Tension and Transcendence: Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune

Rodin the Thinker

Edward Steichen (1902)  Rodin—The Thinker

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

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

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

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

edward-steichen-pastoral moonlight

Pastoral Moonlight (1907) by Edward Steichen

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

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

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

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

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

edward-steichen-languid repose

Languid Repose (1902) by Edward Steichen

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

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

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

steichen_big white cloud

Edward Steichen (1906) The Big White Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

Road into the Valley – Moonrise by Edward Steinchen

Current Cycle Dates:

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

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

 

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Triple Goddess T-Square: Vesta, Juno, and Pallas Athena

There is just so much going on right now with astrology transits, it isn’t quite as obvious to pay attention to the asteroids named after Goddesses.  I mean, we not only have the Pluto-Uranus square going on, we have Pluto and Mars conjunct in Capricorn, we have Venus and Saturn conjunct in Scorpio, we have had Mercury moving across the north node of the Moon in Scorpio first direct, then retrograde, and now stationing direct to move back across a final time, and most significantly in this moment we are in between eclipses, with the upcoming Lunar eclipse of November 28 containing somewhat of a Yod (in a wide orb sense) between Pluto and Mars in Capricorn and Saturn and Venus in Scorpio at the base, with Jupiter and the Full Moon in Gemini at the apex.

However, there is in fact a triple Goddess T-Square happening right now, involving some of the most powerful manifestations of the Goddess (Juno, Vesta, Pallas Athena), first brilliantly described in  Asteroid Goddesses by Demetra George.  In this pivotal work, Demetra George illuminated the insight that the asteroid Goddesses represent distinct archetypal manifestations of the Great Goddess, in particular in the form of Venus Aphrodite.  George wrote “the essence of the potential generative and transformative power of the Great Goddess (Moon) in her active, reproductive energy (Venus) differentiates into . . . Pallas Athena, at the MC, utiliz[ing] the sexual-creative energy to birth mental and artistic forms . . . Vesta, at the Ascendant, utiliz[ing] the sexual creative energy to renew and regenerate the self . . .  Juno, at the Descendant, utiliz[ing] the sexual creative energy to renew and regenerate others” (p. 28).  These three Goddess asteroids in this intense aspect are important to keep in mind as manifestations of Venus Aphrodite at this time in particular, since the planet Venus is karmically charged right now, being conjunct Saturn in Scorpio and therefore ruled by the Pluto and Mars conjunction in Capricorn that is also happening at this time of a powerful Lunar Eclipse.

At this time, Juno in Sagitarius is opposite Vesta in Gemini, and Pallas Athena in Pisces is squaring each of them.  This triple Goddess T-Square will be at its strongest from November 22  until December 2, 2012, while still in wider orb until December 10, 2012.  Juno has been moving direct in Sagitarius, while Vesta has been moving retrograde in Gemini.  Pallas Athena, until today, had been moving retrograde in Pisces, and so has been squaring Vesta in Gemini while each moved retrograde.  Amazingly, just as Juno in Sagitarius has moved into an exact square with Vesta in Gemini today, Pallas Athena has stationed direct in Pisces within one degree of an exact T-Square.  As a result, Pallas Athena in Pisces is especially charged at this moment, having stationed direct as the apex point in a T-Square with Vesta and Juno.  I have to admit, it’s a little easier for me to notice this, because Vesta is currently conjunct my Ascendant, Juno is currently conjunct my Descendant, and Pallas Athena is more widely conjunct my Sun in my 10th House.   So  maybe that’s why I’m writing this blog entry today.

