Libra New Moon: Balancing Uranus

Man_Ray,_1922,_Untitled_Rayograph

Untitled Rayograph (1922) by Man Ray

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on October 19 is opposite Uranus in Aries, creating a polarized atmosphere of torrential winds making the oscillating scales of Lady Justice challenging to bring into balance.  Notably the Libra New Moon reactivates the catalytic opposition between Jupiter and Uranus that has dominated the past year of astrology, since the New Moon is at the same place in zodiac that Jupiter was recently occupying in its opposition to Uranus.  Jupiter has now moved into Scorpio, yet is still less than eight degrees away from an opposition with Uranus.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus is one of the most dramatic in astrology in terms of dismantling dominant paradigms while opening new horizons of awareness, and this past year we have been experiencing an initiation into its peak phase. Considering we are in a time period in which many unexpected events are occurring on a daily basis, it makes sense that Jupiter and Uranus have been one of the biggest influences and that the current New Moon in Libra is reactivating their dynamic.

Libra as the sign of the scales is about the perpetual balancing experienced in all of our relationships in the world.  As a symbol the scales conjure the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of the Soul after death, at which time the heart would ideally be as light as a feather instead of heavy with the gravitas of unresolved issues.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior.  Jupiter is a planet of philosophical understanding that brings knowledge through the experience of natural law and order.  In our modern world, however, the societal conventions and laws created by humanity are often at odds with natural order.  In the constant balancing act of an individual moving through the injustices of this world, the transit of Jupiter opposing Uranus has exacerbated tensions around social justice.

The liberating energy of Jupiter and Uranus that can open mainstream perspectives to new horizons of greater openness could at the same time be said to provoke fear in those afraid of change and the breaking apart of old traditions that have been a source of comfort and security.  Perhaps it is this fear that leads some to become entrenched in political or religious identities that bring a sense of security, even when associated actions and policies promote systematic oppression of other identities.  Uranus can promote liberation from any dynamics infringing upon personal sovereignty, yet the dynamics of independence within the complex networks of power and oppression across our planet leads to aggressive conflicts rather than engaged collaboration.  In personal spheres remember it can be possible to work with Uranus in collaborative ways of shared energy that can bring a sense of empowered presence to all participants.

Saturn in Sagittarius is playing a mediating role between Uranus opposing the New Moon in Libra, similarly to how Saturn was also in a position of mediation between the opposition of Jupiter and Uranus.   Astrologer Charlie Obert wrote an article entitled Astrology, Geometry and Politics in which he reflected that when dealing with an opposition in astrology, it is always beneficial to find the zodiac degrees forming a harmonious trine or sextile to the opposition points, as they are in places capable of mediating the polarizing tension in order to find a third point that can transcend and harmonize the dualistic acrimony of opposing forces.  Today we are experiencing both Saturn and the transiting lunar nodes in places that are forming both trine and sextile aspects to the opposition between Uranus and the New Moon.  While this offers a sign of hope, in order to reap the full benefits Saturn in Sagittarius calls for us to speak and act in complete integrity with our values, being willing to question and reflect wherever we are holding on to viewpoints that feed into systematic oppression.

When Uranus repeatedly becomes triggered by transits as we have been experiencing in recent months, as individuals we become tapped more directly into the collective, underlying field of shared realities.  Libra is the airy home of Venus which supports acting in accordance with the needs of relationships, and its symbol of the scales signifies its constant fluctuating of things becoming unbalanced as part of its balancing act.  The New Moon in Libra will guide us to notice whatever is out of balance between our conscious and unconscious as well as between ourselves and our external relationships.  Uranus brings the capacity to liberate ourselves from old wounds and limitating patterns that separate us from a fully empowered presence.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can grieve our old wounds while ceremonially shedding our old, dead parts in order to access the essential power we hold in the moment to direct into our callings of the future.

man ray nusch eluard

Nusch Eluard by Man Ray

Venus in Libra

The most auspicious aspect of the Libra New Moon is that it is ruled by Venus in her own home.  Venus can deliver the needed resources to make communication and interactions between participants in the Libra New Moon nourished and inspirationally animated.  Libra is the Cardinal, outwardly directed home of Venus where the significations of Venus occur at a swift pace and add impetus to strike out on new endeavors and become more collaborative in community.  Venus at home in the same sign as the New Moon also supports us staying engrossed in difficult yet necessary conversations within all of our relationships, from the personal to the professional to the passing.  The polarized, argumentative collective climate requires engagement in dialogue that brings up uncomfortable feelings without running away from the interaction.  Through listening, disagreements can become clarified and create openings for compromise.

Venus is applying to a sextile with Ceres in Leo at the New Moon, bringing dynamic creative strength to help those who can benefit from our service as well as to protect those suffering or reeling from systematic oppression.  Demetra George wrote that in the natal chart Ceres in Leo “people identify nurturance with self-expression” and “can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity- thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.”  Similarly the transit of Venus harmoniously interacting with Ceres amplifies our ability to further develop expressions of soulful artistry and creation that can bring aesthetic nourishment and to others in need of inspiration and hope.  Venus and Ceres together also can bring practical, pragmatic aid in the form of actual food for nourishment as well as in facilitating networks of community resources.

As the Moon waxes Venus will form a square with Pluto in Capricorn on October 27 as we approach the cross-quarter holy day of Samhain, known as the witches’ new year.  The square between Venus and Pluto can take us even deeper into old wounds, and Venus at home in Libra challenging Pluto in Capricorn is a clear symbol of empowered feminine forces speaking out against patriarchal abuse.  Uranus being triggered by the Libra New Moon combined with the coming square between Venus and Pluto brings the opportunity to shed the parts of us that are haunted from the past and need release.  This doesn’t mean the pain of the past will go away or we will no longer need to grieve, only that we can gain more direct access to our inner power and the capacity to act with greater integrity and stronger boundaries moving forward.  This can be a powerful time for focusing on nurturing and healing from within as well as being a source of support for others in need.

man ray rayograph film reels

by Man Ray

Jupiter & Mercury in Scorpio

The most dramatic recent shift in astrology has been the entrance of Jupiter into Scorpio.  At the time of the Libra New Moon, Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Jupiter as both of them are in the symbolic underworld of being invisible under the beams of the Sun.  Interestingly, Jupiter is moving deeper into darkness and it’s coming union with the Sun, while Mercury is heading toward emergence from the underworld and becoming visible again as an Evening Star.  Mercury’s union with Jupiter takes us more deeply into the meaning Jupiter will be bringing us in the year ahead while traveling through the dark depths of Scorpio.  It’s fitting that both Jupiter and Mercury are in the astrological underworld as they unite in Scorpio, as Jupiter in Scorpio brings the necessity of penetrating into our unconscious depths as well as the deepest levels of reality we can comprehend.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio as it did in the more uplifting sign of Libra, however there is vital purpose and meaning to be found in Jupiter’s journey through the sign of the Scorpion.

The Libra New Moon brings a powerful opportunity to reflect upon the experiences of the past week with Jupiter freshly in Scorpio to gain awareness of shifts we are experiencing in correspondence with Jupiter shifting signs.  The events and storylines of Jupiter’s opposition to Uranus will continue to play out during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio, with Jupiter in Scorpio bringing the capacity to probe into the underlying meaning of our experiences and reach greater integration of the wisdom to be found, as well as shedding what needs to be let go.  Jupiter in Scorpio can signify becoming obsessed with pursuits of passions and fully engrossing ourselves in certain projects or relationships, and so you may already notice your intrinsic desires beginning to center and focus on endeavors to more deeply explore.

As the Moon waxes Mercury will enter into a trine with Neptune on October 24 that will be full of imaginative, creative potential to access.  The trine between Mercury and Neptune also foreshadows the coming trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be one of the biggest influences in the coming year and will open greater access to the full potential to be found with Neptune transiting through Pisces.  In addition, as the Moon waxes toward fullness the Sun will enter Scorpio and bring to end its current cycle with Jupiter on October 26.  Jupiter in the heart of the Sun in Scorpio marks the beginning of a new cycle for Jupiter as well as time to gain an even deeper impression for what Jupiter will have in store for us while in Scorpio.  There can be greater levels of determined faith to access that is rooted in the difficult challenges of our reality rather than being bound to illusions of denial.

swords04

Libra 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

Since Mercury and Jupiter are uniting in Scorpio at the New Moon, it is further interesting that Mercury is also considered a ruler of the third face of Libra in the triplicity rulership scheme.   There is no question we are all living in times of great suffering in which every day is filled with heart breaking current events.  Mercury uniting with Jupiter in Scorpio, within the rest of the Libra New Moon’s amalgam of transits, asks us to realize why we are here and what do we have to contribute toward co-creating a more equitable and just reality for all beings across our planet.  The shift in emphasis toward Scorpio in the coming lunar cycle does not shy away from difficult questions or avoid interactions for fear of having hurt feelings.  We are entering a time period in which to fearlessly enter the world with our gifts to share and our hearts and ears open to others.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can open ourselves to deeper empowerment that can be used to protect and nurture what we hold most dear.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

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

George, Demetra.  (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS Publications, Inc.

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Mercury Retrograde in Taurus & Aries

Fingal_s_Cave,_Island_of_Staffa,_Scotland_by_Thomas_Moran,_1884-5,_High_Museum_of_Art

Fingal’s Cave, Island of Staffa, Scotland (1884) by Thomas Moran

Mercury Retrograde

For one throb of the artery,
While on that old grey stone I sat
Under the old wind-broken tree,
I knew that One is animate,
Mankind inanimate phantasy.
— W.B. Yeats, A Meditation in Time of War

In the cool air of twilight as the Sun descends below the horizon, Mercury begins its journey into the underworld as a retrograde planet.  While changing into the role of a psychopomp as fluidly as vespertine colors transfigure into the darkness of nightfall, Mercury retrograde opens us to a liminal perceptual space which offers guidance in between life transitions and the crossing of thresholds.  Mercury delights in the part of a cunning guide of soul during its retrograde phase, beguiling all with unforeseen twists best handled with intuitive receptivity to direction.  On April 9 Mercury will begin its retrograde within the earthy home of Venus, a twenty four day passage that will take it back into the fiery home of Mars where it will hold lengthy counsel with Uranus.  As Mercury will station retrograde less than a week before the current Venus retrograde ends with Venus stationing direct, there is an incredibly volatile atmosphere at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde which will require constant focus on recalibrating the connection between our perceptions and translation of meaning.

Within the rulebook of astrology, Mercury refuses to be caged in by categorizations of gender or preference for day or night.  However, since Mercury begins its retrograde period as an Evening Star, it finds accord stationing in Taurus since the nocturnal sign of the Bull is both the exaltation of the Moon and the domicile of Venus.  Mercury stationing retrograde in the inwardly receptive sign of Venus will lead us to find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties as we will be drawn into our corporeal senses and instincts.  Fittingly, Hermes in myth is bound to the fertility and life force of nature, a seductive mediator who reveals the spiritual found in the profane and the profane that may be discovered in the spiritual.

Mercury caduceus by Bradley

Mercury caduceus glyph by Bradley Naragon

Hermes was born in a cave, a fitting origin to his destiny as subterranean caves were the temples of our ancestors where Spirit was received in the flesh.  In the instinctual sign of Taurus our Mercurial capacities turn within so that our diverse senses take precedence over rational analysis.  Similar to how Mercury in alchemy conjoins the animating spirit with its earthy body, the full bodily perception available with Mercury in Taurus brings nonverbal insight into the world-creating spirit concealed in material forms.  Along these lines it is fascinating that Taurus is the heliocentric South Node of Mercury, for Mercury does not move at a fast pace in Taurus but rather sustains a slowly churning rhythm grounded into the sensuality of the moment.  The plodding, patient, and thorough movement of Mercury in Taurus also helps bring awareness to practical considerations and focus on developing and nurturing work and relationships toward their full potential.

In popular astrology there are many warnings to not start businesses, sign contracts, make important purchases, initiate relationships, or basically make any major life decisions while Mercury is retrograde.  It has also become common parlance even among those with minimal astrological understanding to not only complain about Mercury being retrograde, but to blame all technological mishaps and communication breakdowns on the phenomenon of Mercury appearing to move backward through our zodiac.  However, Mercury being retrograde is not a cursed anomaly but rather an essential aspect of Mercury, as essential as sunset is to sunrise.  Very successful businesses, contracts, and relationships of all sorts can begin during Mercury retrograde, but it is more important than normal to pay attention to our intuition with regards to the choices we make and the ventures we begin.

During Mercury retrograde the orbit of Mercury comes in between our Earth and our Sun, bringing Mercury as close to us as it ever gets.  In the resulting amplified atmosphere of Mercury, it is vital to maintain keen awareness into the synchronous interplay between sights, sounds, and other senses within our environment.  It is further paramount during Mercury retrograde to pay attention to gut instincts and the symbolic meaning of omens and other oracular messages that cross our path whether from our nightly dreams or daily travels.  Our inner life will need tending especially during the first week of the Mercury retrograde in Taurus, as Mercury will be ruled by a Venus that is also retrograde but in the process of stationing direct.  Since Venus is in her exaltation of Pisces while simultaneously forming a catalytic relationship with Saturn, our sensual perceptions will receive sharp and potent messages and we will need to navigate an inner sea of emotions that can become turbulent at times.

great work le triomphe hermetique

from Alexandre Toussaint de Limojon de Saint-Didier’s Le Triomphe Hermetique (1689)

Mercury rules the first face of Taurus where it stations retrograde, giving Mercury greater natural aptitude to do its work of interpreting and communicating meaning.  The astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that the Mercurial first face of Taurus holds resonance with the thorough and patient planning necessary to develop future harvests.  Mercury is under the full influence of Venus at the beginning of its journey as it is in both the home and the bounds of Venus, with Venus at a standstill in her exaltation of Pisces.  The fact that Mercury initially moves retrograde ruled by Venus retrograde, with Venus forming a conjunction with Chiron and a square with Saturn, cannot be overlooked or downplayed.  It will be necessary during the initial movement of Mercury retrograde to face the truth of our external reality as well as our full interior realm of feelings without denial.  Whatever needs nurturing, adjustment, alteration, or rebalancing will be revealed if we are paying attention, and with the gained awareness we can begin to modify our decision making and development of goals.

Since Mercury is also stationing in the exaltation of the Moon and close to the specific exaltation degree of the Moon, it is compelling that its retrograde begins with a waxing gibbous Moon on its way toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Libra and an especially dynamic Full Moon in Libra the following day.  Not only will the Full Moon at the beginning of Mercury’s underworld journey be conjoining Jupiter, but the Sun will also be united with Uranus while the Full Moon itself forms a challenging square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In short it will be impossible to miss the messages Mercury intends to send at the beginning of its retrograde, as significant illumination will show up in both collective and personal events revealing what was previously hidden or unclear.

As Mercury will move all the way back into Aries where it will eventually station in conjunction with Uranus, the fact Mercury retrograde begins with a Full Moon that connects both the opposition between Uranus and Jupiter as well as the square between Uranus and Pluto is pivotal.  Jupiter at the time of the Mercury retrograde is volatilizing the square between Uranus and Pluto, having recently moved away from an exact opposition with Uranus to form an exact square with Pluto.  As a result it’s not so much that unexpected developments are going to be appearing out of nowhere during the first phase of the Mercury retrograde, more that a fresh perspective can be revealed toward storylines that have been developing over time.  Mercury in its psychopomp role can provide the guidance needed to discern our next step if we are paying attention, helping us find our place within the tumultuous shattering and shifting of collective structures occurring all around the world.

The Mercury retrograde in Taurus also serves as a finale for the transit of the lunar nodes through Pisces and Virgo, with Mercury serving as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon.  Mercury will station in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and when Mercury unites with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde it will also be closely trine to the North Node of the Moon.  After Mercury stations direct on May 3, the true nodes of the Moon will shift into the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and the North Node of the Moon in Leo on May 9.  The lunar nodes have been in Pisces and Virgo since 12 November 2015 (true node calculation), a time period that has lived up to the mutable sign significations of immense change, endings, and transitions.  While its possible that the Mercury retrograde will coincide with circumstances bringing up a review or reflection upon the life changes that have occurred since November 2015, it is also likely that opportunities and boons will present themselves enabling us to integrate final lessons and make new choices resolving our experience with the Virgo North Node.

marlene-seven-roasting-cinnabar

Roasting Cinnabar (2017) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

That Light who’s smile kindles the universe,
That Beauty in which all things work and move,
That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
Which, through the web of being blindly wove
By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
The fire for which all thirst, now beams on me,
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on April 19 or 20, depending upon your location, the moment in which Mercury unites with the Sun at the exact degree of the zodiac.  When Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun, labeled its inferior conjunction by astrological texts, Mercury is aligned with our Earth in between our orbit with the Sun, as close as Mercury ever gets to us.  This moment is experienced as a rebirth of the Mercury archetype within our lives, and at the time of its union with the Sun, Mercury is said to be in its seat of power, like an empowered Hermes taking a turn behind the reigns of our solar chariot.

Venus in Pisces rules the union between Mercury retrograde with our Sun, and significantly at the time of their union Venus will have recently stationed direct and will be applying tightly to her final square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  There is a fascinating relationship between Mercury being cazimi (at the heart of the Sun) and the Venus retrograde of 2017 for the Venus retrograde began with Mercury cazimi in Pisces while direct, meaning that Mercury was on the other side of the Sun from us.  As Venus begins to move direct again as a Morning Star, we once again experience a regeneration of Mercury, this time with Mercury close to us in orbit.  The harmonious relationship between Taurus and Pisces is part of the reason why Venus is considered to be exalted in Pisces, as their relationship supports staying true to one’s inner values while dissolving blockages in support of making the needed alterations to manifest inner visions.

The sabian symbol for the first degree of Taurus where Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs is “A CLEAR MOUNTAIN STREAM” with the keynote of The pure, uncontaminated and spontaneous manifestation of one’s own nature according to Dane Rudhyar.  The union of Mercury and the Sun being ruled by Venus in a tight square with Saturn may make it difficult to picture spontaneous manifestation if you hold certain astrological dogma in mind, however in truth there is no reason that spontaneous authenticity cannot arise in response to the cold necessity of Saturn.  Mercury is being purified within our central light of Spirit fire at the same time Venus in her exaltation degree is calling us to take accountability and integrity into expression of our deepest love.  Within clear boundaries of structure, instead of feeling repressed or hemmed in there can arise an improvisational display of our primal creativity.

Mercury retrograde at the heart of the Sun also occurs during a last quarter Moon in Aquarius on its way toward an eventual New Moon in Taurus, the inner home of Venus, as well as with Mars at the final degree of Taurus.  Thus though Mercury is at the first degree of Taurus and Mars at the last, both are still within the domain of Venus in her exaltation of Pisces.  The powerful Venusian influence upon this moment further amplifies potential to reveal inner desires and values needing to emerge into awareness, with the last quarter lunation helping us dislodge from old preconceptions. In addition, it means that shortly after Mercury unites with the Sun a mutual reception between Mars and Mercury will begin through Mars entering Gemini, the airy yang home of Mercury, and Mercury crossing back into Aries, the fiery yang home of Mars that forms a harmonious sextile with Gemini.  Fittingly, we can still discover Venus in the relationship formed by the signs Mercury and Mars will enter as traditionally in astrology Venus has always stood as the symbol underlying the meaning of the sextile.

Matta Being With

Being With (1946) by Roberto Matta

Mercury stations with Uranus

What constitutes the training of the hand?
I shall tell what constitutes the training of the hand.
One suspects something is wrong with transcribing signs
But the hand transcribes only the signs it has learned.
Then it is sent to the school of blots and scrawls
Till it forgets what is graceful. For even the sign of a butterfly
Is a well with coiled poisonous smoke inside.

Perhaps we should have represented him otherwise
Than in the form of a dove. A fire, yes, but that is beyond us.
For even when it consumes logs on a hearth
We search in it for eyes and hands. Let him then be green,
All blades of calamus, running on footbridges
Over meadows, with a thump of his bare feet. Or in the air
Blowing a birchbark trumpet so strongly that farther down
There tumbles from its blast a crowd of petty officials,
Their uniforms unbuttoned and their women’s combs
Flying like chips when the ax strikes.

Still it’s just too great a responsibility to lure the souls
From where they lived attentive to the idea of the hummingbird, the chair, and the star.
To imprison them within either-or: male sex, female sex,
So that they wake up in the blood of childbirth, crying.

