Synchrony of Mars and Saturn

L'Enigme_de_Gustave_Doré

L’Enigme (1870) by Gustave Dore

L’Enigme by Gustave Dore is a famous representation of profound despair over the destruction wrought by humanity, an apocalyptic atmosphere brought on by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.  Dore has been said to have been inspired by the Victor Hugo verse, “What a spectacle! Thus dies everything that man creates! A past such as this is a deep abyss for the soul!”  When the war in 1870 between France and Prussia began, there was an opposition between Mars in Gemini and Saturn in Sagittarius.  In 2016 we have been experiencing an extended period of time heavily influenced by Mars and Saturn that has coincided with numerous collective events inducing fear and terror.

Every night in recent months  we have been able to watch the red planet Mars aglow in a triangular formation with Saturn and the fixed star Antares.  Ever since Mars stationed retrograde in mid-April at nine degrees of Sagittarius conjoining the fixed star Antares, with Saturn co-present at sixteen degrees of Sagittarius, Mars has been destined to return to Sagittarius in August 2016 and come into conjunction with both Saturn and Antares.  Mars and Saturn will exactly conjoin on August 24 at ten degrees of Sagittarius, but for most of August and September they will be co-present in Sagittarius and especially close between the middle of August and beginning of September.  What has made this period of Mars and Saturn even more difficult is the simultaneous square formed between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn, a square that will become activated to new levels in August when Mars joins with Saturn in tension to Neptune.

Mars and Saturn are categorized as malefic planets in traditional astrology because they are said to cause trouble and signify difficult experiences.  Yet, it is also not true that Mars and Saturn always signify negative experiences by transit, no more than do the benefic planets Venus and Jupiter always signify positive experiences by transit.  The crucial aspect is what condition these planets find themselves in the natal chart when analyzing one’s individual experience.  There are also of course positive ways to work with both Saturn and Mars.

An excellent source for the origins of these views on Mars and Saturn is Vettius Valens, a second century Hellenistic astrologer from modern day Turkey who traveled extensively, including through Egypt, in search of astrological knowledge.  A working astrologer, Valens in his Anthologies gave lists for the significations of Saturn and Mars which reveal their malefic nature.  For Saturn, Valens noted it is the “Star of Nemesis” and included such descriptions as malignant, petty, self-deprecating, solitary, deceitful, strict, miserable, humblings, sluggishness, obstacles and subversions in business, griefs, tears, and bereavement, yet also “puts into one’s hands great ranks and distinguished positions.”  For Mars, Valens wrote it “controls the hard and abrupt” and gave descriptions including force, wars, violence, banishment, exile, lies, vain hopes, looting, anger, fighting, lawsuits, wandering, quarrels, yet also both love affairs and marriages, craftwork, masonry, campaigns and leadership, and actions involving fire or iron.

Across time in astrology there has been developed ways of working with Mars and Saturn that focus on positive outcomes that can come from their union, such as welding the passionate, burning energy of Mars to the disciplined, determined focus of Saturn.  Yet even when put into positive terminology, Mars and Saturn correlate with overcoming challenges, working hard, and persisting with commitment rather than anything to do with luxuriating in soft comforts of pleasure.  And indeed, Mars and Saturn can correlate with incredibly difficult, traumatic situations of loss and suffering that lay souls bare.  In combination with the square between Neptune and Saturn, the difficult experiences of this time can provoke profound disillusionment and despair.  In such circumstances in which external sources of stability are shaken, one must turn within in order to nurture one’s ability to find meaning and security or risk falling into despondency.  In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the brooding prince suffering from the murder of his father famously gave the following speech that voices disenchantment with the world of humanity:

“I have of late, -but wherefore I know not,- lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,- why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither . . . “

Though Hamlet has been interpreted as struggling with inaction in his story, and Saturn can be a constrictive influence on Mars, typically Mars and Saturn correspond with the types of challenges that necessitate action in order to stabilize or survive.  Interestingly, in late September 1604 Shakespeare would have experienced a transit of Mars conjoining Saturn at ten degrees of Sagittarius- this would have been a couple of years after Hamlet had been written and performed, and may have coincided with his writing of Othello which was performed in November 1604.

Unlike Hamlet in the above quote, recent experiences may have brought one to find greater sustenance in the radiance of the natural world as mediation for personal difficulties, or solace in relationships involving deep, loyal bonds- yet disillusionment and catharsis regarding past desires or beliefs is likely.  The influence of Neptune in square to Saturn during this period of Mars-Saturn challenges was described brilliantly by Richard Tarnas in his essay The Ideal and the Real about hard aspects between Saturn and Neptune:  archetypes which bring up issues of “matter versus spirit, the concretely empirical and literal versus the imaginative and the ideal, the finite and temporal versus the infinite and eternal.”  Analyzing the work of William Blake, Oscar Wilde, and James Hillman (individuals who were all born with Saturn and Neptune in hard aspect), Tarnas wrote “in all three of these individuals, one can also recognize a definite impulse towards deconstructive skepticism, a passion to strip away illusions and hypocrisies, as well as emphatically critical attitudes toward conventional philosophical and religious beliefs expressed in work after work.”  As Hamlet remarked to his good friend Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Adding Mars into the mix of the square between Saturn and Neptune influences the revelation of illusions and hypocrisies that will come about in August and September to involve archetypal themes of Mars such as strife, separation, conflict, and burning passions.  Neptune and Saturn will form their third and final exact square in this series on 10 September 2016 at ten degrees of Sagittarius and Pisces, with Mars occupying twenty degrees of Sagittarius at that time.  Previously, when Saturn and Neptune formed a square on 17 June 2016, Mars was retrograde in Scorpio.  At the first square between Saturn and Neptune on 26 November 2015 at seven degrees of Pisces and Sagittarius, Mars was at eight degrees of Libra and so forming a sextile to Saturn but not creating a catalytic influence as it will in the month ahead.

Bonatti-Saturn

from Guido Bonatti’s Decem Tractatus Astronomiae (1491)

This year’s conjunction between Mars and Saturn stands out for a few reasons:  the extended period of time due to Mars retrograde that Saturn and Mars engage with one another, the square with Neptune in Pisces, and the additional conjunction of Mars and Saturn with the fixed star Antares. Antares is named for being the “rival of Mars” because it is a giant binary star that glows red in our night sky. Considered to be the heart of the Scorpion constellation, Antares is one of the four ancient royal stars of Persia that were utilized in the past by sky watchers to anchor the seasons, with Antares holding down the season of Fall.  Ptolemy linked Antares with Mars and Jupiter, Vivian Robson portrayed Antares as destructive and obstinate, and while Reinhold Ebertin deduced Antares can give mental sharpness and courage, if combined with Mars Ebertin believed the bravery of Antares would become reckless and dangerous.  There is a long tradition of warning about the dangers of hubris combined with headstrong martial force in connection to Antares, yet the clearly forceful and determined correspondences of Antares could also be put to thoughtful use.

The current presidential election in the United States of America fits well with these traditional themes of Mars, Saturn, and Antares as the two candidates are despised by the majority of the population in part for their hubris, dishonesty, and corruption.  It is a unique election in which neither candidate is seen as being likable, and as a result both campaigns will likely be even more aggressive in attacks against one another than normal.  Furthermore, the recent Republican Convention was dominated by chaos and conflict, with political rival Ted Cruz becoming booed off stage for refusing to endorse Donald Trump, and numerous speakers calling for opponent Hilary Clinton to be locked up in prison, Ben Carson going as far as to link her with Lucifer. Then, there was the acceptance speech given by Donald Trump that not only was the longest in recorded convention history but also had the unique presentation of having almost every word shouted with anger.  Continuing the trend of disastrous conflict, as the Democratic Convention prepared to open a political scandal erupted confirming that the Democratic National Committee had been conspiring against the candidacy of Bernie Sanders during the primary elections.

In Europe and the Middle East, the refugee crisis has been a longstanding issue that links more with the timing of the square between Saturn and Neptune than the influence of Mars and Saturn.  However, the use of fear over refugees helped fuel the shocking Brexit vote in which the United Kingdom separated from the European Union, a Mars shockwave of strife that will have far reaching influence and now needs to be dealt with in Saturn-like fashion.  There has also been a string of mass murders that have caused terror in recent months in both the United States and Europe, as well as increases in violence in the wars that were already waging.  In addition, the protests by Black Lives Matter and other activists in the United States against the killing of African Americans by law enforcement have risen to amplified levels of conflict in the past month following the killing of law enforcement officers by lone renegade gunmen.  These are just some of the collective conflicts that will be feeding into the challenges being worked out in correspondence with the conjunction between Mars, Saturn, and Antares in the next month.

Bonatti-Mars

From Guido Bonatti’s Decem Tractatus Astronomiae (1491) 

Typically when Mars and Saturn conjoin it is a short-term transit.  Mars conjoined Saturn in Sagittarius the last time in February 1986 at nine degrees, and by the end of the following March the red planet had already left Sagittarius.  The last time there was extended interplay between Mars and Saturn was in 1984, when Mars conjoined Saturn in Scorpio in February 1984 at seventeen degrees.  In April 1984, Mars stationed retrograde at the end of Scorpio and moved back to come very close to conjoining Saturn again in June 1984 when it stationed direct at 12 degrees with Saturn retrograde at 11 degrees.  During this time period in 1984 there were numerous collective conflicts such as Iran accusing Iraq of using chemical weapons in their war.  It was also the period of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it was at this time that the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, California.

Athletics and other arenas of competition will be appropriate outlets to unleash the force of Mars and Saturn, and so the 2016 Summer Olympics that will occur during the conjunction of Mars and Saturn will no doubt feature incredible drama.    In one’s personal life during August as Mars and Saturn come into conjunction, it will be an opportune time to diligently prepare and work hard.  It will be enlivening to have a meaningful personal project to invest energy into, as well as maintain physical exercise and spiritual practices that release stress and foster balance.  While Mars and Saturn can coincide with conflicts and difficulties, they are also vital catalyzers in the creation of great works, the building of supportive life structures, and the taking of ambitious initiative.  As Saturn can have a restrictive influence on Mars, their union in Sagittarius (home of Jupiter) will reveal in personal experience how structure and containment can lead to expansion of wisdom and creativity in the end.

bookred.54

Image 54 by Carl Jung from The Red Book

Currently Mars is finishing its pass through the sign of Scorpio that has dominated 2016 so far, as Mars will re-enter Sagittarius on 2 August 2016.  Mars entered Scorpio on 3 January 2016 where it remained until March 5 when Mars entered Sagittarius.  Mars re-entered Scorpio on 27 May 2016 while retrograde where it has remained since, meaning that for the vast majority of the year so far Mars has been in Scorpio.  Mars dug up deep material in need of purging while retrograde in Scorpio, and although Mars stationed direct in Scorpio on June 29, the slow forward momentum of Mars through Scorpio has continued to be cathartic.  The transit of Mars through Scorpio is additionally karmic due to the previous pass of Saturn through Scorpio from 6 October 2012 until 23 December 2014, and then again from June 14 until September 17, 2015.  In the third decan of Scorpio where Mars has moved backward and forward in the past few months, Saturn in Scorpio previously transited from 29 December 2013 through 12 May 2014, 26 September through 23 December 2014, and from 14 June through 17 September 2015.  The karma of events that occurred during these previous transits of Saturn through the third face of Scorpio likely have resurfaced to be processed and dealt with during the retrograde and stationing direct of Mars in the past couple of months.

From a traditional astrological standpoint, Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Sagittarius have not been able to see each other by aspect during this time since the end of May, and so through their aversion have been operating independently of one another.  Yet since Mars originally stationed retrograde in range of a very wide conjunction to Saturn, there is a way in which they have remained bound, especially visibly in the night sky.  Scorpio is the home of Mars and yet Mars has been moving incredibly slow, leading to the past few months being potent in frustrating ways that have required patience.  As Mars moved retrograde in Scorpio it kept peeling and then peeling even further deeper into the core of internal desires and complexes, bringing up agonizing experiences for those dealing with grief and loss, and shaking the foundations of identity for others.  As Mars stood still and began moving direct again, the pain for many continued without the old desires and attachments fully burning off, or the new developing presence embodied.  Now as Mars nears the end of its pass through Scorpio, I have been getting the sense that those who have been engaged actively with internal work will begin to feel a palpable shift in releasing the past and embracing the new.

Once Mars re-enters Sagittarius in August, the combined influence of Mars and Saturn working together will become more apparent.  The last time that Mars and Saturn conjoined was in August 2014 in the sign of Scorpio, a month that was notable for upsetting events.  This was the period of ISIL capturing cities while creating terror in global media, and the launching of air strikes by the USA in response.  It was also the time of the suicide of Robin Williams, an event that evoked widespread collective mourning.  Important with regard to recent current events in the USA, the shooting of Michael Brown on 9 August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement and led to widespread protests.  Again, despite distressing collective events on a personal level it is entirely possible that productive actions and developments can occur as Mars and Saturn come together this next month in August.  One thing I have noticed in my work is that projects initiated during a conjunction between Mars and Saturn can be long lasting and have tremendous staying power, but often are very slow to develop and may not manifest desired results until much later.

Finally, it is worth noting that during the calamitous square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries that has dominated astrology since 2011, Pluto has been in the home of Saturn and Uranus has been in the home of Mars.  It has been so easy to become caught up in the dynamics between Pluto and Uranus and their wrecking ball impact, we can forget that both have been under the influence of Mars and Saturn the entire time. Recently there has been a quincunx formed between Uranus with Mars as it stationed direct that added to the atmosphere of frustration (the quincunx was most exact from mid June through mid July).  Issues that have come up with the quincunx between Uranus and Mars will shift dramatically once Mars enters Sagittarius and both Saturn and Mars will be in a sign that forms a trine to Aries where Uranus is residing.  Ideally, out of the difficulties corresponding with Mars and Saturn will arise some liberation from past restraints via Uranus.  Mars will form a trine with Uranus in mid September.

14 Temperance (Art)

XIV Art by Lady Frieda Harris

The XIV Art arcanum in tarot, traditionally known as Temperance, is associated with the alchemical mixture of Fire and Water and the astrological sign of Sagittarius. My brilliant friend  Pamela Coeur Norris who is an ingenious practitioner of tarot, recently made a comment on my Full Moon in Capricorn article on social media that the XIV Art card is the arcanum that truly addresses the intent to blend the powers of Fire and Water, in addition to being associated with Sagittarius.  I asked her if she would share any insights she has about XIV Art in relation to Mars finishing up its time in Scorpio in order to enter Sagittarius and a union with Saturn.  I’ve paraphrased her response in the following paragraph, with a minor inclusion of my own.

The Alchemist, XIV, is the mediator between XIII Death (Scorpio ruled by Mars) and XV Devil (Capricorn ruled by Saturn). This is a tumultuous meeting, and an arbitrator might be necessary. Sagittarius is the perfect spot—particularly since Jupiter’s “not home” and is instead in the mediating, Mercurial sign of Virgo.  Who will dominate this meeting? Mars certainly has the fire power, yet Saturn has the staying power, and most likely the last word. The Alchemist must ascertain just how much Martian gunpowder to load into the Saturnian cannon. We must take into account that Mars is XVI Tower energy—the eye of Shiva (let’s destroy the world) and Saturn is XXI Universe energy—Karma king (let’s use our fire wisely to burn off only whats dead and complete).  Sagittarius is the liberator here, the focus that creates the path for Mars and Saturn to aim toward freedom.  When Mars and Saturn work together in the right measure we can let go of our drama and loosen the bondages of attachment.

The overt alchemical image of XIV Art in the Thoth deck is a modification of the traditional XIV Temperance card that also involves alchemical imagery and concepts.  As the etymology of the word Temperance involves roots of “restraint” and “moderation,” there is a further compelling link with the fact that Saturn can have a restraining, moderating impact upon Mars.  On a psychological level, this can relate to being accountable and responsible, with Saturn bringing integrity to the will-force of Mars in Sagittarius, a sign comfortable with living from an ethical philosophy.  In alchemy, the work we could link to the XIV Temperance arcanum is about freeing the being of Light contained within our earthy, fleshy, incarnate form.  This is why Carl Jung found resonance between the symbols of alchemy with his concept of individuation and the symbols produced by those he helped individuate.  Even within surrounding external conflicts, it is possible to use the structure of Saturn to seal oneself from outside toxicity, containing and guiding the volatile Mars to bring about essential growth that will ultimately have a positive impact in the greater collective.

Temperance arcanum

XIV Temperance by Pamela Colman smith

 

References

Tarnas, Richard. (2009). The Ideal and the Real: Saturn-Neptune. Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology. Vol. 1, No. 1.

Valens, Vettius.   Anthologies, Book One.  Translated by Mark Riley.

Advertisements

Saturn in Scorpio

Saturn in Scorpio

Art by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Saturn Returns in Scorpio

Saturn returns for a final pass through the sign of Scorpio from June 14 – September 17, 2015, after previously having been in the sign of Scorpio from October 6, 2012 – December 23, 2014.  Saturn holds the planetary position of being the limit of light reflected back to us and represents both our limitations as well as our transcendence of existence, and the liberation we can experience in the deconstruction of darkness.  Saturn signifies our skeletal structure and the structure of our consciousness, the boundary between our imagination and body.  Saturn is time and space, the conditions of form and conditioning of culture that shape our reality.  Saturn rewards hard work, discipline, seriousness, commitment, and contemplation. Saturn can be associated with rites of passage and tasks for us to accomplish, and so its shift from Sagittarius to Scorpio could feel harsh as Saturn changes from a fiery, expansive, crusading sign to a watery, condensed, purifying sign of core depth demanding honesty.

sag shooting dragon (1)

At the Northwest Astrology Conference of 2015 I saw a lecture on Saturn in Sagittarius presented by Lynn Bell entitled Beggaring Belief, and she included numerous images of Sagittarius from Persia and other cultures in which the centaur archer is aiming at it’s own tail in the shape of a dragon or serpent.  Lynn linked this to fears associated with Saturn in Sagittarius having to do with not knowing how to move forward or moving in the wrong direction, and the idea that we must look behind us and see what is rising up and deal with the shadows and demons we find there before moving forward.  Lynn also noted these images are fascinating considering that the archer in the constellation of Sagittarius is aiming it’s arrow toward the claws of the Scorpio constellation as well as Ophiuchus the serpent handler, and even more directly at the point in space we have defined as our Galactic Center.  Lynn made the profound point that Sagittarius only experiences an initiation into wisdom when it has the courage to look behind it at something it has previously refused to acknowledge. She concluded that we can not afford to rush forward without asking questions at this time, and that during Saturn’s return to the sign of Scorpio we will need to handle something that has the power to either destroy or heal.

Considering Saturn’s association with time, space, and conditioning, we can sense how the shift of Saturn from a mutable fire sign into a fixed water sign correlates with a shift from an active, surging pace into a slower tempo that emphasizes letting events unfold in their own time instead of trying to force things.  Scorpio is yin in contrast to the yang of Sagittarius, and so we move into an atmosphere more about magnetism and giving form to what we are receiving.  Themes around security, stability, and inner-work will become more important, as Scorpio is a fixed sign that stabilizes action and bolsters Saturn’s gift for persistence and endurance.  Since Scorpio is a water sign, this further deepens the potency of unconscious forces during this time period, and the importance of taking care of our inner life so we can steady emotions, avoid denial, and take responsibility for all aspects of our life, including the areas we prefer to keep hidden or not acknowledge.  Of course, most people will not be on this idealistic path, and there is also the other side of the cold, calculating, and venomous scorpion to contend with, leading to martial waves of contention and manipulation of power.

Scorpio is a fertile home for the shadowy Saturn, as Scorpio is a sign that tests the limits of our identity structures and existence, the very stuff of Saturn.  Scorpio connects to the taboo and everything that stretches the boundaries of our existence, not only death but also mediums such as sexuality and spirituality through which the fixed intensity of Scorpio can facilitate a death of our ego. Embracing Scorpio full-on can be scary for our personality identification, because in our deepest merging, such as sexual union, we transcend individual identity. This aspect of sex was described by Sabina Spielrein (Mercury, Moon, Sun conjunct in Scorpio) in Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being, in which she argued that the sex drive contains instincts for both destruction and transformation, as lovers experience a death of their individual egos through their sexual transformation into a merged entity.  In a spiritual sense, Scorpio’s fixity of feeling can create overpowering desire to meditate or merge into the realm of Spirit as much as possible, dissolving ego boundaries.

Saturn’s significations with maintaining boundaries of form in Scorpio can create fear around the places in our life where we can experience this transformative merging and loss of past identity.  The sign of Scorpio can also fear being abandoned or betrayed, and in order to cope a Saturnine compulsion to control situations, sources of power, or other people could overcome many during this transit.  Most destructively, when hurt the cold nature of Saturn in Scorpio could strike back with vengeful action.  Yet as Dane Rudhyar wrote, the over arching reason behind these feelings is that Scorpio holds “the urge in the individual to merge in absolute union with other individuals in order to constitute together a greater organic whole.”  The ultimate potential and promise of Saturn’s return to Scorpio is to open us to the darkest feelings and issues we have been attempting to deny, so that we can enter a process that at first feels chaotic, but then leads to the possibility of purifying and re-structuring ourselves around core principles of love and heart-centeredness. This takes conscious effort, however, and since many around us may not be up to this task, it will be helpful to draw upon the psychic sensitivity of the scorpion when navigating our daily path.

Scorpio by Bayer

Scorpio constellation from “Uranometria” by Johannes Bayer

Saturn Retrograde in Scorpio

Saturn will be retrograde in Scorpio during this time period from June 14 to August 1, 2015.  The last time Saturn was retrograde in Scorpio was from March through July 2014 between 24 and 16 degrees.  Saturn retrograde pulls us into a process of core re-structuring, and in Scorpio the deconstruction and decay of Saturn will feel more like watery dissolution.  As we experience revelations of what has been hidden and secret, what we have been denying because of it being taboo, we are given choices to be in avoidance or take ownership of the issues.  Hypocrisy will be exposed in others and in ourselves, and we can use these difficult experiences to fertilize new growth that will be more authentic.  To take active control we can consciously make structural, organizational changes in our life in order to work with this transformative process.

Saturn was previously in Scorpio from December 1923 – December 1926, October 1953 – October 1956, and December 1982 – November 1985.  Out of the these time periods, only in the year 1956 did Saturn retrograde back into Scorpio from Sagittarius as it is doing so now.  In 1956 Saturn entered Sagittarius in January, stationed retrograde in mid-March, and then re-entered Scorpio in May where it stayed into October 1956.  In the United States of America, racism was actively faced and major events of this period centered around the decision of Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her seat on a bus.  The Montgomery Bus Boycotts commenced as Saturn was moving direct in Scorpio, and continued as Saturn entered Sagittarius and a civil rights leader with a Saturn in Sagittarius, Martin Luther King, rose to prominence.  Ultimately, a federal district court found Alabama’s segregation laws unconstitutional when Saturn had returned to Scorpio in June 1956, and the U.S. Supreme Court also found the laws unconstitutional once Saturn had returned to Sagittarius in November 1956.  Despite these legal victories, racism persisted, and has persisted through today’s current events revolving around the Black Lives Matter movement that began during Saturn’s time in Scorpio.

The horrific terrorist attack in a Charleston, South Carolina black church, motivated from the racist roots of the United States of America, has forced a confrontation with both institutional racism and overt symbols of racism in the South such as the Confederate flag.  Structural racism, such as educational racism and racist law enforcement practices have been a part of the American fabric for decades since the time of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.  However, Saturn’s trip through Scorpio has brought about a reckoning and these longstanding issues have finally come to the forefront of daily conversations and news media coverage.  Saturn in Scorpio connects with the racist symbolism of streets named after Confederate, slave owning figures in the South that are more widely being criticized suddenly, as well as the efforts to remove the Confederate flag from government buildings.  Yet simply removing the outer manifestations of racism such as the Confederate flag does nothing to change the underlying racism embedded in systematic structure, and this is the task now being discussed at an amplified level of public discourse.  I recently heard the Reverend Al Sharpton interviewed in which he said something to the effect that we do not want the confederates to get away with “changing the curtains” without making structural changes.  No doubt events around these issues will be intensifying during Saturn’s retrograde, station, and direct forward motion in Scorpio.

Saturn in Scorpio reflection-seascape

Lake George (1922) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Saturn Direct in Scorpio

Saturn will be direct in Scorpio from August 1 through September 17, 2015.  While the image above showcasing the depth of lakes embodies Scorpio, we are unlikely to experience still waters at this time.  This is because as Saturn stations direct at 28°17′ Scorpio, Jupiter will directly initiate the last quarter square of their cycle on August 3, two days after Saturn’s exact station.  This Jupiter and Saturn square happens within the Venus retrograde cycle in Leo, and Venus is intimately involved with this square, as Venus retrograde will conjunct Jupiter on August 4 and then square Saturn on August 5.  The Jupiter and Saturn cycle is one of the most pivotal in astrology, and we are in a cycle that began in Taurus in 2000 and reached opposition in 2010 in both Pisces (Jupiter) / Virgo (Saturn) and Aries (Jupiter) / Libra (Saturn).  Venus being retrograde and exactly aligned with this square will amplify the drama and conflict of this aspect, bringing about confrontations at a core level.

Dane Rudhyar described the last quarter square as a “crisis in consciousness,” and this meaning is especially relevant to one between Jupiter and Saturn.  This is the square that follows the illumination of the full opposition (2010 – 2011), and the ripening of the message received at the disseminating trine, which occurred while Saturn was previously in Scorpio and Jupiter was in Cancer three times in 2013 and 2014.  The disseminating trines between Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Cancer occurred within an intense astrological climate that involved exact squares between Pluto and Uranus, and so this was a cathartic process of growth.  At the stage of the last quarter square we are now heading toward, all of the conflicting strands of thought coming from within ourselves and from our external relationships that have been building in the last few years come to a head.  This aspect causes us to question the thought patterns we have been acting from, a time of reorientation in which the scythe of Saturn cuts away old structures, beliefs, and conditionings we have outgrown.  This is not the final last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn, as we will have more in the future with Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius, but since this is the first of the series and Venus is involved retrograde, it could feel dramatic in terms of inner disorientation and disillusionment.

Saturn stationing direct and being hit simultaneously with a last quarter square from Jupiter in Leo has it’s greatest potential placed around the hard-earned growth we experience when courageously facing the most difficult truths, issues in the past we avoided or were in denial of.  Jupiter in Leo holds an advantageous position in this square, and so expressing the full range of drama we feel within and creatively processing it through work in our environment can lead us into a shedding of the inessential and a deepening of the essential.  This is a time of bravely stepping through the fiery underworld to confront inner and outer demons, maintaining disciplined focus on our core passions with resolute commitment.  Sounds easy, right?  The “hero or heroine’s journey” popularly utilized in modern psychology fits here, and out of our trials our awareness of what holds the most solidity in our life will become clarified.

Saturn in Scorpio III decan

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio III Decan

Saturn will spend the entirety of it’s remaining time in Scorpio at the tail end of the third decan of Scorpio, a decan associated with the 7 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In this image we see seven chalices holding strange visions floating above a figure cloaked in shadow.  The images held in the chalices are associated with common human desires such as fame, wealth, love, power, and transformation, yet the cynosure of this assembly appears to be a veiled figure with open arms emerging from the center cup.  This card is often associated with being overcome by visions to choose from in an atmosphere of illusion and temptation, most of which if not all are unlikely to lead to anything solid we can sustain.  There is also a practice of interpreting the card as indicating the possibility of discerning the one choice that will bring clarity, illumination, and increased opportunities for choices one desires.

Fittingly, Venus is the ruler of this decan as she could be interpreted as our inner source of desired visions emanating above our horizon.  With regards to this final transit of Saturn through the third decan of Scorpio, it is further apt that the astrological climate of this time will be dominated by Venus retrograde in the dramatically visionary sign of Leo.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the 7 of Cups to the third decan of Scorpio through fixation on fantasies and being dominated by obsessive desires.  Coppock suggested that the illusions of desires and the loss of being separated from the object of our desire takes us into a destruction and regeneration process and lessons involving the core nature of desire:

This is ultimately a face of wrestling with one’s own desire nature, for it leads one inevitably back to confrontation with the nature of desire itself.  It is the property of no one else.  The floating cloud of fantasies must be recognized as wholly one’s own . . . It is a matter of the transformation of a desire rather than its immediate gratification in sense-objects . . . The process truly described is the dissolution or putrefaction of desires back into their raw, un-structured form- their prima materia . . . We bury the corpse of past loves and wait for the flowers to grow from their graves . . . When desire’s hungry ghosts have finally been laid to rest, the compost is complete, and a rich loam results.  In the grave soil of yesterday’s loves, anything can grow.  This face is thus a formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.       (p. 187-188).

Saturn in Scorpio opens before us like a cavernous tunnel into an underworld holding deep, dark waters to dissolve and purify our desire nature.  In the shedding or destruction of outgrown structures and identities we will realize a deeper meaning of life to live from, even when events push us to the brink with difficulty.  The new patterns of thought that will arise from the ashes will be the source of later visions to come, and the desires we discern to be centered deep in our heart will become regenerated.  Saturn now gives us the task of honestly processing our internal thoughts, beliefs, and desires, while simultaneously needing to confront all the beliefs surrounding us in consensus culture as well as other sources that could potentially condition our thinking.  This is an initial phase of questioning beliefs that will be deepening as Jupiter later shifts into Virgo, Saturn shifts into Sagittarius, and the lunar nodes shift into Virgo and Pisces.

References

Bell, Lynn. (2015). Beggaring Belief – Saturn in Sagittarius. NORWAC: May 24, 2015.

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

Saturn in Sagittarius

Saturn in Sagittarius infrared rings

Saturn’s rings in infrared courtesy of NASA

Saturn in Sagittarius

On December 23, 2014 following a Solstice New Moon, the demanding task-master Saturn entered the shifting, fiery, and focused sign of Sagittarius.  This new transit of Saturn in Sagittarius has resonance with the Solstice, as Saturn will not leave Sagittarius for good until the Capricorn Solstice of 2017.  Saturn holds together the structure of our consciousness within our skeletal system on a personal level, and on a collective level coordinates the innumerable ingredients that form our consensus reality, or the predominant agreements that define what we mean by “reality.”  Saturn has a palpable impact on our lives by transit, and we can immediately feel the impact following its ingress into a new sign through personal experiences and collective events.  For example, both the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical Parisian newspaper that sparked the “Je suis Charlie” movement around freedom of expression, and the publicity surrounding the plan of Pope Francis to present an encyclical on climate change that will urge action are signs reflecting the shift of Saturn into Sagittarius.

Yet to claim I know that these recent events are connected with Saturn shifting into Sagittarius from a tropical zodiac perspective brings up the potential shadow of Saturn in Sagittarius reflected by a rigid belief that “I know.”  In the recent massacre in Paris, dogmatic religious beliefs led the perpetrators to believe that they “knew” that their violent terrorism was justified, just as in 1956 when Saturn was previously in Sagittarius the racist beliefs of White Southerners in the United States led them to believe that their violent terrorism against Black Southerners protesting for equal rights was justified.  Cultivating a perspective that we “do not know” with Saturn in Sagittarius will help us open our mind to direct experience of the moment that is less conditioned by our previous beliefs and cultural understanding.

“Not knowing” also connects with how Carl Jung’s idea of archetypes has been integrated into astrology, in that although Jung saw archetypes as being archaic patterns connected to the farthest reaches of time, he also defined the concept of archetypes as a manifestation of archaic patterns that are forever changing.  It is worth remembering that when Jung described the meaning of archetypes, he said that we can never actually consciously “know” them, we can only deduce their meaning as reflected in such things as stories, symbols, and images.  Astrology or any other methodology of belief we utilize to help us navigate our reality can lead us astray when what we believe we know becomes so crystallized that our fixation on our own perspective causes us to be in denial of our actual reality.  While this is one potential pitfall of Saturn in Sagittarius, at the same time Saturn in Sagittarius brings the potential to deepen our understanding of reality through focused exploration of a belief system, practice, or subject matter.

Saturn in Sagittarius centaur

Fresco by Baldassare Tommaso Peruzzi (1520)

Bearing in mind that our current transit of Saturn through Sagittarius is within a different astrological climate and collective milieu than previous Saturn in Sagittarius transits, we can draw upon archetypal understanding of Sagittarius to give us a perspective upon potential matters Saturn will concretize in our life.  The two most common images associated with Sagittarius are the Archer and the Centaur, and both cast their shadow over astrological analysis of Saturn’s time in this mutable fire sign.  The archer embodies the active, focused, and disciplined side of Sagittarius, as we will be called upon to take action on our visions that arose to our awareness during Saturn’s time in Scorpio.  To be successful we will need to apply the determined concentration of an archer keyed into a target, and in Sagittarius we will want this goal to be deeply resonant with the purpose and meaning we are currently finding in our life experience.