But I see some clear intention and resonance between the dynamics of these three Goddess asteroids within the larger intensity of this astrological moment.  There is a lot of Goddess energy at this time, with a Grand Water Trine between Ceres in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Venus conjunct Saturn in Scorpio.  There is thus an opportunity for us to manifest some of our deepest gifts and visions into the world at this time, and so this T-Square between Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athena can reveal some of the challenges and self-made obstacles we could face in a manifestation process.  In addition, Saturn in Scorpio in mutual reception with the conjunction of Pluto and Mars in Capricorn, with Venus mixed in conjunct Saturn, in between eclipses with Mercury conjunct the north node in Scorpio and the south node in Taurus, certainly brings up themes of survival and self-preservation, but also deeply pulls in the importance of relationships and merging with others outside of ourselves in order to more effectively survive and prosper in life.  In fact, we could all be learning some significant karmic lessons at this time regarding the process of merging power with others versus choosing to remain more reliant upon ourselves, and again this T-Square with Pisces Pallas Athena at the apex can reveal where we could be experiencing some imbalance and self-blockage.  We are in a vortex of extraordinary change in this moment, and many people are off-kilter with their reactions and responses to what is happening.  Resonating with the idea of the asteroid Goddesses functioning as manifestations of the creative manifesting energy of Venus Aphrodite and the Great Goddess, paying attention to this aspect at this time can help us figure out how to manifest events and make choices that are more in alignment with what we want to have happen in our lives.  If we ignore the warnings of this aspect, it points to some negative ways we could spin off the intense astrological energy of this time.

Vesta and Juno are classic Goddesses in this dance of when to merge with others or an intimate other, and when to remain more independent within.  Vesta is currently retrograde at  22 degrees Gemini , exactly opposing Juno in Sagitarius direct at 22 degrees of Sagitarius, with Pallas Athena the apex point stationing direct at 23 degrees of Pisces.  As the apex point of this T-Square, Pallas Athena in Pisces is the archetype we can look to as the key dynamic to work out the tension of the aspect.  Drawing from the work of Bill Tierney in Dynamics of Aspect Analysis, it suggests that if we mismanage the energy of the apex Pallas Athena in Pisces (through frustration, blockages, habitual insecurities, defensive reactions from being self-centered) we will make the opposition between Gemini Vesta and Sagitarius Juno even more of an extreme polarity full of conflict instead of synthesizing their energy in a more harmonious and complementary manner.  If we can manage Pallas Athena in Pisces to the best of our abilities by focusing on the greater good, being aware of our relationships, the rights and needs of others,  and how we are impacting them, we can utilize the intense polarity between Vesta and Juno to propel us forward in a positive growth direction.

Fittingly, Pallas Athena is a more complicated archetype to understand, in part due to the predominant story of her birth passed down through myth.  In the traditional myth we know, Zeus gave birth to Pallas Athena from his head, and she was already wearing a full-suit of armor, as we can see below:

Yet this birth story upon closer thought tells a different story, essentially along the lines that the version of HIStory that we tend to be told is told to us by Patriarchal authorities that have been in power for ages at this point, with the victors tending to tell their version of events to pass down.  When Goddess culture was invaded and then subjugated to Patriarchal rule and forced to pay tribute to the masculine sky Gods, various Goddess figures were assimilated into a version in deference to Patriarchal rule.  Juno certainly was, moving from being the Great Goddess to the jealous and manipulative wife of Zeus, but none perhaps was more overtly than Pallas Athena, whose divine wisdom was utilized by the military extension of the Patriarchy in their strategic decision making.  Indeed, the impossibility of her birth from the head of Zeus instead of the womb of a Goddess, says it all:  this version of Pallas Athena was invented from the minds of the Zeus-like rulers of the Partriarchy of the time to serve their own purposes.  The fear of being overthrown and the corresponding manipulative grasping to stay in power can be seen in the story of the myth:  it had been prophesized that the Titaness of Wisdom, Metis, would give birth to the powerful Athena as well as a son who would overthrow Zeus.  Zeus, who himself had overthrown his own father, tricked Metis into transforming so that he could swallow her.  This is the logic given to how Athena ultimately could have been born in full armor from the head of Zeus.  However, there is also an interesting twist to how Athena could have exactly emerged from the head of Zeus.  In some versions of the myths, Zeus began to get an immense headache and then another figure burst his head open with a Minoan ax.  A Minoan ax being used is an interesting symbol of the Minoan Goddess culture of Crete the Patriarchal invaders of Zeus would have usurped.  In addition, the identity of this figure is sometimes given to be Prometheus, and among other versions also Hermes.  As Prometheus has been linked to the Uranus archetype first by Richard Tarnas and now by many others, this adds a humanistic revolutionary energy to the birth of Athena that otherwise may not have been obvious.  And Hermes as Mercury can represent our ability to liberate ourselves from limiting or oppressive patterns through the creative use of mental analysis as well as mental expression.

