New Moon in Aries

New Moon in Aries

Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

New Moon in Aries

The New Moon in Aries on April 5 kindles the star fire of inner soul force and determination in the face of collective events that feel overwhelming with their historical weight. Aries takes its name from the constellation of the charging ram, zodiacal terrain ruled by red hot Mars where our life and light giving Sun is exalted. Aries burns with impulsive heat that invigorates our passions and motivates us to take direct action. There is cosmic synchronicity of this propulsive force initiating a new lunar month during the same time that the combined impact of Saturn and Pluto with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn is intensifying. Wielding the fire of Aries will not move mountains, suddenly change world politics,  or be able to cut through every obstacle we face at this time. Yet we still need to claim the courage to use our force of will to shape the aspects of life we are able to create and guide, surrendering to the need to mediate the barriers and limitations out of our control.

The Aries New Moon comes at the turning point of the astrological year. This is usually the case as in the northern hemisphere the season of Aries occurs during the rebirthing of Spring and the daily increase of light. However, in 2019 with the transiting lunar nodes and eclipses occurring in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn, the New Moon in Aries is occurring at the midpoint between eclipses while forming a change inducing square aspect with the Capricorn Solar Eclipse that happened on January 6, 2019 as well as the Cancer Solar Eclipse that is coming on July 2, 2019. This makes it an ideal time to recenter and regroup regarding whatever shifts have been taking shape in your life, summoning inner strength to respond to whatever needs repair or restoration. It’s also ideal for initiating and generating forward momentum and decisive action regarding whatever goals you want to achieve in the next six months.

Hours after the Moon unites with the Sun, the waxing Aries Moon will move through a catalyzing square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Since the Aries New Moon is applying to a square with the transiting lunar nodes it means it is at its bending, in this case the southern bending in which the Moon dips as far south in latitude as it will reach during its lunar cycle. This is a maximum peak of volatility, and in a southern direction indicates a higher charge of unconscious impulses motivating behavior. A day after the lunation, just after the Moon has reappeared in light in its slender waxing crescent shape, the Moon will form a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus on April 6. There likely will be some explosive collective events during this time, yet on personal levels we will also need to be ready for rapid developments to erupt. The Moon is carrying an emancipatory charge that is facing the friction and resistance of large, oppressive societal forces. We can receive liberating, breakthrough insights during this time and by working hard to bring ideas into form we can cultivate greater strength in the process. At the same time, it will be necessary to be aware of the best use of energy in terms of what we can change and what we cannot.

A day before the New Moon, the asteroid Vesta will ingress into Aries and begin applying to a conjunction with Chiron in Aries. The co-presence of the fiery communion between Vesta and Chiron with the New Moon in Aries draws awareness inward toward the most essential and rarified desires and values to focus attention on. What aspects of your life, what elements of your goals and dreams are irreplaceable and bring forth all of your strength and vitality to protect and nourish? During hard and difficult times when faith is tested, when natural disasters or collective calamities and crises strike, the gift offered is complete clarity regarding what matters most, where are attention needs full unequivocal engagement. Chiron and Vesta are inviting you to join them around their fire, a place of inclusivity, listening, sharing, and empowerment, a protective circle in which you can plant the seed of the vision you most wish to create and cultivate in the season ahead.

Mars in Gemini

Woodblock print of Miyamoto Musashi by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Aries New Moon, separating from a sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries and applying toward a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will not complete until April 25. Mars leaving Taurus and entering Gemini brings increased speed, electricity, and curiosity toward the striving will force signified by the red planet. With Mars in Gemini forming a whole sign sextile aspect with the New Moon in Aries, there is increased potential for taking action and making gains on whatever plans and visions have been taking shape during the Mercury retrograde in Pisces period that dominated the month of March. Mars in Gemini brings increased capacity to handle multiple tasks at a time and decipher connections between diverse interests, with the building tension between Mars and Neptune in April capable of severing awareness from an illusion. A main challenge will be keeping Mars from becoming detrimentally distracted in the airy home of Mercury.

