Tension and Transcendence: Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune

Rodin the Thinker

Edward Steichen (1902)  Rodin—The Thinker

Anyone in touch with their surroundings and relationships knows the present is rife with disruptive change and fracturing, as widespread fear is emanating within the collective along with dynamic, courageous responses.  Creation and destruction are always with us, yet the prevalence today of people struggling with loss and grappling with a need to alter fundamental aspects of their life is striking.   In such times of shifting, it becomes paramount to turn within for guidance from the place of psyche in touch with what we need to feel authentically alive.  This does not mean self-absorbed narcissism cut off from the needs of others, but rather claiming the inner authority to make choices toward the creation of a reality that brings one fulfillment.  As each individual manifests their essential radiance into the world, within the shifting and dissolving of societal norms may emerge a collective structure more open to the expression of individual wholeness.

When time is viewed through the lens of astrology, distinct seasons emerge for us to pass through defined by the slower moving planets (Jupiter and beyond) sustaining integral aspects that stretch across months.  Though our current astrological season has many players, the scenes and dialogues have been most heavily under the direction of Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Virgo, and Neptune in Pisces.  These three planetary giants have formed a “t-square” by zodiac degree, meaning that Saturn is in square to both Neptune and Jupiter, while Jupiter and Neptune are engaged in a full opposition.  This also means that three points of a cross or square are filled, leaving the empty point in the mid-degrees of Gemini.  Even with no planet transiting Gemini, the Gemini archetype has nonetheless been triggered and activated these past months, and if you have important astrological points in Gemini you have no doubt been feeling the impact.  Now with the Sun and Venus in Gemini, we are headed into a full-on Mutable Grand Cross that will culminate with the New Moon on June 4, with all four points of the Mutable Grand Square occupied by planets.

Tension and transcendence are two words that immediately come to mind when considering hard aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.  While transcendence stems from the Latin transcendere, meaning to “climb over or beyond, surmount, overstep,” tension derives from the Latin tendere meaning “to stretch.”  Stretching is rich in associations with these aspects, as there has been a need to stretch conceptions regarding reality in order to respond to the associated ruptures, while the overwhelming stress that has come with the changes has caused the nerves of many to become taut and hypersensitive to pain and loss.  Stretching can also be a remedy to help one transcend, or surmount the challenges.  Yoga and other disciplines involved in opening up what has been held tightly in our body are practical, direct ways to work with the mutating energy. On a symbolic level, we can consider that stretching the strings of an instrument is necessary in order to retune.  Correspondingly, within the stretching of our previous idea of how our life would enfold we can discover the retuning needed to create the music we are meant to make in the world.

Why are these aspects such catalysts?  Jupiter is the planet of vision, expansion of mind and learning, and the ability to create a meaningful philosophy of life to live from out of experience.  Saturn is the planet of structure, boundaries, discipline, cause and effect, and the karmic work and issues we must face without avoidance.  Neptune is the planet of illusion, escapism, and addiction, yet also the indescribable magic that comes alive when falling in love or engaging in bliss.  Neptune is everything about the field of reality and life force that Saturn filters out and excludes with its structural walls, and everything that Jupiter yearns for and can intuitively sense may be found beyond the limits of Saturn.  Neptune in hard aspect to Saturn and Jupiter is a wave of dissolution that washes away what was formerly solid and secure.  While we cannot surmount the challenges without hardship, ultimately these aspects can be supportive in moving beyond past restrictions in the creation of a revivified life.

edward-steichen-pastoral moonlight

Pastoral Moonlight (1907) by Edward Steichen

When Saturn and Neptune come into hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) there can be mass hysteria found in the disintegration, and those not able to cope can become rigid and overzealous in dogmatic judgment that makes them feel more in control. The last time Saturn was in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, the tragic Salem Witch Trials occurred in 1693 in which religious paranoia led to the murder of innocent people based upon fear of the devil. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible about the Salem Witch Trials as an allegory about the Communist Red Scare orchestrated by U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a communist witch hunt that occurred around the time of the Saturn and Neptune conjunction in Libra in 1952. Today there are numerous examples to connect to this theme, obvious ones being persecution faced by Muslims and refugees.  We are presently at the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in a cycle that began in 1989 at the first degree of Capricorn. On November 26, 2015 there was the first square between Saturn and Neptune at 7º02′ of Sagittarius and Pisces, and there are two more to come: June 18, 2016 at 12º02′ and on September 10, 2016 at 10º25′ of Sagittarius and Pisces.