Today, we tend to view Pallas Athena as representing creative intelligence and wise problem solving.  Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses describes the archetype of Pallas Athena as the ability to use one’s mental abilities and creativity to create and control one’s reality.  Pallas Athena teaches that “the mind’s eye contains the seed of manifested form” and so if we are in a fog of ignorance or limiting thought forms, the process of working with Pallas Athena can help destroy, transform, and renew life structures so that we can learn “to utilize the creative mind to transform ideas into reality” (p. 32).  Important to the difficult nature of Pallas Athena in the role of the apex point of this T-Square, George also explained that when one is stuck in a process with Pallas Athena,there can be a tendency to feel “inadequacy and inability to influence” one’s life and experience in reality (p. 32).

This potential self-victimizing feeling of being  unable to create our own reality is the dangerous martyr shadow side of Pallas Athena being in Pisces.  If we react to the extraordinary oppression of our times by holding back out of a feeling of futility, or defensively reacting out of vengeance with a sense of anger or violence, we will negatively set-off the energy of this T-Square.  Pallas Athena in Pisces is a call to act out of compassion and non-violence in the face of oppression.  Meeting violence and negativity with anger, violence, or negativity only perpetuates the cycle of violence, anger, and negativity.  If we look at some of the greatest movements of social change, non-violent resistance and civil disobedience was integral to their success, as they helped garner compassion for their movement and values instead of stirring up violent reactions to violence.  Demetra George describes Pallas Athena in Pisces as ” a proponent of nonviolent resistance:  turning the other cheek or refusing to fight.  She is also the enlightened warrior, the bodhisattva . . . The wisdom of Pallas Athena in Pisces is the wisdom of compassion- the recognition of the universal suffering and desire for happiness that permeates humanity” (p. 106).  It is important to remember that acting with compassion and practicing nonviolent resistance to oppression does not mean you are being a “push-over” in the face of oppression- it is possible to be highly assertive, creative, and most importantly influential with protests and counteractions against institutional oppression through  nonviolent civil disobedience.

I feel part of the feeling of reacting with violence and anger in the face of oppression comes from the victimizing side of Pisces, the feeling that life is unfair and out of control, and so we must seize control and strike back against who or what we perceive as the powers that have wounded us.  I don’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t defend ourselves when being physically attacked, I mean more in the sense of reacting with anger and violence back to the general sense of oppression we could feel happening around us in society.   The powerful faith-based side of Pisces, is in contrast having a faith in the unknown and faith that by living a life of our highest integrity we can help others also live a life of integrity, and ultimately we can help break larger patterns of violence and war in our culture. It is the belief that human beings are not actually doomed and destined to forever engage in a cycle of war.

Another danger of Pallas Athena in Pisces is fearing that by integrating our work into our reality, which includes the power structure, that we will become complicit with the oppression stemming from the “system.”  We must remember the power of Pallas Athena is the ability to transform not only our own reality, but as a result also the greater consensus reality surrounding us.  There have also been many authors such as Jane Bolen who have depicted the modern representation of Pallas Athena as the career woman in the business suit climbing the corporate or political ladder of the modern Patriarchy, and the ability of the feminine to embody and express strong masculine yang energy.  This latter depiction of the Pallas Athena archetype is interesting given the current transit of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio that will be going on for the next couple of years.  It is an opportune time to transform the system and the institutions of power from within, so any women or men who are able to act from a place of power with the greater good in mind, can help transform the modern power structures away from oppression and more in line with facilitating greater communal growth and prosperity.  However, the intense dynamics of this triple Goddess t-square reflect the difficulty of completing such a transformation from within the system without setting off significant opposition and stress.