Mercury in Pisces is now moving direct as a Morning Star and finally beginning to separate from its extended conjunction with Neptune in Pisces that expanded visions yet restrained our capacity for quickly and clearly making needed connections and communication. Mercury at the time of the Aries New Moon is a week away from reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that we are entering the phase of Mercury in which we must gather the bravery, faith, and resources needed to embody whatever changes of mind and vision emerged into awareness during the past month. Mars in Gemini has the necessary flexibility to shift and mutate as needed as we figure out how to reshape and rebuild life structures. Yet Mars under the influence of Mercury combined with Neptune also brings risk of becoming inflated, self-righteous, and ungrounded, characteristics we will need to guard against especially if conflict erupts.

Odilon Redon flower-clouds

Odilon Redon (1903) Flower Clouds

Feeling the Fishes

There is a potent pulse of Pisces underlying the Aries New Moon. Just as Mercury is beginning to separate away from a conjunction with Neptune, Venus in Pisces is applying toward a union with Neptune that will complete on April 10. The combined influence of Venus, Neptune, and Mercury in Pisces has a multivalent impact which can range from the sublime to the delusional. The influence of Venus exalted in Pisces increases capacity for us to not only envision a reality in which we may behold soulful desires, but to also alter reality to bring about manifestation of deeply felt values and connections. Hopefully the long phase of Mercury retrograde in March helped clear minds of cobwebs and illusory conceptions, but as Mercury is finally separating from Neptune it will still be worthwhile to claim space for inner reflection and meditation to help enhance clarity. Jupiter in Sagittarius is ruling all of the Pisces planets and can facilitate inner knowing that supports their potential for inner vision as long as we center within authentic inner values rather than being swayed by external conditioning influences.

As Venus forms its conjunction with Neptune on April 10, Mercury will simultaneously be applying to its third and final square aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius.  All of this is happening at the same time that Jupiter is stationing retrograde on April 10 at 24º21′ Sagittarius. When planets station their archetypal influence saturates the landscape, and so with Jupiter ruling Venus, Neptune, and Mercury it will intensify experience and meaning. The period of April 10 and 11 notably brings a higher degree of resolution to the wild journey Mercury has been on since February, as Mercury previously formed a square aspect with Jupiter on February 22 and March 24. There will be an opportunity for deepening into clearing or clarification of misleading beliefs while simultaneously receiving intimations of the course to follow into the future. Venus and Neptune will be playing the part of pulling awareness into the pleasures and wisdom of the senses and can be best utilized for soothing stress and creating an atmosphere of recovery, restoration and healing.

The mystical influences of Venus uniting with Neptune and Mercury contesting Jupiter goes well with the added meaning of Jupiter stationing retrograde. Jupiter shifting into retrograde motion pulls the outward expansion and quest for freedom of Jupiter in Sagittarius into inner horizons, helping one to cohere inner meaning from the free ranging experiences of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius. Jupiter will remain retrograde until stationing direct on August 11 at 14°30′ Sagittarius

Gustave_Courbet_(French_-_Grotto_of_Sarrazine_near_Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne_-_Google_Art_Project

Gustave Courbet (1875) Grotto of Sarrazine near Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne

Saturn – Pluto – South Node

The month of April initiates us into an intensification of the complex gravitas constellated by Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon coming together in Capricorn. By the end of April, both Pluto and Saturn will have stationed retrograde with Saturn coming within three degrees of Pluto (Saturn and Pluto will not complete their conjunction until January 12, 2020). The deepening we experience in April into what to expect from the beginning of new cycle between Pluto and Saturn is amplified due to the transiting South Node of the Moon being in the same place, with Pluto conjoining the South Node of the Moon during the Aries New Moon and Saturn conjoining it by the end of April.