— Czeslaw Milosz, Sentences (1963-1965)

This particular Mercury retrograde is especially jolting, catalytic, and compelling because Mercury will spend an extraordinary length of time in conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  Truly out of the ordinary, Mercury will spend over three weeks from April 20 through May 16 in range of a conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  There will two distinct phases of Mercury uniting with Uranus, the first from April 20 through May 3 when Mercury is retrograde and invisible under the beams of the Sun- during this period Mercury will unite with Uranus on April 28.   Mercury and Uranus combined brings sudden awareness that can synthesize previously fragmented strands of thought and analysis instantaneously in the flash of the moment.  In the process of being purified and regenerated from its recent union with our Sun, Mercury in this period has not taken visible form and similarly our Uranian insights and revelations may feel more unconscious and not clearly seen.

28 April 2017 looks to be a pivotal day not only because of Mercury uniting with Uranus, but also because on the same day Venus will re-enter the sign of Aries.  As Venus re-enters Aries, she moves away from her square with Saturn in Sagittarius at roughly the same time Mercury is forming a trine with Saturn (Mercury retrograde will trine Saturn exactly on April 24).  It is compelling that as we have been dealing with Saturn in square to Venus all month long, we end up with Mercury combining with Uranus in a trine to Saturn.  As a result we can receive revelatory ideas into how to make minor modifications as well as major reformations into the issues dredged up during the time of Saturn in square to Venus.  It could feel like breakthrough insights are intensifying in our subconscious, ready to burst through into our conscious awareness with blazing comprehension.

After Mercury stations direct on May 3 it will emerge in the sky above the moist dew of morning, heralding the return of solar light at sunrise as a Morning Star.  Making the atmosphere more electric, the Moon in Leo will form a fiery triangle in our sky with Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn on May 3 when Mercury stations direct, increasing the likelihood of inspirational insights entering consciousness that address whatever challenges we have been dealing with.  Mercury visible and direct will form another conjunction with Uranus on May 9 and a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius on May 11, with a Full Moon in Scorpio falling in between these aspects on May 10.  Although Mercury is not seen as having essential dignity in the third face of Aries, Mercury emerging direct as a Morning Star does resonate with the diurnal sign of the Ram that is considered to be the exaltation of our Sun.

In addition, as Mercury stations and moves direct as a Morning Star while in Aries it will be in mutual reception with Mars moving forward through Gemini, with Venus co-present at the beginning of Aries.   As Venus retraces her steps through the previous section of Aries that she moved retrograde through in February and March, there will likely be some unexpected developments to contend with.  However, Mercury united with Uranus while in trine to Saturn supports a ready mental faculty that can swiftly respond and initiate new structural supports to help stabilize whatever has become volatile.  Mercury up at the crack of dawn, crowing like a rooster, is in an invigorating position of immense curiosity and exploration that can open us to a flow of creativity in response to life.

It is noteworthy that Mercury’s retrograde phase involves stationing in the Earth element and going back to the Fire element, echoing the retrograde that took us across the threshold of 2017 that went from Capricorn to Sagittarius. In August we will experience another Mercury retrograde that goes from Virgo back into Leo.  This transition from Earth to Fire in some ways is like a foreshadowing of the movement from Fire to Earth we will enter in 2018 as Saturn will move from Sagittarius into Capricorn, and Uranus will move from Aries into Taurus.   Some of the shifting adjustments needing to be found during the current Mercury retrograde will have far reaching impact, especially considering that Mercury ends up stationing direct with Uranus.  Early warning signs of what we need to prepare for in the year ahead may enter our awareness at the same time we are finding it necessary to deal with the pressing issues of the moment.

References

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2006). Selected and Last Poems 1931 -2004. HarperCollins.

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

Yeats, W.B. (1989). The Collected Poems revised second edition. Edited by Richard J. Finneran.  Scribner Paperback Poetry.

New Moon & Uranus in Aries

birth-of-a-galaxy-1969.jpg!Large

Birth of a Galaxy (1969) by Max Ernst

The New Moon on April 7 is aligned with Uranus in Aries and animates the creative field within, inciting feelings and visions of the extraordinary life we wish to manifest.   This is the first lunar cycle to follow the deep dark purging and regeneration of the previous lunar month that began with an incredibly potent Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces and peaked with  a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  One theme of the previous lunar cycle was dredging up old wounds, patterns, attachments, and karmic complexes in need of awareness and decomposition, creating a fertile matrix through which to reveal a brighter, more essential presence.  In contrast to the blackest black sourcing of the previous lunar cycle that held the cosmic seed of potential, this New Moon in Aries gives birth to a new lunar cycle awash in flames of fiery rhapsody.  Though there are fireworks embedded in this Aries New Moon, however, the lunar cycle that commences is filled with chthonic and constrictive forces in the form of both a Mars retrograde and Mercury retrograde that will initiate during the waxing and waning of our lunar sphere.

Uranus is known as a planet that corresponds with the great revolutions of humanity, a maverick transpersonal force correlating to electrifying, liberating, shocking, and traumatic experiences.  Uranus is an awakener, a force that goes beyond human sensitivities of what feels good and nurturing versus what feels scary and troubling.  In the end when working with Uranus, it is a matter of how much you feel alive and able to radiate your being into your surroundings more so than whether or not you have the material comforts and ideal relationships in your life.  It is possible to direct the vivifying, creative matrix of Uranus toward the matter and relationships you want to develop in your life, however, and this New Moon brings an ideal opportunity to set intentions for a radical vision of what can be manifested in life.

Uranus can be a liberating force, yet in the transpersonal, unconscious realm it activates we can also find ourselves acting in scenes and faced with choices that mirror past repetitive patterns.  The liberating potential Uranus brings is the possibility that we have broken free of our old mindset and can now make a radically different and supremely empowering choice.  With this in mind, consider that Uranus in Aries is now three degrees away from its square with Pluto in Capricorn as Pluto is beginning to station retrograde.  This New Moon conjoining Uranus as a result marks a turning point in the square between Uranus and Pluto that has dominated astrology for the past several years, as Uranus will now begin to slowly separate.  While the Pluto and Uranus square is still in orb and still in effect, this New Moon offers the opportunity to embrace the Uranian side of the equation and break free from Plutonic resistance to working toward a liberated vision of what life could be.

elective-affinities

Elective Affinities (1933) by Rene Magritte

Mars is the ruler of this New Moon in Aries, yet the primal yang nature of Mars is full of constriction and constraint since Mars is stationing retrograde in range of a conjunction with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Mars is going to barely move during the upcoming lunar cycle, and by the time the Moon waxes full Mars will be retrograde.  There is no way to fully know at this Aries New Moon what is to come in the upcoming Mars retrograde, and though it may lead to separation or loss from some current desires, this New Moon is a perfect time to gain clarity within the structure and pressure of Saturn for the core desires to forge in the fires of the pending Mars retrograde.

Mars is also in range of a square to Neptune in Pisces, while the Aries New Moon is in square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Furthermore, the Aries New Moon is in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius as Saturn’s retrograde movement is leading it backward toward squares with both Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  Mars direct yet deeply constrained in forward momentum lights an inner fire increasing in magnitude yet lacking a full release.  There is enormous potency felt, an intuition of incredible change on the horizon, yet it is a slowly simmering sense of something cooking and incubating rather than full ripeness ready for birth.

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The Cardinals are Dying (1962) by Max Ernst

Venus is in early Aries, the home of Mars, at the New Moon following a Dark Moon in Aries that occults Venus at the first degree of Aries.  Venus is applying to a first quarter trine with Mars in the blackness of the new lunation, further activating a fiery sense of purposeful potential to initiate.  Venus in Aries is a strong signifier for self-empowerment and interdependent empowerment of those we are in relationship with.  In the morning sky, Venus is still visible at the time of the Aries New Moon but on the brink of making a disappearance under the beams of the Sun.  During the upcoming lunar cycle Venus will become invisible within our solar rays, entering into a purification process that will last until the end of July 2016 when Venus reappears as an Evening Star.  This New Moon is ideal for opening to receive a message concerning expression and embodiment of your Venusian nature.

Mercury is now in Taurus, the home of Venus, where the winged messenger will reside for the next two months.  Mercury is now increasing in light as an Evening Star and in a phase that will facilitate integration of all of the old karmic material stirred up by the past lunar cycle of eclipses.  Mercury in Taurus can assist in developing grounded processes that can cultivate growth from a perspective focused upon long-term rewards rather than immediate gratification, yet Hermes in the home of Venus will also delight in sensual, hedonistic pleasure when given the opportunity.  Mercury will station retrograde at the end of April resulting in Mercury remaining in Taurus through June 12, yet the Evening Star phase occurring now is a unique part of the journey to savor.

In addition to Mercury gracing our sunset as an Evening Star, a magnificent omen appearing as the Sun falls below the horizon is Jupiter rising in the east in the tropical sign of Virgo and the constellation of the Lion.  Jupiter can now be watched in the sky all night long and offers himself as a wishing star for your grandest dreams and ambitions.

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3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

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

The Sun as ruler of the second face of Aries is further strengthened by the Aries New Moon conjoining the exact degree of the Sun’s exaltation, enlivening the solar symbolism of this face and one’s capacity to vigorously initiate purposeful enterprises.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).

With the New Moon conjoining Uranus, as well as in range of a conjunction with the paradigm bursting dwarf planet Eris, the opportunity found within the fiery electric aspects of this New Moon to manifest radical vision should be seized and not taken lightly.  Glory may fade, but in the fearless splendor of striving for our deepest desires despite the perpetual possibility of heartbreak we discover the sacred.  The ability to integrate the transpersonal, liberating, and shocking realm of Uranus into the creation of artistic worlds was described by Virginia Woolf in Moments of Being:

And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer. I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words.  It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together.  Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me.  It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we-  I mean all human beings-  are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art.  Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.  And I see this when I have a shock.

— Virginia Woolf

References

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

Woolf, Virginia. (1976). Moments of Being. Harcourt Brace & Company.

Sagittarius New Moon

Erte vision

Vision (1928) by Erte (Romain de Tirtoff)

New Moon in Sagittarius

The New Moon in Sagittarius on December 11, 2015 follows a catalytic Full Moon in Gemini that culminated along with an exact square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  The polarity from Gemini to Sagittarius is about synthesizing diverse Mercurial explorations into a unified vision befitting our home for Jupiter.  A Sagittarius New Moon is ideal for sensing how the current scene of our life drama fits inside an over arching narrative, and envisioning our next steps and choices with focused clarity free of extraneous distraction.  In the dismantling disorientation of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, we can sense from a deep place of knowing which desires and beliefs shedding from this moment were delusional and which will become integral threads of the chrysalis shaping our new growth.

The ruler of this New Moon is Jupiter in Virgo that is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is in a square aspect with the New Moon.   These aspects are intensified by Chiron in Pisces that is also square to the New Moon and opposite Jupiter. This is a jolt suitable for the sign of the galloping Centaur, as Sagittarius signifies speed of thought and action aimed with precise concentration.  There are many ways these powerful aspects can play out, depending upon your current circumstances.  For one, as we have witnessed a flood of dogmatic tirades, ranting, and raving in current events, many could be swept up in the undertow of ideological clashes and become lost within delusional belief systems they feel give them a sense of security and control over their life.  There could in contrast be a fertile sense of epiphany cloaked in the shocking garb of disillusionment, as sudden realizations reveal a loss of meaning concerning elements of our life while simultaneously reorienting us toward a more vibrant vision of life.  Furthermore, if we have been passionately and diligently attending to a project, course of study, relationship, or dream of one sort or another, we could experience an enlightening breakthrough that will profoundly inform our path in the coming cycle.

odilon redon charger

The Charger (1894) by Odilon Redon

The New Moon in Sagittarius is in a stabilizing aspect with the volatile t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries that has corresponded with global havoc recently.  Mars in Libra is barely separating from Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon, making it one of the most powerful aspects of the lunation, and the New Moon is in range of a sextile with Mars in Libra and a trine with Uranus in Aries.  In addition, there is a trine between the New Moon ruler Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn.  On one level, this stabilizing connection between the New Moon with these volatile transits could correspond with power grabs by both institutions already cemented in power and various forms of protest movements actively working to expose, deconstruct, and dismantle institutional structures perceived to be oppressively abusing power.  The t-square between Mars in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries has incredible intensity that can fuel the crusading side of Sagittarius in diverse manifestations, the unifying principle being a fiery sense of righteousness that instinctively sustains focus on a target.

You may or may not remember the Lunar Eclipse in April 2014 that set off the Cardinal Cross of Mars retrograde in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Cancer- well, Mars in Libra at the time of this Sagittarius New Moon is at the same degree it was then, and Pluto in Capricorn is less than a degree away from its position in April 2014 that was also the time period of the fifth (out of seven total) exact square between Pluto and Uranus.  This link across time further amplifies the cacophonous climate and many issues and events surfacing at that past time are now fully formed and demanding our attention.  For example, in March 2014 Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea when Mars was at the beginning of its retrograde headed toward Pluto and Uranus, and today the residents of Crimea have lost the power of electricity after an attack by saboteurs and there are active efforts attempting to restore power.

Mars may be opposite its favored sign of Aries right now, but it is still Mars and so the last quarter square between Mars and Pluto we experienced this past week was full of conflict in corresponding events. Mars in Libra can be just as aggressive as in any other placement of the red planet, yet in Libra tends to be more strategic, more politically manipulative, and less direct and to the point as it is when in Aries.  Mars being opposite Uranus in Aries means that Mars is receiving the shocking force of Uranus , correlating with great potential for good and evil.  In the evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green, Mars in Libra being set off by both Pluto and Uranus could trigger themes such as learning to actualize our soul intentions through initiating relationships with people from different beliefs, values, and backgrounds, learning to expand our consciousness through understanding our reality in a new way through relationship, learning to understand ourselves in a new way through the perceptions of others in relationship, learning to balance our need for independence versus our need for interaction, learning how to balance giving and receiving on an equal basis in relationship, and learning how to understand the nature of projections we receive from others as well as the nature of the projections we make on others in relationship.

With Jupiter being in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, while ruling a Sagittarius New Moon that is mediating the opposition between Mars in Libra and Uranus in Aries, this can also be a lunar cycle to seize for liberating yourself out of past restrictions in order to make intentions for the creation of the extraordinary life you want to live.  The emphasis on Virgo means it is vital to be present and aware of surrounding details that need tending, while simultaneously weaving each small choice and act into the creation of an envisioned tapestry of meaning.

Pandora by Redon

Pandora (1914) by Odilon Redon

Venus in Scorpio is also highlighted at this New Moon, as it is in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  There is also a resonance between Venus and Mars even though they are not in aspect, as Venus is now in the home of Mars and Mars is in the home of Venus.  It is further fascinating in this context to consider that the asteroid Juno will be at the beginning of Scorpio at the time of the New Moon.  Venus in Scorpio tears the lid off social conventions and niceties to probe deeply into what others keep hidden, exposing the full range of emotions and unconscious forces underlying desires.  Venus in Scorpio will cross boundaries and be willing to engage in the taboo, yet is also an inwardly directed Venus that can be self-contained.    In our inner world at this New Moon, Venus is positioned to help us move away from consensus opinion, mainstream morality, and a need to be liked and gain the approval of others.  Venus in Scorpio can help us uncover new values from within we can then later bring forward into the collective, a bold Venus that can also be unflinching in the face of opposition.

At the time of this Sagittarius New Moon, Venus is connected to Neptune through a trine but is not connected to Saturn in a major aspect.  Meanwhile Saturn is entering into range of a trine with Uranus in Aries that will become one of the most pivotal aspects in the near future, and Saturn is co-present with the New Moon in the sign of Sagittarius.  Venus separating from a trine with Neptune means that in the darkness of this Sagittarius Moon we will have greater visceral access in our emotional and physical bodies to the galactic messages of Neptune that transcend our normal sense of boundaries we associate with Saturn.  As Sagittarius is a visionary sign, this is an opportune intention setting time to go within and listen to the ethereal murmur of Neptune.  Venus in Scorpio in trine to Neptune in Pisces can help us reorient to deep soul desires that will become a fecundating source in the coming cycle.

odilon redon celestial art

The Celestial Art (1894) by Odilon Redon

Mercury will have recently entered Capricorn at the time of the Sagittarius New Moon and will be applying to a sextile with both Neptune in Pisces and Venus in Scorpio.  Mercury is picking up speed and on the cusp of becoming visible again as an Evening Star at the time of the New Moon, and so is auspiciously aligned to support us accessing a significant message connected with the trine between Venus and Neptune.  As Mercury re-emerges at sunset with a message in its Evening Star phase, while also being in the home of Saturn, we are supported in synthesizing meaning out of the past period of time and creating mental structures to organize and more effectively communicate the knowledge gained from recent experiences.  Mercury in Capricorn is inwardly directed and discerning, focused upon initiating new projects and work on the material plane.  In the context of this Sagittarius New Moon, Mercury here is in a beautiful position for not only intention setting but disciplined follow through.

Significantly, on account of the upcoming retrograde Mercury will be in Capricorn from now until February 13, 2015 except for a week in the beginning of January when it stations retrograde at the first degree of Aquarius.  From the traditional perspective that Aquarius is also the home of Saturn, we can extend this period to say that Mercury will be in the home of Saturn from now through the beginning of March 2016.  In the context of the waning square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, this means that Mercury will be operating more so on the side of Saturn and facilitating a restructuring of our mental framework and belief system.  This can be supportive for Mercury, as Mercury can handle the influence of Saturn and direct it toward studious research and determined, persevering effort.  With Mercury spending so long in the home of Saturn, if we can avoid the delusional influence of Neptune and open to the transcendent inspirational influence of Neptune we can experience profound learning and acquisition of knowledge.

As the Sagittarius New Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Cancer that will culminate on December 25, Mercury will form a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then a square to Uranus in Aries, setting off the Pluto and Uranus square again.  At the time of the upcoming Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will be applying to a trine with Jupiter in Virgo and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo. This means that Mercury will be one of the most pivotal players in this upcoming lunar cycle, even more so as it will coincide with Mercury entering into its retrograde shadow zone.  While in the outer world the rhetorical wars and military wars will continue, on inner levels we can experience a throwing off of outworn beliefs and attitudes while simultaneously connecting us with new information and opportunities supporting our evolving growth forward.

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9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Sagittarius, associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, and ruled by the Moon.  The Moon ruling this face can give us a greater degree of agency and focus in the darkness of this Sagittarius New Moon.  When we contemplate the image of the Nine of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck,  we can sense the wounded yet determined stance of a warrior who will defend himself and his territory at all costs.  In this image the bandaged head suggests survival of heated conflict, yet the fierce look in the eyes reveals unwavering resilience.  Tarot author Kelsey Lynore explored this theme regarding the card in expanded terms on her Tarot Nook blog:

Although the Rider-Waite image captures the pain, opposition, and isolation that can sometimes accompany this card, the traditional image is really only one possible manifestation of the energy that the 9 of Wands describes. Another possible manifestation is travel and movement — of the hiking, rock climbing, or pioneering variety. You’ll have nothing left by the end, but you’ll also be in completely new territory. Thus, it’s worth the struggle.

Psychologically, this card resembles an almost-too-long climb. The only danger is that the querent will give up; and giving up is the only way that the querent will not meet their desired destination. The closer one gets, however, the harder it is to continue.

As such, the “battle” that the 9 of Wands indicates is much more a war with the self and its limitations than a war with others. Of course, the limits of the self are revealed by way of brute exterior opposition, but like a distance that must be crossed, it doesn’t necessarily have intent.

— Kelsey Lynore

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, as “the assault of contrary forces” suggested by the bandaged figure in the 9 of Wands card “produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose” (p. 198).  Coppock wrote:

The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will.  There is no hero without a nemesis.

. . . There is a dignity to the alchemical generation of strength which takes place in this decan. Yet while its fruits are virtuous, they are not moral, for naught guarantees that the great strength generated be put to a noble cause.  The figures that result from this process are ruthless, bold and of undivided will, for they have triumphed over their antagonists.  Yet it is important for those who reside within this decan to recognize that not all that is contrary to their will should be met with fierce resistance.  This face represents a formula for strength in the face of opposition, yet many circumstances do not demand, nor reward, such a response.  Those possessed of this decan’s formula must also learn when to yield in order to gain mastery.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, pages 198 and 200

This New Moon in Sagittarius is thus sublime for sustaining concentration no matter what challenges and obstacles are before us, and for cultivating the persistence to continue our desired work without giving up.  Yet in the astrological atmosphere of Saturn in square to Neptune, Mars in opposition to Uranus and in square to Pluto, and a global environment full of volatile conflict, we will not be able to have control over everything and as a result will need to flow with the currents and be open to modifying plans in order to reach our desired destination.  If we have hurt feelings of frustration overwhelming us because of desires seeming too far out of reach, it will be important to find sources of inspiration in our daily struggles and to use the pain as motivation to persevere toward our long-range vision while maintaining integrity.  This is a time in which our blazing heart can help shine a light into a darkness of fear and anxiety that has overcome many.  In the dark fertility of this New Moon, we can vivify hope and faith from within that the cherished desires we are setting intentions for will manifest.