What makes the current last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune even more intense is that it additionally intersects with the cycles between Jupiter and Neptune as well as Jupiter and Saturn. In particular, hard aspects between Jupiter and Saturn make things show up in flesh and form with striking events and experiences rather than invisible undercurrents of change. Last August and September of 2015 was the initiation into the rupturing, with Jupiter and Saturn forming a square at the beginning of August at the final degrees of Leo and Scorpio, and Jupiter and Neptune reaching exact opposition on September 16, 2015 at 8 degrees of Virgo and Pisces. On March 23, 2016 there was a second square between Saturn and Jupiter at 16º24′ degrees of Sagittarius and Virgo, and on May 26, 2016 there will be the final last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter at 13º41′ degrees of Sagittarius and Pisces.

With Saturn in Sagittarius being the apex planet and additionally being in square to the transiting lunar nodes, there is fundamental karma to work out in the intersection between personal belief systems and the reality of personal experience.  There is a reckoning between how we envision our ideal life to be and the cold, hard reality of how things actually are manifesting.  Since Saturn is in the home of Jupiter, Jupiter’s placement in Virgo guides us to attune within our bodies and material surroundings in order to make contact with the ever changing moment and our presence within it. Jupiter further aligned with the transiting North Node of the Moon signifies that the place of expansion and new opportunities is found through inner discernment and discriminating between the authentic and inauthentic path to follow.  However, gaining clarity regarding one’s authenticity is made more difficult by Neptune in Pisces opposing Jupiter while further aligned with the transiting South Node of the Moon.  There is an old, ancient illusion regarding reality and how we create meaning to uncover, and until we do gaining realization that what we think is our authentic presence and path is truly our essential nature will be clouded with Neptunian fog.  In the end, how do we really know what we feel is our soul calling is truly our soul calling, or rather is heavily under the influence of friends, family, culture, or other influences that have shaped our personality?

The current amount of mutation is at a peak as Jupiter’s presence is further catalyzing the extraordinary transmutation of reality that occurs when Saturn and Neptune make pivotal aspects.  Though Saturn can struggle at times to let in the field of Neptune, it is in fact Saturn that is necessary to make Neptune manifest:  indeed, Neptune was discovered when it was conjoining Saturn in Aquarius.  Not only did the American and French Revolutions take place during significant points in the cycle between Saturn and Neptune, but one can trace the global trajectory of communism as the Communist Manifesto was written soon after Neptune was discovered while conjoining Saturn.  Furthermore, in the following conjunction between Saturn and Neptune in 1881 the Czar Alexander II was killed by a People’s Will group, the Russian Revolution then took place during the next Saturn and Neptune conjunction in 1917, in the following conjunction in 1953 communist leader Josef Stalin passed away, and in their subsequent conjunction in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and communism likewise fell apart in the region formerly dominated by the Soviet Union.

The birth and fall of communism is an apt association for Saturn and Neptune as it demonstrates the dream of structuring an ideal vision to serve the greater good, and the subsequent disillusionment and suffering that arises when the vision does not work out in reality the way it had been envisioned in the purity of imagination.  In our personal lives, no doubt many of you reading this have had an ideal dream you had been building with passion fall apart in one way or another in the past months with the tangle of Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn.  To follow a vision and be willing to risk all of your heart and everything else for it takes tremendous courage, not only to brave the tumultuous obstacles but also to simply be willing to open oneself to the extraordinary pain that comes when the dream does not materialize and rather is lost forever.  When the beloved dream had been nurtured by the purity of the heart, when its manifestation would have genuinely been in service of a higher good for the greater collective, bearing witness to its death can feel inexplicably traumatizing.

edward-steichen-languid repose

Languid Repose (1902) by Edward Steichen

During loss, we are at risk of our grieving making us overly passive with a sense that there is nothing to do about the feeling a cruel Fate has befallen us.  Feeling injured, abandoned or betrayed by a lover, we can stop believing in love or feel we can never trust someone with intimacy again. Experiencing the elation of a business plan or community endeavor we had carefully constructed crash and obliterate itself before manifesting the results we had strived for, we are at risk of giving up on our capacity to reshape reality.  It is necessary to be aware of the negative potential of Saturn, Neptune, and Jupiter in hard aspect:  the depression of Saturn, the illusory escapism of Neptune, and the overindulgent emotional excess of Jupiter.   If we have been fixated on having a certain outcome that did not come to fruition, these aspects can make us feel that everything we had believed about our feelings and the world is an illusion and that all of our efforts ultimately led to the pain of loss rather than the gift we had thought we had been nurturing.  There is, however, a treasure to be found in disillusionment, as it makes it possible for us to reorient ourselves to the truth of our reality found in the moment, within our senses engaging in our environment.

