Virgo Solar Eclipse

Scott Young Virgo Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo

The Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo on 1 September 2016 has ties with the Total Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened earlier in the year on March 8, but is most deeply bound to release into the Pisces Lunar Eclipse which will arrive on September 16.  Whereas the Pisces Solar Eclipse was an initiation into the dramatic changes of the year, the Virgo Solar Eclipse mediates events of the past six months at the same time it launches us into a new cycle of growth that will intensely flow into the Lunar Eclipse in Pisces that follows.  The ruler of the eclipse is Mercury at home and in exaltation in Virgo, but this is not your typically swift Mercury.  The Mercury ruling the Solar Eclipse is barely moving, having stationed retrograde two days prior.  Motionless in contemplation and analysis, Mercury retrograde is closely receiving Jupiter in a conjunction while also conjoining Venus in Libra, fortunate aspects that counterbalance the Solar Eclipse being opposite Neptune and closely square to the conjunction of Mars and Saturn.  Though the path may be labyrinthine in twists and turns, the Virgo Solar Eclipse will bring about discernment into grounded steps to take forward into the coming season, while letting go of old dreams we now realize were more illusory than practical.

With the Solar Eclipse conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and its ruler Mercury also in Virgo, there is clear intent to attune to the natural enfoldment of cycles in our life, accepting and shedding what is passing away while being open to what is beginning to take form.  Liz Greene in The Astrology of Fate connected the winged goddess Astraea to the Winged Maiden of Virgo, a daughter of Zeus who walked the Earth during a Golden Age of prosperity in order to foster harmony amongst humanity with the natural world and its inherent order.  Astraea like Virgo honors the creation and destruction of the natural order, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay.  There is Mercurial pleasure Virgo takes in following the order of natural cycles, displeasure when creating disorder from forcing things to happen that go against the appropriate timing of the moment.  If we can let go of whatever attachments are getting in the way of opening to the naturally occurring change happening at the Virgo Solar Eclipse, with the willingness to trust the flow of life will come keen awareness of choices that will lead to essential development.

Annular_solar_eclipse_1976

Annular Solar Eclipse image by Hans Bernhard from 29 April 1976

Since the Solar Eclipse is Annular, it means the fertile void of its blackness will have a ring of light around it.  Annular eclipses occur as a result of the Moon being far enough away in orbit from the Earth that its shadow does not completely cover the Sun.  One of my favorite interpretations of solar eclipses is by Dane Rudhyar, who said the symbolism of the Moon’s shadow covering the face of the Sun suggests that forces from our past, as well as unconscious influences, veil the present with their fecund darkness.  Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for.  In combination with their unworldly visual element when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon.  Yet eclipses do not need to be feared.  Dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, similar to eclipses in that greater wholeness can be found through the dissolution they bring about.  When stepping into the streams of eclipse season its best to remember the old fragmentary wisdom of Heraclitus:  unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and pathless.

The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses. The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth: the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for incarnation and manifestation in our material realm.   Vitally, the Virgo Solar Eclipse is conjoining the North Node of the Moon.  As a result, the eclipse will awaken intimations of future growth and activate new methods.  The intersection of the past into the eclipse portal brings a Dragon’s Pearl that has been born from the darkness of the beast’s belly, a natural gem purified across time that now opens awareness to future potential and evolutionary growth.

sara taft merciful tear

Merciful Tear by Sara Taft

There are diverse interpretations of the lunar nodes in astrology, but one unifying concept is that meaning coming from the South Node of the Moon is released in a way that amplifies the meaning of the North Node of the Moon.  What we can all agree on is that Neptune is conjoining the South Node of the Moon, and the Solar Eclipse is conjoining the North Node.  This results in a release valve on Neptune feeding into the eclipse.   Neptune here dissolves old illusions that have been limiting your perspective, washing away fantasies and dreams that are not congruent with the bare bones of your circumstances and achievable in practical, concrete steps.   This does not mean to limit your thinking or keep yourself boxed into a restrictive place, only to fully accept your surrounding environment and what is actually happening, who or what are actually in reach as resources.

Adding incredible intensity to the eclipse is the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius that forms a square to the lunar nodes.  Positively, this alignment can point to what structures need to be torn down, rebuilt or further strengthened, as well as support creation of a blueprint for an entirely new structure that will bolster one’s essential meaning being developed.  For those grieving a loss,  within the hard feelings healing can come from retrieving irreplaceable elements of what has passed away that will continue to bring value going forward.  As awareness focuses on the true change occurring that contrasts with what had been expected or hoped for, the Mercurial element of the Virgo Solar Eclipse can facilitate attuning to the underlying fabric of what is really going on.

The Sabian symbol for the Solar Eclipse is “Two heads looking out and beyond the shadows,” which Dane Rudhyar described as unveiling “the growth of true understanding, born out of the transcendence of duality even while immersed in the world of duality.”  Essentially, Rudhyar meant the tenth degree of Virgo points to our mind operating within the conflicts and oppositions of duality, with potential realization revealing that the opposite sides of duality “are complementary aspects of the one Reality which sustains and encompasses all dualistic modes of existence.”  Rudhyar emphasized this broader awareness facilitates moving beyond the shadows generated by internal conflicts.  This sounds a lot like the transcendent function of Carl Jung,  in which holding the tension of oppositions within the psyche mediates between the ego and unconscious, leading to new awareness that unites the internal opposition creatively.

An ancient fragment of Heraclitus comments on this idea of two opposite things coinciding within one thing utilizing the Sagittarius imagery of the bow and arrow:  the name of the bow (βιός) is life (βιός), but it’s work is death (the word that means “life” and “bow” have the same letters but there is a stress on a different syllable when spoken).  Another fragment of Heraclitus also draws upon this same concept of harmony underlying the asymmetrical through the imagery of the strings of a bow being pulled backwards in two directions at the same time:  they do not understand that what differs agrees with itself; it is an attunement of opposite tension, like that of the bow and the lyre.  Since Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius being in hard aspect to the opposition between the Virgo Solar Eclipse and Neptune in Pisces signifies conflict, if we want to avoid becoming lost in the whirlwind we need to loosen the dogmatic side of Sagittarius and fortify the shifting quality of Sagittarius that synthesizes and coalesces understanding out of change and strife.

eclipse From Compendiolum de praeparatione auri potabilis veri, attributed to M[arcus] E[ugenius] Bonacina, ca. 1790

From Compendiolum de preparation auri potabilis veri, attributed to Marcus Eugenius Bonacina (1790)

Relationship issues will receive care and attention as a result of Venus being at home in Libra at the eclipse, increasing in light as an Evening Star.  As the Moon waxes toward its Lunar Eclipse on September 16, Venus will work on healing the fracturing of Mars and Saturn through forming a sextile to each, and then applying to an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  The building opposition between Venus and Uranus in between the eclipses stokes the intensity and electricity of the eclipse season, with startling insights that jolt us out of previously restrictive relational patterns striking unexpectedly.  Most importantly considering the waves of change occurring that will feel unsettling to many, Venus in Libra supports listening to the needs of others in relationship as well as not only listening to our own needs but expressing them to others in direct communication.

A few days after the solar eclipse, after the waning moon in Virgo passes over Jupiter and enters Libra to conjunct Venus, Jupiter will descend at sunset from being an Evening Star into its invisible chthonic phase in which it will be purified and regenerated under the beams of the Sun.  When Jupiter ingresses into Libra in the following week, it will enter its new sign only a couple of days before the last exact square between Saturn and Neptune.   Jupiter during the upcoming eclipse cycle will illuminate an old vision of who we are in relationship so we can release and let go of how we have been holding ourselves back in our interactions with others.  Additional support for embodying a new presence that may feel unfamiliar, yet allows us to ignore external judgment and express greater genuineness can be found in the conjunction between Juno and the mean node of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio that forms a sextile with the Virgo Solar Eclipse.

pents08

8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

The first face of Virgo where the Annular Solar Eclipse occurs is associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see an artist and craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment. This image evokes the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts:

The first decan of an earth sign, this face provides initiation into the mysteries of incarnation. It teaches the difference between the touched and the untouched, and the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe. It makes for careful craftsman, thoughtful merchants and wise farmers, though many other transformers of the prima materia are here as well. Though the formulae of this face is one of humility, it results in works of surprising glory. Creation ripens for those who can hear and heed its voice.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 139-140

The Sun rules the first face of Virgo, giving the Sun enhanced ability to bring about its solar significations than it otherwise would by being in the home of Mercury.   Mercury retrograde receiving its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo highlights a visionary potential to be found in the smallest of tasks performed with integrity and absorbed focus.  To embody our solar potential available at the Virgo Solar Eclipse, however, we need to turn this magical focus within in order to fully embrace and accept everything about ourselves.  With the additional activation of Libra that comes through the eclipse, it is vital not to project inner issues into our relationships but instead listen clearly to what our relationships are communicating to us, not how we are interpreting their message in relation to our own issues.  With full embrace of our current reality within its streams of change, the Virgo Solar Eclipse becomes a powerful stepping stone on the path of creating deeper sustenance and fulfillment out of the shifting tides coming through this September.

VirgoSolarEclipseWRIGC4

References

BBC Radio 4, In Our Time. (7 December 2011). Heraclitus.

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

Greene, Liz. (1984). The Astrology of Fate. Weiser Books.

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books.

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Solar Eclipse in Virgo

Scott Young Virgo Solar Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Virgo Solar Eclipse

On September 12 – 13, 2015 we enter the dark procreative void of a Solar Eclipse held in the arms of the Winged Maiden, the first of a series of eclipses we will experience in the sign of Virgo.  Solar Eclipses are the most intense New Moons, when the alignment of the Moon between the Earth and Sun blackens our solar light.  Although this particular eclipse is partial and not total in its darkening effect, it is potent nonetheless as the ruler of the eclipse, Mercury in Libra, is separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn and in process of stationing retrograde five days afterward.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse furthermore digs up the roots of the past season of Venus retrograde intensity, as it comes less than a week after Venus has stationed direct and its Mercury in Libra ruler is being received by Venus in Leo through a sextile.

New Moons are known as times to set new intentions and begin new journeys while clearing what needs to be released from the past, yet at Solar Eclipses the changes that arise often feel out of our control similar to a tidal force erupting around us.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation ascribed this effect of Solar Eclipses to the fact that the Lunar Light obscures our view of Solar Light in blackness, meaning from Earth we momentarily experience the Moon alone without the Sun.  Since the Moon signifies the intersection of our past in the present moment, it means that forces from our past, including unconscious forces, can likewise veil our present experiences in their fertile darkness.  Again, though this particular eclipse is not total and therefore the Sun will not be completely obscured, the same general symbology applies.

Who is the Winged Maiden holding this Solar Eclipse?  To the Greeks she was Astraea, a daughter of Zeus who helped direct humanity to follow natural law during the Golden Age of peace and prosperity on Earth, coming down from the heavens to mingle with ordinary people on the Earth and foster harmony with the natural world of creation.  Over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted, it was said that Astraea became increasingly full of contempt for humanity, becoming so full of hatred eventually that she left Earth forever to become the constellation of Virgo.  Astraea has an association with Justice also found in the following sign of Libra, yet hers is more of a natural justice governed by the order found in the creation and destruction of the natural world, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay, and the orbit of our Earth around the Sun within the cycles of cosmos.

The Winged Maiden has also been associated with Erigone, the daughter of Icarus,  as well as with the ancient great goddesses Isis in Egypt, and Atargatis in modern day Syria.   Isis and Atargatis in particular bring to mind the double-bodied nature of Virgo as a Mutable zodiac sign, as Isis was able to take flight on wings and Atargatis was sometimes depicted as a mermaid.  Atargatis symbolically integrates the polarity of Pisces to Virgo, as she is a fertility goddess to whom fish are sacred, and is associated with the bodily reception and transmission of spirit through sexuality and ritual.  Furthermore, Isis connects with Virgo through her clear command of logos and Mercurial magical abilities that brings spirit through matter to heal fragmentation of soul.  Liz Greene has previously explored how the purification of Virgo further connects to the sacred sexuality of Isis and Atargatis that bridges blissful pleasures of spirit with base material desire:

Virgo seems to embody a deep paradox, a combination of upright and almost schoolmarmish Astraea set side by side with the orgiastic lunar goddesses of Asia Minor.   This paradox poses an enormous conflict for Virgo, and it is out of the conflict that Virgo’s pattern of development arises. Whether this is enacted as a collision between personal and professional life, between marriage and independence (a common theme), between spirituality and materialism, between morality and abandonment, Virgo struggles with these opposites throughout life, trying to encompass them both. Often the Virgoan individual will try to embody one while sacrificing the other, and this generally provokes difficulties, for the fate of the sign does not seem to permit such splitting . . .

The harlotry of the virgin goddesses does not mean merely sexual availability to all callers any more than ‘virgin’ means merely sexual intactness.  I would understand it more as an openness to the flow of life, a willingness to trust the natural order, an acceptance of penetration and change.  Contrary to the popular descriptions of Virgo, I feel this paradoxical daimon to form the true core of the sign.  But it is difficult to achieve . . . It is far easier, and more common, for Virgo to flee into ritualised or obsessional behaviour, where the sterner aspects of Astraea submerge the fecundity and joy of Atargatis. This is often the prelude to the arrival of psychosomatic symptoms, for Atargatis is a deity who demands entry through that most basic manifestation of life- the body.

— Liz Greene from The Astrology of Fate

The Virgin in the symbolism of Virgo as we know is not about chastity or saving one’s sexuality for marriage, but rather is about the aspect of oneself which is independent and whole upon itself outside the constraints of marriage or the morality of societal conventions.  Virgo is a sign connected to independently acting from a place of inner morality and Mercurial discernment, and so this Virgo Solar Eclipse arriving in the aftermath of Venus having stationed direct in Leo means whatever now lacks alignment with our inner truth will become eclipsed and released.  Instead of using obsessive, ritualised behavior to shield ourselves from the coming changes, we can instead embrace the change in the moment through ritually purifying and tending to our body in order to receive the full message found within the shifting and shedding.