 

References

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

Gemini Full Moon

scott young FirstExperience

First Experience by Scott Young (2015)

Full Moon in Gemini

The Full Moon in Gemini on November 25, 2015 catalyzes the crescendo of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that becomes exact in its intensity on the following day.  There are numerous aspects at the time of this Gemini Full Moon signifying tumultuous change:  the Gemini Moon is square to Neptune and opposite Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun, while Venus in Libra is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Libra is applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, Jupiter in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Chiron and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  With the Moon fully illuminated in the sign of Gemini, our minds will be charged with new connections and thoughts that metamorphose pre-existing beliefs and conceptual frameworks regarding reality.

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, as the two brightest stars of the constellation are named after Castor and Pollux in Greek myth, one of two sets of twins Leda gave birth to after Zeus mated with her as a swan.  One set of twins is male (Castor and Pollux) and one set is female (Helen and Clytemnestra), yet each set also has the unique characteristic of containing one divine twin descended from Zeus (Pollux and Helen), and one mortal twin descended from the human monarch Tyndareus (Castor and Clytemnestra).  Gemini as a result holds a sense of having a divine twin, a twin soulmate other, a soul presence we desire to more fully embody, and a sense of having contrasting selves within.  Gemini is an archetype of dyads through which our minds construct meaning in the creation and commerce of language and abstract systems of thought.  Within this binary, dualistic awareness of Gemini on a deeper level, is also the concept made famous by Carl Jung that what we call God, Goddess, Gods, or Spirit is not only the source of the good and beautiful but also the source of evil.  This leads further to the awareness that within each of us we can find both the potential of our highest good  and love, as well as the potential to create horrible acts from a place of evil or disregard for life.

We can choose to act from love and heart-centeredness.  We can choose to put our passion into collaborative efforts to bridge community and meet the needs of others.  We can choose to explore our depths of darkness within, so as to refrain from projecting upon others what we are in denial about regarding ourselves.  Yet when the global collective erupts in war and conflict, when bombs drop from the sky and terrorists rain bloodshed from the earth, we can feel the paradox of cherishing our life and loved ones while simultaneously falling into waves of disillusionment and depression regarding the senseless stupidity of humanity.  A Full Moon in Gemini unveils the power of our mind to create works of anything imaginable, from arts that inspire love and healing, to arts that inspire fear and wounding.

Mercury is the ruler of the Full Moon far from home in the sign of Sagittarius.  Not only is Mercury estranged in Sagittarius, being opposite it’s domicile of Gemini, it is furthermore combust the Sun and separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Full Moon.  Mercury in Sagittarius is also applying very widely to a square with Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury being in the sign of Jupiter while Jupiter is in the sign of Mercury, means that there is a more unpredictable element at work regarding the way we create meaning out of our experiences.   Mercury’s recent union with Saturn in Sagittarius could have led to disciplined study or other methods of expanding our mental awareness or philosophical understanding, yet it also could have led to further fixation on dogmatic beliefs entrenched in systems of thought that lack grounding in the flux of the moment.   We are at a moment in which a fruitful reorientation of our vision and ability to discover meaning in life could occur, yet to receive this potential wisdom we must be open to releasing our attachment to old conditioned thought forms that are now getting in the way of us opening to the new insight available.

scott young Waitingwithangel

Waiting With Angel by Scott Young (2015)

In addition to the importance Mercury plays with a Full Moon in Gemini, Mercury is also important to consider as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo.    Mercury in Sagittarius  by itself is fast, fiery, philosophical, and can take leaps of thought aligned with belief that may disregard other approaches to the situation.  Yet Mercury in Sagittarius is freshly separating from a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius that could have cooled the heels of the fleet footed messenger enough to slow down thoughts and engage in the Virgo nodal mission of discerning new inner insights and areas of our life that require focus and problem solving.  In the midst of the great destruction occurring in our global collective at this Full Moon, there is enormous potential for new creation infused with integrity.   Our birth process is now occurring in a chaotic climate of sharply shifting astrological tides, yet through Mercurial focus we can make multitudinous connections of meaning that fully flesh out the essence of what we are manifesting.  If it seems the mental energy is too overwhelming, make the space for practices that put you in your body, bring you into nature, and ground your sense of inner rootedness.

As Mercury is also separating from a square with Neptune in Pisces, there is a message being fully illuminated at this lunation concerning the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune that will be dominating the astrological atmosphere in the year ahead.  If we are wiling to shed identification with past attachments now causing disillusionment, we can more readily open to the sources that will be supporting our burgeoning identity.  As things may not be going exactly according to prior plans, it is vital to remain open to possibilities rather than closing oneself off due to frustration or fear.  The shadow side of this aspect can be witnessed in the overabundance of violent rhetoric based in fear and exclusion being proliferated on the world media stage today, as many are communicating from a tight Saturnine grip on dogmatic beliefs in the face of the unknown.  A historical example is that the Salem Witch Trials took place during a transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune in Pisces, and we can notice similar strands of religious persecution and projection going on today that lacks grounding in objective analysis.  In many ways it is now easier than normal to notice the interplay of belief systems and personal expression and reaction in those surrounding you.

It is important to remember that while atrocities based upon belief systems were committed during the Salem Witch Trials, it also ultimately led to massive disillusionment and revelations regarding the ignorance of those in power who are lost in religious illusions.  Similarly, there are countless power structures in conflict today that are mired in ignorant dogmatism, further perpetuated by a corrupt media.  In the end the horrors of this time will be fueling a mass break down and reorientation of belief around the world, hopefully in the direction of ultimate understanding signified by Neptune in Pisces rather than misunderstanding sourced from escapist illusions, delusions, and addictions of one sort or another.  However, in the moment we are only at the beginning of entering into the tumult that will coincide with this catalytic aspect between Saturn and Neptune, bringing up initial crises we will be sorting out over the next year.  On personal inner levels we can reorient in accordance with our essential truth, yet in our interactions in our collective we must be ready to navigate volatile conflicts over competing ideologies.

Full Moon in Gemini

Svanen (1914) by Hilma af Klint

A harmonious and stabilizing aspect involved with the Moon waxing full is a Grand Air Trine that will form between the Moon in Gemini, Mars in Libra, and Ceres in Aquarius.  Ceres in Aquarius is a nurturing force on behalf of individuation and humanitarian concerns in a positive sense, while her shadow side involves cold fixation on past beliefs behind a wall of separation from the needs of those in the surrounding environment.  To me, how our consciousness responds to this air trine between the Moon, Mars, and Ceres depends to a large extent on which of these sides of Ceres we are coming from.  If our sense of Ceres is opening us to de-condition from cultural forces attempting to manipulate us toward selfish greed and grasping for power that harms life, Mars in Libra can be on the side of social justice and meeting the needs of others, and the Gemini Moon can break us out of past rigidity of thinking through insightful connections.

Mars in Libra is not only in trine to the Gemini Full Moon, but also sextile to Mercury, Saturn, and the Sun and applying to a square with Pluto in Capricorn. Mars is also co-present with Venus in the sign of Libra and in coming weeks will be coming into an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Libra can coincide with unpredictability and coercive manipulation in mundane affairs, but on a personal level it could spark desires to improve and expand our relationships and social connections.  As Mars comes into a last quarter square with Pluto, it will amplify the already tumultuous environment triggered by Saturn and Neptune also being in a last quarter square.  The growth offered by this tension can come from reorienting our relational dynamics within our partnerships and society so that our own needs will be better met on the one hand, and we can realize where we have been neglecting the needs of others on the other hand.  This is a time to confront our past beliefs regarding relationships and discover which aspects are illusions that need to be released now so that we can more readily create the life we want going forward.

Further increasing our capacity to liberate ourselves from past relationship beliefs is a Venus in Libra that is separating from an opposition with Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon.  Venus is also applying to a conjunction with Juno and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Libra, meaning that there are essential aspects of our relationship needs to now discover and actualize that we may have formerly felt judgment over.  It is likely that Venus in Libra will dislodge something significant as her opposition with Uranus perfected with the waxing Moon in the days leading up to this Full Moon.  The Full Moon is as a result illuminating the aftershocks of Venus opposite Uranus, and since Venus is at home in her beloved sign of Libra there is potential for important insight into our relationships no matter how challenging recent experiences may have been.  Venus opposite Uranus can strike like lightning, so if we have recently taken a leap without much forethought allow this Full Moon to give you a sense of whether or not any impulsive choices appear to be harmonious or not with your well-being.

Gemini I Decan

8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini I Decan

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini where the Full Moon occurs, a decan associated with the 8 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  It is one of the most intense images of the Rider-Waite deck, and at first glance it may seem difficult to link the bound and terrorized feeling of the image to either Jupiter or Gemini.  Yet when we realize that Jupiter signifies vision and the meaning gathered from experience, and Gemini is connected with the power of our mind to help shape reality, we can sense here the suffocating shadow cast by trauma.  Traumatic experiences such as being a victim of abuse or any form of oppression can envelope us in paralysis and hopelessness.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore interpreted this card as a frozen mental state that eclipses “one’s very sense of free agency and self,” leading to the vital importance of not blaming the victim:

When you pull this card, it is most important to exit that fictive Karmic loop of cause and effect, of blame, of the notion of an economy on pain . . . You may feel persecuted, flawed, or exiled. But feelings are not the measure of reality nor, for that matter, do they indicate what you will feel tomorrow. You will survive this, and if you transmute it properly, you stand to be a force of great healing and compassion in the lives of others… for victimization sometimes happens, with no reason, no rhyme, and no warning. Don’t blame yourself in an attempt to retain the illusion of mastery. Forgive yourself and let yourself open to your own vulnerability. In doing so, you will slowly open up to others, yet again. It’s OK.

— Kelsey Lynore, The Tarot Nook

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, symbolizing the explosion of awareness that struck Eve when she bit into the ripe apple born from the earth.  In contrast to the nightmarish image of the 8 of Swords card, Coppock wrote that traditional images for this decan display “the full power of the mind” including abstract thought, mathematics and the sciences, magic, and the art of the scribe and the seamstress (p. 87).  Coppock found a link between the static found in the 8 of Swords card and the first decan of Gemini in the power of the mind to both enliven as well as immobilize, as seekers of this face can become paralyzed by the overwhelming amount of information available in the world that is ultimately impossible to fully process:

The division of the world and the naming of its parts in this decan generates all arts, crafts and sciences, and gives rise to a bewildering profusion of selves.  It is therefore a face of tremendous curiosity and intelligence.  Within it lies the power to discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities.  It provides clever methods and opens numerous pathways, yet this very profusion de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.

–Austin Coppock (p. 87)

Jupiter, the ruler of this decan, is now in Virgo and applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Jupiter is at the same time the traditional ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Since Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon are both in the sign of Mercury, it is important to consider that their ruler Mercury is residing in Sagittarius, the sign of Jupiter.  Furthermore, in the waning cycle of this Gemini Full Moon we will experience Mercury becoming an Evening Star that enters into a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  All together, these astrological placements further increase the likelihood of feeling a pull to expand our knowledge and assimilation of information, while also risking a feeling of paralysis over biting off far more than our mind can fully process, integrate, and express with understanding.

If we can keep ourselves open and curious, making the space to get out of our minds and back in our bodies when mental frequencies become too intense, there is also a huge opportunity presented by these transits for fundamental change in our ability to find meaning in our life and live in accordance with an authentic vision of values.  Yes, we are going to need to deal with incredible conflict, discord, and destruction in our surroundings, but out of this falling apart a more enriching vision for our lives may arise.  This doesn’t mean things will be easy at all, and in fact we need to be ready to confront many difficulties and obstacles, grieving losses and consoling others.  Nonetheless, these astrological aspects suggest that important meaning can be found in the difficult experiences of this time.  May we share the love and light we discover within with those around us.

References

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

New Moon in Libra

Mercury in Libra

Mercury atop Zurich train station, taken by Gray Crawford (2015 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on October 12, 2015 unleashes a visceral sense of new meaning following a period in which necessary elements of our past beliefs were dislodged in order to be released.  The eclipses are over.  Venus retrograde is over.  We are still in the shadows of Mercury retrograde, but Mercury is now moving direct clear from the beams of the Sun.  A new lunation phase beginning in Libra calls us to rectify what has been out of balance, seizing the opportunity found in the pain of not living the life we want to direct our thoughts and actions toward whatever will bring us happiness.  There is a transcendent Mercurial quality to this New Moon, as its ruling planet Venus is in the sign of Mercury, Mercury is direct in the sign of Venus conjunct the North Node of the Moon (the mean of which recently switched into Virgo, the home of Mercury), and the New Moon itself is opposite Uranus. Mercury direct as a Morning Star now is eager to facilitate new connections and focus toward our long-term goals in the immediacy of the moment.

Since the New Moon ruler Venus is in Virgo along with Mars and Jupiter, it is vital to center in the present moment without denial, being willing to admit we do not have all the answers so that we can shift more harmoniously with the course our life is actually taking us now.  Justice with her scales and sharpened sword will cut through any illusions veiling the degree to which we have felt wronged or oppressed by others.  As we feel the Libra sense of justice and what feels out of balance, it is imperative that we in addition sense how we can take responsibility for whatever circumstance we are currently in.  The most fruitful response to feelings of injustice will prudently side with discretion rather than belligerence so as to attract others to your cause.  Imagination and vision can be worthy allies at this time, but living in a fantasy disconnected from the crux of reality could now cause your undoing more so than normal.

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

New Moon opposite Uranus

The lightning strike shattering the fortresses within our psyche, the epiphany of an illuminated vision, the nonlinear leaps of mind connecting ages past within a precious moment of glimpsing our future, are all within the domain of Uranus.  The New Moon in Libra is opposite Uranus retrograde in Aries, awaking those open to a new frequency of reception and awareness of reality. This New Moon opposition to Uranus is also in square to Pluto in Capricorn, and so resurrects the issues of the Pluto and Uranus square of the past several years.  In our collective, it is likely that some horrific, tragic events will erupt out of this time triggering the traumatic memories of many.  Yet on a personal level, along with unsettling shocks we can potentially experience a liberating sense of calling illuminating our path forward through the current darkness.

Astrologer and psychosynthesis therapist Mark Jones in his book The Soul Speaks included numerous examples of individuals struck by the volatile force of Uranus.  Jones showed that Uranian experiences open us to a sense that “everything is impersonal and arises from the field of energy in which we all participate,” with our inflamed passions coming from places of identification within this knowing field (p. 94).  Jones wrote:

The Moon is the lens through which we identify space/time reality in all its specificity. Yet, when we are shocked or somehow transported into Uranian consciousness, we can escape that filter and return to a more widescreen experience of reality.  (p. 174)

In its pure form, Uranus can be experienced as memory or a mental awareness arising from the soul:  a blueprint of the energy field of the individual’s whole life experienced on a subtle mental level.  This includes information as to the nature of past lives, to prenatal states of existence in the womb and perinatal states.  Through Uranus, the individual learns systematically via his own experience from these nonlinear realms. (p. 120-21)

With a New Moon opposite Uranus there is a new birth to embrace that brings a dramatic disorientation of entering another world or quality of being.  Anytime experiencing such transcendent functions, we must simultaneously discern how to reintegrate into the mundane world of our current reality, enriching our life with the new values we have realized.  The transformational quality of this New Moon is further amplified by Mars having separated from an opposition to Neptune and applying to a conjunction with Jupiter, as Venus is simultaneously applying to an opposition with Neptune, as well as with the Mars and Jupiter conjunction opposing Chiron in Pisces.  This opens us to the collective unconscious phenomenon developed by Carl Jung in which we can tap into patterns underpinning our collective reality, rooted in endless cycles of ages past.  On a personal level the potential liberation of this is found in the moment you realize how a current agony is connected to an old pattern you are now able to release.  In the creative fields such as art, writing, and research these aspects are decadently rich to take advantage of and take your work to a new level of insight and expression.

New Moon in Libra

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

Virgo Vision

Venus is the ruler of this New Moon and has now finally ended her retrograde period, shining at her brightest as a Morning Star.  At the time of the New Moon, Venus is separating from a square to Saturn in Sagittarius and applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces.  The last quarter square between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius is the most dramatic transit of the coming season, and so Venus is now bridging us into the dissolution and rebirth of meaning we will find in the coming experiences that will be linked to this crucial aspect.  While the system of astrology teaches that Venus is not at home in the sign of Virgo, there is actually great potential found in the movement of Venus across Virgo similar to the incredible depth of new perception that can open within us when we travel far from home into foreign territory with only our own wits to rely upon.  If we have the presence to fully participate in the moment there is a huge potential to now restructure and revision our life to align with the deepest desires stirred by the Venus retrograde we experienced from the end of June until the beginning of October in 2015.

Venus can now be seen in the pre-dawn sky along with the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter in Virgo.  Venus, Mars, and Jupiter experiencing this pivotal time together in the sign of Mercury amplifies the significance of Mercury having recently stationed direct  conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  For those who use the true node calculation for the lunar nodes, the nodes remain in Libra and Aries, but for those who utilize the mean calculation the nodes have now switched into the North Node being in Virgo and the South Node being in Pisces.  This is another huge shift brought in with this New Moon, but the fact that Mercury stationed direct conjunct the North Node being in Libra in either system is most important to reflect upon.  Mercury is also in sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius, and so we have a powerful opportunity now to structure elements of our life to align with new intentions and goals that can rebalance our life.  We will gravitate now toward solidifying the relationships that will be most supportive for us in the coming years, and the influence of Libra calls us to find harmony and win-win situations in discourse with others rather than trying to force our own way at all costs.

These themes are further supported by the balsamic conjunction of Mars with Jupiter in Virgo in trine to Pluto in Capricorn that is supporting us to focus on creating the seed of our future visions.  As it is occurring in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury, this new vision involves new connections being made between our mind and body to guide us, and so accessing your mind-body connection through personal practices of choice will be hugely beneficial.  This is the close of a Mars and Jupiter cycle that began in Cancer in July 2013, that took us through a Mars retrograde in Libra in 2014 that also involved a cardinal grand square involving a first quarter square between Mars in Libra and Jupiter in Cancer.  Aspects of our desires that animate our vision of life that have arisen since July 2013 that need to be released we will now be let go of, while the aspects of our desires that will be re-seeding our future will be potently focused upon.

New Moon in Libra

Three of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra II Decan

The Libra New Moon falls at the end of the second face of Libra, a decan that Saturn rules and is associated with the Three of Swords card in tarot illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  While the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the card evokes Saturn, so does the transcendence offered through the pain found here.   Tarot writer Kelsey Lenore wrote this is “a card of revelation, pained comprehension, and sorrow,” a  “rigorously intellectual card whose bruised fruits include empathy, compassion, and a wonderfully rooted and corporeal sense/knowledge that holds its own hubris in check,” as it is ultimately “about coming to grips with one’s own finitude, fragility, and fallibility, and in this it is beautifully human.”  There is nothing more painful than being separated from someone we love most dearly, and in this agony we find both the challenge of Saturn as well as the transcendence of the ringed planet.  For in times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements through betrayal or other wounding experiences.  To Coppock it is a face that holds the power of the Saturnine contract:

This is thus a face of lasting unions and blended karma.  The choice of who to chain oneself to, and under what terms, is therefore critical.  Both sacred covenants and profane deals occur here . . .

It is only earnest commitment which allows relationships to endure both lean harvests and fat returns.  The power of obligation fixes volatile passions, and when properly engaged, lays a firm foundation for the good life. Yet, perhaps the most fundamental and potent promises are those made to oneself, for there is little that one capable of making and keeping such an agreement cannot achieve.

The power of this face is nearly ideal for the binding of two things together, whether they be people in marriage, business entities, or merely a promise to oneself.  It contains the formulae not only for knitting together, but continuing in happy union, and is therefore an arcanum of wonderful power.

— Austin Coppock (p. 163 – 164)

The recent ingress of Saturn in Sagittarius has brought opportunities for us to establish new agreements as Venus is now separating from her third and final last quarter square to Saturn, while Saturn is simultaneously inching closer towards its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune in Pisces.  This New Moon asks us to make commitments to both our Self as well as the relationships we feel deep within will be mutually supportive for the foreseeable future.  Whatever attitudes and beliefs we can sense are getting in the way of following through with this commitment we will be asked to release into the coming dissolving waves of Neptune in Pisces.  Venus ruling this New Moon in Virgo and in opposition to Neptune supports us in magnetizing and opening to the partners that will increase our capacity to feel blissful and find deep meaning in life, thereby being able to transmit the new values arising from this joy back into our collective.