When dealing with the loss of a dream or vision, whether that be a loved one in the flesh or an abstract plan in the imagination, the associated torturous pain can seem bewildering when in fact we have not actually experienced physical torture or trauma to our body.  Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn together involve the level to which we are able to envision a hopeful future and imagine the possibility of experiencing joy again even in times of struggle.  The need to be able to feel a sense of hope despite all of the injustice, oppression, and destruction found in the world is absolutely essential in order to experience happiness, and so when we experience the disillusionment of losing all sense of hope that our vision will manifest, the impact can be devastating.  Both Saturn and Neptune as well as Saturn and Jupiter are forming last quarter squares, a waning aspect that Dane Rudhyar interpreted as a “crisis in consciousness.”  This does not mean we necessarily need to experience a mental breakdown, but it does suggest that fundamental aspects of how we create meaning for ourselves out of life will disintegrate, necessitating that we reorient the vision and beliefs we live our life from.

It is also vital to reflect upon Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune being in Mutable signs, as the double-bodied signs are the living images of the zodiac that transition us from one season to the next.  There is a long tradition of rituals involving a sacrifice when welcoming the Solstice or the Equinox, and similarly the Mutable signs transition us through loss and death into the newly found presence and creation that will emerge from the destruction of the old.  Embracing the loss, entering solitude with full presence, we fall into a void in which we discover our Soul. There is tremendous potency to discover in being able to heal oneself from wounds, in being able to nurture oneself back to a state that can believe again in the power of love and imagination to recreate the world we are experiencing.  There is in fact incredible power within the hard aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune to work toward construction of new structures and forms that are solid and secure, as long as we are aware that during the process of development we must be open to how our plans will need to shift and mutate out of necessity.

steichen_big white cloud

Edward Steichen (1906) The Big White Cloud

With both Saturn and Neptune in traditional homes of Jupiter, with Neptune furthermore comfortably at home in Pisces, within the reflection of continual river currents of change there is a new vision as slippery as a fish to intuit.  The greatest depth will be found by those willing to dive into the underlying waters that source meaning and guide visioning capacities, in order to realize where our dreams are coming from.  Jupiter bound to Saturn can lead to ambitions aimed at mainstream success, conforming to the conditioning of a high paying role in consumer culture out of desire for enough money to overindulge in luxury and expenses.  Adding Neptune without discernment can increase the glamor quotient tenfold, making influences such as Hollywood and the ravenous gluttony of celebrity culture a guiding principle.  Or in contrast, Jupiter with Saturn can lead one to conform to the moral dictates of a dogmatic religion or philosophy rather than the authentic integrity found in the moment, with Neptune leading to complete surrender and devotion to the idealized behavior commanded.  Yet as Dane Rudhyar wrote, Neptune is also an intergalactic ambassador bringing messages from the far beyond that can seed inspirational flights of imagination lifting us out of a conditioned, conforming existence.

Rather than focusing on how to acquire external trappings of success through our vision of life, the t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune can correspond with reorienting toward arising passions that intrinsically inspire and motivate from within, without need of external reward in order to dedicate oneself toward.  Saturn wants us to take responsibility, and so in Sagittarius the ringed planet asks for serious commitment to fiery visions of spirit and imagination, grounded in connection between the earth at our feet and the watery air above.  The know-it-all side of Sagittarius must subside in the floodwaters of Neptune, deftly transmuting with attention to detail in the moment.  Jupiter in Virgo brings expansion through not only exhaustive research in support of the vision, but in discerning the exactitude of expression needed to capture and manifest the essential message and meaning.  While Neptune feeds on love and imagination, its danger of drowning us in waves of the collective unconscious can be navigated through yoking the discipline of Saturn with the invigoration of Jupiter so as to allow the inspirational force to pass through us, expressed into a grounded medium of form.

What wants to emerge from you, voiced with an openness to the inspiration of this moment?  We are in the middle of much longer cycles found in astrology, and while this point is not an ending it is catalytic to such an extend that aspects of our old existence will need to be let go and released.  Repressing the inner vitality simmering now, holding back for fear of judgment or criticism of others is the path sure to take us far off course into dangerous terrain.  Whether moving with authentic flow at this juncture means we need to go it alone or collaborate with many diverse people, the greatest support will be found by embracing the course of life that brings vivifying passions alive in body and mind.