In the centaur we find unity beyond the duality of animalistic instincts and human rationalism, and connection with Creation and Nature.  As a result Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius is timely in addressing collective crises involving the quality of life in our water, in our air, and in the plants, animals, and life inhabiting our Earth.  In the figure of the evolved centaur Chiron, we find union with the medicine of creation and everything in our surroundings.  Chiron cultivated wholistic practices to create greater energetic balance, such as herbalism, astrology, meditation, and the martial arts.  During Saturn’s time in Sagittarius, we will have an opportunity to sharpen our skills and knowledge in daily practice, study, or exploration of a structured belief system that brings us greater understanding into not only the nature of our reality, but into our daily action and movement.  We also may come into conflict with others studying the same general subjects of focus from a different perspective of belief, especially in fields such as Astrology, Economics, Politics, and Religion that have a high level of theoretical underpinnings.  Ideally, by keeping an open mind in our dialogues with others, instead of defensively debating without listening to the other perspective, we can gain a sharper focus into the depths under sourcing our beliefs through cultivating thoughtful conversations with people holding vastly different perspectives.

The Guru is another strong association we have with Sagittarius, and Chiron was the guru of not only the centaurs, but countless humans who came to him at a pivotal stage of their hero’s journey.  When learning from guru sources, whether in an actual person or in a body of knowledge, we will want to remain rooted in our direct experience instead of over-consumed by the experience of the guru source.  The more we ground our learning into our daily life, we will glean the message most essential for us on a personal level, and this message then will become something we can offer to others in our community.  Yet, remembering the shadow side of Sagittarius, there is also the potential to become self-absorbed when digesting profound belief systems, with the danger of becoming so narcissistic in our integration of knowledge that we begin to unleash dogmatic diatribes or self-righteous preaching to others in our environment.  Ambition can overcome us in Sagittarius through overconsumption with desires for personal recognition, burning desire for whatever we desire, with self-centered awareness of the impact of personal action on others in the surrounding environment.  Unfortunately, where dogmatism and violent extremist behavior intersect, Saturn in Sagittarius will bring us face to face with with explosive traumatic events in the collective propagated by terrorists as well as heads of state.

Excess of all sorts can be found in the shadow of Sagittarius, a sign ruled by Jupiter.  Jupiter is also known as a guru and teacher, a storyteller whose narratives reveal our underlying nature.  Just as we can become excessively self-righteous, we can also become excessively self-critical, and Saturn in Sagittarius also carries a message for those who have been fearfully holding themselves back from their full actualization in the world around them.  Astrologer Liz Greene in her classic Saturn: a New Look at an Old Devil analyzed that a fear of failure is vital to overcome when Jupiter and Saturn are working together in our birth chart, because it can take courage to follow the intuitive guidance of Jupiter when its visionary quality calls us to leave the comfort zone of our consensus cultural conditioning.  If we allow our Saturn side to inhibit our Jupiter side, we can play it safe working a job that meets our basic survival needs yet does not serve the needs of our deeper Self that our Jupiter side can sense.  Sagittarius is a sign of vision, and Saturn here brings opportunity to take concrete action to structure our life around transformative impulses that transition us away from where we have been previously repressing ourselves through a limitation of belief:

Jupiter’s function in a psychological sense seems to be connected with the intuition and the faculty of creative imagination or visualisation. It is this intuitive faculty which responds to the meaning of a symbol and which makes us capable of apprehending the basic meaning or “soul” of an experience or a person without prior analysis. The direct experience of the inner world of meaning establishes the quality which we term faith; it is not built on any deductive reasoning nor on any practical experience, and it is not- contrary to the usual definition of the word- belief in the sense that it is a wish for something to be true. The man who has genuine faith has it because he knows, in an intuitive and non-rational way, that there is meaning and purpose to his experience and that it will unfold according to a pattern which contains intrinsic wisdom and purpose . . . The contact of Jupiter with Saturn appears to suggest the psychological necessity of transforming this faith into practical living so that the individual can live out what he intuitively senses to be the purpose of his life.    –Liz Greene, p. 122-123, Saturn: a New Look at an Old Devil

Saturn in Sagittarius will test our personal truth, bringing experiences that will challenge whether or not the vision we believe embodies our authenticity is taking us on a journey for a holy grail or a false grail.  The self-absorbed side of Sagittarius can also lead us to become encaved in isolation while taking in new forms of knowledge that bring us a satisfying sense that we are undergoing a significant process of individuation, and yet at the same time a realization that we have become detached from our surrounding community.  The polarity of Gemini to Sagittarius brings a movement to communicate the visionary Sagittarian ideas back into our collective, with a Mercurial sense of how to express our new insights in a medium of expression that can be understood by others, bridging our new vision with the prevailing one.  As easy as it is to write this or read this in a sentence, it is much more challenging to put into practice, and each lunar month this dynamic of Saturn in Sagittarius will be triggered by the Moon passing through the opposite degree of Gemini, as well as in April – June 2015 when Venus, Mars, Mercury, and the Sun pass through Gemini in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius.

Saturn in Sagittarius ultraviolet rings

Saturn’s rings in ultraviolet courtesy of NASA

The mutable and expansive nature of Sagittarius is vital to comprehend when discerning how the current transit of Saturn in Sagittarius fits inside a different astrological context than past transits.  Saturn in Sagittarius has already entered a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, and will eventually also move into a square aspect with Chiron in Pisces:  both of these are last quarter squares signifying as Dane Rudhyar taught, a crisis in consciousness. Jupiter will also become mutable in 2015 when it enters Virgo, eventually leading to a last quarter square between Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As the lunar nodes will also shift in 2015 into the South Node of the Moon occupying Pisces, and the North Node of the Moon occupying Virgo, the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius marks the beginning of a new transitionary time of mutability that could feel chaotic at times within the falling apart of the familiar.

A Sagittarius Saturn in square to a Pisces Neptune initiates our entrance into this mutable time portal of decomposition that could lead to disillusionment, and many astrologers feel this intense Saturn-Neptune aspect could encase a sobering, leadening restraint around our personal dreams.  There remains potential within this aspect to build and structure significant steps along a path leading to our cherished vision, but in general this will be a time of gaining deeper awareness into the meaning behind our vision.  The last quarter square, the phase that Saturn in Sagittarius will experience with Neptune in Pisces, Chiron in Pisces, and Jupiter in Virgo, is a crisis of thought in which our old beliefs are called into question as we realize our old values and life structures no longer align with our evolving consciousness.  While this can be a time of deconstruction, destructuring, and deconditioning, we can also realize what aspects of our old belief and value system holds authentic truth to sustain as a point of focus. Saturn will move back into Scorpio during the Summer of the Northern Hemisphere and Winter of the Southern Hemisphere, and ideally this will re-connect us with one of the most important themes of Saturn in Scorpio:  honesty.  Sagittarius can have issues with dishonesty, and so we can keep in mind that one of the best remedies to help keep us honest is a staunch commitment to utilizing self-reflection to avoid being in denial.

Since Saturn in Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign, it will prod us into being actively engaged with the obstacles and challenges associated with the first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and all the deep shattering of personal and societal systems that have come with it.  In March 2015, Saturn in Sagittarius will station retrograde within a week of the final of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus, after which we will finally move beyond the demarcation of their first quarter square.  Saturn asks us to be accountable for our choices that align with our goals, and while Sagittarius is an ambitious sign of determination, it’s mutable nature will allow our vision to shift in accordance with the manner in which our sense of personal truth evolves in the face of coming experiences. The inherent quality of our vision, and whether it is essentially about our own self-interest or serves the true needs of our surroundings, is key.  The fiery nature of Sagittarius brings a more inspirational, courageous, and creative initiative to Saturn, yet this same quality has the negative potential of selfishness, opportunism, and a lack of awareness of how our actions impact others.  Remembering the sextile between Sagittarius with Aquarius and Libra, it will be helpful to utilize objectifying self-reflection to be present with how well we are listening to the needs of our many relationships and how well we are responding.

The meaning of Saturn’s transit in Sagittarius changes generationally, yet there is a common thread through differing cosmic climates as can be seen in a list of famous individuals born at different times with Saturn in Sagittarius:  pop stars Madonna and Lady Gaga, civil rights leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, the shadowy Osama Bin Laden and Heinrich Himmler (leading figure of Nazi Germany), and bringers of light Anne Frank and Teresa of Avila.  Charles Darwin, a man whose theoretical scientific research helped to fundamentally change the way the general human populace views reality, was also born with a Saturn in Sagittarius conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius and his Ascendant in Sagittarius.  One theme of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius that will be strong in the coming years will be the connection of Sagittarius with personal truth and law, in particular the interplay between natural law and human-made law.  There was a compelling synchronicity that as Saturn entered Sagittarius this past month it was conjunct the Themis asteroid #24, as Themis is a daughter of Gaia and the Titaness of natural law, divine order, justice, and custom.  One battleground we will obviously see debates raging over law, legislation, and our natural environment will be climate change, and so it is fascinating that at the same time that Saturn entered Sagittarius it became widely publicized that Pope Francis would be forthcoming with an encyclical urging action that would be distributed throughout the global Catholic network of priests.

Pope Francis and Saturn in Sagittarius

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is an insightful figure to think about in connection with our current transit of Saturn in Sagittarius, and indeed he was born with his Sun conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Sagittarius.  While he inherently takes the role as a leader of a dogmatic religion into every environment he enters, he also has evolved the vision underlying the way in which his papal role interacts on the global stage.  First and foremost, he is our first Pope Francis, evoking the figure of Saint Francis who was an instrument of Spirit on behalf of the poor, the outcast, and the natural world.  Saint Francis never took vows of chastity or demanded conformity to all of the regulated rules of the Christian Church, and also was open to women taking on equal roles of spiritual authority.  Saint Francis lived a life of poverty and only asked to love Nature and for each to love and know God according to their own capacity.  The choice of Pope Francis to actively encourage action on climate change evokes the love of Saint Francis for creation, and is a use of his spiritual authority on behalf of nature and humanity.

Pope Francis has also re-focused the attention of the papacy on people living in poverty around the world, and he has made a constant effort to put humans first from a perspective that humans are part of creation and are not meant to be instruments of some industrial machine.  In a Christmas speech he criticized the existential schizophrenia of a Vatican he sees as being filled with gossip and rivalry, with priests hiding behind papers as part of a mechanism instead of opening up with human sensitivity to others.  Pope Francis was also instrumental in the process of President Obama opening up diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, and he also seems to be intent on breaking through places of crystallized, dogmatic separation between world leaders.

One of Saturn’s three trips through Sagittarius in the 20th Century was between the years of 1956 to 1958, and at this time another leader who became the voice of those oppressed and in poverty arose in prominence, Dr. Martin Luther King.  Martin Luther King was born with a Saturn in Sagittarius and experienced an extraordinary Saturn return that began during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, leading to his home being burned down by Southern racists at the end of January 1956 with Saturn at the early degrees of Sagittarius. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, sparking the extraordinary Montgomery Bus Boycotts, Saturn was at the end of its transit of Scorpio.  There is some resonance here with our own recent time of Saturn closing out a transit of Scorpio, with a number of protest movements arising around issues of oppression.  What made the Montgomery Bus Boycotts so incredible was the amount of collective commitment and creative strategizing that was employed to shut down the system.

Martin Luther King and Saturn in Sagittarius

Martin Luther King during the Montgomery bus boycott of 1956

The year of 1956 when Saturn entered Sagittarius around January 13 has some similarities with Saturn’s transit in 2015, as just like this year Saturn stationed retrograde in March 1956 and then moved back into Scorpio again for a few months.  During Saturn’s initial time in Sagittarius the Montgomery activists faced a strong pushback from the legal system, including Martin Luther King being ordered to pay a fine or serve time in jail around the time Saturn stationed in March.  King’s decision to serve time in jail helped propel the movement further through media coverage, and by November 1956 when Saturn had returned again to Sagittarius the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on bus lines.

There remains the possibility that some of the investigations conducted by the U.S. federal government into the police killing of black men that dominated the headlines during 2014 will also lead to federal intervention through the legal system.  What is clear is that there is clear resonance between the rise of Martin Luther King into prominence when Saturn entered Sagittarius in 1956 with today’s transit, as well as the fact that events in Selma, Alabama that Martin Luther King was actively engaged in during the time of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction in 1965 have now been released as a major Hollywood film at this current time of the Pluto and Uranus square and Saturn again in Sagittarius.  King’s courageous, impassioned leadership combined with his role as a religious authority has clear connection to Saturn in Sagittarius, and his ability to stir up a collective torrent of debate over beliefs while remaining constant with a message of love in the face of hatred holds a powerful lesson that remains significant today to learn from:

If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.

— Dr. Martin Luther King in a speech during the Montgomery bus boycotts

A further interesting connection with the figure and life of Martin Luther King and the upcoming mutable astrology time period is that Dr. King had a mutable t-square in his chart, with Mars in Gemini (2nd House) opposite Saturn in Sagittarius (8th House) with both in square to the Moon in Pisces (11th House).  Martin Luther King was able to use this intense mutable aspect in his chart to be a powerful storyteller and speaker who could communicate a message embodying deep meaning while being understood by a wide populace.  In our current upcoming transit, we can all learn from King’s ability to take decisive action when the time calls for action, and to communicate a heart-centered message of love while creating opportunities for discussion on societal issues that need to be addressed and not covered up or ignored.

The next period with Saturn in Sagittarius was between the years of 1986 and 1988, and during the entire transit Saturn was approaching a conjunction with Uranus that happened at the very end of Sagittarius.  There were once again strong African American voices in American culture in this period, for example with Jesse Jackson running for President, but most dominant in popular culture was the pre-eminence of Hip Hop in American popular music.  Two groups arose to celebrity status during the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius that exemplified it’s themes:  Public Enemy, whose 1987 album had the Sagittarian title Yo! Bum Rush the Show, and N.W.A. who released Straight Outta Compton at the end of Saturn’s transit in Sagittarius and made famous the Sagittarian line, “You are about to witness the strength of street knowledge.”

However, collectively the most major shift that occurred during this time was in Eastern Europe as the movements that led to widespread revolution in the region and later epochal events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic took place.  While these later events occurred during Saturn’s transit of Capricorn, there were pivotal developments that made them possible during the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius such as Perestroika in the Soviet Union.  For example in Poland, a country that used the political innovation of “Round Table agreements” to facilitate a democracy that would give them greater independence, there were a series of crucial strikes that happened in 1988 with Saturn in Sagittarius that were essential.  Similarly, our current transit of Sagittarius will bring opportunities for collective movements that could lead to huge structural and systematic changes in four or five years.

Saturn in Sagittarius and Capricorn

Zodiac frieze from Venice, Italy (1530-40) courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Saturn in Sagittarius is currently in a balsamic phase with Pluto in Capricorn, and so we are in a time of clearing, re-seeding, and re-visioning in their cycle until the beginning of 2020 when Saturn becomes conjunct Pluto at 23 degrees of Capricorn.  Jupiter will also be in Capricorn in 2020, and around the Capricorn Solstice on December 21, 2020, the next conjunction in the Saturn and Jupiter cycle will occur at 00º29′ Aquarius.  As a result Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius is a key transition to this incredibly important 2020 time period.

However, let’s not forget Uranus, the next planet beyond Saturn and important player in Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius.  Saturn in Sagittarius will form a trine with Uranus in Aries in 2016, and in 2015 Jupiter in Leo will be trine to Uranus in Aries on March 3 and on June 22.  As a result in the next six months the Jupiter and Uranus cycle can help us unlock the Saturn gates of our consciousness to more expansive perspectives, and then later in August 2015 when we hit the last quarter square between Jupiter in Leo and a stationing direct Saturn in Scorpio, we will face challenges and even crises forcing us to critically examine what in our life needs to be discarded and let go and what is essential to keep as we begin to focus on what we will utilize in seeding our future.

We end with a few quotes from Anne Frank, who was born with Saturn in Sagittarius:

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

“There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.”

©2015 Gray Crawford Astrology, All Rights Reserved

Taurus Full Moon

full moon etching claude mellan

Full Moon engraving by Claude Mellan (1635) Paris

We say it is human nature to be attached, thinking of the bond between the mother and the child she births, the parents who focus on nurturing the development of the human being birthed into the world through their merging.  Yet although attachment and connectivity is a primal urge of humanity, there are many people who are abandoned, neglected, or abused as children, and do not experience an opportunity for full bonding with a parent.  This and other societal ills link to the separation polarizing our attachment, the separation we experience being released from our mother’s womb and ensuing need for bonding with someone or something in our environment.  The sign of Taurus connects to our hunger for security, and the forms of attachment we engage to feel secure and stable in an ever changing reality.  We become attached to ideas and feelings as well, thoughts and sensations that give us comfort, irregardless of whether or not our fixation on them is in our best interest.  For example, we can become attached to being depressed, attached to avoiding our passion, attached to numbing our pain and emotions through drugs, attached to escaping reality through popular culture, attached to being in denial of what will bring us happiness, attached to a life leaving us essentially unfulfilled.  Today we can see around us people more attached to their electronic connection to the world-wide web than their physical surroundings, parents fixated on their “screen connections” instead of their connection to the needs of their child.

We now experience a Taurus full Moon, the full phase of the lunar cycle that began with a solar eclipse in Scorpio aligned with Venus as well as Mercury stationing direct in the sign of the scales ruled by Venus.  No doubt if you like to read astrology posts on social media, you are hearing a lot about “integrating your authentic values” for this Taurus full Moon, and it is true that the Taurus archetype helps us find internal worth and stability instead of grasping for it in the external world.  However, in light of the Scorpio eclipse and Mercurial shifting that began this lunation cycle, this is an opportune moment to question why you think the “authentic values” that come to mind for you are the genuine article.  Be willing to question everything during the full light of this Taurus Moon, and you will open yourself to letting go and releasing the values that you have led yourself to believe in the past are essential to your nature.  Are they really?  What signs and symbols in your environment since Mercury stationed direct have emerged to give you guidance?  Who or what is getting in your face begging you to give second thought to your absolute fixation on having this or that particular value or attachment in your daily life?  If we can gain clarity for the real deal, the true values that will bring us genuine happiness and wealth, then going forward we can intend to ruminate our thoughts, circulate our feelings around desires arising from these values.  A lot of unconscious material could have been stirred up in the solar eclipse at our last new Moon, so keep in mind it is worthwhile to give further thought to what exactly “happiness” and “wealth” actually mean for you, as opposed to what you have gotten used to thinking they mean in your past.

Reflection

Reflection by Karena Karras

Venus has not yet finished her underworld journey in Scorpio, and is getting closer each day to a union with Saturn that will occur on November 12: there will be crucial lessons to be uncovered within during this closing week of their cycle.  This heavy Scorpio pull into our depths is an intense facilitator for a pivotal aspect of this Full Moon:  the balsamic conjunction between Mars and Pluto in Capricorn.  Mars and Pluto will begin a new cycle in Capricorn on November 10, so this Taurus and Scorpio full lunation is illuminating our experiences with desire and the degree to which we have integrated the conscious and unconscious sides of our nature in the past two year cycle of Pluto and Mars.  In union the combined message is to courageously go deep within to sense what brings us alive with passion and joy, beyond the limitations and guarding of repression, guilt, and fear of judgment or abandonment.  The Capricorn archetype also links to the conditioning of our parents and surrounding culture from birth, and the manner in which our sense of self learned to adapt to find a sense of security and attachment within the values and expectations of our early environment.  In order to harmonize with the values or expectations cherished by our parents or surrounding culture, many of us adapt our personality interacting in the external world to an external conditioning that is not wholly connected to the internal conditions necessary for us to feel wholly passionate and joyful.

Our desires that come from Soul and connected with Self are too strong to completely repress, however, and so many of us learn to pursue our essential inner desires in secret.  Out of this fear of external judgment, we set up a dichotomy of acting in the culturally acceptable way in the outer world to gain acceptance, while inwardly or in secret we follow the desires burning from within and demanding expression. As Carl Jung and others have noted, when we completely ignore or deny our burning inner desires, these unconscious forces can erupt in our lives in the form of crises demanding that we finally pay attention.  Within the sixth of the seven ripening squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, this Full Moon in Taurus illuminating our interplay between the depth of Venus-Saturn and Mars-Pluto holds the potential for us to re-source our desire nature to reveal our whole Will we have previously given away to others, including outside power structures.

Furthermore, there are additional strong aspects from Leo to the Scorpio and Taurus activated at this Full Moon, with Jupiter in Leo in square to Saturn and Venus in Scorpio, and Juno in Leo in square to the Sun in Scorpio and Moon in Taurus.  In combination with the closing cycles of Venus and Saturn in Scorpio, and Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, we can receive a message of how we have attempted to compensate for our fear of abandonment and separation by grasping for control over whatever we can control, whether that be people, non-human material, or thoughts.  A Taurus Full Moon invites us into the realm of Venus and what will bring us authentic pleasure and joy in our body.  Instead of remaining fixated on what you thought was bringing you happiness in the past, this Full Moon of Venus asks you to open to what is bringing you joy and happiness in the ever evolving moment, and to follow it.  Part of this is taking the risk to be vulnerable, part of this is expressing our needs to others and taking our essential needs seriously instead of a need to find acceptance in the dominant cultural paradigm.  Within what we previously thought would hold our disempowerment we may find what will make us feel powerful, while within what we previously thought was bringing us power we may realize was leading to our disempowerment.

The strong Leo energy interacting with the rest of the aspects of this Full Moon means there is something to be revealed about our personal destiny going forward if we are willing to listen.  This is not a time to feel guilty about the past or past decisions, but rather to reflect instead on modifications we can make in our life going forward that have been revealed to us through this past reflection.  This Full Moon aligns in the tropical zodiac with the cross-quarter holy days that occur in the middle of the fixed signs:  in the Southern Hemisphere this Full Moon is embedded within the blossoming of Full Spring, in the Northern Hemisphere this Full Moon lays within the clearing of Full Fall.  Open up the desires from within you have locked away, and there will be an opportunity to integrate these passions into manifestation in your future daily life.

sengai autumn moon

Sengai, Autumn Moon

Finally, with the North Node in Libra and Mercury moving direct again at the end of Libra, near the point of its inferior conjunction of the Sun, I would like to share a text I feel is connected to our current nodal axis of Uranus being conjunct the South Node in Aries, the North Node being in Libra, and the nodal rulers Mars and Venus entering into and out of intense dynamics.  The following is from The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler that was published during the shifting times of the late 1980s, and connects to the dominant cultural paradigm many human beings have been attached to for centuries:

One result of re-examining human society from a gender-holistic perspective has been a new theory of cultural evolution. This theory, which I have called Cultural Transformation theory, proposes that underlying the great surface diversity of human culture are two basic models of society.

The first, which I call the dominator model, is what is popularly termed either patriarchy or matriarchy-  the ranking of one half of humanity over the other.  The second, in which social relations are primarily based on the principle of linking rather than ranking, may best be described as the partnership model.  In this model- beginning with the most fundamental difference in our species, between male and female- diversity is not equated with either inferiority or superiority.

While there is much more to this idea than the above quote, it goes to the heart of realizations that we can find in our daily interactions in our external environment and internal mind.  Namely, moving away from a focus on a need for power over something to a focus on the power that can be found in between authentic partnership.

TaurusFullMoonWRIGC1

Dark Moon Equinox

Black Madonna

Black Madonna of Einsiedeln, Switzerland

Because the light that we see as coming from the moon is the sun’s reflected light, the dark moon is in a sense the moon’s true face.

–Demetra George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon

Balancing light and dark, equal parts lunar and solar, the Libra Equinox of 2014 occurs on a Dark Moon in Virgo charged with the archetypal force of Pluto stationing direct in Capricorn.  In our Northern Hemisphere this is the Autumn Equinox, in the Southern Hemisphere the Spring Equinox, but in either case a myth deeply resonant with this seasonal shift is the story of Persephone, Hades, and Demeter.  Three thousand years ago in Eleusis, Greece the Greater Mysteries initiated participants into the underworld, where epiphanic experiences in darkness revealed illumination participants returned with to their upper world existence, imbibed with transcendent knowledge.  While our global culture no longer participates in such Mysteries, in moments of darkness many do reach out for the Virgin Mary, the Black Madonna, and in her embrace beyond religious boundaries we find the archetypal story of the Great Goddess alive in our World Soul.

Venus in Virgo is conjunct a Dark Moon in Virgo in our moment of equinoctial balance this year, and if we remember that Venus is considered to be in it’s fall in Virgo, then let us embrace this symbol and fall and fall again into a descent that re-balances the light and dark, the past and future, the conscious and unconscious.   Entering the void of darkness within where we will find no one to save us other than our soul itself, we will find the presence of the Black Madonna, the love of the Dark Goddess, the force that will Animate us forward again like “the One who walked in terrible chaos and brought life by the way of love” (Abraham, Chaos in Myth and Science).  Dark Moons are not so much a time to be striking out boldly on a new plan, but rather a moment of visioning, an oracular space to enter in which out of the darkness of turning back into our past, what may feel like dormancy is in actuality a germination of our future livelihood.  We may ultimately clear past patterns, liberate ourselves from repressive wounds we have been grieving, yet to reach this state necessitates what is left to be released to arise from the depths of our unconscious.

With Pluto stationing direct, the unconscious forces we have been resisting, the calling of our soul we have refused to answer, will arise from the deep earth.  Yet this chthonic force is not a monster to be feared, but rather is embodied in the beautiful, wise, and fierce form of Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld whose shadow falls across the Black Madonna more widely worshipped today:

In the tale of the mother searching for her daughter, Demeter often merged with Persephone. For Jung, the merging presages the psychological phenomenon wherein “every mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother, [so] that every woman extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter.”  This gives rise to a sense of time reaching backward and forward, suggested in the phrase, “remembering the future.”  In the christian age the merging of mother and daughter became the fusing of mother and son evident in images of black madonnas.  Persephone as queen of the underworld was worshipped as a goddess of the dead, holding the keys of heaven and hell before they were given to saint Peter in the christian age.

–Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Black Madonnas, p. 37-38

This Jungian perspective on the Black Madonna and Persephone as “remembering the future” is an apt phrase for Pluto stationing on an equinox with Venus conjunct a Dark Moon in Virgo.  If we take time out of our busy lives at this equinox to go within the darkness of our Self without distraction, denial, and escapism, whatever we encounter, no matter the emotions and feelings we must bear witness to, is going to be exactly what we need to recover on a soul level to re-balance our authenticity.  Now is the time to make conscious whatever needs to arise so that we can make adjustments between our sense of soul and personality, because not only does our consensus culture not support such a re-balancing, we are also going to enter an October of eclipses that may bring unexpected changes in need of balanced navigation.

The Libra Equinox is ruled by Venus, and Venus in Virgo is now a morning star getting less and less visible in the pre-dawn sky everyday.  We are approaching the time in which Venus will be getting close enough to the Sun to no longer visible, as her Superior Conjunction with the Sun will ultimately occur at the end of October in Scorpio.   But before we get to that point, we will go through a lunar eclipse in Aries conjunct Uranus, a Mercury retrograde phase from Scorpio to Libra, a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, and a movement of Venus across Libra that will involve a conjunction with Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Libra, and a square to Pluto in Capricorn. In ancient times this would be a period in which widespread fear that the great dragon of chaos would rear its monstrous head would overcome the general populace.  Today, we can be aware that sudden shifts are on the horizon, but if we go within we can find the middle way through this impending portal of change that will allow us to keep focus on the vision we are cultivating to manifest.

Demeter Torch

Demeter with torch and ears of barley stalks bearing the opium poppy. Athens National Museum

Indeed, focus is a key word at this time, as there is a powerful conjunction in Scorpio occurring between Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta.  This is a powerful symbol of the Great Mother who was equally a Goddess of Birth and Death, a creative progenitor and guide to the underworld.  This triple conjunction demands authenticity, demands brutal honesty, demands focus and discipline, and yet if we do this work, the rewards will be great as this is a truly transformative energy that can take us to our greatest depths in order to give us our most beloved desire.  The potential to find harmony by focusing through whatever challenges arise is further shown through Venus in Virgo being sextile the conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta at this equinox.  This energy is intense and not unlike the dark chthonic goddesses of old:

It could be said that what scholars term the chthonic aspect of the Goddess- her portrayal in surrealistic and sometimes grotesque form- represented our forebears’ attempt to deal with the darker aspects of reality by giving our human fears of the shadowy unknown a name and shape . . . designed to impart to the religious initiate a sense of mystical unity with both the dangerous as well as the benign forces governing the world . . .

. . . But with all of this, the many images of the Goddess in her dual aspect of life and death seem to express a view of the world in which the primary purpose of art, and of life, was not to conquer, pillage, and loot but to cultivate the earth and provide the material and spiritual wherewithal for a satisfying life. And on the whole, Neolithic art, and even more so the more developed Minoan art, seems to express a view in which the primary function of the mysterious powers governing the universe is not to exact obedience, punish, and destroy but rather to give.

–Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade, p. 20

To work with the energy emerging at this equinox, we will want to focus not only on giving ourselves the space to process events and emotions and fulfill our own needs, we will also want to focus on how to give to others what they need.  There is an amazing liberating force occurring at the same time as the heavier aspects of depth, especially Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries, and yet with a square between Leo Jupiter and the Scorpio conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta, this is not a time to be focusing on selfish desires that are only about gaining power or prestige for yourself.  This is a time to pursue a soulful passion, but a passion that will not only bring you alive but give inspiration, healing, or hope to others.

Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries is a radically creative energy that in the wrong hands could lead to great transgression of others or abuse of power.  Remember, however, that Ceres in the story of Persephone knows how to make Jupiter listen to her, and likewise a bargain must be struck between an energy that makes us want to leap and an energy that makes us want us to take a very deep look.  Fittingly enough, just as Demeter made Zeus send Hermes down to Hades in order to release Persephone, so is there a mutual reception occurring between Venus in Virgo and Mercury in Libra  that will help guide us toward discerning and perceiving how to work with our depth in a way that will not weigh us down, but rather will fuel our fire forward.

LibraEquinox2014WRIGC2

I have been reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, a book that thematically takes the reader into the void, into the deepest recesses of soul, in order to rebirth love.  In a crucial scene, the character of Sara Kimoto, a woman driving the title character into his depths through his desire for her, challenges Tsukuru Tazaki to confront his past.  Like many of us, Tsukuru initially resists, feeling that he has already done this work and moved on with his life:

Tsukuru waited until the waiter left before he spoke.

“Like I told you, I want to put it all out of my mind.  I’ve managed to slowly close up the wound and, somehow, conquer the pain.  It took a long time.  Now that the wound is closed, why gouge it open again?”

“I understand, but maybe it only appears, from the outside, that the wound is closed.”  Sara gazed into his eyes and spoke quietly.  “Maybe inside the wound, under the scab, the blood is still silently flowing.  Haven’t you ever thought of that?”

We will not be able to hide from the wounds of our past at this time, and even if we feel that we have already completed the hard work of clearing out our past, it is likely that a challenge to this belief of ours will arise in one form or another in the coming weeks.  If we need to relapse into previous wounding again, so be it, for eventually as we sort through the darkness of this past issue we will re-emerge with a stronger sense of self that will arise from within along with growth through intensification.  Keeping in mind the balance of the equinox, anything demanding our attention or surprising our psyche in our dreams or waking consciousness is exactly what we must address and process now.  We can truly get to the core of our past wounding and issues now and light a final fire of release.  Surrendering to an internal adjustment at this time will help us be present through the shifting of the coming eclipses from a centered position.

thracian-girl-carrying-the-head-of-orpheus-1864

Thracian girl carrying the head of Orpheus (1864) by Gustave Moreau

For those experiencing a dark night of the soul at this time, there could be an element of great disillusionment in the experience.  With Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces, some of us may come to the realization that we have been operating inside of a great illusion either in our relationships or in our beliefs about the world.  However shattering it may feel to realize we have been delusional about someone or something in our life, it is vital for our own well-being that we finally gain this self-realization at this time so that we can make the necessary adjustments that will lead to fulfillment in our future.  There may also be conflicts and disagreements happening around us or between us and others, but this is more than likely to occur if we are insisting on getting our way or fixating our perceptions through past patterns of belief, irregardless of the information coming to us in the present moment.