Part of the stress that can be going on with others and ourselves at this time also has to do with the illusion-based aspect of Pallas Athena in Pisces.  Many people at this time are in denial of what is actually happening in reality, and instead of taking a hard look within during a process of disillusionment, they are instead holding fast to their old views and mindsets and refusing to believe that the world is changing around them.  Many people, including many people in positions of power, are attempting to manipulate information through media, advertisements, and other avenues of information control (or Pisces illusion control)  in order to compensate for a potential cataclysmic disillusionment they could experience if they opened themselves to what is truly going on around them.  The intense astrological aspects of this moment reflect the fact that the world is going through intense change.  The beneficial power of Pisces with Pallas Athena at this time is the power of mutable water, the ability to flow and move with the changes happening around us and make modifications to our worldview in order to come into greater alignment.  This doesn’t mean suddenly getting rid of all of our old beliefs and values, it simply means being willing to take a second look at what could be in need of transformation at this time.

Indeed, Pallas Athena in Pisces can be more difficult to integrate into consensus reality precisely  because of it’s ability to perceive beyond the boundaries, limitations, and taboos defined by the values and beliefs of the dominant culture.  Demetra George described Pallas Athena in Pisces as having a “diffuse perception” with the ability to see “through merging oneself in between the spaces of dense reality and experiencing a direct contact with the object” (p. 106).  All of us block or limit our perception of phenomenal reality in one way or another, but Pallas Athena in Pisces reflects times of being able to perceive beyond our normal perceptual limitations, or the “normal” limitations of perception defined by the dominant consensus view upon reality.  As a result, Pisces Pallas Athena lends healing and artistic gifts that can integrate psychic and clairvoyant abilities.  Utilizing the faith and psychic-based healing abilities of Pallas Athena in Pisces will be one of the most beneficial ways to work with the tension of this triple Goddess T-square.  George describes Pallas Athena achieving success through Pisces as using the “psychological techniques of guided imagery, fantasy, and dream interpretation, as well as meditation, devotion, spirit guides, and spiritual practices. Aesthetically, she brings out the poetic, inspirational, and illusory qualities in artistic expression.  There exists creative skill in the media of film and photography which play with light and illusion, and in ethereal music (synthesizer) which evokes feeling” (p. 106).  So, one route of working with the tension of this T-square is to put the stirred up emotions and feelings into art, music, and media.  By capturing our emotional struggles in art we leave landmarks behind which other people facing similar struggles can potentially one day discover and use as a coping mechanism.  In addition, it will be important to trust some of our more psychic perceptions that can often be labeled “crazy” by our dominant culture at this time.  Obviously, practicing proper discernment between what is a true perception in this sense versus what is a psychic projection can be tricky.

 

So how exactly can we help facilitate a transformation at this time of great crisis and cataclysm on our planet, with the greater good of all in mind?  There are no easy answers, but the message I receive from these three divine beings at this time is to focus the highest levels of our personal creative thought and analysis (Pallas Athena) on ourselves in order to transform our own limitations from within and focus on the unique gift we have to offer (Vesta), as well as to focus on our relationships with others and all of the ensuing interpersonal dynamics (Juno).

The Vesta archetype (Hestia is the Greek Goddess version of Vesta) has had a tendency to have focus be a prominent theme in depiction, since Hestia/Vesta is the Goddess of the Hearth, able to keep her fire perpetually burning, eternally.  In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George associates Vesta with the Virgo and Scorpio archetypes and describes her as having a “Principle of Focus and Commitment” that involves a “dedication and aspiration toward a path or goal” as well as the “sacrifices that are made to attain that goal” (p. 131).  In the August / September 2012 issue of The Mountain Astrologer, astrologer Dawn Bodrogi proclaims that whatever house we have Vesta “in describres what we instinctively honor and where we hope to be pure of heart and deed” (p. 41):

Vesta knows where our true passion lies, and it is her face we see when we must choose life over death-in-life.  She is everything we do and every step we take to keep that flame alive.  She is our courage, and she is the willing and joyful surrender that allows us to discover what we cherish and then dedicate our lives to it (p. 40).