And yet, if mired in the grief of past loss to such an extent that fully embodying joy at this time is too difficult, then the t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune is asking for you to bravely go deeper with the sacred mission of rediscovering the meaning of your life.  Virginia Woolf once mused in Moments of Being if the “things we have felt with great intensity have an existence independent of our minds; are in fact still in existence?”  If so, than even in what has been lost can be found endless folds of  meaning that can be rediscovered continually in acts of artistry and creation.  The gold found between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune is not acquired with lackadaisical lightheartedness, but rather through embracing life with all of its heartbreak and loneliness with devotional passion.

Edward_Steichen_(American_-_(Road_into_the_Valley_--_Moonrise)_-_Google_Art_Project

Road into the Valley – Moonrise by Edward Steinchen

Current Cycle Dates:

  • The current Saturn and Neptune cycle began in 1989 at the first degree of Capricorn, giving the cycle an overarching influence of Saturn.  The beginning of this cycle occurred in correlation with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, the ending of apartheid in South Africa, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China.  The Saturn and Neptune cycle reached its first quarter square between 1998 and 1999 around 30 degrees of Aries to 5 degrees of Taurus.  The full opposition of the Saturn and Neptune cycle then came in 2006 through 2007 with Neptune in Aquarius and Saturn in Leo from 17 to 22 degrees.
  • The current Jupiter and Neptune cycle began in 2009 around 24 – 27 degrees of Aquarius.  It reached its waxing square on June 25, 2012 at 4 degrees of Gemini and Pisces, and its full opposition on September 16, 2015 with Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces at 8 degrees.
  • The current Jupiter and Saturn cycle began on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 23 degrees.  Jupiter in Scorpio reached its waxing square with Saturn in Leo at first on December 17, 2005 at 11 degrees, again on June 22, 2006 at 10 degrees, and finally on October 25, 2006 at 24 degrees of Scorpio and Leo.  The Jupiter and Saturn cycle reached its full opposition on May 23, 2010 with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo at 28 degrees. Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra at 3 degrees. Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.

The following is music that was recorded during recent times in the corner of the world where I live, Olympia. As the album it will appear on will be released at the time of the Mutable Grand Square, I feel “Lion Snow” by Two Ton Boa reflects the energy:

 

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Full Moon in Cancer

full moon chinese

Full Moon by Tao Lengyue

Cancer Full Moon

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

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

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

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

Hiroshige,_New_Year's_Eve_foxfires_at_the_changing_tree,_Oji,_1857

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

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

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

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

Hiroshige_100_views_edo_107

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

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

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

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

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Cancer, a decan associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a kundalini caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic energy found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, but rather on a deeper level Venus signifies the inner values and needs that source all of our relationship dynamics with others.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the Cancer I decan, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock analyzed that we find both the nurturing mother in the first face of Cancer as well as the childless, protective figure of Artemis and the principle that as the Moon waxes she gives but as she wanes she takes away. Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

Capricorn Solstice 2015

Delaunay simultaneous contrast

Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon by Robert Delaunay (1912)

SOLSTICE

Merry Solstice to one and all.  The Solstice in the sign of Capricorn on December 21 or December 22 (depending upon your time zone) supports fine tuning the forms we have been developing and launching forward with our work into a dramatic year of change. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere of our planet, this is the Summer Solstice of peak solar light, while for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we are at the darkest time of the year in which we welcome the first glimmer of a returning Sun.  From the Northern Hemisphere perspective of this being the darkest and most fertile time, many consider the Capricorn Solstice chart to be paramount in terms of casting a gaze ahead at the coming year.   Last year at this time there was truly a dark Solstice as a New Moon happened on the same day-  now a year later, we will have a waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus gracing our night with bright light.

The waxing gibbous Moon at this Solstice symbolically resonates with a budding that promises a full blooming according to the lunation cycle developed by Dane Rudhyar. This symbolism of a flower bud is accentuated by the Moon being in the sign of Taurus, the exaltation of the Moon, lending a grounded quality able to evaluate the structures we have set in motion and discern if there are any parts in need of restructuring.  Acting harmoniously with a gibbous Moon means gathering together the tools and resources we need for the coming grand opening of meaning, making the necessary arrangements that will allow us to effectively express the burgeoning meaning we are discovering into forms that will be functional.  The Moon in Taurus at the Solstice is applying to a trine with Mercury in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo, and so supports discovering how to successfully integrate our work and vision into a wider community so as to be useful for others.