The strength of the square between Mars in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces is its mutable nature and desire for ultimate understanding.  In many ways this aspect is resonant with a challenging or difficult experience in one way or another opening our minds to a deeper knowing regarding our world.  The mutability of this square will help us to shift appropriately to the motion of soul in the moment, and the understanding we gain from this test of our beliefs and desires we will be able to integrate into the Grand Fire Trine that also awaits us between Jupiter in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Sagittarius.  Roughly twenty-eight hours after the equinox we will have a New Moon in Libra on which to set intention informed from our Dark Moon Equinox insights:

LibraNewMoonWRIGC1

This will be a New Moon of the other we are in relationship with, in all the myriad forms the other appears in our life, mirroring back to us key issues and insights for us to integrate.  Monika of the Symbol Reader blog recently wrote a brilliant depiction of Juno as the source of the soul’s procreation, and Juno is a truly procreative force to inform the intention we set at this upcoming New Moon.  Juno in Cancer is in sextile to Venus in Virgo and in trine to the Scorpio triple conjunction of Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta.  Who we desire will bring us understanding, who we collaborate with will bring us understanding, who we argue with will bring us understanding, and who we become angered by will bring us understanding.  If jealous feelings overcome us, for example, it will be an opportune time to get to the heart of the underlying reasoning and take responsibility for the way we communicate our emotions with the other person or people involved.

It will please Juno if we are authentic and accountable in all of our interactions with others, and if we claim the emotional security to open our hearts to who or what we desire, risking the possibility that our relationships may not play out as we had wished. There are also intense aspects involving Juno now that could coincide with significant obstacles, challenges, confrontations, or misunderstandings that come about in our relationships.  Yet, all of our relationships at this time will be holding ingenious illumination regarding ourselves and our path forward if we take the time to reflect upon their dynamics.  Soaking in our sacred spring like Juno during this equinox will be a vital rejuvenation, so prepare a sacred space for yourself however best you can.

Below I have listed the current astrological aspects I focused on for the most part:

  • Pluto stationing direct at 11 degrees Capricorn
  • Ceres conjunct Saturn and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Dark Moon in Virgo at the Equinox, conjunct Venus in Virgo
  • Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries
  • Jupiter in Leo square Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces
  • Juno in Cancer trine Ceres, Saturn, and Vesta in Scorpio
  • Juno in Cancer sextile Venus in Virgo
  • Juno in Cancer square Mercury in Libra, Uranus in Aries, and the Nodes of the Moon
  • Mercury in Libra and Venus in Virgo in Mutual Reception
  • Uranus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon
  • Pallas Athena in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon
  • New Moon in the first decan of Libra following the Equinox, ruled by Venus in Virgo

References

Abraham, Ralph. Chaos in Myth and Science.

Birnbaum, Lucia Chiavoloa. (1993).  Black Madonnas: Feminism, Religion, and Politics in Italy. toExcel.

Eisler, Riane. (1988). The Chalice and the Blade. HarperCollins.

George, Demetra. (1992).  Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess. HarperCollins.

Murakami, Haruki. (2014).  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Knopf.

The Jupiter and Saturn Cycle

Graves-Chalice

Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

“If you know the Saturn in your chart,
it will become Jupiter.”
–Edith Wangemann
  • July 17, 2013:  Jupiter in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 5 degrees.
  • December 12, 2013:  Jupiter retrograde in Cancer was in a disseminating trine to Saturn in Scorpio at 19 degrees.
  • May 24, 2014:   Jupiter in Cancer was in the final trine in this cycle with Saturn retrograde in Scorpio at 18º59′ degrees.
  • The last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was on May 28, 2000 in Taurus at 22º43′.  They reached their opposition first on May 23, 2010 at 28 degrees, with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo.  Then, they opposed for a second time around August 16, 2010 at 3 degrees, with Jupiter retrograde in Aries and Saturn in Libra.  Finally, Saturn and Jupiter reached their third opposition at this time on March 28, 2011 at 15 degrees, with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Libra.  In the calendar shift from 2011 into 2012, Jupiter stationed direct at zero degrees of Taurus while Saturn began to station retrograde at the end of Libra- however, although they got within a couple of degrees of one another they did not reach an exact opposition at this time. In 2012 Jupiter moved away from the opposition.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will enter into the last quarter square phase on August 3, 2015 at 29 degrees of Leo and Scorpio.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will again reach an exact last quarter square on March 23, 2016 at 16-17 degrees at the same time as a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  Jupiter and Saturn will complete the final exact last quarter square aspect on May 26, 2016 at 13-14 degrees with Jupiter direct and Saturn retrograde.
  • The next Jupiter and Saturn conjunction will be on December 21, 2020 in Aquarius at 00º29′.

Jupiter and Saturn since the dawn of astrology stood at the outer rings of the known solar system, rulers of the last four signs of the zodiac, gatekeepers to the realm of Spirit. Today in modern astrology, they still stand as gatekeepers between the more personal planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) and the transpersonal (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto), at an intersection between the archetypal asteroid realm of the dwarf planet Ceres and the centaurs like Chiron and Chariklo, and all of the other more recent celestial discoveries with far out orbits.  One of the biggest popular trends in current astrology, however, is actually traditional astrology and there are many young, gifted astrologers focused upon ancient theory involving the sacred seven more so than the modern psychological astrology that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  No matter your astrological philosophy, however, Jupiter and Saturn are unquestioned as pre-eminent points of focus in every astrology reading in every astrological tradition.  Working in tandem together on your behalf they create the necessary structure enabling you to express the full light of your consciousness into the world around you.  As my dear friend once wrote to me regarding her Saturn, “I have actually learned to like it more and more.  If I find a purpose, an aim to shoot my arrow at (Jupiter), then I am able to persevere and have extraordinary discipline.”

In the moment in which I am writing this, mellifluous Venus has passed through a conjunction with magnanimous Jupiter in the majestic sign of Leo.  It is always a good idea to honor Venus and Jupiter, but right now is an especially auspicious time. Interesting from a traditional astrological perspective, at the same time the two benefics of Venus and Jupiter are joining, the two malefics, Mars and Saturn, are approaching a conjunction.  In fact, on the next New Moon of August 26, Mars and Saturn will have reached a conjunction that is in square to Venus in Leo.  By the time of the Libra Equinox on September 24, Jupiter in Leo will be five degrees away from a square with Saturn in Scorpio.  However, Jupiter in Leo never quite reaches its exact last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio this upcoming season, as Jupiter will station retrograde and move back within its current disseminating phase.  In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will not leave the disseminating phase and enter the last quarter square phase for good until August of next year, 2015.

The terms “benefic” for Jupiter and “malefic” for Saturn are part of the protocol for Hellenistic, Medieval, and other forms of traditional astrology, as they help guide astrologers in predicting fortunate or unfortunate events, as well as help to pinpoint the challenges and obstacles on the horizon most in need of a remedy if the client desires to be successful.  However, getting wrapped up in thinking that Jupiter is “good” and Saturn is “bad” can mislead one into both overreaching on an undeveloped plan as well as fearfully retreating from a golden opportunity (though it does make sense to pay attention to whether or not Jupiter and Saturn are afflicted or supported in the natal chart or by transit).  Just as Jupiter in the chart and by transit can correlate with generosity, good fortune, gregariousness, and gorgeous gifts, the expansive archetypal force of Jupiter can also lead into quixotic egotism, greed, and an attitude enveloped in delusions of grandeur that lacks the disciplined effort necessary to turn starry-eyed visions into matter manifested with purpose.  In comparison, just as Saturn can correlate with times of darkness, solitude, suppression, and grief, so can Saturn in the chart or by transit help one give birth to transcendent experiences through applied focus and effort, through a letting go of what is ready to be released in order to strengthen what is ready to ripen.  We are in a constant balancing act between Jupiter and Saturn, and while some time periods call for more of the synthesizing growth of Jupiter, other times require more of the methodical approach of Saturn.  Yet the more we can unify their attributes together in our being, the more we will persevere in our endeavors.

The courageous nature of both Jupiter and Saturn can be traced all the way back into the myths and astrology of Babylon, as Michael Baigent revealed in his book From the Omens of Babylon that in ancient Mesopotamia the mythic representations of both Jupiter and Saturn embodied heroic qualities that could defy any odds or challenging crisis.  Indeed it was Marduk, the Babylonian Jupiter, who saved humanity by defeating the great serpent of chaos, Tiamat.  At the crescent moon closest to the Spring Equinox every year, a new year’s celebration was held in which the people ritualized the fear of chaos overwhelming the city with the imprisonment of Marduk, as chaos was given space to express itself before Nabu, the Babylonian Mercury, rescued his father Marduk to re-establish order:

During those eleven days of rituals, both public and private, the rights of the king along with the stability and strength of the civilization itself were first called into question and then symbolically reasserted- as though disintegration were so close to the surface that only a deliberate and conscious regular revocation could hold chaos at bay.  And so, symbolically, within prescribed limits, this festival allowed the primordial chaos a chance to emerge once again, briefly; to tear aside the fabric of civilization built by order and hierarchy. It emerged to be again defeated, for another year. (Baigent, p. 141)

Similarly, Baigent also showed through his research that the Babylonian Saturn, Ninurta, was also a hero of the people who retrieved the “tablets of fate” which “conferred the power over fate upon the owner” from the clutches of Zu, a “winged dragon of storms . . . who was in league with the great sea-dwelling dragon of chaos” (Baigent, p. 128).  Well, to be more accurate, apparently Ninurta nimbly nabbed the tablets from the nest of Zu, becoming a hero who was given custody of the tablets when he returned them to the people.  Therefore, similar to how in astrology Saturn is seen as a ruler of time who confronts us with the limits of time and space, so was Ninurta seen as a ruler of fate who confronted one with their destiny.  By also showing how Ninurta was connected with law and order in a similar way to Saturn in western astrology, Baigent takes us to what in the end may be the core meaning for us on an archetypal level of Jupiter and Saturn:  how to manage the chaos of life.

While the mythic link between figures associated with Jupiter and Saturn beating back goddesses of chaos to establish order make many of us associate them with the horrific oppression that arose along with the order of hierarchical patriarchy, it is important to remember that at heart the archetypal Jupiter is a divinely creative intelligence.  Robert Bly’s book on modern masculinity, Iron John, was helpful for me in breaking down my negative feelings regarding patriarchy that impacted my self-image of my own masculinity, especially with regard to his illumination of the significance of Zeus:

There’s a general assumption now that every man in a position of power is or will soon be corrupt and oppressive.  Yet the Greeks understood and praised a positive male energy that has accepted authority.  They called it Zeus energy, which encompasses intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will, generous leadership.  Zeus energy is male authority accepted for the sake of the community. (Bly, p. 22)

This idea of Zeus energy being in service to the community is important when considering the meaning behind the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, as Jupiter and Saturn are the planets that are less concerned with personal matters like Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and more concerned with society, culture, beliefs, customs, and how we fit in and find our own role to play.

Zeus,_altemps

Zeus

Dane Rudhyar in his 1958 article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle wrote that the meaning behind Jupiter and Saturn involves how human beings interact in groups and form societies that create shared culture, language, laws, values, ideals, religions, needs, and institutions.  Rudhyar also listed memories as another manifestation of the community produced by Jupiter and Saturn, and this feeling of belonging, or nostalgia, that can come from shared memories with others is an especially poignant aspect of Jupiter and Saturn to bear in mind.  Along these lines Rudhyar connected Saturn with how people participate with embodied boundaries in the role they function through and act from in society.  The particular boundaries one develops for their role often has to do with a shared sense of consensus expectations a particular culture develops for the role, often linked to the shared memory of tradition.  For example, how one may parent a child or teach a classroom in one culture may tend in general to be dramatically different from how one parents a child or teaches a classroom in a dramatically different culture.  As a result cultural taboos can be formed to define what is outside the lines of consensus expectations for a behavior or role in society, and this is very important to realize as we are now mid-way through the transit of Saturn in Scorpio.  Since an important aspect of the Scorpio archetype is a willingness to breach taboos and break free of cultural codes of conduct, the unique cultural taboos getting in between our desires being unfulfilled and fulfilled have been in the process of being revealed to each and every one of us.

In contrast, Rudhyar wrote that Jupiter is less about the boundaries of behavior we express in our role, and more about the quality of feeling generated for us through a role that brings us a sense of being connected and belonging to a community or culture.  And yet, for Rudhyar here is the place where we can pivot into the shadow side of Jupiter that can too easily conform to cultural expectations in order to be rewarded by feelings of validation from others.  Rudhyar was interested in intergalactic evolutionary growth and being a seed of future visions, and this type of evolutionary development in one’s self is unlikely to happen if one is tied into being accepted and understood by a great many people in the populace.  Often it takes going alone, and going misunderstood by most except one’s tribe of affinity in order to do groundbreaking and dynamic work in the world.  To Rudhyar, “conforming is not taking the next evolutionary step” but rather, the new step will involve “an initial loss of balance, a fall, immediately followed by a recovery” (para. 24).  With Neptune in Pisces dissolving what is left of our past attachments to what Uranus in Aries has been shattering, we can use the transformative nature of Saturn in Scorpio to help us ultimately recover from whatever has knocked us off balance in this past year.  Jupiter spent a long time in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn while being in square to Uranus in Aries, eventually creating a cardinal grand cross with Mars in Libra.  This was a time of dislodging making space for not just chaos but a vision of our evolutionary path forward. Today, though Jupiter is still within range of a square from Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in the sign of Leo has the fiery nature of a pioneer who can blaze a trail forward for us, especially if we focus with the intensity of Saturn in Scorpio.

In evolutionary astrology as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, Jupiter as an archetype correlates with the type of belief and vision needed by an individual to nurture their development and self-realization.  Here Jupiter is the intuitive aspect of consciousness that is non-linear, image-based, and able to perceive in the starry sky at night that we are connected to something much larger than the human societies we live within.  Since the nature of our beliefs is fundamental to what we perceive and how we experience our world, and since each soul incarnates into a culture with a dominant consensus belief system, Jupiter in evolutionary astrology is a key to understanding the relationship between the vision of life we are drawn to as a result of our soul desires and needs, and the beliefs of our culture and family that surround us from birth.   Through this astrological lens, Jupiter’s epic journey through the sign of Cancer, featuring a long opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries, brought up numerous issues and events leading us to examine the beliefs we were living from and whether or not we were living from a sense of conformity to the inherited values of the family, society, friends, or associations surrounding us.  For many of us this transit sparked a critical reflection upon the core meaning of our experience and a re-formulation of the personal philosophy we live life from. While working with Saturn in Scorpio at the same time, as a result we could realize which cultural taboos restricting us were in reality not something we believed needed honoring with conformity.  Now, with Jupiter in Leo, we can take the wisdom gained from the past year of intense reflection to fuel our drive forward in pursuit of the sense of destiny we found inside our ruminations.

In the Hellenistic tradition of astrology an intrinsic concept is the Joy of the Planets, a fascinating theory that seems to be the source of many aspects of our entire western astrological framework, and in various ancient writing is ascribed to a source text by the legendary Hermes Trismegistus.  After listening to a webinar by Chris Brennan on the Joys of the Planets (I’ve posted a link to his pdf paper under references below) in which he discussed how Saturn has its Joy in the house of Bad Spirit (the 12th house) and Jupiter has its Joy in the house of Good Spirit (the 11th house), I found myself continuing to reflect upon Brennan’s observation that the houses above the horizon of the natal chart, the solar hemisphere, have to do with “the realm of the Sun, which the author of the scheme seems to have associated with the spirit (daimōn),” (Brennan, p. 26).  In contrast, this means that the houses below the horizon, the lunar hemisphere, are the “realm of the Moon, which the author of the joys associated with the concept of fortune (tuchē)” (Brennan, p. 26).  Throughout Hellenistic writing, the solar hemisphere of Spirit was associated with the soul, the mind, and the intellect, whereas the lunar hemisphere of Fortune was associated with the body, physical incarnation, and matter.  Brennan showed how this illuminates the meaning behind the 11th house, where the benefic Jupiter has its Joy and we  can experience things beneficial to our soul and mind, such as the Aristotelian connection between friendship and the affinity of souls.  In contrast, the 12th house where the malefic Saturn has its Joy took on a meaning of experiences that can cause our soul and mind to suffer.

However, keeping in mind the more heroic depiction of Saturn, many of us know that it can require passing through the darkness of difficult “12th house events” in order to cultivate our ability to transcend our past “karma” or attachments, and move us out of repetition of past patterns onto a trajectory taking us toward the zenith of our life, represented by the movement of the 12th house above the horizon into the 11th house and beyond to the Mid-heaven of our chart, just as the Sun rises above us every day of our life.  Saturn having its Joy in the 12th House is also illuminating to me from the perspective of moving counter-clockwise through the houses around the chart, beginning with the first house and ending with the 12th.  In this way Saturn rejoices in the final house of the cyle, in the place of letting go, and this concept is paramount in line with keeping our Jupiter energy focused upon dynamic growth instead of conforming growth that leads to stagnation.  A Saturn that is afraid of the limitations of its own time, that is stuck in a depressive cycle of withdrawal is going nowhere, or if it is going somewhere Jupiter is most likely taking us to a place of escapism and overindulgence in one way or another.  However, a Saturn that is open to the change of chaos, the pain that comes with loss and death that leads to the birth of the new, is a Saturn that can work with Jupiter to constantly re-structure and move with the flow of life, into the flow of Good Spirit toward our zenith.

Saturn moving through Scorpio resonates with bearing witness with brutal honesty to all of the pain and challenges swirling within and around us, as we are still within the intense series of seven squares between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and Neptune continues to move deeper into the mystifying nature of Pisces.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to go as deep into our core as we can, and though the loss of anything we have grown attached to can make us become fearful, anxious, or depressed, Saturn in Scorpio is also a fitting placement for solitude, grief, and shadow work if necessary.  The more we can burn off the better, and we will likewise want to utilize the inspiration and courage of Jupiter in Leo to lift ourselves out of any doldrums we have fallen into as we will want to avoid getting stuck at this time as much as possible.  And remember, going into a cave like a hermit is not necessarily being stuck, as what may be a tomb to some is a womb for others, a sacred space to birth a new sense of burgeoning being.

saturn by cristoforo de predis

Saturn by Cristoforo de Predis

It is of further importance to realize that we are in the disseminating phase of the Saturn and Jupiter cycle at this time, as Saturn is the slower moving planet and so from that perspective Jupiter has already moved past the polarity point of opposition, through the disseminating trine aspect, and now for the next year will be moving back and forth within the latter part of the disseminating phase.  The strong connection of meaning between Jupiter and Saturn and the societies we create to live within is very fitting for the disseminating phase, as during this phase we want to live out the values we have developed in this cycle in order to share our message in our community and distribute our meaning through networks of communication.  Using the metaphor of the plant cycle that Dane Rudhyar brilliantly developed for his lunation cycles, in the disseminating phase our ripened fruit is ready to eat and it is time to live our discovered life purpose and communicate our vision not only through activities like teaching, but also simply through living a conscious, intentional life.

And where was the seed of this cycle?  On May 28, 2000 the current cycle of Jupiter and Saturn began at 23 degrees of Taurus.  As a result, we are in a cycle of Jupiter and Saturn with a strong affinity with Venus, and the inner side of Venus associated with the sensual sign of Taurus.  Despite the popular view of our current culture numbing its connection to its environment through technological gadgets and other material possessions, to me the purpose of this current Taurus seed cycle is not to be in possession of the latest technology or satiating ourselves with other material comforts, but rather to go within and get in touch with our bodies, with our subconscious, with our light body, our soul body, to deeply feel and sense our own nature and our surrounding natural environment.  Of course, Taurus also has to do with survival, and indeed this has also been a major theme of this cycle as our global community has had to survive numerous wars and economic collapses.  As we continue to come to grips with widespread environmental devastation, another Taurus theme of the right use of resources has also come to the forefront.  The more we can go within, the more we will be able to sense what is surrounding us, leading in the end to a more highly tuned ability to respond to what needs help in our environment.

Previous Saturn-Jupiter conjunctions in Taurus were on August 8, 1940 at 14º27′ and on October 20, 1940 with both Jupiter and Saturn retrograde at 12º28′ of Taurus.  And before that time, there was a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Taurus on April 18, 1881 at 1º36′.  Among other themes, the previous decades following each of the last two times that Jupiter and Saturn started a cycle in Taurus coincided with dramatic shifts in energy resources.  In the 1880s there was a dramatic increase in electrical power and many inventions coinciding with the Industrial Age coming into full power;  in the 1940s humanity experienced the onslaught of nuclear power, including nuclear bombs and the fear from awareness that nuclear warfare could potentially obliterate humanity from the face of the earth.  Our current Jupiter-Saturn cycle rode an economic boom from the acceleration of Internet resources in the economy into greater warfare across our planet that climaxed into a global economic crisis as Jupiter and Saturn reached their opposition point in 2010.  On a wider time scale, the opposition timeframe of 2010 into 2011 of this current Jupiter and Saturn cycle revealed the devastating impact on earth’s environment since the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus in 1881, as our global community realized stark facts regarding the destruction to our ecosystem wrought by the Industrial Age, and potential danger we must now take responsibility to mitigate.  Since the opposition between Jupiter and Saturn in 2010 and 2011 occurred along the Pisces-Virgo, and Aries-Libra axes, it makes sense that an ultimate understanding of what is in need of healing in our global environment would be polarized and revealed, as well as how we can form relationships with others to initiate efforts at collective reform.

The Gregorian calendar system ruling many lives today has been moving in synchronicity with the Jupiter and Saturn cycle in this past century, as the opening and close of each decade has coincided with either a Jupiter and Saturn conjunction or opposition.  For example, the years 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, and 2000 roughly line up with the new cycle conjunction, while the years 1910, 1930, 1950, 1970, 1990, and 2010 line up with the polarity of the full phase opposition.  In this way, just as the new cycle of economic growth in the 1920s led into the economic collapse and Great Depression of the 1930s, so did the economic growth of the shift into 2000 lead into the global economic collapse of the 2010 time period.

graves joyous young pine

Joyous Young Pine by Morris Graves (1944)

One of the biggest issues on the global stage emerging during the current disseminating phase between Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Leo concerns the right use of power.  James Hillman in his 1995 book Kinds of Power questioned and investigated cultural assumptions regarding power, in particular in connection with our economy that dominates world views, as to Hillman “it is the Economy where the contemporary unconscious resides and where psychological analysis is most needed” (p. 4).  As part of his deconstruction of power, he analyzed the way in which in the past century or so we have considered the word growth, which to me connects well in a similar manner to how in astrology we have come to define the growth associated with Jupiter on an archetypal level (p. 45):

  1. Increase in size (expansion or getting bigger)
  2. Evolution in form and function (differentiation or getting smarter)
  3. Progress (improvement or getting better)
  4. Conjunction of parts (synthesis, integration or wider networking)
  5. Temporal succession in stages (maturation or getting riper, wiser)
  6. Self-generation (spontaneity or becoming creative, independent)

Writing at the end of the 20th Century, Hillman saw this dominant idea regarding growth to be connected in a widely held belief in unending improvement through expansion, and that this was one of our culture’s biggest problems.  Hillman knew that continual expansion is not natural to life, for as there is a yin to every yang so there is a Fall to every Spring and a Crescent Moon to every Dark Moon.  In connection to the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, it is also worth noting that Hillman was writing this book in the waning half of their cycle, the same point we are at now.  Since the last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in 2000, and their opposition in 2010, his thoughts on the damage caused to our planet and ourselves by the dominant idea of growth connected to economic power have become even more obvious and explicit in our surroundings.

Also applicable to the Saturn and Jupiter cycle, Hillman came up with a new list of ideas to associate with growth to correlate with the changes he saw happening at the end of the 20th Century, ideas that to me also correlate well with the meaning of the waning half of the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, as well as anytime we unify the power of Jupiter and Saturn into concentrated effort (p. 50):

  1. Deepening 
  2. Intensification
  3. Shedding
  4. Repetition
  5. Emptying

To Hillman, deepening is a “growth of soul” that “brings ugly, twisted things out of the soil” (p. 52), an idea of staying power that is about “staying in the mess,” cleaning up the mess, and staying “planted,” with “no avoidance and no escape” (p. 50).  In comparison, intensification to Hillman is about “a devotional focus to what you are doing- an intensive concentration that seems like obsession,” like “the love brought to the art of your work and the love in which the work is done” (p. 54).  Ultimately, intensification is a different sort of efficiency, one more focused upon the greatest level of quality in every part of the process, like how poetry “intensifies by packing lots of implications and references into the small space of a word or a phrase” (p. 52).

Furthermore, Hillman’s conception of “shedding” is well-suited to the limits of time and space we are often tested with through Saturn, times of crisis carrying extraordinary challenge with the potential for profound transcendence if we can face them despite our fears.  To Hillman, “radical shedding happens in those crises that move in on the soul and cannot be easily fixed,” that come “unannounced” with “a specific and immediate cause . . . or no apparent cause at all” (p. 55).  The importance to Hillman is that “the crisis which forces shedding also forces a philosophical re-visioning, as if the crisis were demanding a discrimination between what must be held and what can be let go” (p.  57).  Interestingly, this is the exact type of language used by Dane Rudhyar to describe what happens at the opposition point of a planetary cycle as the cycle shifts into the waning phase, particularly as we reach the last quarter phase.  As we are still in the disseminating phase and not quite at the last quarter phase, this is important to keep in mind. Furthermore, since in this past year Jupiter was caught up in an opposition with Pluto, first quarter square with Uranus, and the cardinal grand square with Mars, we have already been experiencing this concept of “shedding” in relation to Jupiter this year.  Hillman’s advice is to use imagination in the process of facing the fears of “shedding” crises:  he suggests imagining as realistically as possible the consequences of catastrophe scenarios and to let go “of all security structures, comforting identities, realized achievements, forward planning.  See what remains, for only what remains can truly be relied on for growth” (p. 58).

My main aim in quoting James Hillman so much here, is that through his deconstruction of consensus conceptualization of words like power and growth, we can become more aware of how we can potentially conform and condition ourselves to outdated ideas that do not resonate with our ever changing reality.  Through actively working with the movement of Jupiter and Saturn, we can gain insight into how we can work within a collective effort to serve the changing needs of our world, in a manner artfully encapsulated by Hillman:

Our problems are inside our lives, yes; but our lives are lived inside fields of power, under the influence of others, in accord with authority, subject to tyrannies. Moreover, our lives are lived inside the fields of power that are our cities with their offices and cars, systems of work and mountains of trash. These too are powers impinging on our souls. When the wider world breaks down and is sick at heart, the individual suffers accordingly. Since he and she are not the underlying cause of their suffering, neither can they be its cure. The collective power failures in government bureaucracies, education, institutions and corporations, the ineffective transmission of power downward to the disenfranchised, oppressed and impoverished, and the sputtering generators of acrid heat below the streets of America’s cities require attention to the transformers and dynamos beyond the personal fuse box in your basement.  Attention has to be paid to the overhead power lines, those mainline ideas that are the archetypal wirings which energize our individualities. Personal recovery cannot substitute for national recovery. At best, they go hand in hand (p. 15).

Now that we are in the disseminating phase of this Jupiter and Saturn cycle that began in Taurus in 2000, it is time to glean the personal gift we each have to offer our global community and put it forth into our environment with all of our heart like the lion of Leo and the eagle of Scorpio.  It is time to express our message and to listen to the message of others:  at the next stage of this cycle Jupiter in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and Saturn in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, await us to provoke the philosophical debates necessary to bring about the crisis of consciousness found in the last quarter square.

Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

References

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

Bly, Robert. (1990).  Iron John: a book about men.  Addison Wesley.

Brennan, Chris. (2012). The Planetary Joys and the Origins of the Significations of the Houses and Triplicities.

Hillman, James. (1995). Kinds of Power: a guide to its intelligent uses. Doubleday.

Noelle, Richard. (1999). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.  http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/geo/ju-sa/ju000sa.html

Rudhyar, Dane. (1958). The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle. Horoscope Magazine.

Asteria Alchemy of Asteroid Goddesses

T15.1Asteria

Emotional transformative crises are changing our psychospiritual vibrations so that we may attune our individual frequency to the spiritual core which resonates with the whole of creation. The positions of Ceres, Pallas Athene, Juno, and Vesta in our charts describe a personal way whereby we can effect this change.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5

Asteria or the “starry one” is a Titan Goddess of oracles found in the night such as the interpretation of dreams or the reading of the wandering celestial spheres in the stars above. From the same “Greek” traditions come Ceres, Vesta, Juno, and Pallas Athene, Goddesses represented in astrology through being the first four asteroids discovered, their archetypal meaning described in the classic text Asteroid Goddesses written by Demetra George with Douglas Bloch.  Astrology is “read” by many through a concept defined by humans to represent Mystery- archetypally– and it is important to remember that the term archetype was created to reflect the ever changing nature of the primordial themes astrological terminology attempts to describe.  Embedded in the concept of archetypes is the paradoxical significance that the power symbolized by our astrological concepts can never adequately be defined into crystallization by human language, that although there are repetitive patterns we can recognize through time that seem similar in operation to the concept of fractals in chaos theory, they are at the same time always changing in a process of creation.  Demetra George intended for her work on the many Goddesses we can find among the asteroids to deepen our understanding of archetypal themes operating within our own chart and in the greater world around us, including how archetypal understanding in astrology is currently changing and has changed across time (for example at the time Asteroid Goddesses was published in 1986 it reflected a previous wave of feminism, and today we have movements around gender that are not limited into binary definitions such as masculine and feminine).  Some feel that integrating asteroids can muddle or murk up the clarity of focusing solely on the traditional seven wanderers or the modern ten that integrates Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto-  however, in my opinion while bringing in too many asteroids into astrological analysis can indeed become overwhelming for clear comprehension, at the same time ignoring the Goddesses of the asteroids means missing out on cosmic magic.  Today is no different, as amazing as the current complex brew of traditional astrological planets is at the moment, it is even more extraordinary once realizing where the fabulous four of Vesta, Juno, Ceres and Pallas Athene are at the moment.

heres-a-jaw-dropping-satellite-image-of-typhoon-haiyan-as-it-approached-the-philippines

The sattelite image of typhoon Haiyan above gives a small sense of the immense magnitude of this cataclysmic storm that has devastated a global region, an event that occurred in the same time period of nuclear radiation fears connected to repairs at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan.  Apocalyptical themes have been rampant in popular cultures for years, and continue today such as the Radiolab Live tour from NPR simply called “Apocalyptical” that just passed through the Pacific Northwest of the USA this past week.  I recently realized that the term apocalypse is also connected to ancient Greek culture, but that instead of it meaning an “End of Time” scenario it actually means an “uncovering” or a “revelation.”  I first came across this definition in an article by Kate Petty which included a number of astrology charts examining the nuclear radiation situation in Japan, and have since come across many other writers focused upon archetypal themes connected to an apocalypse such as this chapter from an academic thesis entitled “Modern Apocalypse: Expanding the Nuclear Metaphor.”

With the heavy concentration of Scorpio energy through a Solar Eclipse conjunct Saturn in Scorpio as well as the recent Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle that criss-crossed over the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, we have been experiencing an uncovering of many frightening concerns on our planet that can be difficult to fully acknowledge and face, and yet recent events have made it much more difficult to remain in denial of the need for us to re-structure in order to re-align with the changes occurring on our planet.  For example, we may continue to argue in our culture whether global warming is caused by humans or not, but we can no longer argue against the unavoidable fact that ocean temperatures are rising and so is the magnitude of storms that are making complete devastation of human communities more likely.  We likewise can no longer honestly argue that nuclear energy is safe and clean and poses no great risk to our environment, as the cataclysmic danger of another great storm striking Japan or a different nuclear reactor somewhere else on the planet makes obvious.  Planet Earth will survive with or without us, there is no end game with regards to Earth except for whether or not as a human species we will be able to re-align ourselves and our societies in order to survive here.

The planets above reflect an opportunity for us to make deep modifications to how our personal path impacts our collective path, as there are a number of significant current transits bridging the personal issues of the inner planets with the collective issues of the outer planets, such as the current movement of Mercury in Scorpio becoming exactly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio again, as Mercury afterwards will begin to move out of its retrograde shadow zone in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer.  If you are reading this article you are likely to already know we are in the middle of a series of seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, and part of this greater collective meaning is the birth of new archetypes and understanding through Uranus in Aries to confront the break-down and re-generation of systematic structure through Pluto in Capricorn.  At the recent “Plants and Planets” talk by my astrology teacher  Rosie Finn, she illuminated me to the fact that as we shift into the calendar year 2014 there will be significant higher octave activation of personal planets, that potentially can help us on an inner level align with the huge outer shifts occurring:  Venus in Capricorn will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013 and will work with Pluto as a higher octave on our desires, in February the messenger planet Mercury will station retrograde in Pisces and work with Neptune as a higher octave on our perceptions, and then in March the willful planet Mars will station retrograde in Libra and work with Uranus as a higher octave on our ability to take leadership of our lives, an opportunity to step into our authentic power amid unexpected drama and shifting.