Virgo Solar Eclipse

by Arrington de Dionyso

For thousands of years eclipses have brought fear, being seen in ancient times as events in which our two Lights (Sun and Moon) were consumed by a great dragon of chaos and creation, with the North Node of the Moon representing the head of the dragon, and the South Node of the Moon representing the tail of the dragon.  The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses.  The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth:  the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for manifestation in our life.  To many, the North Node of the Moon is furthermore associated with one’s evolutionary path in life, though this path is oftentimes fraught with struggles over our desire nature.  When our Lights align with the nodes we have an eclipse, with the Sun and Moon on one side of the nodal axis at a Solar Eclipse and the Sun and Moon on both sides of the nodal axis at a Lunar Eclipse.

This Solar Eclipse is the first of a series that will occur in Virgo, and our first one since the Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened on March 20, 2015 in range of a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aries.   In contrast, this Virgo Solar Eclipse is in range of a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, creating an amplified push toward manifestation of our desires and bringing things into being.  With reflection we can note what changes flowing out of that previous Pisces eclipse are coming to a head at today’s Virgo eclipse, with the crucial difference being that this Virgo Solar Eclipse aligned with the North Node of the Moon in Libra brings a heavy emphasis on our needs within our relationships.  For those who embrace the concept of karma, I have found through my work in astrology that the lunar nodes reveal the karma of our growth and development, a viewpoint that was popularized in astrology by Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation:

In the case of the Moon’s nodes, we are dealing with what might be called the karmic way in which the Moon’s function operates in a human being. But the word karma should not be used only in the sense of “bad” karma. Karma simply refers to the fact that any new cycle of existence is always in some manner related to or is a sequence of a previous cycle. The new cycle inherits from the old some unfinished business which needs to be dealt with, but it also inherits the results of some achievements. More specifically, the Moon’s north node symbolizes new possibilities of growth on the basis of what has been accomplished “in the past” — let us say, in “past incarnations”, although the concept of reincarnation is most ambiguous, or at least far more complex than popularly interpreted . . . We should not forget that a person is first of all operating in a biosphere with a long evolutionary past and in a society and culture conditioned equally by ancient, collective failures as well as great achievements. Thus karma is never to be considered solely a personal matter; for it is also produced by a collective situation inherited from a long series of past generations.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Astrology of Transformation

The ruler of this Solar Eclipse is Mercury in Libra that gives even greater emphasis to the fact that the eclipse is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result our minds will be focused more on relationships and expressing what we need and desire, and we will likewise be on the receiving end of needing to listen to the needs of those we are in relationship with.  This relational focus through Libra will involve romantic relationships, friendships, business relations, and all forms our interactions with others take, but there will also be added emphasis in the collective on issues around social justice and oppression, with numerous karmic collective strands coming together in a messy knot of conflict.   Thus while the Venus retrograde in Leo has already stirred up the intensity of these collective conflicts, this Virgo Solar Eclipse will further crescendo passions around issues such as the legalization of gay marriage and institutional racism in law enforcement in the United States, the refugee crisis in Europe, and countless other global crises involving conflicts in society that create oppression.

Our draw into the dynamics of our relationships is catalyzed even further by Mercury in Libra separating from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the eclipse.  As Mercury will also be on the brink of stationing retrograde, there will be key insights into our relationships to be found at this time including awareness for how the conditioning of our culture and early authority figures have helped shape our relational patterns.  We are dealing at this eclipse not only with our own personal karma but also our ancestral and cultural karma, and so part of the Virgoan task will be analyzing what issues are part of our core patterns we need to personally work on, and what issues are more about how our authentic nature has been molded by familial and cultural influences.  Those born with Pluto in Virgo in range of a conjunction with this Solar Eclipse (20-21°) and those born with Pluto in Libra in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Libra (14-15°) have a tremendous opportunity in this eclipse time to feel into the bottom line of their relational patterns.  At times this may feel heavy and in need of grieving, but a metamorphosis into a purified relational dynamic free of past restrictive influences is possible to eventually realize.

Pisces Full Moon

by Scott Young

The recent Pisces Full Moon initiated us into the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and the tension of their polarity has been building in intensity every single day during the waning half of the recent lunar cycle.  At the time of the Solar Eclipse, their opposition is not yet exact but close and applying strongly.  Pisces and Virgo, ruled by Jupiter and Mercury since ancient times, are an essential polarity in astrology through which we develop our sense of meaning, belief, vision, and spirituality.   We need both for healthy vitality of belief and perception:  we need the holistic awareness of Pisces that transcends the labeling and categorization of reductionist thinking, while we likewise need the Virgo ability to penetrate into detailed analysis of the parts that make up the whole so to avoid living our lives lost in illusion of belief.  Neptune has become associated firmly with Pisces because it is the symbol of ultimate reality, the oceanic source that remains beyond the ability of scientists to catalogue and rationally explain.  Jupiter in Virgo coming face to face with Neptune in Pisces therefore means we must come into reckoning with the invisible aspects of reality beyond the ability of language to explain.

As a result this Solar Eclipse marks a pivotal moment of transformation in our beliefs and vision, and you can use astrology as a guide in part by simply looking at the houses in your birth chart occupied by the signs of Pisces and Virgo, and aspects made to the opposition of Neptune and Jupiter at 8-9 degrees of these mutable signs.  Since Mercury in Libra is also the ruler of Jupiter in Virgo, it means the added emphasis on relationships marked by this eclipse also applies to the opposition between Neptune and Jupiter, and so it is in our outer interactions and conversations with others that we will become impelled to reshape our vision and beliefs.

Another astrological force found in the harvesting of this Virgo Solar Eclipse is Ceres, stationing direct at 26 Capricorn a few days after the eclipse in range of a trine.  Ceres has been associated with Virgo in astrology at least as far back as Marcus Manilius in the 1st Century CE, who wrote that “the Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres” (Manilius, Astronomica, 2.433-452, Goold trans., 1977, p. 117-119).  While Manilius was of course referring to the mythic Ceres and not the dwarf planet Ceres, the connection between Ceres and Virgo was further bound by Demetra George in her book Asteroid Goddesses, in which she described Ceres as an agent in transforming our sense of personal awareness into collective awareness through the sign of Virgo and around issues of productivity and acceptance that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.  Ceres stationing direct in Capricorn, in range of a trine to the Solar Eclipse in Virgo, could bring up issues of balance around our ambition and if the goals we have been working toward are about gaining external validation to boost our inner worth, or if our work is instead focused upon goals that will bring us intrinsic rewards without the need for outer acclaim.  In the end, by finding the work that will bring us a true sense of joy to perform we will most likely gain recognition from others who share similar interests and passions.

Ceres is the Queen of the asteroid belt and now considered to be more of a planet than an asteroid, but there is one asteroid goddess in particular who is also highlighted at this eclipse:  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, who forms a t-square with the Solar Eclipse in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces, being square to both.

Pallas Athena in Sagittarius

Pallas and the Centaur (1482) by Botticelli

The most impactful aspect this Virgo Solar Eclipse makes is perhaps its opposition to Chiron in Pisces, the most prominently celebrated of all of the wandering centaurs in astrology.  Chiron bridges Saturn and Uranus, as at its closest orbit to the earth it can at times become closer to the Earth than Saturn, and at its farthest orbit to the earth it can at times become farther from the Earth than Uranus.  This means that the half horse, half human figure associated with Chiron connects the material world governed by Saturn with the boundless realm of the transpersonal associated with Uranus.  As a result Chiron connects to the deep memories and knowledge we hold in our body that can erupt into our consciousness in bodywork and practices aiding our integration of body, mind, and spirit.  Indeed, Chiron’s eruptive impact can be seen in its connection to the Uranian realm of sudden liberation that can feel shocking in its lightning bolt effect, eventually bringing realizations of Self-healing.

Chiron

Liz Greene’s Mythic Tarot

Chiron in Pisces is holding the place of polarity to this Virgo Solar Eclipse, meaning that he has a vital lesson to teach us. Chiron is the master teacher who demands excellence from his students, the mentor of the healing arts including music, plant medicine, and astrology, and the martial arts as tools for self defense and the protection of others in need of help.  There is also the aspect of the mythic Chiron involving his suffering from toxic poisoning and willingness to give himself over to the pain in sacrifice, the “wounded healing” characteristic you have no doubt heard ad nauseam from astrologers.  Although the “wounded healer” analysis may be overused, there is an aspect that I have found tends to be very accurate in terms of Chiron’s impact on us- this is the phenomenon in which the issues we have struggled with and have caused us suffering turn out to be the vehicles that transport us to our greatest strengths and to the gifts of soul we possess to transmit to the collective.

For example, the timing of Chiron’s discovery in 1977 corresponded in popular culture with the development of hip hop and punk rock, two forms of musical expression that countless youths since have seized to express their feelings of pain and suffering in the material realm through, gaining a sense of Uranian liberation, individuation, and higher power in the process.  Chiron wants you to have a vehicle, a tool, a technique, or a practice to express your talents into the collective, and through the interweaving of your inner gift with the outer world, powerful growth and healing can be activated.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse in in range of a sextile with Saturn at the end of Scorpio, while Chiron is also in range of a wide trine with Saturn, so the polarity between Chiron and the eclipse contains a lesson for us that can promote our stability in the material world.

A more challenging aspect is the quincunx between Uranus in Aries and the Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  While this quincunx can bring up fears that our most inspired, boundless visions do not have a realistic chance of manifesting, instead work to find an access point to begin the process and set things in motion.  If you keep putting things off until you feel completely ready or circumstances seem perfect you can continue to put it off indefinitely.   Find a method, practice or form to transmit at least part of your vision through, and work on letting go of criticizing your initial effort through comparison with others or your own idealized standards.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being both square to the Chiron polarity with the eclipse, as well as in trine to Uranus in Aries, means that we can use creative visualization to change our lives, both inspiring us to initiate new steps and aiding us in reformulating to address issues once underway.

scott young rose

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Venus is now direct in Leo and established as divine Morning Star heralding our dawn.  Venus is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, and separating from a conjunction with Mars in Leo, giving her a fiery Morning Star presence that wants to go after whatever she finds inspiring and beguiling.  Venus is strongly tied to this Virgo Solar Eclipse since Mercury is the ruler of the eclipse and occupying Libra, the home of Venus, meaning that Venus is receiving Mercury through a sextile.  This sextile between Mercury in Libra and Venus in Leo brings an opportunity to begin stabilizing within all of the transformation we experienced during the Venus retrograde.  Since we are talking about eclipse season I do not mean stabilizing to imply a quiet and peaceful experience, but rather that through the storms of this time we can begin solidifying our reborn Venusian values through our actions in response to life.

At the time of this Virgo Solar Eclipse, we are within a brief period of time in which we do not have a personal planet retrograde, as Venus finally ended her retrograde six days before the eclipse, and Mercury will station retrograde five days after the eclipse.  If you feel raw and vulnerable in the aftermath of this recent Venus retrograde you are not alone, and it is worth remembering that Venus will remain in her retrograde shadow zone through the rest of September and into the first week of October.   Whatever has been reborn in you during the Venus retrograde is vital to tend and keep sustained, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.

Venus is also the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Libra, bringing Leo passion and a clear push toward fulfilling our desires within relationships.  It also means we will have a difficult balancing process if we want to meet both our own needs and the needs of others in our relationships.  The sabian symbol for this Virgo Solar Eclipse provides a solution in the image of “a girl’s basketball team,” suggesting that through collaboration with others, through being accountable to a role within a team pursuing a common goal, we can find the point of balance between meeting both our own needs and the needs of others we are in relationship with.  The vital point is that if you find yourself in a process of negotiating with a partner over relational dynamics, that you do not suppress and ignore the inner transformation you felt taking form during the Venus retrograde.  While it is important to listen to others and to be supportive, it is also necessary for you to live your own authentic life.

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo III Decan

This Virgo Solar Eclipse falls in the third face of Virgo that is associated with the 10 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot this image of a family enjoying the fruits of their labor and legacy is associated with wealth, both the accumulation of wealth as well as being able to sustain wealth through familial lineages or other legacies.  The image also corresponds with the achievement of a stable, secure lifestyle affording one the possibility of enjoying material luxuries as well as the luxury of a contemplative lifestyle.  In connection to the Solar Eclipse in the third decan of Virgo, we likewise have our own lineages and legacies to draw from in the pursuit and gaining of wealth, though here wealth is more about its root meaning of happiness, health, and well-being than material riches.  This could connect with your blood relatives and ancestors or perhaps more likely with your soul tribe, those beings who are your kindred spirits and have provided you with inspiration and visionary meaning.

The third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury, giving Mercury added emphasis at this Solar Eclipse that also occurs in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces took a Mercurial angle to this card by interpreting that “the pensive nature of the elder pictured on this card suggest that wealth is here posed as a question, to be riddled out.  What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?” (p. 151).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo, as being the third decan it is about the separation of spirit and matter from previous balance, revealing the ultimate value of the work as the final face of the three Earth signs of the zodiac:

In this face we ponder the ultimate result of material things.  The limits of all created works are here considered.  This decan thus has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end . . . One gains the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions. The ability to see unto the 7th generation is gained …

Escorted by wealth on one side and death on the other, the residents of this face cross the threshold into the tomb.  Alone in the burial chamber with silent centuries, they dialogue with the corpse all will become about the value of all things.  The importance of legacies becomes clear, for though all works face eventual decay, some endure for aeons.  For just as no thing continues forever, all leave something behind.  There is no life which does not bestow upon the world an inheritance, even if it is no more than a feast for scavengers . . .

In comprehending the ongoing cycle of generation and corruption, one is freed from fear, for most terrors are petty, and disappear when the shadow of inevitability falls across them.  This discussion reveals the importance of things as they are- arising and receding- and deserving of love and attention.

–Austin Coppock from 36 Faces

Though not mentioned by Coppock in his deft portrayal of this decan, in the tables of the appendix he lists that the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo.  Hestia is a sublime spirit guide to turn towards at this Solar Eclipse, for she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the quality of value essential to our vitality that we wish to invest into the work we perform in the world.  Hestia is the devoted one with a far reaching legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath and action for the living force found throughout all of the natural world of creation.  Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service to all of creation.  Within waves of shattering change, within the decomposition and death of the old and the hatching of the new, Hestia opens herself to the change of the moment through her heart-centered focus on the eternal power of love and devotion.

References

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

Greene, Liz. (1984). The Astrology of Fate.  Weiser Books.

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books.