The Taurus Moon is additionally in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo as well as Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a valuable aspect of our soul we can uncover by probing into the darkness of our depths at this Solstice time.  With the Moon in stabilizing aspects with both the North Node and Jupiter as well as Mercury (the ruler of the transiting North Node), this Solstice supports us discerning not only the expansive opportunities on our horizon but the ability to make new choices that propel us forward into a new direction.

The Taurus Moon of the Solstice does involve some more challenging, catalytic aspects, as it is also applying to an opposition with Venus in Scorpio and separating from a square to Ceres in Aquarius.  This t-square involves the three most pre-eminent feminine symbols for archetypes we use in Western astrology, and connects well with the concept of our sacred feminine giving birth at the time of Solstice.  While a Taurus Moon supports the idea of turning inward into our core to incubate within the protective sphere of our own meaning and values, the opposition to Venus in Scorpio amplifies the polarity of being open to sharing our most intimate feelings with our beloved, being open to merging our resources with others, and being drawn into exploring the hidden recesses of other people and any circumstance we find ourselves within.

Ceres in Aquarius is a vital piece of this arrangement to consider, and she has a stabilizing influence through a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  Ceres here holds the potential to activate humanitarian concerns related to the highest good in any situation, outside of consensus conditioning.  However, much depends upon where individual awareness is situated, for in this astrological climate Ceres could be acting from a wounded place of fear or from a wounded place that has transcended fear and re-centered in a heartfelt place of love for the full ramification of our challenging life.  In the story of Ceres from myth, the Goddess reacts to the loss of her daughter initially by refusing to share her gifts with the world, yet by the end of a process of suffering she opens to a new sense of spiritual understanding and love.  Since Ceres is in a t-square with both Venus and the Moon at the Solstice, it highlights the significance of Ceres applying closely to a sextile with Uranus stationing direct in Aries.

Picasso Francoise as the Sun

Francoise as the Sun by Pablo Picasso (1946)

Uranus in Aries stations four days after the Solstice and so its stationing influence on the Solstice is one of the most important aspects to take into account.  When any planet stations it casts a shadow over the amalgam of astrology aspects simultaneously unfolding, and this is especially the case with a paradigm shattering planet such as Uranus stationing direct in the exaltation of the Sun.  Uranus last stationed retrograde at 20°30′ of Aries around July 26, a day after Venus stationed retrograde.  As a result this past period of Uranus retrograde took us through the Venus retrograde in Leo, two eclipses, Mercury retrograde in Libra, and the initiation of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  Our feelings and experiences from this time period will be especially pertinent to Uranus stationing now, but a Uranus stationing can pull memory from the farthest reaches of memory imaginable.

Uranus stations direct at 16º33′ of Aries, and so if you have anything prominent in your chart configured to this degree by aspect you could experience one of those moments that suddenly and surely alters your perception for good.  Insights from Uranus can strike seemingly from anywhere, in the middle of a chaotic crescendo or in the quiet whispers of contemplation.  The mind altering component consistent to Uranus stationing is a time warp of past and present morphing so that our perspective of our past changes irrevocably, sending emancipatory waves of thought into our present moment.  While there may be pain and grief associated with the breakthrough, in the end there is liberating freedom to be found in the shattering of fixed structures of our past.

Uranus in Aries is still in range of a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and as Mars in Libra is separating from its opposition with Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to apply to a trine with Uranus in Aries that will be one of the most vital aspects of the coming year.  Mercury in Capricorn is also separating from a square with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Mars in Libra, reconnecting the tension of the recent opposition between Mars and Uranus.  Thus, while Mars is clearly separating from its stormy aspects with Pluto and Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Mercury moving from a square to Uranus into a square with Mars suggests a volatile atmosphere for the stationing of Uranus.  This is how Uranus rolls, so be ready for a shake-up that will make you look at your life in a completely different way.

Delaunay_Windows_Open_Simultaneously_1st_Part,_3rd_Motif

Windows Open Simultaneously 1st Part, 3rd Motif by Robert Delaunay (1912)

Two of the most prominent aspects of the Solstice chart are also two of the most prominent omens for the coming year:  the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, and the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon.  Jupiter and the North Node will be in range of a conjunction through July 2016, and Saturn and Neptune will be moving out of their square aspect in November 2016.  Though Jupiter is not in range of a square to Saturn at the time of the Solstice, Jupiter will be entering into a square with Saturn in March 2016 and eventually will come into range of a wide opposition with Neptune while simultaneously being in a square with Saturn.

