Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

psyche and cerberus bertel thorvaldsen

Psyche and Cerberus (1838) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

Call me to that one among your hours / that incessantly resists you: / beseechingly near like a dog’s face, / yet ever again turned away

just when you think to grasp it. / What’s thus withdrawn is most your own. / We are free. We were dismissed / at the very place where we expected welcome.

Afraid, we yearn for some handhold, / often too young for what is ancient / and too old for what has never been.

And yet: only just when we praise, / since, ah, we are the branch and the axe / and the nectar of ripening risk.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 23)

On October 31 within the liminal space of twilight, with the setting Scorpio Sun descending into it’s underworld journey of night, the twinkling star of Hermes will pause to prepare for its retrograde journey backwards through the putrefying waters of Scorpio. As Mercury in its retrograde phase takes on its chthonic role of a psychopomp who guides us into and out of underworld experiences, it is fitting for its stationing to take place on the holidays for honoring and communing with ancestors and the living otherworld. Mercury is known for its dissolving and blending capacities which mediate polarities such as between the solar and lunar, the conscious and unconscious, the sacred and mundane, and so on. The dark watery climate of Scorpio will nurture and amplify the ability of Mercury retrograde to absorb atmospheric undercurrents and penetrate under the surface of dynamics to reveal what has been hidden in the root of the matter.

Although Mercury retrograde has been demonized by many, it is in fact an essential phase within the totality of Mercury’s entire solar cycle that delivers necessary messages. Rather than cursing the fate of being gripped by the cunning Hermes, it is advisable to keep an open and curious mind regarding whatever changes begin to take shape. Part of Mercury’s core purpose in astrology is to destabilize dynamics in order to loosen control, break up accumulated dross, and bring about a turning point in narrative and meaning. When Mercury is stationing retrograde, it signals that we are crossing a threshold into a passage of putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart in order to bring about a process of purifying reassembly.

Mercury delights in gray areas between fixed categories of meaning, as it is a gender bending planet that moves easily between states of day and night, good and bad, reason and imagination, depending upon its surrounding influences. It is therefore pivotal that Mercury is stationing retrograde while forming a conjunction with Venus in Scorpio. The impact of Venus in Scorpio upon Mercury is complex, for while Venus brings a unifying and harmonizing influence to Mercury, their union in Scorpio means that death, decay, and decomposition will be necessary in order to fertilize and produce the fruit we can eventually savor from their conjunction. In fact, we may discover it is the difficult experiences we must persist through that ultimately brings us closer to others. As Haruki Murakami once wrote:

“One heart is not connected  to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”

— Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage 

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity can be helpful in dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize Mercury retrograde for sifting through our many inner parts in order to reintegrate fragmented aspects of ourselves. The influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde can open receptiveness to insightful ideas to be curious about and investigate as Mercury moves retrograde in the weeks ahead. In addition, the Moon will also be inciting inspiration through forming a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius as Mercury stations retrograde. Pay attention to not only the events happening around October 31 when Mercury stations, but also the signs and omens that cross your path and bring premonition regarding the liminal process you are entering. It can be a particularly powerful period to intensely focus on research applied to creative output, so notice what grabs your interest in exploring to a deeper level.

Hermes Argus Bertel Thorvaldsen


Mercury about to kill Argus (1818) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, ’tis thine thro’ air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse:
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine:
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain, of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Chthonic Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Despite the unifying influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be strife and conflict to contend with since Mercury will be retrograde in a sign ruled by Mars. Moreover, Mars in Libra will be forming an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn at the same time that Mercury stations. The square between Mars and Pluto can stoke inner drive and ambition, with a willingness to persist through obstacles or break free from constraining influences.  While Mars will be forming a harsh aspect with Pluto, however, Mercury will begin moving backward toward a harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto once it shifts retrograde. As a result, it will be vital to listen to messages from the stationing of Mercury with regard to where we will need to alter plans to avoid unnecessary discord, versus where it will be important to lean into the difficulty and tread into uncertain ground. Mercury’s stationing can help clarify what will be worth fighting for to protect and cultivate in the weeks ahead, as well as what instead needs to be laid to rest.

Mercury retrograde under rulership of Mars wields weapons which disarm fixated viewpoints, nudging us off guard enough to deliver insight that cuts through old defense mechanisms. In myth, Mercury played the role of slayer at times, such as lulling the giant Argus to sleep in order to go in for the kill. When retrograde, the magical wand of Mercury may charm us with seeming distraction, yet eventually as we regain our bearings we can realize there was a larger purpose behind the enchantment no matter how frustrating it felt in the moment. Although Mercury retrograde in Scorpio may lead us into strife and experiences of separation, it will be worth the risk to resiliently accept and work through the difficulties in order to comprehend the message that Mercury’s sleight of hand is delivering. When it doesn’t feel possible to let go of wounds or loss, the ineffable depth of Scorpio’s waters can help dislodge feelings of grief that need to be released.

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from Viridarium Chymicum (1624)

Mercury’s retrograde phase occurs during the part of its orbit in which it is as close to us as possible, moving in between the orbit of our Earth and the Sun. The close proximity of Mercury intensifies its presence in mundane matters, which can be beneficial when focusing on research or writing, difficult when experiencing mental overwhelm. As Mercury shifts backwards while the Sun moves directly towards it, Mercury mutates from being a visible Evening Star into its chthonic invisible phase. Mercury will be visible in some localities as an Evening Star when it stations on October 31, but by November 4 it will definitively move into its invisible phase by getting within fifteen degrees of the Sun. As we can no longer see Mercury in the sky at this point in its cycle, Mercury symbolically takes on the role of a psychopomp guiding our soul into a liminal, underworld period of regeneration.

During the week from November 4 when Mercury disappears until November 11 when Mercury will be revivified through its conjunction with the Sun, we will experience the most intense process of putrefaction, decomposition, and release. During this week you can align with Mercury by mindfully purging whatever from the past is ready to be burned off by the fiery Sun. As Mercury gets closer and closer to the Sun during this week, it will simultaneously take on more of the hot and drying qualities of the Sun that can aid in separating us from whatever needs to be released. It can also be a powerful time of receiving imaginal inspiration that will seed ideas to nurture and work on during Mercury’s journey through darkness.

The watery landscape of Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also a place in which decay nourishes and feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that can eventually produce fruit. The day after Mercury stations retrograde, Venus will enter Sagittarius on November 1 and will begin her pilgrimage to conjoin Jupiter that will occur on November 24 just after Mercury stations direct. The co-presence of Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Mercury retrograde period can be helpful in lifting vision to expansive heights whenever we feel like we are getting stuck in the quagmires of Scorpio.

It’s worth considering that while popular astrology dogma warns to not sign any contracts or begin initiatives during Mercury retrograde, it is in fact possible to sign contracts and begin enterprises that will turn out to be successful during Mercury retrograde periods. However, it is important to listen closely to your intuition, bodily senses, and synchronous signs that illuminate inner guidance.  If something about a new project or move seems off for some reason, it will be wise to investigate further before making a commitment. If all evidence points toward making a positive change in direction, there is no reason to prevent yourself from acting due to worry over Mercury being retrograde. If a decision can wait, however, clarifying insight can be received after Mercury is regenerated through its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) The Swan, No. 10, Group IX

Mercury transit of the Sun

Will transformation. O be ravenous for the fire / in which a thing boastful with change forever eludes you; / that designing Spirit which plots earth’s flourishes, — / it loves most in the figure’s élan the moment of turning.

What shackles itself in survival already is rigidity; / does it feel itself safe in the shelter of nondescript gray? / Beware, from afar the hardest is warning the hard. / And woe–: an absent hammer is lifting!

Whoever pours forth as wellspring, Recognition greets; / and she guides him enthralled through the serene Creation / that often ends with beginning and in ending begins.

Every happy space through which they walk marveling / is child or grandchild of Separation. And the transformed Daphne, / feeling so laurel-like, wants you to change into wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 12)

Mercury will be revivified and reseeded by its chthonic conjunction with the Sun on November 11 at 18º55′ Scorpio. During its inferior conjunction Mercury becomes purified and regenerated while aligned in orbit between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mercury to be. During the time that Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so while Mercury is within sixteen minutes of its solar conjunction, there will be enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Old astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun, when Mercury is seated upon the throne of the Sun and revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light.

“The protected space at the heart of the Sun is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.”

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology

All inferior conjunctions of Mercury are not equal, however, and in fact the one on November 11 has a special quality. Due to Mercury’s union with the Sun being within a degree of the heliocentric North Node of Mercury, visually a small black form of Mercury will be able to be seen transiting across the face of the Sun during its solar alignment. This is similar to what happens during a Total Solar Eclipse in which a New Moon forms close to one of the Moon’s nodes, but the difference is that Mercury is visually too small from our perspective to eclipse the light of the Sun in blackness. This means Mercury will literally be in the heart of the Sun, making it an intensified rebirth for Mercury befitting its placement in Scorpio.

Make sure to create space for inner contemplation on November 11, for Mercury’s transit of the Sun only happens thirteen or fourteen times a century. The last time there was a Mercury transit of the Sun was in May 2016 with Mercury retrograde in Taurus conjoining the heliocentric south node of Mercury. It will not happen again until November 2032. Mercury’s chthonic cazimi aligning with its North Node will amplify penetration into inner depths to discover self realization of material that had been hidden from our awareness. Whatever inner space was cleared through emptying and shedding during the first half of Mercury’s retrograde can now be seeded with new ideas and desires to nurture in the forthcoming cycle of Mercury. Adding to the potency, Mercury will be entering its own Egyptian bounds as it enters the heart of the Sun, giving Mercury greater capacity to redirect insight into material manifestation.

Furthermore, there will also be an underlying influence of Uranus in Taurus on Mercury’s rebirth, as the waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus will be conjoining Uranus as Mercury forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11. This is especially significant since Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 31 in the week following a New Moon in Scorpio that was opposite Uranus. The effect of Uranus on Mercury’s solar conjunction can incite unexpected events and revelations which lead to dramatic changes as the Full Moon in Taurus brings further illumination on November 12. The impact of Uranus can also manifest through forging deeper connection with allies and collaborators who share similar passions and interest in forming supportive communities, whether in person or through long distance technology.

hilm af klint group VI evolution


Hilma af Klint (1908) Group VI, Evolution, No. 9

Morning Star of Hermes

Behold the flowers, those true to the earthly, / to whom we lend fate from the edge of fate,– / yet who can say? If they regret their fading, / it is for us to be their regret.

Everything wants to float. And yet we move about like weights, / attaching ourselves to everything, in thrall to gravity; / O what wearisome teachers we are for things, / while in them eternal childhood prospers.

If someone were to take them into his inmost sleep / and sleep deeply with them–: O how light he’d emerge, / changed, to a changed day, from the mutual depth.

Or perhaps he’d stay; and they’d bloom and praise him, / the convert, become now like one of their own, / all the quiet brothers and sisters in the meadow’s wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 14)

From the Full Moon in Taurus on November 12 until Mercury stations direct on November 20 at 11º55′ Scorpio, Mercury will move retrograde through its final phase of invisible darkness. During this week Mercury retrograde will form a harmonizing sextile with Saturn in Capricorn on November 13 and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces later on the same day. Moreover, at the end of November after Mercury stations direct and is visible again, Mercury will complete an additional trine with Neptune and sextile with Saturn. As a result, in the afterglow of the Full Moon in Taurus make space and time to imaginatively explore the insights and ideas seeded during Mercury’s chthonic cazimi to the fullest extent possible, without worry of making them fully manifest until Mercury returns to visible light. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio this year bears the gift of providing not only the imaginal support of Neptune, but the tempering and practicality of Saturn in Capricorn that will help facilitate finding ways to transfigure imaginative vision into tangible forms that can meet the needs of others in your wider community.

Mercury will finally return to visible light again as a Morning Star at the same time it stations direct on November 20. As Mercury undergoes a process of recovery from its retrograde motion, it will gain an added dose of vitality from the entrance of Mars into its watery home of Scorpio on November 19. Mars at the beginning of Scorpio is in a place of extreme strength as it is in its own home, bounds, and triplicity. It’s co-presence with Mercury stationing direct will supply ample fuel to begin moving forward with implementation of the ideas developed during Mercury’s twenty day journey retrograde. Just as it is important to pay close attention to Mercury when stationing retrograde, so it as well extremely important to be mindful when Mercury stations direct in order to receive necessary guidance.

In addition to the ingress of Mars into Scorpio brining an extra charge of resilient determination into the stationing of Mercury direct, Venus will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius and providing a fount of providential inspiration. Venus will complete its exact conjunction with Jupiter on November 24 as Mercury is finally beginning to move forward again. If you have become motivated to make dramatic changes during Mercury’s retrograde motion that also makes you fearful due to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of following through, the union of Venus and Jupiter will provide uplifting support for taking the risk to break free from whatever restrictive influences have been holding you back. As Mercury returns to visible light in the pre-dawn sky, so may we experience ignition of an inner fire to strike out in pursuit of revivified passion and desire.

Copper alloy sculpture from Sumer (ca 3000 BC) of figure with ibex horns and raptor wings

The final phase of the Mercury retrograde process begins as Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star, which will occur about eight days after Mercury stations direct this time around. The threshold of Mercury reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star demarcates the stage at which Mercury returns to matching the speed of the Sun and then shifts into moving faster than the Sun as it continues to travel through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha compared this phase of Mercury with the rubedo stage in alchemy (Caton also compared the opening stage of Mercury retrograde to the nigredo stage, and the time following the inferior conjunction to the albedo stage of alchemy). As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make the shift into a new way of being as Mercury picks up speed and moves through its Morning Star phase.

Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on November 28 at seventeen degrees of Scorpio, at the same time that Neptune is stationing direct on November 27 in an exact trine aspect with Mercury. Furthermore, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star at the same time that it will form its third and final sextile aspect (since the middle of October) with Saturn in Capricorn on November 29. A few days later, Mercury will complete its third and final harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 2, the same day that Jupiter leaves its fiery home of Sagittarius in order to enter its fall in Capricorn. Finally, Mercury will leave its retrograde shadow zone and pass through the same degree where it originally stationed retrograde on December 7.

As a result, Mercury will be engaging with supportive aspects from Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto as it picks up speed and heralds the rise of the Sun with its morning light. The beginning of 2020 will be dominated astrologically by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, and so Mercury will be in position to help with attuning and adjusting to the larger changes in collective structures taking place. More importantly, Mercury will also be supportive in melding imaginative vision with the disciplined determination needed to fully manifest creative expression into forms that can offer solace and support to others in need of what we have to offer. As the coming astrology of 2020 suggests monumental, tectonic shifts in collective events are on the way, it will be up to each and everyone of us to claim the responsibility to do our part in cultivating our skills and talents to share with others in mutual support.

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New Moon in Scorpio

max ernst in praise of freedom

Max Ernst (1926) In Praise of Freedom

New Moon in Scorpio

“Every development leads through the undeveloped, but capable of development. In its undeveloped condition it is almost worthless, while development represents a highest value that is unquestionable. One must give up this value or at least apparently give it up to be able to attend to the undeveloped. But this stands in the sharpest contrast to the developed, which perhaps represents our best and highest achievement. The acceptance of the undeveloped is therefore like a sin, like a false step, a degeneration, a descent to a deeper level; in actual fact, however, it is a greater deed than remaining in an ordered condition at the expense of the other side of our being, which is thus at the mercy of decay.”

— C.G. Jung, from Appendix B of Liber Novus (aka The Red Book)

The regenerative blackness of the Scorpio New Moon on October 27 (PST) comes in the days leading up to Samhain, the Day of the Dead, All Saints Day, and Halloween. In the northern hemisphere it is the season of embracing the increase of night and falling leaves by honoring ancestors and the living otherworld. There is a profound stillness to be found within the darkness of this lunation, an emptying as well as a reception of inner insight. The New Moon in Scorpio is exactly opposite Uranus in Taurus while its ruler Mars in Libra is in an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, marking it as a key gateway between all the diverse developments of 2019 and what is to come in the ending and beginning of a new year. The wet, boggy landscape of Scorpio is filled not only with decomposition and burial mounds, but also the fecund, fructifying growth that emerges from putrefaction. Issues from the past may emerge in need of laying to rest with the sanctity of funeral rites, yet simultaneously our inner senses will reveal burgeoning desires to be curious about and follow in unexpected directions.

The Moon has its fall in Scorpio, and so it’s further significant that the New Moon is only one degree beyond the exact degree of the Moon’s fall at 3º Scorpio. As a result, there is an extremely fallen quality to the Scorpio New Moon that can bring us low to the ground, like venturing into a depression under the earth with an intensity of underworld initiation. Scorpio is a place of obsession and fixating on plans of development, insisting on certain outcomes against all odds to such an extent that one can become flooded with emotional overwhelm when things do not manifest as desired. Since Venus will also be conjoining Mercury in Scorpio within the darkness of the New Moon, as Mercury is simultaneously stationing retrograde, it will be important to release attachment to controlling outcomes and instead flow with the trajectory of events with a willingness to modify plans as necessary.

The New Moon arrives at the heart of the Uranus retrograde, when Uranus is as close to our Earth in orbit as it gets within its cycle. Uranus stationed retrograde on August 11 at 6º36′ Taurus and will eventually station direct on January 10, 2020 at 2º38′ Taurus. This means Uranus will eventually station direct at the same time as the exact conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12, 2020. As the Scorpio Moon melds into the Sun while opposing Uranus, unforeseen revelations regarding the path to follow into the unknown future may strike suddenly. Uranus electrifies the fallen quality of the Scorpio New Moon, like an otherworldly vision of healing received while laying on the ground, incubating.

Unlike the frenetic quality of oppositional aspects when Uranus was in Aries, the opposition between Uranus in Taurus with the New Moon in Scorpio cultivates a brooding intensification of inwardly directed senses. Rather than attempting to control natural surroundings, Uranus in Taurus promotes finding ways to merge the magic of nature and all of its constant changes into one’s creative process of invention. The scholar and philosopher Peter Kingsley has spoken and written extensively about the sacred ground of our inner senses and how we can become “a farmer in the unseen worlds” engaging in a “whole process of inner agriculture.” If you feel like giving up due to obstacles or nothing seeming to work out as planned, make space for quiet immersion within inner senses to discover guidance for the next steps to take from Uranus.

Magritte the fanatics

Rene Magritte (1963) Les Fanatiques

Mars in Libra rules the Scorpio New Moon and is beginning to separate from an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn while applying toward a square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. The influence of Mars will amplify frustration and anger regarding barriers restricting achievement of goals, as well as over anything feeling unjust or out of balance within personal as well as societal relationships. While resiliency and persistence will be necessary allies on whatever quest you have undertaken, it will do no good to try to fight your way through unmoveable obstacles as it will only achieve exhaustion. Mars in Libra needs to instead find ways to utilize the tools of Venus in order to manipulate power dynamics through intellectual invention and social charm.

The traditional astrological concept of essential dignities is worth considering in relation to the catalyzing square between Mars and Saturn, as Mars and Saturn are in mutual reception due to Mars occupying the exaltation of Saturn and Saturn residing in the exaltation of Mars. It’s further notable that this is reception based upon the idealized grandeur of exaltation rather than the grounded security of domicile. While exaltation correlates with peak experiences, whatever goes up to great heights can also fall from grace. William Lilly famously described angular, unimpeded planets in exaltation as signifying arrogance, haughtiness, and “assuming more to him than his due.” Thus it is worth contemplating whether or not you are trying to fight for more than your fair share of resources, or if you are becoming frustrated over not manifesting desired results due to setting your expectations too high.

While Saturn is strongly secure in its home of Capricorn, it is also undergoing an intense process of shedding and honing due to being in between the South Node of the Moon and Pluto in Capricorn. In contrast, Mars is journeying far away from its home with few resources in Libra, yet since it is in a superior position of being in the tenth place from Saturn it can incite a volatilized charge against the constraints of Saturn. It will be wise to avoid unnecessary conflict, as fights can quickly become amplified with viciousness. The friction between Mars and Saturn can be best utilized through hard work and determination applied to productive effort, releasing attachment to the inessential, using the tension to discern what you truly value the most.

Although Mars is lacking in essential dignity, the New Moon in Scorpio is in the most powerful degree range of the zodiac for Mars since it is in the domicile, face, and bounds of the red planet. Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens (2nd Century CE) described the first seven degrees of Scorpio where Mars has its bounds as “frenetic, tending towards anger, and a bold, free speaking style- the kind to say what is necessary at any given time.” Positively, the Scorpio New Moon can be supportive for doing what needs to be done to separate and protect yourself from negative, toxic influences. Since Mars is in Libra, however, a more measured approach of strategic intervention will be favored over impulsive, direct action.

After Mars persists through challenging square aspects with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, it will eventually form a stabilizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Full Moon in Taurus on November 12 that can help with recovering from conflicts and taking inspired action. As the waxing Moon will also unite with Uranus on November 11 just before reaching fullness, there is potential to liberate yourself from stuck places and ultimately achieve greater self actualization through maintaining courageous resiliency in the face of difficulties in the lunar cycle ahead.

Gustave_Doré_-_Dante_Alighieri_-_Inferno_-_Plate_7_(Beatrice).jpg

Beatrice with Virgil from Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

The Scorpio New Moon has a quality of strange stillness and suspense due to Venus applying to a conjunction with Mercury, as Mercury is simultaneously stationing retrograde. Mercury will station retrograde on October 31 at 27º38′ Scorpio, moving backwards through Scorpio until stationing direct at 11º35′ Scorpio on November 20. It is always important to increase practices of mindfulness and pay close attention whenever Mercury is stationing, as we may receive early signs and messages regarding elements of life that will require focus, release, repair, as well as in depth research during the retrograde journey of Mercury. As Venus unites with Mercury on October 30 at the threshold of Mercury shifting retrograde, we may become drawn toward applying intense creative focus toward a project to develop in the month ahead as well as realize ways we need to make radical changes within certain relational dynamics with others. 

As Mercury turns back to retrace its steps through the watery landscape of Scorpio, it will be entering its invisible phase in which it will play the role of a psychopomp guiding us into the insight we may discover in shadowy places and inner senses. Whereas Mercury will demand an unflinching examination of any cracks in foundational elements of our life in need of mending, Venus will be calling for us to embrace and integrate whatever core purpose brings inspiration. Venus will be increasing in brightness as an Evening Star, glowing radiant in twilight as she also becomes a stronger presence in our lives during the month ahead. Venus in Scorpio will be mutually exchanging signs with Mars in Libra through November 1, deepening engagement with new desires and interest in magnetizing support within relationships. Venus holds particularly potent desires within the final ten degrees of Scorpio she is traversing, as she has the resources of being in her own face and triplicity. Let Venus fertilize a fascinating mission for Mercury to undertake during its retrograde phase in November.

After Venus leaves the deep waters of Scorpio on November 1, she will enter the expansive territory of Sagittarius in which she will steadily make her way toward a conjunction with Jupiter that will complete on November 24. The co-presence of Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius during November will be beneficial in synthesizing ideas and beliefs into a larger vision to build towards through our daily effort in spite of any difficulties we must contend with.

The_Vision_of_The_Valley_of_The_Dry_Bones

Gustave Dore The Vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones

The other major aspects of the Scorpio New Moon involve harmonizing aspects with Saturn in Capricorn. While Saturn is mutually applying toward a sextile aspect with Neptune retrograde in Pisces, the Scorpio New Moon is also applying toward a sextile aspect with the South Node of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn. Meanwhile, since Mercury will be moving backwards through Scorpio, it will eventually form sextile aspects with Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn in November. Saturn will complete its exact sextile with Neptune retrograde on November 8 at 16º01′ degrees of Capricorn and Pisces, making it an especially powerful season of Samhain to honor and commune with ancestors.

The karmic caravan of Ketu, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn has dredged up personal, ancestral, and societal issues in need of reparation during 2019. During the recent Libra season, this deep rooted material was stirred up and catalyzed through the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Mercury moving through the same square aspects with Ketu, Saturn, and Pluto that Mars is engaging during the Scorpio New Moon. While Mars is heating up and volatilizing all of the myriad strands of historical and contemporary injustice and oppression contained within the karmic configuration, on a personal level the harmonious aspects formed by the Scorpio New Moon and Neptune open an opportunity for dissolving old, restrictive patterns in order to reconfigure our relationship with the associated material and discern a new way forward. The gravity and weight of Saturn and Pluto coming together in a new cycle will be intensifying in the next three months, and so the Scorpio New Moon is ideal for making space to reflect upon ways to realign and flow in greater harmony with the currents of change taking shape.

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5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The Scorpio New Moon arises in the first decan of Scorpio associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first, as a despairing figure stares with fixation upon three spilled chalices. However, upon closer look there remain two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope. There is also a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, evoking the flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. It is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Jawbone” to the first decan of Scorpio, declaring hunger as its chief concern. Coppock synthesized the ancient textual images of this face around the constantly circulating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, satiation, the loss of what one desires, and the competitive violence of pursuing desires. Curiously, the ancient Hermetic text Liber Hermetis described “a crab having wings” residing in the first decan of Scorpio, indicating that liberation may be possible once we face the compulsive nature of the cycle. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Numphai (Nymphs) to this face, feminine nature spirits who reside in sacred streams, groves, and grottoes. The obsessive nature of this face brings to mind the figure of Dionysus who often ran with wild nymphs and whose all consuming desires incite dismemberment and rebirth. Fittingly, Mars is considered to be the ruler of this face.

The importance of following desires into a fully lived life, as well as the mysterious initiations and soul reckoning we experience as a result, was stressed in the depth psychological work of Carl Jung. In commentaries on Liber Novus (found in Appendix B of the tome), Carl Jung described Eros and Logos as “fundamental psychic powers that form a pair of opposites, each one requiring the other.” While Jung connected Logos with “ordering and insistence,” he described Eros as “dissolution and movement” as well as “desire, longing, force, exuberance, pleasure, suffering…” Jung declared Eros to be “a principle that contains a commingling of all the fundamental activities of the soul,” stating that it “is not form-giving but form-fulfilling; it is the wine that will be poured into the vessel; it is not the bed and direction of the stream but the impetuous water flowing in it.”

In the coming months as all things related to Saturn and Pluto intensify in correspondence with their approaching conjunction, we will all need to adjust to the reordering of numerous societal factors as cultural structures deepen into the process of breakdown and regeneration already underway. Within the darkness of the Scorpio New Moon, make a trip to the ever flowing stream of Eros in order to fill a flask of vivifying fluid to bring on the journey ahead. Allow the refreshment from the waters of the Scorpio New Moon to cleanse what needs to be purified and to arouse the passion needed to make life meaningful. There will be lessons of longing and suffering we will need to survive if we wish to help create the world we truly desire to inhabit.

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References

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

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2006). Return to Eternity: a transformational workshop with Peter Kingsley.

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

Vettius Valens of Antioch, Book One. Rendered from ancient Greek into  modern English by Andrea Gehrz. (2016). Moira Press.

 

Jupiter in Scorpio

Hokusai_Dragon

Dragon by Hokusai

O come and go. You, still almost a child,
with your spell transform for an instant
the dance figure, make it one of those pure
constellations in which we fleetingly

transcend dull ordering Nature. For she was roused
to full hearing only when Orpheus sang.
You were still swayed by those ancient chords
and a bit annoyed if a tree took stock

before it followed where your hearing led.
You still knew the place where the lyre
rose resounding—; the undreamt-of center.

For it you practiced those beautiful steps
and hoped one day to turn toward
total happiness your friend’s face and stride.

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter enters the dark waters of Scorpio on October 10, 2017 and remains within its shadowy depths until November 8, 2018.  Scorpio is not a natural match for Jupiter in terms of its intrinsic meaning aligning smoothly with the uplifting purpose we receive through Jupiter.  Yet the tension between the meaning of Scorpio and Jupiter is fertile ground for provoking the types of struggles and determination necessary to foster greater strength in developing past previous limitations and obstacles to growth.  The signs of Cancer, Sagittarius, and Pisces are considered to be the zodiacal terrain most akin to the essential nature of Jupiter, yet Scorpio may be embraced as a sign in which we can work with Jupiter for unique ends like nowhere else.  Jupiter descending into the underworld atmosphere of Scorpio brings passion for penetrating into the heart of the matter and unearthing wisdom from the deepest levels of focus and experience.

Scorpio is a sign transitioning Jupiter from Libra, the airy home of Venus which is comfortable for Jupiter, into its fiery home of Sagittarius where it enjoys all of its resources needed for grand visions of imagination and higher mind.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio, however its time in Scorpio is absolutely necessary in terms of helping us delve deeper into our own subconscious as well as gain insight into the sea of collective unconsciousness swirling around us.  There are numerous mythic figures who reveal aspects of the meaning we can find with Jupiter in Scorpio, such as Dionysus the subterranean Zeus whose epiphanic experiences include chaotic moments of being torn apart so as to be brought back together again into wholeness.   We may also consider Osiris, the generous and noble cultivator of ancient civilization whose destiny necessitates descent into the underworld realm of spirits and ancestors.  The more we are willing to probe within and contemplate our depths, facing our fears and whatever else has been buried inside, the more we will be able to leap and embody the potential of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius which will begin in November 2018.

Jupiter does possess a level of essential dignity from nineteen degrees and beyond of Scorpio:  the Egyptian bounds of Jupiter within Scorpio extends between nineteen and twenty-four degrees, and Jupiter is also the ruler of the third decan of Scorpio within the triplicity rulership scheme.  Jupiter will be in these degrees from mid January 2018 through the beginning of May 2018 and then return again at the beginning of September 2018 for the rest of its transit through Scorpio.  These degrees are more within the domain of Jupiter than the rest of Scorpio, and we may find that in correspondence we can more readily transmute our experience of Jupiter in Scorpio into the sort of wisdom we can integrate into our daily life.

georgia-okeeffe-stormcloud-at-lake-george

by Georgia O’Keeffe, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Player Piano)

Jupiter loves to coalesce meaning from experience, stabilizing our lives at the same time it expands, elevates, and progresses personal narratives.  Since Scorpio is a water sign, it brings Jupiter the opportunity to do this through penetration into personal feelings and emotions, allowing our watery depths to both absorb lessons while dissolving old hangups and restrictive patterns.  Jupiter does not have triplicity rulership over water signs, yet finds both its exaltation (Cancer) and inner home (Pisces) in the other two water signs.  Perhaps it is the fixed nature of Scorpio that can bring both obsession and stubbornness that makes Scorpio a more challenging testing ground for Jupiter.  However, the fixed quality of Scorpio does align with the stabilizing nature of Jupiter, for Scorpio will fight for security against all odds.

Scorpio as a fixed water sign can help us deepen the relationships and projects we initiated during the past year with Jupiter in Libra into long lasting enterprises nurtured by strong foundations.   Scorpio facilitates merging with others, and so during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we will be able to dive deeper through sexuality and cultivate new levels of intimacy with partners.  Jupiter in Scorpio also bolsters realization of higher meaning through intensifying studies of spiritual or philosophical bodies of knowledge.  Through philosophical studies and spiritual experiences with Jupiter in Scorpio our entire being can become transmuted so as to realize a vaster whole that contains our expanding perceptions.  We will need to be careful at times of becoming overly obsessed with merging with external sources and remember to re-center and ground within following experiences of cathartic, transformative union that bring a new sense of self.

The inward energy of Scorpio supports allowing things to take shape more at their own pace, yet the gifts Scorpio possesses for Jupiter need to be activated by courageous determination rather than passive acquiescence. The stability we can experience with Jupiter in Scorpio needs to be balanced with a willingness to push the envelope and pierce the veil of material illusions to discover the animated soul qualities underpinning our reality.  Jupiter in Scorpio does not necessarily involve spiritualism, however, and in fact could also correlate with those exploring atheist or existential lines of thought.  The unifying feature of Jupiter in Scorpio is engagement in obsessive pursuits in which our entire being is thrust into embodied exploration at the deepest levels of wherever we direct focus.  We will need to temper going overboard with obsessive desires and remember to be respectful of ethical boundaries.

In particular we will need to be honest about inner feelings and be curious and open with whatever arises from within our unconscious into awareness without denial.  Exploring the shadow of whatever is in our conscious awareness is a constant balancing act we will need to be engaged in, for the slippery shadow continually mutates as we bring light to our own darkness.  We will be rewarded in the year ahead with Jupiter in Scorpio when we take responsibility for nurturing our inner wounds and embracing natural change, avoiding emotional manipulation of others or refusing to compromise in manipulating the desired outcomes of effort.  Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”

— Terrence McKenna, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio is within the home of Mars, and so the wisdom we gain will often come through displays of willpower and determination in the face of difficulties, through resiliency while struggling with conflicts.  According to the ancient philosopher Empedocles, the constant fluctuating between forces of Strife and Love are at the root of Creation and our experience.  Peter Kingsley in his book Reality argued that our modern wishful thinking idealizes Love and demonizes Strife, but reading of Empedocles indicates the necessity of Strife in developing presence and cultivating awareness to enable direct experience.  Kingsley wrote we can work with Strife to destroy “our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the way things are,” as “the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die” (p. 435).

In contrast to the significations of harmony and union brought by Venus to Jupiter transiting through Libra in the past year, Mars brings significations more aligned with challenges requiring courage.  Our process of learning lessons through Jupiter in Scorpio will include the alchemy of elements becoming separated in order to become purified and brought back together into a cohesive whole.  Jupiter in Scorpio will facilitate severing yourself from past toxic addictions and patterns, bringing determined willfulness into intentional alterations and change.  Through whatever struggles we endure with Jupiter in Scorpio, a more meaningful approach to life imbibed with intrinsic purpose may be distilled.

Mars signifies the warrior and protector, and so Jupiter in Scorpio will also amplify efforts of political activism centered around protecting human and environmental rights.  Jupiter in Scorpio will help deepen bonds of camaraderie among those aligned in purposeful value, intensifying efforts to promote social justice that were triggered during Jupiter’s catalytic transit through Libra that featured powerfully charged interactions with transiting Uranus and Pluto.  Notably, Jupiter in Scorpio will now be heading toward harmonious aspects with the outer planets Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn, bringing opportunities for profound integration of wisdom from our experiences.

Monet_waterlilies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter trine Pisces Neptune

The ocean-like immensity of joy

Arising when all beings will be freed,

Will this not be enough? Will this not satisfy?

The wish for my own freedom, what is that to me?

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

Perhaps the most exciting element of Jupiter’s time in Scorpio will be its trine to Neptune in Pisces that will open greater access to the potential of Neptune’s transit through Pisces.  Jupiter previously formed a trine to Neptune in Pisces when it was in Cancer in 2013, however Jupiter’s time in Cancer then also involved it being opposite Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The stability of the trine between Jupiter and Neptune across the next year will be more easily accessed, and it should also help that Jupiter will be in a harmonious aspect with Pluto.  There is enormous potential for spiritual insight, cathartic works of imagination, and the shedding of beliefs we realize are illusory.

Neptune can be associated with escaping the harshness of reality through various forms of illusions, yet the trine from Pisces Neptune to Scorpio Jupiter calls us to awaken and courageously meet the world as it is with all of its suffering, without denial.  Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.  In addition, for those who study astrology, other esoteric arts or spirituality, as well as other forms of philosophy and science, the year ahead with Jupiter in trine to Neptune holds extraordinary potential for deepening understanding.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between mid November and mid December of 2017, becoming exact on 2 December 2017.  Jupiter will again be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between May and September of 2018, becoming exact on 25 May 2018 and again on 19 August 2018.

Monet, water lillies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter sextile Capricorn Pluto

“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Slaughterhouse Five)

In Scorpio, Jupiter shifts from being in a harsh square with Pluto into a harmonious sextile, bringing the opportunity to integrate vital lessons from the past year of Jupiter being shook by intense aspects from Uranus and Pluto.  Many modern astrologers associate Pluto with rulership of Scorpio, but no matter your astrological framework the sextile between Jupiter and Pluto brings the potential for gaining empowerment through embodying integrity and purging inauthentic aspects accumulated through cultural conditioning.  With Jupiter harmoniously interacting with both Pluto and Neptune, we have the ideal climate for a heartfelt dive into Soul for guidance.  In Scorpio, Jupiter will support breaking free from cultural judgments, conditioning, and taboos that have previously repressed expression of essential nature.  It will be necessary in this process to contemplate the parameter’s of one’s ethical framework so as to act within the bounds of our values and ideals.

As Jupiter forms its sextile with Pluto, Saturn will also enter Capricorn and begin to complete the end of its cycle with Pluto.  Those already entrenched within power structures will be likely to use whatever means necessary to hold on to their control, and here we will experience the dangerous manipulative side of Jupiter in Scorpio through attempts to coerce public opinion with deceptive tactics.  For those seeking to expose the corruption of hierarchical systems of power, however, Jupiter in Scorpio while in sextile with Pluto brings enormous capacity for discovering and revealing information that can bring corrupt tyrants to their downfall.  The polarized political climate around the world is likely to get even more combative with Jupiter in Scorpio, but the resources Scorpio provides for revelation of truth can be utilized for significant results and progress by activists fighting for social justice.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from the end of December 2017 until the beginning of May 2018, becoming exact on 15 January 2018 and again on 13 April 2018.  Jupiter will once again come within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from late August 2018 until the end of September 2018, becoming exact on 12 September 2018.

The Woman in White 1871 by Frederick Walker 1840-1875

by Frederick Walker, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio at the Bending

Jupiter in Scorpio will pivotally begin to form a square to the transiting lunar nodes as it moves through the sign of the Scorpion.  Ancient astrology called this aspect being at the bendings, as planets in square to the lunar nodes are at a far away bend of arc away from the lunar nodes.  Planets in square to the lunar nodes must be dealt with and have an air of unavoidable necessity in our lives.  In our personal lives the impact of Jupiter in Scorpio in square to the lunar nodes will be karmic, since the nodes are intersection points for the paths of the Sun, signifying our source of Soul, and the Moon, signifying our incarnated bodies in reception of Soul.

As a result, all of the significations of Jupiter in Scorpio have something vital to add to our experience of the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The penetrating depth of insight brought by Jupiter in Scorpio will bring increased awareness into how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms, and how we can share our gifts in service to community.  The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.

Since the lunar nodes mark the places of eclipses, this also means that Jupiter in Scorpio will be forming catalytic squares with the degrees of Lunar and Solar eclipses and will be a key influence in collective and personal events emanating from the eclipses.  Judith Hill in her book Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides put together the following list of mundane events influenced by the planet Jupiter impacting eclipse degrees:

Popes, organized religion, schools, large craft, the air travel industry, trains, large ships, trains, trade, immigration/emigration, travel industry, loans, stocks, speculation, publishing, great men, philanthropy, famous benefactors and philanthropists, benign legal decisions, elections of good people, judges, great generals, benign or beloved heads of state, bail-outs, charity, senators, congress, congressmen, conferences, colleges, education, advertising, publicity, expansions, liberal laws, lawyers . . . joyous celebrations, heads of organized religion, great saints. (p. 130-131)

Jupiter will end up stationing retrograde in range of a square to the Leo and Aquarius eclipses on 9 March 2018 at 23º13′.  This degree forms a tight square to the first Leo Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 10 February 2017.  It also is within range of a square to the monumental Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred on 21 August 2017.  The stationing of Jupiter in mid March will catalyze storylines that developed in accordance with these past two Leo eclipses.  In addition, there is a Solar Eclipse in Aquarius that will occur on 15 February 2018 at 27º Aquarius that will add another major wave of influence into the narratives that will be further amplified when Jupiter stations retrograde in March.

The internal darkness of Scorpio will help nurture our experience of Jupiter so as to help transform our beliefs and faith into greater alignment with the underlying natural order and fabric of our reality.  We will feel compelled to challenge and confront the dictates and doctrines of the dominant paradigms found within society, including religious, political, and metaphysical systems.  There will be many treasures to uncover from within the waters of Scorpio in the coming year as long as we maintain the fortitude necessary for the dive.

How the cry of a bird can move us . . .
Any shaped, created cry.
But children, playing out in the open,
cry beyond real cries.

Cry hazard. Into the narrow crevices
of this world-space (through which the uncaught
bird-cry slips, the way we enter dreams—)
they drive their shrieking’s wedges.

Alas, where are we? Drifting freer and freer,
like kites torn loose from their strings
we lurch about in midair, frayed by laughter,

ripped by winds. —O array the criers,
singing god! Let them awake as a roaring,
one deep current carrying head and lyre.

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Rodin, Balzac photo

Balzac, Toward the Light, Midnight (1908) Photograph by Edward Steichen of Auguste Rodin’s Balzac statue. Rodin was born with Jupiter in Scorpio.

References

Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides. Stellium Press.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Shantideva. (1997). The Way of the Bodhisattva. Translated by the Padmakara translation group. Shambhala Library.

Scorpio New Moon

beau-v-tree-branch-cloud

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Scorpio

Just feeling human
the way a cloud’s a cloud
tinged with blue or
walking slow across the sky or
hastening,
but not a Thursday cloud
formed for the anxious glance of Thursday people,
simply a cloud, whose particles
may fall Tuesday, just as well,
on anyone’s spring hair, on any
taciturn winter buds it chooses
and no one say no. Human,
free for the day from roles assigned,
each with its emblem
cluttering the right hand,
scroll of words in the left.
Human, a kind of element, a fire,
an air, today.
Floating up to you I enter, or you
enter me. Or imagine
a house without doors,
open to sun or snowdrifts.

— Denise Levertov, “Today” from To Stay Alive 

Water flows inexorably and like our desires will dissolve blockages in the currents of its path.  Scorpio like all water signs in astrology is inwardly directed, magnetic, receptive, and capable of allowing life and events to take shape according to natural cycles instead of focusing upon speeding up the timing.  The watery nature of Scorpio symbolizes its capacity to tap deeply into the psychic and emotional content of its environment, as well as its ability to merge and transmute with external relationships and sources of power.  Scorpio is distinct among the water signs, however, in its fixated nature and its association with the heated, aggressive, divisive, and willful force of Mars.  The apparent paradox of a cold and wet sign such as Scorpio being home to Mars, a planet whose temperament in astrology is considered to be excessively hot and dry, becomes clear when contemplating concepts such as yin and yang.  There is a line in Zhāng Jièbīn’s Lèi Jīng which can be translated as the generation of qì inside water is precisely true fire.  This relates to what we can also find in the symbolism of the yin and yang image, in which yang is found within yin, just as yin is found within yang.  Scorpio as the nocturnal home of the nocturnal planet Mars in astrology signifies the deep essence of our fiery nature we can discover within.

Astrologers have written excessively about the symbolic resonance of Scorpio with the season of Fall, and while this association with the depth and fertile darkness of Scorpio fits, the issue remains that in the Southern hemisphere the season of Scorpio is at the fullness of Spring.  The important concept here is that Scorpio is a fixed sign, meaning that it supports stabilization, even if the stability of the Scorpion differs from mainstream conceptions of being stable.  The seasons of Spring and Fall are extremes of life and bloom, death and decay, that we experience in between the season of equinox and the season of solstice.  Although these seasons are associated with the “Fixed” signs, they are temporary and transitory like all of the changing nature of our material world and we must witness their loss and passing like everything else.  The persistent, persevering nature of Scorpio and its ability to penetrate into the emotional and psychic undercurrents of its circumstances is one of the sign’s greatest strengths.  However, its fixed nature is the source of the Scorpion’s shadow we are familiar with, in that fear of losing the source of one’s desire leads to controlling behavior that can ultimately drain the vitality out of their connection.  The lesson we experience in Scorpio is in letting go and having a healthy level of non-attachment with our desires. This does not mean being detached, but rather embodying the intimacy of Scorpio without the fixated obsession of manipulating the object of one’s desires.

The Scorpio New Moon on 30 October 2016 is conjoining Mercury while in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  It’s ruling planet Mars is exalted in Capricorn and separating from a square with Uranus.  Significantly, in the past lunation cycle Mars moved away from a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then formed a last quarter square to Uranus in Aries.  During this period Mars has been out of bounds by declination, and in fact has been out of bounds since August 2016.  Mars out of bounds is wilder and more rebellious, which dramatically exacerbated the catalytic square between Mars and Uranus that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding the New Moon.  At the time of the New Moon in Scorpio, however, Mars is finally at the threshold of leaving its out of bounds status.  The Scorpio New Moon supports accessing ambition from within that has been limited by past restrictive patterns of thought and emotion.  Any recent jarring, explosive experiences can be used to untether us from how we have held ourselves back.  The desires emerging with the Scorpio New Moon call for nurturing and cultivation, and allowing ourselves to be guided by unleashed instincts and impulses.

beau-vandendolder-sound-trees

Photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The trine between the Scorpio New Moon and Neptune in Pisces gives emphasis to the imaginal realm of Neptune that has been in harsh aspect to the hard reality of Saturn in Sagittarius over the past year.  The darkness of the Scorpio New Moon invites allowing dissolution to occur while opening to the feelings emerging from within.  Neptune in Pisces is conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, and will become increasingly close to the South Node of the Moon over the course of the next month.  In the collective unconscious there has been old conditioning beliefs and dreams exposed that the luminaries uniting in Scorpio can cleanse, and as we purify ourselves from the corruption of external conditioning misaligned with our authenticity, the resilient fecundity of Scorpio can aid in realigning with distilled essentiality.

The Scorpio New Moon supports nurturing belief that our cherished dreams and visions are possible to manifest, no matter how many wounds and barriers we have struggled through over the past year of the square between Saturn and Neptune.  With Mars in Capricorn finally emerging from its recent contacts with Pluto and Uranus, there is activated drive and will force available to inject into building the ideal life we wish to live step by step, action by action.  Unfortunately in our global collective, the wildness of Mars empowered in Capricorn and triggered by Pluto and Uranus has coincided with horrific destruction, violence and warfare in world events, leading many to experience a dark night of the soul.   Nonetheless, we can draw from the potency of Mars in the final decan of Capricorn to persist with determination on our own path, utilizing the mutable placement of Saturn in Sagittarius to shift and mutate structures as needed to accommodate the unavoidable change happening.

beau-v-tree-branch-stretch-river

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo forms a sextile with the Scorpio New Moon, signifying an ability to discern purified choices resonant with our arising vision of meaning.  The North Node of the Moon is further bound to the Scorpio New Moon through its ruler Mercury forming a sextile to the North Node and a conjunction with the New Moon.  Mercury in Scorpio is at beginning of its synodic cycle with the Sun at the New Moon, and further in trine to Neptune and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces. There is a deep presence to be found within the volatility of Mercury, and though it may feel difficult to articulate the full extent of our perceptions it will be worthwhile to make space to descend into internal streams of sensations that may only be able to be transmitted through nonverbal and extrasensory mediums.  As the Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Taurus that will arrive on 14 November, Mercury will remain invisible from the sky as it swiftly moves through the entirety of Scorpio, capable of soaking up and translating the emotional undercurrents surrounding us.

beau-v-fall-tree

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

And virtue? Virtue lies in the heroic response to the creative wonder, the utmost response.

— D.H. Lawrence

Although not in actual aspect to the lunation itself, one of the most powerful elements of the Scorpio New Moon is the new phase conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius (the last conjunction of Venus with Saturn was on 8 January 2016 at 12 degrees of Sagittarius).  Venus combined with Saturn pulls us into the bare bones of reality and demands we become serious and committed to developing the foundational supports for the vision of what will bring us pleasure and a sense of harmony.  Saturn and Venus together is also about allowing to decay and putrefy whatever needs to now become decomposed to allow for change and new birth.  In his essay on Saturn entitled On Senex Consciousness, James Hillman in his typically verbose style illuminated numerous connections between Kronos-Saturn and Aphrodite-Venus, such as Saturn’s link to fertility and agriculture, prosperity and materialism being a feminine mirror to the earthiness of goddesses.  Hillman also connected the Saturnine trials that result from Venusian affairs, and the difficult feelings that can come from a meeting between Saturn and Venus:

The hidden connection between falling-in-love with the dazzling seduction of foam-borne Aphrodite and the seed and scythe of old senex is not easy to discern.  But how else account for the terrible cruelties, the vicious eat-or-be-eaten fights that break out of the most translucently lovely love affairs?  And, when Venus departs, Saturn returns with brooding melancholy, devastating loneliness feelings of ugliness- even psychic crippling or suicide.

— James Hillman, On Senex Consciousness

The new phase between Saturn and Venus beginning at the time of the Scorpio New Moon is not about debilitating cycles of feelings and thoughts, but rather is about taking complete accountability for one’s presence within one’s myriad relationships in the world.    Saturn together with Venus points to the karmic effects of feeling drawn toward and deciding to commit to a desired person or outside source.  By choosing one to focus upon, there is a resulting detachment or rejection of others necessitated by our decision to commit exclusively.  The Scorpio New Moon asks us to choose wisely, to align and merge with those most capable of receiving and understanding us, deciding to collaborate with those most able to support us with interdependent and balanced equality.  Saturn and Venus want us to seize life and create opportunities for peak experiences whose impact will continue to reverberate within.  Saturn is containing a volatile Venus, as Venus will have recently crossed the threshold into being out of bounds by declination at the New Moon.  The wild side of Venus will be further amplified by it forming a trine to Uranus as the Moon waxes in light, remaining as a rebellious out of bounds planet all the way through the upcoming lunation cycle.

cups05

5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The first face of Scorpio holding the New Moon is associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first glance, with a figure full of despair staring with fixation upon three spilled, empty chalices on the ground. However, upon closer look we notice that there are still two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope.  In fact, the two remaining cups could be deeply fulfilling despite the grief over losing the other three cups. We can also notice a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, bringing in the ancient flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. As a result, this card is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with death and the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces synthesized the images found in ancient text associated with this face around the repeating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, the satiation of desire, the loss of what one desires, and the competition and violence that surrounds pursuing the desired. Coppock concluded:

In this decan we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being. The object of desire always skirts the edges of this face while its inhabitants give chase. Some gain the object of their desire, some fail. All come to know hunger again. Though this may seem a particularly tortured decan, it is merely one which exposes a hard truth. Confronting the cycle, we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 176

Mars rules the first face of Scorpio, and since Mars is in the third decan of Capricorn ruled by the Sun, while the Sun is in the first decan of Scorpio ruled by Mars, there is mutual reception through decan between the Sun and Mars at the Scorpio New Moon.  This brings more of a connection between the Scorpio New Moon with the square formed by Mars in Capricorn with Uranus in Aries.  While a square between Mars and Uranus can bring unexpected, shocking loss, it can also spark incredible individuating growth through the toil of adversity.   Mars in hard aspect to Uranus can also bring revelation into the cycle of desires we have been circulating.  Through facing our desires fully without denial, we develop awareness for which desires to continue pursuing and which desires are not in our best interest to regenerate.  The Scorpio New Moon beckons the release of attachment to whatever desires are not manifesting in our life in the moment, while embracing all elements of our actual reality with full presence and passion.

References

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Hillman, James. (1970). On Senex Consciousness. Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.

Wilms, Sabine. (2016). Randomn Thoughts on “Water is Yin, Fire is Yang.”  Happy Goat Productions.

Full Moon in Scorpio

configuration-no-16-1974

Configuration No. 16 by Max Ernst

Full Moon in Scorpio

Soon after our Sun enters Taurus this year, the stabilizing home of Venus, we experience its polarity through the darkly desirous sign of Scorpio becoming illuminated at the Full Moon on April 21/22, 2016.  While the Sun in Taurus facilitates centering within the body, patiently cultivating security from inner values, and luxuriating within whatever one finds beautiful, the Full Moon in Scorpio reveals the shadow of yearnings in its light, unearthing the deeper source of what we need to feel secure.  Within the reflection of this Scorpio Full Moon, feelings overflow from everything that has been denied or controlled as suppressed memories and passions arise to surface awareness.  Perception opens to the surrounding emotions of whatever has not been previously expressed, lending a keener, penetrating capacity to peer into the source behind or at the root of surrounding relationships, people, and myriad other forms.

Taurus and Scorpio are a Fixed polarity, signs that anchor the seasons as well as anchor consciousness in our material world.  Both Taurus and Scorpio hold the potential, however, for their capacity to anchor to lead one to becoming stuck through over fixation upon a desire or a way of being.  The range of extremity can be found in stubborn refusal to merge and open oneself to other perspectives and people, to becoming so compulsively drawn to merging with another person or source that covert manipulation is utilized in an attempt to sustain the connection and guard against the threat of loss.  The polarity between Taurus and Scorpio also bears the potential to discover one’s essentialness within the osmosis of uniting with others emotionally, sexually, mentally, or spiritually, making it possible to participate in committed relationships focused on authentic growth without compulsive dependencies being present.

The Scorpio Full Moon itself is not making any major aspects to planets, but is applying to a conjunction with the asteroid Juno retrograde in Scorpio.  Juno being with the Full Moon activates a focus on partnership via Scorpio, and fittingly in Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George described the Juno archetype as embodying issues that align with Scorpio such as  (1) fear of abandonment, (2) fear of betrayal, (3) fear of sexuality, (4) the giving away of power, (5) subtle manipulation, and (6) projection and repression (p. 161-163).  With Juno retrograde conjoining the Full Moon in Scorpio, and both Mars and Pluto having stationed retrograde the week prior to the lunation, the bright Moon will bring a pull into the inner vastness where we find the source of the relational dynamics we create.

paul klee swooping down

Birds Swooping Down and Arrows (1919) by Paul Klee

The Full Moon is ruled by Mars retrograde in Sagittarius and illuminates our entry into the long retrograde journey ahead with the red planet.  Mars is moving backward along with Saturn in Sagittarius, about seven degrees apart at the time of the lunation, but the movement of Mars is barely beyond a standstill.  It is too early to know what catalyzing and cathartic experiences will be coming during the Mars retrograde, but the Scorpio Full Moon will deliver a visceral sense of the major issues coming to the forefront at its initiation.  With Mars in range of a square to Neptune, there are elements of disillusionment happening that in the end will fuel a fiery rebirth of primal purpose, but at this moment feels disorienting and upsetting.

The modern viewpoint of Pluto ruling this Full Moon further emphasizes eruptive shifts in our world, as Pluto also recently stationed retrograde.  The Scorpio Full Moon heavily highlights Pluto in Capricorn, as it is not only standing still but involved in numerous potent astrological aspects.  Pluto has been direct since September 2015, and as it begins to recede so will our minds descend into the ineffable fabric of our Soul and unconscious where dormant memories and meaning will be regenerated.  Pluto is also known to initiate a death process or letting go of whatever we have been resisting releasing. The overall synthesis of surrounding aspects to Pluto indicate that the material being dredged up for digestion, no matter how painful and no matter how much grieving it necessitates, ultimately is feeding growth and essential self-realization that will bring rewards in the future.  At this moment, however, it will be difficult to fully understand what is being stirred up by Pluto.

While the stationary influences of Mars and Pluto brings an underworld awakening focus to the Scorpio Full Moon, Mercury in Taurus is shining bright in stark contrast, a role the star of Hermes delights in playing.  Mercury in Taurus is sharing the home of Venus along with our vivifying Solar Light, continuing to increase in light as an Evening Star.  Mercury in Taurus is also in range of a Grand Earth Trine at the Full Moon with Pluto in Capricorn and the conjunction of Jupiter with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Moreover, Mercury is conjoining the asteroid Vesta in Taurus, adding an emphasis of focused devotion to the Winged Messenger.  Mercury here in Taurus is in prime position to assist with the discovery of personal resources carried at a core level that foster self-sufficiency.  With both the Sun as well as Mercury in the home of Venus, this emphasis of Taurus bolsters capacity to harmonize elements of life based upon inner values as a remedy to the obsessive extremities of Scorpio as well as the accentuated influence of stationing Mars and Pluto.  In addition, since Mercury is also now in the shadow zone of its retrograde phase coming at the end of April, the Scorpio Full Moon will illuminate some of the issues that will demand attention during the forthcoming Mercury retrograde.

bust-of-a-woman-arms-raised-1922.jpg!Large

by Pablo Picasso (1922)

Venus in Aries is separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the Scorpio Full Moon and carrying this catalytic tension into a union with the unsettling force of Uranus.  These explosive aspects of Venus are paramount to consider since both the Sun and Mercury are in the home of Venus, and the closely applying conjunction between Venus and Uranus is occurring in the home of Mars, with Mars at the beginning of its long retrograde journey.  Although only a temporary transit this week, the square between Pluto and Venus can ramp up the compulsive relational dynamics signified by the Scorpio Full Moon, such as addiction to sex or obsession with the presence of another, and can also bring up hard feelings from the loss of a relationship.  The square between Venus and Pluto is in its first quarter phase, and so on a deeper level the Venus-Pluto dynamic is about making deep structural changes in the aspects of life that will ultimately enable greater fulfillment.

Venus uniting with Uranus can correlate with electrifying experiences that destabilize and open up freeing, higher frequency opportunities.  The overwhelming emotional desires that can come up with Pluto and Venus can lead to expectations in relationship that the freedom-oriented Uranus rebels against.  The conjunction between Venus and Uranus culminating at the Full Moon can reveal the projections we make in relationship and the underlying dynamics of the relationships being created.  There is a quality of objectifying ourselves and our relationships that can be accessed through Uranus, and so with Venus uniting with Uranus the intense feelings around relationship have the potential to transmute from obsessive compulsions into objective self-realization.  Shocks in relationship can rip us apart and bring feelings of complete dismantling, and yet ultimately there can be found in the experience vital insight into how to rebuild our life and surrounding relationships so that liberation from past restrictive patterns is realized.

cups05

5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The first face of Scorpio holding the Full Moon is associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image appears desolate at first glance, with a figure full of despair staring with fixation upon three spilled, empty chalices on the ground.  However, upon closer look we notice that there are still two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting that all is not lost.  In fact, the two remaining cups could be deeply fulfilling despite the grief over losing the other three cups.  We can also notice a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, bringing in the ancient flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person.  As a result, this card is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with death and the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Mars rules the first face of Scorpio, further deepening the relationship between the Full Moon and Mars retrograde in Sagittarius.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces synthesized the images associated with this face around the repeating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, the satiation of desire, the loss of what one desires, and the competition and violence that surrounds pursuing the desired.  Coppock concluded:

In this decan we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being. The object of desire always skirts the edges of this face while its inhabitants give chase. Some gain the object of their desire, some fail. All come to know hunger again. Though this may seem a particularly tortured decan, it is merely one which exposes a hard truth. Confronting the cycle, we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 176

The timeless stories that have moved people across centuries involve tragedy, perhaps, because it is through loss of what we want most in life that we often discover our most profound lessons of wisdom and enact the greatest periods of individuating growth.  Or perhaps it is the loss that necessitates grief or putting a desire to rest that can most readily open our hearts fully to the tragedy and trauma inflicting innumerable humans across time and space.  After one cycle of desire concludes, another one arises and again brings the potential for ecstatic fulfillment or painful loss.  Through facing our desires fully without denial, we develop awareness for which desires to continue pursuing with resilience and which desires are not in our best interest to regenerate.  With Mars, the ruler of this face as well as this Scorpio Full Moon, now beginning to awaken in its rupturing retrograde movement, we are presented with a period in which to discover the deepest levels of our desires.

References

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

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

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moon in Scorpio

Night Creatures (1965) by Lee Krasner

Scorpio New Moon

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

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

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

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

Carl Jung from his Red Book

from The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung

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

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

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

Saturn square Neptune

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

Saturn square Neptune

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

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

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

Scorpio II Decan

Six of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio II Decan

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Full Moon of Beltane

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Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon by Hiroshige

Merry Beltane to One and All. The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 3 falls at the potent middle degrees of Taurus and Scorpio, marking the cross-quarter time between the Equinox and Solstice known as Beltane (traditionally celebrated on May 1).  In the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane marks initiation into the full season of Spring with rituals such as the maypole dance symbolizing the procreative merging of feminine and masculine energies.  Beltane was a time to take romantic and sexual license, a time of passionate affairs rather than being bound to the institution of marriage that in the past had little to do with passion or love.  At Beltane lovers made love in fields of blooming flowers, drank from and luxuriated in the pure water of wells, and honored the sacred pleasures of their bodily form.  This Scorpio Full Moon activates a potent field of energy released in the past season of eclipses and the initiation of the first quarter square between Uranus and Pluto, and we can take this Beltane message of natural time to heart as collectively we have been facing calamitous and chaotic current events.  Events such as the massive earthquake in  Nepal can strike us with fear at our core, yet also compel our hearts to open with unified response for reparation.  Instead of fearing the destructiveness of nature, or feeling guilty over our own natural desires, this Scorpio Full Moon asks us to bravely open ourselves to the full spectrum of feelings, including the difficult ones, of what it means to be a soul incarnated in our human form.

Classical and esoteric astrology view Mars as the ruler of this Scorpio Full Moon, and transiting Mars in Taurus is in a wide trine to Pluto in Capricorn, the ruler of this Scorpio Full Moon to many modern systems of astrology.  Mars, Pluto, and the Moon are all in significant aspect to astrological symbols of the Primal Feminine:  the Full Moon is conjunct the Lilith asteroid in Scorpio,  Mars is conjunct the fixed star Algol (associated with the decapitated head of Medusa), and Pluto is in a Grand Earth Trine with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo and the Sun in Taurus.  All together this signifies the powerful passion of femininity that in patriarchal conditioning became distorted into the whore and the devouring mother archetypes, and signals a time to honor the archetype of the Great Goddess who is a force of nature behind both our creation and destruction.  As we are also at a collective cultural time of gender questioning becoming more prevalent and distinctions between masculine and feminine less important to many, it nonetheless is important to reflect upon the symbolism of wild women archetypes such as Lilith and  Medusa and how they have been repressed and alienated in dominant cultural paradigms.

In this realm of our collective unconscious, it is further fascinating that this Scorpio Full Moon completely activates Neptune in Pisces, a fertile symbol of our collective past religious and spiritual history.  The Scorpio Full Moon is in trine to transiting Neptune in Pisces, and it is square to the North Node (Leo) and South Node (Aquarius) of Neptune.  We can receive illumination that destroys the illusion of our past patterns of belief and that assists us in re-aligning with the truth of the experiences flowing through our life.  For example, for those living in a culture dominated by a religion such as Christianity, we can more sharply sense the far reaching influence of source text such as the Garden of Eden story with Original Sin and the resulting feelings of guilt that can overcome us when feeling natural desires. These past patterns of belief can also be embedded in any aspect of the dominant cultures surrounding you since birth that helped influence your development.  As a result, we could find this playing out within our current career pursuits or relationships in one way or another, all around the concept of a dissolution of our past fixated perspective and the potential for disillusionment upon realizing that certain aspects of our reality are not what they previously seemed to us.  In the cosmic grand scheme of things, whatever dissolution of past beliefs is occurring now is vital to digest and discover meaning from.

Félix_Vallotton_-_Das_blühende_Feld

Felix Vallotton (1912) The Blooming Field

Insight into the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio can be found through the 4th Ray of esoteric astrology that means “harmony through conflict.”  Here “conflict” relates to the myriad complexes and contradictions we experience while incarnated in the flesh of our human bodies, while the “harmony” relates to the growth of consciousness we cultivate through passing through the intensity of our life and becoming more heart-centered.  Venus rules Taurus in all systems of astrology, and in evolutionary astrology it is the “inner Venus” that that aligns with our most deeply felt values.  Venus draws us into desires of pleasure, such as being surrounded by matter we consider beautiful, delighting in food that brings good feeling to our body, or lavishing in the passionate merging of our flesh with our lover.  A fixed sign, Taurus is rigid when these desires we attach to become so crystallized that we cling to them in resistance of change, even if we are at a point of dormancy in our life in need of stirring and shifting.  In Scorpio we find the death and destruction of form that opens us to the possibility of rebirth or transformation.  Yet again, fear of losing our fixated attachments can lead us into attempting to control situations to ward off the inflow of chaos.  For example in relationships, out of fear of being betrayed or abandoned by a lover we can go out of our way to control situations by any means necessary to stay in favor with our desired partner or manipulate them to not end a relationship we truly may need to let go of..

This Scorpio Full Moon holds a tight square from Jupiter in Leo that signifies the expansive growth opportunities demanding that we change and stop resisting what needs to shift now.  Jupiter is moving direct now and applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, an electrifying aspect that will be intensifying over the next month.  In addition, the Scorpio Full Moon is also applying to a sextile with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn.  Jupiter in Leo in trine to Uranus in Aries calls us to expand thought and desires beyond our normal restrictive boundaries of Saturn and be open to the otherworldly music of spheres playing in the dimensions we normally filter out.  Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries bring the consuming fire of creative actualization that wants us to boldy embody and express our deep authenticity in our day-to-day life.  The blocks we feel toward expression of this energy could feel incredibly frustrating at this Full Moon, so trust that it’s placement in Scorpio is helping to transform the current impediments.  With Mars continuing to be in Taurus and separating from it’s trine with Pluto, we need to patiently continue on the path calling to us with relentless determination.  Drawing from the trine of the Full Moon to Neptune in Pisces, we need faith that by staying committed to our desire for creative actualization we will eventually manifest it.

There is additional assistance for grounded application of our core desires through the Grand Earth Trine between the Sun in Taurus, Black Moon Lilith in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn.  The facilitator of this Grand Earth Trine is Vesta in Pisces, as Vesta is conjunct Chiron, opposite Black Moon Lilith,  and in sextile to both Pluto and the Sun.  Vesta here brings up issues of how sacred sexuality and the sacred feminine became conditioned by dogmatic religious programming across centuries, resulting in people feeling guilt for wanting to express their natural sexuality.  It further connects to any strong desires that we find ourselves repressing because of fear of judgment by dominant culture belief systems. This all aligns with the split between matter and spirit in the worldview of many, meaning that instead of sensing how spirit is embedded in our bodies and matter, people instead analyze spirit as being separate from matter.  The point is that no matter how difficult our current predicament, or how far from our desired outcome we sense we are in this moment, there are potent aspects to this Full Moon spotlighting how to take a strident step forward in the direction we wish to flow.

Serusier_-_the_talisman

Paul Serusier (1888) Le Talisman

Our two inner personal planets, Mercury and Venus, are both in Gemini at the time of this Full Moon and paramount to take into consideration.  Mercury is in it’s home sign of Gemini and separating from an opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, meaning that in the days leading up to the Full Moon we would have felt an intensification of serious thought and challenges to cultivate our curiosity with studious research. Yet since Mercury will have separated from its opposition to Saturn by the time the Full Moon is activated, it means the full lunation energy will be more akin to the reflective relief following intense preparation for an examination or project.

In addition, in the days leading up to the Full Moon, Mercury is approaching the boundary of extreme declination, and in the days following the Full Moon Mercury will cross the threshold of being out of bounds in extreme declination.  Mercury will remain out of bounds until May 19, meaning that in the next couple of weeks our minds will be more free to wander in far off directions than normal.  Thus Mercury separating from an opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius is like our Mercurial minds being given an important assignment to contemplate, and once free from facing its taskmaster Mercury gains the freedom to independently take initiative of thought.  Mercury during this time is in it’s Evening Star phase that Demetra George has compared to Mercury’s exaltation in the sign of Virgo, as it gives us the ability to reflect upon past experiences and patterns and synthesize new understanding.  With Mercury at home in Gemini it should be an auspicious time for work with words and communication.

This is important to keep in mind, because around the same time that Mercury returns from being out of bounds, Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini at fourteen degrees on May 18, 2015.  Mercury will then remain retrograde in Gemini until June 11, 2015 when it stations at five degrees of Gemini.  This means that following this Scorpio Full Moon, Mercury will enter it’s retrograde shadow zone.  It also means that during this retrograde time period Mercury will square Neptune in Pisces three different times.  Look to the house of your birth chart and aspects made involving four to fourteen degrees of Gemini to gain more awareness of how you can be impacted by the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase, as well as the house holding the other Mercury-ruled sign of Virgo.  This Scorpio Full Moon has an important insight to receive in preparation for the upcoming Mercury retrograde period, especially related to your current relationship with transiting Neptune in Pisces.

Things get even wilder when we consider Venus, as Venus in Gemini will be out of bounds in extreme declination for the entire month of May.  At the time of the Full Moon, Venus will be in the third decan of Gemini, separating from a square to Chiron in Pisces.  This means that last week held more of the full on intensity of this square between an out of bounds Venus and Chiron, and indeed as the exact square was approaching the volatile riots broke out in Baltimore, Maryland in protest to the death of Freddie Gray.  After Venus passed beyond the degrees of squaring Chiron, Maryland State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced that the police officers involved in the incident would be put on trial for manslaughter, stating “I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man . . . Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come.”  After this announcement that seemed to echo from the voice of Lady Justice herself, the violence quelled.   Similarly on a personal level, we could have had personal issues that became enflamed this past week seemingly beyond our control at times. By applying the mental synthesizing ability of Venus in Gemini with the determined preparation that can come from Mercury in Gemini opposite Saturn in Sagittarius, we can now move forward with a plan of action to remedy whatever was previously wounding.

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6 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

The Scorpio Full Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  The Moon in traditional astrology is considered to be in it’s “fall” in Scorpio, and let’s face it- in relationships Scorpio partners have the stereotypical reputation of being incredibly intense and bombastic.  For this reason I love applying the sweet image above to Scorpio and looking through it’s window into the child-like innocence that is really at the heart of the hurricane of emotions that can overtake a Scorpio Moon when hurt.  The image above displays a pure sense of giving for the pleasure of giving and witnessing the joy of receiving upon the face of the recipient.  In his book on the decans entitled 36 Faces, astrologer Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan:

The dynamic suggested by the children [in the 6 of Cups image] is identical to the alchemical process of mutual distillation, wherein the matter passes back and forth between on alembic and another, growing increasingly rarefied and potent. The laboratory technique of mutual distillation can be embodied, as well. A whole category of Taoist sexual energy practice, referred to as dual cultivation, involves exactly this exchange between partners. This process combines and distills the sexual energy both parties possess, resulting in a finer nectar than either could produce on their own. Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 181).

Coppock further discerned that in order to cultivate mutual satisfaction in relationships we must have trust, intimacy, and vulnerability present.  Noting the image by Ibn Ezra for the Scorpio II decan, who described “A woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea,” Coppock suggested that we need to be careful whom we open ourselves bare to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass” (p 181). For example, when writing about the Moon placed in the Scorpio II decan, Coppock wrote that intense emotional needs can overwhelm the individual and cause them to coerce partners out of their desire for intimate union.  With the Full Moon in the Scorpio II decan we therefore have potential to open to a deeper level of fulfillment in relationship, as long as we use discernment in order to establish interchange with partners who will focus more on mutual satisfaction rather than destruction.

Finally, the focus on concretizing circuits of exchange in the Scorpio II decan parallels the image associated with the Sabian symbol for fourteen degrees of Scorpio where the Full Moon falls:  “Telephone linemen at work installing new connections.”  Dane Rudhyar analyzed this symbol as being about the establishment of “new channels of communication,” as well as the wise use of our means of interchange.  In light of the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio embedded in this Full Moon, we have a message here to merge into wider networks of community through the use of new technology and developments in communication.  As we move out of inner isolation into outer exchange with others, we will be better able to attune to the needs of both our local and global environment and what abilities we possess that can serve those needs in some way.  The square from Leo in Jupiter to this Scorpio Full Moon is pushing us to step out and move forward on our path with creative expression and emboldened belief in our ability to manifest our deepest desires. We will create a win-win scenario for ourselves and the greater good when we link our creative manifestation to the actual needs of our surrounding environment.

BeltaneFullMoonWRIGC6A

References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Union of Isis and Osiris

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Aegis of Isis (Copper alloy ca. 900 – 600 B.C., Egypt)

  • On April 28, 2015 the Isis and Osiris asteroids conjunct at 6° Leo
  • Previously on March 2, 2013, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 11° Aquarius
  • In June 2011, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 12° Leo
  • In April 2009, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 13° Aquarius
  • In August 2007, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 21° Leo
  • In August 2005, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 23° Capricorn
  • In October 2003, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 0° Virgo
  • In October 2001, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 14° Capricorn
  • In December 1999, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 7° Virgo
  • In December 1997, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 18° Capricorn
  • In May 1996, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 16° Leo
  • In January 1994, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 22° Capricorn
  • The next conjunction of the Osiris and Isis asteroids will be on January 27, 2017 at 8° Aquarius

On April 28, 2015 we experienced a union of the asteroids named Isis (#42) and Osiris (#1923).  Since their last conjunction at the beginning of March 2013, I have been working with a theory that each time the Isis and Osiris asteroids join we experience a resurrection of their archetypal themes in our lives.  In particular, I have been theorizing that their conjunction could connect on an archetypal level with the moment of myth in which Isis melds the dismembered body of Osiris back together, fashioning him a new phallus she thereby inserts inside herself in an act of sexual magic that leads to the birth of Horus.  Along these lines, there could theoretically be an impact of re-animating the Osiris archetype in our collective at the time of their conjunction.

Following their previous conjunction in March 2013, I wrote articles about the Osiris and Isis asteroids you can read here:  (1) Osiris: Alchemic Archetype, and (2)  Isis: Archetype of Love and Devotion.  My aim in this article is to return to these archetypes and explore how this new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids fits within our current astrological transits and chaotic current events.

Isis and Osiris in temple of Isis

Isis with her wings around Osiris, from Temple of Isis, Philae, Egypt

Some say Osiris and Isis fell in love in the womb of Nut, the Egyptian Night Sky Goddess, twin lovers who were born from the mating of Sky (Nut) and Earth (Geb).  Nut and Geb also gave birth to two other siblings, Set and Nephtys, and these four siblings grew up within epic drama.   Osiris was a fertile Nile River god who ruled as pharaoh with Isis (whose name meant “throne”) as his mate, a goddess of magic and nature.  There are different versions of their story, but common to the plots is the characterization of Set as being jealous of Osiris and hungry for his seat of power.  In some versions Set’s anger is intensified when his wife Nephtys seduces Osiris by disguising herself as Isis, giving birth to the jackal-headed Anubis from their mating.

The pivotal turn of the plot comes when Set tricks Osiris into climbing into a coffin which he then seals and sends down the Nile River in order to claim the rulership of Osiris for himself.  After Isis searches for and finds the coffin holding Osiris in a journey that contains parallels to the myth of Demeter searching for her daughter Persephone, Set steals it and cuts the body of Osiris into fourteen pieces.  Isis responds by transforming herself into a winged kite and flying to retrieve all of the missing fragments of her lover’s body except for his phallus.  While there are different versions describing how Isis restores her husband’s sex organ, including one in which Thoth retrieves it for her from a fish, in all versions Isis manages to completely reassemble and reanimate Osiris long enough to make love to him and become impregnated with their offspring Horus. Ultimately, Osiris descends to the underworld and resurrects himself as the ruler and healer of souls of the dead.

There are themes of Taurus and Scorpio in the story of Osiris and Isis, as the Venusian love of Isis (Taurus) brings her lover Osiris back from death (Scorpio), transforming his fertile earth rulership (Taurus) into the realm of Soul and Spirit (Scorpio).  Fittingly, this new conjunction between Isis and Osiris fell within the lunar cycle of a waxing Moon ripening toward a Full Moon in Scorpio in the coming days ahead.  In the polarity between the fixed, potent signs of Taurus and Scorpio we feel the full spectrum of what it means to be Soul incarnated in the flesh of our human bodies and mind.  In the week leading up to the recent conjunction between Osiris and Isis and in the week since, current events such as the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the riotous protests in Baltimore have been collective points of focus that have been both gut wrenching and heart opening.  In moments of collective trauma, especially now with the widespread access to images and information through social media, the hearts of humanity can become united to a greater extent.  This is true even in polarizing events such as the riots in Baltimore that provoke intense arguments between divergent perspectives.  The story of Isis and Osiris holds the intensity of their love that can weave together the most disparate of parts, and heal the dismembered and fractured parts of our being.  In the astrological wake of the seventh square between Pluto and Uranus, and the Libra Lunar Eclipse on April 4 that re-activated it, we have all had core emotions and issues stirred up to work through with love.

Isis by Yaroslav

Isis (2013) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.  Unlike her son Horus who wanted to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Set, Isis did not attempt to destroy Set but rather through love transcended their conflict, reuniting with her lover Osiris and propelling him into a deeper realm of power as the judge of the dead in the underworld.

There are many authors who have interpreted the story of Isis and Osiris through a depth psychology perspective, and in the alchemical work of Carl Jung the goddess Isis has been linked with the Prima Materia of alchemy.  As the Prima Materia is a primal, formless Source of all matter containing All, in a similar way through time Isis became a goddess who unified many goddesses from diverse cultures into herself.  At one point, she was depicted as the wife of the pharaoh with the hieroglyph for a throne on her head, but eventually became merged with the goddess Hathor as she also became a mother depicted with the cow horns and solar disk of Hathor on her head. As the figure of Osiris gained prominence, her mythic story also shifted to incorporate him, and their story became an important mystery ritual for ages. Moreover, following the traumatic invasion of Alexander the Great through the region, a figure whose conquests linked ancient teachings from Greece through Egypt, Babylonia, and India, Isis continued to synthesize and merge with other cultures, becoming associated with Aphrodite, Demeter, and many other goddesses and known as the Queen of Heaven.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology.  The Virgo rulership of Mercury is interesting to ponder in association with Isis, as Mercury can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web of connections between seemingly disparate points of focus.  Virgo also has an archetypal link with Isis through it’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis is a mythic figure who embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.  We can also find themes of Virgo and Pisces in the form of the winged kite that Isis transforms into when searching for her dismembered beloved:

Kites have symbolic association with the underworld and psychic regeneration similar to Isis, as red kites often feed on dead animals in addition to the smaller mammals that they hunt.  In this way they provide a service to humans and their environment by helping to dispose of the dead that could otherwise rot, and they do so with a graceful flight that is an apt image for the times we can flow within the polarity between Virgo and Pisces.  Transformed into a winged kite in search of the fragmented pieces of Osiris, Isis draws upon the detailed discernment of Virgo to not only find all of him but to also magically reanimate him through a Piscean act of love.  For these reasons Isis has also been linked to both the Virgin Mary as well as Mary Magdalene and their love for Jesus, another story with strong Virgo-Pisces themes.

With the recent conjunction of Isis with Osiris occurring in Leo, we receive guidance that courage and loyalty will be of vital importance in our journey ahead, loyalty to the pursuit of our own creative actualization in the face of societal limitations and oppressive conditions.  Isis does not call for us to be perfect, but rather to embrace our flawed humanity and live from as authentic a place as possible, full of love for the life we are living and the beloved we hold dear to our hearts.

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Osiris (circa 664 – 332 BCE) photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr

The Osiris archetype involves themes of becoming, fertility, regeneration, individuation, destruction, death, and rebirth.  Aspects by transit or in the natal chart with the Osiris asteroid (#1923) can also connect to places we have been wounded by societal conditioning and where we need to explore and transform ourselves.  Approaching the archetype of Osiris brings us into our vast collective unconscious, as he has served as a nature god of fertility, a ruler of kingdoms, and the lord of the underworld who judges and heals the soul of the dead.  As Neptune is an astrological signifier of our collective unconscious, it is fascinating to note that the recent conjunctions of the Isis and Osiris asteroids have fallen conjunct either side of the nodes of Neptune.  The South Node of Neptune is around 11° of Aquarius, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was at or near this degree in March 2013, April 2009, and will be again in January 2017.  The North Node of Neptune is around 11° Leo, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was near this degree in June 2011 and the current conjunction this past week was about five degrees away.  In addition, with the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in trine to transiting Neptune in Pisces, there is a significant Neptunian potential within the recently past and freshly begun cycles between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.

A clue to what this could mean exactly is found in the book Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, in which Dr. Thom Cavalli interpreted the Osiris story through an alchemical Jungian lens and connected Osiris to the Prima Materia just as other authors have connected Isis:

Osiris is a model of submission. He allows all the terrors that befall him to occur, just as the prima materia endures the tortures of the laboratory. Such deliberate sacrifice is meant to serve as a model for personal individuation. It justifies all the pain we daily suffer in order to transcend this world and leave it wiser and more enlightened. Submission and trust in this process allow love to enter the vessel. We are then embraced by the Mother and taken into her arms. Her only aim is that we bring something new and unique into the world. (p. 205)

Osiris has strong association with Scorpio and Taurus through gaining mastery of unconscious forces (Scorpio) that can be utilized as an inner resource (Taurus).  As Dr. Cavalli wrote, “Osiris, then, is the archetypal energy activating the unconscious so that it is not only a repository of memory, but also an incredible resource in everyday life” (p.41).  With the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in square to Jupiter in Leo, and the new cycle between Isis and Osiris also beginning in Leo in range of a wide square to the Scorpio Full Moon, we can viscerally feel the difficulty of our path at this time and how we can feel dismembered at times by experiences of trauma and oppressive aspects of society that can condition us if we do not consciously resist them.

Yet there is Light to lead us courageously forward on our path within our conscious ego and unconscious, if only we keep faith to find and receive it.  This golden navigating ability is found within our own darkness and shadow.  As Dr. Cavalli wrote in Embodying Osiris, “From time immemorial there have been taboos to keep one from discovering this divine inner light, for unless we are ready to receive it we will either misuse this sacred light or destroy ourselves” (p. 101).  This brings up the archetype of Scorpio the Full Moon will be illuminating in a few days, and how we can find our true authenticity through the testing of taboos and boundaries of our surrounding culture no matter the temporary shaming by others it may bring.  When our passionate Leo desires help us breakthrough the rigidity of Taurus to change and merging, we can develop our inner Scorpio capacity of how to use and merge resources with other for the greater collective benefit.  Through the Pisces surrender of transiting Neptune and the Capricorn responsibility of transiting Pluto, we can flow with the changes occurring around us while standing firm within our sense of essential nature.  We can then liberate ourselves from the aspects of societal condition that go against our authenticity, not out of action that breaks cultural taboos for the sake of rebellion only, but rather for the sake of making clear choices that align with our personal truth.

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Horus in relief block from building of Amenemhat I (ca. 1981 – 1952 B.C.) in Egypt

When we additionally bring in the figure of Horus who was born from the love between Isis and Osiris, we integrate another elemental theme:  justice.  Among other significations, justice will be an essential theme of Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius, and the complex ripples of effect that are created from choices to seek vengeance out of a sense of personal or collective justice.  As Sherman Alexie wrote in his novel Flight, “Is revenge a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle?” The more we look into the conflicts surrounding us in our collective, the more we can see perpetuating cycles of wrongs being attempted to be made right.  Horus is the child of Isis and Osiris and the restorer of justice for Osiris, focused on avenging his father through removing Set from power. In Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, Dr. Thom Cavalli portrayed Horus as a liberator of humankind’s individuality in the face of collective conditioning, “representing the incorporation of inner values and with it, an individuation process that perfects the uncivilized shadow that dwells within each of us” (p. 185). As Osiris ultimately judged the souls of the dead in balance with the feather of Ma’at, Dr. Cavalli wrote that this desired quality of ma’a-kheru that can be translated as “true of voice” can also be applied to individuals such as Horus who come to terms with “their own heart rather than merely giving blind obedience to the state” (p. 185).

Fascinatingly, the Horus asteroid (#1924) has been transiting conjunct Venus in Gemini this week during the initiation of a new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.  As transiting Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, and Pluto retrograde in Capricorn is still within range of a square to the lunar nodes, there is an evolutionary potential for each of us to gain a greater sense of our true heart and voice within the societal dynamics surrounding us.  In this way whatever has been frustrating as an obstacle or limitation, or even as an oppressive source of suffering, can be seen in another way as a force demanding that we speak and embody our truth.

References

Cavalli, Thom. (2010). Embodying Osiris: the Secrets of Alchemical Transformation. Quest Books.

Neptune stations in Pisces

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The image above from Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds centers around a moment of epiphany, an opening of consciousness resonant with the dissolving of personal structures that can occur when Neptune stations direct as it has now at five degrees of Pisces.  People love to write about the Age of Aquarius, but Neptune stationing direct is a reminder that we remain in the Age of Pisces, an age dominated by harrowing experiences of war rooted in conflict between idealistic ideologies.  Ashes and Diamonds is set in Poland on the last day of World War II, a war in which Poland passed through unspeakable terror during its time of Nazi occupation and concentration camps that haunt collective memories with agonies incapable of description.  On the day of events in Ashes and Diamonds, modest celebrations over the end to the war occur in air saturated with the heavy fog of lingering trauma and the encroachment of the Soviet state on Polish independence.  Immediately prior to the image above inside a bombed church, the Lovers shown here discover an engraved fragment of a poem by the legendary Polish poet Cyprian Norwid: 

From you, as from burning chips of resin,
Fiery fragments circle far and near:
Ablaze, you don’t know if you are to be free,
Or if all that is yours will disappear.

Will only ashes and confusion remain,
Leading like storm into the abyss? Or will there be
In the depths of the ash a star-like diamond,
The dawning of eternal victory!

The phoenix of transformation found within these words fits our current astrological climate.  When pondering the nature of an archetypal force such as Neptune stationing, it is important to consider the surrounding astrological context: new cycle of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, Mars triggering the approaching square between Pluto and Uranus in Aries, new cycle between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio, a Leo Jupiter in square to the Sun, Saturn, and Venus in Scorpio, and Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Moreover, making the exact timing of this Neptune stationing more palpable on a personal level was that the Moon was in Virgo opposite Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces as the planetary symbol of oceanic consciousness stood still from our Earth-bound perspective.  Easing our ability to integrate meaning from all of this, Mercury has regained full strength as a Morning Star, re-emerging from it’s retrograde shadow zone to form a harmonious trine with both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.

Images are a realm of Neptune, and cinema in particular resonates with the myriad meanings of Neptune’s archetype.  Looking at the image from Ashes and Diamonds above, those who grew up immersed within the United State’s Hollywood will recognize the archetypal rebel stance drawing perplexed interest from a lover (and indeed, the actor Zbigniew Cybulski playing the lead was known as the “James Dean of Polish Cinema” and experienced an early traumatic death).  This scene unveils a Neptunian dissolution of interior structures and complexes, as each character had previously experienced an unlocking of inner vaults in the union of their embrace. The heart-centered words of a poet are another entry point into Neptune, and after hearing this poem recited from the lips of his desired lover, the lead character opens to the awareness that he could be leading a different life from a different form of consciousness. In the same scene, surrounded by ruins of wars and relics of dominant religion, he expresses that as he had never before realized he could fall in love he also had never thought that his life could be arranged around something different than his own pure survival.

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Ewa Krzyżewska reading Norwid’s poem in Ashes and Diamonds

Neptune’s symbolic association with water relates to the dissolution of former structures of our self and reality we experience under a Neptunian wave. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

The tragedy of Ashes and Diamonds and the tragedy of many lives is that we label the epiphany the illusion, call the realization a magical fantasy as if magic can not truly happen.  Yet while attempting to re-adapt to our former perspective that was not so discontinuous with the surrounding consensus reality, the yearning of Neptune can take root instead in escapist pursuits like drug use or absorption into fictional or non-fictional stories about other people instead of living our own dream.  Addictive relationships can fall into this category as well, the type of attachment we form for a relationship that does not nourish our deep self but instead brings us a sense of security within our consensus surroundings no matter how unfulfilling.  Ironically from this space we are likely to view a truly fulfilling opportunity for relationship as a romantic fantasy we are imagining from our childhood fairy tales.

The remedy is to swim with the current and be a creative agent, an active magician in your daily life manifesting your internal world into your external environment.  Think of the great magician of recent fiction, Harry Potter, consulting his magical mentor Albus Dumbledore in a Neptunian King’s Cross Station:

Harry Potter:  Professor, is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?

Albus Dumbledore: Of course its happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that its not real?

Whatever signs and symbols you have been drawn to, whatever movies you have felt compelled to watch, books you suddenly knew you had to start reading recently, take note for most likely there is a significant message for you here. Neptune works through mysterious ways that are more musical, imaginal, and intuitive than anything logical.  There are many intense astrological signs pointing to a new cycle, new life, and new reality coming into form and while we may be in mid-process and there may be many tumultuous surrounding events, be courageous enough to follow the vision emerging from your depths in your waking life.

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Beatrice Addressing Dante by William Blake

Following Neptune stationing direct in Pisces, Venus has now entered Sagittarius and will soon send sparks through a square to Neptune.  The image above by Sagittarian artist William Blake unveils the Muse in the form of Beatrice, the inspiring force behind the work of Dante Alighieri.  We can find the shifting archetype of Neptune in this work of passion, in the spinning vortex of chariot wheels carrying the beaming and erotic Beatrice.  Dante serves as an example of an artist able to channel the imaginal visions lit by love for a woman he was never able to be with physically, into works of art that centuries later continue to leave a mark in modern minds.  I was curious to see how this image was interpreted in Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth by Leopold Damrosch, and was surprised to find the language describing Beatrice and the other women as dominating a “meek” Dante.  To me this connects with Venus emerging from its new cycles with the Sun and Saturn while in Scorpio, into Sagittarius and a square with Neptune: are we being overpowered and confused by our vision or being uplifted into creative inspiration.  If we are able to look underneath at the substantive structures sourcing our perception and instinctual reactions we can gain greater awareness of how to ride a wave of Neptune into greater abundance instead of being pulled into an undertow of disintegration.  For example, if we come from a sense that creation comes out of conflict we may find ourselves forever stirring up drama around us, sometimes needlessly so-  with reflection we may find opportunities to be harmoniously collaborative with others while also being creative.

Venus entering a square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces is a gateway into a couple of months of Neptune experiencing squares from planets in Sagittarius.  Within a week on November 22, there will be a New Moon at zero degrees of Sagittarius that will herald our Sun’s entrance into the sign of the centaur. At the end of November, Mercury will enter Sagittarius, and then at the end of December on December 24, 2014 Saturn will also enter Sagittarius.  With this time of Saturn at the end of the depth of Scorpio, with Venus, then the Moon, Sun, and Mercury coming into Sagittarius to square Neptune, it is time to make our dreams and visions real.  What is illusory will be revealed, and what is authentic and genuine will be deeply felt.  If there is unrequited love or romantic projection, it can be channeled into works of creativity and art.  If we can enter into a new nourishing relationship, or go into greater depth and intimacy within a continuing one, we will be called to do so.  If we are studying a subject or exploring the meaning behind a philosophy we have become drawn to, our experiences will reveal to us what about the teaching and knowledge brings us deeper into ultimate understanding of our reality, and what elements ring false from our experience.  The end of November in particular will feature a Grand Fire Trine between Venus in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries that can coincide with liberation, expansion, deepening, and the birth of something vibrant and passionate in our life.

As a final thought in connection with Neptune stationing, many in the spiritual collective community have been concerned over the health of Thích Nhất Hạnh who experienced a brain hemorrhage on November 11, 2014.  His words have been shared to a greater extent as a result, including this beautiful writing resonant with Neptune:

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear

Taurus Full Moon

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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.