These aspects alone would signify immense karmic issues erupting across societies, but the added influence taking things to an even more extreme degree is that the alignment of Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of the Moon is also happening in the same area as the South Nodes of Pluto and Saturn. This means that the archetypal meaning of the entire orbital arcs of Saturn and Pluto are crashing down across the ecliptic, flooding events with their significations. We tend to imagine the lunar nodes as a dragon in astrology, yet what we have in this alignment is a three headed (or headless) dragon involving not only the lunar archetype but Saturn and Pluto as well. The shadow of the Self described in the work of C.G. Jung can thus be applied to all of global civilization, with numerous issues sweeping across global societies representing the accumulated toxicities and oppression built up from ages past.

At its highest potential, this massive alignment offers opportunities for confronting societal issues and attempting to purify their intersection with us as individuals. Fundamentally, the New Moon in Aries points to the importance for each of us as an individual to claim responsibility for our behavior and intention, becoming accountable for the wider collective impact of our individual actions. While Pluto and Saturn have numerous negative and difficult significations, they also both connect with the empowerment found within our unconscious depths and our capacity to apply hard work and discipline toward manifesting and protecting what is most important to us, building or tearing down structures as needed.

Aries 2 Decan

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Aries associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. As the second face of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a heroic figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Similarly, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second face of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth and rulership to this decan.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second face of Aries.  Coppock described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).  These associations with the second face of Aries work well with the New Moon in Aries having so much potent fertility for vision being offered by Venus, Neptune, and Mercury aligned in Pisces and being received by Jupiter in Sagittarius.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs attributed Persephone to the second decan of Aries, an interesting association as she is also a noble figure who bridges the world of the visible and invisible, the goddess who rules the otherworld of soul, death, release, and resurrection. Additionally, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 16º Capricorn and forming an almost exact square aspect with the Aries New Moon. Persephone’s presence with the New Moon calls us to honor being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death.  While we must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, grieving those who have passed on, Persephone also signifies our capacity for discovering newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear.

There is a further link with Persephone’s presence in this face with the sabian symbol for sixteen degrees of Aries where the union between Sun and Moon takes place: “Nature spirits are seen at work in the light of sunset.” Dane Rudhyar connected this symbol with “attunement to the potency of invisible forces, of nature,” commenting that these “nature forces act as guiding and balancing-harmonizing factors.”  As one of the gifts astrology offers us is coming to terms with natural cycles so that we can flow and harmonize with them, we will need to keep in mind during April the necessity of both surrendering to natural processes of death and rebirth while claiming responsibility for doing what we can to shape matters and offer our own resources for support.

Youth of delight, come hither / And see the opening morn, / Image of truth new born. / Doubt is fled & clouds of reason, / Dark disputes & artful teazing. / Folly is an endless maze, / Tangled roots perplex her ways, / How many have fallen there! / They stumble all night over bones of the dead, / And feel they know not what but care, / And wish to lead others when they should be led.

— The Voice of the Ancient Bard by William Blake, from Songs of Innocence

Songs_of_Innocence_and_of_Experience_copy_AA_The_Voice_of_the_Ancient_Bard

References

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

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

 

Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on Pluto’s Nodes

dragon limestone mesopotamia

Mesoptamian top fragment of a kudurru with a mushhushshu dragon and divine symbols (ca. 1156–1025 B.C.) from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer

All new lunations deemed eclipses are not equal, for those that succomb to total blackening of the Sun are far more potent than those in which only a sliver of a shadow obscures our solar light. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 12 (or July 13, depending upon time zone) is one such eclipse, as it will only be visible in the southern reaches of Australia and the south pole region. The first solar eclipse in Cancer is partial due to its distance from the lunar nodes, 15º12′ from the true node position. However, even though its not the most intense type of eclipse, it’s incredibly dynamic due to its Plutonic quality. The Cancer syzygy is closely aligned with the planetary nodes of Pluto while opposing Pluto at the same time. This creates the potent matrix of the partial eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, while Pluto is aligned with its own South Node. We thus we will be experiencing a total activation of the entire orbital arc of Pluto, and a colossal release of all things Plutonic into our collective field.