Weaving all this together, the Solstice chart involves the pivotal tumult signified by Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune being in hard, change-oriented aspects while also being in mutable signs that further signify deep shifting.  Within all of this being stirred up now, many are clinging tightly to past belief systems for a sense of security in changing circumstances that feel frightening to those who are intent on maintaining the status quo.  While the concept of “illusion” is often applied to Neptune, Saturn can also be full of illusion in the sense of people becoming convinced that a belief system, a way to structure their reality, is in line with an ultimate truth when in reality there is a far vaster truth signified by Neptune that is actually going on. This Solstice is truly a powerful moment of rebirth in perspective for all those willing to dive in and reorient their sense of truth and meaning in the shattering of systems occurring on our planet today.

Ernst forest and sun

Forest and Sun (1930) by Max Ernst

Finally, there are numerous aspects in the Solstice chart centering around Mercury in Capricorn that suggest we are in a moment of rebirthing our vision through entering an underworld journey.  Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto while applying to a conjunction with Pallas Athene in Capricorn, and also applying to a square with Mars in Libra.  Mercury is now a sage Evening Star capable of helping us synthesize meaning from all of the volatility of this time, and while conjoining Pallas Athene lends itself a visionary component that can connect patterns and weave together significant insights.  Mercury is also now in its retrograde shadow zone, and will ultimately station retrograde in January at the beginning of Aquarius in square to Mars in Scorpio.  Mercury will then turn retrograde back to another conjunction with Pallas Athene and eventually will station direct conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury, the underworld trek Mercury will be guiding us into will help us discern the bottom-line roots of the desires and conflicts we are consciously aware of at this Solstice, igniting inner vision.

In the year ahead, all of the Mercury retrograde periods will involve the Earth element and important aspects to Pluto and Jupiter also in Earth signs.  In May 2016 when Mercury goes retrograde in Taurus, it will station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo.  During the following Mercury retrograde in Virgo, Mercury will station retrograde at the end of August 2016 conjoining Jupiter in Virgo, moving backward to again station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn.  Thus while Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto at the time of this Solstice, Mercury and Pluto will be in cahoots for the entire year ahead and brokering new deals on a soul level. This Solstice portends a year of following through on plans to build solid growth, attending to the needs of our bodies, and moving forward in the material realm to more deeply establish ourselves in the role we will be playing in the great drama erupting in our collective.

Furthermore, the square beginning to form now between Mercury and Mars, with Mercury in the home of Saturn, is a call demanding hard work, perseverance, and a relentless focus on the dreams and visions we wish to manifest in the coming year.  Mars will going retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio later in 2016, and there will be a strong resonance between the Mercury retrograde in Taurus and the Mars retrograde in Scorpio later in May 2016.  Furthermore, in the Mercury retrograde in Virgo that will happen in September 2016, Mercury retrograde in Virgo will be square to Mars moving direct in Sagittarius.  We often associate Mars in a square to Mercury with arguments, anger, diatribes, and bitter conflicts, and it is a guarantee that in our collective the hateful rhetoric happening today at this Solstice will continue.  Yet on a personal level, we can seize the explosive energy that will erupt from Mercury in square to Mars in order to apply its heat to a fusion of our body, mind, and spirit activated in determined effort.  In the destruction of form we will witness around us in the coming season, there is at the same time extraordinary creative effort we will be able to birth from within.

“Apparently the power to establish order, which ranks among the most inexorable strengths of artistic creation, is summoned most insistently by two interior states: by one’s awareness of abundance and by the utter collapse within a human being, which, after all, yields yet another abundance.”

“What ruthless magnificence and yet how terrible to ignite love:  what conflagration, what disaster, what doom.  To be on fire yourself, of course, if one is capable of it:  that may well be worth life and death.”

“To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is: to cast light with inexorable oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters on Life

 

Solstice12-21-2015WRIGC2B

References:

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2006). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

 

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moon in Scorpio

Night Creatures (1965) by Lee Krasner

Scorpio New Moon

The New Moon in Scorpio on November 11, 2015 envelopes the setting of intention within the deep waters of Scorpio.  Scorpio is the home of Mars, also associated by modern astrologers with Pluto and the soulful source of our desires.  A Scorpio New Moon compels us to dive into desire and feel the whettening of appetite for that which enflames our passion from within.  Scorpio is a fixed sign, and though Scorpio holds potential for transformation at a core level, Scorpio also involves fixation and refusal to let go of an object of desire.  For example in relationships, Scorpio can erupt in emotional manipulation that attempts to control and keep the desired partner at all costs.  While one can give advice to release attachment to desires that honest reflection reveals are no longer fruitful, when under the sway of Scorpio resistance can be futile.  Even though we know from experience that the realization of certain desires do not bring us genuine fulfillment, we flow with the desire nonetheless wedded to memories of fulfilled desires that brought essential satisfaction.  Wherever our current desires are leading us, in the darkness of a Scorpio New Moon we can tap into a visceral feel for our inner passions.  With the New Moon conjoining Mercury and in sextile to both Jupiter and Pluto, we will have amplified ability to probe deeply into the foundational undercurrents of our desires.