Seven Stars Astrology (2015).  Manilius, Neptune, and the Fishes. http://www.sevenstarsastrology.com/?p=1980

Solar Eclipse Equinox

pegasus and bellerophon

Pegasus and Bellerophon (1888 charcoal) by Odilon Redon

  • Saturn stations retrograde in Sagittarius on March 14, 2015 at 4°56′
  • 7th and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus on March 17, 2015
  • Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces on March 18, 2015 at 8°1′
  • Solar Eclipse in Pisces at 29°27′ on March 20, 2015
  • Aries Equinox on March 20 happens thirteen hours after the Solar Eclipse

Feared by our ancient ancestors for corresponding with increased chaos, Solar Eclipses occur when there is a New Moon close to zodiac degree with the South or North Node of the Moon.  On March 20, 2015 we will experience the synchronicity of a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces happening roughly thirteen hours before the Sun enters Aries and we celebrate the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the Fall Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is about ten degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Aries, a point on our ecliptic we associate with our past karma, our unconscious, and release as it marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, whereas the North Node of the Moon symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution as it marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic.  In a solar eclipse, the Moon crosses between us and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens solar light for the length of its transit.

As a result, Dane Rudhyar and other astrologers have associated solar eclipses as a moment in which our karmic past cloaks the solar light of our present, and our unconscious aspects normally hidden can become more viscerally felt in our conscious awareness.  Since this solar eclipse is occurring at the end of Pisces, conjunct the transiting South Node of the Moon, it accentuates our capacity to gain greater awareness for what has been brewing in our unconscious, and to release or resolve old karmic issues.  Taking the time to reflect upon the house of your birth chart where the solar eclipse will occur at the end of Pisces, as well as the aspects it makes with planets and other components of your birth chart will help prepare you for how your life could be impacted.  Solar Eclipses often mark a pivotal shift that can feel chaotic, but in the unsettling loss of past attachments and security we can find an opportunity to create new growth for ourselves in the areas of our life signified by the aspects made by the eclipse in our birth chart.

Further forcing us to confront ourselves at our deepest core is the seventh and final square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that hits a few days before the solar eclipse.  Since June of 2012 we have experienced a sequence of seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto, and with the final one occurring earlier in the week the Equinox Eclipse initiates a settling into the first quarter aspect between Uranus and Pluto for good.  By now you should know what necessity has demanded you release, end, confront, and initiate (especially connected to how 7 – 15° of Aries and Capricorn impacts your chart), so the less you can resist and the more you can open to the flow of change occurring will help you find your place in the dismantling of systems that has coincided in our collective during these transits.  On a personal level, the Uranus and Pluto square has been eliminating all of our attachments that have been blocking our ultimate growth, and so the upcoming solar eclipse (as well as the lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015) is bringing us awareness of what past attachments we have still been clinging to in one way or another in our subconscious that now need to be released as the final lesson associated with these seven squares.

The seventh square between Uranus and Pluto has associations with the seventh (crown) chakra and the seventh planet, Saturn.  Indeed, Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde on March 14 and so has our undivided attention as Pluto and Uranus square and the solar eclipse ushers in the Equinox.  A connection between Saturn stationing retrograde in Sagittarius and the seventh chakra is that an activity of the crown chakra is to derive meaning through our underlying belief system.  Saturn stationing and then continuing retrograde in Sagittarius will draw us into analyzing our belief systems, calling everything into question as part of a re-structuring of our consciousness.  With a solar eclipse occurring at the same time in the final degree of Pisces, we will want to be open to listening to messages expressing eternal meaning, and guides that connect us with the archetypal field that constantly seeds, activates, and regenerates new patterns.  As the solar eclipse may make us aware of our karmic past, we thereby gain an opportunity to break away from our past restrictive patterns and liberate ourselves from old unconscious complexes that no longer serve our direction.

white-pegasus

White Pegasus (1908) by Odilon Redon

Marc Edmund Jones wrote that the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces where the solar eclipse occurs is The Great Stone Face, and highlighted the importance of using discernment to embody self-integrity when manifesting ideals and aligning with eternal reality, as the “individual selects the image within himself to which he would shape himself outwardly, and this he comes to resemble” (p. 329).  Dane Rudhyar updated and elucidated this Pisces 30 symbol by calling it A majestic rock  formation resembling a face is idealized by a boy who takes it as his ideal of greatness, and as he grows up, begins to look like it.  Rudhyar said this symbol brings “realization of the power of archetypes as factors conditioning life processes,” and that this self-transformational “power can be developed through visualization, when the emotions and the will are poured into the visualized mental image” (p. 288).  Rudhyar emphasized that this zodiac degree represents the latent power of the seed, and so through focusing on “clearly visualized ideals” we gain the capacity to shape and mold our future growth and life (p. 288).

Marc Edmund Jones also warned that the negative side to the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces is “wholly inarticulate and ineffectual self-realization” (p. 329).  To me, this caution links to the importance of becoming aware of as much of our shadow and hidden unconscious forces as possible during this time of the final square between Uranus and Pluto and the solar eclipse at the Equinox.  If we are going to visualize an ideal for ourselves we wish to become more alike, to be most effective we will need to embrace our shadow and rejected parts of ourselves in our process.  When we repress our shadow, it ultimately gains enough strength to completely overwhelm us.  Yet through the willingness to acknowledge and accept our shadow, we can mitigate it’s capacity to overshadow our conscious efforts toward our ideal.  For example, if the Pisces solar eclipse is occurring in the 10th house of our birth chart and we realize that we have been projecting criticism at others for egotistically self-promoting themselves, we can see how there is in actuality an ambition shadow impacting us.  As a way to work with this shadow of ambition, we could open ourselves to our need to more assertively self-promote ourselves within our ideal career path.  This will not only make ourselves more successful, but in the end will also enable us to work more harmoniously with other peers in our career path.

The fixed star Scheat is located around 29°22′ Pisces and is closely aligned with the solar eclipse on March 20.  Scheat is a deep yellow star in the leg of the Pegasus constellation, and like the winged horse was associated by ancient astrologers like Ptolemy with Mars and Mercury, and with swiftness by Manilius.  In the more modern tradition of fixed star interpretation by the likes of Vivian Robson and Reinhold Ebertin that can often veer toward extremely negative labeling of star signification, Scheat was given a malefic label of being associated with catastrophes and misfortune.  Yet Reinhold Ebertin in his Fixed Stars and their Interpretation also gave a positive potential to Scheat signifying “mental creativity,” with the cautionary note that this positive effect is only for “some people,” meaning those who “are ready to receive such an inflow,” giving examples of Goethe having Jupiter conjunct Scheat and Rudolf Steiner and Victor Hugo having Mercury conjunct Scheat (p. 82).

pegasus-and-the-hydra

Pegasus and the Hydra (1907) by Odilon Redon

This double edged combination of ambitious striving for insightful breakthroughs, with potential for a fall from the lofty heights momentarily reached, also connects to meaning associated with both the Pegasus of the star constellation and the Pegasus of myth, and could serve as a symbolic guide to the solar eclipse at the final degree of Pisces.  There is an indivisible duality of light and shadow with Pegasus:  on the one hand Pegasus is felt as a fount of inspiration and the seat of heroes, while on the other hand Pegasus was born from violence and betrayal and tied not only to the slaying of monsters but the monstrous egotistical hubris that could overcome those who rode Pegasus.  Pegasus sprung from the blood spilled by Perseus severing the head of Medusa, and Pegasus further has the complicated lineage of being born from Poseidon and Medusa, when in some versions Medusa was the victim of being raped by Poseidon in a temple of Athena, and in others Athena turned Medusa into a hideous monster after she fell for the seductive advances of Poseidon.  In addition, figures of myth such as Bellerophon who experienced the adoration of being acclaimed as a great heroic slayer of monsters by riding Pegasus to victory in battle later became so overcome by hubris that they were forced into catastrophic falls of misfortune.  In the case of Bellerophon, after believing his glory meant he deserved to be one of the Gods and fly to Mount Olympus, he was struck back down to Earth violently by Zeus.  There is a binding in which there is no good without evil, no heroes without monsters, and as Carl Jung and others have written, within our same Source of Creation from which emanates the “Good,” so also emanates the “Evil.”

In part, this type of Pegasus shadow complex connects with the huge buildup of planets that have been aspecting the South Node of the Moon in Aries leading up to the final square between Pluto and Uranus and the Pisces Solar Eclipse.  We have had Venus conjunct the South Node then Uranus and then Eris in Aries, and more recently we have had Mars conjunct the South Node, Uranus, and now Eris at the time of the solar eclipse.  When we also integrate the other planetary nodes besides the Moon’s, we can see that the South Nodes of Jupiter and Pluto are now conjunct the transiting Ceres in Capricorn, all in square to the transiting conjunction of Mars and Eris in Aries.  The solar eclipse at thirty degrees of Pisces is also in square to both the North Node of Jupiter (at 30° of Gemini) and the South Node of Mars (at 30° of Sagittarius).  This extremely complicated mix of transits and aspects to planetary nodes can be synthesized through the concept that our current moment of world civilization sits within a past of extraordinary oppression, violence, and strife that impacts all of us on a traumatic level in our unconscious, in more of a consciously traumatic manner for those who have experienced horrific terrors firsthand.  We cannot imagine these difficult, sometimes hidden shadows of our psyche away by thinking we can focus only on the “good” such as “white light” that will make the dark go away.  Instead the path forward for our growth is acknowledging and working with these darker elements of our Self in a manner that helps us work toward our conscious goals instead of undermining, blocking, or limiting our endeavors.

the-young-poet

The Young Poet by Gustave Moreau

Yet poetic inspiration and creative inventiveness is also available in even the most difficult of times, and so through discernment in our daily choices we can strive towards our ideals without the pitfalls of hubris.  In classical astrology, the entire system is set up in part through the opposition of the Mutable sign domicile rulers being Mercury and Jupiter, as Jupiter rules Pisces and Sagittarius, and Mercury rules their opposite signs of Gemini and Sagittarius.  Fusing and synthesizing the archetypal polarity of Pisces and Virgo, for example, through the contrast between Mercury and Jupiter can be illuminating.  Sagittarius can have a shadow of a know-it-all, while Pisces can have a shadow of a godhead-  in both cases these classical signs of Jupiter can be overtaken by the archetypes when working with them with the negative consequence of becoming self-absorbed or overly egotistical in the process.  There is something in the ability of the Mercury-ruled signs of Gemini and Virgo to act as an evolutionary polarity to Sagittarius and Pisces and help ground us in the soulfulness of our immediate environment and relationships in the moment.

In modern astrology, Neptune is viewed as a ruler of Pisces, and there is amazing synchronicity that on March 18 during the Dark Moon in Pisces prior to the Solar Eclipse, Mercury will be exactly conjunct Neptune at eight degrees of Pisces.  Mercury can be our guide of soul once again during this week by activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine.  Mercury can help us logically and linearly organize mental concepts to help us navigate our world while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul.  Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces is the Poet who follows the flight of the winged horse Pegasus, a companion of the Muses and a source of inspiration in times of immense challenge.  When we open to the modern signification of Neptune connecting us to our collective unconscious, we realize that through Mercury at the clearing time of the Dark Moon before the Solar Eclipse, there is profound insight into how we have been impacted by the collective unconscious to unveil.

In the film Bright Star by Jane Campion about the life of the poet John Keats and his love for Fanny Brawne who became a Muse for his writing, there is a scene in which John Keats is speaking to Fanny about his philosophy of poetry in a way that crystallizes how the Mercury conjunction with Neptune in Pisces can help us now:

A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.

— from the film Bright Star (2009)

In addition to Mercury becoming conjunct Neptune on March 18, another helpful guide to prepare us for the Pisces solar eclipse and new Equinox is the ingress of Venus into Taurus on March 17.  Venus is at home in Taurus, and at this time of year the North Node of Venus is also at the beginning of Taurus.  As a result Venus will be activating her own evolutionary direction and in Taurus this means going within, following the wisdom in our bodily senses and centering within to discover how our inner values need a re-formulation to align to a greater extent with the inner and outer changes occurring in our life.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

The Pisces III decan where the solar eclipse occurs is ruled by Mars and associated with the 10 of Cups in tarot.  In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find a union of lovers enjoying the wealth of a mutually created home and family that emotionally fulfills them.  In 36 Faces, Austin Coppock analyzed this final decan of the zodiac as being about “the attainment of the heart’s desire, the reunion with the beloved,” and “the quest for true and perfect love” (p. 259).  Yet Coppock revealed the passionate depth and duality of this Mars-ruled decan by also noting it signifies a “mad quest for an ideal” that has an “unwillingness to accept anything but what is utterly right” and “a place of martyrdom, of being willing to sacrifice everything” (p. 258).  The lesson for those traversing the third decan of Pisces is thus to realize their propensity for dramatic sacrifice for their ideal love, and to learn to discern their true love from illusion:

This face thus contains heights of agony and ecstasy.  The pain of betrayal results from investing in the wrong ideal, mistaking the face of the beloved. The eagerness to enact the romantic quest can lead one to overlook whether the situation in fact warrants it. If those who roam this decan are to be spared repeated disappointments, they must learn to discriminate.  Yet even the most discriminating will see some dreams shatter, some sacrifices rendered vain . . . The third face of Pisces, the last of the decans, looks always to the end, the ultimate meaning of the entire cycle.  Moros [daimon of doom] whispers that it is pointless, and that the wheel of incarnation is merely a cruel carnival ride.  In argument, Elpis [daimon of hope] points to beauty, love and the real possibility of happy endings.  (p. 259-260)

At the end of Pisces, experiencing a solar eclipse at the final degree of the zodiac half a day before the initiation of the Equinox, we can simultaneously experience the hope of our most cherished ideal manifesting and the fear that we are doomed to be disappointed or disillusioned in the end.  The vital point to realize is that our hope is not misplaced when we have connected with ourselves on a soul level and have done the inner work necessary to realize our true desires.  Yes, Pisces can symbolize falling victim to an illusion, yet Pisces also symbolizes the reality that we can experience the complete bliss of our own personal happy ending.  This week it is as important as ever to follow the popularized mantra of Joseph Campbell to follow your bliss.

nigredo

Nigredo (1984) by Anselm Kiefer

From now on we will finally be settling into the First Quarter square phase between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, with no more dipping back into their waxing Crescent phase square.  The first quarter square phase in the tradition of Dane Rudhyar’s lunation cycle is a crisis of action in which we must establish a form to house the vision that came in at the new phase conjunction, in this case the Uranus and Pluto conjunction in Virgo that occurred in 1965 and 1966.   For example, in collective events there is an obvious connection in the United States between the Civil Rights movement that struggled to assert and initiate progress at the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, with the current struggle to rectify inequities in the criminal justice system in the United States based upon perceived differences in race or ethnicity.  This is a struggle to address aspects of the vision that came in at the conjunction that have not securely taken form, and we can also sense the unconscious shadow of past struggles and violence coloring the atmosphere with passionate emotions and drama.  Although the new Equinox is symbolically a time of balance and new beginnings, collectively we have clearly been undergoing a dark night of the soul.