In synchronicity, at this time we have the aid of the Goddesses in our personal transformation work:  Ceres and Vesta in Libra working directly with Pluto and Uranus, Pallas Athene in Virgo working directly with Neptune and Chiron, and Juno in Aquarius working directly with Saturn in Scorpio (and Mercury too this next week in Scorpio).  In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George explained how the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio because they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  If you do not like the binary gender labeling of the Goddesses being linked to a feminine archetype then it may be more helpful to think of these Goddesses as being yin archetypes that reflect themes of receiving, gestating, and giving birth.  Like yin energy, the asteroid Goddesses in our charts and by transit reveal how we can receive impressions from our environment to activate our self-transformation from personal to collective awareness:

The essence of the feminine principle is symbolized by the moon.  As the motion of the physical moon is cyclical in nature, phases of waxing and waning affecting the ebbs and flows of the tides, so essential teachings of the asteroid goddesses relate to the cycle of coming and going.  This is also known as the cycle of transformation.  Not only do the asteroids relate to new archetypal principles that are currently being activated and integrated into the psyche, but also they serve as agents in the transformative process of individuals.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5 -6

CHT163393Ceres in Libra

Ceres has now been elevated from asteroid to dwarf planet status, and is correspondingly beginning to take on a more significant role in astrological interpretation.  At the moment she is holding her ground with two of the heavyweights of astrology:  in the sign of Libra, she is opposite Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, she is conjunct her sister Vesta in Libra.  At the moment, Ceres is pretty much exactly in opposition to Uranus, and so will become a tighter square with Pluto next week on November 28.  All through the first week of December 2013, however, Ceres will remain in a fairly close t-square with Uranus and Pluto.

Ceres during this time in Libra is ruled by a Venus in Capricorn that was recently conjunct Pluto, will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013, and then around Candlemas of 2014 (January 31) station direct conjunct Pluto again in Capricorn.  In myth, Pluto is the nemesis of Ceres who takes her daughter Persephone away from her and the upperworld she rules in order to rule with him from the underworld during part of the year.  Similar to how there are myths associated with Venus and the underworld such as Inanna’s descent and trials, or the test given by Aphrodite to Psyche to face Persephone, we will all be entering an upcoming time of deep descent of our Venusian nature into our personal and collective underworld.  Ceres in myth is the Great Goddess of Abundant Life on Earth who reacts to the underworld descent of her daughter with such powerful emotions that she loses her sense of productivity, refusing to create new life on earth, and attempts to cope with strategies similar to what many continue to do today: the use of opiates to numb her pain, the ebb and flow between denial and depression.  Ultimately, Ceres had to face the ultimate questions of life and death, and accept that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.

Ceres in Libra will bring greater focus on relationships, and the necessity of interacting with others triggering whatever relationship issues we are currently facing.  Harmoniously, Ceres in Libra can connect with nurturing others, cooperating with others, and learning to initiate and respond in relational dynamics in a manner to create greater equity or an egalitarian quality.  Ceres in Libra can also connect with social justice issues such as oppression and how our various social identities play into us becoming targets or agents of oppression: again, in a more harmonious intent, we can work through our own personal issues to discern how to be an ally for others or ourselves to overcome oppression.  None of the above will be exactly easy at this time, however, as the opposition to Uranus and square to Pluto can coincide with extreme grief over the loss of loved ones or other cherished personal objects of desire; or, with difficulty forming deep intimate bonds with others due to a lack of emotional nurturing from one’s early or recent home environment; or, with a feeling of hopelessness with the state of environmental destruction and human oppression that begins to constrain our ability to be effectively productive.  There could be a temptation to reach for coping strategies such as drugs or other escapism from the pain of emotional attachment and connection, or difficulty breaking a cycle of depression or social anxiety that keeps one within limiting confines of relation.

I’m sensing one of the great potential transformations that can come from these intense aspects to Ceres could take us from an initial reaction that is imbalanced into a process of re-aligning ourselves with the structural and systematic destruction going on in society and the environment.  Moving through this tension will strengthen our capacity to birth a new presence in the world in which we are vibrating our being in greater connection with how to respond to what we are receiving for the highest good of all beings in all dimensions.  Ceres can create profound beauty everywhere she goes, artistically directing energy at all times into everything, sustaining an energy of abundance.  We may ebb away at times from this feeling into clearing times of depression that feel stagnated, but cyclically we will flow back into resiliently re-aligning our ability to feel productive, abundant, or grateful. At the same time, we do not want to lose ourselves in an imbalanced Libra use of the Ceres archetype by overly focusing on the needs of others to such an extent that we stop living in accordance with our own values or well-being, either.  Sister Vesta being nearby in Libra should help with this, as Vesta adds an archetypal energy that is aware of how to take time alone to re-center, from a spiritual practice to a walk in the green world.  However, since Vesta is also in Libra it still warns of a potential danger of losing ourselves in our interactions with others.

hestia-2Vesta in Libra

Vesta is currently in Libra conjunct her sister Ceres, and is moving toward her own t-square with Uranus and Pluto like Ceres is currently experiencing.  Vesta will more strongly enter the t-square in the first couple of weeks in December, but she is still in range of being conjunct Ceres in Libra and not very far from an opposition to Uranus in Aries at the moment- her opposition to Uranus will be gaining in strength the next few weeks and so the Vesta archetype may become visible to a greater extent in the collective culture as we move into December.

Vesta is the sacred Hestia, the keeper of the sacred flame, a priestess of sacred sexuality, a visionary mystic.  She will be lending a more focused and determined energy to Ceres through their conjunction in Libra this next month, impacting relationships through more of a tendency to move away from partnership at times to be alone.  However, Vesta in Libra desires to be in relationship and to focus energy through collaboration with others.  Vesta coming into range of an opposition to Uranus with a square to Pluto could create a more competitive energy in our work environment with an over-emphasis on wanting others to like us or admire us, all of which takes us out of alignment with our true way of being in the world.  Yet if we can successfully re-balance our focus on personal priorities versus the needs of others, a triggered Vesta in Libra archetype can harness extraordinary energy into dynamic collaboration with others that draws on the strengths of all members.  Vesta in Libra can help activate our perceptions of who we can team up with, collaborate with, or partner with at this time in order to achieve mutually beneficial goals.  Vesta and Ceres together in Libra gives desire to devote time to the needs of one’s family, nurture others through service in our work, or nurture ourselves through spiritual practices or visioning time in nature.

However, we may be challenged in our ability to do this at this time by the intense context of collective destruction and transformation occurring around us.  In particular with the strengthening opposition between Vesta and Uranus, we may need to stop ourselves from angrily over-reacting with a waste of rebellious energy that is more destructive than regenerative.  We will have strong energy available to us through Vesta facing Uranus, and so we can be most productive with it by focusing it at targets in the system that will create the greatest effect with our energy.  We will want to center and aim before taking action, but Vesta in Libra promises ample focus and determination to get the job done.  We may be able to make innovations into the old structure of things, or instead build a new order or structure that will bring healing or constructive changes.

In relationships, the deep issues of sexuality connected to the Vesta archetype could also correspond to sexual obsessions or compulsions with the square to Pluto and opposition to Uranus.   We could go to the depths of sexual desire or instead experience repression, isolation, or self-absorption with a stressed Vesta in Libra. Yet if we can use the deep Scorpio energy of this time to not just uncover a deeper layer of our sexuality but to uncover a deeper layer of reality and understanding, we can use Vesta focus to penetrate to the core of current issues in order to problem solve a solution to work toward.  Having a broader social cause, a social ideal of justice to work toward, finding a community of like-minded collaborators to work with toward a humanitarian social change and transformation will help us with Vesta being in Libra, and these same social change agents will also be helpful for us with Pallas Athene being in Virgo.

athena by klimtPallas Athene in Virgo

It pleases Pallas Athene to be in Virgo, a zodiac sign with strong associations to her archetype.  However, she must now face the Ocean God as Pallas Athene in Virgo is opposite Neptune in Pisces.  In myth, Pallas Athene has already proven herself worthy of defeating Poseidon as they each competed to be the ruler of Athens and Pallas Athene won through her gift of the olive tree that was selected for its beauty and functionality, its practical use in healing, shelter, and other expressions that benefit society.  Similarly, Pallas Athene being in Virgo at this time also lends us a powerful archetypal tool-set to utilize in our personal and collective projects.  Just as Jupiter along with Pallas Athene were held in highest regard in classical Greece, so today can we not only utilize Jupiter being in Cancer to assist us in our endeavors, but also draw from Pallas Athene in Virgo to help us, in her case through a sharpened focus and discernment to penetrate to the core of any issue with her analysis.  In opposition to Neptune in Pisces, however, she must be careful of delusion and illusion, falling under the influence of blind faith or an inability to distinguish between what is real and unreal in our environment.  Yet, these potential pitfalls of Neptune being in opposition to Pallas Athene are the exact sort of obstacles that Pallas Athene being in Virgo is equipped to combat:  in Virgo, according to Demetra George, Pallas Athene has an “analytical perception” that can sense “the essence of things in their simplest forms apart from the surrounding superfluous complications,” like “separating the wheat from the chaff” or “the wisdom of discrimination” (page 103).

Therefore, we can have no greater ally in our personal transformation at this time than Pallas Athene in the development of our ability to scan our collective environment for the root causes of societal ills and to begin devising practical solutions to help us on both personal and collective levels.  Whether we are focused on food and nutrition, creativity and the arts, protest, activism, or political change- in all areas of life Pallas Athene can give us a laser focus of penetrating to the heart of the matter, as long as we are also aware of the need for us to question our own beliefs and possible illusions since she is in opposition to Neptune in Pisces.  If we can examine our perceptions enough to discriminate whether or not we are being delusional, we can use the opposition of Neptune in Pisces to make our Pallas Athene perception divinely inspired and even more powerfully attuned to the needs of the moment in all dimensions.

In myth, according to Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses after Poseidon lost to Pallas Athene in their contest to win the hearts of the people of Athens, Poseidon created a great flood to demand attention, and in the process of appeasing him the male rulers of Athens deprived Athenian women of their citizenship, voting rights, and the right to pass their family name down generations through their children.  In addition, in the classic Greek version of myth, Pallas Athene is given birth through the head of her father, Zeus, instead of through the womb of her mother.  This symbolic aspect of her myth parallels the use of her wisdom by the Greek patriarchy in their military strategies and conquests, as Pallas Athene originally is more of a Libyan Warrior Queen who was then integrated into the Greek pantheon of deities.  Today, we tend to view the Pallas Athene archetype as a result with the sort of gender issues that female consciousness faces in a male dominated society.  Pallas Athene is with the woman who feels like she is taking on more of a professional “masculine” or “yang” identity in the work environment in order to compete or collaborate with male rivals or co-workers, and she is also with any of us who face conflicts pursuing our vocational goals in the outer world in a culture that tends to reward logical and rational thinking and behavior we have been conditioned to associate with “masculine” behavior.  Pallas Athene reminds us that whether we identify as male, female, queer, or another gender label, we all have within us the intelligence and creativity necessary to be successful, and that more “intuitive” or “receptive” skills we have been conditioned to associate wtih being “feminine” are of equal benefit to those we have been conditioned to view as being “masculine.”

As Pallas Athene over the next month will begin to move away from an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and into an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, issues around our gender identity could become part of the collective Chironic wound that gains more attention.  No matter what personal or collective issue we will be facing however, Pallas Athene is the type of mystic warrior, visionary activist, and artistic worker who will be able to hold her own with an opposition to Chiron and utilize whatever sort of wounds or triggers arise inside us to make our work in the world even more powerful and deep.  Her opposition with Chiron also points to the importance of paying attention to the impact of our mind-body connection on our health more so than normal- techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation, mind-based practices such as guided visualization, or therapeutic practices focusing on holistic approaches to our psyche, can all assist us at this time to help re-balance ourselves in order to re-align with changing events.  The deep creative wisdom embodied by Pallas Athene is highly attuned to the worlds of the arts, healing, and political activism- all areas that Chiron also enjoys working with, all areas of supreme importance to focus on in the world at this time of cataclysmic change.

junoJuno in Aquarius

Juno is on her throne in Aquarius at this time, and the Great Goddess has her hands full with an intense square to Saturn in Scorpio that at the moment also involves Mercury conjunct Saturn in Scorpio.  The added intensity of Mercury in Scorpio finishing off the end of its retrograde shadow movement in conjunction with Saturn today is giving our Queen Juno all she can handle from her humanitarian seat in Aquarius-  this added intensity will dissipate over the next week, but Juno will remain in a square to Saturn through our last month of 2013. This intense square between Juno with Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio to me represents the alchemist image of the King and Queen melting together- we may feel extreme weight and heaviness at this time from Saturn and Mercury teaming up in Scorpio in their square to Juno in Aquarius, but remember Juno is also the Great Goddess who can melt the hearts of even the Scorpio duo of Mercury and Saturn together.  The sacred heart of Juno may give one the impression of being coldly objective or detached in the sign of Aquarius, but our lady Juno always has a burning heart and she will help us move through any floods of watery depression or emotions at this time to re-focus our energy on a greater social cause that will benefit us on both a personal and collective level.  Her seat in Aquarius at this time will let us use a more detached and objective perspective to help us re-align with our deepest passions.

Jealous Juno is an image of this Goddess we have been collectively conditioned to think of, and indeed a square between Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to her can certainly correlate to tremendous feelings of jealousy if we have not been working on personal issues relating to our insecurity or possessiveness in general.  Juno being in the sign of Aquarius can also connect with a feeling of being too frozen to melt into a deep commitment of intimacy with a potential partner at this time, a fear of attachment rooted in the fear of loss, like when the death of a loved ones makes us afraid of creating another bond we will ultimately lose again in heartbreak.  However, any limiting beliefs we carry within us connected to our relationships can be exposed at this time, with a square from Scorpio to Aquarius this can further mean in an intense manner that rocks us to our core.  As a result, we may realize how much we are limiting our ability to form a new relationship in connection to fears of abandonment, intimacy, loss, or dependency, or it may dawn on us that we have been staying in a relationship that has not been meeting our true needs out of a sense of societal expectation, an obedient sense that we are expected to remain in this partnership even if it is making us incredibly upset.  If we wish to sustain a relationship that has been creating oppression or frustration in our lives, we may be forced by events to break down the belief systems of each partner about the relationship in order to discover if the relational dynamic can be re-built in a manner that will benefit each partner.  If we wish to enter into a new relationship, we may be forced to confront the limiting beliefs about relationships we have accumulated from our past in order to clear the space for a new partnership to be born in 2014 that can fulfill us to a greater extent than past relationships.  In all relationships, we will want to listen without judgment to the concerns of the person we are interacting with and avoid attempting to manipulate the situation purely for our own benefit- the square from Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to Juno in Aquarius otherwise could place us into some intense confrontations at this time.

Juno in Aquarius will also focus our relationship needs on finding a community of like-minded people who are commited workers, serious partners of deep work and dedication who will assist us in boldly confronting reality and devising creative solutions to address our collective concerns.  If we have been focusing a lot of our energy into an intimate partnership or into a limited number of relationships, the energy of Juno in Aquarius will bring a desire for greater freedom in our relationships to us.  This could for some creating the sense of wanting a more “open” relationship, but for others this will simply mean expanding the scope of our relationships, expanding our community of people we network and collaborate with.  We may be called upon at this time to experiment with the form our relationships take, or experiment with joining a new community of collaborators to test if we can discover greater inspiration for ourselves.

References

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

Mercury Retrograde: the liminality of being in between becoming

Roberto Matta bringing the light without pain

Mercury Retrograde in between Eclipses

The painting “Bringing Light without Pain” above is by Roberto Matta, an artist with a Scorpio Mercury and Sun (11/11/1911), and so an apt painter to showcase in this time when Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio and headed toward it’s “inferior” conjunction with the Sun in Scorpio.  While being able to bring light “without pain” during this period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is perhaps unlikely, the goal of connecting with more light, integrating more light into our lives by the end of a deep process of shedding burdensome past patterns or identities is a reachable potential over the next month.  Roberto Matta first came to my attention when I saw astrologer Gonzalo Romero present a lecture on Mercury in 2011 in which he drew attention to the artistic perception, expression, and communication of Matta.  Gonzalo described Roberto Matta as having a mercurial ability to “make the invisible, visible” through his artistic expression of aspects of phenomenal reality he could perceive.  Among other things, Mercury is a function in astrology aligning with what part of reality we choose to perceive and order within our consciousness in order to structure such aspects of our life as how we communicate with others through speech, writing, sound, or art.  As a result, when Mercury goes retrograde we have a unique opportunity to investigate what we have been choosing to focus on in our perceptions, and what sorts of habitual mindsets and thought cycles may have been dominating our mental space.  With awareness then comes the potential to transform the way we are choosing to think about aspects of our reality that have been leading us toward greater negativity or suffering, in order to shift our mindset to help us create more of what we want to experience in our lives.

Mercury retrograde time periods have gained a negative reputation in popular culture and sometimes make people wary or fearful of what could happen with mishaps in communication and technology, but in reality Mercury retrograde periods offer many gifts and opportunities to change and reset deep rooted patterns in our being.  This upcoming Mercury retrograde periods promises to be one of the most potentially regenerative and transforming retrograde cycles in memory, as it involves three passes with Saturn in Scorpio and happens at the same time as an exact square between Uranus in Aries and Capricorn in Pluto.  Moreover, there are eclipses occurring at the same time, with a Lunar Eclipse occurring shortly before Mercury stations retrograde, and a Solar Eclipse occurring shortly after the powerful moment of the retrograde cycle in which Mercury and the Sun become conjunct.  Mercury aka Hermes is not only the God of Communication but also a God of Thresholds and Liminality, a Guide of Souls who is a Psychopomp able to move between the underworld and the upperworld.  The term “liminality” is from the Latin root meaning “threshold” and is an appropriate description for the eclipse and Mercury retrograde period of time we are in since one of it’s meanings from Anthropology is “the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete” (wikipedia).

In Depth Psychology, liminality has also become a descriptive word used in the process of Individuation when an individual experiences feelings of disorientation and darkness as an old identity breaks down, all the while in a fluid process of becoming more whole or authentic, an “in-between” space of being that can persist for great lengths of time.  Now, in the liminal space we are entering in between eclipses and during a time of intense astrological transits, we may feel confused, what we feel may turn out to be very different than it first appears in the moment, and where we are headed may be unclear, but it is good counsel at this time to realize that simply breathing, and allowing ourselves “to be” with whatever is happening in the moment will be a strategy useful to navigate our upcoming experiences.  Of course, sometimes experiences suddenly demand that we quickly respond and initiate action, but  no matter how intense experiences may become, if we can keep ourselves in the flow of things and persevere, eventually we will begin to realize why we are on the new path events led us to.  The alignment of celestial bodies above us is too astounding for it to be any other way.

Indeed, this Mercury retrograde cycle and other surrounding transits will be taking us to the heart of many of the astrological themes I have been writing about over the past year on this blog.  At the heart of this Mercury retrograde cycle we will have the opportunity to open our hearts to a greater extent, as the fourth of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn occurs on the same day as the inferior conjunction between Mercury retrograde and the Sun in Scorpio.  As there are seven squares between Uranus and Pluto occurring between 2012 and 2015, the fourth one occurring on November 1, 2013 has been linked by many to issues around the 4th Chakra, or Heart Chakra.  In order for us to reach a greater heart opening in our lives, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio will align with not only our ability to transform the way we are perceiving and communicating, but will give us the opportunity to go the depths of our core soul issues on all levels, meaning in a manner impossible for me to describe with the limitations of language.  At the same time, there will be a real opportunity for us to take action to help us transform, as there will be a mutual reception occurring between Mars in Virgo and Mercury in Scorpio (this is because Mars is the traditional ruler of Scorpio, and Mercury is the traditional ruler of Virgo), with an exact sextile between Mars and Mercury on the same day that Mercury is conjunct the Sun in Scorpio and Uranus is exactly square to Pluto.  Since these intense astrological transits on November 1 come with the dawn of the day following Halloween or Samhain, a night in which the veil between the worlds is traditionally viewed as being more open, we will be in a truly magical night to celebrate Halloween and Samhain in 2013, a liminal space to don our archetypal masks and costumes.

In order to refrain from delving into astrology geek terminology that could lose all but the most obsessively astrological among my readers, I have summarized below several important time periods in October and November of 2013 in connection with this time period of Mercury’s retrograde cycle in Scorpio:

October 5 – October 9, 2013

  • Mercury in Scorpio conjunct first the North Node of the Moon, and then Saturn between 7 and 11 degrees of Scorpio.
  • At this time Mercury was also at its greatest distance in elongation from the Sun in its cycle, being 28 degrees ahead of the Sun.

October 18 – October 25, 2013

  • 10/18/13:  Lunar Eclipse at 26 degrees of Aries and Libra
  • 10/19/13:  Mars in Virgo in opposition to Neptune in Pisces at 3 degrees
  • 10/21/13:  Mercury in Scorpio stations retrograde at 18º24′
  • 10/25/13:  Heliacal set in the West at Sunset for Mercury in Scorpio-  Mercury is at the phasis point of being 15 degrees away from the Sun, meaning that Mercury now descends to the Underworld in mythic terminology and will correspond with a more subjective, reflective, and intuitive perception.

October 29 – November 3, 2013

  • 10/29/13:  Mercury in Scorpio retrograde and conjunct Saturn at 14 degrees Scorpio
  • 11/01/13:  Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn at 9º26′
  • 11/01/13:  Mercury retrograde in Scorpio inferior conjunct the Sun at 9º34′
  • 11/01/13:  Mercury in Scorpio in sextile to Mars in Virgo at 10 degrees
  • 11/03/13:  Solar Eclipse at 12 degrees of Scorpio conjunct Saturn in Scorpio; Mercury retrograde in Scorpio conjunct the North Node of the Moon at 8 degrees Scorpio

November 7 – November 15, 2013

  • 11/07/13:  Jupiter in Cancer stations retrograde at 20º31′
  • 11/09/13:  Heliacal rise in the East at Sunrise for Mercury in Scorpio-  Mercury is once again at the phasis point of 15 degrees behind the Sun, meaning that Mercury now ascends to the Upperworld from the Underworld in mythic terminology and will now correspond with a more objective perception as Mercury stations direct and moves forward as a Morning Star.
  • 11/10/13:  Mercury in Scorpio stations direct at 2º32′ in trine to Neptune in Pisces
  • 11/13/13:  Moon in Aries conjunct Uranus at 10 degrees
  • 11/14/13:  Neptune in Pisces stations direct at 2º35′ in trine to Mercury in Scorpio
  • 11/15/13:  Venus in Capricorn conjunct Pluto at 10 degrees

November 18 – 27, 2013

  • 11/18/13:  Mercury direct conjunct the North Node of the Moon at 7 degrees Scorpio
  • 11/20/13:   Chiron in Pisces stations direct at 9º07′ in trine to Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio
  • 11/26/13:   Mercury direct in Scorpio conjunct Saturn in Scorpio at 16º33′
  • 11/27/13:  Mercury in Scorpio moves beyond its retrograde shadow zone of 19 degrees, while in a wide Grand Water Trine with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron in Pisces.

filius noster

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

The most obvious aspect of the current retrograde cycle of Mercury in Scorpio is that it will be conjunct Saturn in Scorpio three times, and that it occurs in between eclipses.  Just the fact that a Scorpio Mercury in retrograde would conjunct Saturn three times, station retrograde a few days following a Lunar Eclipse, and then have its inferior conjunction with the Sun occur a couple of days before a Solar Eclipse, is amazing timing.  When we consider that the Lunar Eclipse initiating the Mercury retrograde is the first Aries/Libra cardinal eclipse that will become more prevalent in 2014, it gets more interesting, especially since the day of the Uranus-Pluto square and inferior conjunction between Mercury retrograde and the Sun occurs on a dark moon before a Solar Eclipse.  However, when we take in all of the other myriad transits occurring during this time period, outlined above, it becomes even more extraordinary.  If you have planets in your chart around the degrees of 8 to 10 or so, you will especially want to investigate how the upcoming transits will impact your chart.

In addition to the prominence of Saturn in Scorpio in relation to Mercury, the next planet that becomes prominent upon a closer look is Neptune in Pisces.  This is because when Mercury in Scorpio eventually stations direct on November 10, 2013 it will be in trine to Neptune, and then Neptune will also be stationing direct a few days later on November 14, 2013, meaning that Mercury and Neptune will both be stationing direct at the same time in trine to one another.  The connection between this Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle and Pisces Neptune is deep rooted, and will be important for those of us doing deep processing because the next Mercury retrograde cycle that will happen will be in Pisces and then Aquarius in February of 2014, aligned with Neptune in Pisces to such an extent that when Mercury stations retrograde it will be conjunct Neptune in Pisces.  Thus, at this time and across the next five months, the universe is displaying clear signs of the significant relationship between Mercury retrograde and Neptune in Pisces.  Neptune is a planet of illusion, and while one may argue that all of life is an illusion, it is through our perception of reality and what we choose to focus on through observation or belief that often pulls us into illusory thinking leading to behavior misaligned with how to navigate at an optimal level.  Since the current Scorpio Mercury will conjunct both Saturn and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio three times during this time period, our greatest growth will come through taking a brutally honest look at ourselves in the mirror and facing our fears and past wounds in a way that helps transform them like a Phoenix in the fire, so that we can more fully experience the now and be more fully alive in the present moment of our current reality.  However, since we will be experiencing this potential at a time of Mercury being retrograde, we will gain awareness of a path toward transformation less through rational analysis and more  through following omens, signs, intuition, and images from dream that arise before us.

In contrast, if we act from a place of past fear or wounding, victimize ourselves or focus on blaming others, it takes us into a greater likelihood of the lower nature of Scorpio, the more manipulative side that will use illusion in order to try to manipulate, control, or shame others.   Even if we are doing our own hard work of authentic and honest processing at this time, it will be important to remember that many people around us will not be doing deep internal work, and that many people may continue to act out or throw tantrums of one kind or another from a state of mind of believing that they understand reality in a way that is not actually connected to the deep, regenerative shifts in reality that will be in process at this time.  Those fixated in belief of one kind or another, unwilling to examine the underpinnings of their beliefs or their judgments toward others, most likely will end up coming into conflict with others to a greater level of intensity than normal as the square between Uranus and Pluto comes into exactness on November 1, 2013.

Traditionally, November 1 is known as the “Day of the Dead,” a time to honor family ancestors through artistic expression and symbolic perception that are perfect for a time of Mercury being retrograde in Scorpio.  However, the Day of the Dead  this year will be an especially auspicious time to also release past family karma that we may discover is a source of limitation for us, as November 1 will be a Dark Moon prior to a Solar Eclipse in which there will be a conjunction in Scorpio between the Sun and Mercury retrograde, in addition to the square between Uranus and Pluto.   A great help will be the Grand Water Trine that has been occurring between Scorpio Saturn, Cancer Jupiter, and Pisces Chiron, the transitional celestial bodies of astrology that help bridge the more personal energy of Mercury, Venus, and Mars with the more galactic and “out there” energy of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.  In fact, Jupiter will be stationing retrograde around the time of the Mercury retrograde cycle when Mercury becomes a Morning Star (this will be discussed in more detail below), and Pisces Chiron will be stationing direct at the end of November at the same time that Mercury will be picking up speed in its forward movement and leaving the retrograde “shadow” zone, meaning that Mercury will be moving past the point of its retrograde stationing at the same time that Chiron in Pisces stations direct.  Among other themes, the stationing of Cancer Jupiter and Pisces Chiron during this time reveals that part of our Scorpio Mercury work will be about ancestral memories, family karma, family dynamics of our early childhood as well as all of the “family” dynamics of one sort or another we have created through relationship in our lifetime.  The more we can sit with and sense the feelings that come up, without moving into a stagnant mindset of victimizaiton or negativity, the more we can work on releasing some habitual thought cycles that have been limiting our full potential and expression.

Finally, it is also significant that this Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle will feature sextiles between Mercury and both Mars and Venus, meaning that there will also be important opportunities to work on our personal issues and behaviors at this time.  As already mentioned, Mars being in the sign of Virgo and so in mutual reception with Mercury during this retrograde phase is a perfect use of the Virgo Mars energy, an archetype that can utilize various healing techniques and tools to problem solve and fine tune personal issues and patterns.  At the same time of the Lunar Eclipse and the stationing of Mercury retrograde, Mars in Virgo was in direct opposition to Neptune in Pisces, adding even further drive and potential to our ability to deeply examine what sorts of illusions or misguided beliefs or judgments may be operating in our personal sphere of interaction with the world around us.  The exact sextile between Virgo Mars and Scorpio Mercury will come at the same time of the inferior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun on November 1, the same day as the square between Uranus and Pluto- this is an extraordinary moment to align our actions and desires with the shift of feeling and perception we could be experiencing, in order to lead us onto a more fruitful path going forward.  However, on a cautionary note again with the aspects between all of this and Neptune in Pisces, with Scorpio Mercury moving retrograde, we also must remember that what we could be sensing at this time may be existing in the more ethereal or astral realms than in the physical and concrete reality around us.  It is a perfect time, however, to plant the seeds of bright dreams and great visions for our future.

In comparison, Venus will shift into Capricorn and come into an exact sextile with Mercury around the time that Mercury stations direct in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  Within a week, Venus in Capricorn will then become conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus in Aries.  Again, if we have been processing and releasing we could come into an opportunity to gain a greater capacity to begin manifesting greater abundance for ourselves and others in our life at this time.  However, if we are still clinging to past beliefs and conceptions about our life and reality at this time, we could just as well face a great personal crisis or come into conflict with others.  Since there are so many intense transits occurring during this time, there is no doubt that all of us will be stepping into challenging circumstances that test our mettle, and for those working on developing a more authentic identity for themselves, this newfound sense of identity will also surely be tested.  However, Venus coming into contact with Pluto in Capricorn will also be in sextile to Saturn in Scorpio and the North Node of the Moon, and so the difficulties could also be part of a great transformation we will eventually be grateful occurred in our life.

Hermes

Guide between the Upper and Underworld

Despite a wealth of mythic support for the role of Mercury as being a Guide of Souls, the majority of astrological writing focuses on Mercury as being about communication issues rather than the relationship between our conscious and unconscious perceptions and the core issues of our psyche that connect with our ability to rebirth a more fully actualized Self.  Demetra George has two lectures I recently listened to entitled “Hermes: Guide of Souls” and “Hermes: Guardian of Thresholds” that are available for a total of fifteen dollars on her website, lectures that are well worth the money for anyone interested in gaining a deeper mythic understanding for the Mercury cycle in astrology.  In these two lectures Demetra illustrated how Mercury is a figure who can mediate between the upperworld and the underworld in myth in a similar manner to how in the retrograde cycle we are currently experiencing, Mercury also guides us to a descent into the underworld in order to ascend again back to the upperworld with the potential for a reborn Mercury to utilize in our daily life.

Mercury never goes more than 28 degrees away from the Sun, and fascinatingly enough at the beginning of October 2013 Mercury reached its greatest degree of elongation from the Sun at the same time it became conjunct the North Node of the Moon and Saturn in Scorpio.  This first pass of Mercury across Saturn and the North Node at the time it began to shift into its slower phase that leads to stationing retrograde, set the theme for this cycle as being about taking total responsibility for our responses to and beliefs about life with the type of intensity demanded by a triple conjunction in Scorpio between Mercury, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon.

During the time from this first conjunction between Mercury, Saturn, and the North Node until now, Mercury has been an evening star and so operating on more of a subjective, instinctual, intuitive, and reflective level of perception.  On October 21 Mercury stationed retrograde as an evening star, deepening and intensifying the intuitive sense of Mercury.  However, an even more important date to focus on is October 25, when Mercury retrograde reaches its phasis point of being 15 degrees ahead of the Sun- this is the Heliacal set in the West of Mercury at Sunset, when Mercury will shift from a visible evening star to becoming invisible, the day in which Mercury descends into the underworld.  From this first day of Mercury’s descent into the underworld up until November 1 when Mercury reaches its inferior conjunction with the Sun, we will be experiencing the most mystical and mysterious Mercury manifestations, a time in which we will more readily receive messages from our unconscious, intuition, dreams, omens, and signs.  As Demetra George has taught, Mercury at this time will be a guide to our subjective and inner realms, and will be able to perceive through symbols more so than the articulation of words.  This period of the Mercury retrograde cycle is similar to the Dark Moon phase, a time in which we gain a greater capacity to release old thought forms and concepts in order to prepare for an integration of the new visions on the horizon ahead of us.  The ability for deep transformation will be facilitated at this time by Mercury retrograde in Scorpio becoming conjunct with Saturn on October 29, a few days after entering the underworld.  This will be a powerful day for intention and to become aware on an intuitive level of what needs to shift and what we can allow to be- we will want to open ourselves at the same time to the possibility that some of the things we are called to shift at this time could be some of the very same things we have drawn great strength and pride from in our past.