This New Moon is pivotal for numerous reasons, in part because it follows shortly after the cross-quarter marker of the Sun passing fifteen degrees of Scorpio, marking the mid-point of Fall in the northern hemisphere and Spring in the southern hemisphere.  This New Moon also comes with Venus having entered her home sign of Libra and separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, as Mars the ruler of the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  Soon after the moment of the New Moon the true calculation of the lunar nodes will shift from Aries and Libra to the South Node of the Moon being in Pisces and the North Node of the Moon being in Virgo, ending the twenty-one month journey that began when the lunar nodes entered Aries and Libra in mid-February 2014.  Furthermore, the lunar cycle beginning with this New Moon will bring us the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in their current cycle, as at the time of the following Full Moon they will enter an exact square.

Mercury in Scorpio is also in an important transition phase as this new lunar cycle commences, closely conjoining the New Moon while combust the Sun.  As the New Moon waxes toward it’s first quarter phase in the following week, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at its superior conjunction on November 17.  The superior conjunction has a different symbolic meaning than the psychopomp underworld association of Mercury uniting with the Sun while retrograde at the inferior conjunction.  In our current phase of Mercury, the angelic messenger is soaring into celestial realms on the far side of the Sun from us, creating openings for an onrush of epiphanies and insights.  As our minds can feel overwhelmed with a lot of information to process, slowing down enough to take in our full perception will help access the penetrating inquiry available with a superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio. Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio can delve to the bottom line dynamic of any circumstance with brutal honesty, and it is likely secrets and hypocrisies will be revealed.

Mercury in Scorpio is further magnified by the Scorpio New Moon conjoining both the geocentric North Node and South Node of Mercury, as well as the heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  Considering that Mercury in astrology directs the discerning functions of our consciousness, this nodal activation of Mercury by the New Moon in Scorpio can unveil the roots of our perception and its connection to our current patterns of communication.  We can gain increased understanding of our underlying desires leading us to perceive and communicate in our current state. As the heliocentric South Node of Mercury is also activated, there is deep inquiry also available on a collective level into the shadow side of society and the underbelly driving current mass movements of feeling.

Carl Jung from his Red Book

from The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung

Mars in Virgo rules the New Moon in the sign of Mercury, while the New Moon is conjoining not only Mercury but also the South Node of Mars.  Mars is further electrified by applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the time of the New Moon.  The North Node of the Moon is Rahu, the desirous head of the dragon hungry to devour our Lights at the times of eclipses, and associated in evolutionary astrology with the leading edge of our desire nature that propels us forward in our development.  As a result this New Moon is ideal for harnessing burning desires to focused intentions formed with Mercurial attention to detail and planning for martial action.  As the South Node of Mars is also activated, it is yet another indication that we can come to a more holistic understanding of our current desires, including our dark side so to speak, the unconscious influences on our conscious will force.  It will be a potent New Moon from which to launch a new initiative of pure intent.

The potency of the Scorpio New Moon to fuel expansive new vision is further seen in it being sextile to both Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, and by it facilitating the polarity of Chiron in Pisces opposing Jupiter in Virgo through the New Moon being trine to Chiron and being sextile to Jupiter.  In particular, if our hearts have been set upon a desire, goal, or vision for a length of time while withstanding numerous setbacks, our patience and determination could be rewarded with an associated breakthrough with the inception of this New Moon.  We may notice a lot of restructuring and realigning of organizations in our environment in correlation, and we likewise have the opportunity to restructure our home environment, work environment, and even our inner psychology.  If you have a tendency to intellectualize and rationally detach from circumstances, make more of an effort to emotionally center and be present in your body so as to attune to the ever changing moment of the material realm.  This New Moon holding stabilizing, fertile aspects between Jupiter, Chiron, and Pluto in water and earth signs suggests we can reorient toward being better able to manifest a more expansive vision for our life.

An additional ingredient to the generative capacity of this Scorpio New Moon is that Venus has returned to her home of Libra, and is separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and applying to a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Venus in Libra is outwardly focused and her beauteous gaze will be focused upon relationships that will support and help to stabilize the endeavors fueled by our desires.  The sextile from Venus to Saturn corresponds with opportunities to structure our environment and build a foundational form that will be able to buttress our desires for Venusian pleasure in the face of any inclement weather on the horizon.  As a result, this New Moon supports taking direct action to protect what is dear to our hearts and to create the necessary related structural reinforcements in our life, and could prove difficult for those procrastinating or spending idle hours in escapist pastimes.