Bodrigi goes on to depict Vesta transits as times when we can experience profound epiphanies and sudden moments of lucid awareness concerning what we need to be doing with our lives and where we need to be on our path.  When Vesta is impacting our life we get a clearer sense of what we truly cherish, what passions bring us truly alive, and what essential values we carry that will withstand any cataclysm.  George, Bodrigi, and many others usually depict withdrawal from the world on at least a temporary basis as integral to the archetype of Vesta, in keeping with her historical role as a temple Priestess.  Indeed, it is through a cyclic period of withdrawal that the Vesta archetype gains its powerful ability to focus like a laser on a unique gift that can later be brought back into the world to be shared.

In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George describes an archetypal process we go through with Vesta as being about transforming “confusion into commitment,” which nicely pairs with the polarity potential of integrating the T-Square opposition between Vesta and Juno.  George explains that we “may experience aimlessness, alienation, or depletion of vital force” until the feeling of being “fragmented, overly dependent upon others, or without personal direction,” pulls us into a “transformative process of renewal of [our] virginity or essential self” (p.33).  This concept also links with the shadow warnings of Pallas Athena in Pisces squaring Vesta in Gemini at this moment.  If we are feeling overwhelmed by the oppression of the world at this time, we must be careful to not let it propel us into a sense of alienation and aimlessness.  It is imperative that we go within and into isolation if necessary in order to regain our sense of essential self and ability to regenerate our power back into the world to create the type of reality we would like to live in.  Because Juno, the Goddess of Union, is standing in opposition to Vesta in Gemini at this time, it means we need to be careful to strike the correct balance between withdrawing from outer relationships versus giving the necessary time and attention to the needs of our important outer relationships.

This movement within away from the world is integral to the current transit of Vesta in Gemini since it is currently moving retrograde.  It also links with some of the themes associated with Juno, currently moving direct in Sagitarius in opposition to the retrograde Gemini Vesta.  Juno has had a charged time recently, at one time recently being conjunct Mars (the lunar cycle between October 15 and October 29) and also opposite Jupiter (October 31 –  November 13).  Demetra George described the Juno cycle as a “transformative process of consummation and separation in relationships” which “teaches the wisdom that forgiveness and fair play lead to depth and renewal with others” and in the end helps us “transform selfish desire into cooperative union” (p.34).  Juno is the Goddess archetype of committed relationship, and so in difficult periods of relationship it can be necessary at times for partners to separate in space in order to renew themselves, and ultimately return to the relationship with a regenerated ability to sustain the commitment.

The danger of Juno in Sagitarius in this T-Square comes from an exaggerated sense of what should be happening in the future- this is all the more likely to happen when we are not in tune with our outer relationships and their needs and expectations.  George describes Juno in Sagitarius as having a need for “intellectual stimulation with a partner” as well as “consensus on a belief system or a mutually shared vision of the future” (p. 172).  It will be important at this time to gain greater clarity for what our true path and vision of the future is and check to see how much that truly aligns with the visions of our partners.  If there is conflict with these visions we will need to make the necessary modifications with our choices, actions, and beliefs to make our interactions with others more harmonious.  And when we do have an empowered agreement with others, or a more defensive and assertive feeling about our own beliefs, we must also beware of the other danger with Juno in Sagitarious:  “religious fanaticism” or “rigid insistence on one’s own beliefs” (George, p. 172).

In opposition to this Sagitarius Juno energy, Vesta in Gemini brings our focus to the way we choose and use our words, as well as the way we express information in the world and the way we are able to “network and coordinate” with other individuals in reality (George, p. 135).  Since Jupiter is also moving retrograde in Gemini not too far away from Vesta, all of these Gemini Vesta issues can potentially loom even larger at this time.  Demetra George warns about the misuse of Vesta in Gemini as involving a sense of alienation that happens when we get “so caught up in word choice that the ability to convey the true meaning is lost, or through excessive intellectualism” (p.136).  Vesta in Gemini in retrograde and in this triple Goddess T-square brings added emphasis to the possibility of becoming “vulnerable to using words and rationalizations to create an emotional distance from others. The mind can be a professional asset but must not be allowed to dominate the emotional experience” (George, p. 136).