Next, on November 1 we will experience the square between Uranus and Pluto at the same time of the inferior conjunction between Mercury retrograde and the Sun in Scorpio.  The inferior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun is like the potent moment of conception of the Mercury retrograde cycle.  Whatever circumstance we find ourselves in on this day, an experience which could be intense as we ride the wave of the Uranus-Pluto square, remember to take the time to do something symbolic, even if only for a moment, to honor the rebirth of Mercury and the potential the moment will offer for us to plant the seeds of a new vision aligned with our passion and purpose.  Remember, as this pivotal moment occurs a couple of days before a Solar Eclipse, we may be in a very disoriented and confused state of mind, so any practices we can take into this time period to help us relax, ground, and be present will be helpful.

Finally, following the Solar Eclipse of November 3, a conjunction between Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and the North Node of the Moon, and then Jupiter in Cancer stationing retrograde on November 7, Mercury will enter its next significant phase of being reborn as a Morning Star and becoming visible again at Sunrise in the East on November 9 when it reaches the phasis point of being 15 degrees behind the Sun.  At this time Mercury will ascend to the upperworld again and become more curious to gather new information with a slight shift to a more objective, logical, and conscious perception as Mercury will station direct on the next day.  In the weeks following November 10, Mercury will begin picking up speed as it moves direct enthusiastically as the fleet footed messenger again, finally moving out of it’s retrograde zone on November 27, 2013.

the_magus_tots_lg

The phase of Mercury retrograde we will enter on October 25 when the Heliacal set at Sunset occurs not only corresponds to Mercury descending into the underworld, it also corresponds to Mercury functioning as the archetypal Magician.  Hermes in ancient Greek myth performed magical acts at various times, and then in Hellenistic Egypt the ulitmate magician, Hermes Trismegistus was created through an alchemical combination of the mythic figures of Hermes and Thoth.  In tarot, however, Mercury has always been connected to The Magician and linked to an ability to use all of the elements, all resources and techniques at one’e disposal, to completely transform one’s life through a clear and strong intention, vivid invocation of a new vision, and the channeling of universal energy.  In the image of the Magus above painted by Joyce Eakins from the Tarot of the Spirit deck, one can see the elemental tools of the pentacle, wand, sword, and cup:  the use of elemental tools to transform our lives not only corresponds to the Scorpio Mercury retrograde phase we are entering now, but also to the mutual reception with Mars in Virgo that will be ripening to an exact sextile on the day of the inferior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun, the day of conception for our reborn Mercury.  Mars in Virgo is a tool user, so it will be wise at this time to center within ourselves through each of our own unique creative gifts, tools, and techniques.

Like many other tarot decks, the Tarot of the Spirit deck from which The Magus image above is from connects tarot with not only Astrology, but also the Qabalistic Tree of Life.  Mercury as The Magician card reveals the primal role Mercury plays in our process of manifesting form in our life through the Tree of Life, as The Magus connects the first path of Kether or “The Gate of Potential,” with the third path of Binah, or “The Gate of Form.”  Kether corresponds with the aces of the deck and the concept of Source, the Source of all existence, whereas Binah corresponds with the divine feminine and mother, the realm of receptivity.  The only other major arcana directly connected to Kether are The Fool and The High Priestess, so in this way Mercury as The Magician is able to help us transform our lives through wielding the elemental tools because it is the direct conduit between Source and Form in our reality.  During this Mercury retrograde time in Scorpio, a time period that may correspond with great calamity around us, may we each take the moment to ground and realize our potential to transform not only our thinking, perception, and communication, but also the very fabric of our lives.

References

Eakins, Pamela. (1992).  Tarot of the Spirit. Weiser.

George, Demetra. (2008).  Lecture on Hermes: Guide of Souls.

George, Demetra. (2012).  Lecture on Hermes: Guardian of Thresholds. UAC.

Wikipedia on “Liminality.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality

Queen of Heaven in the Harvest Moon

arrington the star water bearer The Queen of Heaven who walked in Chaos

  • Venus as evening star in Scorpio conjunct Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of the Full Moon on September 19, 2013.

  • This Pisces Full Moon is not only the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s Sabian symbol at 27 Pisces is “The Harvest Moon illumines a clear Autumnal sky.”

  • Mars in Leo square Venus, Saturn, and North Node of Moon in Scorpio.

  • Mercury in Libra square Jupiter in Cancer at the exact same time as the Full Moon.

  • Pluto stations direct on September 20 at 9 Capricorn, with the Sabian symbol: “An Angel carrying a harp: the revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the center of any life situation.”

The Pisces full moon to the sun being in Virgo is one of the most magical full moons to me, in part because it can occur around the time of the Equinox.  Yet there is more to it than that- the Moon in its most magnetic splendor connects well with the passionate and devotional nature of the sign of Pisces, a sign that always calls on us to follow our dreams into the distant beyond, full moon or not.  And this visionary Pisces Moon is a perfect balance point to the more focused nature of the sun being in Virgo, a sign that can be incredibly productive in a detail-oriented manner, but can stand to benefit from the larger emotional view received from a lunar Pisces.  In his book on Sabian Symbols, Dane Rudhyar describes the 27th degree of Pisces where this full lunation is occurring as being “The Harvest Moon illumines a clear Autumnal sky,” a perfect symbol for the fact that in the Northern Hemisphere of planet Earth, we actually are experiencing the Harvest Moon of the Autumn Equinox at this time.  However, no matter what hemisphere we are living in, we are experiencing a full moon a few days before an equinox that is brightly illuminating a significant archetypal scene.

In his article Chaos in Myth and Science, Ralph Abraham quoted the following passage describing the ancient Babylonian deity Ishtar, worshipped since 5,000 BC, taken from the Merlin Stone:

Queen of Heaven, Goddess of the Universe,

the One who walked in terrible chaos

and brought life by the way of love

and out of chaos brought us harmony

and from chaos She has led us by the hand.

Ishtar is the Queen of Heaven who calls us forth on our path through the way of Love, a deity who connects with other prominent Goddesses of myth such as Inanna, Isis, Aphrodite, and Venus.  With the planet Venus in Scorpio conjunct both Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of today’s Pisces Harvest Full Moon, a Venus that is also in her most radiant glory as a bright evening star one can watch set every night, the Queen of Heaven is calling for us to follow the love of our hearts forward at this time through whatever difficulties or cacophonous fury we may have had to recently navigate.  If we have been damaged by life, we have the advantage of knowing we can survive no matter what, and this is a time to take steps forward courageously on the path we can feel our hearts guiding us toward.

Today’s full moon is clearly involved in a time period of great intensity that all of us will need to pay attention to as we move forward on our path.  As already mentioned, just Venus being in Scorpio and conjunct Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of the Harvest Moon would be significant (and if you are living in the Southern Hemisphere, since this Full Moon is happening close to your Spring Equinox it is just as important!).  However, at the same time, Mars in Leo (the traditional ruler of Scorpio) is in a square aspect with Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.  Plus, Mercury in Libra is in a tight square with Jupiter in Cancer. And not only that, there is a wide cardinal grand cross occurring with the mean node of Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, Mercury in Libra, and Pluto in Capricorn.  And to make everything all the more intense, Pluto in Capricorn is stationing direct at the time of the Full Moon, stationing direct exactly in between this Full Moon and the upcoming Equinox.  And yet, there is most likely a hidden gift to this intensity, as Pluto in Capricorn, the modern ruler of Scorpio, is in a sextile aspect to Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.  To better explain how all of this could impact you, especially in connection to mythic patterns of your birth chart, enter Ishtar:

ishtar-owl

Ishtar, Queen of Heaven

The association between Venus and Ishtar is illuminating to consider at this time, as the various aspects Venus in Scorpio is experiencing in transit at the moment seems fitting for the mythic story of Ishtar’s descent to the underworld to face the wrath of Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld.  The planet modern astrologers identify with Venus was originally linked to the Goddesses Inanna and Ishtar by the Mesopotamian people who were one of the original inventors of astrology, with the civilization of Uruk being especially vital to the worship of Ishtar.  Michael Baigent, in his amazing book From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia, researched that it is hard to find a consistent portrayal of Ishtar because of how over time she seemed to integrate the meanings of different Goddess figures.  The planet Venus was originally connected to Inanna by the Sumerian people, and with contact from Semitic and other people, eventually the figure of Ishtar emerged “to be the daughter (and first born) of Sin, the Moon, twin sister to Shamash, the Sun, and sister too of both Erishkigal, the much feared queen of the underworld, and Tammuz, the dying and resurrecting god…” with Ishtar assuming the role of “the queen of heaven, the beautiful goddess of love, sexuality, and childbirth” (Baigent, p. 118).

Baigent also found that tablets dating from the reign of Ashurbanipal, who lived from 668-627 BC, reveal that Ishtar as the planet Venus embodied both male and female characteristics at least at one point in time, with the Ishtar of the morning star being a male, and the Ishtar of the evening star being a female.  Baigent also has found evidence in his research that Venus as the evening star was associated with having a “good harvest” (p. 122), which is a good thing because Venus in Scorpio was also associated with a harvest being destroyed!  Venus being an evening star at this time, and so beautiful to behold in the night sky, to me opens her archetype to embodying more of the harmonizing energy of Ishtar at this time.  Indeed, even in ancient Assyria the planet Venus was seen as being capable of harmonizing difficult energies, as many of the dangers associated with eclipses were seen as being averted with Venus occupying a significant aspect, such as a conjunction with Jupiter or Saturn.  In addition, the interpretation of Venus as an evening star being more of a harmonizing influence continues today in the modern astrological perspective.

Ishtar was also connected to the harvest in addition to the fertility of sexuality, and the planet Venus in various aspects at various times could indicate a bountiful harvest.  However, in addition to her association with abundant fertility and the harvest, Ishtar also had ancient connections with war, although Baigent in his book is careful to note that the planet Venus was only one of many omens taken into consideration surrounding military actions.  This “warring” side of Ishtar, however, is also important to take into consideration at this time, as there are versions of myth that indicate the reason she descended to the underworld and was met by furious hostility by the queen of the underworld, Ereshkigal, was because of manipulative and warring action taken by Ishtar that caused the death of Ereshkigal’s husband, the Bull of Heaven.  Thus, from this interpretation’s perspective, when Ishtar descends to the underworld, having to remove an important garment at each of the seven gates to the underworld, only in the end to be hung on a meat hook by the queen of the underworld, there is more of vengeful anger to Ereshkigal’s actions meant to punish Ishtar than just irrational madness meant to humiliate her (Mark, 2011).  Events in which the more warring side of the Venus and Ishtar archetype is appearing at this time, could in part be corresponding with the current square from Mars in Leo to Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.

There is also the popular Jungian interpretation of Ishtar’s descent, that her becoming stripped down to her barest essentials is a metaphor for becoming more whole, more fully one’s individuated Self.  To me, the important lesson to take from Ishtar’s descent to the underworld is that she experiences the humiliation of losing her most prized possessions, aspects of herself she had become attached to and had begun to derive great vanity from.  She is then practically put to death by the queen of the underworld, with her corpse hung on a meat hook.  So what is the lesson?  The lesson is that Ishtar returns from the underworld.  She is a survivor, she does not die, and she returns to the upperworld a stronger person more in touch with her essential nature.  In our psychological management of creating a sense of stability from what otherwise could appear to be a chaotic life, many of us find our security and sense of self from our jobs, our family, our relationships, or our community.  Ishtar now asks each one of us:  what is inside you?  What do you possess without a home, job, family, partner, or possessions?  If we have been undergoing difficult losses of an external nature, or been experiencing deep changes within our internal landscape, with the current conjunction between Venus, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn, no matter what is happening if we courageously face the present moment, we will get a step closer to the future of our full potential.

goddess-inanna-and-her-lions

When considering the conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio through the mythology of Ishtar, it is also helpful to consider her Assyrian counterpart of Ninurta, who was the God connected to the planet Saturn in ancient Mesopotamia.  Michael Baigent found in his research of Babylonian myths translated from tablets that the ancient Assyrians did not view Saturn as “a stern and cold patriarch but as a conquering hero” (p. 127-128).  In  modern astrology many authors tend to describe Saturn as a limiting or restricting influence, but it is important to remember in the end that necessity is the mother of invention, and so in a similar way can the difficulties of Saturn help father our heroic qualities to emerge in radiant brilliance at the most opportune times in our lives.

Baigent found that Ninurta was a hero in myth because he was able to retrieve the “tablets of fate” containing eternal laws that gave the possessor of the tablets the power over fate (p. 128).  These tablets of fate were stolen by Zu, a winged dragon of chaos who was in league with the great sea serpent of chaos, Tiamat (Baigent, p. 128).  Everyone was too afraid of the dragon to do anything, except for Ninurta, the brother of Nergal (Mars), who not only volunteered to fight the dragon, but also became victorious, was given custody of the tablets in gratitude by the other Gods, and ultimately took on the role of being the “overseer of destiny and fate” in Assyrian culture (p. 128-129).  Ninurta gaining a role in overseeing fate by defeating a dragon of chaos is interesting to me on a personal level, as I recently listened to a lecture given by astrologer Bernadette Brady linking chaos theory with astrology while integrating the Mesopotamian myth of the hero Marduk (Jupiter) defeating Tiamat, the great sea serpent of chaos.  In her lecture Brady described how astrology was created in Mesopotamia as a tool for navigating chaos, but that over time the chaos paradigm was defeated by reason and the mechanical/causal paradigm currently dominating modern worldviews in a manner similar to how Marduk defeated Tiamat.  Brady explained that astrology aligns with chaos theory because it posits that while one cannot predict with certainty what will exactly happen, one can get a sense of the timing of events as well as the level of quality of these events.  As chaos theory also integrates fractals which have re-occurring patterns around “strange attractors,” in a similar manner our astrological birth charts can indicate re-occurring patterns from our family as well as the collective unconscious contained in myths that we are experiencing and re-experiencing.  Using astrology as a tool, one can get a better grasp on these patterns as well as discern a more productive and fruitful path one can follow in greater alignment with the full potential of the birth chart.  Thus we can use astrology to help us predict upcoming time periods that may be especially intense, as well as to figure out what patterns we have been playing out and how to most effectively respond to move forward in a productive manner that will lead to us actualizing more of our full potential.

This idea of astrology being used to gain a greater ability to navigate our “fate,” has an interesting link back to the Ninurta of myth, because Baigent also found that the human representation of Ninurta often portrayed was as a man holding a “seven-headed weapon” which could possibly have been a symbol of the seven planets used in ancient astrology (p.129).  By mentioning this, however, I don’t mean to suggest here that the study of astrology is of particular importance at this time of the Full Moon with Venus and Saturn conjunct in Scorpio.  What I do mean to suggest is the importance of each one of us stepping bravely forward on our own unique heroic journey, with the courage to face whatever dragons or demons arise before us, utilizing the resources around us or that we carry inside us.  Saturn in astrology occurring in an intense aspect, such as currently being conjunct Venus and in square to Mars, does not need to pre-determine you to experiencing great loss, restriction, or sadness.  It very well may correlate, however, with some intense experiences that will require all of your being invested in moving you forward on the most productive path for your unique self, no matter what obstacles may be appearing before you.

The other image often associated with Ninurta is the eagle, which also happens to be one of the symbols of Scorpio, the sign presently holding the conjunction of Saturn and Venus, Ninurta and Ishtar.  The eagle is the higher evolved Scorpio, the Scorpio who has no need to manipulate or unload emotional diatribes on others in response to being overly sensitive to negative emotional environments.  Instead, Scorpio as the eagle is able to utilize its authenticity in order to inspire instead of manipulate others.  Scorpio is a sign that is capable of great loyalty and commitment, as well as an enhanced ability to get down to living the essential nature of one’s Self.  When we connect this Eagle/Ninurta aspect of Saturn into its conjunction with Venus, we find ourselves again with Ishtar, turning to look upward with resolution from the underworld.  Ishtar will survive, and she will continue to walk through the terrible chaos and create new life through the way of love.  Once we connect with the essential Self within each of us, come to more fully realize the full potential of our unique being, we become even more powerful and effective in collaboration and community with others on a similar journey of the soul as our own (Venus and Saturn conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio).

arrrington winged goddess riding lion

If we are undergoing great loss at this time, it may be hopeful to keep in mind that there is a sextile from Pluto in Capricorn to the Scorpio conjunction of Venus, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon.  This sextile is absolutely profound, as Pluto is stationing direct at the moment, putting even more heavy weight on Pluto than normal.  The Sabian symbol for the degree in which Pluto is stationing direct described by Dane Rudhyar in his classic Astrological Mandala is once again a perfect image in the context of the multiple aspects and transits occurring at this time:

Capricorn 9:  An angel carrying a harp

Keynote:  The revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the core of any life situation.

This picture simply says that “heaven is within us.”  All we have to do is to be open and listen to the total harmony of life, a harmony in which we play a part that is necessary to the completeness and meaning of the whole.  In order to do this we have to surrender our separative ego-consciousness and flow with the universal current which, to the religiously minded person, is the Will of God.   (p. 235)

I would like to emphasize here that is not necessary to believe in God, or even Gods, for this symbol to be meaningful, and in case the mentioning of the “Will of God” is a trigger for you, I hope you do not neglect to listen to the actual wisdom of the above symbol.  The point, “to surrender our separative ego-consciousness,” is pretty much exactly what happened to Ishtar during her descent to the underworld, in her experience of her various trials and tribulations.  Similarly, whatever we have been experiencing recently, we must remember that life will be going on and that there is a part that each one of us is uniquely designed to play in the unfolding of future events.  The more we can get into the flow, the more easy this experience could be for us.

However, with many intense aspects going on in the moment, such as Mars in Leo in square to all the Scorpio (Venus, Saturn, North Node), and Mercury in Libra in square to Jupiter in Cancer (following a few days after Mercury in Libra was in direct opposition to Uranus in Aries), it may not exactly feel like we are entering a “flow.”  However, if it has been feeling like we have been in the flow of things, keep at it, because most likely you are then on track.  If in contrast events have felt destructive and depressive, hopefully through a process of deep reflection we can notice signs of what aspects of our loss may have been getting in the way of our full potential, no matter what sense of comfort our attachment to it may have brought us.  If we are in a dark place, it is absolutely necessary at this time to courageously step forward on our path with all of our resources ready at our disposal.  This is not a time to be sitting passively on the sidelines.  This is a time to step forward brilliantly, or at least as brilliantly as we can manage it, on our unique path and calling.

pyreaus_tarot_combo_queen_of_wandsQueen of Wands

  • Full Moon at 27 degrees of Pisces, the third decan of Pisces. The third decan of Pisces (20-30 degrees) is part of the rulership of the Queen of Wands in tarot.

Finally, on an optimistic note I always am excited when doing my own tarot readings when I pull the Queen of Wands in some manner in connection to myself, because I always see her as a sign I will be able to handle whatever is coming my way.  Since in some schools of tarot thought the Queen of Wands is connected with a rulership of the last decan of Pisces where the current Full Moon is occurring,  I wanted to include a description of the Queen of Wands given by tarotologist Pamela Norris, which was published in the August issue of Plants and Planets put out by Olympia astrologer Rosie Finn and Olympia herbalist Carol Trasatto:

Queen of Wands–

Elements and astrology:  The water aspect of fire. Sagitarius.  Rules the last decan of Pisces and the first two of Aries.

Personality traits:  Master of self-knowledge, change and transformation.  The mother of mature love and sexuality.  As a person, she is an older fire sign person who mirrors who you are and who you are not.  She is open minded, strong willed and enterprising, dignified and compassionate, confident, energetic, and charismatic.  She may be intolerant and jealous, temperamental and inconsiderate.

The cautionary note at the end of the above quote, about the potential to be “intolerant” or “temperamental,” is important in consideration of the many intense aspects occurring, such as Mars square Venus/Saturn, and Mercury square Jupiter.  However, if we are doing our hard work on a personal level, we will hopefully be able to rise above such negativity.  I love the image above of the Queen by Pamela Colman Smith from the Ride Waite Tarot deck (on the left) since the Queen of Wands is holding a sunflower, and in the northern hemisphere where I live there are currently sun flowers in full bloom.  The awe inspiring sacred geometry of sun flowers, their immanent power captured in art by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, is tantamount to the full potential that can bloom from our inner being.  If you are currently experiencing a bountiful harvest of your own being in this way, celebrate!  If you are not experiencing this harvest at the moment, remember that whatever you are experiencing is part of your process of self-discovery.  This concept connects with the image of the Queen above on the right, from the Thoth deck, in which she is wearing the glyph for Pisces on her chest.  This is a Queen who has been in touch with the dark places of her psyche that some of you may have been currently experiencing, and it is because of her contact and awareness of these dark places that she ultimately is able to actualize her full potential and come into the full realization of her self and soul nature.  At this Pisces Full Moon, this Harvest Moon of the Northern Hemisphere, fearlessly take stock of where you currently are on your life’s journey and courageously take action on the calling arising from your heart inside.

References

Abraham, Ralph.  Chaos in Myth and Science:

 http://www.ralph-abraham.org/articles/MS%2346.Myth/ms46.pdf

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

Mark, Joshua. (2011)  Inanna’s Descent…  http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/215/

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases: a reinterpreation of the Sabian symbols, presenting them as a contemporary American I Ching.  Vintage books.

Nirvana and the Grand Water Trine

kc

Kurt Cobain

1967 – 1994

Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron

Imagination can be the source of our pleasure, perhaps is our most important human gift, and yet it can also be our downfall when we choose to hide from the challenges life is presenting us for growth and greater strength by sealing ourselves off in an isolated fantasy of safety.  Grand Water Trines like we have been experiencing are often described as beautiful opportunities to experience ecstasy, but unless we are in a position to do little else than drift off in relaxation, we will have a hard time adequately responding to the harsher life events appearing in our life if we do not have a handle on managing our feelings.  This has been particularly the case this Summer, since there has also been a square aspect occurring between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and our intense experiences that have correlated with this could have transformed that same blissful hope of the Grand Water Trine into a feeling of drowning in a flood of unconscious emotional turbulence.  In a sense we are learning to swim in a new way for a new time, and as the current Grand Water Trine between Cancer Jupiter, Scorpio Saturn, and Pisces Neptune eventually shifts into another Grand Trine between Pisces Chiron, Scorpio Saturn, and Cancer Jupiter, our current experiences will hopefully help us develop a more effective ability to manifest what we truly want to have happen in our lives.  Since we are experiencing a Saturn in Scorpio during this time, any crises or intense emotional connections we are experiencing are forcing a realization within us of vitally important aspects of our feelings to not only recognize, but also to investigate and attempt to purify or transform.

When examining birth charts with Grand Water Trines, the general rule is that it takes some stressful aspects like we have been experiencing collectively with Pluto and Uranus, in order to activate an effective use of the trine’s potential by the individual.  A powerful example of a person with these aspects in his birth chart is Kurt Cobain, who was born with a Grand Water Trine between Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, and Saturn, Chiron, and Venus conjunct in Pisces, activated by a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus in Virgo in opposition to his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron.  In Kurt’s biography, we can see the isolated imaginative aspects of this astrology in his devotion to spending hours everyday building intricate sculptures out of clay and thrift store purchases that would amaze the people he had let into his life, only to destroy them upon completion.  As far as cleaning his house or organizing aspects of his living environment, Kurt was always described as being a lazy dweller in clutter, yet at the same time we can also see how his Grand Water Trine was effectively activated by Pluto and Uranus in his obsessive desire to practice music with his band every single day, and in his ability to infuse extraordinary Soul power into his musical expression.

To be honest dear reader, I’ve been looking for an astrological excuse to write about Kurt Cobain for quite some time.  However, now that the Grand Water Trine between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune has been activated by Jupiter in Cancer coming into an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries,  I genuinely think that Kurt can be a helpful point of focus in working with these energies.  This is especially the case recently since the dark moon phase this past weekend had a Cancer Moon combined with Jupiter in forming the trine with Neptune and Saturn, as well as the opposition and square with Pluto and Uranus.  Kurt Cobain was born with a water trine of a different sort, with a Scorpio Neptune and a Pisces Saturn, but he did have currently relevant natal placements of Jupiter in Cancer, the Moon in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces.  His life trajectory reveals the positive power available with the grand water trine to manifest inner visions into reality that can help dissolve the very structures of that consensus reality, as well as the negative potential that can come from an unintegrated and unprocessed shadow side of the water element.  It is sad to think that he would be experiencing a nodal opposition  at this time (this happens when the transiting South Node of the Moon conjuncts your birth chart’s North Node of the Moon, and the transiting North Node conjuncts your South Node) if he were alive, since he is no longer with us.  However, with the mark he left behind he will always be with us, similar in a generational way to the figure of John Lennon who also left a body before becoming an elder.  His birth at the time of the Pluto-Uranus conjunction (the same time John Lennon released “Strawberry Fields Forever” as a Beatle) helps to seal his fate in this manner, as research by Richard Tarnas has shown that many key figures born at conjunctions and oppositions of Pluto and Uranus come into later prominence during astrologically resonant eras.  For example, Kurt became famous during the conjunction between Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn in the early 1990s with Pluto in Scorpio, and he has remained popular with the generation that was born at that time.

I am writing this post from my parent’s home near Atlanta, Georgia which is fitting because it is the same house I lived in when attending high school and discovered the work and life of Kurt Cobain.  Hearing Kurt Cobain’s music was an aesthetic epiphany for me, but not really any different on a pure musical level than the first time I heard the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur, Jr (the Lou Barlow You’re Living All Over Me version).  What set Kurt Cobain apart from the rest for me was the quality of his voice, and especially reading his interviews.  Listening to the voice of Kurt Cobain at the time felt like coming into contact with someone from the same planet or star system, a voice that gave a calming effect to my imposed sense of alienation that I was not alone in my perspective.  Kurt had this effect on many people, on a deeper level especially with others who also had a feeling of not fitting in, or were incredibly socially withdrawn like I was in high school.  But even with people who were considered “popular and normal” in one way or another in their social sphere, the primal scream of Kurt Cobain represented a feeling of outrage against societal abuse that seemed to unify an entire generation in appreciation.  Although he had his own personal issues with the fame he achieved, this same level of fame he achieved gave him a platform that reached youth across all channels of the United States, into places that were previously unaware that underground musical figures even existed.

Nirvana became famous at a time of mainstream radio in which it appeared that rock may have been dead.  There were countless incredible bands playing a form of “rock” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but most of this music was considered “underground” and did not get major radio play.  There was something shattering and paradigm shifting about the appearance of Nirvana in the mainstream, and Kurt decided to bring as many punk, underground, and independent musicians with him into prominence as possible, constantly naming and referencing bands for youth to search for in interviews.  Astrologically, it was a perfect ascendancy for the time period of the Uranus and Neptune conjunction in Capricorn that occurred at the end of the 1980s and continued through the early 1990s, with Pluto in the sign of Scorpio.  As Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth said at the time, “When a band like Nirvana comes out of the underground, it really expresses something that’s going on in the culture and not a commodity”  (Azerrad, p. 3).

Kurt’s life revealed the difficulty that can correlate between a Grand Water Trine and the navigation of powerful unconscious forces, as he eventually became a heroin addict who committed suicide.  At the time of his passing, his own Grand Water trine was being activated by transiting Pluto and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct his natal Scorpio Neptune, the transiting Pisces Mercury and Mars conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron, and his progressed Sun and Chiron conjunct in Pisces and also conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn and Venus.  Yet, his life also reveals the extraordinary imaginative power of a Grand Water Trine to dissolve what was formerly considered possible by society:  seriously, would anyone have believed in 1990, a time in which there was no dynamic rock music occurring in mainstream culture, that within a couple of years a high school dropout who had experienced homelessness and played Kurt’s style of music, would change the face of popular music completely?  Do we even tend to listen to homeless heroin addicts who have not graduated high school today?  Kurt Cobain revealed the brilliant mind and creative genius that one can find amongst the outcast of our society, and the tragedy of his life also shows how this same brilliance like a strike of lightning or the burning of quicksilver can be too much for an individual to handle when they become addicted to a destructive substance like heroin, instead of developing a more purifying release of energy.  Sadly, the potential radiance of a grand water trine can instead lead people into an isolated existence of withdrawal from the world in which they are overwhelmed or confused by the unconscious side of their emotional nature.  Most people flooded by feelings that feel out of control lack the skills, understanding, or even interest to process and integrate unconscious shadow material into a more whole presence of Self, and so they become at risk of entering a self-imposed exile that eventually leads to sickness of one form or another.  And yet, Kurt also proved the potential visionary power of the grand water trine,  that by having a dream and pursuing it with relentless passion, we can create a form for it in the reality of our personal lives, against all odds of what society tells us is possible.

Looking at Kurt’s chart, and the significance of his Pisces Saturn in his seventh house (it is conjunct a Pisces Venus, Chiron, Mercury, and Descendant, as well as an Aries Black Moon Lilith, in trine to a Cancer Jupiter and Scorpio Neptune, and in opposition to a Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo) drew me to exploring the old Liz Greene classic, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil.  Also relevant to the transit at this time of Saturn in Scorpio, in this book Liz connected Saturn in water signs and houses to the esoteric perspective of the mind, imagination, and emotions being the source of events and experiences, and the challenges Saturn in water signs can bring to the individual through the forms of blocks to this psychic energy:

No event or mundane circumstance can occur without having first been set in motion by an idea, charged with emotion, and then manifested as an action.  Beyond these three stages of an experience lies the meaning of the experience in relation to the whole, which it is the function of the intuition to perceive.  The world of feeling lies directly behind the world of events, and it is this world with which the watery signs and houses are concerned . . . [Humans are] largely unaware of the potency of this feeling nature, particularly at the present juncture where emphasis is placed on external behavior rather than on the quality of desire.  As long as something is not “done,” the individual will convince himself that he has no desire to do it; consequently, the power of the feelings increases because they are forced underground, into the realm of the unconscious.  From this subterranean position the feelings will force a man to action or attract certain kinds of illnesses or behavioural patterns which he does not understand, and which may hurt him, and which appear to be coming from somewhere else.  Psychic energy, like physical energy, cannot be destroyed; in fact they are the same, both kinds of energy, and will merely follow a different channel of expression if the usual one is blocked.  Blockage on the level of the feeling nature is symbolised by Saturn in a watery sign or house, and true to form the psychic energy which would ordinarily seek release through expression of feeling must take another channel of expression-  frequently through the body or through certain kinds of events.

— Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil,  (p. 16-17)

This access to deep reservoirs of psychic power that can be released into magical and artistic forms, or when blocked manifest as deep wounds in the body, reminds me of Frida Kahlo (who had a Pisces Saturn at 28 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Pisces Saturn; a Sun-Neptune conjunction at 13 degrees Cancer conjunct Kurt’s Moon; and a Cancer Jupiter at 21 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter), a painter who created art and lived from a place of constant, tortured pain in her body.  Kurt also lived and created art from an intense feeling of pain in his stomach that baffled the medical professionals he sought help from, apparently located according to him in the same region of his body he generated his singing voice from.  The bodily pain that Kurt and Frida both experienced reminds me on an archetypal level of the poisoned phase in the mythic life of Chiron (a very significant astrological archetype in Kurt’s chart), and both Frida and Kurt created art on a deep Chirotic level of release through exploring and expressing the darkest recesses of the psyche.  Like Frida, Kurt was able to transmute this pain into an artistic expression that touched the soul of many on this planet-  a transcendent and immanent power that emanated from his voice and physical presence on stage.

The song “Even In His Youth” is a good example of the simple and repetitive lyrics Kurt would sometimes write, that still managed to carry a deep message to many youth because of his compelling expression of their emotion:  “Even in his youth / Even in his youth / Even in his youth /  He was nothing / Kept his body clean / Kept his body clean /Kept his body clean / He was nowhere /  Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / He was something / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / He was something . . . ”  This particular song could be somewhat autobiographical, as in interviews Kurt has said of his father, that “He wanted me to be in sports and I didn’t like sports and I was artistic and he just didn’t appreciate that type of thing, so I just always felt ashamed.  I just couldn’t understand how I was a product of my parents because they weren’t artistic and I was.  I liked music and they didn’t.  Subconsciously, maybe I thought I was adopted . . . ” (Azerrad, p. 18).  Kurt was on the receiving end of both emotional and physical abuse from his father at times, an Aberdeen car mechanic who had some anger management issues;  furthermore, Kurt’s mother became involved with incredibly abusive men following her divorce with Kurt’s father, scenes of abuse that Kurt witnessed.