On a personal level, this time of darkness has resonance with the concept of Nigredo worked into the resurrected alchemy of Carl Jung and other modern thinkers.  The Nigredo, blackening phase is an extreme sense of despair that is necessary for our ultimate personal development and individuation, for it brings our painful shadow aspects into greater realization.  In the system of evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, Uranus correlates with Jung’s concept of individuation and symbolizes our liberation from all external and internal conditioning that led to our past personal identity, so we can open to the evolutionary growth of our soul.  In this way the first quarter square from Pluto to Uranus has forced us to lose some of the attachments that previously brought us our most secure sense of identity, whether that be a particular relationship, job, or personal image.  The important thing is that we need take action now- we are only at the beginning of the first quarter phase between Pluto and Uranus, so instead of withdrawing or resisting out of fear over not being sure we know which direction to follow or identity to take on, take whatever steps are possible to establish a new form for yourself in whatever way that you can.  As Saturn moves retrograde over the next four months or so, eventually stationing direct in the beginning of August 2015 at the end of Scorpio, uses this Saturnine pull within to sharpen your sense of direction and aim while making concrete steps forward at the same time.  The new path will not be set in stone at this time, but it does require some tending and trail blazing.

PiscesSolarEclipseWRIGC1

AriesEquinoxWRIGC2

References

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1971). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Jones, Marc Edmund. (1969). The Sabian Symbols in Astrology. Sabian.

Judith, Anodea. (2004). Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Celestial Arts.

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

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).

MercuryDirectWRIGC1

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:

LunarEclipseWRIGC2

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.

MercuryInferiorConjunctWRIGC1

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.

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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.

Mercury Mediates the Cardinal Cross

Hermes

Hermes. Attic Red-figure Calyx-Krater, by Euphronios, 515 BCE. NYC, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Just as we are in the wake of the exact Cardinal Cross corresponding to a multitude of chaotic current events, Mercury steps into his Superior Conjunction with the Sun.  When Mercury is moving direct and conjunct the Sun it is called a superior conjunction because Mercury is moving very fast (this is in contrast with the Inferior Conjunction that occurs when Mercury is moving retrograde and slow).  Demetra George has compared Mercury at this phase of his cycle with the Sun to his detriment placement in Sagittarius because he has gone invisible under the beams of the Sun and his swift movement can correspond to both ingenious insight as well as a feeling of overwhelm in the face of an avalanche of disorienting information or events.  The challenge is to assimilate and to integrate all of the information that is made available at the superior conjunction:  this is always the case, but the fact that this particular superior conjunction is occurring at the time of the Cardinal Cross, in between a Lunar Eclipse and a Solar Eclipse, makes this a particularly volatile and catalytic superior conjunction.   We may be sensing brilliant insights of genius, the frenzied madness of a manic perspective, or both at the same time.  What is clear is that this time of a Cardinal Cross in between eclipses has lived up to its billing as an intense crossroads:  liberation from past limiting patterns is the potential benefit of this time, and so we need to maintain the mental balance to take in and digest the profound insights available to our perception.

MercurySuperiorConjunctWRIGC1

While one can see in the chart above the square alignment between Mars retrograde in Libra, Jupiter in Cancer, Pluto retrograde in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries, one can also see that Venus is tight in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio as well as conjunct the Moon in Pisces.  Yes, grand squares can be stressful, but they are also a building energy that can initiate new forms and structures, particularly in the cardinal signs.  Venus in Pisces rules the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Taurus, and since she is also aligned with the Moon and in trine to Saturn we have an opportunity at this time to perceive the profound personal message directed at us from the universe that is found in this Cardinal Cross.  Venus in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio also bring in the two other modes of operation besides the initiatory focus of Cardinal signs:  Venus being in a Mutable sign that helps us to flow with changes while breaking up and mediating our experiences into the essential take away, Saturn being in a Fixed sign helping us to solidify and realize the golden insight we can glean while processing all of the events and exchanges occurring in our lives at this time.

Mercury like Saturn is also in a Fixed sign at this time, and in fact in this period will quickly move through Taurus and become exactly opposite Saturn retrograde in Scorpio (May 2, 2014).  Mercury in Taurus is ruled by Venus transiting in Pisces, and in Taurus she is more of an inner Venus focused on our inner resources and values, a Venus that helps us connect with our body, our bodily instincts, and perception open to us through body language and interpretation.  Mercury being in a fixed sign lends stability to an astrological archetype that is very fluid:  Mercury can go between the underworld and the upper world, in traditional astrology he can belong to both the diurnal and the nocturnal sect, and indeed he is able to find the middle ground while mediating between worlds and unifying opposites.  Amazingly, the Sabian symbol for 6 Taurus where the superior conjunction occurs evokes this meaning:  “cantilever bridge across a deep gorge,” with the keynote meaning of a “conquest of separateness through group cooperation” (Rudhyar, p. 74).  To Dane Rudyhar, this symbol stresses the need to participate in a “collective project” in order to build a link “through the power of the collective mind of the group or the community at large, on the basis of the legacy of the past, to make a bridge over the canyon” (Rudhyar, p. 74). We need Mercury at this time to help us make sense of everything occurring around us:  it is not just our own personal patterns that are being revealed for our personal liberation, it is the great collective patterns of our collective history that are also being revealed, and it will only be through collective group effort that we will be able to collectively liberate ourselves from them.

The significant shift that follows the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun is the transformation of Mercury from a Morning Star to an Evening Star.  Mercury is in his Morning Star phase when he is behind the Sun by zodiac degree, and he is in his Evening Star phase when he is ahead of the Sun by zodiac degree.  When Mercury reaches about fifteen degrees before the Sun he disappears in the Eastern sky at sunrise, only to rise again at sunset as an Evening Star when he reaches about fifteen degrees ahead of the Sun.  In the last couple of months as a Morning Star, leading up to our current Cardinal Grand Square, Mercury has been functioning more in his Morning Star role as a more objective, yang energy that is outwardly directed and effective in a more public focus on reputation, honors, and career.  Once Mercury becomes an Evening Star, he will embody a more reflective, yin energy that is both subjective and intuitive, able to perceive information through dreams, memory, and bodily instincts.  At this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction, however, leading up to the Solar Eclipse that will occur around April 29 (or April 28 depending upon your time zone), we are in a time of accelerated perception and information, a vortex in which we may encounter many opportunities and be able to accomplish a great deal if we can maintain our focus amid the catalytic energy of the Cardinal Cross and Solar Eclipse.

SolarEclipseApril2014WRIGC2

One can see here that at the time of the Solar Eclipse, Mercury will be (1) sextile to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, (2) in trine to Pluto in Capricorn, and (3) in sextile to Jupiter in Cancer.  This means that Mercury will be mediating between powerful transpersonal and personal energies during this Solar Eclipse he is closely conjunct in Taurus, giving us the opportunity to perceive information and insight through the collective conscious and unconscious (Neptune in Pisces) that can help us regenerate core aspects of our authentic Self that can in the end help us re-make and re-form structures of the surrounding systematic power structure (Pluto in Capricorn).  We can also gain insight into how we have been conditioned to judge ourselves or allow ourselves to be judged or shamed by the imposed expectations of others.  Remember that very recently at the time of the Lunar Eclipse a couple of weeks ago that Mercury was conjunct Uranus in Aries as we entered this Cardinal Cross time period:  as a result Mercury is carrying a liberating message from Uranus with him into the Sun and the Solar Eclipse.  Making things even more amplified, the opposition between Jupiter in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn has been in place for all of 2014 so far, and has been intensely triggered at this time of a Cardinal Cross.  It is therefore incredible at this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction that also happens at a time of a solar eclipse that Mercury is conjunct, that Mercury steps into such harmonious mediating aspects between Jupiter and Pluto.  This is a time to gain greater clarity for our true values, and the purpose and passion in life we want to direct our inner resources toward in this next phase of our life.

Furthermore, just as Venus in Pisces is ruling the Solar Eclipse occurring at this time, so does Venus also rule Mercury’s journey through the sign of Taurus.  And as previously mentioned, Venus in Pisces is now significantly in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio as we enter the superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Taurus.  Love is the great harmonizer that can weave together disparate elements and events into a Venusian tapestry that can help us nurture ourselves during any wounding experience.  Venus was recently conjunct Chiron in Pisces and in trine to Jupiter in Cancer, and now that she is also in trine to Saturn retrograde in Scorpio means that we can get a more visceral feeling in our bodies and bones regarding the deeper meaning of recent events with respect to our core being.  It also gives us the ability to manifest a deeper sense of love into our daily existence, focusing on what we want to have happen with a greater ability to materialize aspects of our authentic desire.

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Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868)

Mercury is moving fast however, and so will remain in the Venus ruled sign of Taurus for only a few weeks as he travels invisible under the beams of the Sun.  Mercury will appear again as an Evening Star in the sky at his acronymic rise at Sunset, occurring around May 9, 2014 when Mercury reaches fifteen degrees ahead of the Sun:  Mercury will be enjoying himself in the early degrees of Gemini at this time.  Demetra George has compared Mercury in this phase of his cycle with the Sun as being similar to his exaltation in the sign of Virgo.  This is not the youthful, risk-taking, and overly curious Hermes, but rather the sage and bearded Hermes, the educator of youth and the wise inventor of letters and numbers, the discerning interpreter of words and the giver of medicinal drugs.  The combination of this phase of Mercury being similar archetypally to Mercury’s exaltation in the discerning Virgo with the transit of Mercuy in his inquisitive home sign of Gemini is absolutely perfect to help us digest and integrate all of the mind blowing experiences from this time period.

As a result, Mercury moving direct as an Evening Star in the sign of Gemini will help us assimilate, classify, organize, and integrate all of our wild perceptions from this time period with a more deliberate mental process able to flow and navigate with all of the changes arising.  In these ways, Mercury will continue in his role of mediating the intense events of the Cardinal Cross within our perceptions through the Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere where I live; of course in the Southern Hemisphere you are in Autumn now), significantly reaching another phase of his journey on June 7, 2014 when he will station retrograde at four degrees of Cancer in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  This will be the next phase of our mental integration of all the changes happening now, the Mercury retrograde phase, where Mercury will take on more of the meaning of his detrimental placement in the sign of Pisces, a time of release of old thought forms and concepts in preparation for visualizing and envisioning our new future yet to come.  Mercury in this period has a strong ability to interpret omens and signs in our night-time dreams and day-time explorations, and since this retrograde phase will begin with a trine to Neptune in Pisces it will also give us the opportunity for greater acceptance and healing of any wounding changes occurring in our lives during this Cardinal Cross time period.  Again with amazing timing, Mercury in this phase will experience his Inferior Conjunction with the Sun around the time of the June Solstice (the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere; the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) at the very end of the sign of Gemini.  In the beginning of July, Mercury will station direct to move forward again in a month where Mars will finally leave his retrograde shadow zone, Jupiter will leave Cancer to enter the sign of Leo, and this Cardinal Cross time period will be clearly left behind.  So welcome the wise trickster Hermes into your life right now:  Mercury is making himself available at this time to help you navigate literally anything you are currently facing.

References

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

Dane Rudhyar. (1973).  An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformation and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage Books.

Solar Eclipse Clearing on a Hekate Moon

owl in the waning moon ohara koson, woodblock

Samhain Threshold

Samhain is the ancient Celtic celebration of the mid-point between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice that is traditionally celebrated on the night of October 31 or dawn of November 1, our traditional Halloween holiday in Western culture, similar to how Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1. If you want to get all Virgo on this Pisces astrologer, you could also look at the time when the Scorpio Sun reaches 15 degrees of Scorpio (which will not be until next week around November 6th), but since we continue today to celebrate Halloween on October 31 and the Day of the Dead or All Saint’s Day on November 1, we have already entered the time to focus with our Samhain intentions. Samhain traditionally is the night in which the veils between our material dimension and the “other” dimensions become more thin and open, a threshold that is more easily crossed at this time than any other:

Samhain (prounounced sow-en), the Celtic New Year, now celebrated as Halloween, is a night that falls in neither the old year nor the new one. It is a “time outside of time,” when the veils between the worlds are lifted and much trafficking takes place between spirits and mortals. Boundaries are eliminated, spirits are afoot. In Scotland it is called a “night of mischief and confusion” . . . Property can be damaged, food and treats can be demanded, hospitality overrules the locked door and gated fence, boundaries between what is mine and yours are temporarily repealed. Tricksters seek admittance to others’ homes, even as spirits from the Otherworld seek entry into this world. On Samhain we are reminded that doorways are open, thresholds are bridgeable, and the ordinary and nonordinary intermingle . . . Traditionally Samhain is a night for divination . . . The reason divinatory practices are so successful on this night is that the boundaries between time are lifted. On November’s Eve the present and the future merge, and what lies ahead can be foreseen on the present moment.

–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, p. 55

On Halloween the Washington Post published an excellent and concise article on the past and present meaning of Samhain by Starhawk in which she writes, “The time of death is also the year’s rebirth,” “Halloween tells us to connect, to forge bonds of love that death cannot sever, to support one another as we face those things that are hard to face alone,” and “Know that you are an ancestor of the future, and your choices, your actions, your human hands can turn the wheel of fate.”

In astrology, the times of eclipses are also considered threshold experiences, as well as Mercury retrograde time periods, particularly when Mercury has it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun. Dark Moons in general also have an association with threshold experiences such as disorientation and Great Mystery that can source a rebirth for our being while in reception with otherworldy transmissions. Amazingly, all of these occurrences are happening simultaneously on Samhain this year, at the same time as an exact square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, the fourth of the current cycle of seven squares ending in 2015.