Eclipses have a long association with destined events due to new forms entering our life in the weeks surrounding them, often with an unexpected gravitas, while other forms we had previously felt securely attached to pass away. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is the first activation of an upcoming cycle of eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn, with the next Partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn in January 2019, followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer in July 2019. As a result the Plutonic eclipse will be revealing first intimations of new themes that will become more firmly established in our lives once the lunar nodes make the switch into Cancer and Capricorn in November 2018. The eclipse emphasizing areas of future oriented growth is further shown by it occurring on the side of the North Node of the Moon, with the Moon waxing toward a conjunction with its ascending node across our ecliptic, moving from southern toward northern latitude.

However, since our Sun will be partially covered by the shadow of our Moon, it suggests there are elements of the irrational, deep unconscious, potent dream experiences of night, and charged memories that will be oozing or erupting into conscious awareness. Since the North Node of the Moon is in Leo and we will be experiencing a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July combined with Mercury moving retrograde in Leo, the Cancer lunation opposing Pluto in Capricorn brings the Cancer-Capricorn polarity strongly into a context dominated by Leo and Aquarius. I’m reminded of a talk I heard Jason Holley give on Cancer that explored its archetype through the myth of the crab in the constellation sent by Hera to attack Heracles. Holley described lunar material as being emotional openings to the fertile void, a realm of memories that is nonlinear, somatic, and implicitly pulls things into its own rhythm- thus it as if the crab has emerged from the undifferentiated unconscious to attack Heracles, the solar hero wearing lion skin. Holley noted that when our internal world lacks a sense of structure and order it leads to reliance on external sources for a sense of stability and safety.  If one’s capacity to contain emotional experience internally is not developed, it will be delegated to others rather than claimed from one’s own sense of inner authority. The opposition from Pluto in Capricorn to the lunation will force awareness of any such issues.

Pluto has been associated with Shiva and his fierce destructive aspects by many astrologers, as the experience of a hard aspect from Pluto can not only feel like a complete destruction of one’s personality, but also be experienced through devastating losses of structures and relationships we had been attached to.  When we stop resisting, denying, or being overly defensive,  allowing our ego to be destroyed in the quakes of Pluto, we open ourselves to the treasured gifts we will eventually unearth in the underworld process. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche gave an excellent summary of terms associated with Pluto including “the principles of elemental power, depth, and intensity; with that which compels, empowers, and intensifies whatever it touches, sometimes to overwhelming and catastrophic extremes; with the primordial instincts, libidinal and aggressive, destructive and regenerative, volcanic and cathartic, eliminative, transformative, ever-evolving . . . violent purgatorial discharges of pent-up energies, purifying fire; situations of life and death extremes, power struggles, all that is titanic, potent, and massive.”  Collectively we will be experiencing a massive purge of all things Plutonic in the time surrounding the Partial Solar Eclipse due to the eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, with Pluto conjoining its own South Node. Within the discharge can be found vital empowerment as described above by Tarnas, the question becoming what do you want to empower?

Planetary Nodes can be confusing for some people to understand when first coming across them, but I can vouch from years of experience with them that they are well worth the effort to integrate into astrological practice. There are valid reasons to use heliocentric planetary nodes (calculated from the accurate concept of the Sun being center of our solar system) as well as the geocentric nodes (calculated as they appear from our Earth-bound perspective as the center). The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is closely conjoining the geocentric North Node of Pluto (geocentric North Node of Pluto is 20º33′, lunation is 20º41′ Cancer) and Pluto is tightly conjoined its own geocentric South Node (Pluto at 20º00′, geocentric South Node of Pluto is 20º32′). Pluto and the Partial Eclipse are also closely conjoining the heliocentric nodes of Pluto. This means that Pluto is in the process of crossing the ecliptic from northern latitude into southern. For astronomical information and diagrams on the alignment of the lunation with Pluto, which also means someone on Pluto with a massive telescope could watch the earth transit in front of the Sun, see here and here.