References

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

Jones, Mark. (2015).  The Soul Speaks:  The Theraputic Potential of Astrology.  Raven Dreams Press.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Limestone Ram’s head from Egypt (300 – 400 B.C.)

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

On September 27 or 28 depending upon time zone, a total Lunar Eclipse in Aries will arise in which our Moon will turn blood red in the shadow of our Sun.  Since this eclipse is also a Super Moon, it will have a more direct, palpable impact on us than a standard Full Moon. You may question the hullabaloo astrologers make about the transformative potential of eclipses such as this one, when you know that astrologers tend to make a big deal about transits on a regular basis, and we always have at least four eclipses occur every year.  If you spend more time exploring eclipses, however, you will soon recognize that many periods of your life that suddenly took on a completely different trajectory had eclipses as part of the initiation.  This Lunar Eclipse truly does portend breakthrough experiences, not only because of it being total and the Moon being at it’s closest orbit to Earth, but also because of surrounding transits such as Pluto stationing direct, Mars square Saturn, Venus trine Uranus, and the conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.

This Aries Lunar Eclipse is total because the Full Moon and the Sun are only a few degrees away from the North and South Nodes of the Moon, creating the optical effect of a rosy red Moon from the Sun’s shadow.  Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow on the Moon as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness and we can consequently embody a presence less attached to past patterns.  As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, the past activation of our primal will force (Aries) becomes overshadowed by new growth found in re-adjustment, re-balancing, fairness, harmony, and discretion (Libra).  The fiery sign of the Ram is willing to use its horns if necessary to protect personal desires from being lost through assimilation in surrounding relationships, and yet in the shadow of a Libra Sun, we must balance yearning for self-centered independence within the needs of our relationships.

In Aries, the “pulsing of life” — of the creative Breath — is felt. It passes through. It surges forth — and is gone. Aries power is the power of the lightning, which descends from above, which strikes out of the darkness of the Collective Unconscious. It is the power of revelation; power of Destiny released, which burns and fecundates. Such a power, from whatever level it operates in fiery downflows, gives to the actions of an Aries person a peculiar pioneering, impersonal, perhaps cosmic and fateful strength.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Pulse of Life

The burning, fecundating quality of an Aries eclipse that sparks inspired action from within is further augmented by a Vesta retrograde in Aries closely conjunct the Lunar Eclipse and the South Node of the Moon.  Vesta as a result turns us within to focus on activating our essentiality rather than the egotistical ambitions we competitively pursue to advance within our culture.  Vesta draws us into the power found within our inner flame of divinity that is not dependent upon the trappings of status and outer success.  Any creative, spiritual, or philosophical practices and traditions that magnetize you at this time will be fertile ground to discover the self-realization that will fuel your journey in the season ahead.  While Vesta can be steadfastly independent from relationships at times, she is completely devoted to her inner passions and rapture for what she finds holds a spiritual quality.

This eclipse occurring a few days after the Libra Equinox makes it a heralding marker of the change of season.  In the perspective of the Northern Hemisphere that dominated development of astrology, the Libra Equinox initiating Autumn can be seen in the glyph of Libra that looks like a setting Sun on the horizon.  At the Autumn Equinox we honor the falling of leaves and other signs of decomposition that will fertilize new growth in the future.  The theme of death that creates new life can be further seen in the association of Libra with Venus and outer relationships, as we can experience an ego death when deeply connecting with a partner and the creation of new life through the conjoined energies of the partnership.  This aspect of Libra is further amplified at this eclipse because the relationally oriented Juno asteroid is closely conjunct the Sun and North North Node of the Moon in Libra.  Juno here sparks a procreative force within drawn to collaboration in relationships in which we can express our authenticity, and will influence us to release or alter those relationships in which we have been struggling to assert our essential nature.

The maverick side of Libra is also activated at this eclipse, as Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Juno, the Sun, and the North Node of the Moon.  Black Moon Lilith is the balance point of our lunar orbit that astrologers have been using to illustrate the exiled aspects of our consciousness we have been repressing or denying.  When Black Moon Lilith becomes potently activated, the parts of our personality and psyche that have been cast off return to heart and we begin to assert this regained quality into our relationships.  Similar to the lucid quality symbolized by the goddess Kali holding the severed head of Shiva, Black Moon Lilith will cut through any recent egotistical patterns we have experienced within ourselves and our relationships to illuminate whatever is essential for us.  As Lilith demands being treated as an equal, co-creating partner, we likewise will face issues around equality and inequality in the coming season.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Mars square Saturn

The astrological rhythm surrounding this Aries Lunar Eclipse has a fervent intensity, as Mars in Virgo rules the eclipse and will be separating from a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Mars square Saturn can bring important changes but also conflict, and the atmosphere is further amplified by Pluto in Capricorn stationing direct a few days before the eclipse.  Since Pluto in Capricorn is bound to Saturn, Pluto stationing direct following the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius carries emboldened force into the plutonian desires flowing into awareness.  Pluto stationing direct is generally an eruptive time, as any deep desires we have been resisting can overcome us from within creating a crisis if necessary to seize our attention.  This cathartic stationing of Pluto amplifies the change of Saturn from Scorpio to Sagittarius that likewise is bringing up what we have dredged from our inner depths to feed the action we are commencing in the sign of the fiery, galloping Centaur.

The recent ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius has brought shifts of direction, and you likely have been sensing a strong urge to set off in pursuit of something related to Saturn and Sagittarius in your birth chart.  Mars in Virgo being in a last quarter square to Saturn in Sagittarius brings up a course correction sourced from attuning our desires in connection with the details of our life in the here and now.  Generally speaking, many if not most of us envision future goals in connection with past emotions, attachments, influences, and dreams.  This Aries Lunar Eclipse ruled by Mars in a last quarter square to Saturn is leveling this field so to speak with the scythe of Saturn cutting off what needs harvesting or release.  This process could involve conflict, but the positive potential of today’s turmoil can help in the reorientation toward making future goals in greater alignment with what we truly want to have happen for us now.

Both Saturn and Mars are making aspects to this Lunar Eclipse, with Saturn in a stabilizing, harmonious trine and Mars in a disorienting inconjunct.  These two aspects are an important detail of the greater movement, as it suggests the object of our deep desire may seem overly daunting, too difficult to achieve or manifest in this moment.  The danger of the Virgo inconjunct to Aries is getting lost in a perpetual cycle of procrastination in which we never feel we are truly ready, continuing to research, train, or practice instead of diving into the fray full steam and letting the dust settle where it may.  The trine from Saturn in Sagittarius to the Lunar Eclipse in Aries points us in the direction of making structural changes and taking even the simplest of steps to begin to build a structure for whatever it is we wish to achieve.  This is a perfect time for releasing the aspects of our old goals no longer serving us and taking concrete steps to build a foundation from which to launch our most viscerally felt desires from.

Aries I Decan

Two of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries I Decan

The influence of Mars on this lunar eclipse is further increased due to the first face of Aries being ruled by Mars.  The Aries I decan where the lunar eclipse occurs is also associated with the Two of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck, which reinforces the theme of envisioning our future from a renewed perspective previously discussed above.  In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find what appears to be a conquering lord of some sort, holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from atop a fortress out into an expanse of terrain containing mountainous as well as watery landscapes. It is the body of water that appears to have secured his focus in this moment, and the presence of the globe seems to imply a moment of reflection regarding expansion of his influence or dominion.

In 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans, astrologer Austin Coppock ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to this decan which has a long association with furiously martial figures who dominate enemies and assure victory in battle. Coppock deepened the symbolism of the axe through linking it to the splitting and separation from the One necessary for creation and growth, for example in the cutting of the umbilical cord of the child from its mother and in the use of axes in controlling nature to make a home in the wilderness. Coppock linked this separation as “a severance from the symbolic mother- the womb from which all things emerge,” setting up a dynamic in which “what is motherly and unifying constricts development” rather than augmenting growth:

The axe is thus a tool of the first individual, bravely severing himself from the primordial mother and building a distinct and individual life. This assertion of selfhood is undiluted yang, and in principle phallic, no matter the gender of who embodies it. The phallus in play here is a symbol of potency, yet its reality involves tremendous vulnerability, the same vulnerability that the lone individual faces in a sometimes hostile world. The axe may be the tool by which the individual liberates themselves from the collective, but it is also the cruel weapon of the primordial mother as castrator, the limiting force with which the warlike figures of this decan wrestle. This is the essence of this face- the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin.

— Austin Coppock (p. 54)

As a result, while there are astrological signs pointing toward growth through creating greater balance, fairness, and equality in our relationships, there is at the same time a raw martial force within this eclipse demanding that we clear a path forward in which we have greater freedom and less restraint.  To unify this opposition we need to respect our need to be authentic while honoring the essential nature of those we are interacting with.  Additionally, the last quarter square between Mars in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously will force us to deal with the structural system of our surroundings and so to be successful, the exertion of our personal power cannot be completely untamed but rather modified in accordance with environmental conditions.

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

Eros by Paul Klee (1923)

ARIES 5°:  A TRIANGLE WITH WINGS

Keynote:  The capacity for self-transcending

In his book exploring Sabian Symbols, Dane Rudhyar described the degree of the Aries Lunar Eclipse as being “the symbol of the desire to reach a higher level of existence, of pure aspiration or devotion, of bhakti” (p. 53).  This ideal yearning Rudhyar wrote about, in which “the whole being experiences a childlike longing for its eventual realization,” is strongly charged by a grand fire trine formed at the eclipse by Venus in Leo, Uranus retrograde in Aries, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  This is a truly visionary grand fire trine sourced at its root by the deep inner material dug up during this past period of Venus retrograde.  At the time of the eclipse, Venus will have returned to place of it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun that happened on August 15, 2015.  In fact, Venus will be less than half a degree away from this point of Venusian rebirth.  As Venus will not leave its retrograde shadow zone until October 9, the Aries Lunar Eclipse will propel us into the final two weeks of the Venus retrograde, catalyzing numerous events giving us opportunities to integrate and express our Venusian passions that have been stirred up.

As this is in addition the final eclipse to occur with the North Node of the Moon in Libra that is ruled by Venus, we are at a border crossing transition fitting for an equinoctial period.  The lunar nodes have been in Aries and Libra since February 2014, a time that was dominated in astrology by the final series of squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  If you take the time to reflect back on all of the numerous issues and events in your life that have been brewing since that time, especially around your sense of empowerment within your relationships, there will no doubt be a sense of resolution occurring now in the form of a final test or a peak experience.  This is not the end of the lunar nodes transiting through Aries and Libra, as they will not move into Pisces and Virgo until November 2015. However, the Lunar Eclipse will spark the final lessons we will be learning from the dragon slithering through these two cardinal signs.

Persephone in Aries

Roman marble relief (27 B.C. – 14 A.D.) copy of a Greek marble relief of 450–425 B.C. found at Eleusis. The image reveals Demeter on the left side and Persephone on the right of the relief.

Persephone

Further fitting for the time of the Libra Equinox, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 21° Aries and so conjunct Uranus as well as part of the grand fire trine involving the goddesses Venus in Leo and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  For those who are already working with Eris, you can also add Eris in with Uranus and Persephone on the Aries point of this fiery triangle.  Significantly, at this time Persephone, Uranus, and Eris are all retrograde, taking us deep within for a primal rebirth of soul.  Like Persephone who claimed full embodiment of her role as the underworld Queen, we have Persephone with us in any descent into experiences that strip us of innocence while offering opportunities to cultivate greater resiliency and access to our full range of power.

With Pluto also prominent by having recently stationed direct, at the equinoctial time in which the mythic Hades brought Persephone down into his realm, we have an archetype of Persephone activated with the efficacy of a Uranian lightning strike.  Demetra George in her workbook Finding Our Way Through The Dark, described the descent associated with the Persephone asteroid as enabling “us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.”  Persephone united with Uranus and in trine to Venus in Leo opens us to a time in which we will sense the invisible realm within the visible, sensing the substance of spirit in our body.

Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus in Harmony noted how Persephone is the vivifying force of vitality regenerating the world of the dead:  “Persephone imposed blood on the dead:  not, as in the past, the dark blood of sacrifice, not the blood the dead used to drink so thirstily, but the invisible blood that went on pulsing in her white arms, the blood of someone who is still entirely alive, even in the palace of death” (p. 212).  To Calasso, Persephone is the figure who created a new paradigm between our green world above and the underworld below, for as Persephone descended and separated from the world of her Earth goddess mother Demeter, “Eros penetrated the kingdom of the dead. The slender-ankled Persephone was the supple arrow Aprhrodite ordered Eros to let fly at Hades.”  As Persephone is of the earth, deep within the earth, and deeply erotic, her asteroid conjoined with Uranus and the grand fire trine of goddesses suggests the passions stirred from within us will release previously unconscious soul desires that will lead us toward greater wholeness.

The other aspect of Persephone that fits well with the astrological climate of the Aries Lunar Eclipse is her role in accepting the souls of the dead who have been guided to her kingdom by Hermes, thereafter initiating them into the cycle of rebirth.  Thus the Mercury retrograde in Libra we are experiencing in which Mercury has taken on the psychopomp role of guiding us into core aspects of our soul has the welcoming visage of Persephone to greet us in the regeneration we are experiencing.  Peter Kingsley in Reality wrote that Persephone “is the goddess who greets initiates when they manage to make their way down to her by warmly reaching out to them with her right hand; who accepts them, welcomes them to her home, with a  kindness that defies all human logic” (p. 43).

In the time leading up the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury retrograde in Libra is square to Pluto in Capricorn and it is applying to its inferior conjunction with the Sun at the time of the eclipse.  In the week following the Lunar Eclipse, Persephone will get closer to Uranus each day until becoming exactly conjunct Uranus at the same time that Mercury stations direct, and Venus leaves her retrograde shadow zone.  The intermingling of all of these significations of rebirth is quite incredible, suggesting we truly are on the precipice of a complete change in the course of our life.  The loving embrace of Persephone and the fearless expression of her potency will guide those willing to descend into the depth of her world.

Persephone asteroid

Persephone opening a cista containing the infant Adonis, on a pinax from Locri

References

Calasso, Roberto. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. Knopf.

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

George, Demetra. (1994). Finding Our Way Through the Dark: an astrological companion to Mysteries of the Dark Moon. AFA.

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

  • Mercury stations retrograde at 15°55′ Libra on September 17, 2015
  • Mercury unites with Sun at 7°07′  Libra on September 30, 2015
  • Mercury stations direct at 0°54′ Libra on October 9, 2015
  • Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow zone on October 26, 2015

The transit of Mercury retrograde in Libra beginning September 17 opens a doorway within the vivifying void of eclipses, as we will be in between the Solar Eclipse of September 13 and the Lunar Eclipse of September 27.  While Mercury retrogrades are always liminal in quality, the influence of eclipses on the commencement of this retrograde evokes entrance through a magic portal that mysteriously redefines and redirects.  Mercury stations retrograde simultaneously with two other impactful transits, as about eleven hours before Mercury stations there will be an exact opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and about nine hours after Mercury stations, Saturn will ingress into Sagittarius.  Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Sagittarius will be dominant players in the upcoming astrological atmosphere saturated with the deep shifting of Mutable signs. Our move into the preponderance of Mutable signs will create an air of adjustment to the ensuing disorientation, and so it is here that Mercury retrograde arrives.  Since this Mercury retrograde is occurring in Libra, the sign of Scales and the domicile of Venus, an atmosphere of relational recalibration will occur on both inner and outer levels.  In collective events of tension and trauma such as the refugee crisis in Europe, we will witness raised levels of rhetoric and reaction with participants coming back and forth from extreme positions of opposition.  Perhaps there is none other than Mercury more up to the task of guiding us to find a middle way of solutions in response.

The journey of Mercury around the Sun is important to pay attention to, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth never gets too far ahead of the Sun as an evening star, returning three times every year during its retrograde to reunite and regenerate within the purifying solar rays.  Karl Kerenyi in Hermes: Guide of Souls ascribed “belonging to the journey” and being “by the road” as part of the essential nature of Hermes, who is “constantly underway” in motion at all times (p. 33).  Kerenyi wrote that any “journeyer” connected with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world” (p. 32).  When Mercury stations retrograde, it marks the time period in which Mercury disappears as an evening star with a flash of light, descending from our view into the invisibility of the underworld.  The underworld passage of Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear, but rather a world to fully enter and embrace for the treasures found within its depths.  There are already innumerable issues occurring that are creating fear, and these have nothing to do with this Mercury retrograde causing them.

Mercury is the divine messenger who weaves the golden rays of the Sun into the words and other forms of communication we express ourselves through, a soulful guide through which our consciousness discerns meaning from phenomenal reality.  The constant variation of Mercury’s synodic cycle influences how we evaluate our experiences, and so during the retrograde when Mercury symbolically descends into the underworld we can more readily access alternate forms of perception resonant with the intuitive meaning found in symbols, signs, omens, and dreams.  Mercury retrograde as a result becomes a time we can seize to turn within and ruminate on the nature of our experiences since the previous Mercury retrograde (Mercury last stationed direct at 4°34′ Gemini on June 11, 2015).  Mercury moving in a radically different motion from our perspective also coincides with radical changes in thought, and we can use this Mercurial phenomenon to directly respond to life less attached to the previous habitual patterns of mind.

This retrograde occurring entirely in the sign of Libra means that Mercury will be residing in the house of Venus, and so we will be able to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror of Aphrodite as well as use Venusian mirrors to alter our appearance to others.  It also means that as Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence” (p. 43), “finding and thieving in the realm of love are also Hermetic traits” (p. 48).  Hermes was born from a secret love affair between Zeus and Maia, and as shown in the Homeric Hymn and the Odyssey, Hermes felt no shame singing about his divinely deceitful origins or loudly proclaiming that he would also love to “bed that golden Aphrodite” when she was discovered in her affair with Ares.  I am not sharing these references to suggest anyone enter into an extramarital affair during this Mercury retrograde, only that we will be overcome at times with eros and that within our impassioned embraces we will enter the magical world of Mercury:

Journeying is the best condition for loving.  The gorges over which the “volatized one” passes like a ghost can be the abysses of unbelievable love affairs-  Circe and Calypso islands and holes; they can be abysses also in the sense that there no chance exists for standing on firm ground, but only for further floating between life and death.

–Karl Kerenyi from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury’s capacity to travel the extents of both the upper and underworld brings the association of being a psychopomp or guide of souls, the wily thief and shepherd who carries a golden staff that can lull others into trance states as well as startle wide awake.  During Mercury retrograde it is as if the wave of Hermes’ wand takes us into a realm of perception counter to the dominant narrative of how one’s awareness is expected to operate.  Gleaning wisdom from Mercury retrograde is like embracing the “mythological treasure” described by Peter Kingsley in his book Reality:  “the invaluable object that has been lost and misused and has to be rediscovered at all costs” (p. 21).  The gifts we can most readily receive from Mercury retrograde are not always the kind valued by consensus culture:  the illuminated thought received while watching the flight of birds or the flight of leaves falling from trees, or the mysterious meanderings of a creative process that does not provide immediate gratification or reward.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Revolving Doors (1926) by Man Ray

 Enantiodromia

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality.  The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state.  Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow.  There is an inherent restoration of balance to our system that results that is not unlike the astrological meaning we can find in Libra, the sign of the Scales.

In astrology Mercury has been defined clearly across centuries, yet delights in defying definitions as it has been known to identify as both masculine and feminine, nocturnal and diurnal, capable of mutating identity in acclimation to its surrounding environment. Mercury retrograde in Libra beckons a re-examination of the Scales, the concept of finding balance that necessitates extremes, tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. The awareness we can access in Mercury retrograde can help us transcend rigid parameters of duality through swinging wildly at times between extremes of perception, experiencing extremities of oppositions in a continual process of re-balancing. As this Mercury retrograde occurs during the final days of the lunar nodes being in Aries and Libra, one realm of extremes we will experience will be our desires for independence and self-empowerment in tandem with our desires for relationship and mutual sharing.  Since the Mercury retrograde begins with Jupiter in Virgo exactly opposite Neptune in Pisces, the extremes of vision we can find between Virgo and Pisces, between skepticism and inspiration, between reductionism and holism, will also come up in a process in which we will be redefining our belief system.

As Mercury stations retrograde in opposition to Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn, the stationing Mercury will dig into our core and a morphing from one extreme to another could result from what was formerly repressed entering conscious awareness.  This Libra Mercury retrograde bridges Uranus and Pluto more intensely together than they have been recently, and so corresponding contrariness could involve strong impulses for liberation and emancipation in the face of judgmental shaming or oppression, or strivings for a freedom from restraints coming up with a need to take responsibility within boundaries.  The opposition between Mercury in Libra and Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn creates a t-square in which the missing point is found in Cancer, which means our issues around emotional insecurity and security will be important triggers.

The influence of the North Node of the Moon being in Libra is further amplified not only because this Mercury retrograde occurs entirely in Libra, but also because at the time that Mercury stations, Juno will be in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct the North Node of the Moon. Juno here in Libra makes our desires for relationship all the more soulful and procreative, drawing feelings to work through difficulties that have arisen in the relationships that resonate with our deepest longings.  As Juno is also a protector of those abused or victimized in relationship, her meaning in combination with the fiercely independent Black Moon Lilith and the Lunar North Node means that those being victimized at extremes in relationship can experience a sudden shift that impels them to leave for good.

Black Moon Lilith also brings added meaning that aspects of our essential nature that we have formerly not integrated into our relationships will now demand attention with the swift force of enantiodromia.  In the Libra realm of balance and counterweight, Black Moon Lilith is a fascinating calculated point in space that serves as a point of balance in terms of the Moon’s orbit.  Indeed, the true node of Black Moon Lilith is even called the “oscillating” Black Moon Lilith, and by name association both the “true” and “mean” calculations of the point have taken on the mythological meaning of Lilith.  Here we find the exiled and the estranged, but like one who must runaway from one’s home environment for safety as well as to find one’s true joy, the issues of Black Moon Lilith are necessary challenges for us to face in our healing and empowerment.  If we have been coping with certain issues at an extreme of perception, the other side holding an important perspective for us to embrace will flood our awareness.

Along these lines, the beginning period of Mercury’s retrograde seems to hold a powerful moment of integration from the previous Venus retrograde, as Venus is direct while still within her retrograde shadow zone, and is receiving the stationing Mercury in Libra through a sextile.  As Mercury begins to move backward into the initial phase of its retrograde motion, Venus will continue moving forward through Leo in the degrees of its retrograde shadow zone, resurrecting the issues from this past Venus retrograde for us to readdress.  If you have important placements or aspects in the second half of Leo, this Mercury retrograde time period will be your third opportunity to experience the transit of Venus there.  The third time will be the charm in the sense that the issues needing to be addressed will now be crystal clear if you have been paying attention, and the magical thinking of Mercury retrograde could bring a new perspective to the situation previously unthought.

Mercury Inferior Conjunction in Libra

Man Ray (1922) Rayograph

Cazimi

The initial phase of the Mercury retrograde begins on September 17 and extends until September 30, 2015 when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction.  The union of Mercury with the Sun during its retrograde descriptively is similar to an interior conjunction, as it is the conjunction of Mercury with the Sun that happens when Mercury is between us on Earth and our Sun.  As a result this is a powerful moment of conception, likened to a New Mercury for us to set intention with in accord. To the ancients this is the time of Mercury being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, the moment when Mercury is reborn with purifying vivification by the rays of solar light.  When Mercury and the Sun are cazimi at eight degrees of Libra, Juno and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct a few degrees away- this makes themes related to Juno and Black Moon Lilith absolutely vital to a new conception of Mercury we create at this time.  There is also an opposition of Vesta in Aries to Juno and Black Moon Lilith that brings a counterpoint of wanting independent focus on needs not being met in relationships.  Vesta is also retrograde, signifying a strong inner urge of devotion operating independent of our outer relationships.  The Vesta opposition to Juno and Black Moon Lilith is further emphasized by its alignment with a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a couple of days before Mercury becomes cazimi.

Convictions, beliefs, opinions,

certainties, principles,

rules and habits have abandoned me.

I woke up naked at the edge of a civilization

which seemed to me comic and incomprehensible.

— from After by Czeslaw Milosz

The period around the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury is a time of incubation, and so it is interesting that we will be experiencing the initial return of Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously.  Whatever house Sagittarius rules in your birth chart is important to reflect upon at this time as you will experience a sudden jolt of the associated issues arising in your life.  The jolting pace of the half human half horse Centaur found in the symbol of Sagittarius is another theme that we will need to address through Mercury retrograde in Libra, as Sagittarius thrives on swiftness and taking off in new directions.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter that is in the Virgo sign of Mercury, it means that the shifting relational perspectives we experience during this Mercury retrograde are deeply rooted to the changes that will occur with Saturn re-entering the sign of Sagittarius.  We can open to the gifts of Sagittarius by opening perception to the unknown without preconceived assumptions, discerning directly in the moment as much as possible.

It was a riverside meadow, lush, from before the hay harvest,

On an immaculate day in the sun of June.

I searched for it, found it, recognized it.

Grasses and flowers grew there familiar in my childhood.

With half-closed eyelids I absorbed luminescence.

And the scent garnered me, all knowing ceased.

Suddenly I felt I was disappearing and weeping with joy.

— A Meadow by Czeslaw Milosz

A further link between this Mercury retrograde in Libra and the previous Venus retrograde in Leo is at the time that Mercury has its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on September 30, Venus will be in range of the same degree at which it had its own Inferior Conjunction with the Sun back on August 15, 2015.  As a result this is a magic portal moment in which our new conception of Mercury arises at the same time we are re-awakened to our new conception of Venus that happened over a month ago.  As we enter this New Mercury phase we release our old thought forms in preparation for the envisioning of the new.  Any deep soul desires we have been resisting could erupt with volatility at this time, as there is an incredibly transformative astrological climate surrounding the build up to this New Mercury:  Pluto will station direct in Capricorn six days before it, and there will be a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a few days before Mercury enters the heart of the Sun.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1926) The Meeting

Oracular Meetings

“The diverse shall be no less diverse, but they shall flow and unite . . . .

they unite now.”

∼ Walt Whitman from [The Sleepers] in Leaves of Grass

Beginning October 1, Mercury will shift into the final phase of its underworld journey that lasts until October 9 when Mercury stations direct as a Morning Star.  There are a number of important astrology aspects occurring during this period, and the sign of Virgo that Mercury calls its home is highlighted.  For one, Venus will have re-entered Virgo and will only be a couple of minutes away from leaving her retrograde shadow zone at the moment Mercury stations direct.  As Mercury stations Venus will also be applying closely to a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This final week of Mercury’s retrograde motion thus holds a powerful ingress of Venus from the solar sign of Leo into the Mercurial sign of Virgo, a transition symbolized for many by the form of the half maiden half lioness Sphinx.  With Saturn in Sagittarius awaiting Venus here, there is a demand for us to catalyze and activate all of the changes that have been stirred up during the long Venus retrograde journey from the beginning of Virgo to the heart of Leo and back again.  As soon as Venus enters Virgo, she is welcomed by a delighted Mercury into his hermetic home.  Venus traditionally has been classified as being in its fall in Virgo, and so with Mercury already in retrograde in Libra this can be a profound falling into our inner realm for transformative realization.

In addition, there will be an opposition between Mars in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces that occurs leading up to the stationing of Mercury, bringing the boundlessness of Neptune in opposition to Mars in the home of Mercury.  Mars in Virgo utilizes Mercurial facilities to focus on the details of our surrounding environment to accomplish work.  In the Virgo capacity to refine and develop techniques and tools, Mars necessarily needs to separate this from that in order to find the necessary focus for desired growth.  In the face of Neptune, the invisible realm opens around Mars in Virgo, evoking mystical, mysterious desires and experiences.  As e.e. cummings once wrote, “love is a deeper season than reason,” and with Mercury retrograde in Libra during this Mars and Neptune opposition we will know this beyond rational comprehension in one way or another.

By the time we get to Mercury stationing direct, Mars will be further conjunct the Moon in Virgo and applying closely to a conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo.  The Moon in the sign of Mercury therefore will be bringing the spirit of Neptune opposite Mars into its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo as Mercury stands still in the sign of the Scales.  This seems like a time of inner epiphanies such as the macrocosm the poet Walt Whitman described through the microcosm of the leaves of grass before him. With Neptune in Pisces activated so strongly with Venus, Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter all essentially in an opposite area of the zodiac, and Saturn having now entered Sagittarius to begin to initiate its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune, there is an amplified otherworldly quality to the approach of Mercury retrograde into the heart of the Sun.  This does not spell disaster for our dearest dreams, but rather asks us to open ourselves to the boundless quality of our vision as well as the pragmatic work needed for successful manifestation.  At the time of Mercury uniting with the Sun, however, it will be most effective to enjoy the timeless quality of the moment that transcends reasoned defining:

what time is it? it is by every star
a different time, and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

-nor all their times encompass me and you:

when are we never, but forever now
(hosts of eternity; not guests of seem)
believe me, dear, clocks have enough to do

without confusing timelessness and time.

Time cannot children, poets, lovers tell-
measure imagine, mystery, a kiss
-not though mankind would rather know than feel;

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our) merely to undie

— e.e. cummings

At the time that Mercury is stationing direct, it is phasis which means in this case it makes its first appearance in our morning sky after having been invisible during the retrograde.  This means that Mercury will be emerging from “under the beams” of the Sun, which generally means it is moving beyond fifteen degrees from the Sun, and our ancients saw this re-appearance in the sky as signifying a vital message.  In a recent episode of the Hermetic Astrology Podcast, Gary Caton used the term “oracular” in tandem with the  “appearance that speaks” made by Jupiter recently emerging from under the beams of the Sun in Virgo.  Oracles have strong association with Mercury, as Hermes was given an oracle from Apollo found under the cliffs of Mount Parnassus on Delphi, driven by three sisters of Fates who feed on honey.  At this oracular phase of its retrograde journey, Mercury will no longer be invisible and will emerge with a flash of light at dawn as a Morning Star. At this moment Mercury will be closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, in addition to Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter lined up together in Virgo. Wherever we are, whatever is happening for us at this time will be saturated with the delightful, curious, mischievous, erotic presence of Mercury, and the message transmitted being so closely aligned with the North Node of the Moon means there is an essential and necessary push forward in growth for us to experience in relationship.

Mercury in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Morning Star

Following Mercury stationing direct on October 9, Mercury as a Morning Star will no longer be retrograde in motion but will remain in the retrograde shadow zone until October 26.  Demetra George has compared this phase of Mercury’s journey as being similar to Mercury in Gemini, in contrast to her viewpoint that Mercury’s retrograde motion makes it similar to Mercury in Pisces.  At this point Mercury goes through an identity shift that leaves the magical, symbolic, subjectively intuitive mode of the retrograde behind, and transitions into a mindset eager to learn multiple new things with a sense of adventure toward the future.  Mercury in this phase as Morning Star is the friendly, fleet footed messenger who stimulates thoughts, connections, and conversations everywhere travelled.  Mercury with a flash of light heralding sunrise appears as we wake up from the dream world, guiding our thoughts through the haze of morning toward the objectives we need to focus on in the light of day.  This Promethean role of foresight will be played with full aplomb by the clever Mercury in the weeks ahead.

During this phase of Mercury direct and beginning to gain in speed again, Venus finally moves beyond her retrograde shadow zone and glides through the sign of Virgo making a series of crucial aspects.  First, immediately following Mercury stationing direct Venus will square Saturn in Sagittarius on October 10.  Less than a week later, Venus will oppose Neptune in Pisces on October 16,  and then on October 25 when Mercury is emerging from its retrograde shadow zone, Venus will conjunct Jupiter for the third time this year in Virgo.  Meanwhile, Mars in Virgo will also conjunct Jupiter on October 16 at the same time Venus is opposing Neptune, and day by day as we approach the end of October Venus will be getting closer and closer to Mars in Virgo.

Thus as we exit the Mercury retrograde shadow zone, with Mercury direct in Libra, the passions of our relationships will continue to be stirred up as Mercury moves through the sign of Venus and Venus heads for her eventual union with Mars in the sign of Mercury on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  The combination of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo in this period, purified from the recent retrogrades of both Venus and Mercury, will be a very different affair than the unions of Venus with Jupiter and then Mars that occurred in Leo earlier in the year.  It seems the more we let this Mercury retrograde in Libra lead us where life takes us, knowing that our travels astray will ultimately return us to center again, the more the full range of our experiences can inform this late October, early November timeframe where it appears important work can be crafted from within our mind.  This Mercury retrograde in Libra can help us discover the inner truth that will source our later works to come.

life is more true than reason will deceive
(more secret or than madness did reveal)
deeper is life than lose:higher than have
-but beauty is more each than living’s all

multiplied with infinity sans if
the mightiest meditations of mankind
cancelled are by one merely opening leaf
(beyond whose nearness there is no beyond)

or does some littler bird than eyes can learn
look up to silence and completely sing?
futures are obsolete;pasts are unborn
(here less than nothing’s more than everything)

death, as men call him, ends what they call men
-but beauty is more now than dying’s when

— e.e. cummings

References

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

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

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

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2011). Selected and Last Poems, 1931-2004. HarperCollins.

Full Moon in Aquarius

Dream by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich 2001

Dream (2001) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

Aquarius Full Moon

The Full Moon in Aquarius on July 31, 2015 triggers an intensification of mental activity and questioning of thought patterns conditioned by consensus culture, as Venus is retrograde and in its final hours in the sign of Virgo.  Venus retrograde can pulls us inward to experience a reorientation of values and generation of new visions, while simultaneously creating discord in our relationships when our inner realm of feelings suddenly flows unrestrained through our communication with startling bluntness.  During Venus retrograde we experience greater impetus to expand our vision for what is possible beyond previous conditioned limitations, and we also feel intrinsically motivated to act with rebellion from a place that throws off the binding of cultural expectations.  While the transit of Venus retrograde is stirring things up dramatically, this week’s Full Moon shines light on new angles of perception and insight into our recent experiences from a more detached, Aquarian objectification that contrasts sharply with the more subjective, passionate qualities of Leo and Scorpio that have been so strongly highlighted recently.

The Aquarius Full Moon is ruled by Saturn traditionally, and Saturn is further dominating this Full Moon as it is stationing direct in Scorpio on August 1 or August 2, depending upon your time zone.  Furthermore, Saturn is stationing direct as Jupiter in Leo creates a last quarter square with it on August 3, Venus combines with Jupiter in a square on August 4, and then Mercury also combines with Jupiter in a square to Saturn on August 6.   This means that the illumination we receive with this Full Moon at the end of July will face a stern test the following week as the Moon wanes toward a last quarter square of it’s own with the Sun on August 6.  While it is always important to listen to those around you in relationship, there is a strong sense that this Full Moon is more about realizing your own unique sense of your Self outside of the influences and opinions of those around you.  Augmenting the capacity to sense this Self-awareness in the emotional body is a grand water trine formed by Saturn in Scoprio, Mars in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces at the time of the Full Moon.

Astrologer Robert Hand has taught that a “high Saturn,” meaning a Saturn that is aligned with one’s soul and spiritual path, helps one become who one is meant to become through Self-acceptance of being set apart and different from consensus, status quo culture.  Saturn was seen by the ancients as having it’s joy in the 12th House because Saturn can embrace alienation and lead one like a hermit to see things completely differently than the dominant culture attempting to shape public opinion to match it’s own.  We can receive insight at this Full Moon of what past thought patterns we need to now release in order to help us foster our developing new vision for our future.  We will then need to hold fast to our sense of Self-realization, as we will likely be confronted with tests and challenges that will require us to solidly embody our new perspective instead of repressing it due to a need to fit in and find agreement with others.  It is important to feel Self-acceptance at this time that it is perfectly fine that you may appear “weird” or “different” from others, like an alien from another planetary system.

Ganymede: Aquarius and Leo

Ganymede (1874) by Gabriel Ferrier

Myth of Ganymede

Ganymede to some sources is the Water Bearer of the sign of Aquarius, a beautiful young man with whom Zeus was so enamored that he swooped down in the form of an eagle in order to seize for his own.  In contrast to the myth of Persephone in which Hades pulls the goddess into the underworld, in the myth of Ganymede the coveted youth is pulled upward with ascension into the heavens.  Zeus gives Ganymede the role of cup bearer, the one who serves the nectar that keeps the gods and goddesses immortal, until Hera’s complaints lead to Ganymede being placed in the stars as the constellation of Aquarius.  Among other meanings, since ancient times this myth has been seen as representing the phenomenon of Spirit ascending from the body.  In modern times, we can further link this meaning into feelings of disassociation that Aquarius can struggle with and which could also come for us at the time of this Full Moon.

Jason Holley is a good friend of mine and brilliant astrologer who presented material on the Ganymede myth in relation to the polarity between Aquarius and Leo at the 2015 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC), integrating the modern rulership of Aquarius by Uranus used in systems such as evolutionary astrology.  His talk was entitled “Aquarius/Leo – The Journey from Fragmentation to Wholeness,” and in it he explored themes associated with the myth of Ganymedes such as the split between innocence and experience, the split between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and disruptions of psycho-spiritual development that can occur as a result.  Relevant to this Full Moon in Aquarius with the Sun in Leo, Jason described the sign of the Lion in association with concepts such as heart, magnetism, coherence, center, creation, appearance, unity, and now;  in contrast, he described the sign of the Water Bearer in association with concepts such as brain, electricity, interruption, decentering, deconstruction, disappearance, multiplicity, and the past and future.  He then showed how a growth cycle of rupture and repair can come out of the meaning of the polarity between Aquarius and Leo.

To Holley, the stable system of self brought into coherence by Leo becomes decentered by triggering material associated with Uranus that activates the more nonlinear, invisible field of multiplicity and leads to two potential paths:  (1) achieving the challenge of expressing and integrating the new insights into Self, expanding our Self-concept while we continue to embody our Self-identity, or (2) a shattering or splitting off from our psyche parts of our Self that we feel like our environment and culture are not receptive to us embodying and integrating fully into our Self-concept. If we experience the second path of feeling so ruptured that we can not embody our new sense of consciousness, we can experience disembodiment, disassociation, depersonalization, abstraction, over intellectualization, and difficulty experiencing full connection with others.  Along these lines we can feel great anger at the world for not accepting us, and engage in patterns of avoidance, regression, and escape.  However, if we are instead able to repair this rupture, Holley explained that we are able to achieve an experience of greater wholeness, an activation of transcendent functions, and an eagerness to re-enter into the world around us with an openness to possibilities that leads us to have new experiences.

In connection with these ideas, it is further important to realize the significance of Uranus in Aries recently stationing retrograde at the same time that Venus stationed retrograde, and that Uranus is in range of a conjunction with Eris in Aries, a trine with Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and a squares with Mars in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn.  Jason Holley further explained in his talk that being consumed by Ganymedes, not unlike the concept of the puer aeturnus, can lead one to prefer idealized worlds in favor of the actual world one is inhabiting, becoming lost in endless potentials and rejecting anything that takes form, also only sustaining contact with others dependent upon them having the same shared reality system.  The current transit of Venus retrograde can hopefully be seized to help with integration if we notice we are becoming too split off from reality like Ganymedes.  Instead of splitting off fragmented parts of yourself from the world around you, you can use the transformational energy of the Venus retrograde to work on integrating and embodying the parts of you that seem vastly different from the consensus around you, with full Self-acceptance of parts of your consciousness that seem to be expanding beyond the norms of the consensus.  The Venus retrograde transit can then become an appropriate healing space to work on re-entering society and the world with your full Self in order have new experiences of greater wholeness.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius I Decan

The Aquarius I decan holding this week’s Full Moon is ruled by Venus, further linking it strongly into the Venus retrograde transit and the corresponding shifting of tastes and values on individual and collective levels away from previous societal norms.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that Aquarius I “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” and that a lot of images in older texts “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside” (p. 226).  In the image of the 5 of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.  Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227).  In this way, the image of the 5 of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society, though also bringing the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self.  Coppock concluded:

In this face we gather what we can from outside the norm. The frontier of any reality system is hard- there is a reason it extends no further.  Though exile from the core always comes with hardship, there are material, intellectual and spiritual riches on the frontier, but to seek them requires a break with the known. As a spiritual tool, this decan points towards what one gains from stepping outside of the self. Herein is the sweetness and peace which exists above the muddy tumult of life- the satellite’s view of the world is always beautiful, no matter how hellish the situation below. (p.228)

As we take in the insights we receive from this Aquarius Full Moon into a tumultuous week ahead that features Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio and then being in a last quarter square to Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury in Leo, keep in mind that the Venus retrograde transit holds the potential to take you into a space of greater authenticity that is more in tune with your inner truth than the version of truth propagated in surrounding culture.  Saturn stationed direct in a last quarter square with Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury is going to facilitate a process of clearing out all of the old thought forms that are no longer serving you with great finality through the swing of Saturn’s scythe.

Aquarius Full Moon

References

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

Lunar Eclipse in Libra

August_2007_Lunar_Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse of August 28, 2007 courtesy of wikipedia

A Moon the red of roses will appear on April 4, 2015 for those living in view of the Lunar Eclipse in Libra (regions of East Asia, Western North America, Australia, New Zealand).  The Full Moon will be conjunct it’s own North Node in the Venusian sign of Libra, causing the Sun’s light to cast a shadow of our Earth across the Moon’s face, changing it’s normally milky white color into a blood red hue.  The Sun will be conjunct the South Node of the Moon, Mercury, as well as Uranus in Aries, and so this Lunar Eclipse is the final activator of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have been occurring since June of 2012.  Potential meaning of this Lunar Eclipse connects with the dramatic red color of it’s visual appearance, as the Rubedo (aka Red) stage in the alchemical process signifies the Great Work:  in the synthesis of Carl Jung, this translates as the union of the ego and the Self, the discovery of wholeness and our true nature.

Yet, similar to the Phoenix being a symbol of the Rubedo stage, the merging of our personality with our Soul is not an easy experience, but rather the result of a foray through intense heat that brings us renewal only after we have confronted our shadow. In the extreme polarity of our experience we gain the capacity for Self-actualization that can be guided from within, as we discover that the false has been burned off and our essential remains.  We have now entered the first quarter square phase between Pluto and Uranus that will last for years to come, and this Lunar Eclipse marks a Rubedo phase passage in relation to the seven previous squares that initiated us into this active phase between Pluto and Uranus that calls for us to take meaningful, purposive action. Since the Moon is covered in shadow during a lunar eclipse, it can have a similar symbolic meaning to the renewal of the Rubedo stage because it portends an opportunity to respond to our life from a new sense of presence that is free of our past patterns and conditioning.

Full Moons are extreme in quality and can be both a high of illumination as well as a low of a breakdown, yet the vibrational magnitude of our experience is more heightened at a lunar eclipse than at a full moon.  In The Lunation Cycle, Dane Rudhyar wrote that if one has been focused on growth and liberation from past patterns in the waxing Moon time period leading up to a Full Moon, one will experience the “fulfillment, illumination, or revelation” of receiving a new message in “clear, objective consciousness,” and that as “some new factor is given a high valuation,” consequently “an old value is either altogether repudiated or placed under a new light in contrast to the new realization” (p. 29).  From this change one can re-orient one’s life in accordance with the true purpose one is finding in life.  However, Rudhyar also warned that if one has been mired in tentative and negative behavior leading up to the Full Moon, resisting growth and refusing to break free from past patterns needing release, the polarity between the Sun and Moon can be too much to hold for the personality and both “destructive organic conflict” as well as “a mental dilemma of which no integrating solution appears possible” will occur (p. 30).  The fact that this Lunar Eclipse sets off the Pluto and Uranus square amplifies the meaning behind these points made by Rudhyar.

With the Sun, Uranus, and Mercury all conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries and set off by the polarity of the Lunar Eclipse, growth comes in connection with our past karmic and unconscious issues related to Aries.  For astrological guidance, analyze the house placement and aspects made by eight to seventeen degrees of Aries in your chart, as these nine degrees hold the transiting Mercury, Sun, Uranus, and the South Node of the Moon.  There are old personal patterns and identities related to these unconscious,karmic issues that are now ready to be purged and released.  Resisting the release of this outdated and heavy personal baggage could bring on the tipping point of a catastrophic loss or crisis that will force a letting go in the aftermath of this Libra Lunar Eclipse.  With all of these planets in Aries, a sign of instinctive initiation, we can feel the fire of wanting the changes we sense to manifest for us immediately, or impulsively desire to step into our new vision we have for our life as quickly as possible.  Yet there are still many steps to come in the process of integrating all of the new changes that have happened during the past three or four years of the Uranus and Pluto squares, and even the form we ultimately create will be fluid and continuing to change.  It is also vital to realize that Venus in Taurus is the ruler of this Libra Lunar Eclipse, and so sustaining patient, unrelenting, and grounded focus on going step-by-step toward our envisioned new life will be the most effective course of action to take.

Although this is a particularly potent lunar eclipse, it is worth remembering that we experience a lunar eclipse every six months, and so twice a year.  Our last lunar eclipse on October 8, 2014 (Moon at 16° Aries) was exactly opposite the April 4 eclipse (the Moon of the 10/08/14 eclipse was conjunct the Sun of the 04/04/15 eclipse), and the lunar eclipse that occurred a year ago in Libra on April 15, 2014 (Moon at 26° Libra) was an incredibly powerful one that created a Cardinal Grand Cross involving the Pluto and Uranus square as well as Jupiter in Cancer and Mars in Libra.  Going even further back, the first Aries-Libra lunar eclipse in this series occurred on October 18, 2013 with the Moon at 26° of Aries.  This series of lunar eclipses have been extraordinary in the change and liberation they have coincided with in our lives:  think back to where you were on 10/18/2013,  04/15/2014, and 10/08/2014 and compare it with where you stand today.  The impact of each eclipse is far-reaching, the manifestation of change not always immediately felt.  On a personal level for me, the pivotal change and ideal vision I felt within reach at the lunar eclipse of April 2014 has still today not completely materialized, yet it is also still clearly in process of materializing and it’s impact on my life has only deepened.

Félix_Vallotton_-_Sonnenuntergang,_orangefarbener_Himmel

Sunset, Orange Sky (1910) by Felix Vallotton

Venus rules this Lunar Eclipse in her home, the sign of Taurus.  As the Moon is in the relational sign of Libra, the entry point into the mystery found in this potent lunation is through discovering the interplay between our inner relationship and it’s manifestation in our outer relationships.  Instead of allowing external opinions to dictate how you feel on an inner level, connect with your personal essence as free as possible from outside conditioning and radiate this nature outwardly.  Venus continues to be a resplendent Evening Star dazzling us with her light every evening at Sunset, so taking time to honor her with our purest intentions of heart will be auspicious.  When we absorb ourselves in the moment, such as in blissfully savoring the light of Venus in a darkened sky, we are in a space free of our past limitations of thought.  It’s not like all of your past troubles are going to go away at the stroke of the Libra Full Moon turning ecliptic red, yet the type of extraordinary shifts and unexpected change that can follow the wake of a lunar eclipse stem from the concept that our ties to our past conditioning can be severed in the ecliptic light of the lunation.

The potential of liberation in this particular Libra Lunar Eclipse is magnified by the fact that the Moon is opposite Uranus, and that the Sun, Mercury, and the South Node of the Moon are also all conjunct Uranus, the transpersonal  planet of breakthroughs in deconditioning. Indeed, there is a Grand Fire Trine around the time of the lunar eclipse between Mercury in Aries, Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, and a Jupiter in Leo that is beginning to station direct.  Jupiter in Leo is also in trine to Uranus, the Sun, and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and is in sextile to the North Node of the Moon and the Full Moon eclipse in Libra.  With a Lunar Eclipse opposite Uranus, in square to Pluto, with Mercury moving fast in Aries within the rays of the Sun, we could experience accelerated thought difficult to logically organize and communicate.  The more we can creatively respond in the flow of the events we experience, without getting caught up in the need to be rational, the better we can work with the blazing Mercurial potential of the moment.  Saturn now settled into it’s retrograde movement in Sagittarius is further drawing us into removing layer after layer of past conditioning of societal belief, and with Mercury in Aries in trine to Saturn, and Jupiter in Leo stationing direct in trine to Uranus,  a liberated image of our future Self can appear to guide us forward.

These incredibly activated Aries aspects defiantly stare into the Libra mirror of the Lunar Eclipse, driving us to boldly assert our desire toward personal growth instead of repressing our evolution in order to fit in with the expectations of relationships.  I recently read an interview of Robert Hand in The Mountain Astrologer (Oct/Nov 2014 issue) in which he explained spiritual evolution as manifesting our authenticity, and in which he also referenced an idea from the Renaissance astrologer Marsilio Ficino that Saturn can become beneficial for us when we divorce ourselves from “ordinary reality.”  Aligning ourselves with an alternative reality from the status quo social conditioning surrounding us that allows us to manifest our authenticity is a message of this lunar eclipse, but does not mean we should neglect the needs of our relationships in favor of our own personal needs.  Ideally, we can strike a better balance toward focusing on mutual growth in our relationships and constructing scenarios in which we give ourselves the freedom to pursue our authentic growth while also honoring the unique need for growth of others with whom we are in relation.

When we open our perception to aspects beyond the traditional planets, we will notice that Ceres will have freshly entered Aquarius at the time of the lunar eclipse and will be in opposition to Juno in Leo.  Ceres in Aquarius can help turn the face of our relationships toward collective needs of our wider community, instead of becoming wrapped up in overdramatic interpersonal dynamics with others.  If we can hold the polarity of Ceres in Aquarius to Juno in Leo, we can bring a liberating energy into our relationships allowing ourselves to both express ourselves more freely while also connecting with the wider humanitarian needs of our local and global community.  An Aquarian Ceres facing a Leo Juno can also bring opportunities to transmute interpersonal dynamics with others into creative expression that can not only impact our wider community but also help foster alliances with others of like mind and ideals.  Through the portal of this eclipse we will feel an augmented emphasis to engage relationships that connect with our future growth and shed the relationships that align with our past patterns we are in process of releasing.

moonlight-1895

Moonlight (1895) by Felix Vallotton

Libra signifies balance, but we only know and recognize balance through the experience of imbalance. Thus the lessons of Libra involve extremities of emotions and feeling a lack of harmony in order for us to gain the capacity to bring things into balance and ultimately create greater harmony around us.  The moment of the Libra Lunar Eclipse will shift our self-absorption toward recognizing the needs of others in our environment and what aspects of our perception and behavior could be adjusted accordingly.  With the Sun applying to a conjunction with Uranus in Aries, and a square to Pluto in Capricorn, a large aspect of self-realization could revolve around issues of control in our relationships.  The Cancer polarity point to Pluto in Capricorn that does not hold a transiting planet, yet is also in square to the Libra Lunar Eclipse, signifies the emotional security issues that are the deep well from which our grasping for control in relationships arise.  In accordance with these emotional security issues, it is important that the ruler of the lunar eclipse is a Venus in Taurus that is separating from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn, while at the same time Mars is at the beginning of Taurus and beginning to move into range of a trine with Pluto.  All together these aspects call us within to love ourselves with compassion and to attend to the needs of our bodies and our most cherished inner values.  Through attending to our own inner needs, we lose the desperate co-dependent desire for someone else to “fix” us.

In relationships, there can be the tendency for our projections of romantic ideals to lead us into relationships that ultimately bring shattering disillusionment.  It isn’t even always that the image of our ideal is incorrect, but rather that we want it so badly that we blur our perception to the extremity that we see it where it does not actually exist for us.  In other cases, we realize in the end that the romantic ideal we allowed to guide us was more of a socially conditioned concept from our culture than a genuinely intrinsic desire.  Sometimes it takes repeating experiences of projection and disillusionment over and over again, along similar lines of projection, before we finally learn our lesson and develop the discernment to focus on a romantic partner or intimate friend who will be able to listen to and accept us as we essentially are in the evolving moment.  When we let go of the need to control others, or manipulate ourselves in a way that we think will please others, we allow for the relationships that will naturally support us to emerge more freely.  Venus and Mars in Taurus want to feel pleasure and want us to sustain the partnerships and friendships that will bring us internal fulfillment.

vallotton la mer

La Mer by Felix Vallotton

In The Lunation Cycle Dane Rudhyar defined the waning period of the Moon as the phase in which we receive the “creative meaning” of the cycle (p. 31).  In the week following the lunar eclipse that leads to the last quarter square phase, there are two extraordinary astrological moments to pay attention to that will influence our reception of the creative meaning of the lunar eclipse:  Jupiter stationing direct in Leo on April 8, and the superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Aries on April 9, 2015.

Jupiter has been retrograde in Leo since December 8, 2014 when it stationed retrograde at 23° of Leo.  Look in your birth chart for the aspects contained within twenty-three to twelve degrees of Leo to discern how this retrograde journey of Jupiter has impacted you.  When Jupiter goes retrograde we are pulled toward discovery of our personal truth in contrast to the “truth” propagated by the dominant cultural beliefs surrounding us.  What have you realized about yourself since the beginning of December?  What essential lesson about your personal nature have you learned? Crucially, there is an extraordinary aspect about the zodiac degree where Jupiter is stationing direct to integrate, as Jupiter will be stationing conjunct the North Node of Neptune.  As the North Node of Neptune remains stable at the beginning of the second decan of Leo, the times that Jupiter moves through Leo and becomes conjunct this point along our ecliptic are moments to seize for profound creative actualization.  In the context of receiving the creative meaning of the Libra Lunar Eclipse, Jupiter stationing on the North Node of Neptune gives us an opportunity to integrate all of the deep unconscious energy we are releasing into creative expression and self-actualization.  This is yet another astrological reason to center within and ask yourself what you would want your life to be like if you could remove all of the barriers and obstacles that social conditioning has placed around you.  Whatever image or feeling emerges from this process of contemplation, look around yourself and find whatever resources and opportunities are available to move in this direction in whatever way that you can.  In September 2014 Jupiter was last conjunct the North Node of Neptune in Leo, and it will not be here again for roughly another twelve years so this is truly a time to take advantage of for liberated thought and action.

The very next day following Jupiter stationing direct in Leo, Mercury will merge into the heart of the Sun at it’s Superior Conjunction, this time occurring in Aries at twenty degrees.  In Pacific Standard Time, the exact moment of Mercury’s superior conjunction will be at 9:00 pm on April 9, 2015.  Fitting for a waning Moon in Sagittarius that can facilitate comprehension of the creative meaning of a super charged Libra Lunar Eclipse, the superior conjunction of Mercury in Aries is like a blazing meteor of thought and a moment to tap into cosmic mind.  As Demetra George has taught, at the superior conjunction of Mercury we can feel overloaded with a lot of information to digest and assimilate, yet if we can avoid feeling overwhelmed there is great potential for insights of genius.  Be open at this time to receive new thoughts and ideas and a transformed perspective on your life.  There is a stunning synchronicity in Mercury stepping into this role of magical facilitator, as last April 2014 when we experienced a powerful Libra Lunar Eclipse as well as a Cardinal Grand Square, Mercury also passed through a superior conjunction in the waning Moon phase following the lunar eclipse (April 25, 2014 at 6° Taurus).  In Aries, Mercury will be able to help us receive a liberated message of inspiration from this pivotal Lunar Eclipse in Libra.

LibraLunarEclipseWRIGC1

References

Rudhyar, Dane. (1982). The Lunation Cycle. Aurora Press.

Taurus Full Moon

full moon etching claude mellan

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

The Jupiter and Uranus Cycle

harlequin-at-a-table-1919

Harlequin at a Table by Juan Gris (1919)

  • Jupiter in Leo trine Uranus in Aries at 15 degrees on September 25, 2014.
    • Grand Fire Trine of Mars in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries: from October 1 through October 15, 2014 between the degrees of 12 and 21 in the Fire signs. This is with about a two degree orb for Mars with either Jupiter or Uranus.
    • Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries will again trine March 3, 2015 at 14°35′. Jupiter will be retrograde.
    • Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries will again trine on June 22, 2015 at 20°03′.
  • Jupiter in Cancer square Uranus in Aries included the Cardinal Cross of April 2014 with Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Cancer, and Mars in Libra. Actual dates:
    • Jupiter in Cancer was square Uranus in Aries on August 21, 2013 at 12°04′ with Uranus retrograde.
    • February 26, 2014 at 10°33′ with Jupiter retrograde as Mercury was stationing direct.
    • April 20, 2014 at 13°34′ of Aries and Cancer.
  • The current Jupiter and Uranus cycle began in 2010, when Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at the zero degree Aries point and at the end of Pisces:
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 0°18′ Aries on June 8, 2010.
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 28°43′ Pisces on September 19, 2010. Both Jupiter and Uranus were retrograde at this time.
    • Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct at 27°02′ Pisces on January 4, 2011.
  • The previous Jupiter and Uranus cycle began on February 5, 1997 at 5°53′ Aquarius.
    • The opposition point of this cycle was on August 30, 2003 with Jupiter at zero degrees of Virgo and Uranus retrograde at zero degrees of Pisces.

The cycle and interplay between Jupiter and Uranus connects us with transformative breakthroughs in thoughts, behaviors, and events that can feel unsettling and liberating.  Here the word “transformative” is not used lightly, as Uranus is force that can enflame Jupiter beyond the boundaries of Saturn to grasp insight unavailable in our former framework. Now is a time to light your creative fire from within, as Jupiter in Leo is entering a trine with Uranus in Aries and unfolding a revelatory opportunity for a new vision of our purpose in life.  As the next month develops we will have an especially potent fire to cultivate as Mars in Sagittarius will create a Grand Fire Trine with Jupiter and Uranus.  Things may get steamy, as this fire trine will occur within the dense atmosphere of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio.

To Dane Rudhyar, Jupiter is the soulful function of our purpose within the form of our Saturn structure.  Removing patriarchal religion associations, in this way Jupiter is like our High Priestess receiving, managing, and initiating within the boundaries of Saturn as our Great Mother.  Jupiter organizes the chaos within the structure of our consciousness through love and yearning, through our senses and feelings, through our intuition and imagination.  Jupiter helps us integrate what the external world has to offer that will contribute to our inner structure, just as Jupiter needs the same protective structure of Saturn in order to operate within.

Rudhyar astutely cautioned that “the inertia of Saturn always tries to pull back to old forms and to old techniques the Jupiterian flights toward the beyond and the vaster wholeness,” and yet it takes strong Saturnian walls bolstered by Jupiter to prevent us from becoming overwhelmed and lost by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, archetypes that Rudhyar called the “messengers of the beyond.”  Though Jupiter in this upcoming time period will not reach an exact square with Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter is only six degrees away from a square and closing now, evoking the crisis of consciousness that can come when Jupiter urges us to breakthrough the gates of Saturn to an immense beyond:

Often it is said of Jupiter that he is the polar opposite of Saturn. This however is true only insofar as Jupiter represents a trend of development that leads in the opposite direction from that of the Saturn process. But Jupiter operates always in terms of Saturn’s prior determination of the form of the being. Saturn contracts, while Jupiter expands. But what Jupiter expands is that to which Saturn gave form. A small sphere may expand into a large sphere; yet it remains always a sphere. . . The basic form thereof is not changed by the Jupiterian action, even though its outer shape may be distorted or distended as it expands. Jupiter cannot change radically the structure set by Saturn. It can only “modify” its outer appearance and the quality and balance of the organic forces which operate within that structure.

Uranus, on the contrary, deliberately and directly challenges Saturn’s power: its exclusivism, its particularity, its rigidity. It “pierces through” Saturn and throws upon the inside walls of the conscious ego images of the more universal and freer world which extends outside of these walls. Thus a two-fold operation: the piercing through — then the projection of images. The first phase may manifest in many ways; perhaps through slow stages of progressive thinning out of the Saturnian shells — so that these become finally like translucent window-panes through which the consciousness centered within the shells may behold vistas of the beyond. In other cases, the Uranian action is sharp and explosive. It bores, through the walls of the ego, holes, telescopes, microscopes, channels through which the “flashes of intuition”, the “inspiration of genius”, may suddenly reveal themselves to the Saturn-bound consciousness. Then there is also the most general process, to which the most vivid and convincing of our dreams bear witness.

–Dane Rudhyar, Uranus- Master of Transformations

Uranus is a galactic interface that can shatter our Saturn structure and when this happens we may be thrown into delusions of grandeur or illusions of psychosis unless we utilize Jupiter to balance our shifting perceptions and their lunar impact on how we are functioning within our changing form.  As Dane Rudhyar imagined, “where the walls of consciousness are strong, the Jupiterian urge opens the gates, that caravans loaded with Uranian gifts from the farther lands may enter.”  While the trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries is happening in the next month, we will have a Mercury retrograde phase occur from the beginning of Scorpio back into the middle of Libra.  This will create potential for us to go deep within and integrate the wild perceptions entering our mind through a more symbolic approach resonant with the dreams of our psyche.

On a global level, our personal epiphanies will be happening within the whole of the paradigm shifts associated with the first quarter square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  Leading up to December 15, 2014, we will experience a ripening of the sixth out of the seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto (look to twelve to thirteen degrees of the cardinal signs in your chart to see how you can be dramatically impacted by this transit).  In Cosmos and Psyche Richard Tarnas spent years thoroughly researching cycles of world events associated not only with the catalytic cycle between Uranus and Pluto, but also the intermediary cycle between Uranus and Jupiter that appeared to inspire creative actualization and liberation within the far-reaching cycles Uranus has with Neptune and Pluto:

In world transits, the cyclical alignments of Jupiter and Uranus correlated consistently with condensed waves of celebrated milestones of creative or emancipatory activity across many fields.  The conjunction of the two planets occurs approximately every fourteen years. During each of these, as well as during the intervening oppositions, decisive crests of remarkably synchronous breakthroughs and innovations appeared to take place within a brief period of time in many areas of human activity.  The evidence suggested that the continuing long-term cultural developments that we saw associated with the longer Uranus-Pluto cycle (and with other longer outer planet cycles . . . such as Uranus-Neptune) consistently burst forth in a more frequent cyclical efflorescence in coincidence with the Jupiter-Uranus alignments.  These cyclical waves of creative and emancipatory cultural activity occurred either as intervening crests between the longer, less frequent Uranus-Pluto alignments or as climactic moments during or just after the period of the longer alignment.”

–Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 294

As the Jupiter and Uranus cycle can be an emancipatory one, being emancipatory necessitates oppressive conditions one must liberate oneself from in the first place.  On the global stage, we do not need to listen to current events broadcast from any source for very long without hearing about tragedy of the most oppressive nature.  In the context of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, we are not at one of it’s “peak” periods like the conjunction that occurred in 2010, or the square that began occurring a year ago and lasted through this past May.  This past April, the astrology world was abuzz with warnings regarding the Cardinal Cross that formed with squares between Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter, and Mars, and while many chaotic and traumatic events occurred at that time, events continued to develop with greater severity as Mars crossed into Scorpio and across the scythe of Saturn.

Now, with Mars in Sagittarius and approaching a grand fire trine with Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, it is time to reclaim our sense of will from wherever we have realized we lost it or gave it away to someone or something else.  Now we can envision our future free from the obstacles we have allowed to restrict our intensifying growth, and take the risk to seize the moment in pursuit of our deepest passions and sense of what will bring our entire being alive with electrical life.

Creation_Prometheus_Louvre_Ma445

Creation of humanity by Prometheus as Athena looks on (3rd century AD)

Richard Tarnas has previously established a strong archetypal link between Uranus and Prometheus.  In myth, Prometheus is a Titan who initially supported Zeus (Jupiter) in his revolution against Cronus and the ruling Titans, only to become a trickster foil to the power grabbing strategies of a Zeus who grew into a tyrannical power not unlike the Cronus he had overthrown.  This trickster energy of Prometheus was directed to help liberate the humans Zeus could delight in controlling through manipulation, since in creation stories Prometheus was the artist who manifested the human race out of clay.  The fact that Prometheus ultimately stole the fire that Zeus was attempting to withhold in order to empower humanity with this flaming resource, can be seen in the emancipatory archetypal force generated by the Jupiter and Uranus cycle.  To Richard Tarnas, in the interplay between Jupiter and Uranus in their cycle, we can discover “Jupiter’s principle of expansion and growth supporting the Promethean impulse of new beginnings” (p. 300).

Indeed, in the many folds of myth Prometheus not only created humans and gave them the gift of fire, he has also been said to be humanity’s benefactor of the arts of civilization such as writing, mathematics, science, agriculture, and medicine.  In the Platonic view that a high esteem for justice is vital in order to manage civilization, we can see how significant the etymology of Prometheus was to their culture:  the Greek pro meaning before, combined with manthano meaning intelligence, forged together with the suffix -eus to create a symbolic meaning of forethinker or foresight. This meaning is in contrast to the twin of Prometheus named Epimetheus, who was associated with hindsight and being an after thinker because he tended to think about events after the fact, or lacked the ability to successfully strategize action beforehand.  In contrast, Prometheus had the ability to not only strategize action in advance, but to successfully strike back at the oppressive powers in control in order to create a liberating impact.

While this dynamic ability to think of how to create radical change can lead one operating with the Promethean impulse to become impassioned with peak experiences, it can also lead one to suffer the consequences of enraging the power structure, just as Zeus attempted to not only punish but torture Prometheus for eternity.  Yet this is the nature of the trickster and the romantic hero who is willing to risk all for their ideal, their true love and calling, no matter the consequences.  When Jupiter and Uranus come together in their cycle it can not only give one courage to pursue their ideal, it can also correlate to times in which one’s perception is opened to receiving a message showing how the ideal will be achieved. This is the sudden flash of insight famous throughout history, like the story of Nikola Tesla seeing an image of a waterfall as a young boy and becoming filled with the knowing that he would one day figure out how to harness its power as electricity, as he did decades later.

It is worth remembering that while astrologers have known about the planet Uranus for a few centuries now, in the expanse of astrology’s history it has been a relatively short time of existence.   Richard Tarnas found through his exhaustive research into historical patterns correlating with the Uranus cycle that it’s nature was similar to Prometheus because it encompasses “sudden radical change, creative breakthroughs, rebellion against constraints and the status quo, the impulse for freedom and the new, sudden openings and awakenings, a tendency to constellate the unexpected and disruptive” (p. 294).  In contrast, thought regarding Jupiter stretches back as far as the entire expanse of time astrology has existed within.  Richard Tarnas gave a brilliant synopsis of Jupiter’s meaning in the context of it’s more ancient use in astrology in Cosmos and Psyche:

As with the other planets known to the ancients, the archetypal significance of the planet Jupiter seems to have been established in the earliest origins of the classical astrological tradition. Linked with specific qualities of the corresponding mythic figures- the Greek deity Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods, the Babylonian Marduk, the Roman Jupiter- it received as well certain symbolic amplifications that emerged in the various contributing traditions:  Platonic, Hermetic, Arabic, and Renaissance. Throughout this historical development, Jupiter has been associated with the principle of expansion and magnitude, providence and plenitude, liberality, elevation and ascendancy, and with the tendency to experience growth and progress, success, honor, good fortune, abundance, aggrandizement, prodigality, excess and inflation.  It also has a frequent association with the realm and aspirations of culture, especially high culture:  high principle, higher learning, breadth of knowledge, liberal education, cultured erudition, a wide and encompassing vision. In general, it seems to impel a movement towards encompassing greater wholes and enlarging one’s world, embracing higher principles of order, higher orders of magnitude, broader horizons of experience (p. 294).

Combined with Uranus, we can see how this expansion toward a greater whole and a higher order of magnitude may appear on the surface as paradoxical when linked to the shattering change wrought by Uranus that can feel like chaos or the dismantling of an old secure order or framework.  Yet this is the necessary urge for creation and change underlying our reality, and the change brought by Jupiter and Uranus take us beyond our previous restricted worldview into a new reality giving us goosebumps with the surge of electricity available from the new surroundings. We realize that our previous conception of the greater whole was a minuscule fraction of our potential existence, and a more expansive whole holding our radically shifting perceptions emerges.

Dove of the Inner Eye by Morris Graves (1941)

For a different perspective on Uranus, in the evolutionary astrology taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green Uranus is the long-term memory mind of our soul- meaning not just all of the memories from our own lifetime beyond the ones we consciously remember this moment, but also all of the memories from all of the past incarnations of our soul. Green explained this is similar to how we do not even consciously remember every single thing that happened to us yesterday, and our long-term memory becomes even more imprecise every following day, week, year, and decade.  Yet those memories are still there held by Uranus, and a memory we had forgotten can suddenly come like a bolt of Uranian lightning into our consciousness. This phenomenon also accounts for why some people can suddenly feel like they are remembering something that has to do with a past incarnation of their soul.

It is primarily our Saturn, our structure of consciousness, that to Green filters out these soul memories covering immense periods of time, so as not to overwhelm us.  As we have all collectively through ages experienced great trauma in past incarnations, this also serves a purpose of protecting us, yet there can also be a phenomenon wherein parts of us freeze as a result of unprocessed and unresolved traumatic soul memories.  Thus we can have a feeling like being struck by lightning by a moment that triggers a deep soul memory- yet this triggering can lead to an awareness that can ultimately liberate us in the true Uranian way.

In his recently revised and re-published Uranus: Freedom from the Known, Jeff Green analyzed the meaning of a natal Uranus in Aries that has some resonance with the current transit of Uranus through Aries:

Mental trauma can occur to these individuals because of an inability to accept physically, psychologically or karmically prescribed limitations that create the effect of blocking them  from achieving their inner sense of special destiny, of not being able to do anything or everything that they feel they could do. Typically, these individuals have a “superhuman” complex that requires circumstantial restraint in order to realign the ego into a state of balance or equality with other individuals. The natural power of leadership and breaking new ground exists within these people, yet they must learn how to integrate this capacity within the “system” as currently defined so that these intrinsic abilities can be actualized. (p. 91)

This natal interpretation of Uranus in Aries to me fits the current transit of Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn, as we are all being confronted with how we can manage to integrate the ideal vision we have for our life into the current reality of the power structure, such as economic and political conditions in our surroundings.  Jupiter in Leo in trine to Uranus in Aries, with Mars in Sagittarius forming a Grand Fire Trine in the next month, is a perfect time to embody the heart of the lion and push past the fears we have had of not being able to manifest our vision in our current circumstances.  For some of us this may look like dynamic outward action, for others this may be an intense inner journey opening immense new worlds within: no matter the method, we must also be aware that we are only one of many in our collective, with a vision as important but no more important than anyone else’s dream.  We will need to discern what aspects of our ideal we can compromise to fit into the current system while maintaining the essential meaning of purpose.

A further interesting aspect of the current first quarter trine phase between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, is that Jupiter in Leo is conjunct the North Node of Neptune.  I recently saw a talk given by astrologer Mark Jones in Seattle in which he expressed his feeling that the North Node of Neptune correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  This is a worthy idea, and one of the possible meanings found within this fiery vastness.  With Jupiter conjunct the North Node of Neptune, and Uranus in Aries in trine, with Mars in Sagittarius also coming in for a trine, the entire evolutionary trajectory of Neptune will be electrified in the next month.  This is another sign of a beautiful opportunity to seize for creative visualization and corresponding action.

And so a trinity of fire unfolds before us, with an individuating force beckoning creative actualization. As we sense our collective history of trauma and tyranny in world events, and from within feel how we judge and tyrannize our own personal power, we gain the awareness necessary to light the spark that will burn it all down into ash.  Purified, what do you want to create?  What do you believe has been holding you back? What if it were no longer there? Who would you be? What would you do? Who are you now?  What will you do?

References

Green, Jeff. (2014). Uranus: Freedom from the Known. The School of Evolutionary Astrology.

Rudhyar, Dane. Jupiter: Organizer of Functions.

Rudhyar, Dane. Uranus:  Master of Transformations.

Tarnas, Richard. (2006). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Wikipedia. Prometheus.

Super Pisces Full Moon

Morris-Graves-1941-The-Moon-The-Sea

Morris Graves, The Moon and the Sea (1941)

The Full Moon on September 8 is another Super Moon, meaning that the Moon will be as close to Earth as it gets in orbit, appearing larger in our sky, having a more extreme impact on the tides of our water, and looming larger in our consciousness as well (the term Super Moon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle and can refer to either a New Moon or Full Moon).  This Pisces Full Moon is also the traditional Harvest Moon in the northern hemisphere, meaning it is the Full Moon closest to the Autumn Equinox.  This is the fifth and final Super Moon of 2014, and the third “Super” Full Moon in a row (July 12 and August 10, 2014 were also Full Super Moons): a time to reap insights from this past year of experiences before we head into the eclipse season of October 2014.

This Full Moon will be stirring up the lunar waters of our emotions and perceptions in the second decan of Pisces (there are three decans, ten degrees each, in the thirty degrees of each sign in the zodiac).  In the recently published 36 Faces, Austin Coppock discerned a core concept of Pisces II: integrating into our material realm the spiritual insights and ideals found in the seeker’s plunge into the deep:

Here the central concept is how to reconcile one’s understandings of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is. It is thus a face of finding harmony with apparent reality of things while living and embodying one’s ideals . . . This is the phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are. The result of this successful reconciliation is “Happiness,” which the associated Nine of Cups takes as its name in The Book of Thoth. The result of an inability to reconcile one with the other, will, however, yield the inverse- misery, the state of one for whom there is no harmony between their inner and outer (p. 251-52).

During 2014 we have had many transits correlating to a greater capacity to go within and explore the subterranean world of our unconscious, our deep-set patterns, and all the gems and ghosts within our psyche.  If we have done the hard work of connecting to our true ideals we may feel shocked when re-entering the world at large and not sensing an outlet or receiver for the cherished beliefs we unearthed, the vision resonate with our more fully realized self.  A Super Moon illuminating the polarity of the Pisces and Virgo axis in the Pisces II decan is like wading out of the ocean under a starry sky ablaze with the glow of a luminous white Moon, feeling aglow with an inexpressible sense of pure being as we take our first steps onto moist sand that turns drier with each step back toward land and away from water.

As the insights into the divine or the eternal we received in our oceanic sojourn are essentially inexpressible or impossible to be captured in a true form, the importance at this time is what we do exactly with the presence we have felt within and how we integrate what we have sensed of the profound into our mundane daily reality.  If we deny ourselves our blissful yearning, if we choose to focus on the realistic, secure, and safe direction instead of risking faith in the unknown beckoning us from our depths, we run the risk of living an unfulfilled life that no level of material security may remedy.  And yet this is the crux of this potent lunation, as the Virgo to the Pisces going on wants us to integrate what we have managed to perceive beyond the boundaries of our consensus societal reality into this same society whose folly we can see through.

Jupiter is a key at this time to help us intuit how to function in our world, as Jupiter is a ruler of the second decan of Pisces in addition to ruling the sign of Pisces traditionally.  Jupiter is in Leo at the time of the Harvest Full Moon, and this fiery Jupiter that wants us to creatively actualize our destiny is holding intense aspects to two mythic figures rooted in harvest equinox time:  Pluto and Ceres.  As a result, we likely have attachments that we will have to release, crippling inner fears that must be made aware to be overcome.  There could be a sacrificial element in all of this in which we must willingly or unwillingly release what is no longer useful to the future that is calling us forward, to which we feel we must surrender.

Neptune and Amphitrite

Amphitrite and Neptune, 16th Century French, Lead

Many modern astrologers believe that Neptune in Pisces, and not Jupiter in Leo, is ruling this Full Moon. No matter what your astrological belief, however, Neptune in Pisces looms large at this time, as Venus in Virgo is opposite it.  In fact, Neptune in Pisces has been integral to the entire waxing Moon we have been experiencing, as the last New Moon in Virgo was opposite Neptune.  While Neptune enjoys itself in Pisces, Venus has not been known to have such a rollicking time in Virgo and in fact has been given the label of being in its “fall” in Virgo.  This is because Virgo is seen as a mental sign of critical discrimination that may not be open to all of the pleasure that Venus has to offer.  But while Virgo may be seen by some as too judgmental and too much of a perfectionist for the good of Venus, we also find here in the fertile Virgin the ultimate spiritual receptacle capable of receiving the full expanse of the illumination available at this time.

Venus in Virgo opposite Neptune in Pisces at a time of the Sun in Virgo being opposite a Pisces Moon of great gravity brings with it the issue of reality versus illusion, and spiritual discernment versus spiritual delusion.   Everything depends upon the quality of one’s consciousness at this time and one’s capacities of perception:  some could experience an epiphany whereas others could find themselves lost in a fog of illusion.   Going within, getting away from the associations overwhelming your everyday reality, re-connecting with your source inside of yourself, all of these are ways to help you figure out what is really brewing in between your gut, heart, and mind.  Venus in Virgo can help us with discernment, but we also do not want to discriminate to such a degree that we cut ourselves off from desires connected to us getting more in touch with our authentic self because of a judgmental sense that these desires are not realistic, practical, or capable of manifesting for us in our reality at this time.  This is tricky terrain with no easy answers, so do not take the easy way out.  Connecting with your authentic nature, actualizing more of your core calling, is not only good for you, it is good for all of us.

Along these lines this intensity between Virgo and Pisces is amplified to the highest extremes by Chiron in Pisces being conjunct the Full Moon and opposite the Virgo Sun. In combination with Venus in Virgo opposing Neptune in Pisces, there is an electrical charge to the atmosphere at this time instigating flashes of insight into the entire collective story swirling around all of us, including not only the full arch of this epic storyline across time but also how exactly we are fitting into it in this moment of now.  Yes, Chiron is associated with wounds and we may have a gaping wound of our psyche exposed at this time. Yes, Chiron is associated with unflinching heroism, and we may seize the opportunity to take a courageous stand against the sickening oppression saturating our collective.  Yes, Chiron is associated with healing, and we may suddenly notice something in our environment at this time that is the exact remedy capable of nurturing our needs or injuries.  It may be an overplayed storyline that we are all connected but it is nonetheless true, and we can now more easily feel the inter-connectivity of all and the resulting significance of every daily choice we make contributing at least a small ripple to the wider tides.

amaranth by leo kenney

Amaranth by Leo Kenny

If one opens perception to the asteroid goddesses, there is a Grand Water Trine occurring at this Full Moon between Juno in Cancer, Saturn conjunct Vesta in Scorpio, and the Full Moon conjunct Chiron in Pisces.  This triangular circuit is a mainline into the undercurrents and emotional atmosphere of our surroundings and beyond into the greater collective consciousness of this time.  As there has been a lot of darkness and despair in current events, it would be wise to focus on self-care to purify and nourish our sense of self so that negativity around us does not lead us to turn it on ourselves.  It will please Juno to withdraw for a time in order to develop a greater capacity to return to relationships with a renewed ability to nurture, and Vesta collaborating with Saturn in Scorpio is not going to want us to be in denial of where our focus truly needs to be directed at this time.  All together these aspects align well with the earlier stated intent of this Full Moon in Pisces being about integrating our ideals in some way into our environment.  If we cut ourselves off from our ideal, from that cherished person, desire, or belief that makes us feel alive, these same aspects could make us spin out in despair. We need to use the supreme sustaining power of Vesta and Saturn in Scorpio to find a way to bring our dreams into our reality in whatever way we can right now.

A fortuitous ally in this pursuit will be Pallas Athena, who is joining her supreme creative intelligence with Mercury in the sign of Libra.  This Pallas Athena-Mercury conjunction has a lot of aspects at this Full Moon:  opposite Uranus in Aries, square Pluto in Capricorn, sextile Jupiter in Leo, opposite the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  Mercury and Venus are having somewhat of an affair at this time, as they are in the mutual receptivity of Venus being in the sign ruled by Mercury and Mercury being in the sign ruled by Venus.  Add in the crafty Pallas Athena to the equation and we have a mix that can help us strategize a creative use of our spiritual perceptions, as both Mercury and Pallas Athena can perceive in between worlds.  Since the material world may seem to be operating on a more distasteful wavelength than the vibe of our desired vision, we may need to be assertively evoke Pallas Athena to preside over the manifestation of our ideal:

Female and male, the arts of war are thine,
Fanatic, much-formed dragoness, divine:
Over the Phlegrean giants, roused to ire,
Thy coursers driving, with destruction dire.
Sprung from the head of Jove, of splendid mien,
Purger of evils, all-victorious queen.
Hear me, O Goddess, when to thee I pray,
With supplicating voice both night and day,
And in my latest hour, give peace and health,
Propitious times, and necessary wealth,
And, ever present, be thy votaries aid,
O, much implored, art’s parent, blue-eyed maid.

–from the Orphic Hymn to the Goddess Athena

http://www.goddess-athena.org/Encyclopedia/Rituals/Hymns/Orphic.htm

We will need Pallas Athena to lend all of her dynamic power to a Mercury in Libra that can move between worlds to unite us with our beloved in the form of a Venus in Virgo receiving emanations from Neptune, because we must face the crisis and catharsis associated with Pluto in Capricorn.  For many of us this is the power structure surrounding us and the constraints and impositions of hierarchical societal systems that do not seem to be open to us pursuing our yearnings and instead seem to want to enslave us through needs to pay off debts, rents, bills, and so on.  Coming in for additional support, however, are a couple of heavyweights who know how to handle Pluto:  Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries.  At the time of the Full Moon, Jupiter and Uranus are beginning to enter a trine of Fire, and though Mercury, Pallas Athena, and Uranus are all square to Pluto, the Sun and Full Moon hold harmonious aspects to the Lord of the Underworld.  All together these are yet another sign that we can have the ability at this time to ignite ourselves from within and configure a way to integrate more of our ideals into our reality.

morris graves offering

Offering by Morris Graves, 1957

All of the Scorpio energy in recent times seems to be heavy on the hearts of many: Ceres, Vesta, Saturn, and Mars all in Scorpio, with Ceres tightly in a square to Jupiter in Leo at the moment.  Jupiter is also inconjunct Pluto in Capricorn, and so our desire to integrate our ideals or insights into our society at this time will be difficult, it will mean we have to release attachments and suffer losses, but it is entirely possible.  There has been a piercing quality to this energy making it difficult if not impossible to be in denial of our core feelings or hide from the truth being revealed about the identity for ourselves we have been fixated upon.  However, Mars is now entering the end of the final decan of Scorpio, giving us a final period of time to root ourselves further into our deepest soul desires.  The more we can connect with our authentic desires with the aid of this luminous Full Moon, the better, for Mars next enters Sagittarius and by the end of September we will have a Grand Fire Trine of Mars in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, and Jupiter in Leo to propel us forward with passion toward our ideal.

So much Scorpio energy could have been coinciding with fears of betrayal or being betrayed, grasping and clinging to attachments we are afraid we could lose.  And yet, in Scorpio we also find our capacity to release and regenerate, to enter a death of our old ego identity in order to rebirth a more fully realized self. For now, remember that dark times are necessary in order to fully savor the light, we must become aware of our fears to overcome our inner inhibitions, and we have to realize what we do not want in order to know what we do want.  And if you allow me to insert yet another cliche here, we are at a reaping time: so don’t fear the reaper.

PiscesFullMoonWRIGC1

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces. Three Hands Press.

Aries and Individuation

the-birth-of-aphrodite-by-sandro-botticelli

The Birth of Archetypes

In Botticelli’masterwork The Birth of Venus we can sense the initiatory impulse of Aries:  a Goddess arising out of an oceanic expanse, naked and primal, radiant and yet revealing an inclination to slightly cover up her exposed beauty.  Or perhaps that slight insecurity is coming from the woman rushing in to cloth her, a woman who seemingly is from consensus culture because she seems to be frantically attempting to uphold the consensus rule that a woman should not be revealing her full glorious form so openly in public.  In popular astrology we are familiar with linking the sign of Aries with the sort of bravado that could lead one to skinny dipping in public, but the deeper astrological symbolism of the sign links it with the courage necessary to fully individuate ourselves, open ourselves to exposing our pure Soul and living our True Path in the world, despite influences of societal conditioning that would have us conform to consensus expectations of behavior rooted in the past and present.  In this way Aries is linked to the initial impulse to emerge in the process of Individuation developed by Carl Jung, a transformative process in which we develop an identity of our true Self through integrating different elements of our psyche into a functioning whole and holistically healing ourselves as a result.

The image of The Birth of Venus is reflected in the Sabian Symbol for the very first degree of the zodiac, the first degree of Aries:  “A woman just risen from the sea” who is embraced by a seal, and represents the “Emergence of new forms and of the potentiality of consciousness” (Rudyar, p.49).  Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Mandala works with the Sabian Symbols originally written about by Marc Edmund Jones, re-interpreting them as an American I-Ching in which there is a symbolic image and description for every one of the 360 degrees of the zodiac, “considered as a cyclic and structured series which formalizes and reveals the archetypal meaning of 360 basic phases of human experience” (Rudhyar, p.5).  Rudhyar gives this analysis of the first degree of Aries:

This is the first of the 360 phases of a universal and multi-level cyclic process which aims at the actualization of a particular set of potentialities.  These potentialities, in the Sabian symbols, refer to the development of man’s individualized consciousness- the consciousness of being an individual person with a place and function (a “destiny”) in the planetary organism of the Earth, and in a particular type of human society and culture.

To be individually conscious means to emerge out of the sea of generic and collective consciousness- which to the emerged mind appears to be unconsciousness.  Such an emergence is the primary event.  It is the result of some basic action:  a leaving behind, an emerging from a womb or matrix, here symbolized by the sea (p. 49-50).

In Evolutionary Astrology taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, the cardinal archetypes like Aries have an energy of two steps forward, one step back.  This new initiation of energy that is prone to reenacting past patterns at the same time, can be found in the first Sabian Symbol of Aries in the form of the seal who is embracing the woman who has emerged from the sea.  According to Rudhyar, the seal symbolizes a “regressive step” since it is a creature of the ocean clinging to the woman attempting to emerge from the deep water.  Rudhyar illustrated this symbol as a representation that “every emergent process at first is susceptible to failure,” and that when initiating new changes we become surrounded by memories and “the ghosts of past failures during previous cycles,” and in danger of falling prey to “regressive fear or insecurity” (p. 50).  In the painting The Birth of Venus by Botticelli above, we can see this sense of insecurity even in the Goddess Venus herself, as she feels a need to slightly begin to cover herself.   However, this is exactly why the strong “impulse to be” of Aries is so important, to propel us forward into birthing our true selves into the world through actualizing new choices more aligned with our true desires, a sense of self that is not limited by past negative thought patterns or restrictive habits of behavior, and that carries the courage necessary to break free from outside expectations.

In Esoteric Astrology, Aries is directly linked to the idea of birthing new archetypal ideas into collective consciousness.  Alice Bailey in Esoteric Astrology described Aries as the “searchlight of the Logos” and the  “Light of Life Itself . . . where the Will of God is known” (p. 329-30).  Alan Oken expanded on this idea  in his  Soul Centered Astrology by claiming that this “initiating focus” of Aries makes it “the birthplace of ideas, according to the Ancient Wisdom Teachings, as all of manifestation has its beginnings as Divine Ideas” (p. 162).  Oken explained that Mercury is the esoteric ruler of Aries because “Aries is the fiery channel that provides for mercury’s expression, allowing for the birthing of a true Idea coming from the Mind of God . . . a spiritual impulse taking form” (p. 165).  In this way, Oken described  Mercury as linking “the Higher Mind with the lower so that the inner realization of one’s place in the Plan of Life may be recognized and then, through the use of applied logic, externalized” into the lower realms of our personality (p. 162-3). This esoteric view of Mercury is similar to the Hermes of ancient myth who was capable of crossing back and forth between the thresholds of the underworld and the upperworld.

Uranus being the higher octave of Mercury, and Uranus being in Aries and being triggered by numerous intense transits recently, it would seem we are in a period of time in which new archetypal ideas could be entering our collective consciousness.  On March 28, 2013 there were several incredibly potent conjunctions in Aries:  the Sun and Venus at 8 degrees of Aries, Venus and Uranus at 9 degrees of Aries, and the Sun conjunct Uranus at 9 degrees of Aries.  In addition, Venus, Uranus, and the Sun were also conjunct Mars within an approximate orb of four degrees.  Since this stellium conjunction also happened to be in orb of a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and also happened to form a yod with Jupiter in Gemini pointing to Saturn in Scorpio, the week of Easter this year has been fertile with fateful astrological energy.  If you lack extensive knowledge of astrology and do not really understand the significance of the astrological transits I just mentioned, just know that if ever Aries could be linked to the idea of birthing new forms of archetypes in our collective consciousness, this would clearly be the time.  At the time of this writing we still remain with the vortex of incredible Aries energy, as Venus at the moment is headed for her cyclic two year or so conjunction with Mars, which will happen on April 6 at 20 degrees of Aries, here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The term “archetypes” at this point in the history of astrology is usually tossed around by writers without reflecting upon the origins of the word, which in published authorship can be traced to one Carl Jung.  In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas explained that it was in part through his research on synchroncities that “Jung came to regard archetypes as expressions not only of a collective unconscious shared by all human beings but also of a larger matrix of being and meaning that informs and encompasses both the physical world and the  human psyche” (p. 82-3).  Tarnas goes on to explain that he believes astrology primarily effects our lives as humans through an archetypal process, noting that while “the original Jungian archetypes were primarily considered to be the basic formal principles of the human psyche, the original Platonic archetypes were regarded as the essential principles of reality itself, rooted in the very nature of the cosmos . . . Integrating these two views (much as Jung began to do in his final years under the influence of synchronicities), contemporary astrology suggest that archetypes possess a reality that is both objective and subjective, one that informs both outer cosmos and inner human psyche, ‘as above, so below'” (p. 85-6).

Recently, I have felt compelled to read some of Jung’s own original writing regarding archetypes and how he came to describe them.  In his book Man and His Symbols, Carl Jung criticized the connotation of the term “archaic remnants” created by Freud to describe dream imagery evoking ancient myths because it suggested that they were psychic unconscious elements collected by the conscious mind like a trash can.  Instead, Jung argued that his term “archetypes” carried the meaning that instead of being lifeless “remnants,” that these archetypal associations and images “are an integral part of the unconscious, and can be observed everywhere,” and that they “form a bridge between the ways in which we consciously express our thoughts and a more primitive, more colorful and pictorial form . . . that appeals directly to feeling and emotion” (p. 47-49).  Jung believed that archetypal images and associations connect our “rational world of consciousness” with our “world of instinct” (p. 49).

My views about the “archaic remnants,” which I call “archetypes” or “primordial images,” have been constantly criticized by people who lack a sufficient knowledge of the psychology of dreams and of mythology. The term “archetype” is often misunderstood as meaning certain definite mythological images or motifs. But these are nothing more than conscious representations; it would be absurd to assume that such variable representations could be inherited.

The archetype is a tendency to form such representations of a motif- representations that can vary a great deal in detail without losing their basic pattern.  There are, for instance, many representations of the motif of the hostile brethren, but the motif itself remains the same. . . .

Here I must clarify the relation between instincts and archetypes:  what we properly call instincts are physiological urges, and are perceived by the senses.  But at the same time, they also manifest themselves in fantasies and often reveal their presence only by symbolic images.  These manifestations are what I call the archetypes.  They are without known origin; and they reproduce themselves in any time or in any part of the world- even where transmission by direct descent or “cross fertilization” through migration must be ruled out.  (p.67-69)

–Carl Jung from Man and His Symbols (1964)

Thus according to the man who coined the term “archetypes,” they are not in fact locked in to rigid definitions or classifications, but are indeed open to being birthed into new representations like the Esoteric Astrology interpretation of Aries, as long as they retain their basic pattern.  In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas highlights the “factor of human co-creative participation” in contemporary astrology, and how “planetary archetypes . . . not only endure as timeless universals but are also co-creatively enacted and recursively affected through human participation” (p.86).  Tarnas emphasized that planetary archetypes “must be formulated not as literal concretely definable entities but rather as dynamic potentialities and essences of meaning that cannot be localized or restricted to a specific dimension,” and so archetypes should be “evoked” instead of “defined,” and are “better conveyed through a wide range of examples that collectively illustrate and suggest the enduring intangible essense that is variously inflected through the archetype’s diverse embodiments” (p. 89).

Fittingly enough, I had the opportunity to hear Alan Oken speak for the first time on Easter Sunday of 2012 at the NORWAC astrology convention here in the Pacific Northwest.  He spoke of the ancient battle between Kronus or Saturn, one who is frightened of the timeless and wants to create finite strucutres, and Ouranos or Uranus, one who wants to break finite structures up.  He referenced the mythology of The Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli, describing how when Saturn castrated his father Uranus, the Sky God who was the father of the archetypes, he threw his testes into the oceanic realm of Poseidon or Neptune, creating a fertile matrix in the process that gave birth to Aphrodite or Venus.  Oken said as the father of the archetypes, Uranus breathes new creative fields and has no more powerful place than its current residence in Aries, as new ideas will pour into the collective consciousness.  This influx of new images and insights, Oken elaborated, is due to the fact that Uranus individuates and is the place of the unexpected where you do not follow the norm.  Like I previously mentioned, the link between Uranus, Aries, and Individuation is fascinating from an esoteric perspective since Mercury rules Aries in Esoteric Astrology, and Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury.  With these dynamic descriptions of archetypes in mind, and in consideration of the intense Aries focalizing of energy at this time in the form of the Sun, Venus, Uranus and Mars, the time appears to be ripe to individuate a new sense of the archetypes for ourselves that can likewise be integrated into the greater collective consciousness.  For example, in our modern astrological context, we tend to view Saturn as being the representation of consensus rules, regulations, and expectations of behavior.  What this consensus reality looks like is constantly shifting in modern times, with each new generation ascending with all of its myriad fractals of individuation occurring inside.  In Evolutionary Astrology and other teachings, Uranus carries an energy of collective trauma that can be seen in the myth by Uranus being castrated by Saturn, while also carrying an unstoppable energy of individuation as a result of overcoming the societal conditioning of Saturn, as seen in this castration giving birth to the radiant Goddess Venus.  How each of us interprets this myth in our own time, the specific images that may come to mind as representations, will vary widely and will be shifting with time.  However, the basic pattern remains nonetheless.

800px-Sidney_Hall,_Aries_and_Musca_Borealis,_1825

Individuation

The archetype of Aries has been linked with individuation in many works of astrological literature.  In Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul,  Jeffrey Wolf Green describes the evolved Aries archetype as having the “intrinsic courage and capacity to break new ground in whatever aspect of life that they apply themselves to, and can give courage to others to do the same thing” (p. 51).  Green describes people with Pluto in Aries or the First House as sensing that they have a “special destiny on a very instinctual basis,” and that as a result they desire to have the “freedom and independence to initiate and fulfill any desire or experience they deem necessary, because experience is the vehicle through which they discover or become who and what they are” (p. 43).  Thus, in Evolutionary Astrology, Aries  embodies an instinctual “sense of personal self-discovery that is felt at every moment” (Green, p. 43).  Whether we have planets in Aries or not, when we follow our instinctual inner drive to fulfill our desires, we begin to set off on our own personal path toward individuation, much like the Fool in the tarot.

When terminology like “individuation” becomes so popular and commonplace in astrology and psychology that we talk and write about it like it is already understood by everyone in the same manner, it can be helpful to research the roots of the words and when it entered the mainstream of psychological literature.  In Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, Marie Louise von Franz wrote a series of articles brilliantly illuminating the definition and meaning of individuation.  Especially compelling to me is her use of a pine tree seed as a symbol for individuation, and how the totality of a full-grown pine tree lies latent within the being of the seed:

 The seed of a mountain pine contains the whole future tree in a latent form; but each seed falls at a certain time onto a particular place in which there are a number of special factors, such as the quality of the soil and the stones, the slope of the land, and its exposure to sun and wind. The latent totatlity of the pine in the seed reacts to these circumstances by avoiding the stones and inclining toward the sun, with the result that the tree’s growth is shaped.  Thus an individual pine slowly comes into existence, constituting the fulfillment of its totality, its emergence into the realm of reality.  Without the living tree, the image of the pine is only a possibility or an abstract idea.  Again, the realization of this uniqueness in the individual man is the goal of the process of individuation.

From one point of view this process takes place in man (as well as in every other living being) by itself and in the unconscious; it is a process by which man lives out his innate human nature.  Strictly speaking, however, the process of individuation is real only if the individual is aware of it and consciously makes a living connection with it.  We do not know whether the pine tree is aware of its own growth, whether it enjoys and suffers the different vicissitudes that shape it.  But man certainly is able to participate consciously in his development.  He even feels that from time to time, by making free decisions, he can cooperate actively with it.  This co-operation belongs to the process of individuation in the narrower sense of the word.

Man, however, experiences something that is not contained in our metaphor of the pine tree.  The individuation process is more than a coming to terms between the inborn germ of wholeness and the outer acts of fate.  Its subjective experience conveys the feeling that some supra-personal force is actively interfering in a creative way.  Once sometimes feels that the unconscious is leading the way in accordance with a secret design.  It is a as if something is looking at me, something that I do not see but that sees me-  perhaps that Great Man in the heart, who tells me his opinions about me by means of dreams.

But this creatively active aspect of the psychic nucleus can come into play only when the ego gets rid of all purposive and wishful aims and tries to get to a deeper, more basic form of existence.  The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth.  Many existentialist philosophers try to describe this state, but they go only as far as stripping off the illusions of consciousness:  they go right up to the door of the unconscious and then fail to open it (p. 162-163).

–Marie Louise von Franz, from Man and His Symbols 

Because of the dominance of popular astrology and the use of pop astrology stereotypes, for example associating an infantile, headstrong, or selfish egotist with the sign of Aries, people can make the mistake of assuming that Aries energy is meant to come off as pushy and aggressive.  Aries energy can be headstrong in the sense of being determined to follow an individuation process in the face of cultural pressure to conform, but the manner in which Aries energy can initiate this process can be more of a surrendering to one’s inner nature than a forceful assertion of one’s inner nature.  Again, in Man and His Symbols, Marie Louise von Franz uses the pine tree seed as an apt metaphor for this individuating process:

….in order to bring the individuation process into reality, one must surrender consciously to the power of the unconscious, instead of thinking in terms of what one should do, or of what is generally thought right, or of what usually happens. One must simply listen, in order to learn what the inner totality- the Self- wants one to do here and now in a particular situation.

Our attitude must be like of the mountain pine mentioned above: It does not get annoyed when its growth is obstructed by a stone, nor does it make plans about how to overcome the obstacles. It merely tries to feel whether it should grow more toward the left or the right, toward the slope or away from it. Like the tree, we should give in to this almost imperceptible, yet powerfully dominating, impulse- an impulse that comes from the urge toward unique, creative self-realization.  And this is a process in which one must repeatedly seek out and find something that is not yet known to anyone.  The guiding hints or impulses come, not from the ego, but from the totality of the psyche:  the Self.

It is, moreover, useless to cast furtive glances at the way someone else is developing, because each of us has a unique task of self-realization.  Although many human problems are similar, they are never identical.  All pine trees are very much alike (otherwise we should not recognize them as pines), yet none is exactly the same as another.  Because of these factors of sameness and difference, it is difficult to summarize the infinite variations of the process of individuation.  The fact is that each person has to do something different, something that is uniquely his own  (p. 162-164).

–Marie Louise von Franz, from Man and His Symbols

This idea of surrendering to the perhaps unconscious potential of the Self fits well with the current astrological time period and the acceleration of Aries energy occurring, having come after a time period with excessive astrological energy in Pisces.  The long Mercury retrograde in Pisces combined with Neptune, Chiron, Mars, Venus, the Moon, and the Sun all moving through Pisces may have coincided with us discovering at least a hint, if not a definitive calling, from our Soul purpose in the world, the latent potential of a glorious mountain pine tree that could grow from the seeds of our current thoughts and desires.

william blake angels appearing before shepherds

In ancient myths and spiritual texts such as the Bible, shepherds often receive divine messages, such as in the painting above by William Blake of angels appearing to shepherds.  The tending of sheep is important in all of the Abraham faiths, since Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, and Muhammad were all shepherds.  In his Complete Astrology, Alan Oken noted that the symbol of Aries, the ram, was always the sacficial animal in ancient works such as the Golden Fleece and Moses.  Moreover, Oken cites the fact that many believe that “Moses, the leader of the Exodus, was born under the sign of Aries” (p.59).   As the Christian version of Easter occurs during the time of Aries, it is fitting that we are used to associating the image of the “Lamb of God” with Jesus of Nazareth.  Alan Oken in his Complete Astrology brilliantly analyzes this connection between Jesus and lambs with the individuating purpose of Aries individuals:

In the Christian ethic, Christ was known as the “Lamb of God.”  The crucifixion was symbolic of the ancient sacrificial rites in which a lamb or a ram was offered to the Deity.  Jesus used his physical body to represent the ego of Man (the lamb) on the altar of sacrifice (the cross, representing the nature of the material world).  Through His death and resurrection, Christ illustrated that man must transcend the desires of his personality so that he can gain admittance into the Kingdom of Heaven (conscious immortality in the Spirit).

Thus the Aries individual, although always seeking to express himself in some new aspect of the life experience, is often obliged to disregard his or her own personal desires in order to make a bright future for others.  He must give of his own life-energy so that Mankind may be recharged by the force of life which the Ram embodies (p. 60)

In this time of Easter, with a potent conjunction of Venus, the Sun, Uranus, and Mars all occurring in Aries (not to mention that this Aries stellium is square Capricorn Pluto and forms a yod with Jupiter in Gemini pointing toward Saturn in Scorpio), we can resurrect our true Self or Soul, our true Genius or Juno, however you want to describe it, but the soulful callings of our life purpose we can hear in the wind, which may have fallen dormant in years past, now is burning like the bush calling out to Moses, calling on us to liberate our true being from within and actualize our true Path in the World at this time.

Agnus Dei or “Lamb of God”

by Gabriel Fauré

References

Bailey, Alice. Esoteric Astrology.

Green, Jeff. (1984). Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul. Llewellyn.

Jung, Carl and M-L von Franz, Joseph Henderson, Jolande Jacobi, & Aniela Jaffe. (1964). Man and His Symbols. Aldus.

Oken, Alan (1980). Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology. Ibis.

Oken, Alan. (1990). Soul-Centered Astrology: a key to your expanding self.

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

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.