solidifying stillness of Mercury stationing with Saturn also can bring the types of tests that ultimately foster increased strength, endurance, and structural foundations.

Mercury’s retrograde cycle comes at least three times each calendar year, each manifestation unique and notable for more than a few reasons.  However, the Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius that commences December 2 or December 3, depending upon your time zone, is especially remarkable for ushering us from our experience of Saturn in Sagittarius (12/23/2014 – 12/19/2017) into Saturn in Capricorn (12/19/2017 – 12/17/2020) while Mercury also spends an unusually long time in close proximity to the star of Kronos.  Mercury first united with Saturn on November 27 at 27º27′ of Sagittarius, and after shifting retrograde will align with Saturn for a second time on December 6 at 28º23′ of Sagittarius.  Mercury will remain within three degrees of Saturn until December 9, capping off a couple of weeks of close alignment.  Mercury will eventually conjoin Saturn for a third and final time on January 12, 2018 at 2º47′ of Capricorn, and at this point we will be able to gain sharper clarity for how the events of the Mercury retrograde fit into vaster narratives.  Mercury is serving as a messenger for Saturn, and though not the only meaning to be found in this period is certainly a fundamental aspect to contemplate.

Mercury’s protean nature shifts and mutates more so than any other planet, weaving together polarities and delighting in the grayness of being in between dualities.  Mercury can be both yin and yang, nocturnal and diurnal, spiritual and material, masculine and feminine, and readily accords itself with whatever planetary engagements it finds itself within.  Additionally, the retrograde phase of Mercury is the time in which the meaning of Mercury itself changes, as its swift pace slows to a standstill at the beginning and end of its backward movement through the zodiac.  Instead of firing quickly with curiosity in numerous directions of outward expression, Mercury when retrograde focuses internally with greater propensity for intuiting guidance through symbols and discerning the underlying meaning of both waking and dreaming life. Aligned with Saturn, Mercury retrograde takes on the significations of the star of Kronos, and so to navigate this passage optimally we need to consider how the archetypal forces of Mercury retrograde and Saturn commingle.

Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus floor panel in Siena Cathedral

Hermes, ruler of the world, dweller in the heart, circle of the moon,
Round and square, inventor of the words of the tongue,
Obedient to justice, wearer of the chlamys, shod in winged sandals,
Guardian of the many-sounding tongue, prophet to mortals.

— translation of a Magic Papyrus in Carl Jung’s Alchemical Studies

In our astrological tradition, the affinity between Saturn and Mercury is generally positive:  the 17th century text Christian Astrology by William Lily stated that both Mercury and Saturn are friendly toward one another, while the 9th century Vedic astrological text Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra stated that Saturn considers Mercury a friend while Mercury in comparison is neutral about Saturn.  In the 20th century archetypal tradition that synthesized ancient understanding from Hermetic sources within a depth psychology framework, the lineage from Carl Jung through James Hillman found a vital relationship between Saturn and Mercury within alchemy as well as through the conceptual duality of the senex (elder authority) and puer (eternal youth).  In Alchemical Studies, Carl Jung noted that Mercurius contains the dual  nature of senex and puer. Hillman later illuminated that the senex brings structure, discipline, tradition, and grounding, while the puer injects the vibrancy of idealism, imagination, creativity, and wanderlust.

We can imagine the union of Mercury’s creative bridging with the structural discipline of Saturn through authoritative sources that sustain openness to invention and visionary change.  Mercury retrograde periods bring the ability to focus deeply into mercurial research and communication projects, and so the influence of Saturn brings opportunities to base understanding from traditional lineages while opening awareness to how it fits within the current moment and zeitgeist.  Fantasizing or speculating while disconnected from the responsibilities of reality during this Saturnine retrograde of Mercury will bring repercussions, however, and so flights of imagination need to sustain a level of grounded application.  Whatever philosophical, intellectual, or spiritual frameworks we have been thinking and acting from will be confronted and tested and it will become obvious (if we are paying attention) where we have been deluding ourselves or how are belief system leads to adverse consequences we had not formerly recognized.