In this footage below of “Even in His Youth” being performed in 1989, Nirvana was on a European tour with the band Tad and discovering for the first time that they had a huge following in Europe.  At this time, Nirvana was still playing with Chad Channing from Bainbridge Island, one of their early series of drummers who stuck around a little longer than others.  You can see that the later addition of Dave Grohl on drums accelerated their dynamic energy on stage, but that the Kurt and Chris combination was still very compelling nonetheless:

Below is the iconic footage from “19991: The Year Punk Broke,” aka Pisces out of control on a Rock God Trip.  Again, note the very simple lyrics that somehow through his delivery transmitted huge emotional content across our planet. The lyrics are also so simple they can be interpreted in a universal context if you have been in High School in a situation with social cliques, and then experienced that again:  “Won’t you believe it just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / No recess / No recess / No recess . . . You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again.”  Kurt was artistic in high school and very withdrawn socially, a pattern he continued when moving to Olympia, Washington. Although he was fairly withdrawn socially from the more communal punk and hipster social circles of Olympia, I feel these lyrics relate more to the cliques and socio-politics of the Seattle music scene that Nirvana joined through Sub Pop records, a music scene that was at its early stages of being marketed by Sub Pop on its way to becoming the celebrated “grunge” movement in popular music.

At the time of this footage below in August of 1991 or so,  Nirvana was now beyond the level of Sub Pop and were signed to a major corporate record label, on tour in Europe with Sonic Youth, following their completion of recording the material for the Nevermind album and awaiting the release of the album a month later.  As I will discuss further below, in Kurt Cobain’s chart this was a significant time period because in his progressed chart, his progressed Mercury stationed direct at five degrees of Pisces (it had been retrograde since he was a toddler) around August 10, 1991.  Fittingly for a stationing direct progressed Mercury, this time was a huge shift for Kurt as he was able to play huge festivals for the first time alongside musical peers he looked up to such as Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, following the recording of a major label studio release.  In this footage below, as he had a charged Pisces Mercury by progression, he did not yet realize the extraordinary media attention that would soon become focused upon him:

The footage below is the moment they were becoming famous on an extraordinary level:  I always think of this clip as sort of their “Beatles” moment, around the same time they performed on “Saturday Night Live.”  They were becoming very famous at this point, and this was filmed live in an MTV studio in front of a studio audience, as the crescendo of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was building and building.  Kurt is direct and honest in his lyrics about his co-dependent relationship pattern, and of course that was exactly part of his appeal: “One baby to another says I’m lucky to met you / I don’t care what you’re thinking as long as it is about me / It is now my duty to completely drain you”

Here’s Kurt:

astro_2gw_42_kurt_cobain.61842.58717

Someone without prior astrological knowledge may think the image of Kurt’s chart looks like a kite (that’s the “official” label for the major visible aspect pattern), but I also think the image of a bow and arrow about to fly would come to mind.  With the bow and arrow image, it is fascinating to me that it is Pluto and Uranus holding the trigger, with the arrow prepared to shoot through the master marksman Chiron, in Pisces.  For any Kurt Cobain fans reading this who do not have previous astrological knowledge, I hope this post makes you more interested in astrology because Kurt’s chart is such a spellbinding and perfect representation of the mark he made upon the world as well as his self-undoing.

I feel we must start with the extraordinary fact that Kurt was born at the time of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction in Virgo, with his Ascendant splitting them directly up the middle, with Pluto at the very end of his 12th House, and Uranus at the very beginning of his 1st House.  If you are wondering why this would be significant, an extraordinary read on the subject is Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas in which he analyzes various historical periods that occurred during a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus, for example the 1960s (1960 – 1972) and the 1850s (1845 – 1856).  Among other themes, Tarnas found that historical events that occurred in the sequence of conjunctions and oppositions in the Pluto-Uranus cycle related to “epochal shifts in the rise and fall of imperial powers and dynasties and turning points in world history that mark tectonic shifts in the global balance of power . . . the sudden rise and empowerment of countercultures and youth cultures; eras marked by the emergence and flourishing of historically significant bohemian and countercultural districts, communities, and demimondes (the Left Bank, Bloomsbury, Soho, Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, Berkely, Harvard Square) . . . periods that brought the rapid emergence and proliferation of ecological, environmental, and nature-oriented movements of various kinds; and eras marked by cultural trends and movements advocating sexual revolution and erotic emancipation in society and the arts” (Tarnas, p. 164-5).  Tarnas distilled the Pluto and Uranus cycle down to an archetypal synergy between Dionysus and Prometheus:

The planet Uranus appears to be correlated with events and biographical phenomena suggestive of an archetypal principle whose essential character is Promethean:  emancipatory, rebellious, progressive and innovative, awakening, disruptive and destabilizing, unpredictable, serving to catalyze new beginnings and sudden unexpected change.  The planet Pluto, by contast, is associated with an archetypal principle whose character is Dionysian:  elemental, instinctual, powerfully compelling, extreme in its intensity, arising from the depths, both libidinal and destructive, overwhelming and transformative, ever-evolving. –Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 142

With both Pluto and Uranus in Virgo on his ascendant, the deep Soul that many have a hard time coming into contact with would have been impacting Kurt very much on a moment to moment basis, no matter how conscious he would have been of it.  Moreover, the ruler of his Ascendant and chart, as well as the ruler of his Pluto and Uranus, is a Pisces Mercury in direct opposition to his Pluto and Uranus, albeit a Gibbous more so than a Full phase.  His Pisces Mercury also being at the end of his 6th House conjunct his Descendant is another perfect symbol of how he was able to communicate his Soul nature through his art and music, and that in this lifetime he was coming into more of a courageous place to communicate some of the ultimate meaning he had accumulated across lifetimes, a purpose that gave his music the incredible power that was felt by so many listeners.

Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is very significant, as it rules his chart as the Ascendant ruler, rules his Virgo Pluto and Uranus, and rules his Gemini Ceres,  with the Gemini Ceres forming a t-square to the opposition between his Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Mercury-Chiron-Venus-Saturn.  Any Mercury in opposition to Pluto and Uranus would be intense, but Kurt’s Mercury being in Pisces at the very end of his 6th House on his 7th House cusp makes the relationship between his perception and his communication even more complex and difficult to handle.  Pisces Mercury perceives phenomenal reality on a level beyond the confines of language, and so normally can make a more powerful impression through artistic, symbolic, musical, and poetic expression- this is because it seems next to impossible for an individual with a Pisces Mercury to communicate what it is sensing through straightforward language description, and it can seem even more difficult to find an audience who can listen to their language choices and fully grasp their meaning.  Kurt Cobain often said he wrote lyrics at the last moment because he was lazy, but in the end the actual words he used were less important than the emotion he expressed through his music and the sound of his voice.

In Kurt’s progressed chart, his Mercury becomes even more important as it stationed retrograde in his toddler years and did not station direct until August 10, 1991 at the midpoint of his natal Pisces Sun and Persephone asteroid (which happens to also be his Vertex), following the recording of Nevermind when Nirvana was playing European festivals with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and other well-established bands, a real career peak for Kurt.  This career peak was only the beginning, however, as his progressed Mercury moving direct coincided with the release of Nevermind and his extraordinary rise to rock stardom.  The fact Mercury moved retrograde for so long in his lifetime leading up to his achievement of fame coincided in part with his artistic, withdrawn, and rebellious nature, a high school student who was talented enough to win artistic scholarships to college, but had such a hatred for his high school culture and the perspectives of many of his culturally conforming teachers, that he decided to drop out of high school before graduating.  This progressed retrograde movement of Mercury supported the counter-cultural development of his mind, and also could have given him greater capacity for a re-membering of pertinent Soul feelings that could have had the double-edge of making his art more powerful but his emotional life also more difficult to handle.

Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is also an entrance point into his Grand Water trine, with a Pisces Mercury-Venus-Saturn on his 7th House cusp, a Jupiter Cancer in his 11th House, and a Scorpio Neptune in his 3rd House that is also conjunct Vesta.  As I wrote in my last post on the Neptune and Jupiter cycle, the 1960s had a Scorpio influence across the decade due to Neptune and Jupiter starting a new cycle at 4 degrees of Scorpio in 1958, and Kurt had a connection to this point in Scorpio as it is the midpoint between the conjunction of his Scorpio Mars and Scorpio South Node of the Moon.  The sex, drugs, and rock and roll that came into prominence during the 1960s, the sexual revolution, as well as the spiritual seeker movement to merge with Source all have a connection with this Scorpio Neptune theme, and in Kurt’s chart Scorpio rules and Neptune is found in his third house of communication.  His Scorpio Neptune also being tightly conjunct Vesta in Scorpio, Kurt was able to focus on channeling this transformative Neptunian energy into his creative expression.  A Scorpio Neptune here is also a perfect symbol for how he often destroyed the art he created, as well as destroyed his guitars and other band equipment when performing on stage.  Even though at one point Kurt in an interview said he felt the name of Nirvana was “too esoteric,” he in fact seemed to have mastered the esoteric concept and significance of the destruction of form in the process of reaching a more heart-centered and Soul-infused consciousness.

Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is in a disseminating trine to his Scorpio Neptune, and so Kurt had the evolutionary task of modifying his visionary qualities into a form that would be accepted and widely disseminated in society.  He found this form in music, and his Jupiter being in Cancer and the 11th House is perfect for how he became obsessed with the culture of punk rock.  Cancer in Jupiter, like we are experiencing today, correlates to the intuitive perceptive quality of Jupiter, and the corresponding generation of beliefs, being filtered through the Cancer themes of roots, memories, and origins.  Kurt first became obsessed with punk rock before he even knew what it sounded like- he came across photographs of the Sex Pistols and other punk rock stars, and through his intuition became convinced that this was the exact music he needed to play, without having heard what it actually sounded like.  He went to his room and played three chord progressions with a lot of screaming (Azerrad, p. 23):

“It was definitely a good release,” says Kurt.  “I thought of it as my job.  It was my mission.  I knew I had to practice.  As soon as I got my guitar, I just became so obsessed with it.” “I had this feeling all the time-  I always knew I was doing something that was special,” says Kurt.  “I knew it was better, even though I couldn’t prove it at the time.  I knew I had something to offer and I knew eventually I would have the opportunity to show people that I could write good songs- that I could contribute something musically to rock and roll.” Kurt Cobain in Come As You Are, p. 23

Even though Kurt lived in the outskirts of Aberdeen, Washington, fortuitously there was a well-known punk band there called the Melvins, giving Kurt an opportunity to join a punk rock culture.  The culture of punk rock also correlates with the 11th House placement of Kurt’s Jupiter, as well as the fact he was able to manifest this rock and roll “wish” of his into his personal destiny.  Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is also conjunct Juno at the beginning of Leo in his 11th House, another perfect symbol in how Kurt was attracted to romantic partners he met through the punk scene:  his first girlfriend Tracy he met through the Melvins, his Olympia infatuation with Tobi Vail of Bikinni Kill, and his ultimate union with Courtney Love who actually had a cameo in the film Sid and Nancy. The final side to Kurt’s Grand Water Trine may be the most key point of all, with a Pisces Saturn conjunct Venus, Chiron, and Mercury in Pisces, as well as a Black Moon Lilith in Aries.  Depending upon your astrological school of thought, you may consider Kurt’s Saturn to be ruled by either his Cancer Jupiter or his Scorpio Neptune, and both actually make a lot of sense in his case.  Just isolating this stellium to his Saturn and Venus being conjunct is enlightening from the perspective of Liz Greene:

We have all encountered those children who because of their fear of being unwanted can only express their need for affection through destructive actions, or an attempt to inflict pain, or sulking and weeping; if we transfer this rather extreme picture to the adult body and mind of the Venus-Saturn individual, and include the skill at portraying surface coolness which he has usually developed, we will hold the key to his peculiar and often misunderstood emotional nature. — Liz Greene, Saturn:  A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 112

This sense of being unwanted seemed to be a deep issue for Kurt, and is even stronger archetypally when you consider that his Venus-Saturn conjunction was in Pisces, in his 7th House, and was also conjunct Black Moon Lilith and Chiron.  As we know Lilith is the ultimate symbol of the rejected feminine in myth, and Chiron in myth was also unwanted by his parents, transforming this wound into a capacity to foster countless other youth into greater embodiment of their heroic qualities.  Similarly, as Kurt Cobain found his way into fame, he attempted to highlight and bring into prominence as many other musicians he admired who had been ignored by mainstream media into the limelight.  With the asteroid Lilith also conjunct Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, Lilith also seems to be a significant archetype in relation to his Anima, or inner feminine soul nature.  In Kurt’s case, it wasn’t entirely the case that he was unwanted, as he had to suffer through an intense custody battle between his parents after their divorce, but after his father gained custody he re-married and Kurt felt neglected in comparison to his new step-siblings.  In contrast, his mother experienced a series of abusive relationships and apparently did not seem up to the challenge of raising Kurt, who acted out in numerous destructive ways.  Throughout his adolescence, however, Kurt pleaded with his mother to take him back in, and she did at various points.  However, at other times Kurt was left with no home to live in, and had to fend for himself.   The connection between these difficult life circumstances and his Grand Water Trine was masterfully described by astrologer Bill Tierney in his essential Dynamics of Aspect Analysis:  New Perceptions in Astrology:

There tends to be shown [in the Grand Water Trine] an exaggerated need for dependency, general mothering, safety from threat or harm, and psychological insulation from the harsher facets of reality.  And the more subtle these needs express themselves, the more potentially insidious.  In my opinion, this is the only Grand Trine that readily can become problematic, since the emotional self-containment it represents makes this individual hard to get to know intimately.  Negatively, he may feel he is disconnected with the outer world (since water is a unifying element which, when blocked, can feel out-of-tune with its surroundings).  He then may lose touch with his conscious awareness of himself and may passively allow unconscious forces to take over. — Bill Tierney, p. 76-77

With a South Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct a Scorpio Mars in his second house, Kurt knew how to rely on his inner resources for survival, and so he figured out creative solutions for his homelessness like sleeping under a bridge and fishing (until discovering the water was polluted), hanging out in public libraries as much as possible, and pretending to be family of hospital patients so he could hang out in hospital waiting rooms for extended periods of time.  Yet even though he knew internally how to physically survive on a material level, his emotional nature was clearly wounded, leading into more difficult relational patterns with his female romantic partners as an adult.  For example, his mother tried to show him “tough love” by not letting him continue to live with her after dropping out of high school without a job, and later in his marriage Courtney Love also tried to show him “tough love” by confining him to a residential drug rehabilitation center.  However, no matter what trouble he may have felt women in relationships caused him, in the end this Pisces Saturn stellium was more about him learning to take responsibility for his own emotional dynamic in relationship.  Just having a Saturn in the 7th house with nothing else according to Liz Greene indicates a need for him to balance his masculine and feminine sides in order to come to relationship more out of free choice than emotional need and compulsion, but with Lilith, Venus, Chiron, and Mercury also conjunct his Pisces Saturn, this powerful unconscious need would be even greater for Kurt to navigate relationships successfully and release relational co-dependency patterns stemming from past emotional wounding:

When Saturn is in the seventh house, the opportunity for an inner integration or balancing of opposites is offered, for it is unlikely that the individual will find the qualities he seeks happily expressed by a partner.  It is more likely that he will attract to himself situations which involve some degree of pain, isolation, rejection, and disappointment until he begins to reorient himself toward an inner search.  This placement is analagous to the coniunctio or mystical marriage of alchemy, which in psychological terms suggests an inner integration which results in a new centre for the psyche and new balance and meaning in life.  In alchemical symbolism this marriage is always accompanied by darkness and death previous to the distillation of the elixir, and the darkness which often accompanies a seventh house Saturn is matched only by the brilliance of the gold which is also promised. –Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 62

Kurt was able to alchemize gold from his Pisces Saturn signature in the form of the music that brought him widespread acclaim, but sadly Kurt went so deep into the darkness that he never came back out.  Kurt ended up passing away before he got to his exact Saturn return, with transiting Saturn in Pisces conjunct his Sun but more closely conjunct his Pisces Persephone asteroid.  So although Saturn was in Pisces when he died, it had not come into range of being conjunct his natal Saturn, and so he never made it to his first Saturn return, a time which would have correlated with an opportunity to make internal progress on these issues.  However, Kurt had such an intense Saturn signature in his birth chart it indicates it would have taken him years past his first Saturn return to begin to fully resolve all of his issues.  In fact, as he would have been getting closer to experiencing his Chiron return if he were alive today, it more than likely would have taken him at least as long as living to this point in time to come to a clearer resolution of his unconscious make-up.

So what exactly is some of the unconscious Soul material Kurt was working with? I have seen astrologer and past life regression therapist Patricia Walsh give a talk in which she said many Pluto in Virgo people come from the burning times, and Pluto in Virgo is often associated with relevant past lives in our “A.D” time period using the geodetic system.  Whether Kurt was burned at the stake or not, there are very clear signs that his Soul has been deeply wounded by the hierarchical power structure of the dogmatic Christian Church that has dominated the past couple of thousand years, often associated with the “Patriarchy.”  The burning of witches is one example of this, the Inquisition is another.  Part of Kurt’s evolutionary purpose with his Grand Water Trine was to integrate his anima or bring his feminine side into balance with his masculine side.  His Cancer Moon in his 10th House is one symbol of a sensitive feminine side hardened by cultural conditioning to make sure he gets his needs met, and another powerful female archetype of persecution in his chart is Lilith.  Kurt has the Lilith asteroid #1181 conjunct his South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, and he has Black Moon Lilith in Aries conjunct his Pisces Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in his 7th House.  Since the asteroid Lilith that is conjunct his South Node or past life ego identity is associated with the original wounding and rejection Lilith experienced in myth according to Demetra George, this means that Kurt is acting from Soul desires that are connected with the persecution and rejection of strong, independent women.  Since this South Node is in Scorpio, this persecution could have been associated with cultural taboos such as those involving sexuality, and with a Scorpio Mars also conjunct Lilith and his South Node there could have even been extreme rage and violence associated with this persecution.

In addition, during his high school years his progressed Mars would have stationed retrograde, staying retrograde for the rest of his life- again a symbol of not only his rebellious nature but also an instigator to deep unconscious material.   In any case, all of this strong Scorpio in his second house means that Kurt would have deep Soul desires linked into being familiar with relying on his own resources for survival through merging with a relationship or another external source of power.  As a result, the evolutionary purpose for him would have been to gain a stronger sense of internal security and integrated Self that would allow him to truly merge with others from his own place of power.  Since the placement of Black Moon Lilith according to Demetra George is a point of integration in the chart where we can work on coming to resolution of our Lilith issues of rejected femininity, it means that Kurt would have had the purpose of resolving these issues in his 7th House, in his relationships, in connection with his Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in Pisces.  As there haven’t been many female celebrities who have been culturally rejected as much as Courtney Love has, as much of a Lilith in the level of rejection, upon reflection of these Soul history signatures of Kurt it may make more sense for you why he chose to marry Courtney Love, if that was a scenario you previously did not understand.  Kurt has symbols in his chart indicating a need to integrate a strong Lilith aspect of his Anima into his Self, and so merging with Courtney Love in a relationship would have given him ample material to work with along these lines.

Since Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio is conjunct Mars, the traditional ruler of Scorpio, and the modern ruler of his South Node is his 12th house Pluto in Virgo that is conjunct Uranus and his ascendant, he has an extremely intense birth signature of having experienced extreme crises and cataclysms of epic proportions in his Soul’s history.  His navigation of this unconscious emotional makeup in his Soul’s incarnation as Kurt Cobain is shown through his Cancer Moon being in his 10th House, a house placement that emphasizes the impact of societal conditioning on his feeling nature.  The impact of cultural conditioning on his soul is most likely ancient, however, as can be seen from the fact that he has a conjunction of the Isis and Osiris asteroids in Capricorn in his 4th House, in opposition to his Cancer Moon.  I wrote about the significance of the Isis and Osiris cycle in an earlier post about Osiris, but in relation to Kurt it is a further symbol of his need to do intense alchemical inner work on his unconscious make-up and work on coming into a more whole and integrated presence of his Self.  This is not easy work for anyone, but would be especially intense for someone with the birth chart signatures that Kurt embodied.

In the end, Kurt simply has “crisis” written all over his birth chart, and so in many ways the intensity of the pain he experienced was part of his Soul’s evolutionary journey- we just never got a chance to see how strong he could have turned out in the end by persevering to a longer life.  For example, he had a Gemini Ceres in a t-square to an opposition between Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Lilith conjunct his South Node of the Moon, Persephone conjunct his Sun, Osiris-Isis in opposition to his Moon, and a 12th House Pluto conjunct his Ascendant that is also conjunct a 1st House Uranus.  Chiron as an archetype especially stands out to me, as at the time of his death transiting Chiron in Virgo was in his 12th House and in opposition to his natal Pisces Sun, his progressed Sun was in Pisces conjunct his progressed Chiron, both of which were then conjunct his natal Saturn, Venus, and Black Moon Lilith.  Furthermore, at the time of his passing Pluto and the North Node of the Moon were conjunct in Scorpio and transiting conjunct his natal Neptune, and transiting Venus was conjunct his North Node of the Moon.  Meanwhile, transiting Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces and further activating his water trine through being conjunct his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Saturn was in Pisces conjunct his Pisces Persephone and Sun, and the Moon on the day of his death was moving through Pisces and would have also passed over the significant Pisces celestial bodies in his chart.

In short, although none of these transits explains really any reason why Kurt was meant to die when he did, they are simply further examples of the extreme intensity present in his birth chart.  We will never know what would have happened if he had lived longer and had the opportunity to attempt to heal himself from his past wounding, but we do have a recorded legacy of his being, his Soul pouring out, his pure Soul expression that saturated his music and voice. Finally, below is is a fairly long (23 minute) interview with Kurt in August of 1993 where one can get the opportunity through the Pisces illusion of computers to sit with him for a bit:

References

Azerrad, Michael. (1993). Come as you are:  the story of Nirvana.  Main Street Books.

Greene, Liz. (1976).  Saturn:  a new look at an old devil.  Samuel Weiser, Inc.

Tarnas, Richard. ( 2007). Cosmos and Psyche:  Intimations of a new world view.  Plume.

Tierney, Bill. (1983).  Dynamics of aspect analysis. CRCS.

The Neptune and Jupiter Cycle

Love Angel

Grand Water Trine of July 2013:

Trinity in the Neptune-Jupiter cycle

Angelic grace or imaginal joviality may be evoked by the conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter, but their cycle has a deeper relationship with the evolution of consciousness.  In July 2013 we are now in the first quarter trine phase of this most recent cycle, and this current trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces has demanded a great deal of attention as it has been part of a grand water trine with Saturn in Scorpio (Saturn in Scorpio is in a disseminating trine to both Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces).  I recently came across a copy of  Dane Rudhyar’s 1958 article about The Jupiter and Neptune Cycle, originally published in Horoscope magazine, and have been thinking about it in relation to the current phase involving Jupiter and Neptune.

Rudhyar believed the Neptune and Jupiter cycle is one of the most important planetary cycles to contemplate because it is the only one with a consistent pattern of successive conjunctions between the planets occurring in successive signs of the zodiac.  As a result, Rudhyar placed it with the Jupiter-Saturn cycle and the eclipse cycles to be one of the most important cycles to ponder in relation to historical analysis.  Rudhyar also highlighted the lunar phase quality of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle because it occurs in relation to the number 13, with the entire cycle lasting for 166 years (adds up to 13) and each successive conjunction happening every thirteen years.   The fact that Neptune functions as the Sun in this analogy, and Jupiter as the Moon, is interesting in light of Rudhyar’s analysis because he viewed Jupiter as corresponding to societal beliefs and attitudes we may conform to for security purposes, and Neptune as corresponding to more of an evolutionary Soul path forward for us to follow, albeit a more disorienting one that can be difficult for many human beings to integrate in a grounded manner.

In his article Rudhyar stressed the fact that Jupiter and Saturn as planetary archetypes both connect to the concept that human beings interact in groups and form societies and cultures, producing communities within these that have shared values, ideals, needs, and memories.  As a result there also ends up being a shared language, laws, religions, institutions, and cultures. Rudhyar further reasoned that while Saturn correlates with the boundaries a person embodies in their participation through the role, function, and place they act from, Jupiter gives each individual person the feeling that they belong or are connected in a community through shared knowledge and belief.  Rudhyar explained that Jupiter does this because it “deals particularly with social-cultural-religious feelings and the expansion that comes to the individual who operates warmly in terms of these feelings, reiciprocated (usually) by others, either emotionally (happiness) or in terms of concrete values (wealth)” (Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraph 18).

In connection to the Neptune cycle, and how we tend to think of Neptune as corresponding to our connection to Goddess/God/Spirit, we can thus infer that Jupiter and Saturn deal with the shared societal aspects of organized religion, and the ways in which one should behave in society as a follower of the particular organized religion one follows.  In case one is not religious, Jupiter and Saturn would thus connect with the shared societal aspects of how one “should” or “should not” act if one would like to be viewed as “successful” by the consensus culture with which one belongs.  Yet as we know from experience, sometimes what the consensus culture defines as normal, such as ignoring a homeless person on the street or keeping a secret about a wound from person in authority over us so as not to damage the associated institution, may not feel inside us like it is how we truly want to act in the moment.  As a result, Rudhyar made the astute observation that although Jupiter is usually described as the “great benefic” among astrologers, in reality it often can correlate with conformity and resisting the call of an evolution in consciousness:

Astrologers are haunted with the idea that Jupiter is “the greater fortune” and a symbol of all that is “good.”  But good and fortunate for what-  for the easy way of complacent and nearly automatic repetition of the past!  Jupiter gives good fortune to those who conform, who follow the rules of the social game, the political game, the religious ritual, the way of the “classical” great masters in the arts.  Truly, there is nothing wrong in conforming; and there are vast practical benefits in doing so.  But conforming is not taking the new evolutionary step.  This step-  this new transformation or “mutation”-  requires, like the taking of any walking step, an initial loss of balance, a “fall,” immediately followed by a “recovery.”  To walk is constantly to lose one’s balance, then recover it as the foot again touches the ground a yard or so ahead.

The Jupiter-Neptune cycle is very much like a walking process.  Every 13 years-  and, even more, every 166 years-  mankind should take a step forward, even if only a tiny one.  It should be a step ahead of our past traditional, social, cultural, and religious sense of human relationship.  Unfortunately, such a step tends to lead at first to confusion, disarray, dismay, perhaps temporary blindess and panicky escape “back to the womb” of what may be thought to be a secure and familiar institution or religious organization.  However, progress is only through the confusion and the glowing mist over the hills, yonder.  There is no way ever of going ahead, except through!

–Dane Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraphs 23 and 24

The connection between Jupiter and Saturn with what can fall within the boundaries of consensus thought links to the fact that for a long time Jupiter and Saturn were the outermost known planets of our solar system.  With each successive planetary discovery, first Uranus, then Neptune, then Pluto, and now we know that there is a vast array of celestial objects even beyond this, with each new discovery a new collective evolution in consciousness occurred, such as Uranus being discovered during revolutionary times in the United States and France, and Neptune being discovered during a time of spiritual movements in the 19th Century.  In his article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle, Rudhyar described that along these lines Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are galactic ambassadors for us connecting us to another level of reality, a “stage of transition between the solar system unit and the vaster cosmic whole, the galaxy; more precisely, they refer to certain basic modes of activity by which this galactic whole constantly impresses its powers upon our tiny solar system, ‘feeds’ (in a sense) this solar system and works toward its closer integration into the galactic field” (Rudhyar, paragraph 19).

However, these outer planets prove difficult for us to integrate and more often than not impact us in a manner that reveals how we are not wholly integrated with our true soul path and work in the world.  While Uranus can be an awakener that unexpectedly shocks us and shakes us free from the Saturn role or Jupiter belief we have identified our ego and personality with in society, Rudhyar illuminated that it is Neptune that then dissolves the shattered remnants of this formerly crystallized identity, exposing our consciousness wide open with the potential to feel  vulnerable and disoriented.  When we respond to this heightened sensitivity and openness by clinging to escapist pursuits in order to grasp at a sense of security or familiarity, we bring in the side of Neptune described as being illusionary, foggy, glamorous, or unfocused.  Yet Neptune is a universal archetype of unity and unconditional love, and as Rudhyar described “an agent of the vast galactic field of cosmic existence . . . an emissary of the greater to the lesser” that “dissolves the obsolete narrowness of the Saturnine focus” because of the deep compassionate nature of its archetype (Rudhyar, paragraph 21).  This is how Neptune represents the future in relation to Jupiter.

Rudhyar concluded that the Neptune and Jupiter cycle therefore symbolizes the steps we can take as an individual in transforming our established social beliefs, and the manner in which as a society of people we are moving forward in our collective evolution.  Rudhyar emphasized that the Jupiter-Neptune cycle by itself does not necessarily correlate with startling events, but instead emerges more as a change in feeling regarding what our human interactions mean.  The following chart image is taken from the Rudhyar Archival Project’s republication of his article that was originally published in September 1958 in Horoscope Magazine:  you can see that the conjunction happened in a successive sign of the zodiac every cycle except for the cycles of 1984 and 1997 that each happened in Capricorn, and the cycles of 1779 and 1792 that each happened in Libra.

jupiter_neptune_dates

In his article Rudhyar analyzed how you can compare the previous cycle of Jupiter and Neptune conjunct in a zodiac sign in order to help understand the meaning of the new cycle.  For example, when he wrote this article in 1958 Jupiter and Neptune were having their conjunction in Scorpio, which connected to the previous Scorpio conjunction in 1804.  Rudhyar noted that 1804 found Napolean Bonaparte an Emperor of France following the previous conjunction in Libra in 1792 that found the monarchy abolished and France declared a republic.  And just think of what occurred alone in the United States of America between the Scorpio conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1958 and their next conjunction in Sagitarius in 1971!  Thus, from this viewpoint while the tumultuous events of the 1960s are often associated with the conjunction between Pluto and Uranus that occurred in Virgo, we can also connect them with the theme of Scorpio that was introduced in 1958 through the Jupiter-Neptune cycle.

Similarly, while we associate the intensity of events occurring today with the square occuring between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, we can also interpret them through the Jupiter-Neptune archetypal theme of Aquarius that was introduced in 2009.  Looking back to the last Aquarius conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in 1843 could possibly give us some guidance (for example, in the realm of philosophy I noticed that Kierkegaard’s Either/Or and other writing was published in this year and that Friedrich Nietzsche was born a year later- two of the “fathers” of Existential philosophy which objectified and analyzed in an Aquarian manner the individual’s role in society and religion), but events of today are obviously very different from events in 1843.  When we consider our current cycle between Jupiter and Neptune that began on May 27, 2009 in Aquarius, one major news event happening in the United States was the first phase of newly elected President Barack Obama’s administration attempting to successfully establish itself following the infamous “first hundred days” period.  The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the USA was an Aquarian event that liberated the U.S. presidency from past patterns, as he was the first African-American to be elected, as well as the son of a single mother who had a compelling story that resonated with many of the U.S. people.  One of his administration’s first intentions was the Aquarian ideal of reforming the U.S. Health Care system through opening up health care to citizens with pre-existing health issues, among other reforms.  This action had a parallel to a previous Jupiter-Neptune cycle initiated during the first term of a presidency- the 1932 cycle in Virgo that saw Franklin Roosevelt (born a half year later than the  Jupiter-Neptune conjunction of 1881) elected, and then his “New Deal” passed a year later.  Similarly, after a process of excessive political gamesmanship between political enemies and competing interests which connected more with the conforming aspect of Jupiter that Rudhyar referenced in his article, the Obama administration was able to pass an imperfect compromise.  In connection to the recent first quarter trine, it is nonetheless interesting that in the same week as the exact trine happened, President Obama finally made a new public stance and push in order to promote the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or what has now been commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”

Of course, much more has been going on in this time period than attempts at health care reform, as we have been in an intense Aquarian storm in the sense of dramatic events and crises that have evoked a collective emphatic response from humanity.  One of the most obvious connections to the Aquarian themed archetype of this phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle has been issues and ethical questions surrounding the world-wide web, the Internet, and social media.  For example, we have had the Wikileaks scandals, the Bradley Manning leaks, and now the “Snow Man” leaks in which we have learned the U.S. government can access all of our social media and Internet communication anytime it wants.  There have been a lot of attempts from activists and others seeking to liberate (Aquarius) information to the public, with a sharp backlash from power players/institutions (Leo) wanting to keep control.  For example, academic institutions have prosecuted people, at extremely high monetary value, they have labeled as being hackers for attempting to open public access for free to academic journals one would have had to pay a fee for in the past.  This has been in contrast to the “open source” movement that has been popular among many at the forefront of technology in which they have intentionally made all of their information public and free in order to receive “outside the box” criticism and feedback from members of the public who would normally not have the access.  With regards to the current NSA control of cell phone and Internet records, to the wide array of issues that have come up through the instantaneous manner in which the global community is now connected through social media, we have been in a Neptunian fog so to speak with how exactly to work out these issues.  However, the potential power of these forms of communication have become very clear, as one of the greatest Aquarian uses of social media in this time period has been through the use of it in organizing revolutions such as the Arab Spring.  Looking back upon the last year of intense events that are far too many to even begin to document here, it is also important to remember that with regards to Jupiter and Neptune, we also experienced a first quarter square between Gemini Jupiter and Pisces Neptune that first occurred in June through July of 2012, and then in a wider aspect again in January through March of 2013 after a retrograde phase of Jupiter in Gemini.

Aquarius 2009 Cycle

Trayvon Martin by Rudy Shepherd

The above image of Trayvon Martin and his father was made by the artist Rudy Shepherd, an old college friend of mine who attended a private and religiously-affiliated university with me in the Southeast of the United States of America.  Being from the South in the USA (I grew up outside New Orleans, Louisiana and then Atlanta, Georgia) I am very familiar with the racial dynamics that recently exploded here surrounding the verdict on George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin.  The Grand Water Trine involving the Neptune-Jupiter trine coincided with a cathartic emotional release and rage from the African-American community and other people of color who have lived under the constant threat of racial profiling from the American criminal justice system.  In addition, there has also been a lot of bickering between people who consider themselves to be “White allies” and people who appear to be either ignorant or nonreflective of the “White privilege” they intrinsically possess as being a member of society in the USA.  Whether you agree with the verdict or not, the indisputable facts are that George Zimmerman believed (Jupiter) he had the community-sanctioned authority of being in a “Neighborhood Watch” role (Saturn), and chose to focus on Trayvon Martin, an African American youth wearing a hoodie and buying skittles, he did not recognize as being suspicious and a potential criminal threat.  A response from someone with a different set of beliefs may have been to walk up to Trayvon and have a brief friendly conversation, but instead Zimmerman chose to follow him with a gun, call the police, and continue to stalk Martin despite being told not to by the police.  There is in fact no way to separate out the racial profiling aspect of this situation, and whatever altercation between these two individuals that followed does not change the fact that the entire situation was rooted in racial profiling.  Racial profiling is a serious and well-documented aspect of American culture, and this particular event drew a collective emotional connection through Aquarian aspects of social media technology and group mind connection.  The quick manner in which a story like this can circulate throughout social media, and the strong emotional response it can manifest that then can quickly turn into a massive emotional reaction  (perhaps in this case having a stronger than normal correlation to the grand water trines between Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn and Mercury-Chiron-North Node of the Moon) is to me a perfect example of this being an Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle.

The opportunity presented by the grand trine between Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Neptune, and Scorpio Saturn that happened at this time inside of the larger Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, is for a new dialogue concerning issues of race to occur in the United States of America with the hope to throw off and liberate consensus thought from some of it’s past limitations of mainstream belief concerning racism.  There is also the opportunity now for people outraged by racial profiling and other aspects of racism in America to re-organize themselves into more productive groups and organizations to do something pro-active about this situation in an Aquarian manner.  In the community college classes I have taught to many members of the Neptune-Uranus generation born in the 1990s, many students of this generation do not believe that “race” even exists and can be initially reluctant to examine dynamics between oppression and race in the USA.  In class I would respond that while I agree with them that “race” does not necessarily exist besides the idea of a “human race” (Neptune), the fact that there is a strong cultural belief in “race” and “racism” (Jupiter) means that it is an issue in need of examination.  Despite some talk from some people of us existing now in a “post-racial” society because we have an African-American President for the first time, the Trayvon Martin killing now stands as a historical landmark clearly revealing to everyone the extent of racism that still exists in this country.  If we hope to move forward as a people and a collective and survive on this planet in the looming Age of Aquarius, it is imperative for us to initiate new conversations and work at healing the gaping wounds individuals and groups carry with regards to racism and a lack of equity and inclusiveness.  This is not easy work, and during a time of incredibly destructive religious wars occurring across the planet, it may seem impossible.  However, the 2009 celestial partnering of Neptune and Jupiter in Aquarius indicates that working on our group dynamics as a people is one of our tasks in our collective evolution.

With regards to our current President Obama, a leader who has a Pisces Chiron currently conjunct transiting Neptune and in trine to transiting Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio, the Trayvon Martin story finally either pushed him or gave him the inner strength to publicly talk openly to the American people about the racism and judgment he has experienced as an African-American male in this country.  While some think this was a politically motivated talk or want to demean it on account of various transgressions enacted by his administration, the fact that a President of the United States openly talked to the press about hearing car doors locked as he walked down the street and being followed by clerks in stores when he has been shopping is a huge monumental event in the history of the United States.  With regards to President Obama on a personal level, the grand water trine coincided with an opportunity for the issues of his Pisces Chiron in his first house, issues that in part relate to his identity as a mixed race son of a single white mother, to be released- watching video of his “speech,” you can visibly see how energetically confining his public role has been for him and the incredible amount of restraint he has carried in completely avoiding talking about his identity as an African-American male to the American people.  With regards to the effect of this speech, it gave an opportunity for many African-Americans and people of color for the first time to hear the ultimate public authority in the United States speak from direct experience of experiencing racism in the USA.  Maybe it is my own Aquarian ideals speaking here, but I strongly feel it is important to not discount this moment and the potential opening that could result.  However, for productive growth to occur it will important to focus on how to most effectively utilize the Aquarian concepts of collectivity, technology, communication, inventiveness, protest, and liberating thought in order to most effectively create new change.

Keeping in mind that the grand water trine of Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn is occurring within a first quarter square between Uranus and Pluto, we can directly connect these events to the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus first came into range of the conjunction in Virgo they are now in a square to each other from in the signs of Aries and Capricorn.  Fittingly, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Bernice King, gave a public statement on social media following the verdict in the Geogre Zimmerman case that connected these events with the civil rights movement her father helped lead in the 1960s.  Again, remember events in the 1960s can be connected to the Scorpio cycle of Neptune and Jupiter that was initiated in 1958, so it is also interesting that Saturn is in Scorpio today:

It’s ’63 again.  NOT GUILTY.  Just like those who got off for the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham back in ’63.  I’m stunned and disappointed.  It’s a sad day in the history of American jurisprudence that our justice system continues to fall short of the truth, especially when a person can be going about their daily business and ultimately be killed because of a false assumption.  In the words of a friend, “any law that justifies the actions of Zimmerman is an unjust law.” In the words of my father “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” Let us seek God for his guidance during this time. God is a God of Justice, mercy and grace. All protests against the verdict must demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to Nonviolence, to honor the dignity of Trayvon Martin’s life and not add further tragedy to what his family and the people of Sanford have already experienced. Now is the time to create a culture of Nonviolence.

–Dr. Bernice King, facebook post on July 13, 2013

Dr. King’s call for a nonviolent protest again connects these events with the Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle we are currently in.  Her reference of God is also interesting as an example of the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune as archetypes.  During the Zimmerman trial, the prosecution played a video tape of George Zimmerman also invoking God in relation to his actions.  In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, in response to being asked if he could go back in time if he would have done anything differently that day, Zimmerman replied not only that he would not do anything differently, but that in fact it was God’s plan that he did what he did.  These contrasting uses of God in relation to this situation is a good example of how human beings can get themselves to believe anything, or another way of saying that is we can create and believe any illusion that we want to.

Although in his article Rudhyar pointed out the “lower” side of Jupiter that can be not only conforming but also fanatical about consensus beliefs that may not truly reflect the evolutionary trajectory of the moment, when we examine the glyph for Jupiter, a half circle sitting on top of a cross, we can see how the half circle representing higher mind or Soul being above the cross of matter corresponds to the potential of Jupiter to help transmute human consciousness above attachment to matter.  Therefore, Jupiter as an archetype is receptive to a close connection with awareness from the Neptune archetype, but the trick is in the discernment and spiritual or esoteric discrimination one employs in navigating these energies.  Again, just because Jupiter can correspond to what one “should” or “should not do” is not intrinsically an issue- however, it can become an enormous issue of our psyche if we have refrained from acting in accordance with how our true heart would call us to act for fear of breaking or going against a Jupiterian belief or taboo associated with consensus thought, religion, society . . .  In this way we cut ourselves off from our true perception, communication, interaction, and Self.  Alan Oken has taught about how one can employ esoteric discrimination through intuitively aligning with certain energies or vibrations without the need to label them as “good” or “bad,” because if our hearts are open, we do not need someone to tell us that we want to nurture a baby instead of harming a baby.

In Evolutionary Astrology, Jeffrey Wolf Green taught that Jupiter corresponds to beliefs and is a key factor in helping us align with Natural Law to a greater extent.  Green taught that the Jupiter archetype corresponds to how human beings form beliefs, and that there also can be a difference between what one believes and what the ultimate Truth of the situation is.  Green also defined the knowledge we can gain with Jupiter as not being a result of our beliefs, but instead is a result of our direct experience with the actual truth of anything.  In comparison, Green taught that Neptune as an archetype correlates with the ultimate meaning of anything, including the meaning of the nature of our ultimate Source of Creation.  As a result, Green taught that through the combination of Jupiter and Neptune humans can create any illusion, delusion, or belief that they want, including a connection to the ultimate meaning of God/Spirit/Source.  Furthermore, Green taught that because there is a natural square between the archetypes of Sagitarius and Pisces, zodiac signs commonly associated with Jupiter and Neptune, a crisis of consciousness can result when we discover that our beliefs do not align with the actual truth of a situation we realize through direct experience.  As a result, Green taught that the evolutionary purpose of experiencing disillusionment is so that we can ultimately align ourselves to a greater extent with the actual truth of anything, including the ultimate meaning of anything.

Perhaps it can be helpful for any of us experiencing profound disillusionment at this time to consider this evolutionary purpose of disillusionment described by Jeff Green.  This concept of a crisis in consciousness also hearkens back to who I believe is the originator of the term “crisis in cosciousness” in astrology, Dane Rudhyar, and his analysis that experiences connected with the cycle of Neptune and Jupiter will most likely involve a “fall” that is full of “disorientation” and “confusion.”  But instead of running “back to the womb” of our comfort zone and habitual comforts, we can draw up the strength to recover and step forward on our evolutionary journey.  In connection with the potential for profound collective soul work that could come from this Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, it is also important to remember that it sometimes takes intense crises to liberate the hearts and minds of people into a united focus upon a cause.

Poseidon

Owen Barfield

Jupiter first quarter trine to Neptune at Birth

As a way to come at an additional understanding of how the Jupiter-Neptune cycle can play out in birth charts, I thought it would be interesting to give a historical example.  When considering a conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in the birth chart, the individual could in many ways be instinctively tapped into the wave of the future, without perhaps being as consciously aware of the new vision as someone with a different aspect between the planets.  One example of this would be the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, born during the Libra conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1792.  While Shelly did achieve a level of fame in his meteoric lifetime, he was also criticized as a dilettante and crazy political radical by contemporaries living from the consensus Jupiter-Saturn thought patterns of the time.  However, in connection with the future-oriented meaning of this cycle in Libra,  in the successive generations following the death of Shelley he became a major inspiration in not only the field of poetry, but also in activism through his written proclamations concerning non-violent resistance in political protest and a vegetarian lifestyle.

In Evolutionary Astrology a first quarter trine aspect between Pluto and a planet is connected with the individual being “full” of their evolutionary purpose, and I feel in a similar fashion an individual with a first quarter trine aspect between Neptune and Jupiter could also be full of a new vision to manifest, including a conscious awareness of how to actualize a personal reality aligned with the vision.  A profound example of a birth chart containing a first quarter trine between Neptune and Jupiter is Owen Barfield, who was born on November 9, 1898 in London, UK.  The previous conjunction between Neptune and Jupiter would have been at 14 degrees Gemini, and is the place where Barfield has his Pluto.  So being born five years after the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction here, Barfield also has his Gemini Pluto conjunct his Gemini Neptune.  He also had a Mercury conjunct Chiron conjunct Uranus on the Scorpio/Sagitarius cusp, among many other fascinating natal chart aspects.  However, for our purposes here of examining a first quarter trine aspect between Jupiter and Neptune, the life and work of Owen Barfield is a beautiful example.  The following video is summarizes many of the innovations in thought provided by Barfield:

The fact Barfield has been held up as one of the most innovative thinkers, writers, and teachers of the 20th Century aligns completely with him being born with a trine between Neptune and Jupiter following their conjunction in Gemini in 1894.  With a Jupiter in Libra he formed relationships with and inspired two of the most influential novelists of the 20th Century, Tolkien and Lewis, the authors of The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories, and he was able to create channels through which to express his Neptunian-informed thought. We can see the influence of Neptune on his thinking in his ability to discover aspects of the evolution of consciousness through his Gemini exploration of the history of the English language.  He perceived how metaphors reveal a significance beyond a materialistic outlook, and how the fact that metaphors can only be understood by the imagination but not by logical reasoning does not mean they are not real.  As the video above quoted, he saw how a butterfly and a flower are a “material manifestation of an immaterial unity from which both the butterfly and the flower sprung, an invisible common ancestor if you like.”  His writing and thoughts on “thinking about thinking,” the “evolution of consciousness,” “collective representations,” and “original participation versus final participation” are all lovely examples of a human chanelling Neptunian thought through Jupiterian expression.

It may be of interest that I recently discovered Owen Barfield during this time of the Jupiter-Neptune trine through a social media (Aquarius) post by the Seattle astrologer Kate Petty and so for me coming across Barfield’s writing has been a great synthesis of many aspects of my recent thinking.  In particular I am drawn to his concept of participation and how humans became cut off from nature with a feeling of being isolated and enclosed in their physical bodies, but by developing our imagination we can return to an awareness of our participation with Nature without losing our independent self-consciousness.  He further described our consciousness as being more enclosed within the world as a whole than within the confines of our skin and skull.  He invited us to release our attachment to viewing our minds as having evolved from a material and unconscious universe, to seeing that in the history of our world that matter has emerged from mind, and not mind from matter.  The following poem is quoted among others at the end of the video:

Meditation

Light in the world-

World in the mind-

Mind in the heart-

Heart in the night-

Pain in the day-

Strength in the pain-

Light in the strength-

World in the light.

–Owen Barfield, from Orpheus:  A Verse Drama

It is also interesting examining the life of Barfield, in connection with the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, that he chose to take on a more consensus Jupiter-Saturn role at one point in order to help out with his family business.  However, he eventually returned to his true Soul work of communicating liberating thought through a prolific period of writing and publishing books that took up the rest of his lifetime.  As the video quoted at the end, Barfield’s work served the Jupiterian and Neptunian purpose of revealing that there is a meaning of meaning, that the world has deep meaning, and that if we learn to properly listen we will hear its meaning.   May we likewise have the courage to continue forward on our own evolutionary journey of consciousness.

References

Rudhyar, Dane.  (1958).  The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle.  Horoscope Magazine.

Sirius New Moon in Cancer

Chagall - so i came forth of the sea

New Moon in Cancer

The image above is by my favorite painter, Marc Chagall, a Cancer who is enjoying his birthday today wherever he is, as I write this.  It is called, “So I came forth of the Sea and sat down on the edge of an island in the moonshine,” and to me it encapsulates the watery astrological energy of the moment and the possibility of intuitively moving with the flow of it all, finding some sense of stillness within.  In case you haven’t heard, this is going to be a very potent New Moon in the midst of a grand water trine involving  Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.  Saturn is of particular prominence in the moment, having stationed direct yesterday.  Saturn being in Scorpio, ruled by a Pluto in Capricorn undergoing a square from Uranus in Aries, has the sort of energy that makes the more squeamish of astrologers run for the underground.  However, why not invite this energy in and have it help resurrect our truest path from within, just like the Moon itself emerges from its dark phase at this time to new light?

Examination of the Sabian symbol of this New Moon, as we astrologers love to do (if you haven’t noticed) bears in this case the repetition of you maybe having already read this one by Dane Rudhyar:

Cancer 17:  The unfoldment of multilevel potentialities issuing from an original germ.

Keynote:  The life urge to actualize one’s birth potential.

What is pictured here is simply the process of germination. As it unfolds from the sundered seed the plant pierces the crust of the soil and reaches up toward the light. This is a dynamic process turned outward, in contrast to the more static or introspective process of integration-through-understanding depicted in the preceding symbol. Germination is the crucifixion of the seed . . . The expanding process of self-actualization- which may mean nothing more than ego-expansion through conquest- contrasts with the introspective study of the structural relationship between, and the meaning of, the various energies and potentialities of one’s nature (svarupa in Sanskrit). The keyword is GROWTH.

from An Astrological Mandala, p. 121-2

The “preceding symbol” Rudhyar references is from sixteen degrees of Cancer, “A man studying a mandala in front of him, with the help of a very ancient book” and so is about more of a deep internal process of personality integration, in contrast to the outward expression of the potential of the individual found in the symbol associated with this New Moon at seventeen degrees of Cancer.  Rudhyar’s analysis that this self-actualization process may appear to be an “ego expansion through conquest” links with the tumultuous process we undergo through individuating ourselves, and how part of this can look like narcissism or self-absorption because of the need to figure out who we are, as part of the process of then being able to move out into the world embodying more of our multilevel potential. Again, though, this symbol points to this being more of a time of germination, or feeling the urge of our potential, not necessarily that we would actually be already living the vision at this phase of our process.

One supportive New Moon aspect going with this symbolic meaning is the fact that Venus in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries.  Another one is Mercury moving in retrograde in Cancer conjunct this New Moon, perfect for helping us perceive and reveal our inner potential- also, Mercury retrograde energy can be utilized in outer expression like this symbol suggests more so than you may realize from the pop astrology stereotypes about the dangers of it’s retrograde movement.    However, I cannot think of a more harmonious change in planetary movement to support such a symbol than Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio on the day before the New Moon.  Saturn being a boundary planet that is more about the collective and our role in society than a personal planet like Mercury, it’s stationing direct or retrograde can often coincide with major global events.   This is particularly the case in connection with modern Egypt, as the Arab Spring there began in 2011 with Saturn stationing retrograde, and the new phase of the Egyptian revolution that took effect this past week happened with Saturn stationing direct.  July 3 being the date of this most recent phase of Egyptian revolution is interesting because it is a date in which the Sun in Cancer is conjunct the fixed star Sirius, an important star in the ritual and myth of ancient Egypt.  In fact, conspiracy theorists believe the Founding Fathers of the USA chose the date of July 4 to be the date of “America’s Independence” because it is a date in which the Sun is aligned with Sirius.  The shifting of Saturn corresponding to major global events is also a symbolic correspondence to the power available to us on a personal level to revolutionize aspects of our lives when it stations direct.  The fact that Saturn is doing this now in the sign of Scorpio, in a grand trine aspect to Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces, is an extraordinary symbol of transformation available to us on the deepest level of our being, if we are brave and honest enough to avoid denial and take accountability of our actions, release what is holding us back, and invoke what will propel us forward.

Today’s New Moon also happens to be conjunct Sirius, a beautiful star to behold in the sky and a star that carries a deep well of myth and tall tales encircling it from the most ancient of days, among the widest variety of indigenous cultures imaginable.  One mythic figure who is especially connected to Sirius through myth is Isis (to read my archetypal analysis of Isis click here). I was reading recently about the Isis and Osiris myth in Carl Jung’s revised version of his Symbols of Transformation, thinking there could be something there about Isis to connect with this New Moon energy.  The following quote I found I feel is a perfect addendum to the sabian symbol cited above by Dane Rudhyar:

But it is far from clear, because a new adaptation or orientation of vital importance can only be achieved in accordance with the instincts.  Lacking this, nothing durable results, only a convulsively willed, artificial product which proves in the long run to be incapable of life.  No man can change himself into anything from sheer reason; he can only change into what he potentially is.  When such a change becomes necessary, the previous mode of adaptation, already in a state of decay, is unconsciously compensated by the archetype of another mode.  If the conscious mind now succeeds in interpreting the constellated archetype in a meaningful and appropriate manner, then a viable transformation can take place.  Thus the most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood state is indicated.  One such succesful interpreation has been, for instance, Mother Church, but once this form begins to show signs of age and decay a new interpretation becomes inevitable.

Even if a change does occur, the old form loses none of its attractions; for whoever sunders himself from the mother longs to get back to the mother.  This longing can easily turn into a consuming passion which threatens all that has been won.  The mother then appears on the one hand as the supreme goal, and on the other as the most frightful danger- the “Terrible Mother.”

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation (2nd edition, with corrections, 1967) , p. 236

Isis giving milk

Carl Jung’s interpretation of the Isis and Osiris myth in Symbols of Transformation has an almost obsessive attachment to viewing it through the lens of incest as a taboo.  Jung focused on the sibling sexual relations between brother-sister Osiris and Isis, as well as Osiris and Nephthys being connected to the marriages between brothers and sisters that were common among the aristocracy of ancient Egypt.  Jung then connected the concept of cultural taboos to the repressive effect they can have on human instincts, and then how the separation humans developed with their instinctual natures led to cultural prohibitions associated with various taboos.  Jung believed that when children are bound to unconscious attachment to their mothers they are “still one with the animal psyche,” but that  “development of consciousness inevitably leads not only to separation from the mother, but to separation from the parents and the whole family circle and thus to a relative degree of detachment from the unconscious and the world of instinct” (p. 235).  This is the source of why in the quote above Jung reasoned that as consciousness develops away from the instincts of childhood, we are forever tempted “to make evasions and retreats, to regress to the infantile past” (p. 235).  We can look for other new sources or mother archetypes to compensate for our detachment from our mothers, but this can at times also take us down the road of illusion and addiction as coping strategies.

The fact that Sirius is known as the dog star makes me think of the instinctual strength of dogs, and the significance Jung drew to the idea of us not being able to transform ourselves only through reason, but that the process to be successful would require a transformation in accordance with our instincts.  This makes me think that if the star Sirius could symbolically embody a sense of instinct like a dog, it could be a guide at this time for helping us germinate a new level of potential from within ourselves that is aligned with the deepest levels of our instinctual nature.  In Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung connected the myth of Isis and Osiris to Sirius, the dog star, because of the role of Annubis, the jackal-headed deity of death, in helping Isis to reanimate Osiris after he had been dismembered into many pieces by Set, and how Sirius as the dog star played a major role in ancient Egyptian ceremony:

. . . the deeper meaning is connected with the astral form of the dog ceremony, i.e., the appearance of the dog-star at the highest point of the solstice.  Hence the bringing in of the dog would have a compensatory significance, death being made equal to the sun at its highest point.  This is a thoroughly psychological interpretation, as can be seen from the fact that death is quite commonly regarded as an entry into the mother’s womb (for rebirth).

–Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, p. 238

These themes connect strongly to me with the zodiac sign of Cancer in general, and how in mundane astrology it is ruled by the Moon, and how in esoteric astrology it is ruled by Neptune.  With the associated astrological symbolism of the Moon and Neptune, such as themes of family, mother, Spirit, Source, . . . many of us are on the wheel of spinning through stages of desire to separate from these as well as a desire to return to them, with all sorts of ramifications of this separation/return theme impacting our daily life and actions in connection with our relationship to our unconscious and instincts.  The esoteric rulership of Neptune makes me think of the birth-death-rebirth theories of Stanislav Grof, in which he connected the stage of the womb with Neptune.  This womb stage evokes the imagery of Neptune not as the wrathful Poseidon, but as the Divine Mother, the mother of matter. It also connects the sign of Cancer to the complications of connection to the oceanic psychic realm of Spirit in a manner that goes along with Neptune currently being in the sign of Pisces.  Having psychic urges or inclinations, or a desire to connect with God or Spirit or what have you, requires a strong sense of self in order to avoid drowning in the numinous ocean.  At times we may think we are engaging in a psychic experience, or a communion with the divine, when in fact we ultimately realize we were off on some sort of illusory folly.  In Soul Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated the connection between Cancer with the Moon and Neptune:

The waters of the Soul/Neptune wish to pull the individual into the ocean of the collective life experience. Yet the individual cannot “swim” safely in these universal waters without first having anchored its own sense of psychological independence and particular focus of self-expression.  It is here that we come to understand that the more individualized a person becomes, the more universal he can be.  Through the expanding consciousness, the many is seen as a reflection of the One, and the Ones is seen as whole in each of Its parts.  This revelation (which some would rightly call “mystical”) is the gift of Neptune, as well as the product of a Soul-centered consciousness.

The Moon relinquishes its control to Neptune when attachment is released from those facets of life ruled by the Moon on the personality level.  Then the root chakra- the center wherein dwells the unconscious urge for self-preservation . . . loosens its dominance as the driving force behind life.  The removal- or, at the very least, the objectification- of the desire to be attached to form frees the individual in increasing stages toward the identification with the Will-to-Be at the crown center . . . The root center can then be utilized for the externalization of matter which has become consciously linked to Divine Cause . . .

The connection to Neptune as the Soul-centered ruler of Cancer is very profound.  Neptune “unveiled” is not the same influence as it is when masked by the unconscious waters of the emotional life.  It is by her actions on the unredeemed lower self that Neptune earns her reputation as the primary force behind self-destructive addictions.  If the personality is not safely anchored through a strong, integrated, and aligned ego structure, the magnetic force of the waters of the psyche will indeed try to pull the struggling individual back into unconscious and undifferentiated beingness.  One has to work incredibly hard to unmask the mirages of Neptune (as focused through the Moon) to arrive at the illumination of Neptune as a vehicle for the Sun!

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 182

Saturn stationing direct at this time in trine to Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer corresponds to an increased ability for us to discern what sorts of mirages or illusions could have been impacting us in this recent time period. It is no coincidence in this way that Saturn in this cycle stationed retrograde back in February during an incredibly intense time period of planets lined up in Pisces.

An additional enlightening element of Cancer I have come across from looking more into esoteric astrology is the stage of incarnation it symbolizes, following the mental birth of incarnation in Aries, the solidifying of form and desire in Taurus, and the movement between the mental and emotional in Gemini.  Cancer along these lines represents a new cycle of physical incarnation that synthesizes the three previous stages of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini.  This does not mean incarnating for the first time in form, but rather means that “an incarnation in Cancer indicates that this is the first cohesive anchoring of the Soul in a physical body for a particular cycle of unfoldment”  (Oken, p. 179).  For me this brings us back full-circle to the sabian symbol interpretation by Dane Rudhyar I brought up at the beginning-  this New Moon in Cancer amid all of the other aspects of this time, calls our attention to the “particular cycle of unfoldment” we each are here on planet Earth in this moment to enact.  This is a time of germination of that multi-level potential we have within ourselves- and with the upcoming magical yet heavy astrological aspects on the horizon, it will be a time in which we can manifest our potential into tangible results.

Below is a link to a video of a dynamic drawing of the zodiac sign of Cancer developed by Wolfgang Wegener.  I learned of this technique from Evelina, an astrologer and translator of ancient texts who lives in Bulgaria, and appears to be a star sister of some sort to me, or someone whose thoughts on astrology give me a jolt to my own thinking.  I somehow managed to find her blog pretty much as soon as it was published through a link to the Chiron archetype, and I recommend reading this post here that she made, for I feel it encapsulates the larger context of what I am writing about this New Moon and the current “above” our “below.”

At this time may we be still enough to hear the birdsong, the wind, and the streaming of water ahead of us on our path, and may we have the courage to follow it.

References

Jung, Carl. (1967 edition revised from original 1912). Symbols of Transformation. Bollingen.

Oken, Alan. (1990). Soul Centered Astrology. Ibis.

Rudhyar, Dane. ( 1973). An Astrological Mandala: The Cylce of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic phases. Vintage.

Chiron in the Flood of Pisces

centaur reading

Chiron in Pisces: Mediator of Water

  • Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees Pisces on June 17, 2013.
  • Chiron and Neptune have been widely conjunct during the first half of 2013 in Pisces, and will remain together within a wider orb of nine degrees for the next year.  Chiron and Neptune began their current cycle in 2009 when they were exactly conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius.
  • Neptune in Pisces is trine Saturn in Scorpio and both are retrograde.  Saturn will be the first to station direct on July 7, 2013.
  • Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 conjunct Venus in Cancer.  Mercury will station direct on July 19   at 14 degrees Cancer in trine to Chiron in Pisces.

Chiron is the teacher and the healer of our inner Hero, the guide to our Hero’s journey.  It is common to limit discussion of Chiron in astrological circles as “the wounded healer,” and while there is truth to that statement, there is also more to Chiron than a healer with a wound.  The Chiron archetype will be an important guide for us during the Summer of 2013 in between the Pluto-Uranus square of May 2013 and the upcoming square of November 2013.  There is a fascinating connection between Chiron and the current Pluto-Uranus cycle because in the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, Chiron was not only in Pisces, it was in the same vicinity of Pisces as it is now.

Just as the square between Pluto and Uranus connects the current time period with events of the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct, so does the transit of Chiron in Pisces.  There was even a grand water trine in 1966 when Pluto and Uranus were in range of being conjunct and Chiron was in Pisces, with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Pisces, and Neptune in Scorpio.  Although this 1966 trine had seven degrees separating Scorpio Neptune from Pisces Saturn and Cancer Jupiter, and so not nearly as significant as the grand water trine happening this Summer with the Pluto-Uranus square happening, it is still a fascinating parallel of the same planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune) being in the three water signs, with Chiron strongly in Pisces amid an intense aspect between Pluto and Uranus.  In the Autumn of 1966 Chiron was conjunct Saturn in Pisces: it’s interesting to ponder how differences between the mid to late 1960s and our current time period could correspond to the differences between Saturn in Pisces with Neptune in Scorpio from Saturn in Scorpio with Neptune in Pisces.   Although there is more and more talk of the Age of Aquarius, we really are still in the Age of Pisces today.  The idea of an approaching Age of Aquarius first took hold of mass consciousness in a big way in the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, and during this time period in which they were in range of a conjunction in Virgo, Chiron at times was in range of an opposition to their alignment in the sign of Pisces.  Now that Chiron has returned to this same area of Pisces as the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus is occurring from that alignment, it makes me think of Chiron in Pisces being a very important archetype in the shift of the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.

Chiron in Pisces today is holding more harmonious aspects to the Pluto-Uranus intensity, forming a sextile to Pluto in Capricorn and a semi-sextile to Uranus in Aries.  This time period of collective upheaval can be viewed in large extent through the socially liberating energy of Uranus in Aries being in conflict with the energy of Pluto in Capricorn, which has a shadow side of control and manipulation from the dominating power structure.  With Neptune, the planet of illusion, being in the sign of Pisces that can also connect with illusion, it brings the potential for the dominating power structure to attempt to use Neptunian illusions in order to ward off the force of collective liberation that could come with the Uranus in Aries energy.  In the recent news cycle in the USA for example, we can see the veil of our national media removed and that our major news services are commiserate with the power structure as they attempt to spin the coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden away from an investigation into the actual issue into more of a criminality case against Snowden.  In general, all one has to do is turn on cable television or pick up a copy of a product of the national corporate “journalism” services to find a gluttony of superficial coverage of celebrity scandals, arguments between political “adversaries” that are not even offering solutions to argue about,  and other gossip more than investigative coverage of any of the actually important news events occurring.  It is further interesting that in the USA we have a Pisces Chiron in the White House, as President Obama has a Chiron in Pisces and experienced his Chiron return during his re-election to his second term in office.  It doesn’t take of course an astrology analysis of Chiron to realize President Obama is facing and incredibly complex, intense, wounding, and karmic situation at the moment as being the figurehead leader of the USA during current events, but it is a further interesting astrological layer of the current situation to observe.

On a personal level, the societal upheaval on an economic, political, and structural level has the potential to increase fear and anxiety within individuals, making each person more open to being manipulated on an unconscious level by power players in control of media and mass distribution of information.  This has been especially the case during the last year with Chiron and Neptune conjunct in Pisces, because these archetypes combined magnetise the issues of duality connected with the Pisces archetype that has been such a strong influence during the Age of Pisces.  This duality is connected to the symbolism of the two fish connected by a silvery cord, one fish standing for the “lower nature” of our ego personalities, the other fish standing for the “higher nature” of our Soul that incarnated into our current form.

One reason Pisces have the stereotype applied to them of being addicts and escapists is that it can be even harder for Pisceans than others to escape awareness of their Soul, no matter how much they try to hide from it through drugs and other various escapist activities.  Pisces is also often the target of the “victim” and “martyr” labels, and again this can come from a sense of their timeless Soul nature that can lead to an illusory perception of being trapped in their physical form on the planet, with so many difficult and destructive forces surrounding them in three dimensional consensus reality.  And so while Pisces energy can go along with feeling a sense of connection to Soul, it also has the duality of a sense of separation from Soul and Source, which further increases Piscean tendencies for illusionary pursuits that further contribute to a sense of separation from Source, Spirit, God, . . .  This is one area in which Chiron, a half human and half animal grounded in the physical earth plane, can help us shift our perspective toward seeing the magic around us in our physical form and environment, and that everything we are experiencing and seeing also is connected with the same divine Source.