Saturn square Neptune

from Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions (1865) by J.H. Brown

Saturn square Neptune

During this lunar cycle the Saturn and Neptune square will be building each day until it culminates at the time of the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini.  Hellenistic astrology techniques suggest that Saturn in Sagittarius is in the superior position of this square and will overcome Neptune in Pisces, but there is an important additional development in the coming lunar cycle:  Neptune will station direct in Pisces on November 18, a day after Mercury unites with the Sun.  Neptune stationing gives it added emphasis and potency at this time, and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio happening at the same time could tap us into other realms of perception that go beyond the limitations of Saturn.  While Saturn may be in the superior position in its square to Neptune, our Saturn constructs of reality will be vulnerable to becoming dissolved in the waves of Neptune.

If we are carrying a dream and vision of pure heart that we are capable of manifesting with determined effort, then the solution to the tension created by the square between Saturn and Neptune will be to make sure we are responsibly attending to all facets of what needs to be done to achieve our goal.   Saturn and Neptune are forming a last quarter square suggesting that the bigger the dream and vision the better, as the energy of this aspect calls for a reorientation of how we have been constructing our reality.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune does not automatically spell doom for big dreams, but it does spell doom for any illusions we have been under the influence of.  This includes illusions of being smaller and more limited than we actually are, which is why trying to play it safe at this time is not a real solution to the challenges brought forth by Saturn in square to Neptune.

There is likewise a strong possibility of becoming disillusioned with past belief systems, with society, with humanity, with others in our relationships, and even with ourselves as the Saturn and Neptune square builds in intensity each day.  In particular those who have been dishonest and cloaked in lies, secrets, and hypocrisy could be revealed.  Bearing in mind the meaning of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, famously called a “crisis in consciousness” by Dane Rudhyar, this disillusionment is a fundamental aspect to a reorientation process underway that in this case is opening us to the interplay between our Saturnine structures and the transpersonal realm of Neptune.  This is also only the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, as we have two more coming in 2016.  When there is a such a powerful repeating aspect in astrology, oftentimes it is the first aspect that feels the most chaotic and unsettling.  The point is that we have a long road ahead of us involving this square and as the structure of our consciousness and belief systems begin to shift in correlation, we will begin to recenter and stabilize in our newfound perspective.

Scorpio II Decan

Six of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio II Decan

The Scorpio New Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  It is an auspicious sign that the Sun governs this face since we are at a New Moon, meaning that our Lunar Light is regenerating in the rays of our Solar Light.  In the image of the 6 of Cups, we find the child-like innocence of purely giving for the pleasure of giving and receiving the joy of witnessing gratitude upon the face of the recipient.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan, as it is a face in which the desires of Scorpio interchange in commerce with another:

The parties here [in the 6 of Cups image] are children and their affection for one another is natural and unconditioned.  The pleasure signified is thus that which accompanies the expression of passion unencumbered by pretension or decorum.  It is a vision of ideal exchange between two parties, poignant and perfect.

The dynamic suggested by the children is identical to the alchemical process of mutual distillation, wherein the matter passes back and forth between on alembic and another, growing increasingly rarefied and potent. The laboratory technique of mutual distillation can be embodied, as well. A whole category of Taoist sexual energy practice, referred to as dual cultivation, involves exactly this exchange between partners. This process combines and distills the sexual energy both parties possess, resulting in a finer nectar than either could produce on their own. Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 180-1).

Coppock further discerned that in order to cultivate mutual satisfaction in relationships we must have trust, intimacy, and vulnerability present. Noting the image by Ibn Ezra for the Scorpio II decan, who described “A woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea,” Coppock suggested that we need to be careful whom we open ourselves bare to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass” (p 181).

As a result this is a New Moon in which to embrace honest communication and vulnerability with those you wish to deepen bonds of intimacy.  As the square between Saturn and Neptune is simultaneously building, we may need to navigate some toxic exchanges with others at times as glass windows of illusion are shattered.  At the same time, this New Moon holds some beautiful aspects to deepen our most important relationships with each partner opening to a fuller realization of the reality and desires of the other.  The Full Moon that follows at the end of November carries momentous, breakthrough astrological aspects, and so we are now at a key moment of inception to launch new work filled with deepening collaboration from.