With regards to the interplay between Mercury and Saturn within alchemy, I was intrigued to find that Gary Caton linked the alchemical process of nigredo with the initial stationing phase of Mercury retrograde in his recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year.  The blackening and putrefaction of nigredo that Jung’s work linked to the dark night of the soul has been associated with Saturn as it brings a decomposition that ultimately leads to illumination.  Since Mercury is stationing in alignment with Saturn at the end of Sagittarius, the peak period of darkness in the northern hemisphere that precedes the rebirth of increased solar light at the Winter solstice, the link to nigredo is even further increased.  Caton wrote that the connection between the initial descent of Mercury retrograde with the nigredo process calls us “to purge the body, the psyche, and the life of extraneous or ‘dead weight’ in order to free up energy for future growth” during the beginning phase of Mercury retrograde (p. 112).

Since Saturn and Mercury are both in the outwardly directed home of Jupiter, Mercury’s retrograde will be pulling us into volatile and stark examinations of our vision for how we create meaning from our experiences in life.   Old thought patterns that have become habitually ingrained in our mind yet are no longer aligned with our authentic development can be dissolved and released with mindful focus and attention.  In a more immediate and mundane sense, we will be called to question some of our goals and plans through Saturnine delays, blockages, or obstacles.  It can be a pop astrology cliche to say that we should expect delays with everything happening in correspondence with Mercury retrograde, but with Mercury stationing in such close proximity to Saturn we are entering a retrograde phase that will force us to slow down and reconsider choices as we encounter restrictions or barriers of one sort or another.  Instead of impatiently shutting down or trying to force things out of frustration, keep a steady and alert focus on how things are developing and be ever ready to spontaneously shift directions or make alterations and revisions as needed.  Saturn and Mercury can guide us toward what needs to be modified for necessary reasons, whether we initially like it or not.

Ancient Mesopotamian astrology also reveals some overlap in meaning between Mercury and Saturn through the associations of the planets with mythic divinities Nabu and Ninurta.  Saturn was linked to the conquering hero Ninurta who retrieved the tablets of fate from a dragon of chaos who had stolen them, subsequently becoming an “overseer of fate and destiny” according to Michael Baigent in his book From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.  Mercury was linked to the messenger Nabu, a divine scribe who recorded the fate for the world in the coming year when the gods met to decide upon the destiny for the year ahead at the ceremonial end of the year.  These ancient connections with Mercury and Saturn are fitting for the Mercury retrograde coming at the close of 2017, as its surrounding aspects portend the arrival of twists and turns in our personal and collective narratives.

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Hermes (27 B.C. – A.D. 68) The Met

Mercury plays the role of psychopomp during its retrograde phase, and if we can make the space to go within for internal contemplation we can receive guidance from the depths of soul.  Chthonic Mercury’s guidance can feel irrational at times, perplexing to habitual, egoic minds.  Since Mercury is aligning with Saturn at the end of its time in Sagittarius and will station direct following the ingress of Saturn into Capricorn, we have a saturnine atmosphere to reflect back over all of our experiences in connection with the star of Kronos since it entered Sagittarius on December 23, 2014.  At the same time we will be dealing with the final lessons Saturn in Sagittarius has to offer, and so the quicksilver of Mercury can help us mutate as needed and prepare us for crossing over the threshold of the forthcoming three years of Saturn in Capricorn.  Mercury is a guardian of gates, doors, and liminal thresholds of all manner.  Maintaining mindfulness will enable us to notice and discern whatever final messages we need to hear and integrate with Saturn in Sagittarius.

Moon in home of Mercury

Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

A Full Moon in Gemini on December 3 launches us into the Mercury retrograde period with a boom and bang.  Most notable in the syzygy are the aspects circulating between the Full Moon, Jupiter in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces.  While the Full Moon forms a tight, catalytic square with Neptune, at the same time Jupiter in Scorpio is forming its first exact trine with Neptune in Pisces. Since the Full Moon is in the home of Mercury, there is incredible timing of the lunation ripening about eight hours after Mercury has officially stationed retrograde in union with Saturn.  Altogether this brings increased potency to Mercury’s stationing much more so than normal, and whatever the Mercury retrograde is initially leading us to recognize and respond to will be obvious.