Thus, this Sagitarius Juno opposition with Gemini Vesta can become a potentially dangerous agent of oppression when combined with a distorted Pisces Pallas Athena energy at this time.  Juno in Sagitarius can make us fanatical in our beliefs, in particular beliefs we share with a like-minded group and beliefs we share in contrast to another competing group.  If we hold tight to these beliefs at all costs, we could use a combination of Pisces Pallas Athena deception and illusion with the Gemini Vesta ability to create an intellectualized and “rational” argument to feel justified in doing just about anything in defense of our beliefs.  The movie Lincoln gaining popularity at the moment is a perfect illustration of how political figures like Abraham Lincoln throughout history have had to make major compromises in order to create change like a constitutional amendment against slavery-  Lincoln was not able to hold tight to all of his beliefs in order to make the change happen, he had to be strong and resilient while also being mutable at the same time.  Furthermore, the film shows how Lincoln had to resort to a lot of deceptive and manipulative political practices in order to create the compromises necessary to get the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution passed in Congress.  This triple Goddess t-square could just as easily be used in a similar fashion in defense of an oppressive construct such as slavery.  It is up to each of us as individuals to use discernment to stay in our personal integrity and make choices to be an ally with others against oppressive forces in our environment.  Others intent on seizing power for themselves could likewise use the energy reflected by this aspect to make an extraordinary power grab at this time.

With regards to our intimate and romantic relationships, since the Vesta and Juno archetypes each deal with fear of sex projections stemming from past sexual trauma or betrayal, it will be very important to be aware of what triggers we carry in this manner and how we could be distancing ourselves in our sexual relationships as a result.  With Pisces in Pallas Athena holding space in between this face-off between Vesta and Juno, we will want to emphasize the Piscean gifts of compassionate unconditional love for ourselves (Vesta) and our loved ones (Juno) in order to help all of us break out of our limiting patterns of thought and behavior.  In contrast, if we have fear-based projections coming from us or other negative thought patterns, the visualizing potential of Pallas Athena in Pisces will become more directed at attracting the types of oppressive Patriarchal relationships that gave the Goddesses Juno and Vesta so much trouble in the first place.

Look to see what houses each of the asteroids fall in to more fully realize how this T-Square is impacting you:  where is 22 degrees of Gemini for Vesta, 22 degrees of Sagitarius for Juno, and 23 degrees of Pisces for Pallas Athena?  You also may have something significant at the empty point, 23 degrees of Virgo.  Being a Mutable T-Square, listen to the analysis given by Bill Tierney in  Dynamics of  Aspect Analysis:  “Typically, the stress generated by the Mutable T-Square can be taxing to the nervous system (often due to over-stimulation) as well as disruptive to thought processes . . . [and] can attract relationships whose conflicts center around contrasting ideas and opposing concepts about life” (p. 100-101).  The Vesta point in your chart is where you may  be feeling an internal movement to withdraw and focus on some sort of gift or resource connected with what you are discovering to be your essential self.  The Juno point could be where you are being pulled into partnerships or other opportunities to merge your essential being with something greater outside of yourself, or where some of these issues of contrasting beliefs in relationships could be occurring.  The Pallas Athena point is the place to use visualization and other creative methods to help transform the conditions of your current reality that could be self-limiting.  It is also an important area to focus on to make sure you are not deceiving yourself or others through perception saturated in Piscean illusion.  Being the apex point, Pallas Athena in Pisces is the archetype that will clue you in on an illuminating dynamic that you usually would have difficulty integrating into a process of working with the dynamics of the Vesta-Juno opposition “without at least causing internal disharmony, inner imbalance, or tensional self-blockage,” ultimately manifesting difficult dynamics into your relationships (Tierney, p. 96).  So be the good Pisces, that strong angel of a fish with a lucidly glowing vision and faith, not the drunkard escapist and passive-aggressive fish!