american gothic

American Gothic (1930) Grant Wood

In contrast to the current transit of Pluto across its own South Node, Pluto transited across its North Node in 1929 through 1931, stationing retrograde in close proximity in October 1928. The year 1929 is famous of course for the Wall Street stock market crash that led into the Great Depression of the 1930s. Dane Rudhyar in his landmark text The Planetary and Lunar Nodes cut to the heart of the significance of paying attention to planetary nodes, writing that “in philosophical traditions concerning the meaning of astrology it was stated that the fundamental reality of what we call a planet is not its material mass but rather the space which its movements define.” Planetary nodes bring awareness into the relationships between the entire orbital arcs of planets in our solar system, therefore in archetypal terms we are talking about discerning relationships between the entirety of the archetypal cycle of each celestial wanderer to one another, and to our experiences on Earth.

When planets ascend across their north node into northern latitude as Pluto did in the transition from the 1920s into the 1930s, to Rudhyar we experience “an increase in the radiation of the planet’s characteristic attributes.” In part this period of history involves not only the Great Depression but also the rise of fascism, nationalistic forces, and the ascending terror of Hitler and Nazi Germany. When a planet reaches its northern bending of forming a square to its own nodes, as Pluto did in Libra in the transition from the 1970s into the 1980s, Rudhyar stated the planetary archetype reaches a collective “turning point” and thereafter begins the trajectory down in latitude toward where we find ourselves now with it crossing its descending node toward the south. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote:

One of the most significant ways of thinking of the nodes is to consider them as two “gates.” When a planet [Rudhyar includes the Moon here] is at its north node, its essential function and quality in the solar system is focused upon our Earth-space which is then most able to absorb and assimilate it. When the planet is at its south node what is released as “substantial” factors are the results of the relationship between the characteristic nature of the planet and whatever in the Earth-space has absorbed its power. If the relationship has been positive, then what has been absorbed has also been “assimilated” and integrated to the Earth-consciousness and has produced a new “seed,” i.e., new experiences and values. If the relationship has proven negative, what is being released or exteriorized are disintegrating materials, or negative existential results.

It’s easy to find the “disintegrating” and “negative existential” manifestations of the Pluto archetype in current events these days. There has in fact been a re-activation of white nationalism and supremacy and many people have had fears of another rise of fascist forces rising. There is also the additional factor that Saturn also has its South Node in Capricorn close in degree to the South Node of Pluto, and that Saturn is now heading toward a conjunction with Pluto at the beginning of 2020 that will be aligned with the South Nodes of both Pluto and Saturn. It is in fact striking that the second World War erupted after Pluto crossed its ascending node, and that the “Cold War” in the aftermath took shape in alignment with a conjunction between Pluto and Saturn.  NATO was then formed between North American and European nations against the threat they feared from the Soviet Union, and today as this eclipse forms with Pluto on its own South Node the relationships within NATO are taking center stage in current events.

The last time Pluto was conjoining its South Node was the beginning of the 1770s leading into the Revolutionary War that created the United States of America. As has been often discussed, the USA is now approaching its first ever Pluto return, with the coming conjunction of Pluto and Saturn being intrinsic. The USA is known as a country formed by immigrants, a creation also involving the displacement and destruction of indigenous populations as well as enslavement of people from the African continent. Today all of these issues are flooding collective events, including the controversial “Zero Tolerance” policy of the U.S. administration that separated family members attempting to cross the border. It is  striking how resonate the term “Zero Tolerance” is with the archetypal meaning of the Pluto and Saturn cycle.