The influence of Neptune over the Gemini Full Moon that initiates us into the Mercury retrograde harkens back to the square between Neptune and Saturn in Sagittarius that dominated 2016 and was one of the most prominent aspects of Saturn’s time in the sign of the Centaur.  Among other current events this coincided with debates over national borders with regards to refugees and immigrants as well as a deterioration in the ability of the general public to discern the difference between fake and accurate media sources.  We now have the transit of Jupiter harmoniously interacting with Neptune as the backdrop behind Saturn and Neptune’s movement through the homes of Jupiter, and during the Mercury retrograde we will also experience Mercury, Venus, the Sun and the Moon moving through Sagittarius.

Since Jupiter in Scorpio is in the twelfth place from Sagittarius, the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can deepen understanding through exposure of the previously concealed.  However, the easy trine aspect could also result in people deluding themselves within dogmatic belief systems if they are unwilling to open their minds to evidence coming from a different perspective.  The influence of Neptune upon Mercury’s retrograde through Sagittarius will not be going away, as Mercury will ultimately station direct in range of a square with Neptune.  As a result disillusionment could arise in related events that can cause depression, but these same difficult events can also become a necessary wake up call with what needs our full attention to change or heal.

The trine aspect between Uranus in Aries with Saturn has been another one of the key aspects within Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius that Mercury retrograde will also activate.  Mercury in Sagittarius formed a trine with Uranus on November 25 while moving direct at maximum elongation, and will form a second trine with Uranus in Aries on December 10.  After Mercury stations direct, it will move into its final trine with Uranus on January 6, 2018.  The trine between Uranus and Saturn has brought opportunities throughout 2017 to innovate and open the structural foundations of our lives to greater freedom and authenticity of expression.  Mercury moving back and forth in aspect with Uranus can help us attune to the aspects of organizational restructuring we have been developing that need additional support or repair.  It also increases the volatility of the Mercury retrograde period through unexpected influences and change that comes rapidly with quick development.

Ananka_i_Mojre

Ananke and the three Fates

The shadow cast across the Mercury retrograde by Saturn means the disintegration of matters we will face are necessary, and so instead of becoming stagnant with depression we need to surrender to the unalterable changes while conserving energy for the creative action we have the time and space to make a difference with.  The ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the primordial Ananke to the third decan of Sagittarius where Mercury will unite with both Saturn and the Sun during its retrograde.  Since Saturn rules the third face of Sagittarius and has been present in transit here, the gravitas of Ananke has been accentuated.  Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that Ananke’s influence over this decan can be seen in daunting trials and tasks demanding uncomfortable endurance and effort.  Forces of Necessity and Eros, Daimon and Fortune lay at the root of our astrological foundations.  We have to deal with elements of destiny we cannot change and must endure, while we are also given opportunities to respond with clarified intention and co-create the life we most desire to lead.  Do your best to flow with the currents brought along with Mercury’s sleight of hand rather than becoming frustrated by the aspects of life you cannot change.

Since Mercury is orbiting through the space between our planet and our Sun during its retrograde, as close to us as it ever gets, it is like the Mercury archetype is more present and gripping us from the inside.  As a result its always important to maintain keen alertness and attention to subtle shifts in the details of daily life so we have the best chance to respond effectively.  Mercury retrograde periods also reward efforts to create space for meditation and inner contemplation, and this aspect is especially intriguing this time around as Mercury retrograde is uniting with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center which is roughly at 27º of Sagittarius.  I find the idea of transits to the Galactic Center compelling, though I do not feel I completely understand the full ramification of their meaning as an astrologer.  I like the following interpretation Melanie Reinhart wrote in her article The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs:

Astrologically, when the Galactic Centre zone is activated by transits . . . the places, people, ideas, notions and events in our life where we have previously projected our own sense of ‘Higher Self’, or ‘Deeper Centre’ as a source of nourishment may collapse, let us down, crumble, turn against us, or simply quietly depart. That which promised ‘immortality’ fails us. Our ‘tribal’ associations, national or racial identities, while valuable on their own level, are relinquished. Through these transitions or crises, our consciousness develops. This may require a great deal of psychological processing, allowing grief and confusion to give way to peace and clarity. Both our physical bodies and subtle bodies may need attention as toxins begin to be eliminated when we travel the ‘celestial pathway’.