The previous conjunction cycle between Chiron and Neptune in the 20th Century occurred during great world calamity, toward the end of World War II after the United States of America dropped atomic bombs on Japan to force a surrender (September of 1945 at 6 degrees of Libra).  Chiron and Neptune’s latest cycle began in 2009 when they were conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius, another period of global conflict that had some connections to the global power status the United States of America claimed during the previous conjunction between Chiron and Neptune.  Many astrologers connected the conjunction between Chiron and Neptune toward the end of Aquarius with the Age of Aquarius that could be felt approaching at a distance, but a further interesting connection with this section of the zodiac and Neptune is that Neptune was discovered in 1846 when it was at 25 degrees of Aquarius, and Saturn was also at 25 degrees of Aquarius at the same time.  Neptune being discovered when it was conjunct Saturn points to the importance of bridging the two archetypes in order to gain a stronger grasp of Neptunian energies, and Chiron is one of our strongest guides and mediators between the energy of our personal and collective Saturn and Neptune archetypes.

The connection between Chiron, Saturn, and Neptune has been handed down to us through myth, long before the technology of astronomers were able to locate the outer celestial bodies. Chiron is the son of Kronus in Greek myth, so he is literally the son of Saturn just like Neptune, Jupiter, and Pluto.  Chiron’s link to Neptune, however, goes much farther back than merely sharing the same father.  Chiron is literally a matriarchal descendant of an ocean deity even more primordial than Neptune:  Oceanus.  Chiron’s mother was a sea nymph named Philyra who was not only the daughter of Oceanus, according to some accounts she was the second oldest of all the sea nymphs that were borne from Oceanus.  Saturn/Kronus became consumed with desire for Philyra, and in some versions transformed himself into a stallion in order to chase her, and in other accounts after forcing himself upon her sexually, he transformed himself into a stallion in order to disguise himself when he was discovered ravaging her body by his wife, Rhea.

In all mythic versions, this coupling of Saturn as a stallion with the sea nymph Philyra is how the birth of Chiron, half man and half horse, occurred on Mount Pelion.  One of the first wounds of Chiron occurred by him being spurned by his parents for his unorthodox, animalistic form, and he stayed on Mt. Pelion as somewhat of a recluse, one of the original wise hermits in the cave.  Furthermore, there is an even deeper link between Chiron and the ocean realm, because Chiron eventually took another sea nymph as his lover and partner, Chariclo, who was the grand-daughter of Neptune.  Thus Chiron is both the son and the lover of water goddesses, and has as a result a stronger feel for Piscean energy than may be expected without exploring his myth.

The special sense Chiron embodies for the water element and in being a skilled mediator between the energies of Neptune and Saturn is of supreme importance in this moment, as Saturn in Scorpio is moving retrograde in trine to Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter is entering the sign of Cancer, and Mercury and Venus remain conjunct in Cancer.  We can draw upon the Chiron archetype to help us activate the harmonious potential of the developing water trine aspect, as trines in astrology do not guarantee harmonious events and can in fact coincide with lethargy if we do not consciously activate them.  There will be a lot of retrograde energy in water signs before Saturn stations direct in a couple of weeks on July 7, since Chiron and Neptune are retrograde in Pisces, Saturn is retrograde in Scorpio, and Mercury is stationing retrograde in Cancer.

With all of the watery energy and a powerful water trine to Neptune in its own sign of Pisces, we will have to be especially careful of escapist pursuits or illusions leading us to separate from our higher self or our connection to Source/Spirit.  Chiron in Pisces carries this wound of connection to Spirit within it’s archetypes, and so at this time Chiron can help guide us to finding ways to connect with Spirit through healing techniques that can help us consciously move our higher self down through our body.  With Saturn in Scorpio, we will have to be willing to face some deep aspects of ourselves, including shadow sides we may previously have been in denial of, if we want to authentically make our beings more whole in this way- but remember how Pisces Chiron is a perfect mediator between Scorpio Saturn, Pisces Neptune, and Cancer Jupiter.  If we can ground in this manner, we will have an opportunity to evolve ourselves and our growth forward by following our own unique path and our special gifts and talents that may not typically fit in with the dominant culture.  Chiron was the trainer of heroes and the guide in their hero’s journey, and so by developing and following through with practices at this time, such as creating time and a schedule for a daily journal practice, creative art practice, meditative practice, yoga practice, physical exercise practice of any sort . . . we can create structures to express the deep desires and emotions that could arise at this time.

The retrograde connection between Chiron and Mercury will remain of great significance in the next month, as Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 and then station on July 19 at 14 degrees of Cancer in trine to Chiron.  After the upcoming retrograde movement of Mercury finishes when it stations in trine to Chiron next month, we may gain a greater ability to manifest tangible results of visions we planted back in February of 2013 when Mercury was in Pisces and conjunct Mars, Neptune, and Chiron.  Aspects of the vision brewing inside us have been triggered in this recent time period, as Mars in Gemini has been in square to Chiron at the same time Chiron stationed retrograde.  The full dates are as follows:

  • Around February 8, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Mars at 5 degrees Pisces and also conjunct Chiron at 7 degrees and Neptune at 3 degrees of Pisces.  In the following days, first Mercury and then Mars became exactly conjunct Chiron in Pisces.
  • Around May 21, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Gemini and square to Chiron at 14 degrees of Pisces.  This square happened immediately following an exact square between Capricorn Pluto and Aries Uranus.
  • Around June 10, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Cancer and in trine to Chiron in Pisces.
  • Around June 19, 2013 Mars in Gemini formed a square with Chiron in Pisces as Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees of Pisces.

These aspects between Mercury, Mars, and Chiron have been significant for everyone but especially anyone with planets or key chart aspects in mutable signs from zero to fifteen degrees or so (Gemini, Sagitarius, Virgo, Pisces).  We may have had trouble recently finding a way to rationally understand our perceptions or sense of phenomenon in our dreams or waking states that do not fit into the neat categories of linear and rational thought aspired to by the dominant culture.  We also may have been having difficulty communicating our experiences in a way that can be understood clearly by others, and with Mercury about to move retrograde we may need to let go of attachment to being understood and instead focus on understanding for ourselves what is happening inside of us.

The flood of emotions and extrasensory perception we could have been experiencing connected with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces could be better understood by withdrawing from external influences into the metaphorical cave of Chiron, but if we have been tapped into media sources of the dominant culture during this time or a participant in social media sites and sources, we instead would have been overwhelmed by a deluge of information thrown at us by authorities of all sorts, from genuine experts, to culturally appointed experts, to self-proclaimed experts utilizing the Internet to self-publish their thoughts.  There have also been revolutions breaking out on the global stage in places as diverse as Turkey and Brazil during this time period, and while in the larger context these events correlate more with the square between Uranus and Pluto than personal planet aspects to Chiron, it is still important to consider Chiron was being aspected at the same time.  In these  revolutionary events the liberating force of individuals using social media to cover the news has been helpful as these events have had relatively small amounts of coverage by major news services.  For example, I am fortunate to have a friend in Turkey through which I was able to gain access to a lot of images and news coverage of events there through his social media profile.

However we have been triggered by this flood of feelings and information recently, though, most likely is connected to important Soul work or issues for us to face.  A perfect example of how to use the heroic gift of Pisces Chiron at this time is Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who is going through a Chiron return at the moment with a natal Chiron at fourteen degrees of Pisces, and is engaging in an attempt to pull off an all-day filibuster in the Texas state Senate to single-handedly prevent a passage of a controversial abortion bill that the Governor had to call a special session to attempt to pull-off in the first place.  Her North Node of the Moon is also conjunct the current placement of Mercury in Cancer, and Mars in Gemini is square her natal Chiron, so her chart is being strongly aspected by the Chiron-Mars-Mercury cycle as she takes her heroic stand.  Chiron does provide the sort of gift we can pull up from deep within ourselves at a time of crisis, and achieve success and rewards against all odds.

Similarly, the grand water trine we will experience this Summer between Neptune in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter in Cancer has the potential for euphoric and magical experiences, as well as the potential to coincide with watery chaos and emotional crises- however, if we can access our source of Chiron strength we can make heroic strides forward no matter what happens.  Paying attention to the Chiron archetype and how his retrograde movement  through Pisces can correlate to opportunities for us to take charge of our own heroic journey will be helpful.

chiron with apollo and asclepius

Guru of Plants, Planets, and Spirit

Chiron in myth held the role of a guru of the heavens and the earth,  as he was a teacher, trainer, and healer who was skilled in hunting, martial arts, gymnastics, music, medicine, herbalism, astrology, and the arts of prophecy, to name but a few of his talents.  He was a master of channeling divine energy through these outlets, similar to a yogic or qi gong master, shaman, or a musician on the highest level of divine expression through their art.  Chiron is a guide to the connection of our mind, body, and spirit because he understood the divine source of everything on our planet.  He was an herbalist who was well-versed in medicinal uses and applications of plant beings, and he was also an astrologer who was well-versed in the medicine of the stars and their movements and interactions.  Chiron lived from a sense of everything being connected to Source and Spirit, so stands as a teacher for us that our conflicts with life are often connected to our struggles with the external forms of matter in our environment, but that if we open our perception to the awareness that all of these forms we may struggle with also have the same divine Source as we do, we can persist in merging with love through all of our difficulties and help others in their own struggles as well.

The celestial body of Chiron was discovered on November 1, 1977 and it has been theorized by many astrologers that since that time we have had a greater capacity to connect our mind, body, and spirit as a collective species. The Saturn connection to Chiron is interesting because Saturn was at the very end of Leo when Chiron was discovered, so brings an energy of the culmination of the Leo hero’s journey to the Chiron birth chart.  In Evolutionary Astrology, astrologer Rose Marcus has connected the significance of Chiron to “peak experiences” in our lifetime as well as the deep past life history of our Soul that are connected to our special destiny, legacy, and path.  I saw her lecture on Chiron at the 2012 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, in which she described how Chiron carries a dense magnetic frequency that correlates with our most significant and lucid memories, how the Chiron archetype will be involved in our own peak experiences, and how we can also be a catalyst for activating other people’s key issues when we step into our own Chiron archetype.  Rose explained that Chiron can connect with our wounding issues that have been repeating and devastating across lifetimes, but at the same time Chiron can also correlate with extraordinary resources we can find within ourselves to face the tests and challenges of our journey.  In this way, Rose connected Chiron to the Virgo and Sixth house archetypes in the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm because of Chiron guiding us to use our crises as vehicles for our own growth.

Barbara Hand Clow, who wrote the pioneering and definitive classic text on Chiron, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets, also connected Chiron with the Sixth House and the Virgo archetype.  There is also an interesting connection between Saturn and Chiron with the Virgo archetype in the time period that Chiron entered astrological awareness as a distinct celestial body, because although Chiron was discovered when Saturn was at the very end of Leo, after a couple of weeks following the discovery Saturn shifted into Virgo.  As a result, most people born in the period following the discovery of Chiron, meaning the first people born who have a higher potential ability to integrate the lessons of the Chiron archetype, were born with Saturn in Virgo.  Fittingly enough, this group of Souls went through their first Saturn return just in time for these cataclysmic times of the Pluto-Uranus square, again giving them a better chance to access the gifts of Chiron to help all of us on the planet at this time.

Virgo is the polarity to Pisces, and an important archetype to help understand how to access the gifts of the Chiron archetype at any time, but especially now with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces.  One way Chiron can help everyone better understand their own connection to the Pisces archetype through Virgo is by making the famous “silvery cord” connecting the two fish of Pisces more tangible and conscious.  One fish of Pisces of course represents the personality side of ourselves, while the other fish represents our Soul nature- they are connected in Pisces irrevocably through a silver cord, which is why Pisceans can never escape the challenges of our personality connection to our Souls and Source discussed earlier.  Alan Oken gave a concise description of the deep esoteric significance Virgo brings to this aspect of the Pisces archetype in his book Soul Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self:

The string is the symbol of the Antahkarana- the silvery cord linking the personality and the Soul, the darkness and the Light.  It is formulated out of the substance of the mental plane, thus requiring the discriminating focus of Virgo and Mercury in its construction.  Once the Antahkarana/Rainbow Bridge is forged, one can then traverse the various planes and fields of consciousness and not lose one’s way.  This is the Thread of the Warrior/Disciple, who goes forth in the act of self-sacrifice, in order to do battle for the unfolding purpose of the Plan.

–Alan Oken, Soul Centered Astrology (p. 243)

The Mercurial functions of discrimination and discernment can be developed into sharper focus for us at this time, even with Mercury stationing retrograde, through practice and daily ritual. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and other forms of spiritual practice are Virgo techniques similar to spiritual practices of the Chiron of myth, and can be helpful tools for us in this flooded time of Piscean emotional currents.  Since there have been a series of squares to Chiron in Pisces from the sign of Gemini, with Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all moving through Gemini in square to Chiron this past Spring, we may have been distracted with a busy and hectic schedule or a mass of information to process in some way.  However, even closing our eyes and meditating or just breathing with intention for ten or fifteen minutes, whatever we can manage, can be extremely helpful in this upcoming time period.

The vast expanse of knowledge held by Chiron is interesting considering how in this upcoming Summer, Jupiter will move into a trine apect through Cancer with Chiron (especially toward the end of July through August of 2013) giving us an opportunity to draw upon knowledge and resources found in recent challenges to propel us forward.  This aspect is in stark contrast to what had been happening this past year, as from July 0f 2012 through April of 2013, Jupiter was in Gemini and in a square aspect to Chiron in Pisces.  This square could have been felt in part by how our psychic sensitivities are impacted by the flood of information we can be bombarded with when connected to modern technology and social media platforms.  On the one hand the social media outlets are liberating because anyone can start writing and publishing their thoughts on a blog, but on the other hand this liberation can be overwhelming when trying to sift through the sheer volume of information for what to focus on with the time available.

With Mercury about to station into a retrograde motion, developing and practicing techniques that will help guide us toward greater discernment with our intuition will be helpful for us finding our unique path to follow at this time.  Most likely significant opportunities will present themselves, so it will be up to us to make choices aligned with our highest intention for the highest good for ourselves and other beings.  If we have experienced crises or wounding during this past year of Jupiter in Gemini squaring Chiron in Pisces, or simply confusion over which direction to follow, through our own self-care, healing, and giving and receiving of love with others we will be entering a time in which we can find a gift or special skill to take from past turmoil.

The conflict between Jupiter in Gemini and Chiron in Pisces that happened this past year has its own divine source in the ancient myths of Greece.  Jupiter and Chiron have had their issues before our day:

chiron invite achilles

Entering the Cave of Chiron

Thetis was a sea nymph of great importance in ancient times.  In some versions she is not given greater importance than her description of being a sea nymph, but other mythic researchers have found evidence that in ancient times she was much more important and an integral manifestation of the Great Goddess.  She is widely known as the mother of Achilles, who gave her son to Chiron to raise and draw out his special skills and capacities.  There was a prophecy regarding the greatness of the son of Thetis that made Zeus afraid that her offspring could dethrone him as he had dethroned his own father.  Zeus helped arrange a marriage between Thetis and a mortal, Peleus, and their wedding happened outside the cave of Chiron on Mt. Pelion and was attended by most of the deities.  However, one was not invited who goes by the name of Eris, and so this wedding outside the cave of Chiron is the scene upon which Eris threw her golden apple out of vengeance, an action that ultimately led to the decision of Paris and the Trojan War.

The cave of Chiron being the scene of the source of the vengeful desire of Eris is a core wound of our collective culture.  I remember being in an 8th Grade English class near Atlanta, Georgia in the USA in which we analyzed this mythic scene, and it seems to still be a widespread mythic scene in our collective educational backgrounds if you are from a “Western” influenced or culturally dominated background.  It’s also a wound we as astrology students and teachers need to figure out in a Chiron manner, as Eris is the a recent addition to our astrological paradigm and her full meaning is still being worked out by astrologers.

The cave of Chiron is an apt symbol for the training ground of our hero’s journey, as Chiron was famous for training the most praised heroes of ancient myth, having the ability to draw attention to their unique talents and help them develop their natural gifts into extraordinary strengths that would help them persist through unfathomable difficulties that became the stuff of legend.  Chiron was not only the trainer of warrior heroes, however, but also medicinal ones.  Asclepius, considered to be the mythic master of medicine, was his most famous pupil in the healing arts, and so Chiron in this way is also considered to be a father of medicine and surgical practices.  The mind-body-spirit connection of Chiron is evident in the holistic healing practices associated with Asclepius, which included patients going to sleep in special chambers in which the act of dreaming itself healed their wounds, or at other times the healing could be helped through dream interpretation made by healers trained in the methodology of Asclepius.

We enter the cave of Chiron whenever we enter a space in which we have the opportunity for self-transformation, healing, and gaining greater awareness and access to special skills and resources we have to offer the world.  If we have ever been in a classroom with a powerful teacher who struck us on a deep level to our core, we have been in the cave of Chiron.  Being a teacher is one of the most obvious outlets for Chiron energy, and this connection was illuminated in literature by John Updike in his novel The Centaur, in which he used myth in the way of James Joyce by re-telling the story of Chiron through a novel about a public school teacher in a mid-twentieth century small rural town in the USA.  In this novel Updike also integrates the mythic connection between Chiron and Prometheus, and as I haven’t mentioned this widely commented upon connection yet in this article, allow me to remind you that another time Chiron mediated a conflict involving Jupter was when he gave of his own immortality in order to release Prometheus from the bondage of being punished by Jupiter for giving fire to humanity.  As there are some versions of myth in which Prometheus is actually the creator of humanity, Chiron giving of himself to release a deity who in some myths is responsible for the creation of humanity and in others is the source of our knowledge of fire and all of the creativity that followed, is profound and is not unlike an action of a Christ figure.  The fact that Chiron was drawn to do this in part because of being tormented by the pain of being an immortal who was struck by a poisoned arrow of Hercules, is one of the main reasons why the Chiron archetype has become associated with being a wounded healer for our humanity.

As is often the case, when an archetype like Chiron is prominent, other archetypes that connect with similar themes will also become prominent, and that is certainly the case right now.  Lilith is another popular symbol of our wounding and in the larger context something Chiron could be holding space for us.  The triple goddess aspects of Lilith in astrology are all going through significant transits right now:

  • Original Lilith (asteroid #1181) is currently at 13 degrees Gemini and so is square to Chiron as well as recently conjunct Mars.
  • Dark Moon Lilith (hypothetical celestial body) is moving through Cancer in range of being conjunct Mercury, Venus, and Vesta at the moment.  At the time of the Summer Solstice it was opposite Pluto in Capricorn and in square to Uranus in Aries.
  • Black Moon Lilith, the Resolution Lilith (an energy vortex that is the “other” focal point of the Moon’s ellipitical orbit besides Earth) is at 6 degrees of Cancer and so is also in range of being in a T-Square with Pluto and Uranus, and was also strongly aspected by the Full Moon on June 23.

Demetra George in Finding Our Way Through the Dark gave a widely used description of these three phases of Lilith, in which the asteroid Lilith “describes the first stage of Lilith’s mythical journey where she is suppressed, humiliated, and flees in a fiery rage to the desolate wilderness,” the Dark Moon Lilith “depicts the pain of her exile where she plots and executes her revenge,” and the Black Moon Lilith “shows how she transmutes her distorted image back into its natural healthy expression” (p. 92).  The fact the original Lilith has been squaring Chiron and was recently conjunct Mars could correlate with a core wound being activated in our psyche, and yet the healer side of the Chiron archetype is also present with Lilith at this time as the resolution aspect, the Black Moon Lilith, is also being strongly activated now.

And as if these intense aspects involving Lilith isn’t enough, there are also some fascinating transits occurring now that involve asteroid Goddesses associated with the Soul, working with the Soul, healing and retrieval of our Soul:

In totality all of these transits involving such powerful feminine archetypes of the Soul mean that this is an incredibly deep time period of huge feelings and experiences.  To me, one of the greatest tools we can use at this time, again keeping the archetype of Chiron in mind as a guide, is to create a practice of Art to move the energy.

poète mort porté par un centaure

Chiron holds the Art of our wounds

One of the connections between the Chiron archetype and the archetype of the artist can be seen in the following quote from an art review I found in The Chicago Reader about the above watercolor by Gustave Moreau from 1890, Dead Poet Borne by a Centaur:

The centaur often symbolizes Dionysian violence and intoxication, and here he bears the dead poet in his arms. Some have interpreted this image not as the union of warring opposites, however, but as a pessimistic reflection on the artist’s lot in modern times. As turn-of-the-century writer Ary Renan said about this work: “How many have perished without funerals at the bottom of solitary streams? To be sure, sometimes a charitable centaur gathers up the victim.

from http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/french-revelations/Content?oid=898763

Chiron as a wounded healer archetype certainly connects him with all of the great artists throughout time who put all of their heart and soul into their art, posthumously inspiring a large audience drawn to the specific quality of their art,  and facilitating healing for many people who could draw strength and compassion for themselves through experiencing their creative work. And yet the wound for these artists was that in the actual time-frame of their existence they often lived through pain and torment, lacking an audience or material rewards for their work.  However, no matter what difficulty some of these artists could have experienced in their material life, through the act of creating their art they could reach a blissful state that would be it’s own reward.  Moreover, the gift of healing and inspiration such artists leave for those with similar sensibilities to find and gain strength to continue on their own unique path is incalculable and has deep resonance with the quality of wounded healing associated with Chiron.

During these intense karmic times, we can work with our Chiron wounding through expressing our feelings through art and releasing the energy in the process.  Unfortunately, for many of us the actual creation of art can be one of our Chironic wounds, and so we tend to hold ourselves back from creating.  A beautiful book to work with during this time if you have not already is Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way in which she provides activities and questions to help the reader break out of any restrictive writer’s or artist’s blocks limiting their ability to express themselves.  One of the basic techniques of the book is a daily journaling activity in which after waking up in the morning you write three pages of writing as quickly as possible, thinking about it as little as possible.  It is amazing what can start to open up for you as you engage in this practice.  I also like this book because Cameron connects the creation of Art with it being a spiritual practice:  “We are, ourselves, creations,” she writes, “And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.”  Her central theme in the book is that by opening ourselves up to our own creativity, we open ourselves to a greater connection with Spirit and the capacity to develop our unique gifts and live the full potential of our lives some of us merely dream of instead of actually actualizing.  This lesson that making the creation of art a daily practice, habit, and ritual in our lives will open up a greater spiritual dimension and holistic feeling of healing in our lives is a very Chironic lesson to me.  Any practice you can develop for yourself at this time that will provide an outlet for your sense of Spirit and expression of creativity will bring a smile to the face of Chiron and will be good medicine for your Soul.

A Light in the Darkness

December 21-23, 2012

The times surrounding the Winter Solstice of 2012

We all knew the world wasn’t going to end today (at least I hope you knew), but the sudden mass shift into higher consciousness and rainbow light predicted by some new age philosophers hasn’t exactly been happening either.  Many of us have been inundated in tragedy, stress, suffering, grief, and madness.  That being said, there have been some interesting developments: for example in USA politics, there have been some movements and shifts on a status quo level that would have seemed unlikely several months ago.

Many of us into astrology have been navigating a storm of astrology works talking about the Yod, or finger of fate, happening right now, so I won’t bore you by going into detail.  For those who don’t know about this, a Yod is an aspect of destiny that can involve sudden shifts, and so symbolically does go along with the shift of consciousness predicted for this time period. This yod has Scorpio Saturn and Capricorn Pluto at the base in mutual reception, both streaming energy into Gemini Jupiter.  This yod has been extra intense because first Mercury triggered it this past week by being in opposition to Jupiter in Sagitarius, and now Venus is in opposition to Jupiter triggering the whole dynamic.

Did you think this was going to be easy?  Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter are in our face showing us everything that is wrong with our society.  We have had a mass murder of children that has gripped the mainstream media and culture in the USA, serving as a perfect example of the evil that can come out the power dynamics of our society.  Yes, we have assault weapons readily available for purchase at Wal-Mart.  More importantly, we have a culture deluged with violence and a culture filled with mental health issues.  Most, if not all of us, have mental health issues.  And most, if not all of us, are in denial of our mental health issues.  Some people have more intense mental health issues.  But in general we have yet to figure out a way to heal our mental health issues on a systematic level.  And the way the system is currently working to heal mental health issues, such as the psychiatric system drugging people on a mass level, clearly is not working.  To be clear, medications do work for some people who are able to find the right chemical balance for their brain;  for many people, however, the psychiatric drug system does not work for their greater holistic health.  And on a systematic level, we don’t currently have a lot of other options-  therapies can be great, but many people don’t have the health insurance or do not pursue therapy for whatever personal reason.

When we look at the placement of Jupiter at this time of the Solstice, we can see it all.  Jupiter is moving retrograde in Gemini, and at the root of all of this is the old patriarchal beliefs that still hold mass sway over our culture.  Jupiter is being set off at nine degrees of Gemini, and the Sabian Symbol for this degree is so perfect, I will quote it in entirety for those without access:

Gemini 9: A Quiver filled with arrows

Man’s aggressive relationship to natural life, as a basis for survival and conquest.

The bow and arrow represent symbolically man’s ability to extend the scope of his conquest of nature and to kill enemies in order to build a larger base for the collective development of a culture and an organized society. Implied in the symbol of the arrow is the piercing of a target. The mind of man is essentially a trans-piercing power; it goes through the object toward which it is aimed.  It seeks to go through and beyond the obstacles on its path, and this usually implies the destruction of the obstacle.  At a higher level- as in the Zen practice of archery- the obstacle is the ego.

~from Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases

Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation of this symbol as being a Zen practice of archery to destroy the ego I believe is the potential for the shift of consciousness that could occur for many at this time.  There is so much oppression and tragedy happening in the world right now, it is forcing many of us to let go of ego beliefs we had been holding on to tightly in the face of the tragic circumstances we are witnessing.

Indeed, Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation for the placement of Saturn in Scorpio at nine degrees at this time sheds further light on current developments:

Scorpio 9: A Dentist At Work

Keynote: Overcoming the negative results of social practices and ego-cravings.

Social living and cultural patterns impose upon us certain habits of eating, arouse desires for unwholesome or denaturated food, force us perhaps to eat in tense circumstances and hurriedly. This results in tooth decay far more frequently than should be inevitable through aging. The symbol therefore shows us how society and civilization, which may indirectly cause tooth decay, then have to invent means to skillfully repair the damage.

Saturn is the karmic taskmaster who will cyclically point to the deepest individual and collective patterns for us to focus on and address; if we do not, we are often faced with an intense experience integrating multiple symbols of the karmic pattern.  At this time, Saturn in Scorpio in this yod at this degree reflects the complex interwoven fabric of societal influences that have tightened over centuries of human egoic conquest of nature, and has resulted today in not only widespread oppression, but in the USA a situation in which souls lost in this societal fog who commit mass murders is becoming a familiar news story.

The need for us to devise solutions on a societal level to heal problems created on our societal level has been reflected in the transits of Mercury recently.  During this past week Mercury continued its spellbinding journey of 2012 by triggering this yod exactly and now crossing the Great Attractor.  There are huge debates in the USA occurring right now about topics at the root of our cultural difficulties, a debate that didn’t even seem possible to have earlier in the year.  Many pundits and people are devising various solutions that should come out of our government or from other places of power to try to repair the damage caused by the very same forces that sustain the government and give the pundits their position in our culture.  It isn’t exactly surprising, therefore, that the pundits and the representatives of government haven’t been able to devise any successful solution.  It will be up to the people, taking individual power and responsibility, and then linking that awareness with others to create a larger movement for change, for any effective long-term solution to emerge.

In fact, the spiritual component of recent tragedies could be that it can often take crises and cataclysms for people to wake up and shift their perspective, work on shifting their beliefs, and have their awareness and consciousness opened and expanded.  The final piece of the yod, Pluto in Capricorn at nine degrees, has the sabian symbol of An angel carrying a harp with the keynote of “the revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the core of any life situation” (Rudhyar, p. 235).  Even in the worst of times, if we want to avoid becoming mired and stagnant in suffering, we must have the courage to look for a spiritual meaning behind the events and consequences, and look to find the places where an opportunity for our personal growth has occurred.  Pluto in Capricorn has been reflecting the need of society to transform it’s systematic power structure, and like everything with Pluto, this societal transformation will continue to get more intense as Pluto moves deeper into Capricorn.  The intense crises and tragedies happening around the world at this time reflect deep issues at the core of our collective being in need of transformation and evolution.

And now at this time of the Solstice, into the mix steps Venus in Sagitarius:

What could be the evolutionary purpose for ourselves and humanity with Venus in Sagitarius triggering this yod at the time of the solstice?  Well, Jeffrey Wolf Green in Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships describes the evolutionary purpose of Venus in Sagitarius as a “deep need to discover and actualize their own personal truth . . . a guiding philosophy of life in order to have a core sense of meaning and purpose” (p. 168-9).  Green draws attention to the ability of Venus in Sagitarius to possess strong intuitive powers, and fittingly, at this time of the Solstice it will be important to pay attention to our intuition and follow it instead of being directed by more of a left-brain rational process.  Green describes the evolutionary lesson for Venus in Sagitarius, seen in the point of Gemini occupied by Jupiter at the moment, to be  to “learn that their particular point of view, their truth, and their beliefs are relative, and not the only or absolute truth” (p. 173).

All of the difficulties and suffering we could be experiencing at this time are connected with our beliefs and our perceptions mixed into the various beliefs and perspectives around us, particularly the dominant perspectives and beliefs taken to be the absolute truth by the dominant culture and status quo.  The shadow side of Venus in Sagitarius is thinking that our perspective is right, feeling like we should convert other people to our perspective instead of allowing them the space to hold their own opinion and perspective, being overly defensive and dogmatic about our own beliefs in the process.  The tragedies of these times are calling all of us, no matter how enlightened you believe yourself to be, to critically examine our beliefs and the roots and foundations of those beliefs, and to realize that our belief system is not the one and only absolute truth.  Unfortunately, as we have seen, part of the major problem of these times has been people holding on tightly to their beliefs and refusing to compromise or be open to other points of view.  As Venus sets off this yod we may experience more events that will work to help force this shift of perspective.

Finally, as I mentioned in my November blog post, there is also now a second triple Goddess T-Square involving Ceres in Gemini moving retrograde squaring Pallas Athena in Pisces almost exactly, and in a wider opposition to Juno in Capricorn at the Solstice point.  Yes, at the time of the solstice Juno is almost exactly conjunct the Sun at zero degrees Capricorn (I also wrote about Juno in a blog post earlier in October).

Vesta in Gemini moving retrograde out of a triple goddess t-square and being replaced by Ceres moving retrograde in Gemini has many ramifications.  In the USA current event news cycle of this time period, the most obvious symbol has been all of the mother issues coming out of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school, from the mother murdered by her son, to the extraordinary mothering instinct for the lost children as well as their own children that has been triggered in mass USA culture.  The Ceres/Demeter myth is so powerful in our collective consciousness because of the personal connection all parents can feel for her tremendous grief and rage over losing her daughter Persephone to Pluto/Hades and the underworld.

Ceres in astrology represents mothering issues including the myriad emotions surrounding the attachment disorder that is so widespread in our USA culture.  A son murdering his mother en route to a mass murder is a horrific example that is uncommon.  What is more common, however,  is the generational family cycles of children not having their emotional needs met through nurturing in their early childhood development, an issue that is then transmitted through the later parenting of their own children, and as this is passed down and children grow up, as adults they can have difficulty forming and sustaining attachment in relationships- or have a distorted over attachment to relationships that are not healthy for them and in which they are not truly having their emotional needs met.

In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George describes Ceres in Gemini issues revolving around education, communication, listening, and transmission of knowledge.  Difficulties could stem from low academic self-esteem, feeling “mental inadequacy,” or attempting to “intellectually impress or verbally manipulate others” (p. 64).  In addition, George describes stressful aspects between Ceres and Juno as being about conflicts with a partner and especially an ex-partner in parenting and raising children, conflicts in relationships through partnership responsibilities, or discontent with a relational role such as being a husband or a mother.  Furthermore, George describes issues coming from a stressful aspect between Ceres and Pallas Athena as being about rejecting one’s mother while overidentifying with one’s father:  “this can manifest as the alienation from one’s feminine origins and nature which in turn can block one’s creative abilities” (p. 75).

Along these lines, Ceres is carrying a powerful message for us at this time of the solstice.  We need to be able to integrate our feminine, nurturing, compassionate, and mothering side of our nature into our intellectual and creative expression (Pallas Athena) as well as into our relational roles and responsibilities in the world (Juno).  If we feel resistance to connecting more deeply in an intimate relationship, investigate if we have an attachment “disorder” of some sort operating under the surface, and push through it for the growth.  Combined with Venus in Sagitarius, we need to re-connect with and follow our intuition, letting go of the belief system we tend to rationally react from. Blessed be, please.