215.jpg

Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt (1647) Rembrandt van Rijn

Within the raging thunderbolts and hurtling winds of collective history, the Partial Solar Eclipse occurring in Cancer illuminates our capacity on personal levels to nurture and protect what we hold most dear. Within relationships with loved ones and within larger spheres of community, the opposition from Pluto to the eclipse highlights the necessity of taking the personal responsibility to live in alignment with one’s integrity and to devote choices and commitments in service to the greater good for all beings, not just those we feel bound to by family or culture. The polarity of Cancer to Pluto and Saturn occupying Capricorn, in tandem with the nodes and coming Total Lunar Eclipse along the Leo and Aquarius axis, places importance on finding our inner emotional security so that we can claim personal power without the shadow of needing to control others or be competitively threatened by the power of others. The Cancer Partial Solar Eclipse holds potential to discover the essential value you want to cultivate within that you can then share with others for their own support.

The eclipse is separating from a trine with Neptune in Pisces, as Neptune continues to be in range of a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. Neptune’s transit in Pisces has coincided with massive illusions and disillusionment, the ascendancy of “fake news” and massive amounts of the populace getting their imaginal fix from phones, tablets, and other electronic devices all being closely monitored by the hierarchical power structures we can associate with Pluto in Capricorn. Part of reclaiming our inner security is engaging with our inner imaginal potency and our capacity to help co-create through our participation the world we hope to dream into being, rather than the nightmare we fear.

hiroshige carp swimming against waterfall

Utagawa Hiroshige (1852) Carp Swimming Against Waterfall

Jupiter Stations Direct

The Partial Solar Eclipse is in the exaltation of Jupiter, with Jupiter in a trine to the eclipse. Jupiter holds monumental influence due to stationing direct on July 10, two days before the eclipse.  Jupiter is in the home of Mars, as the red planet is currently retrograde en route to aligning with an incredibly intense Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July. Jupiter brings hope and reason for faith in the unknown, yet this simultaneously requires unflinching awareness of the depths and shadow of current circumstances. Jupiter is now in forward motion through the rest of Scorpio where it will reside until entering its home in Sagittarius at the beginning of November.  It is a bright Evening Star shining in the same sky that both Saturn and Mars can be seen in. The forward momentum of Jupiter will bring corresponding opportunities to find sources of expansion and growth within the disintegration of societal structures signified by Pluto’s influence on the eclipse. With the activation of Pluto, this likely could come with connecting to ancestral lineages whether that is one’s blood family or family of like-minded souls.

Interestingly from a planetary node perspective, Jupiter has stationed in range of a wide conjunction with the heliocentric nodes of both Mars and Mercury (heliocentric North Node of Mercury, heliocentric South Node of Mars). This is of vital importance due to Mars already being retrograde, and the fact that in the forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon we will also experience Mercury stationing retrograde just as the Moon reaches full reception of light. During Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we’ve also been experiencing it forming a square with eclipses as well as the transiting lunar nodes. When I previously wrote about Jupiter in Scorpio, I shared the following about it forming a whole sign square to the lunar nodes being in Leo and Aquarius:

The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.

454px-Rembrandt_Man_in_Armour

Rembrandt van Rijn (1655)

Red Star of Ares

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is not in aspect to the eclipse, but is one of the most important underlying factors. We’ve been experiencing Mars retrograde since June 26 and so now have a better sense of what elements of life are shifting in correspondence. A more recent element is that Mars went out of bounds by southern declination on July 7, adding in a higher degree of freedom seeking to its retrograde vibe. Just as Mars is at its brightest red at night as an Evening Star, so is the inner heat we feel in correspondence also inflamed. Desires may be emerging that we have been denying or unaware of previously that are in fact vital elements of our nature to begin integrating and embodying.