Urania's_Mirror_Serpentarius_Serpens

Ras Alhague, Ophiuchus from Urania’s Mirror

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

On December 12 we will experience the heart of the Mercury retrograde phase when Mercury is purified and reborn through a conjunction with our fiery Sun.  Called the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it represents a time of illumination in which Mercury aligns in orbit exactly in between our Earth and the Sun.  All of Mercury’s significations are strengthened during the time in which Mercury is transiting within a degree of the Sun, making it an excellent window of time for all mercurial activities. As we cross this threshold of the Mercury retrograde we enter a phase of deepening meaning and realization. Occurring at 21º14′ of Sagittarius, the influence of Saturn is further amplified by Mercury’s inferior conjunction happening within the Egyptian bounds of Saturn.

The union of Mercury with the Sun is also occurring in range of a conjunction with the fixed star  Ras Alhague in the Ophiuchus constellation.  Ras Alhague is the brightest star in Ophiuchus and the head of the Serpent Holder.  Ptolemy associated Ras Alhague with Saturn and Venus, interesting since both Venus and Saturn are co-present with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius.  Bernadette Brady wrote that “healing, teaching, or wounding” are the themes of Ophiuchus with a focus on reparations for whatever has been damaged.  The healer connection with Ras Alhague is intriguing since the inferior conjunction of Mercury occurring nearby can facilitate attention to nurture whatever needs mending.  Robert Hand and other astrologers have also connected the Serpent Holder with humanity’s attempts throughout history to grab ahold of nature in order to reap energy resources and power.  We are clearly at a collective crossroads in terms of our use and misuse of nature for energy.  Mercury’s back and forth through Sagittarius and across the Serpent Holder will bring significant messages concerning the need for change and the repercussions of inaction.

Hermes print Robert Mapplethorpe

Hermes by Robert Mapplethorpe

Solstice Station of Mercury

A few days after Mercury unites with the Sun, Mercury retrograde will conjoin Venus on December 16 at 17º52′ of Sagittarius.  Venus will be co-present with Mercury in Sagittarius for the entirety of its retrograde, making Mercury’s ability to find pleasure and harmony easier than it would normally be while in the same sign as Saturn.  Similar to the recently reborn Mercury not being at full strength due to being invisible and finishing a purification process, Venus is also not at full strength and engaged in purification on her way toward an eventual union with the Sun.  Venus and Mercury retrograde unite under a Dark Moon in Scorpio.  Nights come full of secrets and delights that are hidden from external eyes.  In the privacy of one’s inner sanctum healing and joy are possible during the interplay of Venus with the retrograde Mercury.

Mercury stations direct in Sagittarius a day after the Solstice on December 22, the peak time of darkness in the northern hemisphere and the peak time of light in the southern hemisphere.  This is also one day after Saturn enters Capricorn and forms a conjunction with the Sun at the Solstice.  Mercury also shifts into direct motion in range of a challenging square with Neptune, while forming a harmonious sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and a stimulating trine with the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  If we have been open to flow with the chaos and allow for the necessary disintegration and dissolution, the coagulation of the Capricorn Solstice will bring needed reordering and rebirth along with the return of the holy light of Hermes.  The close of the year brings a new cycle of Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, with Mercury bright at dawn and ready to take on all of the needed responsibilities in the day ahead.

References

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

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

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

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

Hand, Robert. (2000). A Dialogue Between Heaven and Earth.

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

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

Reinhart, Melanie. (2017) The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs.