Taurus Full Moon: Unveiling Essence

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Selene on her chariot, detail from sarcophagus with the myth of Endymion and Selene.

Full Moon in Taurus

The Full Moon in Taurus arrives in the cross quarter holiday time of Samhain, the turn of the wheel in the Northern Hemisphere into the dark season.  Traditionally this is a time in which the veils separating our material awareness with the otherworldly realm of spirits and ancestors thins, supporting rituals that shed what we need to release and invite embodiment of the harvest we want to reap in the year ahead.  Fittingly, the aspects surrounding the Taurus Full Moon facilitate opening our bodily senses and extrasensory perceptions to guidance that incites inspiration toward new horizons of passionate pursuits.  While the Moon reflecting the full light of our Sun is always a peak moment of bringing down cosmic messages for us to receive, the Taurus Full Moon is particularly potent in terms of integrating the luminosity within subjective senses and bodily awareness.

The Taurus Full Moon is opposite both the Sun and Jupiter in Scorpio, and forms harmonious aspects of a sextile with Neptune and a trine with Pluto.   A full lunation in the Moon’s exaltation forming a pleasant sextile with Neptune in Pisces is ideal for making the personal space to sink into one’s skin and inner realms, luxuriating in whatever will help calm nerves and soothe the stress of recent events.  In the context of our 2017 calendar year, the Taurus Full Moon is marking our passage into its final stage, making this a perfect time to reflect back on events of the past year in order to intuit any realignments needed.  The past year has had a lot of fiery astrological aspects akin to wildfires out of control, and so the emphasis of this lunation on the water and earth elements can help cool and ground being.  As you center into the imaginal fertility of the Taurus Full Moon, ask for guidance regarding the gifts you have been carrying that are ready to be brought forth into the wider world.

The Full Moon is forming a tight square to Ceres in Leo, and a wide square to the transiting lunar nodes.  In addition to the square with Ceres in Leo, the Taurus lunation is in a sign based square with the series of eclipses occurring in Leo and Aquarius.  These aspects intensify and deepen the capacity of the Taurus Full Moon to help you connect with creative actualization of your soul gifts and talents.  There will be a need for hard work and discipline in bringing them to the fruition of their promise, yet the type of passionate work involved in this type of process brings the happiness of actualized fulfillment.  Let the stress and grief of the past dissolve as much as possible in the silvery light of the Moon so that you can more fully feel what wants to be expressed more freely.

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Leonora Carrington (1947) The Pomps of the Subsoil

Mercury in Scorpio is emerging from under the beams of the Sun as the Moon waxes full, meaning that Mercury will now begin to be a glimmer of an Evening Star momentarily at sunset.  This is an oracular moment in Mercury’s synodic cycle in which the Star of Hermes brings forth a message that illuminates what has previously been hidden.  There has been a huge emphasis recently on the secretive realm of Scorpio, with the recent of ingress of Jupiter in Scorpio, Mercury entering Scorpio to unite with Jupiter, followed by the Sun entering Scorpio and uniting with Jupiter a week before the Full Moon.  Mercury has been attuned to the microbes within the soil underlying our reality, and now emerges in twilight to announce its findings.  Mercury will be increasing in light as an Evening Star each successive day at sunset, creating ample opportunities to integrate what has been incubating inside ourselves to bring forth into outward expression.

In contrast to Mercury becoming visible again at the Taurus Full Moon, Jupiter remains invisible and combust under the beams of the Sun.  Jupiter began a new synodic cycle with the Sun a week before the Full Moon, bringing us visions of what we can create and actualize in the year ahead as well as a portal into underlying dynamics of our life.  Jupiter is now involved in the purifying process of separating from the Sun, and though its new cycle has begun it is still within a phase that calls us to reorganize elements of our life to establish better conditions to support our new developing priorities.  Jupiter in Scorpio calls us to go deep within ourselves and make honest appraisals of how we have been finding meaning and what we have been prioritizing in this process.  Jupiter in combustion is a transformative experience that aligns with the metamorphosis of Scorpio:  Jupiter has shed its skin but is still in process of coalescing into its new form.  As the Moon wanes in the cycle ahead, Jupiter will become visible again as a Morning Star and we will in correspondence become more securely anchored within our experience of the new meaning brought to us by Jupiter in Scorpio.

I am an Amateur of Velocipedes 1941 by Leonora Carrington 1917-2011

Leonora Carrington (1941) ‘I am an Amateur of Velocipedes’

The electrifying excitement of the Taurus Full Moon is brought by the lady of the lunation, Venus in Libra.  Venus in Libra rules the Taurus Full Moon while forming an exact opposition with Uranus in Aries, adding a spontaneous and free spirited quality demanding activation.  Since the previous New Moon in Libra was opposite Uranus, Uranus in Aries has been holding an immense influence over the current lunar cycle that will now become fully illuminated.  In addition, since Venus last formed a conjunction with Uranus back in June, we can additionally gain enlightenment regarding storylines that emerged in our life five months ago.  Fear and concern often gets generated in astrological circles regarding oppositions between Venus and Uranus, since the harmoniously pleasant significations of Venus are at odds with the more shocking and rebellious significations of Uranus.  It’s easy to imagine unexpected disruptions and accidents foiling our carefully tended plans to bring about Venusian joy, or wreaking havoc in our personal relationships.

However, though there is great tension stoked between Venus and Uranus at the Full Moon, there are ways to find outlets of expression for it.  Essentially Uranus wants us to be authentic and seize the necessary freedom and independence to express our force of spirit in the world around us.  If we are in relationships that foster and nurture our ability to freely express ourselves, there are creative breakthroughs that can come about through the Venus Uranus opposition rather than breakdowns.  This potential is aided by Venus being in her own sign of Libra, giving her all of her resources needed to have a good time with the Uranian vibration.  In addition, Uranus is in the home of Mars, and Mars is in Libra, the sign of Venus.  This again gives some emphasis to Venus within the dynamic tension, and the capacity for this transit to bring inspirational experiences in relationships and creative expression.

At the same time, the dynamic tension between Venus and Uranus can certainly coincide with unexpected events arising that disrupt our preconceived expectations.  It will be important during the time surrounding the Full Moon to be ever ready for spontaneous responses and to keep ourselves centered whenever changes erupt suddenly that could be sources of increased stress.  Uranus has been a major factor in astrology during 2017, and so Venus now opposing it from her own sign of Libra will generate deeper understanding of all of the underlying shifting that has been going on within our lives this past year.  We are at the same time shifting into the final period of Venus being visible as a Morning Star, for once she enters Scorpio as the Moon wanes in light in the week ahead, she will begin to move under the beams of the Sun as she approaches a euphoric union with Jupiter at the same time.  Venus is closing out her period of visibility with exciting aspects that will bring vital insights.

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Chiron with Peleus and Achilles from the Golden Porch: A Book of Greek Fairy Tales (1914)

The other major aspects of the Full Moon involve Saturn in Sagittarius, Chiron in Pisces, and Uranus in Aries.  Saturn is separating from a catalytic square with Chiron and applying toward a stabilizing trine with Uranus, weaving together our experiences of two of the biggest astrological aspects in transit during the past year.  Previously in March and April of 2017 during the Venus retrograde transit, we experienced another intensification of these aspects as Venus stationed direct conjoining Chiron and in square to Saturn.  Now Venus is forming a harmonious sextile with Saturn as it opposes Uranus, and Mercury in Scorpio is also mediating through a trine with Chiron. Altogether we have the conditions for the Taurus Moon to bring us the deep wisdom of the lessons Saturn, Chiron, and Uranus have been teaching.

Chiron has the astrological label of the “wounded healer” for a reason, as we often do experience pain and hurt when facing the tasks brought by Chiron transits.  However, whatever struggles we have had to face with our identity or capacity to self actualize, we are now at a more seasoned place in our experience of the series of squares between Saturn and Chiron to embody the strength we have been cultivating.  Chiron bridges the realm within Saturn with the realm beyond where Uranus resides, and can help us both in opening to our gifts as well as developing the resiliency and discipline needed to bring our talents into full manifestation.

Furthermore, as the Moon’s light wanes in the cycle ahead, we will experience the third and final exact trine between Saturn and Uranus on November 11.  Saturn and Uranus were previously exactly trine on December 24, 2016 and again on May 18, 2017 following a catalytic Mercury retrograde phase that intensified the Uranian energy as Mercury stationed direct in range of a conjunction with Uranus.  The trine between Saturn and Uranus in the past year has been a call to take bold leaps of invention in our work while simultaneously sustaining grounded structures to make sure we develop our projects in ways that will make a tangible impact in the surrounding collective.  Let the Full Moon help you brainstorm unexpected improvements to whatever plans you have been working on, and then push forward with work as the trine between Saturn and Uranus perfects in the week ahead.

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6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls in the second face of Taurus associated with the Six of Pentacles illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money.  The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch.  The unifying theme is that there is receiving found in the giving, and giving found in the receiving, and the image of the scales could further be interpreted as signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity in the process.  Through inner harmony transmitted through collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action.  Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus that mirrors the second face of Scorpio where the Sun is currently residing.  Notably, Coppock advised that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides” (p. 75).  Coppock referenced that the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horae to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time. Coppock wrote the Horae point towards the need for “passion and discipline merged in rhythmic union” utilizing the virtuous character traits of “peace, order, and justice.”

The Moon rules the second decan of Taurus, making the tremendous potency of the decan fully activated by the Full Moon.  The Moon in its own face, triplicity, and exaltation, ruled by Venus in her own sign, means its bright light can open gates of awareness to exactly what we need to know and feel about the present and how to expand into greater abundance moving forward.  Enjoy.

References

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

 

 

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Taurus New Moon: Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn

robin ironside the new moon being born inside the old

The New Moon Being Born Inside the Old by Robin Ironside

Within the darkness of the New Moon in Taurus arriving April 26, maintaining receptiveness to self examination through our senses and intuition will help guide intention toward the necessary shifts needing to be embraced within the cycle ahead.  This is a particularly fertile New Moon to plant seeds of future visions within, yet there is also a pulsating volatility under the surface requiring alertness and thorough grounding in the changes of the moment.  The New Moon is applying toward a harmonious sextile with Neptune while being ruled by Venus in her exaltation of Pisces, yet Mercury retrograde in Aries applying to a conjunction with Uranus suggests tumultuous tides of change needing to be navigated rather than calm waters.

Taurus as the fixed inner home of Venus brings support to set intention at the New Moon based upon one’s most resolute and steadfast inner values.  Being in integrity and building a solid foundation based upon essential desires and principles is always the ideal way to go about manifesting what you want to happen, yet the underlying unexpected quality of the New Moon means things most likely will not be able to go completely according to plan.  It will be necessary in the cycle ahead to be flexible and avoid stubbornly refusing to negotiate and mediate difficulties as needed.  A solid focus will be on refusing to compromise one’s integral inner values, yet being open to modify and alter the less essential aspects of plans so as to flow smoothly with currents.

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The Flowering Apple Tree (1912) Piet Mondrian

There is a great deal of essential dignity involved in the New Moon, as Taurus is the exaltation of the Moon and its ruler Venus in Pisces is also in a sign of exaltation.  As a result there is natural power available to inject into dreams and plans being developed.  Venus is at the final degree of Pisces, and will finally leave the sign of the Fish a couple of days after the New Moon.  For almost the entirety of April we have been experiencing Venus inhabiting the final degrees of Pisces while forming a square to Saturn in Sagittarius and a conjunction with Chiron.  Within the past month any difficulties experienced in relationship or work has helped clarify the true passions of our heart as well as who or what is deserving of our full commitment.  Saturn has also been bringing awareness to what needs to be released and let go as well as what needs to be strengthened and fortified more securely.

Vitally, however, Venus has finally separated from her square with Saturn and is gaining greater brightness and height each morning as a Morning Star.  Since the time of ancient astrology Venus has been known as the light bringer, brilliantly beautifying morning skies as a herald of our day to come.  The light Venus is now shining at dawn has been tested and strengthened by Saturn.  The New Moon signals a time period to get to work on the inspirations and desires that not only have passed the test of Saturn but have grown in depth and strength.  Venus as Morning Star is full of courage and willingness to face whatever challenges the day will bring in order to create and find fulfillment.  Venus at the final degree of Pisces makes the Taurus New Moon opportune for feeling deep within and allowing heartfelt yearnings to inform our intentions.

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The Memory Tower by Leonora Carrington

The wildcard element of the New Moon is the conjunction of Mercury retrograde with Uranus, a catalyzing and volatile aspect that will become exact a couple of days after the New Moon.  Just as we recently experienced an extended time period in which Venus was forming a square with Saturn, we now will be experiencing an extended time period in which Mercury is united with Uranus while forming a trine with Saturn.  The fact that the union of Mercury with Uranus is forming a trine to Saturn suggests that it will be possible to find ways to structure and materialize groundbreaking insights so that we can take our understanding to a deeper level as well as find forms to express realizations through.  The lunar cycle ahead will be ideal for going deeper into whatever research or work you have been working on but until now have not synthesized or comprehended fully.

Amazingly Mercury will still be united with Uranus and in trine with Saturn at the Full Moon in Scorpio that follows the New Moon on May 10, the vital difference being at the upcoming Full Moon we will be experiencing a visible Morning Star Mercury that is also direct.  With Mercury currently invisible and applying to its first conjunction with Uranus at the New Moon, it will feel like breakthrough insights are intensifying in our subconscious and on the precipice of erupting into conscious awareness.  By the time we reach the upcoming Scorpio Full Moon on May 10 we will have a much stronger grasp on the information and events entering our life in correspondence with Mercury and Uranus.  At the New Moon its important to realize you won’t have all the answers and you be gaining a more solid understanding of new developments in the weeks ahead.

Memory and how we work with memory, including the stories we create and tell about our lives, is always important during Mercury retrograde but even more so considering the long union of Mercury and Uranus we will experience in the weeks ahead.  Uranus transits can coincide with unexpected change that can feel shockingly difficult, yet the shattering impact of Uranus also brings liberation from past dynamics.  The union of Mercury retrograde with Uranus brings an invitation to release attachment to old memories and stories we have been telling ourselves that have been limiting us.  Mercury will be able to support meditation, ritual, ceremony or other means to alter our relationship to the memories we now realize have been getting in the way of receiving joy and love and embodying authentic presence.

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Doors for the Guggenheim’s music room (1925-6) designed by Seraphin Soudbinine

A few days before the New Moon on April 23 we experienced a balsamic crescent Moon in Pisces able to be seen before sunrise close to Venus rising as a Morning Star.  This was the first visible union between a waning crescent Moon and Venus in the predawn sky in the current synodic cycle, a hallmark of the Morning Star phase of Venus in which she aligns with a waning Moon each lunar month.  From our experiences of April with Venus slowly moving back and forth through Pisces we can distill what we have learned into the seed we plant to nurture in the soil of the Taurus New Moon.  There is an openness and vulnerability able to be accessed that renounces over attachment to control while embracing the sensual centeredness of Taurus.

Venus in Pisces ruling the New Moon is also in a harmonious sextile with Ceres at the end of Taurus, providing another symbol of drawing from within to manifest greater abundance and sensuousness in the world.  In the days following the New Moon both Venus and Ceres will ingress into new signs while remaining in sextile, with Venus entering Aries and Ceres entering Gemini.  Venus in Aries will incite a quicker tempo in the lunar cycle ahead, especially once Mercury stations and begins moving direct again in Aries.   Venus will no longer be in a sign based square with Saturn, but while she may feel less encumbered by the scythe of Saturn there will be a strong karmic feel to her moving back across the degrees of Aries that she previously moved retrograde across.  The lunar cycle ahead will be the third time that Venus has moved across the first face of Aries, and so we will gain greater greater realization during the next few weeks regarding the changes brought about by the Venus retrograde of 2017.

In addition, Mars in Gemini is separating from a square with the lunar nodes at the New Moon, calling attention to this being the final lunation we will experience with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  At the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio the North Node of the Moon will have entered Leo and the South Node of the Moon will have entered Aquarius.  Mars moves fast in Gemini and can take on multiple tasks simultaneously, yet its square to the lunar nodes suggests the necessity of taking a moment to center within and listen to inner guidance before impulsively launching into reactionary action.   The shift of the lunar nodes into Leo and Aquarius is one of the major events of 2017, and so with the nodes still in Pisces and Virgo at the New Moon we have the opportunity to integrate all of the lessons we have been learning with their transit since November 2015.  The many changes that have coincided with the transitory nature of the nodes being in mutable signs are now coming to a close, and we will be embarking on a new journey with the North Node in Leo that will help feed greater creative actualization and centered presence.

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5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Taurus associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Many interpret this card in association with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources, or experiencing bodily or material hardship.  Yet the poverty stricken figures in front of the stained glass window of a cathedral suggest that resources can be found in even the most dire of circumstances, as churches and other spiritual communities tend to be the place that those in need have available to turn to for charitable giving of sustenance.  Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile earth nature of the sign of the Bull.  Mercury makes the connections we need for our livelihood, and in the first decan of Taurus we discover our capacity not only to gain enough resources for our own survival and greater prosperity, but to also contribute to communities that can offer assistance to those in greater need.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first face of Taurus, noting the “face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land,” adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated” (p. 69). Coppock noted that though the first decan of Taurus “reveals the ways one may work with whatever one has to gain more,” that the images and interpretations associated with the Five of Pentacles card bring up the shadow of fear that we will not have enough money, food, or material resources and that bleak times may arise if we disengage from our constant planning around cultivating resources.   Coppock concluded that the threat of not having enough in the future inspires us to work hard and plan for how to gain enough resources not only to get by in the moment but to be able to save for later times we may be in need.

Coppock also added that the ancient and fragmentary Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Charis to the first decan of Taurus, linking the Charites of mythology to the charity we can find in the image of the Five of Pentacles card as well as the meaning of the first face of Taurus.   The Charites are the same as the three Graces you are most likely familiar with, commonly known as Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, though various traditions have additional names as well as numbers for these charming and fertile goddesses.  Coppock used the Charites in 36 Faces to give warning that overly focusing on the pleasures of mirth associated with these creatively fecund deities may cause us to become distracted from the work and planning we need to engage in to secure needed resources, suggesting we must strike a balance between the toil of the plow and the pleasures of the Graces.

Yet striking a balance between work and pleasure does not require going back and forth between a polarity of opposites, and the fact that the exaltation degree of the Moon also occurs in the first face of Taurus close to the degree of the Taurus New Moon suggests there is a way to find good cheer and pleasure in the effort we put into not only acquiring our own needed resources but also enabling us to offer assistance to those in need of help.  The Charites also have association with the underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries, bringing further connection to the psychopomp Mercury being the ruler of this fertile face.  Since the current Mercury retrograde began in the first face of Taurus, as well as Mercury’s regenerating conjunction with our Sun, there will be wisdom found in embracing pleasures, allowing ourselves to receive joy, and engaging with the spirits of abundance who lay at the root of creative action that brings both happiness as well as material stability.  The wisdom found within our bodies flows more freely with the quicksilver of Mercury when feeling the pleasures and good cheer of the Charites.

References

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

Venus & Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Venus receives Mercury Retrograde

Venus conjoins Mercury Retrograde in her own home of Taurus this Friday, May 13.  Venus unifies, harmonizes, brings us pleasure, and in the earthy, body-centered lair of Taurus, she wants to delight our bodily forms and the deepest recesses of our sensory, sensual natures.  Mercury in astrology can destabilize, contest, and create volatility in contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, yet Mercury is also the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our bodily, material realm.  With Mercury retrograde in Taurus, with Mercury recently having passed through a purifying conjunction with the Sun while conjoining its own heliocentric South Node, Mercury is pulling us deeply within our senses to the inner source of our thoughts and discernment.  If you are lucky enough to be in love in this moment, it is an ideal transit of pure pleasure.  If you are alone or dissatisfied in relationship, this is an ideal time for Self nurturance and getting in touch with your deepest feelings and needs in relationship.  By embracing being alone and out of relationship at this time, the inner process that is supported by this transit will help magnetize a deeply resonant relationship that aligns with the uncovered inner values and needs when the time is right.

This lovely transit of Mercury retrograde uniting with Venus in Taurus is embellished by it being in an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and also in range of a trine to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury during its retrograde plays the role of the Herald to Hades, and so aligned with Venus will help release resistance to whatever cathartic changes Pluto in Capricorn has been calling for in our life that we have not yet answered with full presence.  In the next few days there is a lovely opportunity to accept the underlying changes in our life that in the past has created stress, worry, and grief, and instead allow ourselves to be present and open to what has been created for us in this moment out of the destruction.

remedios varo and husband

Remedios Varo

These lovely aspects surrounding Mercury uniting with Venus in her home are happening as the Moon waxes in light, en route to an electrifyingly dynamic Full Moon next week that is aligned with the heart of the current Mars Retrograde.  Furthermore, all of this is happening within the tightening of the tension involving Saturn in Sagittarius in square to the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  With Mercury moving slowly backward in its retrograde, it will be lingering longer than normal in its embrace of Venus, and lucky Hermes is getting to enjoy the experience in the home of Venus.  Although many elements of our lives may feel scary with the degree of changes signified by the surrounding astrological transits, the commingling of Venus and Mercury now can facilitate inner access to the authentic change and growth occurring for you, rather than the collective fears of change circulating in the atmosphere now.

The ideal situation, as far as we can see, is when the ego, with a certain plasticity, obeys the central regulation of the psyche. But when it hardens and becomes autonomous, acting according to its own reasons, then there is often a neurotic constellation.  This happens not only to individuals, but also collectively, which is why we speak of collective neuroses and psychoses.  Whole groups of mankind can drift into that split situation and deviate from their basic instinctual patterns, and then disaster is close.  That is why in hero stories there is nearly always an exposition of a terrible situation . . . Whatever this terrible story is, the hero has the task of putting it right . . .

The hero, therefore, is the restorer of a healthy, conscious situation. He is the one ego that restores us to healthy, normal functioning in a situation in which all the egos of that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive, basic totality pattern.  It can therefore be said that the hero is an archetypal figure which presents a model of an ego functioning in accord with the Self.

—  Marie-Louise von Franz

References

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1996). The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised edition. Shambhala.

film clip from the film Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Hathor cow woman

Hathor Menat (1390–1352 B.C. Egypt)

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Mercury will retrograde in Taurus, the home of Venus, from April 28 through May 22.  Mercury when moving direct through the zodiac is known as a swiftly moving planet of mental connections, discernment, and expression.  Yet the protean nature of Mercury is revealed in its variable speed, as it slows down considerably during its thrice yearly retrograde phase and correspondingly shifts our perceptual perspicacity.  Despite misconceptions in popular culture, Mercury Retrograde is not a time to fear but is instead an essential aspect of Mercury and how we interpret and convey meaning from our experience in life.  During Mercury Retrograde we experience a purifying regeneration of Mercury, and as this particular retrograde occurs in Taurus, we will be immersing ourselves within our bodily realm, discovering how our senses and instincts create our reality. A wealth of supportive aspects to Mercury arise during this retrograde by Venus, Jupiter, Pluto, Chiron, and the lunar nodes, suggesting a soulful windfall can be excavated when exploring the darkness of inner recesses.

Our perception that Mercury is retrograde is rooted in the phenomenon of Mercury’s orbit around our Sun, as Mercury Retrograde always occurs when Mercury passes between our Earth and our Sun in its orbit.  This particular retrograde is very special, as the pièce de résistance is a Mercury transit of the Sun in which Mercury can be seen crossing the fiery face of our Solar Light, as close as Mercury can get to eclipsing the Sun.  As this special inferior conjunction of Mercury conjoins the heliocentric South Node of Mercury, is trine to the transiting North Node of the Moon, and occurs while Jupiter is simultaneously stationing direct in a trine to Mercury and the Sun, the heart of this Mercury Retrograde is fecund with primal potency. One theme will be an uncovering of the inner values that bring us the most alive in our sensual world and to which we can devote ourselves in order to not merely survive but thrive.

While recalibration of inner values will be a theme on a personal level, in the collective with Mercury retrograde in Taurus and forming trines with both Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo, Mercury’s lordship of commerce and mercantile systems will result in significant economic contracts and mergers between various key economic players enacted.  Moreover, significant revelations will come to the forefront regarding economic deals and relationships that had previously been hidden. The impact of collective economic forces on one’s personal life will depend on where one finds themselves within the rising and falling of collective fortune, but this Mercury retrograde nonetheless opens a space to reappraise your flow and organization of finances and the returns you have been receiving on your investment of energy.

On a personal level, the slow steady pace of Mercury through Taurus is opportune for patiently grounding awareness in your surrounding material manifestations and their connection with the values you have been prioritizing your life around.  It will be most fruitful to ask yourself the tough questions and be brutally honest with yourself about the values you have actually been focused upon rather than the values you enjoy talking about or pretending you live from.  Taurus is about survival, and through this retrograde Mercury can guide us into revealing what we have thought we needed for survival versus what is truly nourishing for ourselves on a soul level and requires a commitment to living from with integrity.

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Hermes Ingenui (Roman copy of 5th Century B.C. Greek)

Men have made me variously keeper of the dawn, of twilight and the wind, have called me Argeiphantes, he who makes clear the sky, and Logios, the sweet-tongued one, have dubbed me trickster, the patron of gamblers and all manner of mountebanks, have appointed me the guardian of crossroads, protector of travelers, have conferred on me the grave title Psychopomps, usher of the freed souls of men to Pluto’s netherworld. For I am Hermes, son of old Zeus and Maia the cavewoman.

— John Banville, The Infinities, p. 14

Star of Hermes

Mercury was known as the Star of Hermes to the ancients who developed what we now call Hellenistic Astrology, and the innumerable significations of the mythic Hermes illuminate our understanding of the astrological Mercury:  Winged messenger of the Gods, God of crossroads, boundaries and thresholds, Guide of Souls, Shepherd of flocks, God of commerce and merchants, Prince of thieves, and the friendly trickster who reveals truths through concealing truth at times, offering unexpected fortune and loss.  When Mercury disappears at sunset with a flash of light after stationing retrograde, transitioning from being an Evening Star to becoming invisible under the purifying beams of the Sun, Mercury guides us into a subterranean realm of perception in which he plays the part of a Soul Guide.

Mercury slowly shifting retrograde, symbolically descending into the invisible underworld, marks a threshold into a liminal space of past identities and perceptual patterns altering to open awareness to vital change and a presence in sync with authentically arising inner life.  Though popular culture tells us to avoid buying anything or signing any contracts when Mercury is retrograde, it is in fact possible to initiate significant action that will not only be beneficial but deeply resonate with one’s Soul.  As Mercury retrograde redirects the functions of Mercury from outward projection to becoming inwardly receptive with our body and unconscious, it is vital to be mindful of how your intuition and inner voice is guiding you.  If the sound of a new venture is bringing inner doubt, this is the type of new endeavor to avoid.  If a new venture instead brings a harmonizing vibration that feels naturally fulfilling, if signs of synchronicity point to the new endeavor being a soulful calling, then this is exactly the type of new project or relationship whose initiation will bring a bountiful boon.

26.8.98

Hathor Mirror (1479–1425 B.C. Egypt)

Mirrors: no one who’s tried to solve you
has yet unlocked your true being.
You, openings in time, its course filled
as if with endless sieve holes.

You, perpetual spendthrifts of the empty hall-,
when dusk approaches, deep as woods . . .
And there the chandelier, like a sixteen-pointer,
leaps your unbreathable divide.

Sometimes you are full of painting.
A few seem to have passed straight into you-,
others you shyly sent away.

But the one loveliest woman will remain
before you, -till across into her untouched cheeks
the clear released Narcissus penetrates.

–Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus translated by Edward Snow

Mercury in the home of Venus

With Mercury retrograde in the home of Venus, the mirror of Aphrodite shall reflect our current state of being as well as open a portal to the potential of our Self.  Mercury retrograde periods often bring up the past for resolution, yet can also facilitate a crossing of the threshold that demarcates a new dimension of experience.  Mirroring will illuminate our inner issues most in need of reflection and resolution through the mirror of outer relationships and events, and insight into the illusion we call reality will be revealed.    Going within the etheric field of bodily senses, this Mercury Retrograde in Taurus will metamorphose and reconstruct our inner magnetism that attracts relationships to us, supporting us aligning with more soulfully supportive partners through inner work rather than outer striving.

A day after Mercury stations retrograde, Venus enters her home of Taurus where she stays for the rest of the retrograde and will give strong Venusian support to Mercury.  Hermes in myth is bound to the fertility of nature and sexuality, and similarly as Mercury retrograde pulls us inward into our corporeal senses in the domicile of Venus, desire for sensual pleasures and hedonistic delights of the flesh will arise.  Self-love and making nourishment of optimal well-being in the body through diet, exercise, and luxuriating in the scent of flowery enrapture will be a beneficial balm for whatever worrisome events occur during the Mercury Retrograde.   This Mercury retrograde in the receptive and earthy sign of Venus will viscerally reveal the myriad ways in which we find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties.

When Venus enters Taurus she immediately enters a conjunction with the asteroid Hathor (asteroid #2340), the asteroid that is named for the Lady of Heaven, Lady of Horns, Lady of All.  Hathor is the womb found in the stars, the living, fertile sky that is the source of All. Hathor embodies the triple goddess aspect of mother, lover, and daughter, but is not a goddess fixated on the needs of a partner or sustaining a relationship with an Other.  Venus uniting with Hathor in Taurus as Mercury descends into the underworld at the beginning of its retrograde amplifies the focus on the inner side of Venus that is not outwardly obsessed with relationship, revitalizing our sense of inner needs for joy.  Further fitting for Mercury retrograde, Hathor is a fructifying goddess of rebirth and regeneration, who like Hermes took part in guiding the transition of Souls into the afterlife and here points toward the needs of the Soul gaining greater prominence over the needs of the conscious personality.

Fascinatingly, Mercury stations retrograde while conjoining the asteroid Vesta in Taurus, another significator of devotedly turning focus within rather than being consumed with the needs and expectations of relationship.  Vesta is not virginal in a sexual sense, however, and heralds an opening to sacred sexuality and the reception of spirit in the senses through its union with stationing Mercury.  Nonetheless, since independence and self-reliance outside of partnership is paramount to  Vesta, the conjunction between Vesta with stationing Mercury suggests the inward pull of Hermes will destabilize any co-dependent tendencies occurring in order to help anchor perception into one’s true inner needs and desires.

Mercury also stations while conjoining the blinking, fixed star Algol.  Algol is known as the Head of Medusa and the Head of the Demon, a fixed star associated with the extremities of emotion, whether that be through a voracious sexual union, the velocity of passion poured into a creative outlet, or the intensity of outraged anger.  Again, while this aspect can go along with strong sensual immersion in sexuality, a link with Algol does not signify precedence given to the maintenance of a relationship.  Once again this is a sign of the primal needs of the Self taking precedence, and that the initial focus of this Mercury retrograde is to realign with inner needs outside the expectations of current relationship.

Paint a perfect picture
Bring to life a vision in one’s mind
The beautiful ones
Always smash the picture
Always every time

— Prince, “The Beautiful Ones” from Purple Rain

Though the demonizing of Mercury Retrograde in popular culture can go overboard with projections of negativity, there can be vexing and extremely frustrating experiences with communication and becoming overwhelmed with challenges and setbacks during the backward, trickster movement of Mercury.  With Mercury retrograde in the Fixed sign of Taurus, it is more than likely that we can become quite Bull-headed in our perspective, solidly sustaining a stubborn stance in resistance of changes that threaten our sense of inner security.  Though this Mercury Retrograde never forms a major aspect with the Mars Retrograde concurrently happening, Mercury Retrograde does station retrograde in exact polarity to the degree of Scorpio that Mars will station direct at in the end of June.  Furthermore, when Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus, its ruler Venus is at the end of Aries in the sign of Mars.  The inner fire of Mars Retrograde that burns off the inessential, combined with the Mercury Retrograde absorption into our perceptual core senses, will open stored memories in need of processing that underlie the desires we are consciously working out in the Mars Retrograde.

yaroslav forest

by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me

—e.e. cummings

Memory moves Mercury.  Indeed, Hermes in the myth of his origin enchanted Apollo with a song eulogizing Mnemosyne, Titanesss of Memory and Mother of Muses, played on the lyre he invented from a tortoise shell.  Memories held in the body, the memory of an ideal consummation sustained in the sensual folds of our mind, will rise to awareness in the retrograde rumination of Mercury. Memories allow us to revisit faded fields of passion and sorrow, and though the tactile faculties of our mind can allow the glow of a memory to override full presence in the moment, significant memories in need of processing will make themselves known during the sluggish retrograde of Mercury.  We will not be able to resist certain memories in need of replaying in our minds during this retrograde, but we can do the inner work necessary to transform the possessive side of Taurus that can become overly attached to nostalgia rather than opening to the changes underway.

The Mercurial function turned inward in the instinctual sign of Taurus will facilitate our diverse senses taking predominance in the making of meaning over our rational mind, including those sensitivities labeled psychic for want of a clearer term. Just as Mercury in alchemy conjoins the animating spirit with the earthly body, the prima materia of our full bodily presence will bring nonverbal insight into the world-creating spirit concealed in material forms.  Just as Hermes was born in a cave, just as subterranean caves were the temples of our ancestors where Spirit was received in the flesh, so will we descend to the subconscious place where tomb meets womb and where the death of the past gives rise to a reborn consciousness.

Since Mercury retrograde in Taurus is ruled by the transiting Venus, it is vital to reflect upon the significance that Venus in Taurus will be under the beams of the Sun during the retrograde, getting closer each day to her eventual union with our Solar Light.  Adam Gainsburg in his book The Light of Venus called the phase Venus is in with the Sun during the Mercury Retrograde “Immersion,” stating it is the period in the Heroine’s Journey in which “The Queen of Heaven is pulled away from the world by an inward force, and prepares to rediscover Her divine essence from within.”  As we unearth deeply held memories in the body of our essentiality, we can stop hiding our feelings and shift to a space of directly going after what we want and living from our authentic feelings.  In these ways the Mercury retrograde in the survival-focused sign of Taurus can help build greater self-reliance and resiliency.

Remedios Varo solar music

Musica Solar by Remedies Varo

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

The REBIRTH of Mercury that occurs during its retrograde through Taurus is not your everyday Inferior Conjunction of Mercury, but rather is the legendary Transit of Mercury that only occurs about thirteen times every century.  The Transit of Mercury is similar to Mercury eclipsing our Sun, except Mercury from our perspective is far too small to come anywhere close to the blackening effect the Moon makes upon the Sun during an eclipse.  Just as the Moon has nodes, and the nodes are the zodiac degrees that mark where eclipses occur, so do all of the planets possess nodes.  The Inferior Conjunction of Mercury occurs on 9 May 2016 at 19°25′ Taurus, which is within a degree of the Heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  The last time the Transit of Mercury happened was in November 2006 when it occurred in Scorpio conjoining the North Node of Mercury, and the next time it will occur will be in November 2019 when it will also be conjoining the North Node of Mercury.

There is an interesting aspect to the Heliocentric planetary nodes in which the North Node of Mars and South Node of Mercury are both in Taurus around nineteen degrees.  With Mars retrograde occurring simultaneously, the heart of this particular Mercury Retrograde activates the full arc of the Mercury and Mars archetypes. The North Node ascent for Mars in Taurus points toward self-reliance and centering within one’s essential values, having the patience and fortitude to live from a core place of integrity rather than losing touch with one’s authenticity through external entanglements and desires.  In contrast, the South Node of Mercury being Taurus reveals inner senses, bodily instincts, sensory impressions, and memories as being the source of the Mercury archetype.  There are very supportive aspects surrounding Mercury when it enters the heart of the Sun, as it is in trine to Pluto in Capricorn, in sextile to the South Node of the Moon and Chiron in Pisces, and in trine to the North Node of the Moon and Jupiter in Virgo: open without resistance to what is arising from within and discover what Hermes has left for you.

MercuryCazimiWRIGC1

When Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun it is directly in between the orbit of Earth with the Sun, signifying a magical moment of new conception for Mercurial functions.  Once Mercury gets to be a degree away from the Sun on either side, we arrive at the potent time of cazimi in which the significations of Mercury are fortified in the purifying solar rays.  This is a beautiful time to initiate new growth or simply meditate or attune within, so plan accordingly if possible for May 9.  This particular union of Mercury with the Sun is even more auspicious because Venus in Taurus is applying toward a conjunction with Mercury when it enters the heart of the Sun, and Jupiter is also stationing direct simultaneously in the home of Mercury in range of a trine to Mercury.

Jupiter stationing direct at this time holds a thread with the previous Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn that occurred in January 2016, as Jupiter stationed retrograde at that time.  The Jupiter retrograde from January 8 – May 9, 2016 has brought opportunities to realign with inner, personal truth, and so this magical moment of Mercury will also illuminate our present sense of Jupiter vision and meaning.  In the collective, one omen of this period has been the death of two Mercurial Geniuses of Music and the Muses:  David Bowie and Prince.

man ray plume

Plume (1942) by Man Ray

Mercury Stations Direct

After Mercury begins to slowly retrograde away from its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun, it begins to transition into its Morning Star phase which will commence around the time that Mercury stations direct on 22 May 2016.  In between Mercury’s union with the Sun on May 9 and its stationing direct on May 22, there is a distinctly powerful timeframe around May 12 and May 13 when Venus unites with Mercury retrograde in Taurus while simultaneously forming an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn (with Jupiter and the North Node in Virgo not too far away in Virgo to create a Grand Earth Trine).  This period will be full of important messages to decipher concerning the culminating meaning found within Mercury’s retrograde in the domicile of Venus.

When Mercury arises from the underworld with a flash of light at Dawn, the sibyls of Hermes transmit a message to receive as Mercury switches roles into that of a day-focused herald intent on clarifying goals in the light of the Sun.  With unbelievable synchronicity, Mercury stations direct on the same day that Mars enters the heart of its retrograde cycle, being exactly opposite the Sun.  Furthermore, the day before this eventful stationing day, there will be a Full Moon at the 1-2 degree of Sagittarius that hits immediately after the Sun enters Gemini, the solar home of Mercury.  All together, this means that both the Moon and Mercury are bringing indescribable levels of intensity to the meaning found in the heart of this Mars Retrograde cycle: the lesson to be learned, the message to receive, will be impossible to miss.

The period following Mercury stationing direct, when Mercury gains traction in its rousing rooster role of Morning Star, is full of the type of epic astrological aspects that demarcate defining shifts in the collective narrative.  Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius form an exact last quarter square on May 26, four days after the Winged Messenger stations direct, and this last quarter square also involves Neptune in Pisces forming an opposition to Jupiter as well as a last quarter square with Saturn.  This t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune signifies an extraordinary change in collective consciousness that will be deeply felt on a personal level, and could very well provoke a sense of crisis. However, the larger message found within these aspects is a reorientation to the authentic trajectory your life can take in the next five years and beyond.  As a result, the Mercury Retrograde in Taurus serves as a vital inner recalibration to the massive change happening.

Finally, the Hathor asteroid again surfaces in prominence in the week leading up to Mercury stationing direct, conjoining the retrograde Mercury around May 16 -17, 2016.  Remembering that Hathor entered Taurus just as Mercury stationed retrograde and initially was moving along closely with Venus, it is compelling that Hathor and Mercury get closer together throughout the retrograde and finally make their exchange in the period leading up to the stationing direct.  The synchronicity of the Hathor asteroid weaving herself significantly within this potent Mercury Retrograde delights me more than words can express in this article.  No matter the grief and suffering you may be enduring at the moment in reflection of everything that has not gone the way you have desired, the presence of Hathor with this Mercury retrograde augurs that joy and exuberance can once again be embodied if you align with the movements opened up by the thrice great trickster and Psychopomp, Mercury.

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

–Carl Jung, from The Red Book: Liber Novus

References

Banville, John. (2009). The Infinities. Alfred A. Knopf.

cummings, e.e. (1994). Selected Poems. Liveright.

Gainsburg, Adam. (2012). The Light of Venus.  Soulsign.

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

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

Taurus New Moon

BullPainting

Lascaux Cave painting (15,300 B.C.) with Pleiades above the bull in the center

As we are in a time of intense collective events rife with catastrophe, perhaps it is fitting that on May 17, 2015 we will initiate a new lunar cycle at 27° Taurus conjunct the fixed star Algol, known as both the blinking demon star as well as a symbol of the severed head of Medusa.  Though this fixed star has been dumped on in the past with a lot negative projection from astrological authorities, there has been a post-modern approach to re-interpret Algol through placing this past malefic analysis within the context of the oppression of women and the sacred feminine.  Similarly, the asterism of the Pleiades that this Taurus New Moon is also conjunct has been on the receiving end of negative projection in our astrological past, yet in more recent times has been gaining an empowering and healing reputation.  The conjunction of this New Moon in Taurus with the seven sisters of the Pleiades is an important point of focus, since in the Greek story of these seven stars one of them is the exquisitely beautiful Maia, the mother of Hermes.  The astrological synchronicity with this mythic detail is that on the day after this New Moon, Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini and head backwards in zodiac degree toward the place his mother in myth resides.

Whenever a planet is stationing, it takes on great prominence in our astrological landscape.  Mercury in Gemini is particularly potent at the New Moon because it is at the threshold of the phasis point of being fifteen degrees away from the Sun, a range of zodiac degree that in Hellenistic astrology marked the point at which a planet either disappeared or reappeared in our view of the sky.  Mercury in its current stage is preparing to disappear at sunset to no longer appear as an Evening Star, symbolically descending into the underworld of our psyche, and so altogether this means that Mercury is holding an important message for us to attune to as we set intentions.  Mercury will be retrograde from May 18 – June 11, 2015, so to investigate its impact check the aspects made from 14° to 5° of Gemini in your chart.  As Taurus is known for patient and stable cultivation of growth, keep in mind that since the lunar cycle following this New Moon holds a retrograde phase of Mercury, the unexpected is likely to arise within any carefully made plans we are making.  A fertile period of growth can be initiated with this new lunation, especially with Mercury retrograde in its home sign, but we will need to let go of expectations for a perfectly imagined, idealized outcome.  Whatever surprise setbacks or obstacles come our way, if we draw on the purposeful manifesting capacity of Taurus while being mutable enough to shift our responses in line with coming changes, we can ultimately achieve an outcome that is richer in creative depth than one produced from a smoothly uneventful process.

There is a powerful visioning quality to the upcoming waxing Moon, as Jupiter in Leo will be applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries for the duration of this next lunar cycle that culminates with a Full Moon in Sagittarius at 11°49′ on June 2, 2015.  This Sagittarius Full Moon will be square to Neptune in Pisces, and in addition Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun will all be conjunct in Gemini and square to Neptune.  Jupiter trine Uranus is an aspect to take advantage of while it is still applying, as it can facilitate breaking of new ground in thought, identity, and action.  In combination with Mercury moving through a retrograde phase in square to Neptune, we can access the potential of this next lunation cycle by dropping a need to rationally explain everything, opening ourselves to the magic of being present and listening to the messages found in the symbolic patterns of life surrounding us.  A New Moon in Taurus is a fitting time to ground our intentions in earth, matter, and our physical bodies, avoiding becoming lost in our minds through awareness of the needs of our bodily form.  Whenever you find your mind spinning frantically, take the time to relax with mindful breathing in nature or another calming choice that will help dissolve excess stress.

JWW_Ophelia_1889

Ophelia (1889) by John William Waterhouse

Venus is in charge of this New Moon in Taurus, and as Venus is in the lunar sign of Cancer there is an especially strong connection between this New Moon and Venus.  Venus at this time is in a complicated mess with all of the signs of a crisis, as Venus in Cancer is separating from a square to the Lunar Nodes, and applying to an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries.  In addition, Venus is also in square to the true node of Black Moon Lilith that is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of the New Moon.  Furthermore, while Venus in Cancer is separating from a trine to Neptune in Pisces at the exact time of the New Moon, in the days of the Dark Moon leading up to the New Moon Venus is applying to a square with the lunar nodes as well as its trine to Neptune. This is a complex Venus transit that could be received by us in a myriad of ways depending upon our current consciousness, circumstances, and inner dynamics.

As Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node in Libra, its square in Cancer to the lunar nodes brings to the forefront our underlying emotional needs that we have been repressing or not expressing in our relationships.  In addition, this square could also coincide with increased awareness of the emotional needs of others we are in relationship with that we have either not been listening to or were previously unaware of due to a lack of communication about them. The trine from Neptune to Venus could be received as blissful absorption in the moment, yet could also take us into a Dionysian space of ecstatic feelings toward a vision that then falls into agony over the vision not being presently manifest in our life.  We may want to distract ourselves from our own drama through immersion in the illusions of literature, cinema, or other fictional tales, and this may not entirely be a bad thing as the symbolic awareness we can access through the poetry of a story that serves as a metaphor for our current predicaments can be a form of Dionysian medicine.  There is a potential with the trine from Neptune to Venus for us to open to a larger field of awareness that places our current difficulties in a collective context, thereby giving us greater capacity for acceptance of our present life. Yet with Venus simultaneously activating the lunar nodes and then the square between Pluto and Uranus, most likely we have complicated tensions within us to process.

The polarity point to Venus in Cancer is the sign of Capricorn where Pluto currently resides, an archetype of the Sea-Goat that calls for us to take responsibility for our Venusian feelings and needs.  Yet as one of the significations of Pluto in Capricorn is the hierarchical oppression exhibited by those in positions of dominant control and power, it can be easy at times to become overwhelmed with emotions of being a victim to the inequities of the surrounding power structure.  The need for survival of oppressed groups within society is implied by the Sabian symbol for the Taurus New Moon, “An old Indian woman selling the artifacts of her tribe to passers-by,” which to Dane Rudhyar signified “peaceful adaption to collective needs,” as the woman finds a function within her society through selling products from her traditional culture (p. 86).  Rudhyar analyzed this stage of Taurus as being a point at which “the aging mind of the individual peacefully reintegrates itself into the psychic matrix of his group and culture, in serene ADJUSTMENT to the vital needs of the whole of which he sees himself as a fleeting part” (p. 87).  Instead of merely feeling victimized by societal power structures, this Taurus New Moon can be a beneficial time to acclimatize how we can integrate ourselves into the system in order to create shifts and bring about change through sharing of our unique gifts.

pents07

7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

The Taurus III decan holding the Taurus New Moon is associated with the 7 of Pentacles in tarot, as seen in the image above from the Rider-Waite deck illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here we see a farmer overlooking his growing crops with care and mindful attention to how to facilitate the development of a bountiful harvest.  Yet patience is a necessity, as all of the hard work that has been put into planning, sowing, planting, watering, and other necessary actions will not lead to the manifestation of the desired end for a long period of time.  This image of patient cultivation is particularly apt for this Taurus New Moon that initiates three weeks of Mercury retrograde, and the calm, prudent, and attentive countenance of the farmer in the image will be a helpful presence to cultivate in the face of adversity.

Saturn rules the Taurus III decan, and while it corresponds to the hard work put into the sowing and planting in the image of the 7 of Pentacles above, as well as into the mindful tending of ensuing growth, it also signifies unforeseen turmoil and devastation the farmer can only hope to protect their harvest from.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces created the symbol of “A string of prayer beads” for this decan, as it “represents a confrontation with destructive factors which impede completion,” and the need to enact remediation and “make plans to accommodate the unforeseen” (p. 80 – 81).  While Coppock acknowledged that we must face toil and difficulty at times in this decan out of no fault of our own as well as a consequence of prior choices, he also listed virtues such as “wisdom, patience, humility, and foresight” as being “the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face” (p. 81).  Coppock further declared that the great strength of this decan is its capacity to support us in developing remedies to overcome threats:

Thus, the power to call upon greater power in order to atone for folly or repair damage done is great here. It is a place of humility. The proper image may be painted to petition the call for help amidst catastrophe, whether it be self-caused or not. In cases of hubris, the formula must involve confession- the ritual sacrifice of the folly which was at cause.

While repair and repentance certainly feature prominently, equally important is the power of preparation. Acts, both magical and mundane, to ward off the visits of evil are potent in this face . . . Ultimately this face teaches us how to preserve our works, both from our own folly and the titans’ rages. (p.82)

Taurus is a survivor full of perseverance that can bear the brunt of any destructive storms or setbacks.  In Taurus we can be gracefully drawn into our inner realm to connect with our authentic values, and it is the strength of our inner values that can come to our aid in times of trouble.  Set course for the direction you want your life to take at this Taurus New Moon, with faith that remaining heedful of your inner principles will enable you to sustain focus on your desired end with resilience, no matter what difficulties approach in the coming tides.

TaurusNewMoonWRIGC3

References

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

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

Full Moon of Beltane

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Wind_Blown_Grass_Across_the_Moon_-_Utagawa_Hiroshige_(Ando)

Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon by Hiroshige

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

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

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

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Felix Vallotton (1912) The Blooming Field

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

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

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

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Paul Serusier (1888) Le Talisman

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

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

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

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

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6 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

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

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

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

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

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References

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

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

Union of Isis and Osiris

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

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

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

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

Isis and Osiris in temple of Isis

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

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

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

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

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Isis (2013) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

Taurus Full Moon

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Full Moon engraving by Claude Mellan (1635) Paris

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

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

Reflection

Reflection by Karena Karras

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

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

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

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

sengai autumn moon

Sengai, Autumn Moon

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

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

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

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

TaurusFullMoonWRIGC1

Wesak Full Moon 2014

The Wesak Full Moon occurring on May 14 in Buddhist culture is a celebration of the birth of Buddha, as well as his enlightenment and death.  The connection between Wesak and the Full Moon that occurs when the Sun is in Taurus and the Moon is opposite in Scorpio is evident through the lens of esoteric astrology, a system in which Taurus, Scorpio, and the Moon are all associated with the 4th Ray and the crises of experience and consciousness we experience as a result of being incarnated in a human body.  Alan Oken has taught that the 4th Ray is known as “the art of living,” a ray connected to the “fourth plane of Buddhi” and an “Intuition” developed through hard won growth in the face of conflicts that polarize and contrast our “lower” and “higher” nature (Oken, 120).  Just as in the double tetrahedron image above, also commonly known as a “Star of David,” in the center, in the heart, we can integrate the essence of the contrasting movements of the lower to the higher, and the higher to the lower (similar to how the 4th chakra, the heart chakra, integrates the energy from the three lower and the three higher chakras).  From the soul-centered perspective, this integration also connects to the alignment of the personality with the soul and the wisdom gained to help us discern a path forward to devote ourselves toward.  In the life of the Buddha, we see an individual facing one crisis after another involving his human form and desires, creating new forms of belief and existence to live from only to destroy them in order to create another form anew.  As a result of experiencing many material and spiritual crises, however, Buddha was able to integrate the wisdom he found in his experience in order to reach enlightenment.

Every Full Moon shines it’s light on our path forward and what forms we have created to anchor and express our purpose in the world, as the Sun in astrology is connected to our soul purpose, and the Moon in astrology is connected to our personality, the human form and vehicle of our soul purpose.  Along these lines, during times in which the forms we have created in our lives align harmoniously with our soul purpose, we often experience a blissful sense of euphoria at times of a Full Moon.  In contrast, during times in which the forms we have created and are living from in our daily life do not adequately align with our soul purpose, we dramatically realize what feels wrong about our life, where it seems we have failed or where we feel a loss of meaning because of the discrepancy between our soul purpose and the forms our personality has been living from in our life.

This self-awareness of the degree to which the structures in our life integrate our soul purpose will be intensified at this year’s Wesak Full Moon because Saturn retrograde in Scorpio will be conjunct the Moon and opposite the Sun.  We recently experienced the exact opposition between the Sun in Taurus and Saturn retrograde in Scorpio on May 10, 2014.  Furthermore, the degree of Scorpio that the Full Moon will hold is the same degree of Scorpio at which Saturn stationed retrograde on March 2, 2014.  Thus on one level, this Full Moon is shining light on our experience of the current Saturn retrograde transit through Scorpio, a transit that began at the same time that Mars stationed retrograde.  Since Mars is beginning to station direct right now, and is ruling the Scorpio Full Moon, Mars will be getting a lot of attention at this time.  However, keep in mind that this Full Moon is not only conjunct Saturn but is aligned with the Saturn retrograde transit:  as a result, we will also want to closely examine where 24 to 19 degrees of Scorpio is in our charts, including aspects, and reflect upon how our experiences since March connect to Saturn.  For example, Saturn retrograde in Scorpio has a strong link to themes of soul purpose and personality form and how the limitations of time and space test each.  In the language of esoteric astrology as taught by Alan Oken, Scorpio is a transformational archetype arising out of the destruction of form.  One may reach a state of relative harmony in one’s life, only to experience a movement of change which rocks our equilibrium and introduces a crisis of our attachment to the past, and our calling toward the future.  Through this crisis a destruction of our previous form commences, and out of this death of form we re-construct a new form that aligns with our developing soul purpose.  This transformational aspect of Scorpio was beautifully summarized by Dane Rudhyar in Zodiacal Signatures:

When Mars’ passion becomes conscious it flings itself, eagle-like, to the source of life and light; or else, frightened, it collapses into meaninglessness and ravenous hunger for the products of death. The sun is so low in late autumn that the eagle may tear from it sparks of divinity; but will the wings collapse burnt by the fire, or will they become translucent poems chanted to the rhythm of light? Will they stir men that are but human into seekers of the star that is their apocalyptic self? Scorpio is the eternal question tearing at the core of all roots under autumnal skies. Will it be death; will it be rebirth?

 

FullMoon14May2014WRIGC1

On the one hand, this Taurus – Scorpio Full Moon illuminates our past process leading to now, including our recent experiences with the Cardinal Cross that occurred in April, as Venus is exactly square Pluto and entering into a conjunction with Uranus at the time of the lunation.  On the other hand, this Full Moon also illuminates the future we enter in every moment, including the next big astrological alignment: the Grand Water Trine of  Saturn retrograde in Scorpio, Jupiter in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces.  In addition, one can see above that the true node of Black Moon Lilith is also involved in this Grand Water Trine at the time of the Full Moon, being conjunct Jupiter in Cancer.  Since this Full Moon is conjunct Saturn, and the Sun at this time is opposite Saturn, however, it will be beneficial to integrate those qualities that please Saturn, such as discipline, persistence, diligence, organization, structure, and the creation of necessary, appropriate boundaries.  Although Jupiter and Chiron are culminating into an exact trine at this time, it will be another week or so before Chiron and Jupiter reach exact trines with Saturn.  In totality, these harmonious aspects bring a potential for structured expansion closely aligned with our authentic nature and desires linked to our soul purpose, as long as we choose to heroically face down our fears and courageously open ourselves to the universe enfolding ahead of us, despite past wounding that tends to keep us limited to a comfort zone of the status quo.  It is very possible that fears and anxieties arising at this time are directly connected to our process of realizing our authentic nature; it is only through owning these scars and wounds, unashamedly stepping forward on our path, that we will be able to release ourselves from the grip of our past and open ourselves to the  future to come that is more closely bound to our soul purpose.  Saturn retrograde in Scorpio also does not expect us to quickly overcome these past patterns, but rather has a plodding fixed quality that allows us to take our time as longs as we remain steadfastly dedicated to resurrecting our authentic self from the past wounds that have oppressed our full expression.