Recent news events have continued to be intense and cataclysmic, even reaching to the apocalyptic such as the Japances plans to clear radioactive used fuel assemblies that could trigger unprecedented radiation explosion and exposure if mishandled. On a personal level, we may have been receiving invitations from our environment to enter into drama by impulsively reacting to triggers on our emotions. The more we can release, clear, and let go of at this time, the better we will be able to navigate through the portal of astrological intensity and use the upcoming Solar Eclipse to help birth a new vision for ourselves rather than drown inside currents of past despair. Of course advising someone to let go, or even saying to yourself that you are letting go, are all much easier said than done as most of us human beings grasp to our personal status quo or comfort zones with all of our might.  Indeed, many astrologers have taken a cautionary stance of trepidation toward the energy symbolized within the chart of the November 3 Solar Eclipse you can see below, which does indeed contain many signs of intensity:

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However, although in the outer world there may indeed be some tragic tales we will hear about, on a personal level this need not be a doom and gloom time. The Great Awakener Uranus is shaking things up, but if we can clear the space to receive, channel, and direct this energy, we could catalyze ourselves forward into unprecedented dimensions from our previous experiences.  Our consensus reality is shifting into the unknown, and part of the great fear and paranoia visible in commercial media and social media could be tied to the inability of many to fully reckon with the changes set in motion.  If we are resisting the implications of our changing reality, if we have been fixated on an entrenched belief system or thought pattern from our past, if we have become overly attached to possessions or people against all signs that a letting go aligns with our actual growth, then the square to Uranus from Pluto could bring some cataclysmic crisis that could force us to lose what we have been resisting releasing. Yet if we can move into a space to let go of and release aspects of our past identity, relationships, and beliefs, branches of our tree of life that are ready to be blown off by the impending ecliptic storm, then we will be able to integrate the regenerative aspect of Pluto into our life and find the gem inside of what could otherwise feel like a disruptive and rocky experience.

If you have planets in between seven and fourteen degrees of Scorpio you will need to pay particular attention to how this solar eclipse is impacting your chart, but in general it is helpful to pinpoint where in your chart this eclipse at twelve degrees of Scorpio is occurring and any aspects it is making. Combined with the other transits of this time, you will be especially impacted if you have any planets in between seven and fourteen degrees of fixed or cardinal signs, but people with planets between seven and fourteen degrees of mutable signs will also be impacted by the role of Mars in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces in this witches brew of celestial spheres.

At a recent talk my astrology teacher Rosie Finn described the square between Uranus and Pluto during this Dark Moon as being about the fourth chakra and giving us the opportunity between now and the next square between Uranus and Pluto to work on bridging the work of our lower chakras with the transmissions from the upper chakras we could potentially integrate from Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. To do this lower chakra work means working on our personal issues represented by the personal planets of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, all of which will be extremely active in the upcoming time period: the Moon with these eclipses, Mercury with its current retrograde and rebirth, Mars being sextile to Mercury retrograde and the solar eclipse, and Venus as a bright evening star that will eventually station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013. At this time of a Dark Moon leading into a Solar Eclipse, I want to focus on the lunar aspect of our personal clearing, and the synchronicity that two of the most powerful Goddesses of myth, Hekate and Artemis, are both active at the time of the Solar Eclipse through their manifestations as asteroids in astrology.

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Hekate Dark Moon

. . . Hecate, crow black and with a shining crown . . . No woman knew the paths that linked earth and underworld better than she.

— Roberto Calasso The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, page 221

It is during this final waning phase [of the Moon] that the Goddess manifests as the crone or wise old woman. Hecate, the so-called goddess of the witches, represents this phase. She had knowledge of herbs and magic elixirs, folk healing and the control of weather . . . Hecate was also the goddess of the crossroads (where witches were believed to perform their rituals), and this is reminiscent of the neolithic, for the cross of the four directions was a lunar symbol in those days.

–Ariel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson, Mythic Astrology, page 68

The synchronicity of asteroid transits with their mythic meaning within the larger context of celestial patterns continues to astound me anytime I begin to question whether or not paying attention to the asteroids is important. A perfect example at the moment is that the Libra Dark Moon that occured on the night of Halloween in the Pacific time zone where I live was conjunct the asteroid Hecate (#100) at the exact time it was opposite Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn. The exact square between Uranus and Pluto occured exactly five hours later after they were each triggered by this Hekate Dark Moon. At the time of the Solar Eclipse on November 3, the Hecate asteroid will still be in opposition to Uranus and in square to Pluto.

Hekate is a goddess of the Moon and crossroads who is associated chiefly with the Dark Moon phase by modern astrologer and mythologists. Some of us may be obviously facing an important decision between different paths at this time, whereas for others the fact that you are at a crossroads may feel more subtle on the surface. Yet the deep Scorpio and Plutonic transits at this time means that all of us are going to be experiencing core shifts of our circumstances in the upcoming time. A sense of divination, the feeling that one can intuit the path into the future at this time of crossroads is fitting for Hekate, as she is one of the most ancient goddesses with a myth saturated in Mystery. If you are interested in reading more of an analysis of Hekate’s mythic meaning, please check the following link to a recent article written by Monika of the Symbol Reader blog: http://symbolreader.net/2013/10/27/hekate-the-goddess-of-the-crossroads/

As Monika pointed out in the blog article linked above, there is a clear affinity that both Hekate and Hermes share for navigating between the upper and underworlds and to transmit messages divinated from signs, symbols, and omens. This is especially the case now, as Mercury is invisible and in the underworld phase of its retrograde journey, reaching its conception point for rebirth (or inferior conjunction with the Sun) on November 1 about ten hours after the exact square between Uranus and Pluto. In order to rebirth our Mercury function and vision at this time we need to effectively do the dark moon clearing and releasing of Hekate, and in case you are having trouble figuring out what to release make sure you are opening your mind to what sorts of symbols, signs, synchronicity, and omens are pointing you toward in your environment. Change is extremely difficult for most people, but there are most likely significant shifts occurring under the surface of your reality even if on the surface it may seem in the moment like your normal routine. The more we let go of who or what needs releasing now, the more we open to ourselves to the potential of a profound and catalytic growth we can seed at the Solar Eclipse on November 3.

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Artemis Guides through the Dark

In contrast to Hekate, Artemis aka Diana is often associated with the Maiden or New Moon phase instead of the Crone or Dark Moon phase, with her bow symbolizing the early stage waxing of a Crescent Moon. The Solar Eclipse of November 3 will be one of the most intense New Moons imaginable, and it’s waxing into a Crescent phase will correspond with the last week of the current Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio, with the Sun becoming conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter stationing retrograde in Cancer. Artemis is further linked into this time through her asteroid #105 at the time of the Solar Eclipse being tightly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio at 13°44′, only nine minutes away from Saturn. Almost exactly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio by minutes, the Artemis asteroid is also conjunct the Solar Eclipse, only two degrees away, and also in range of being conjunct Mercury and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio.

Artemis being conjunct Saturn, the Solar Eclipse, Mercury retrograde, and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio carries the meaning of us re-connecting with our true instinctual Self, our inner Artemis who runs free through the forests of the night with a pure heart and her animal companions. In Mythic Astrology Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson describe the new and crescent phase of the Lunar Goddess as being “complete unto herself,” “apart from committed relationships,” “sexually active (the nymph) or virginal (the maiden), but in either case she is still pure, innocent, hopeful” (p. 67). Thus, the timing of us re-conceiving our Mercury into rebirth through the Scorpio conjunction of the Sun with Mercury retrograde is coinciding with us taking the responsibility to release the weight of our past in order to return to our pure instinctual Artemis Self, corresponding with the conjunction between the Artemis asteroid and Saturn in Scorpio.  I certainly do not mean by this that you should feel hopeful about life because of the trauma or oppression you have experienced, but instead mean the visceral and vital state of mind we can reach when we are fully done with a past issue that has weighed us down heavily, or maybe sometimes the tragedies just somehow make us feel more alive and in love with the future potential of the moment than ever before.  Instead of cynically rebuking life and refusing to live, through Artemis we courageously charge forward with an equine grace to our stride, like a deer effortlessly surmounting an obstacle.  Perhaps our rebirth necessitates us facing the End, or at least feeling like we are approaching Death; perhaps it is easier for us at times of chaos or crisis to access the kundalini current inside us and actualize our full creative, instinctual Self.  What may feel at first like the leaden weight of Saturn at this time may ultimately be what centers and opens us to the Artemis inside.

Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson in Mythic Astrology further analyze the mythic associations of Artemis by explaining that her link with the Moon came from the Romans connecting Diana with the Moon, as to the Greeks she was known more as the “Lady of Wild Beasts,” a mythic archetype that further links her with the astrological sign of Sagitarius (p. 63). Linking Artemis with Sagitarius further connects Artemis with Venus at this time, shining bright in the night as an Evening Star in Sagitarius. At the time of the Solar Eclipse, Venus will be near the end of her journey through Sagitarius and conjunct the Galactic Center.

Venus in Sagitarius burning so bright and so beautiful to behold in the night sky is a fitting guide through the darkness of this time. In connection with Artemis, we can sense how returning to nature at this time, making sure we make time to re-connect with the woods and the Earth perhaps on a solitary walk or run that Artemis herself would adore, could be an opportune way for us to clear and recharge our being. A fierce protector of wildlife and nature, the archetype of Artemis emerging at this time is a further sign of the importance of taking direct action to protect our natural environment during a time of great pollution and environmental degradation.  Artemis is a sign that we have the instinctual nature inside of us to make the choice at the crossroads to embark upon the path we are meant to take.

Pleiades in midst of Midspring Eclipses

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Pleiades:  Seven Sisters

Whenever Mercury enters the sign of Gemini as it did on 5/15/13, it  is thought of as Mercury returning “home,” since Mercury rules Gemini.  Yet this is even more true according to myth, as Hermes is the son of the Pleiadian sister Maia (the Pleiades are seven sisters in Greek Myth), and the Pleiades star constellation is located at the end of Taurus and the beginning of Gemini in the zodiac.  Thus, every time Mercury heads into Gemini, he is coming home to his mother and aunts, as the Pleiades bridge Taurus and Gemini, and the main star of the Pleiades, Alcyone, is located at 0-1 degrees Gemini.  However, there is even more reason to honor the Pleiades right now than the fact that Mercury has come home to them in the zodiac, as the Pleiades star constellation is being hit with a lot of major transits connected with eclipses.  During the recent Solar Eclipse on May 9, Venus was moving across the Pleiades star constellation, with the Moon soon to be conjunct Venus and the Pleiades on May 10, 2013.  Furthermore, on May 15 today Mercury is currently conjunct the Pleiades and in range of a conjunction with Venus, en route to being exactly conjunct Venus at 19 degrees Gemini on May 24 (Mercury-Venus will also be four degrees away from Jupiter at this time).  When Mercury and Venus are conjunct on May 24, there will also be a Lunar Eclipse occurring in which the Sun will be conjunct the Pleiades by four degrees, and the Moon will be opposite the Pleiades.  If that isn’t enough intense Pleiadian energy for you, the Sun will be conjunct the Pleiades on May 20 when we will have another exact square between Pluto and Uranus.  So much Pleiadian energy being stirred up in between two eclipses is fitting, because in between these eclipses we have entered a vortex of time and space out of which deep change can manifest in our life, and the visual of the mesmerizing star constellation of the Pleiades in the night sky looks like a spiral vortex we could transport ourselves through.  When the Pleiades came in with the recent Solar Eclipse through Venus transiting it at the same time as the eclipse, my astrology teacher Rosie Finn wrote the following interpretation for 5/10/13 in her monthly newsletter, Plants and Planets:

The Pleiades are so good at teaching us how to live a beautiful life on this planet, how to love and enjoy life, how to get the most out of our trip here and how to evolve just enough to stay and just enough to not feel stuck here.  The world is full of possibility and there is abundance- in this world at this time and it is accessible to us, when we vibrate with abundance possibility, open our inner eyes to see, and can recognize the resonance of our true longing in alignment with that which matches that longing in the world.

–Rosie Finn, Plants and Planets, May 2013

I still remember the first time I was struck by the beauty of the Pleiades, in a starry night sky above the Appalachian aka Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia in the Southeast USA.  There is something alluring and magical about the shape of this spiral constellation to the human eye, and it does have a strong resonance with human beings as the Pleiades have been channelled into books by a number of authors, including the Pleiadian Agenda by astrologer Barbara Hand Clow.  Clow in this book describes the bond and connection between the Pleiades and Earth as resulting from a karmic obligation initiated by Pleiadian entities in ancient times on Earth, and this is similar to other channelled work in the sense of the Pleiades being able to have a direct connection with human beings.  In many interpretations of Pleiades energy, as in the passage above by Rosie Finn, the Pleiades are described as having an energy that resonates with life on earth for humans and has wise beneficial  guidance for how humans can survive and thrive on a higher level on this planet.  As in the quote above, this resonance is often described in terms of aligning the desires of Taurus with the thoughts and expressions of Gemini, aligning our minds and bodies so that we are more truly in alignment with what we want to truly manifest in our lives, and being mindful of the vibration we are emanating with our being.  According to many authors, the Pleiades hold the belief that we can manifest abundance in our lives through our intention and vibration, as well as communicate with one another instantly and telepathically without the use of cell phones or instant messaging (cell phones and instant messaging serving as signs revealing our actual potential in this case).  The Pleiades are also here to help spark and facilitate human evolution according to many of the channelling authors, and so to me this connects them with the Esoteric Astrology development of the sign of Gemini from a subjective mind relating others to self, through a more objective mind that is able to relate the self to others, and ultimately to a wholistic mind that is able to relate the One (Spirit/Source/God) to self and to others, synthesizing “lower” mind issues to serve the “higher” mind (Oken, p. 177).

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It would be wise to keep in mind that the Pleiades will be associated with one of the most intense and significant astrological events of this time period on May 20, 2013 when the Sun will be conjunct the Pleiades at the same time that Pluto and Uranus will be in an exact square aspect.  This will be the third of seven squares between Pluto and Uranus (from June 24, 2012 until April 4, 2015), and so has been associated with third chakra issues by many astrologers, including my astrology teacher Rosie Finn who believes it will connect with us aligning our personal Will with divine Will.  Some Third Chakra issues from Anodea Judith’s book Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self that could be helpful to keep in mind at this time are as follows (p. 166-7):

Balanced Characteristics:  Responsible, Reliable, Balanced effective will, Warmth in personality, Playfulness, Confidence, Appropriate self-discipline, Able to meet challenges, Sense of one’s personal power.

Traumas and Abuses:  Shaming, Authoritarianism, Volatile situations, Domination of will, Physical abuse, Enmeshment, Inherited shame from parent, Age inappropriate responsibilities (parentified child)

Deficiency:  Low energy, Weak will, easily manipulated, Poor self-discipline, Low self-esteem, Cold emotionally, Victim mentality, Unreliable, Poor Digestion

Excess:  Overly aggressive, Need to be right, Manipulative, Temper tantrums, Stubborness, Driving ambition, Competitive, Arrogant, Hyperactive

Healing Practices:  Risk taking (deficiency), Grounding and emotional contact, Deep relaxation and stress control (excess), Vigorous exercise, Psychotherapy or other methods to build ego strength, release or contain anger, work on shame issues, strengthen the will, and encourage autonomy

How exactly could the Pleiades help us at this time?  To me, that is part of the mystery of it all, and part of the great mystery I associate with the Pleiades.  No matter how many different interpretations, stories, and analyses I read regarding the Pleiades, I always feel that there is much more involved with them than is being communicated through language.  However, since they are located at a bridge juncture in the zodiac between Taurus and Gemini, it makes sense that they would integrate lessons that can come from the connection between Taurus and Gemini:  issues we have with our Mind-Body connection, since Taurus is the sign of human form, and Gemini is the the sign of human mind.  One interesting mind-body connection was described by herbalist Carol Trasatto in the May 2013 issue of Plants and Planets (she is the “plants” to Rosie’s “planets”), in which she references how scientists have now discovered a vast network of 500 neurons line our guts, so that our stomach is really like a “second brain” for us.  Carol wisely notes that similar to how we can be misled by the misperceptions of our minds, so can our guts mislead us at times due to previous issues, wounding, and trauma.  She writes:

Our perception- even somatic, gut-level perception- has been overlaid with imprints of previous experience, messaging, and sensation.  Our physical and energy bodies are repositories of impressions; we are dealing with layers of information when we tune into our body wisdom.  To most benefit from what our body can tell us, our work is to sensitize our awareness, refine our recognition of sensations, and then also to cultivate discernment regarding whether the messages reflect something true about the present moment or are an echo of habituated protection, now keeping us from experiencing the next level of intimacy with ourselves . . . For instance, physical intimacy with a new beloved may trigger gut sensations felt as fear, anger, shame, discomfort, anxiety, even panic in someone who was violated by touch in the past . . . Rather than rejecting the current lover, the person with such body memories could choose to use the safety of the present dynamic to first recognize and then explore these stored sensations- and work to heal them with the love energy presenting itself as medicine.  “Trusting the gut” in such an instance requires self-awareness, courage, and the willingness to understand one’s experience . . . and allow it to transform.

— Carol Trasatto, Plants and Planets, May 2013

The sort of wisdom cultivated by people who work closely with our Earth, such as the herbalist Carol Trasatto, is the type of wisdom I associate with the Pleiades, a star constellation that has had a large and diverse cultural following across our planet since ancient times, well beyond the confines of Greek or Mediterranean culture- especially among indigenous people of the “Americas.”  In the same edition of her monthly newsletter, Carol gave an illuminating description of Third Chakra issues that I feel is very timely in connection with the approaching Pluto-Uranus square and intense issues we could become potentially influenced by in the collective culture and collective consciousness, and its connection to the alchemy of plants on our planet connects it for me to wisdom offered through the Pleiades:

The Third Chakra, the solar plexus, is about fire and transformation.  In herbal alchemy, when we yield the plant body to fire after extracting its magic with fluids, the resulting salts in the ash- when returned to the liquid- make the remedy more potent.  The fire energy available to us via the solar plexus first of all can serve to illuminate and then incinerate those fears, habits, and beliefs that limit our potential.  The chakra’s energy can enhance our ability to skillfully exercise will and personal power- especially in the realm of cultivating our intuitive voice and our ability to stand in our own center, free from the influence of collective trance.  This freedom allows our actions and our voice to be guided from our inner authority, our relationship with spirit, our life purpose.  It is through the right use of will that we may heal the past and bring vision into form.

–Carol Trasatto, Plants and Planets, May 2013

One thing for certain, however, is that the Pleiades are associated with guidance for humans, as they were used in ancient times for agricultural cycles and for navigation.  In fact, although there is some debate upon the origins of the name Pleiades, it very likely came from the word meaning “to sail” because the Pleiades are visible in the Mediterranean night sky from the middle of May until the beginning of November, coinciding with ancient sailing season¹. Furthermore, through myth the Pleiades are associated with navigation and guidance through being the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas, who held the celestial spheres on his shoulders and was the God of Astronomy and navigation.  Being the daughters of a Titan links the Pleiades with Uranus in myth at this time of the Pluto-Uranus square- in fact, Uranus is their great-grandfather!  In case you don’t remember, Uranus was the Sky God mate of Gaia, the primordial Earth Goddess, who through her fathered the new archetypes of the Titans into the world: six sets of twins.  Iapetus was one of the sons of Uranus who later became the father of Atlas, who then became the father of the seven sisters of the Pleiades.

Interestingly, Iapetus is also the father of Prometheus- so Prometheus is like the uncle of the Pleiadian sisters.  This further mythic connection to another liberating Titan like Prometheus, the archetype of the trickster who brought fire to humans, makes me feel the Pleiades will be more on the side of the shocking yet ultimately liberating and individuating energy of Uranus in Aries during this time of the third Pluto-Uranus square.  Since the Pleiades seem to be connected with practices to help humans navigate at a higher level on planet Earth, whatever third chakra healing is required at this time would be wise to put into practice- this could range from needing to ground inside the body and performing relaxation exercises to needing to take greater risks from a warm and heart-centered will-force.  There will most likely be deeply destructive and shocking events occurring- I feel the connection of these times with the Pleiades is our need to ride the wave of energy occurring in the moment and focus on the fact we can still manifest abundance and prosperity in our lives through responsible responses to any intense experiences occurring.

Pleiades_Elihu_Vedder

The Pleiades are the daughters of the sea nymph Pleione, which also connects the Pleiades through myth to the other significant outer planet energy occuring now besides the Uranus-Pluto square, which is Neptune being in Pisces and in trine to Saturn in Scorpio.  The trine between Pisces Neptune and Scorpio Saturn is the silver lining to remember amidst the chaos of the approaching Uranus-Pluto square, and it’s harmonious aspects should be activated by the cacophony from Uranus and Pluto. This trine in water signs between Neptune and Saturn connects with the Pleiades because it goes along with the idea of developing a discipline or practice to help focus and release energies.  Our bodies are mostly made of water, and in many ways we are liquid beings possessing a high level of responsiveness to the vibration of our environments, but more importantly by the vibration of our own thoughts, emotions, and being.  As the research of Dr. Emoto has shown the transformative and purifying effect of human prayer and intention on water, so can we transform and purify our own being through the power of our mind, intentions, and the vibrations we radiate internally and externally.  According to Barbara Hand Clow and others who have “worked” with Pleiadian entities, this knowledge that we can transform our own beings as well as what we are co-creating in our life is part of what the Pleiadians are revealing to us.    The Pleiades are also connected with Neptune because two of the seven sisters had children with Poseidon.  The mating of the Pleiades with Gods is not uncommon- in fact, six out of the seven sisters did so:

  1. Maia, the eldest, was the mother of Hermes by Zeus.

  2. Electra was the mother of Dardanus and Iasion by Zeus

  3. Taygete was the mother of Lacedaemon by Zeus

  4. Alcyone was the mother of Hyrieus, Hyperenor, and Aethusa by Poseidon

  5. Celaeno was the mother of Lycus and Eurypylus by Poseidon

  6. Sterope was the mother of Oenomaus by Ares.

  7. Merope, the youngest,gained the admiration and attention of Orion.  In some myths she marries Sisyphus, becomes mortal, and gives birth to several sons.  As a result she is sometimes referred to as the “lost Pleiades,” and is associated with the least bright star in the constellation.

There are many versions in Greek myth of how the seven sisters became stars, but in most of them it is associated with some sort of trauma they experienced as a repercussion of the wars for power amongst ancient deities.  To review, Uranus was castrated by his Titan son Cronus (Saturn) who seized power; then Cronus was later taken down by Zeus (Jupiter) who likewise seized the power from his father, and assigned rulerships to his brothers and sisters, including the eldest brother Hades (Pluto), the one currently in a “fight” with Uranus above us today.  As a result of the war between the Titans and the Olympians, Zeus took action to ensure that Uranus would not be able to birth more threatening archetypes, so he made the Titan Atlas stand on Earth, or Gaia, and hold aloft the celestial spheres, or Uranus, so that Uranus and Gaia would remain separated.  The Pleiades, being the daughters of Atlas, would obviously have been saddened to see their father trapped into this role.

In one story, Orion began to chase the Pleiades after their father Atlas was forced to carry the celestial spheres, and so Zeus transformed the sisters into doves, and then into stars in order to appease Atlas.  This version has the interesting aspect of Zeus trying to do something nice for Atlas, when Zeus was the one who forced Atlas to carry the weight of the celestial spheres in the first place.  This to me is like a political figurehead making overtures to honor the dead or wounded, knowing full well that they were intricately involved in the complicated karmic stew of events that wounded or killed the person in the first place.  We certainly are seeing quite a bit of that these days here in the United States of America.  And speaking of the United States of America and our governmental “leaders,” Zeus or Jupiter being in the sign of Gemini during this time reminds me of how the U.S. government is not being very subtle recently about it’s shifting into a totalitarian police state in control of all media forms of communication, able to seize the cell phone records or email history of any individual it wants, at any time.  Up until now, many of us have been complicit with this- just look around at the vast number of people obsessively plugged into smart phones, tablets, and mobile devices they are literally carrying with them everywhere, all ultimately connected to the same funding sources that are controlling the media and the government.  This also goes along with the Gemini Jupiter use of the media by corporate powers hoping to force as much distracting crap on the American populace as possible on television and through all news outlets, hoping people do not realize what is actually happening right now.  Although this has been true for a very long time, the rate of this media deception is becoming extraordinarily alarming to me recently.  There will most likely be some significant events occurring in this upcoming time period of the Uranus-Pluto square, so hopefully we the people will start taking the responsibility to wake the hell up.  Hopefully, the trine between Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces will help dissolve the illusions underlying the perceptions and reality we are living, and align us more with the actual truth of our lives, giving us the courage to face the truth of our lives in the process and take accountability for being the change we wish to see in the world around us.

But I am getting off my point about how the Pleiades went from being sisters to stars in myth.  In the most tragic version I know of, the seven sisters decide to commit suicide because of the deep sadness they were carrying because of the fate forced upon their father Atlas to carry the celestial spheres, or in other variations because of losing their other sisters the Hyades.  In this version of the myth, Zeus again decides to honor them by immortalizing them as stars in the sky.  I feel this suicide story may be why you will traditionally see some astrologers link the Pleiades with sorrows, misfortunes, and tragedies.  However, I do not believe there needs to be such dark energy associated with the meaning of the Pleiades; at most I feel the connection has to do with how we can recover from sorrowful events and cope with our emotions.  Because the Greek myths have a clear link between the sorrow of the Pleiades with their father’s involvement in the war between the Titans and Olympians, I feel in particular the Pleiades can help us cope with the trauma of the collective oppression and trauma people around our planet have been subjugated to as a result of world leaders focused upon war, destruction, and manipulating events for gains of global power.  When we are facing intense and traumatic times in our collective, if we hope to facilitate and manifest the positive change we want to see happen, we need to be able to keep our own emotions and responses in balance so that we can effectively respond in way that is truly aligned with our inner integrity and authority.  These issues are vital to our ability to develop a healthy and balanced use of our Third Chakra, again a chakra likely to be stirred up at this time.

Indeed, the Pleiades have a positive life affirming meaning, and have been a significant star focus, for many groups of people around the Earth in addition to the Greeks, in particular with many indigenous cultures.  I know I often explore Greek myth in writing since their myths are the basis of the names we commonly associate with planetary archetypes in Western Astrology, but it is at least as fascinating to explore the mythic meaning of the star constellation labeled the Pleiades by the Greeks, through the mythic lens of other cultures (hopefully I will make the time to do so in a subsequent post).  The rising of the Pleiades before sunrise was used by many ancient people to mark their calendars, and by many indigenous people as a time telling device.  In the Americas, the Aztecs used the Pleiades as a basis for their calendar, and the Hopi built ceremonial spaces in which a hole in the ceiling would reveal the glow of the Pleiades at a specific time to begin a ritual.  Interestingly, in many diverse cultures the seven stars have been seen as seven sisters for ages, such as with the aboriginal people of Australia and the Nez Perce of the Northwest USA.  I sense such mystery about the Pleiades that I am hoping to center and sense what types of signs, symbols, and events end up being associated with this time period containing so many astrological connections to them.

Seven Sisters by Jennifer Sea

Last year at this time, on May 20, 2012 there was a Solar Eclipse conjunct the Pleiades.  And as I have already mentioned, this year on May 20 when the Sun is conjunct the star Alcyone of the Pleiades, there is going to be an exact square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries.  So to honor the date of May 20 and it’s solar connection to the Pleiades, I am going to share some musical work of two geniuses who have birthdays near May 20.  Perhaps it is because my natal moon is conjunct the Pleiades at 2 degrees Gemini, as well as the birthday of both of these musicians, but I feel that each of their energies incorporates some of the synthesizing skills of the Pleiades in weaving together musical styles.  And music is also a perfect example of the transformation offered through intentional vibration that the Pleiades are here to offer us.  The first is a genius of the popular music format, Fats Waller, who was born on May 21, 1904 and below can be heard singing one of his romantic jingles in the unique style that only Fats could deliver:

And Sun Ra, born May 22, 1914.  Sun Ra has his own resonance with being in contact with the energy of outer space, having a vision as a young man in which he was taken to a planet he identified as Saturn, where he was told he could respond to the chaos that was coming to his planet Earth through communicating through music.  Taking the name Sun Ra, he said he was from Saturn, and his music has an energy to it I associate with the Pleiades, for whatever reason:

References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades_(Greek_mythology)
  2. Oken, Alan.  Soul Centered Astrology

Taurus and Incarnation

scenes from Buddha's life

Taurus and Being Human in Form

What do you desire?  What do you value?  You may have noticed others, including astrologers, asking you these questions recently as we have been experiencing an incredibly intense time period of Taurus energy these past couple of weeks, but especially now.  Unrelated to astrology, in the community college class I teach recently students have been creating projects and writing exploring what they want to attract into their life, what their current purpose in life is, what they desire to have in their life, and what they value.  There have been as many different responses as there are different people, differences in human personalities and backgrounds, with some wanting to possess material items and others more immaterial qualities.  There has been a wide range of material desires, from wanting a more simple type of a pet or a house, to more outlandish possessions such as a private jet, exotic animals, and millions of dollars; there has also been a wide range of immaterial desires, from wanting to have happiness and provide service to the local community, to wanting to provide service to the global community and to explore a higher level of consciousness.  What all of their responses have had in common, however, is desire, human desire, and the fact that human beings have desires, and that we also tend to develop a sense of values that are important to us, and that some of us live from.  This brings up the question, what is desire?  Where do our desires and values come from?  Why do we desire and value what we do?