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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.

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Mystery of Stillness

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The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, 2nd Century Alexandria: “One is the All”

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— e.e. cummings

In the last few days our Moon has eclipsed Mercury, Venus, the Sun, and Saturn in order.  Writing in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, I am looking through a window upon the Japanese Maple in my front yard releasing its flaming red astral leaves in the wind. A stormy gale is blowing through the tall trees and evergreens in view, with intermittent showers of rain descending upon the soaring crows, broken up at times by a white cloud break of sky blue.  Similar to a reflective response to today’s tumultuous weather, there is not much more we can do to prepare for eclipse season than to center in our being within the field of chaos and change.  While we are still in range of eclipse aftershocks, the eclipses of this season are now finished until the next equinox (there will be a solar eclipse on March 20, 2015).   If we can create a sacred or womb like sphere of contemplation, insight is beckoning discovery.

Although this recent solar eclipse was partial and not full, the fact that Venus was also involved in the eclipse in the same period of the superior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, with Mercury simultaneously stationing direct in the sign of Venus, means that the ripples of this time will have far reaching effect.  The superior conjunction of Venus and the Sun happens when Venus is moving direct, on the other side of the Sun from our home planet, uniting in the same degree of the zodiac as the Sun and beginning a new cycle that will lead to Venus arising nightly as an evening star.  In the thirty or so days before and after this moment, Venus disappears from our view in the sky under the rays of the Sun, and so the superior conjunction is a sort of wintery solstice moment in the sense of promising a return of her light.  Archetypal and mythic astrologers are especially prone to link the cycle of Venus with underworld goddess myths such as the story of Inanna and Ishtar, and Her descent to the underworld to face Ereshkigal, the Great Goddess in the land under the earth, the land of the dead.  From this perspective the superior conjunction of Venus is a pivotal moment of soul searching and regeneration in her cycle.

However, I feel a key to tune into is Mercury, our winged angel at the threshold, our soul guide in between boundaries of the upper and underworld, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth is as still as it ever gets, stationing to move forward again.  If you remember, Mercury originally stationed retrograde conjunct the point of the Solar Eclipse and the superior conjunction of Venus on October 4, 2014.  Now, it has completed its retrograde and stationed direct conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and opposite Uranus and the South Node of the Moon.  Corresponding with Dane Rudhyar’s description of Mercury as the weaver of patterns of relationship, commingling meaning out of commerce with the multitude of information sources accessible to our perception, we have a unique moment now to cut through our awareness of past patterns of relationship in order to weave together new patterns of relationship connected with our future, ever changing sense of self.

Mercury stationing direct is not always interpreted as being the most “razor sharp” moment of thought and consciousness, yet I feel that has to do with your perspective on consciousness.  Mercury stationing direct is similar in my mind to waking consciousness, when we emerge from our dream world into an awakened world, yet we are still connected to our time in dreams and we may have moments of not knowing what is dream and what is waking.  At this time we are beyond the duality, we are both at once, and each is all of our awareness.  Yet far from fogginess, we may receive a startling comprehension as described by William Blake: “Knowledge is not by deduction but Immediate by Perception or Sense at once . . . Forms must be apprehended by Sense or the Eye of Imagination.”  The more we open to this sense of Blake’s that “Man is All Imagination,” the more Mercurial knowledge into our deep nature will be revealed in line with Blake’s understanding that “The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself”  (Damrosch, p. 14 – 16).

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Mercury stationing direct now is fortuitous as it will allow for greater integration of the recent lunar eclipse in Aries, and the solar eclipse in Scorpio.  My understanding of eclipses is heavily influenced by Demetra George’s workbook Finding Our Way Through The Dark as she succinctly crystallized an essential message regarding eclipses through the lens of two intellectual figures I admire, Carl Jung and Dane Rudhyar:

In general, eclipses are said to be negative, but this is a misunderstanding of the shadow function. In both solar and lunar eclipses, the light of either the Sun or Moon is obstructed from reaching the Earth. When the light of consciousness is temporarily blocked, something else is revealed- that which is normally hidden. Called windows into secret realms and open doorways into the subconscious, eclipses allow us to access that which has been concealed or repressed in our lives. Eclipses are said to be karmic in nature, because they relate to issues that lie outside of our consciousness.

If we are out of touch with this hidden material which Carl Jung calls “the shadow,” then we may judge it as bad and destructive. We are shocked because this material seems to come out of nowhere, when in fact it was with us all along. To the extent that we have tried to repress the shadow material, we will call the results of the eclipse disastrous.  But to the extent that we are open to the unconscious and the surfacing of hidden problems, we will experience the emergence of this material as neutral, revelatory or healing.

Dane Rudhyar said that at the New Moon solar eclipse, the present is blotted out by the past, while at the Full Moon lunar eclipse, the past is obscured by the present. This statement suggests that at a solar eclipse, the Sun- which represent our consciousness awareness- when obscured, allows the forces of the past which lie buried in the unconscious as psychic complexes, to be seen, confronted, and experienced with the possibility of integrating these previously unconscious energies into the present awareness. During a lunar eclipse, it is the past, symbolized by the Moon, which is obscured and can be released.  In the absence of the conditioning of the past, the possibility emerges of meeting experiences in a new manner.

Of further importance is the fact that the Sun in these last two eclipses was conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, suggesting forward drive through the chaos toward our desire, and a stirring up of new ways to approach future-oriented growth.  Mars also ruled both eclipses, from the perspective that the Moon was in Aries in the lunar eclipse and the Sun and Moon were in Scorpio during the solar eclipse: another sign of desire compelling our will forward.  Since the lunar eclipse was in the cardinal sign of Aries and conjunct Uranus, it may have had more of an immediate impact on our perception through a dislodging of past patterns to be released.  In contrast, the partial solar eclipse occurring at the very beginning of the fixed sign of Scorpio may not have made such an instantaneous effect in your life, unless the beginning degrees of Scorpio make significant aspects in your natal chart.   However, the deep, fixed nature of Scorpio, as well as the additional power of Venus and Mercury in association, means that the solar eclipse could have sweeping, extended, and drawn out repercussions.

Again, Mercury is an important focus as it has stationed direct more tightly conjunct the North Node of the Moon than the solar eclipse, closely opposite Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Fascinatingly, the Moon eclipsed Saturn in Scorpio at the same time Mercury stationed direct, symbolically opening the gates of Saturn to the Uranian, transpersonal vision of the outer planetary bodies.  Many astrologers believe that Uranus is a higher octave to Mercury, and in this moment of Mercury stationing direct opposite Uranus, there can be no argument that Mercury in Libra is actively receptive to Uranus and weaving new patterns of inter-relationship that go beyond our usual conditioning of culture and Saturnine boundaries.  Mercury can be our guide, but Mercury can also serve us and other components of astrology like Jupiter- the consciousness we apply to Mercury, the way we look through Mercury at our world matters.  If we are wrapped up in fear now, we may weave together new ways to be afraid; if we are overcome by greed and motivation for greater status, we may weave together new ways of manipulating other people to serve our own benefit.

Moreover, since Pluto in Capricorn is also in square to Mercury in Libra, meaning that there is a t-square between Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus with the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and Mercury with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, the full effect of all of this on us can be cathartic and shattering.  The more we claim this moment to go deeper into our nature if we have already been soul searching, or choose to engage in a new pattern that is more about our Self than our fears or compensation for our insecurity like greed, the more we will participate in the active change serving the higher good that is possible in the collective now.  Unfortunately, since many people are not doing this hard work of Self, these same astrology aspects going forward could correspond with continued and increasing warfare, violence, and oppression in our collective consciousness.

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Chrysopoea of Cleopatra

Venus was also part of the Scorpio solar eclipse, though not part of the visual phenomenon as she was on the other side of the Sun from the Moon and already invisible.  However, since Venus recently was conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra as well as Mercury retrograde in Libra, Venus beginning a new cycle through the heart of the Sun holds a new relationship we can have with our future development that at the same time involves confronting our past patterns of relating.  We may be reminded of a past relationship behavior, we may be triggered by something that has more to do with an old relation than our present heart and mind, but in any case these associations with our previous values and ways of relating are here to reveal to us that we can release what has held us back in the past:  we are not stuck or incapable of change and evolution.

As previously mentioned, the Venus superior conjunction at the beginning of Scorpio is also a strong link to the underworld goddess myths and tests of diverse cultures, bringing a sense of the heroine’s journey and the need to answer the call. Yet Venus is known to be in detriment in Scorpio traditionally in astrology, and Venus being eclipsed by the Moon in Scorpio shortly before her superior conjunction has an added dimension that the Moon is considered to be in its fall in Scorpio.  Piercing through these labels, the lessons we may find here revolve around our deepest, core, unconscious feelings and values, emotions that may feel unsettling to unearth from our psyche.  Give yourself at least a month of focused intent to burn off the past issues or karma that no longer serve you.  In thirty days or so, at the end of November, Venus will arise again with her brilliant white light, illuminating our evening sky momentarily at first, staying with us longer in the evening hours each successive day.

From the perspective of declination in astrology, what is even more amazing about the end of November will be that at the time Venus arises again as an evening star, she will be united with Mars in declination, barely within the bounds of the Tropic of Capricorn.  In this same period Venus in Sagittarius will be in a Grand Fire Trine with Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, more closely in trine with Uranus.  On an archetypal level, this could be a time of integration between masculine and feminine energies within, our receptive magnetism and active energy, the Jungian concepts of the animus and the anima.  It also makes me think of the Axiom of Maria concept from alchemy that Carl Jung took into his concept of individuation, that out of the One (unconscious wholeness) comes Two (conflict of opposites), Two becomes Three (transcendent resolution), and the Third becomes the One as the Fourth (transformed, whole consciousness).  This process represents the idea of all the unconscious energy that has become stimulated now eventually leading us into a more fully realized individual consciousness:  just remember it is a process that takes time.

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“Stars and dec” by Tfr000 (talk) 16:58, 13 June 2012 (UTC) – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-via Wikimedia Commons

In case you do not understand the concept of declination illustrated flatly above, in declination we pay attention to the location of celestial objects within the relationship between the Earth’s equator and the ecliptic, the apparent motion of the Sun on our celestial sphere.  The high and low points shown in the red ecliptic line on the above graphic are important, as they are the Tropic of Cancer to the north and the  Tropic of Capricorn to the south.  The Tropic of Cancer is 23º26′ north of the equator, and the place of the Sun at the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere that occurs in June.  Similarly, the Tropic of Capricorn is 23º26′ south of the equator, and the place of the Sun at the Summer Solstice in the Souther Hemisphere that occurs in December.  Using Mars as an example, if Mars goes further than 23°26′ north or south of the equator it would mean that Mars is “out of bounds” or in extreme declination.  This gives a wild, maverick, independent streak to whatever celestial object is out of bounds, essentially meaning that the associated archetype is going to be its own ruler, think for itself, and go after what it wants.

Since the beginning of October 2014, Mars has been in extreme declination, meaning that the wild bounding nature of the centaur associated with Mars being in Sagittarius has been even more intense, further adding a wild personal will into the Grand Fire Trine that happened between Mars in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries.  Mars reached its peak extreme in declination at about the same time as the solar eclipse in Scorpio, and current events in North America revealed the shadow side of the aggressive red planet out of bounds:  the shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, another attempt to jump the fence at the White House in Washington D.C. (this one taken down by security dogs), and a horrific shooting at a high school in Marysville, Washington that ended in suicide.  Yet the other side to this out of bounds Mars is an out-of-the-box sense of will, power, and desire that is essentially out-of-this-galaxy, as Mars at the end of Sagittarius has been conjunct our Galactic Center.  In combination with Mercury stationing direct opposite Uranus and conjunct the North Node of the Moon, this could be difficult chaos or liberating illumination depending upon how you respond or in what environment you enter.

During this time of Mars in extreme declination, as well as its time in the Grand Fire Trine, Mars has been in a balsamic or dark phase with Pluto in Capricorn.  And now we enter a period in which Mars enters the sign of Capricorn, the sign of its exaltation, in order to conjunct Pluto on November 10, 2014 and begin a new cycle.  As a result, we are currently at the close of a Mars and Pluto cycle that began at the end of November in 2012, and so a dissolution of our deep soul desires that have arisen in the past two years.  In Pluto Volume II:  The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships, Jeffrey Wolf Green wrote the following about the balsamic semi-sextile aspect between Mars and Pluto that we entered around the time that Mars went out of bounds:

Some individuals will experience this as a sense of meaninglessness and emptiness, and will manifest a diffuse or undefined personal identity or purpose . . . The key is to let go of the past and to allow new patterns, ideas and impulses to enter the consciousness of their own accord.  Approached in this way, these new thoughts, ideas, and impulses become the light that illuminates the path to the individual’s future.

Continuing the amazing 2014 theme of Mars and Venus, when Mars conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn on November 10, Venus will be approaching a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio.  From now until then, coming out of the insights gained from the eclipses and Mercury stationing, become as clear as possible about the future life you want to live and do the hard inner work to clear whatever obstacles are getting in your way of pursuing your desired life.  As Neptune in Pisces will also be stationing direct in mid November, it could be a great time to set a powerful intention for a new beginning.

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page 54 in Carl Jung’s Liber Novus

On page 54 of his Liber Novus, Carl Jung illustrated the above image with the translated words:

Amen, you are the lord of the beginning.

Amen, you are the star of the East.

Amen, you are the flower that blooms over everything.

Amen, you are the deer that breaks out of the forest.

Amen, you are the song that sounds far over the water.

Amen, you are the beginning and the end.

In The Red Book: Liber Novus, Carl Jung in a section labeled “Refinding Soul” recounted the impact of his vision of a flood in October 1913 when he was thirty-eight years old.  At this time, Jung said “I had achieved everything that I had wished for myself. I had achieved honor, power, wealth, knowledge, and every human happiness. Then my desire for the increase of these trappings ceased, the desire ebbed from me and horror came over me” (p. 232).  Jung went on to describe his “unbearable inner longing” in his search for his soul that included the following passage:

He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul.  If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world.  He becomes a fool through his endless desire, and forgets the way of his soul, never to find her again. He will run after all things, and will seize hold of them, but he will not find his soul, since he would find her only in himself. Truly his soul lies in things and men, but the blind one seizes things and men, yet not his soul in things and men.  He has no knowledge of his soul.  How could he tell her apart from things and men?  He could find his soul in desire itself, but not in the objects of desire.  If he possessed his desire, and his desire did not possess him, he would lay a hand on his soul, since his desire is the image and expression of his soul.

–Carl Jung

References

Damrosch, Leopold. (1980). Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth. Princeton University Press.

George, Demetra. (1994).  Finding Our Way Through the Dark. AFA.

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

Jung, Carl. (2009). The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Norton.

Mercury retrograde: a forest dark in liminal twilight

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Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

“I go along dreaming roads of the twilight”

Antonio Machado

Between thought and expression, between the colors of the sunset and the eye of the beholder, in the liminal light of twilight we feel the atmosphere of Mercury retrograde.  Mercury retrograde is a three week period in which we can surrender to opening our awareness beyond our usual habitual reactions, interfacing with our environment in different ways that surprise us.  Mercury retrograde is the magical air we feel on our skin when we watch the sun disappear on the horizon with shifting hues, the shifting frame of perspective that invites epiphanies.  In astrology, the setting sun is also a symbol for a death of self-absorption through the meeting of another in relationship or partnership.  On October 4, 2014 Mercury will station retrograde at 3° of Scorpio (a sign of soul relationship), and move all the way back to 17° of Libra (a sign of social relations and social justice) on October 25, 2014.  If we include the “shadow zone” before the retrograde station and following the stationing direct, between September 15 and November 10, 2014 Hermes is guiding us to a deepening of self-knowledge through our interactions with our environment and every relationship formed.