At the same time, Mars is stationing direct this week and ruling the Full Moon, saturating the astrological landscape in the process.  The Scorpio theme of destruction of form present at this Full Moon can also be viewed through the connection in tarot Mars has with the XVI Tower arcanum, a card aligned with shattering and complete destruction of matter:

Tower

In the past three and a half months we have traversed a chaotic Mars retrograde transit that took us through the Cardinal Cross alignment, an exact square between Uranus and Pluto, and two eclipses.  At the time of this Full Moon, Mercury moving fast in Gemini will be separating away from an exact trine with the red planet, an aspect that in combination with the Scorpio Full Moon can help us reflect upon and integrate our experiences since the beginning of March that have correlated with the Mars retrograde phase.  In connection with the XVI Tower arcanum image above, dramatic change will occur in line with Mars stationing direct, change that could feel unsettling or devastating; yet, in the process a huge amount of energy will be made available, energy released through the destruction of past form. Open yourself at this Full Moon to sense what changes are underway in your life, and where you need to take action.  In this next week following the Full Moon, as Mars finally stations direct on May 19, you will want to be prepared to shift from a mode of inner reflection about what actions to take into an active process of making decisive choices to move forward on the path that calls to you.

Mars is also continuing its intense dance with Venus in mutual reception, as Mars is in the sign of Venus and Venus is in the sign of Mars, moving away from an exact opposition a few days ago.  Venus and Mars at their opposition point, with Mars stationing direct in Libra, and Venus moving direct in Aries, emphasizes listening in the evolutionary astrology paradigm taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green.  At this time we are called to strike a balance between focusing on the willful assertion of our unique values and vision (Venus in Aries) and listening to the needs and values of others we are in relationship with (Mars in Libra).  In this process, we will also need to utilize Saturn in Scorpio to help us create boundaries in our relationships that protect our authentic nature from manipulation from others, while interacting and at times merging resources with others in the world around us.  Through the recent waxing gibbous phase between Venus and Mars retrograde, we have had the opportunity to utilize the retrograde Mars energy to inwardly adjust how our soul relates to itself and others.  We can now reap the benefit of this inward adjustment by learning to relate to others as an equal in relationship, learning how to give, and to receive what the soul needs through the giving.  Through this process, we will likewise be learning how to integrate our specific soul values, needs, and desires into society and our surrounding social reality.  We will benefit from cultivating an ability to truly listen to others, because as a result we will be able to give to others what they truly need, instead of what we think that they need.

Yet, with Venus in Aries this means maintaining boundaries to support our own well-being and sustain connection with our unique self, in order to not lose touch with our authenticity through our interactions with others.  It is important to remember that truly listening to others, learning to give what others truly need, does not make us a push-over but rather allows us to create truly mutually beneficial relationships with others.  Venus in Aries can get upset when it does not get its way, while Mars in Libra is more likely to be offensively charming in order to ensure that it gets its way.  In contrast, we can use the polarity between these personal planets to destroy our attachment to getting our way or arguing to come out on top, instead standing strong in our self while truly listening to the values and views of others without feeling competitive or threatened if their views are not only different from ours, but critical of our own views. Instead, through listening to others we may hear a new perspective to help shift our own perspective into greater alignment with our soul purpose, a missing piece to not only our own puzzle, but a universal one.

Adding to the intensity at the time of the Full Moon, Venus will be conjunct Uranus in Aries.   The Sun being in Taurus, the sign of Venus, at the time of the Full Moon further adds to her influence at this time.   In Zodiacal Signatures, Dane Rudhyar gave an illuminating description of Taurus through focusing on Venus:

Out of the cubic Stone of matter, differentiated into a myriad of crystalline structures, the flowing curves of living bodies take form.  They open themselves to the power of light, carrying within its compassionate song the promise of individual existence.  Venus, builder of magnetic fields that capture the electrical impulses of the creative spirit, brings to a focus the promise of wholeness, of fulfillment in love – a love that forever sings of the overcoming of pain and crucifixion.

The “cross” of this “crucifixion” symbolically connects not only to the recent Cardinal Cross alignment in astrology, but also to the 4th Ray nature of the Taurus – Scorpio polarity of the current Full Moon.  Any cross has a meeting in the center, the core, or the heart: and so, no matter how many obstacles appear to be surrounding us in our environment, the electrifying union of Venus and Uranus in Aries at this time has the power to burn through obstructions in our outer and inner experience.  Out of the flames of this destruction, a more fully realized sense of self may emerge.

A strong embodiment to me of Taurus solar energy combined with a Venus in Aries marked by Uranus is the artist Kim Gordon (pictured below).  Through her work in past avant garde bands like Sonic Youth and current ones like Body/Head, Kim remained dedicated to her own vision of art and music with the personal integrity to take strong stands against the status quo and in support of feminism and segments of society lacking an equal voice, creating a unique form of music that deconstructed past patterns of rock and roll. By staying dedicated to her personal values, across time Kim was able to integrate her work deeper into mainstream society and influence multitudes of youth across international boundaries and borders.  Indeed, at the age of sixty-one, Kim recently rocked at least as hard as any much younger rock star when she fronted the remaining members of Nirvana at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, singing and screaming the song, “Aneurysm” (you can find this online).

Kim Gordon - Taurus

Kim Gordon, born April 28, 1953

In this week of the Full Moon, Venus in Aries is incredibly active and vital to pay attention to:

  • May 11, 2014:  Venus in Aries opposite Mars retrograde in Libra
  • May 14, 2014:  Venus in Aries square Pluto retrograde in Capricorn
  • May 15, 2014:  Venus in Aries conjunct Uranus in Aries
    • Venus in Aries sextile Mercury in Gemini
  • May 17, 2014:  Venus in Aries opposite Vesta retrograde in Libra
  • May 18, 2014:  Venus in Aries square Jupiter in Cancer
  • May 19, 2014:  Venus in Aries opposite Ceres retrograde in Libra
  • May 22, 2014:  Venus in Aries conjunct Eris in Aries
  • May 26, 2014:  Venus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries

Look for the movement from the location of 10 degrees to 28 degrees of Aries in your chart to see where Venus is transiting during the above series of aspects.  Working with Venus at this time toward the issues connecting with the house she is moving across in your chart can result in tremendous growth for you in the associated areas of your life.  Indeed, as Venus moves away from her opposition with Mars, she makes the most powerful aspects to a series of pivotal planets, asteroids, and outer celestial bodies in roughly a week, to be followed a few days later by a union with the South Node of the Moon.  Venus is taking us into the heart of the matter, our core patterns and issues, and in Aries she will be one demanding goddess.  Venus wants nothing less of us than to face our fears, release our attachment to vengeance and past betrayals, and to boldly step forward into a Grand Water Trine as Mars finally stations direct to move forward again.

In addition to being the Wesak Full Moon, this time is also a Lunar Beltane, the Full Moon of the Full Season (Spring or Autumn, depending upon your hemisphere).  This traditional pagan holiday connects with the past pagan holiday of Candlemas on January 31, when Venus stationed direct conjunct Pluto. The exact beginning of the current Venus and Pluto cycle began in November 2013, but the New Moon that occurred on Candlemas with them closely conjunct after a long Venus retrograde cycle is an important moment in time to return to in reflection now.  What has transpired since then?  At the time of this Full Moon we have finally reached the first quarter square aspect between Venus and Pluto, all the more electric and shocking to our system with a conjunction between Venus and Uranus.  No matter what obstacles appear to be in our way at this time, know that this is not a time to back down in fear but instead to live in passion from our heart, in alignment with our authenticity.  If we are on our path, and truly listening to others in our environment, no doubt we can also create some new alliances and friendships at this time to help propel us further into our soul purpose.

The rising crescendo of the impending Full Moon, the feeling of expansion and contraction that correlates with a Venus – Uranus union in square to Pluto, with Jupiter in trine to Saturn, is found in my opinion in this song by Sonic Youth sung by Kim Gordon:

Taking it all to heart. Feel it in your bones. Listen with your heart. Feel it in your soul.  Know your truth. Walk your truth.

Next week as Venus aligns first with Eris and then the South Node of the Moon in Aries, we will experience an exact disseminating trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio.  As a result, at this time we are entering a Grand Water Trine involving Jupiter, Saturn, and Chiron, and so to get the most out of this we want to be on our path and focused on the beloved desires of our soul.  Keep in mind that a Grand Water Trine can cause emotional swirling – this can be like a blissful, adventurous float down a river, a lazy day getting burned by the sun lake-side, or more like the experience of a tumultuous typhoon.  No doubt there will be stress and sources of potential fear emerging around us, given the nature of recent astrological and world events. Yet if we can focus on what we truly want to manifest, what strikes us to the core of our soul and being, we could end up in the arms of our true beloved sooner than we may realize.

then-said-the-king-in-himself-1948

Marc Chagall (1948) Then said the King in himself

References

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

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1976). Zodiacal Signatures. Stellar Energy Exchange.

Taurus and Incarnation

scenes from Buddha's life

Taurus and Being Human in Form

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

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

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

MoreauEuropa_and_the_Bull

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Mark Epstein, p. 119-121

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

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

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

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

True perfection seems imperfect,

yet it is perfectly itself.