The Sabian symbols from Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Mandala also have some interesting insights regarding this triple Goddess T-square.  Vesta at 22 degrees of Gemini is “Dancing couples in a Harvest Festival” and deals with the feeling of having done the hard Vesta work to birth a joyful holistic sense of self, leading to the ability to feel joy in a broader social sphere with others,  “giving free reign to their emotional instincts” (p. 104).  In contrast, Juno at 22 degrees of Sagitarius is “A Chinese Laundry” and is about the “use of one’s special racial-cultural background in order to survive and prosper in an alien environment . . . no longer a question of imitating the ways of a superior group, but instead of maintaining one’s own integrity in situations which neither give value for, nor favor what one basically is” (p. 223).  So, the Juno archetype can be seen here in the concept that merging in union with others can be most successful for ourselves when we maintain or own sense of self and do not lose our essential self through assimilation with the larger group;  also, that we sustain our personal integrity for the sake of maintaining our personal integrity, not for the sake of receiving praise or promotion from others.

But the most interesting Sabian symbol to me is fittingly the one for the apex point, Pallas Athena in Pisces at 23 degrees:  “A materializing medium giving a seance” (p. 283):

The person who believes he or she has a mission or mandate, or any special gift that can be of value to his community, must substantiate this belief. He has to produce results. Sometimes this involves difficulties and special conditions or circumstances; it always demands to some extent the gift of some power of value which is deeply one’s own . . Something precious involved in a deeply personal experience has to be surrendered, offered to others. The medium’s psychic substance provides the materials made visible in the phenomena, if the latter are genuine.  After the seance, the medium is usually exhausted. The performer gives of his very life to the performance . . . The display of psychic power that the symbol depicts can be interpreted positively or negatively  according to the motives that induced the “medium” to give the seance.  In its most constructive aspect it suggests the keyword Substantiation. The shadowy aspect of the process is “deception.”

This important consideration to be in personal integrity when practicing psychic or clairvoyant healing or perception, can be also seen in the Sabian symbol for the missing piece of the T-Square, 23 degrees of Virgo:  “A lion tamer displays his skill and character” (p. 165).  This symbol focuses on the importance of training, and “the need to tame one’s vital energies in order to fulfill one’s destiny,” as an “individual who is in complete control of his vital and emotional energies; at the spiritual level this includes the overcoming of pride- pride in one’s strength and mastery, and the pride attached to an exalted status or social office” (p. 165).

I feel this triple Goddess t-square has significant lessons for anyone practicing intuitive arts such as astrology or other healing modalities that draw upon intuition in combination with a more rational scientific method of analysis.  But you don’t need to be a “new age” worker to have this aspect impact you.  Whether we are fully conscious of it or not, we are all impacted from time to time by psychic premonitions or flashes of intuitive understanding, the source of which we don’t know exactly. I feel this t-square reflects a profound calling for each one of us to discover and honor our personal integrity in all facets of our lives at this time.  Some of us believe we are acting from personal integrity when we are actually running roughshod over others in our environment; these times also call for us to be open to examining the values and mindset going into our sense of personal integrity, and areas we could transform beyond our own self-limitations in order to contribute toward greater harmony in the world around us.  We each have a unique gift that we chose to be born to bring to this moment in time, right here, right now.  What is your gift?  What brings you alive?  How can you share this with others?  How can you envision a world in which your gift will flourish and bring joy to others?

And you know what’s an even crazier trip?  As soon as Vesta moves out of the T-Square dynamic through it’s retrograde motion in early to mid December, Ceres moving retrograde in Gemini will create a second triple Goddess T-square between Gemini Ceres, Pisces Pallas Athena, and Sagitarius Juno.  This t-square will be particularly strong between December 10 and December 18, 2012.