I was recently listening to a taped lecture by astrologer Alan Oken and gained a new sense of understanding for the sign of Taurus by hearing him break down the etymology of Incarnation.  Incarnation means “embodied in flesh” or “in the flesh,” “in the meat (carne),” and so connects with Taurus as being the second sign of the zodiac since in Taurus we incarnate into form the new impulse of celestial life connected with the first sign of the zodiac, Aries.  We can further link this concept of being in the flesh to our thoughts and emotions, and indeed the sign of Taurus is connected to not only our physical form and sensuality, but also the crystallized form of our thoughts and feelings that make up the value system we live from.  The image of the Buddha above may not be the first one that comes to mind when you think of Taurus, the sign of the bull, until you begin to consider how his teachings connect with the conflicts we encounter in our physical incarnation in a body, and the suffering we cause ourselves through the crystallized patterns of thoughts and emotions we view our world from.

In contrast to thinking of the Buddha when we think of Taurus, as a result of Venus traditionally ruling Taurus in astrology many tend to visualize the sign as a sensual Goddess enjoying her physical incarnation and all the pleasures that can come through it.  And of course, since Taurus is the sign of the bull, we also associate Taurus energy as being embodied by a bull who can be fully engrossed in the presence of the moment in its natural setting, again soaking in the physical delights of its physical form:

MoreauEuropa_and_the_Bull

Taurus is all about being in our body and feeling the sensations of our world  upon our flesh.  The connection to Venus can be felt in the sensuality of our flesh merging with the flesh of our lover, the scent of our lover’s sweat, the taste of their skin.  The crystallization of thought and desire in Taurus can be seen in how we become possessive of this feeling, possessive of our lover, how some can become obsessed more with the intensity of past romantic experience more so than manifesting love into their current life.  This is the shadow side of Taurus, and we can have karmic consequences for our possessiveness.  For example, the image above is one of the most significant catalytic events in myth:  Zeus desiring to possess the beautiful Europa, so transforming himself into a bull to lure her away, and carry her off to the land that became Europe.  The desire of Taurus to possess and hold onto objects or values is where we can apply the expression of “being stubborn like a bull,” and the angry emotions that can erupt out of the normally calm Taurus when a desired object or value is lost is when Taurus can be described as “being like a bull in a china shop.”  The strong sensual desire of Taurus can be applied to anything in our life, such as the taste of food or the more nurturing touch of a friend or family member.  It can vary from culture to culture, especially where material items are concerned: to some possessing a high octane mechanical vehicle with plush interior made up of the skin of a cow could be important, whereas to someone else owning the cow itself could be important.  With Taurus it can come down to possessing what we desire, and this is where we can come down into our suffering.  This is because if anything is true in life it is change.  And since everything is constantly changing, if we are consumed with possessing something we can suffer when it goes away.

Hopefully you can sense by now how in addition to the Goddess Venus, the Buddha clearly connects with the sign of Taurus as well, and not only because he is believed to have been born, reached enlightenment, and have died during the time of Taurus.  When we consider the historical life of the man who became the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, we can imagine that he grew up in a constant state of hedonistic delight, having his every desire attended to, as the popular version of his story indicates his father the King attempted to shield him from the suffering of the external world.  The fact the Buddha grew up in such a materialistic state mirrors the lower nature of Taurus, the side of Taurus that has a desire for material possessions that can never be satiated; the more it possesses, the more it continues to desire more materialism.  In contrast, the higher nature of Taurus mirrors the spiritual development of the Buddha away from attachment to matter and desire, into freedom from materialism, gaining the freedom to connect with Spirit.  In Soul-Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated this connection between Taurus and the Buddha:

The Buddha taught that the path of detachment from desire is the vehicle for the entrance of Light; that is, the Creative Will . . . He did this through those methods which imparted the means to awaken the Third Eye- the “Eye of the Bull.”  This awakening brings into one’s daily life a consciousness in which the expression of the Soul is centered in the intuitive or “Buddhic” plane.  Such an awakening brings forth the potential for the fullest expression of our humanness.  In this respect, the dual horns of the Bull become the single horn of the one pointed spiritualized being, as symbolized by the Unicorn . . . As we open our hearts and Higher Minds, we externalize those aspects of ourself which correspond to the Christ and the Buddha.  This opening is at the core of all of our efforts at self-realization; this is the realization of the Self.  The work to free ourselves from possessiveness and materiality so that through these lessons true Wisdom may emerge is very definitely at the center of the Taurean phase of the turning of the wheel.

— Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, pp.  167-168

It is traditionally said that at the age of 29 Siddhartha finally journeyed beyond the confines of his controlled life, and was able to witness the old, the sick, the dying, and the dead, causing an expansion of consciousness from within.  In astrology, the age of 29 is significant for being the time of the first Saturn return, a transit that embodies the karmic meaning of this turning point in the Buddha’s life.  He left his princely palace life in order to follow his own Path of Spirit, a journey which took him into many turns leading within himself.  In contrast to the hedonism of his youth, he went to the extremity of abandoning all sensory delight into a lifestyle of ascetism, learning in the process that a Middle Way was the True Path.  Out of this insight came his Four Noble Truths:  the truth of dukkha (translated as suffering, stress, anxiety, or dissatisfaction), the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering.  The Buddha next elaborated upon an Eightfold Path that leads to enlightenment:  Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.  These can perhaps become more manageable to think of grouped into three categories:  “Right View (encompassing Understanding and Thought), Right Relationship (consisting of Speech, Action, and Livelihood), and Right Meditation (Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration)².”

The astrology of the moment suggests we can be gaining a lot of information into the root causes of our current wounds this lifetime, no matter your beliefs concerning past lives, with the potential to notice how our perception of reality and our attachment to forms could be causing our suffering.  It brings up the question of whether or not learning more about how we have been wounded can even be useful.  Is it useful to go into our wounds? Mark Epstein, who studied and practiced Buddhism before becoming a psychotherapist, explored these questions deeply in his book Going on Being:  Buddhism and the Way of Change, recounting this story of the Buddha:

Talking one day in the forest environment that he favored, he suddenly held up a handful of simsapa leaves and asked the attentive bhikkhus (or monks) to tell him which was greater, the leaves in his hand or the leaves in the surrounding grove . . .

“Very few in your hand, Lord. Many more in the grove,” they replied with unsparing simplicity and none of my taste for duplicity.

It was the same with his psychological and spiritual knowledge, responded the Buddha. Like the many leaves of the simsapa grove, his knowledge far exceeded the handful of his teachings.  Out of the vastness of all possible understanding, he taught only that which in his view led to freedom.  When asked why he would not reveal other facts about reality, he gave the following reply:

“Because, friends, there is no profit in them; because they are not helpful to holiness; because they do not lead from disgust to cessation and peace; because they do not lead from knowledge to wisdom and nirvana.  That is why I have not revealed them.”

The Buddha’s teachings were always direct and to the point.  In coming up against the world of psychotherapy, I have tried to use his words from the simsapa grove as a guide.  “How much of this analytic wisdom is actually helpful?”  I have wondered.  “Does it lead to wisdom, cessation, and peace?”  In the Buddhist view, knowledge is never envisioned as an end in itself but only as a beginning, useful as a means of getting oriented.

–Mark Epstein, p. 119-121

Mark Epstein explored important questions in this book, bringing up the fact he had many friends and associates who gained insights through therapy and yet remained as unhappy, dissatisfied, and egocentric after being in therapy as they were before.  He felt a place where Buddhism, meditation, and psychotherapy can all be helpful is the concept of “going on being,” which he first read about through British child analyst D.W. Winnicott.  The idea of going on being is having “an uninterrupted flow of authentic self,” similar to the pure action displayed most often in our culture by young children.  According to this idea of going on being, it “does not need to connote any fixed entity of self; but it does imply a stream of unimpeded awareness, ever evolving, yet with continuity, uniqueness, and integrity.  It carries with it the sense of the unending meeting places of interpersonal experience, convergences that are not blocked by a reactive or contracted ego” (p. 30-31).  Epstein connects this non-attachment to a “fixed entity of self” to the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, since the Buddha taught that the first type of clinging is for “pleasant sensory experiences,” and is “equivalent in many ways to the Freudian sexual drive and involves the seeking after sensory gratification” (p. 10).  Later in the book, Epstein shows how this dukkha of the Four Noble Truths relates to our suffering, and to me this connects with the strong energy of Taurus we are currently experiencing:

We want what we can’t have and don’t want what we do have; we want more of what we like and less of what we don’t like.  We are always a little bit hungry, or a little bit defensive, anticipating the slipping away of that which we have worked so hard to achieve.  Behind every suffering, Buddhist teachers say, is the desire for things to be different.  This attempt to control or manage what cannot be changed interferes with our going on being.  We worry about the past and anticipate the future or worry about the future and anticipate the past.  Our self-centeredness causes us to create an uneasy relationship with the world in which we try to fend off any threats to our hard-fought security.  This sets up an indefensible position; we become like a fortress:  a self within a mind within a body that is threatened from all sides.  (p.55-56)

Epstein also connects this issue to being a therapist, and how his “desire for control, in the form of being a helper, is as much of an obstacle to healing another person as it is to healing oneself” (p. 56).  These aspects of dukkha related to self-identity are the other two types of “clinging” taught by the Buddha:   clinging for “being” and for “nonbeing.”  This is an important aspect I don’t have the space or time in this blog to properly explore, but it is sometimes the idea of being “empty” or lacking ego that draws some to Buddhism in order to get away from their egocentric perspective; however, to the Buddha, in either case it is the “mind’s need for certainty” that shortchanges reality (p.22).  The Buddha taught the middle path because the self concept of being a “somebody” or a “nobody” are both mistakes, having a “self-centered attitude is as much of a problem as the self-abnegating one” (p.22).  It is “our sense of self-certainty” in either case that is the issue, because since life is always changing, if we are clinging to any sense of self too strongly we are not being fully in the moment, fully going on being (p.22).  Epstein also brings up insights taught by his friend and teacher Ram Dass in his book, including that it is also a mistake to try to get rid of unwanted parts of ourselves in an attempt to gain greater freedom.  Instead if we can develop a practice of mindfulness and awareness, the “more we bring our attachments into awareness, the freer we become, not because we eliminate the attachments, but because we learn to identify more with awareness than with desire.  Using our capacity for consciousness, we can change perspective on ourselves, giving a sense of space where once there was only habit.  Discipline means restraining the habitual movement of the mind, so that instead of blind impulse there can be clear comprehension” (p. 71).  Since we are in a time of such tremendous Taurus energy, and Taurus has a strong tendency to want to hold onto past habits of comfort in order to gain a sense of self-security, it will be especially important now to practice greater awareness and mindfulness of our attachments.

So in this time of great Taurus energy, we can perhaps use our powerful sensory abilities to become more aware of our desires.  This is somewhat similar to the “diamond approach” of A.H. Almaas that involves sensing one’s body in an ongoing basis, with focus on a point in the belly, helping one to become more grounded in physical body and physical reality, and eventually bringing with it the potential to become more in touch with a spiritual essence.  To me, this is also somewhat similar to “gut wisdom” and the danger that if we are not practicing awareness, we can end up reacting to events from our guts that are more rooted in our past wounding than from a place of heart-centered awareness of the moment.  The potential of using Taurus sensory awareness to develop greater connection with Spirit and presence in the Now of the constant flux of life, also reminds me of the wisdom contained in Taoism.  In particular the following quote from the Tao Te Ching translation by Stephen Mitchell (45), brings up for me the perspective we can gain from losing attachment to form so that we can truly use the form of our life in greater alignment with what is actually happening around us:

True perfection seems imperfect,

yet it is perfectly itself.

True fullness seems empty,

yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.

True wisdom seems foolish.

True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.

She shapes events as they come.

She steps out of the way

and lets the Tao speak for itself.

bull in lascaux cave

Current Transits in Taurus & Scorpio

As I am writing this, the Sun and all of the personal planets are in Taurus:  Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus is literally in the final culminating minutes of her most recent pass through Taurus.  This Taurus energy is even more intense today as later we will experience a Solar Eclipse in Taurus, with the Sun and Moon within a few degrees of the South Node of the Moon in Taurus.  The fact that the South Node of the Moon is  in Taurus means collectively, all souls on our planet are processing and synthesizing past issues connected with Taurus, including past life issues that could be buried in our unconscious.  The image of the Bull above in the ancient caves of Lascaux, France represents just how long the archetypal image of the Bull has been significant to humans- we are talking over 17,000 years ago most likely!  Once we step into belief in the possibility of us having a soul, a soul that has had previous incarnations on this planet, we step into the possibility that we could be impacted somewhere in our psyche by events from even as long ago as when this bull above was painted on the wall of a cave.

We can again bring the Buddha into our discussion of these times of Taurus because part of his spiritual awakening involved knowledge of his many previous incarnations, bringing the awareness that we all have a soul we have been re-incarnating in many different forms in many different lifetimes or incarnations.  In astrology, two of the approaches I am most drawn to are deeply connected with the Soul:  Evolutionary Astrology and Esoteric Astrology.  It is fascinating that both of these astrological approaches have a channeled background:  the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green originally came to Jeff in a dream, in Sanskrit from Sri Yuketswar, the guru of Yogananda;  in comparison, the Esoteric Astrology material was channeled by Alice Bailey from the Tibetan Master D.K., and is currently being taught and made popular by Alan Oken and his work in astrology.  In her book Esoteric Astrology, Alice Bailey described the connection between Taurus and incarnation:

As the individual descends into incarnation and when he takes an astral shell (emotional body), he definitely comes into a Taurian cycle, for it is desire which impels to rebirth and it takes the potency of Taurus to bring this about.

–Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, p. 380

This link between desire and re-incarnation is part of the answer to my question at the beginning of this article concerning the origins of our desires, and why we have them.  The Evolutionary Astrology paradigm taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green also places great importance on the connection between our desires, our Soul, and our past incarnations.  Green teaches that the placement and aspects of Pluto describes the types of desires the soul has had in previous lives that have a direct connection to the current evolutionary intentions of the current lifetime- in Sanskrit this archetype is called Prarabdha Karma.  As a result of Pluto correlating with our soul desires, Green teaches that it also correlates with our deepest sense of security, meaning that by connecting with the sources of our soul desires, we can maintain a sense of self-consistency and security- so we tend to have a hard time moving beyond our desires as they are connected with our soul, our previous incarnations, and our comfort zone.

With regards to the South Node of the Moon, Green describes it as correlating to the kind of ego identities that the soul has created in past lives in order to actualize the evolutionary desires of the soul.  Since the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus will be conjunct the Solar Eclipse today, all of our soul desires on a collective and individual level could be triggered.   Amazingly, the Sabian Symbol for the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus at 17 degrees is connected with the story of Gautama Siddhartha in his process of becoming the Buddha.  In An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyar links the symbol for 17 Taurus to the Buddha in this way:

When Gautama, having sought in vain for the answers to his questions among the teachers of tradition, sat under the Bodhi Tree, he had to fight his own battle in his own way, even though it is an eternal fight.  The spiritual light within the greater Soul must struggle against the ego-will that only knows how to use the powers of this material and intellectual world.  There is no possibility of escape; it is the energy that arises out of the present moment- the inescapable NOW- that the daring individual has to use in the struggle.

The symbol is A SYMBOLICAL BATTLE BETWEEN “SWORDS” and “TORCHES,” and according to Dane Rudhyar, “suggests that salvation is attained through the emergent individual’s readiness to face all issues as if there were only two opposed sides . . . a stage of POLARIZATION OF VALUES” (p.  81).  Tied into this symbol is a “seeker” who has transformed into a “warrior,” “refusing to depend upon the past,” and “fighting anew the eternal Great War” (p. 81).  Polarity is an important concept in Evolutionary Astrology as well, for example integrating the polarity point of Pluto (Cancer to Capricorn; Scorpio to Taurus) is connected to our evolutionary development similar to integrating the North Node of the Moon.  Taurus being the sign of the South Node of the Moon at this time makes us even more magnetized than usual to past patterns because of the comfort Taurus finds in the stability, and so it will take the intense transformation energy of it’s archetypal polarity, Scorpio, to force us onto a path of greater evolutionary growth.

Since eclipses often correlate with sudden and unexpected events that can be uncomfortable, this Sabian Symbol of Gautama becoming the Buddha suggests we could experience spiritual growth through facing the events without attachment to our past, and through welcoming the struggle between the will of our soul and the will of our ego personality- achieving growth in consciousness through the conflict.  Rudhyar’s description of the Buddha in this Sabian Symbol is also a timely image for the current South Node of the moon because it brings a sense of an active warrior energy to the traditional image of a calm, peaceful Buddha-  this is because we will need to actively move beyond our ties to past patterns of desire into greater freedom and a new life of meaning amid the flux of changes that will most likely occur in this time period of eclipses.  Today’s eclipse correlating with greater awareness of spiritual forces is further shown through the Sabian Symbol of the Solar Eclipse at 20 degrees Taurus:  “Wisps of winglike clouds streaming across the sky,”  described by Dane Rudhyar as a sign that an “individual who has taken a new step in his evolution should look for the ‘Signature’ of divine Powers confirming his progress . . . The ‘winglike clouds’ may also symbolize the presence of celestial beings (devas, angels) blessing and subtly revealing the direction to take, the direction of ‘the wind’ of destiny” (Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 83).  If we make the difficult or uncomfortable choice to move out of our comfort zone into accordance with our evolutionary growth- again, this could feel like a polarity to the desires and values we feel secure with- we will hopefully receive guidance or signs of synchronicity showing we are on the correct path.

It will not be easy to be move beyond patterns of desire associated with the South Node of the Moon because of the large number of transits currently impacting it:  on May 6, the Sun was conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Taurus, and on May 7 Mercury and Mars became conjunct in range of a conjunction with the South Node (the third conjunction of Mercury and Mars in 2013:  they were conjunct twice in Pisces in February).  So our soul purpose (Sun), perception and organization of reality (Mercury) and sense of Will (Mars) will all be connected with the South Node at the time of the eclipse.  The recent Mercury and Mars cycle is connected with the intense Pisces energy we experienced in February (which then became the intense Aries energy of April, the intense Taurus energy of May- more so than normal just so you know!). On February 8, Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces (also conjunct Neptune and Chiron in Pisces and square Jupiter in Gemini), and then once Mercury stationed retrograde, they were conjunct again on February 26, 2013 in square to Ceres in Gemini (I wrote about this here:  https://esotericembers.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/an-angel-watches-over-an-argument-between-ceres-and-mercury/).  Now, three months later, they are finally conjunct once again, conjunct the South Node of the Moon at the same time as a Solar Eclipse conjunct the South Node of the Moon!  In the time of Pisces we were able to open to some sense somewhere of greater vision and possibility in our life- now is the time to manifest, and work with our mind to change the way we are thinking, to align our mind and our perceptions with not only our Will but the Divine Will of the Universe.  The Buddha and Buddhism teaches that we are what we think, that we become what we think, and that it is possible to change who and what we become in form, through changing the form of our thoughts.

In addition, with Jupiter continuing to be in Gemini and Venus moving into the beginning of Gemini at the time of the eclipse, we could experience a flood of information concerning the desires we have that are linked with past incarnations, more information than could even seem useful because of the overwhelming feeling it brings.  It again brings up the issue of whether or not all this information, this going into our past problems can help us- and again, the advice of the Buddha to train mind, discipline mind, in order to disentangle ourselves from our past thoughts and desires, in order to change through changing the way we think, does feel helpful to me.  Indeed, if we look at the Sabian Symbol for the North Node of the Moon, 17 degrees Scorpio, at the time of today’s Solar Eclipse, we will see that we do indeed have this power of divine thought within us:

Scorpio 17:  A Woman, fecundated by her own spirit, is “Great with child.”

Keynote:  A total reliance upon the dictates of the God-within.

. . . here we see the result of a deep and complete concentration reaching to the innermost center of the personality where the Living God acts as a fecundating power.  This reveals the potency of the inward way, the surrender of the ego to a transcendent Force which can create through the person vivid manifestations of the Will of God.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 202

So even though the strong Taurus energy in this time period could potentially correspond with us falling into even more of a comfort zone than normal, we can use the deep rooted centering of Taurus to help us be present to the transformations occurring around us with our full being.  But in order to do this in connection with our evolutionary intentions, we will need to do it while integrating the polarity of Taurus: Scorpio.  Scorpio is the polarity to Taurus, and the location of our collective focus of evolutionary growth in the form of the North Node of the Moon, as well as the current location of Saturn, the great karmic master of our three dimensional reality here.

mahakala

At the time of today’s eclipse, the North Node of the Moon and Saturn will be widely conjunct in Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio to me is like the karmic taskmaster Mahakala, seen in the image above.  Mahakala is always depicted with five skulls, the five skulls standing for the transmutation of desires into wisdom.  Mahakala destroys ignorance, confusion, and doubt, he is the Lord of Time and the Lord of Death, and to me is like Saturn in Scorpio in that he may seem intense and even wrathful, but in his intensity he purifies and protects.  At this time of Saturn in Scorpio standing in opposition to the extreme magnetic desire energy of Taurus, it is a time for us to face our desires and places we are acting out of confusion without fear.  It is a time to go through death, because death is our friend in transformation-  like Mahakala, we can make friends with our own personal “demons” and integrate ourselves into greater consciousness, as Mahakala turns demons into protection.  It is like how Taurus rules our desires for form, and in Scorpio we transcend or transmute our desires beyond attachment to form.  It is like the phoenix rising from the flames.  We do not fear death, we step into it and experience our freedom.  In another passage from Going Into Being, Mark Epstein explains his understanding of Nirvana and how it is not really about death, it is about the freedom we gain from releasing the fear of death:

Nirvana is the Buddha’s word for freedom, not for death.  It is his answer to the problem of common unhappiness, to the anxiety that is encapsulated most clearly in the fear of death.  Nirvana, as the late San Francisco Zen master Suzuki Roth put it, is the capacity to maintain one’s composure in the face of ceaseless change.  The key, from the Buddha’s perspective, is to find nirvana through overcoming one’s own self-created obstacles to that composure.  The path to nirvana means working with one’s own reactions to the change that surrounds us, to the change that we are.

–Mark Epstein, Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change, p. 125

Joseph Campbell and others have elaborated upon the significance of ritualistic deaths in myths and in the reality of cultures around our planet, in that the important thing is that the participants believe they are going to die, and so experience a death of their infantile ego.  Some of the most widely practiced ancient rituals were connected with myths of the underworld, resurrection, and transcendence of form, such as the myth of Demeter and Persephone, and the myth of Isis and Osiris.  Going through a near death experience, or a ritualistic experience in which we believe we may die, helps us destroy our ego perspective that feels dependent upon society or the expectations of others to validate our authority, and helps us step into our own inner authority in an authentic manner without fear of judgment.  I do not mean to suggest that we need to go through a death experience at this time in our lives, just that the symbol of death and transformation associated with the archetype of Scorpio is very important right now, being the polarity to so much Taurus energy.

In fact, this transformation we could experience at this time could be quite peaceful, calm, and meditative, if we are using some of the wisdom teachings of the Buddha.  The Sabian Symbol for the current placement of Saturn in Scorpio is especially illuminating in this way:

Scorpio 8:  A calm lake bathed in moonlight

Keynote:  A quiet openness to higher inspiration

One could stress the romantic suggestions such an image evokes, but even at the level of a love relationship what is implied is a surrender of two personal egos to the inspiration of transcendent feelings which are essentially impersonal.  Love expresses itself through the lovers, for real Love is a cosmic undifferentiated principle or power which simply focuses itself within the “souls” of human beings who reflect its light.  The same is true of the mystic’s love for God.  Man strives hard to achieve great things through daring adventures, but a moment comes when all that really matters is to present a calm mind upon which a supernal light may be reflected.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 196

To quote one of my favorite wise womyn on planet earth, master herbalist Carol Trasatto, this “balm of calm” could be quite helpful in these intense days ahead.  If we can reach within for this calm state of mind and being, we can be like the reflective surface of a tranquil lake receiving the glow of the full moon, like our calm mind receiving the Light of Spirit.  A helpful meditation for these upcoming times can be found in this translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell (63):

Act without doing;

work without effort.

Think of the small as large

and the few as many.

Confront the difficult

while it is still easy;

accomplish the great task

by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;

thus she achieves greatness.

When she runs into a difficulty,

she stops and gives herself to it.

She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;

thus problems are no problem for her.

Buddhist_Vajravarahi_Yantra

Harmony through Conflict

Times of eclipses are usually never easy, but when exactly is life easy for humans on our planet these days?  If we look at the symbol above, a six pointed star or what is often commonly referred to as the “Star of David,” we can see a symbol to meditate upon for guidance.  Similar to the symbol of the cross, the six pointed star meets in the middle, in the heart.  The triangle pointing upward symbolizes the transmutation of our lower nature into our higher nature, and the triangle pointing downward symbolizes the integration of our higher nature into our lower nature:  they meet in the middle, the heart.  Just as the cross meets in the middle, the heart.  The heart is the fourth chakra (the middle chakra, with three above and three below), just like humans are the fourth kingdom (three kingdoms below- mineral, plant, animal, and three kingdoms above- the soul, and the more “angelic” realms).  Sound like the middle path?  Using the number seven as a symbol for consciousness in these ways, we find that the number four is in the middle, and the number four stands for being heart-centered.  This connects with the Fourth Ray of Esoteric Astrology:  as Alan Oken teaches, what is the conflict?  Meat!  Being in the flesh, being incarnated in our physical form on this planet in the middle of extreme energies!  And what is the harmony?  Consciousness, and living a heart-centered life.  Fittingly for this Taurus eclipse season, the two main signs of the 4th Ray are Taurus and Scorpio- Taurus, the sign of being in form, beauty and art, and “the creation of the various forms of life and the ultimate release of consciousness from them that constitutes the lessons of daily living” (Oken, p.120), and Scorpio, the archetype of transcending attachment to form, ruled by Pluto on our ego level because of bringing about the death process of our desire nature.  Alan Oken has already written a brilliant summary of this dynamic, that could relate to intense events corresponding with these series of eclipses while the third Pluto-Uranus square is happening at the same time:

There is a common rhythm for those crises brought on through the urgency of Fourth Ray energy.  It may be outlined as follows:  A person finds herself in a relative state of harmony, but then a certain change enters her life, shifting the status quo.  Such a change brings on the tensions of the struggle between the past and the unfolding future, between the urge for things to stay the same and the inevitability of transformation.  A battle ensues between the two opposing forces, which leads to a passing and a death of the form of the situation.  She is left with the struggle to reconstruct a new form out of the experiences of the battle that has just taken place.  This new form consolidates and settles, and once again there is harmony– until the entrance of the next change!  Is this not the rhythm and movement of Scorpio?  The Fourth Ray, the human state, forces the resolution of conflict, the harmonizing of the pairs of opposites, and the eventual evolution from the focus of instinct and desire to the release into consciousness and pure, essential love.

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 121

In these times of eclipses, with the third intense Pluto-Uranus square fast approaching on May 20, may we be heart-centered, heart-focused, and live from the heart.  If we can combine this with the guidance the Buddha brings to us in this season of Taurus, to train our minds to disentangle from the desires preventing us from sensing our true being in the world without interruption, we will have a heightened ability to shift and flow with whatever intense events may be on the horizon of our lives.

Hathor as a cow, from the papyrus of Ani

References

1. A.H. Almaas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._H._Almaas

2. Epstein, Mark. (200. Going on Being:  Buddhism and the Way of Change. Broadway Books.

3. Mitchell, Stephen (1988). Tao Te Ching. Harper Collins.

4. Oken, Alan.(1990). Soul-Centered Astrology:  A Key to Your Expanding Self.  Ibis.

5. Rudhyar, Dane. (1974).  An Astrological Mandala:  The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.