True fullness seems empty,

yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.

True wisdom seems foolish.

True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.

She shapes events as they come.

She steps out of the way

and lets the Tao speak for itself.

bull in lascaux cave

Current Transits in Taurus & Scorpio

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

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

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

–Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, p. 380

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 202

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

mahakala

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

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

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

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

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

Scorpio 8:  A calm lake bathed in moonlight

Keynote:  A quiet openness to higher inspiration

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

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 196

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

Act without doing;

work without effort.

Think of the small as large

and the few as many.

Confront the difficult

while it is still easy;

accomplish the great task

by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;

thus she achieves greatness.

When she runs into a difficulty,

she stops and gives herself to it.

She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;

thus problems are no problem for her.

Buddhist_Vajravarahi_Yantra

Harmony through Conflict

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

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

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

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

Hathor as a cow, from the papyrus of Ani

References

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

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

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

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

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

Passion of Juno, Intensity of Scorpio

While the lunar nodes shifting into Scorpio and Taurus, Saturn culminating its journey through Libra, and the square between Capricorn Pluto and Aries Uranus has been drawing a lot of attention, an archetypal energy that has drawn mine is Juno.  When the north node of the moon shifted into Scorpio around September 1, 2012 it immediately became conjunct with the asteroid Juno, which was around 26 degrees of Scorpio at the time.  It is clear Scorpio is demanding attention, with Mars finishing a full pass through Scorpio and Mercury and Saturn entering Scorpio today.  As Saturn recently reached the final degrees of it’s journey through Libra, however, it brought added intensity to the karma we have been working out in our relationships over the past two and a half years since Saturn entered Libra in 2009.  When a karmic planet like Saturn reaches the final degrees of it’s journey through a sign, it often reflects us having to culminate our processing of the sign’s archetypal issues in preparation for the planet’s shift into the following sign.  For example, a friend of mine with an early degree Libra Saturn recently told me their Saturn return became much more intense this past Summer as Saturn began to travel through its final pass in Libra. While the North Node in Scorpio and Saturn in Scorpio will have to do with themes beyond the realm of relationships,  intimate partnerships are nonetheless an important aspect of Scorpio and the significance of Juno archetypal lessons will be important to face in the time period we are entering now.

Juno is the Roman name for the Greek Goddess Hera:  traditionally we know many cultural stories depicting Hera as the jealous wife of Zeus, becoming enraged and jealous over his many amorous affairs and romantic indiscretions.  However, the Goddess Hera is an ancient one, and a very powerful one at that: she is in fact the Great Goddess of the Matriarchal times that the Patriarchy of Zeus supplanted.  And just as the Patriarchy ultimately denigrated the Matriarchy, so has the depiction of Hera made her seem as jealous person who cannot control her emotions more so than an all powerful and knowing Goddess.

Indeed, in her book Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George describes Juno as “exhibiting strong rulership associations with Libra and Scorpio” and that the semisextile aspect between the two signs “implies friction in attempting to join and utilize their different resources” and reflects the mythic Juno’s difficulty in finding fulfillment in her relationship with Jupiter (p.157).  George describes Juno as desiring to “transcend personal identity through committed relationship” which connects her strongly with the archetype of Scorpio (p. 158).  As Saturn shifts from Libra to Scorpio, we will experience our relationship issues on a deeper level.  While Libra can be about discovering a greater balance between meeting our own needs and meeting the true needs of our partners in relationship, Scorpio can be more about the transformation we can experience with our deepest sexual connections, as well as the merging we can experience in other powerful relationships we experience such as with a teacher or a working partner.  Embracing Scorpio energy and connection full-on can be scary at times for our personality ego, because in our deepest merging, especially in our sexual union with our lover, we can transcend or ego personality and merge into a new entity through our union.  This is the “destructive” aspect of sex described by the pschoanalyst Sabina Spielrein (famous for being not only one of the first female psychoanalysts but also the former patient of Carl Jung who became his lover in an extramarital affair) in her famous paper “Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being” in which she argued that the sex drive contains instincts for both destruction and transformation, as lovers can experience a death of their own individual egos through their sexual transformation into a merged entity together.

On one hand, Juno represents our desire for the fidelity and commitment in romantic relationship that can lead to the deepest tantric and magical sexual merging, as well as our ability to truly collaborate and combine our energies with other types of significant relationships in our life.  However, many of us carry a wound from our collective unconscious of Matriarchal culture becoming invaded and oppressed by the Patriarchy:  just as the myth of Juno describes her fury and jealousy over the inability of Jupiter to be faithful and fulfill her deep relationship needs, so can the Juno archetype be expressed in a more distorted manner stemming from us projecting relationship needs onto a partner that we could instead nurture from within.  Correspondingly, Demetra George described the Juno archetype in Asteroid Goddesses as encompassing such relational issues as (1) fear of abandonment, (2) fear of betrayal, (3) fear of sexuality, (4) the giving away of power, (5) subtle manipulation, and (6) projection and repression (p. 161-163).

Similarly, we give our own power away through our own emotional insecurities in relationships, our fears of abandonment that can be tied back to abandonment issues with our own parents or other developmental figures, our crazed madness at times when our lover decides to love another instead of ourselves, particularly when there is deceit used to cover it up.  However, in all of these instances in which we lose control, we are losing connection that we have a Goddess within ourselves capable of fulfilling our own emotional nurturing. We are the Goddess inside of ourselves, and she does not need to stoop to the insecure and enraged antics the Goddess of patriarchal myths enacts.  When the Scorpio archetype is in play, our fears of abandonment as well as our fears of deeply merging and losing ourselves in another can lead us to grasp at controlling situations or people, or attempting to gain control through vengeful action.  Yet when we can burn these fears and insecurities in the flames of the Phoenix, through going within and connecting with our core, we can arise as a powerful being who is above such displays and knows they deserve to receive the same quality of love as they are giving.  If we instead focus on our own responsibility in our relational dynamic, focus on our ability to give, receive, and love, ultimately we will gain the ability to attract the same quality of love vibration in return.  Instead of looking to our partner to fulfill our needs through their success in the world, or through their attention we are yearning to bask in, we can look within ourselves and instead radiate our true magnetic self into the world, and in this way gain the presence to enter our relationships from a place free of projection, fear, or compulsion.

The Taurus polarity point of Scorpio is interesting to consider now in part because the South Node of the Moon, carrying our collective past life issues, is now in Taurus.  Taurus is also interesting from a herstory perspective as Hera/Juno was the Great Goddess in the Crete region of the Mediterranean during the Age of Taurus.  Describing the Taurus polarity point of Scorpio in Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Vol. 1, Jeff Green states that when people are addressing this  “evolutionary intent” of Scorpio, it means they are learning “how to identify who they essentially are versus the pieces of themselves that are actually other people with whom they have been karmically linked through relationships in this or other lives . . . associated with the osmosis effect of sexuality, and the uniting of themselves with others on an emotional , intellectual, and spiritual level”  (p. 157).  Green goes on  to conclude that when people embrace the Taurus polarity point of Scorpio, it means “they can discover the core of themselves, and will learn how to sustain themselves by identifying their own personal resources . . . becom[ing] emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, physically and sexually self-sufficient . . . [and able] to participate in a committed, growth-oriented relationship in a nondependent, noncompulsive way” (p. 157).  As we all enter this deeper time of relationship issues, I feel that if the relationship we are in is not on the same level as our core needs, it will drift away, perhaps in an affair with another, but truly we will be better off in the end, for there is a deeper and truer love awaiting us. And in the partnerships we are meant to continue to work on and with, we may experience times of separation that allow for a purification and renewal of each partner, ultimately leading to a return to the relationship and a healthier dynamic.

Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses points to the connection between Juno’s ancient embodiment of the triple Goddess through the three life stages of maiden, bride, and widow, and a pattern of relationship dynamics that includes euphoric union, separation after difficulties accumulate, and eventual return to the partnership and renewal of commitment after each partner is able to get into their own space and purify, rejuvenate their being:

Juno cyclically restores her virginity in the bridal bath or sacred spring in preparation for consummation as a bride.  The cycle culminates in an argument and separation with Jupiter, and then Juno retreats into hiding.  Contained within Juno’s separation is the promise of return and reconciliation . . . Juno, therefore, is the astrological significator of commitment, steadfastness, loyalty, devotion, and the willingness to remain in a relationship within the context of separation and return  (p. 164).

George goes on to describe the occult level Juno can reach through her sexual expression within committed relationship as including (1) sex as bliss, (2) sex as magic, (3) sex as rejuvenation, and (4) marriage as alchemical union (p. 166).  As Saturn shifts into Scorpio today it finds itself in a trine aspect with Neptune in Pisces that holds a promise of us being able to manifest our vision of divine Juno love and relationship.  Another interesting omen is that at this same time Juno’s partner Jupiter has stationed retrograde to move back toward an eventual opposition with the asteroid Juno that is now in Sagitarius (this will happen in early November 2012).  Jupiter’s retrograde motion through Gemini at this time reflects an auspicious period to go within and mentally analyze our beliefs and patterns in relationship in order to face our Sagitarius Juno capacity to be able to respond more intuitively to the needs of others in our relationships, free from the relational compulsions and projections that have gotten in the way of us being able to experience happiness and fulfillment in our relationships.  Blessed be.