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is forming a retrograde loop pattern relative to the ecliptic that is taking it into its most extreme southern latitude, as it is in the sign of its southern bending to its heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Gary Caton has been doing a lot of intriguing work with the planetary nodes and retrograde loop patterns, and has added on to Rudhyar’s previous interpretation by suggesting the current Mars retrograde will lead us into the deepest subconscious elements of the Mars archetype. Since Mars is aligned with the South Node of the Moon and the Total Lunar Eclipse will be on the South Node of the Moon, the theme of sacrifice takes prominence. Again the words of Dane Rudhyar are worth reflecting on:

At the south node one does not build personality; one may expand it, releasing its contents in full dedication to a community and an ideal. There are many ways of speaking of sacrifice, some quite meaningless, even actually egocentric or masochistic. But the true meaning of sacrifice is “making sacred”; and this implies a complete dedication of one’s thoughts to what one may call either God or mankind – – or to a specific group, culture or ideal. This means a surrender of the ego-will.

— Dane Rudhyar, The Planetary and Lunar Nodes

The intensification of Mars will be building during the entire forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon, as Mars will oppose the Sun at the heart of its retrograde at the same time as the Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27.  While this is happening Mars is also getting closer and closer to receiving Chiron in Aries through a sextile, and forming a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. At times we will need to retreat into inner spaces to process everything coming up in correspondence. As this will all be happening in the middle of eclipses, the information and messages coming our way could be nonlinear and feel irrational. Be open to what is coming up, while maintaining discernment for what to act on and what to simply witness within.

Virgo 1 decan-Agosto,_cosmè_tura_e_maestro_di_ercole,_03

Virgo 1 Decan image by Cosimo Tura from “Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres” fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia (1476-84)

Venus & Ceres in Virgo

At such a Plutonic syzygy, it is fitting that Venus in Virgo is applying to a conjunction with Ceres. Venus is in its fall in Virgo, which can be seized in terms of walking and witnessing with awareness the myriad forms of suffering occurring around us, offering service where appropriate. The world is full of suffering, yet Venus and Ceres in Virgo also offer us the potential to ground and find the resources around us that will nurture us and others. Their alignment offers strong discernment found within subjective inner senses and intuition. Venus and Ceres also support transmuting nervous or anxious energy into creative work or productive maintenance such as focusing on needed cleaning, repair, or purification.

Venus and Ceres are in the home and exaltation of Mercury, which is notable because Mercury is in Leo, the home of the Sun being partially eclipsed. Moreover, Mercury is bright as an Evening Star and on its way toward stationing retrograde in Leo in a couple of weeks. Gary Caton has also been doing a lot of interesting research into the retrograde loop patterns Mercury forms when retrograde, and the one Mercury is now forming is notable because it will take it into extreme southern latitude just like the Mars retrograde loop is also taking it into extreme southern latitude. This is because Mercury in Leo is at the southern bending to its own heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Mercury is conjoining its geocentric South Node at the Partial Solar Eclipse, meaning it is now heading toward southern latitude and will not return back to cross over the ecliptic to go into northern latitude again until August 28. Furthermore, Mercury is in Leo is at 17 degrees at the time of the eclipse, the same degree it will be when it experiences it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde journey.

While the writing in the previous paragraph may sound like a confusing foreign language, there is a simple takeaway. The combination of all of this happening for Mercury with Venus and Ceres coming together in Virgo suggests rich fertility to be found in our inner landscapes.

cups04

4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Partial Solar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Moon rules the third face of Cancer, bringing extra potency to the shadow cast by Luna upon our solar light in the eclipse.  In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 115-6). Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.  Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things . . . an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain” (p. 117).

Hecate has dominion within the third face of Cancer according to the Hellenistic text the 36 AirsFinding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hecate for guidance. Hecate connects with the luminosity of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hecate is also the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn (check out this article by Charles Obert on Saturn as Feminine and Crone). Hecate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  For ages Hecate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul. She serves as a reminder of the inner guidance we can call upon to discern what choices and steps to next take on our path through the liminal season of eclipses and retrograde phases of Mars and Mercury we now enter.

References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Plume.