Mercury stationing retrograde in Scorpio draws us into a spiral of Desire.  Whether you have or have not already felt yourself pulled into an intense gravity of focus, an object or other drawing forth a surge of yearning from within, it will happen, and it will continue to be felt with expanding intensity in the weeks ahead.  All the consequences of desire, all the lessons learned from wanting something out of reach, the questions dawning once we finally reach, acquire, or merge with our craving, will be part of our experience traversing through not only a Mercury retrograde, but a particularly shattering Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse.  Unless we have somehow done the miraculous work of lining our life up so that we are completely available to the focus of our desire, we will also come across all the limitations and habitual reactions of our past mind-frame restricting our ability to respond fully to the present passion.  If you want to use astrology to help discern the nature of your desire, look in your chart to what house holds the first few degrees of Scorpio, and what aspects these degrees make in your chart.  You can also then move clockwise in your chart to the middle of Libra and see what additional house or aspects in your chart will be further impacted as the Mercury retrograde continues.

Research on habits has supported that the easiest time to break a habit is on vacation.  This theory revolves around the concept that on holiday in a new environment, all the familiar surroundings we partially fixate our identity around are gone, the triggers of our habit have been removed, and we are more vulnerable to initiating a new pattern of behavior.  This same concept goes well with Mercury retrograde:  even though all of our usual triggers will still be in place, the atmosphere invites a different response to them. Additionally, as this retrograde cycle is initiated in Scorpio, there is potential for a death of old reactive patterns.  Scorpio has the courage to enter the darkness where the past can be felt to our deepest core, without our usual defense mechanisms operating in the light of day.  In this darkness our inability to possess or be present with the desire we yearn for burns from within with such magnitude that a release of past attachments can occur that ultimately opens us up to the real possibility of having or merging with our desire in the future. In Scorpio, the phoenix pulls us through the fear of abandonment, the terror of the focus of our past sense of security being destroyed, and Mercury stationing here facilitates the integration of the dualities within us like the light and the dark, the conscious and unconscious, in order to synthesize the birth of a new identity or presence in the world.

Virginia Woolf contemplated this same concept when she wrote, “The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think,” in a journal entry on January 18, 1915.  This journal entry of Woolf’s was analyzed in a lovely essay by Rebecca Solnit entitled Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicableas well as the following:

The evening hour, too, gives us the irresponsibility which darkness and lamplight bestow. We are no longer quite ourselves. As we step out of the house on a fine evening between four and six, we shed the self our friends know us by and become part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers, whose society is so agreeable after the solitude of one’s own room. For there we sit surrounded by objects which enforce the memories of our own experience. But when the door shuts on us, all that vanishes. The shell-like covering which our souls have excreted to house themselves, to make for themselves a shape distinct from others, is broken, and there is left of all these wrinkles and roughnesses a central pearl of perceptiveness, an enormous eye.   —Virginia Woolf

This idea Virginia Woolf journaled about, that to close the door on the attachment of our possessions, to walk the streets in twilight among strangers, is an opening of our personality to the limitless depth of soul.  Mercury retrograde is likewise an opportunity to go for an evening walk under a canopy of dark trees, above a network of deep roots, into an awakening of who we are and where we desire to go.

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Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

With those we share our most intimate essence with, there will be a more ardent interchange than usual, leading to an intensification in interaction that could be chaotic yet essentially revealing if we can avoid becoming so wrapped up in melodrama that we block our capacity to discern meaning.  We do not want to be afraid of the dark, because there will be no avoiding the shadow or the dark night of the soul necessary to birth the insight we desperately need to actualize our purest passions.  If there is anything we have been consciously avoiding from past relationships, the time of denial will be over as there will be no escape from suppressed thoughts and feelings emerging that will demand our attention.

“Love goes toward love” William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, and when we fall enflamed in our heart’s rapture, we can feel like Romeo musing about Juliet, that the Other we desire is a “Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!”  It seems that as much as we project and idealize an illusion in romantic folly, we negate a true desire of our soul for a love that terrifies us as much as it enchants our wildest passions.  This is because great love dissolves and destroys our former sense of self, and we change and shift in the embrace of true love.  Or, if we risk taking on the transformation of love, the work needed to sustain a relationship lovingly further challenges our sense of self, as it involves making compromises and listening to the needs of the Other.  We get used to focusing on our old needs like a bad habit, instead of opening to how these needs can shift in every moment, guided by the wholeheartedness of desire.  Since Mercury retrograde can facilitate shifting habits out of a changing place of perspective, we can realize which relationships we truly desire to focus on going forward, and cultivate the faculty needed for our mind to respond to the arising needs associated with our yearning.

Since Mercury will move from the beginning of Scorpio back into the heart of Libra, and then forward again back into Scorpio, we will feel a surging ebb and flow of subconscious shadow in all of our relationships.  In the eye of the present partner we may catch a glimpse of a childhood emotion, in a conversation with a passing passerby we may hear the echo of an issue that feels like it has been with us for an eternity.  If we open to this process, there is something deep within to unearth through dialogue and attention to the needs of our relationships.  In this way while our desires may be pulling us into a space of new perception, another major meaning of this Mercury retrograde will be Power.  Where, when, and with whom do we feel powerful, where, when, and to whom do we give our power away, and how can we find the balance of feeling secure in our own power yet interacting with others so that we are not overpowering them or projecting our issues of power on to them.

In addition, Mercury stationing at the beginning of Scorpio means that there are three generations of people on our planet right now who may be especially impacted subconsciously:  those with Neptune at the beginning of Scorpio (1956-58), those with Uranus at the beginning of Scorpio (1974-76), and those with Pluto at the beginning of Scorpio (1983-85).  As there will additionally be a potent Solar Eclipse occurring at the end of October in these same degrees, right now with Mercury stationing retrograde at the beginning of Scorpio is a tremendous opportunity to sense what some of the coming changes may center around.

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Yaroslav Gerzehedovich

In the space of retrograde Mercury we can be more sensitive to signs, symbols, and omens in our environment.  While our relationships with other humans will come into play, it will also be about our relationship with the world. The more we take the  “I-Thou” relationship of honoring the soulful nature of everything in our environment, and less the “I-It” relationship of viewing our surroundings as resources to meet our own needs, the more we will be able to recognize and realize the significant meaning this Mercury retrograde is bringing into our life.  There is a good chance we will feel upside down, with our emotions in total disarray as our old identity and attachments dissolve within a liminal state.  In this in-between we can find our way through reading the symbols and signs around us and balance within the flow of the life streaming in front of us.

In the next month there will be obvious events and conversations that we know are pivotal; there will also be less obvious symbols surrounding us with a message to integrate if we keep our awareness open to them.  Let the Mercury retrograde allow information to come in that you would normally rationalize away, and see where it takes you.  Here below is a chart for Mercury stationing retrograde: MercuryRetrogradeWRIGC1 Uranus in Aries being involved in both a grand fire trine with Jupiter in Leo and Mars in Sagittarius, and a t-square with the Sun and Pluto, means that there is something especially Uranian about Mercury stationing retrograde.  This is also a plutonic Mercury full of explosive energy that can blow up our previous perception of our world and what is occurring within it.  Meanwhile, there is also a huge uplifting, dynamic energy that can synthesize meaning from both our impulses and our experience and weave them together into a tapestry that can seemingly transport us into a deeper dimension of perception, not unlike the magic carpets of fairy tales.  The ticket for entry into this process involves a willingness to go into the dark and persist through fears or feelings of dissolution.

Just as Mercury is plutonic now, so is Mars, as the red planet of desire is in a balsamic phase with Pluto. Mars is a centaur bounding forward from a source of strong desire that will help us expand beyond previous confinements created from our conditioned personality.  Yet the expansive energy of Mars in a grand fire trine with Jupiter and Uranus will also be catalyzing us within the fluctuating back and forth of old desires arising to be released or re-integrated as new desires emerge from our inner fire.   With Saturn and Ceres closely conjunct in Scorpio, and Mercury stationing retrograde in Scorpio, our structural source will generate a Mercurial mediation into our depths and the death of an old identification.  This is a time of becoming unbound amid disintegration, as Mars will take us deeper into our desires stirred by a Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse, each of which is further ruled by Mars.  A chart for the Lunar Eclipse in Aries is below, a polarizing lunation in which Uranus is also prominently conjunct the brilliant Moon:

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Mercury will be descending into the underworld in Scorpio at the Lunar Eclipse, as the eclipse occurs around the time of Mercury’s heliacal set at sunset in which it disappears below the earth, becoming invisible.  This is truly an extraordinary leap of a Lunar Eclipse managed by the structure of Ceres and Saturn united in the fertile darkness of Scorpio.  Fittingly, the timing of this eclipse goes well with this being the initiation of the most magical of all the Mercury phases, the time in which Mercury becomes more of a mystical guide into our inner realm.  This is the phase in which we can be more receptive to signs, omens, and symbols, and we can receive information intuitively more easily than rationally explain anything.  In this time of Mercury as the Magician, Hermes guides us through accumulating and then releasing our old patterns of thought in preparation for a new vision.  I don’t mean to suggest this will be smooth sailing for our Hermetic navigator, however, as Venus in Libra is in a harsh last quarter square to Pluto at this eclipse, adding additional climatic intensity of outer events forcing profound inner reflection.

There is an imaginal link between this Lunar Eclipse and a High Priestess using her Dark Moon envisioning skills within the brilliance of a Full Moon Eclipse.  Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, has a rarely discussed link to the Aries II decan where the Lunar Eclipse is occurring.  In the “Tables of Correspondence” in 36 Faces by Austin Coppock, it is listed that Persephone is the God/Spirit connected to the Aries II decan in the Hellenistic text translated as The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.  Although Persephone is not mentioned in Austin Coppick’s analysis of Aries II, Coppock did give the following description of this decan that is befitting the Queen of Spirit:

Applied magically, this decan has tremendous power. It is the power to generate the world of your choosing, and to be its sovereign.  It is the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist. — Austin Coppock

Eclipses are known to throw everything into disarray, and are not known to be times best for laying carefully designed plans.  Yet this eclipse is so full of break-through aspects and force that it seems an air of liberation will be part of the chaotic atmosphere.  It will be a time of sensing the power within a polarity of feelings, integrating the subconscious with the conscious, and owning our authority to heal the previous fracturing of our soul like Persephone.  This will be a time to believe in our capacity to create a life aligned with our deepest soulful passions more so than the expectations of the consensus reality dominating our environment.

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The inferior conjunction of Mercury is a magical moment in which Mercury aligns with the Sun, in between our orbit and the fiery center of our solar system.  This is a moment in which Hermes transmits a message from Spirit to us, and with Mercury in Libra we will have information to integrate about the Other our Self is in relationship with.  However, Libra is not only about social relations but also social justice.  As usual, there have been many stories involving oppression in the news and many traumatic events occurring around us whose story is untold by anyone other than the participants.  What is frightening about our world is all of the abuse not covered by the media, that people suffer in isolation without anyone to reach out to for help.  I do not mean to suggest that this Mercury inferior conjunction in Libra will be some sort of magic pill to heal all the societal ills in the world, but I do suggest that a window of insight will open giving us a very deep look into the source of our collective trauma and oppression.

Nonetheless, this inferior conjunction will also be about our personal relationships and intimate partnerships, as the Leo Moon will be conjunct Juno and Venus, Mercury, and the Sun will all be conjunct in Libra.  The insight we can gain will have something to do with all of the underworld mythology involving the pursuit of love and desire.  Most of the stories involving a mythic figure being capable of descending to the underworld and back involve the character having such a powerful desire of love that they manage to somehow survive:  Persephone, Psyche, Dionysus, Orpheus, Inanna, Ishtar, and Isis.  We may be rocked and rolled over from where want and lust lead us, or from the desire and passion we attempt to repress or suppress, but in the end there is a more wholehearted sense of self in relationship to gain.

SolarEclipseWRIGC3

This solar eclipse conjunct Venus at the beginning of Scopio is happening close to the same time as the Superior Conjunction of Venus with the Sun.  This is Venus as Inanna following her descent into the underworld, and these Scorpio aspects bring to mind the Dark Goddess who will be with us during an especially intense balsamic moon phase leading up to this solar eclipse.  In contrast to Mercury who is close to rising again at dawn as a morning star, Venus is on her way to becoming an evening star.  The future promise of Venus rising again in our night skies with her brilliant white light is an apt symbol for inspiration that will eventually arise out of our current darkness, no matter the difficulties and disorientation we experience at this time.

Traditionally Mars is also ruling this eclipse, and in modern rulership Pluto in Capricorn is ruling it.  Either way, with Mercury stationing direct in the underworld at this time in Libra, and so ruled by Venus at the heart of her descent, this is a Solar Eclipse taking us into our core inner world.  Change will come from within this core, sourced by our deepest desire, as we begin re-integrating the messages and information received from this Mercury retrograde cycle.  It is an excellent time to set an intention for who and what we want to magnetize and attract into our life going forward from the inner vibration we are cultivating. However, this time will not just be about ourselves and our inner world, as this eclipse has clear aspects indicating a huge impact from the relationships in our life.  Out of the challenging and uplifting experiences of this time, there appears to be a sharper sense of our essential nature to realize and embody.

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As Mercury finally stations direct, he turns to re-ascend to the upper world as a morning star harbinger of dawn.  Hermes welcomes a new reality for us now, symbolized by Venus in Scorpio entering a new phase with the Sun, symbol of our Spirit. In addition, Pallas Athena in Scorpio remains conjunct Venus as Mercury stations, a sign that we could have greater access than normal to the ingenious insight available from Mercury stationing direct.  The important quality to access the wisdom available here is honesty, and a willingness to take responsibility to both nurture our own needs linked to our desire, as well as listen to and respect the needs of others we are in relationship with.

Amazingly in epic proportion, there will be a lunar occultation of Saturn in Scorpio occurring as Mercury stations direct, and following Mercury stationing direct the Moon will move on to a conjunction with Ceres. The myth of Persephone and Ceres seems strong in these symbols, and the compromise that Ceres managed to create enabling her to have her desire fulfilled of spending time with her daughter for half a year.  This desire did not come easy, and followed inner disorientation, outer torment, and soul searching from the goddess.  Yet as this myth served as a vehicle for rituals of epiphany in ancient times, there was also an inner revelation revealed, and so will there will be for us.

Mercury will leave the shadow zone on November 10, 2014 at a time that Venus will be conjunct Saturn in Scorpio and Mars will be conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.  As Mercury moves forward through Libra, focus on re-integrating all of the messages gained regarding our desires, relationships, and sense of self within relationships.  The astrology of this time suggest there is something profound to build and cultivate from the rumination of our inner mind.

Inanna_Dumuzi

Inanna and Dumuzi

References

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

Muchado, Antonio. (1902). Soledades. Translated by Eugenio Florit.

Solnit, Rebecca. (2014).  Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicable. The New Yorker. 24 April 2014.

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.