Venus Retrograde in Aries & Pisces

The steps I make all go backwards
while yours continue advancing
the arch of our alliances
has penetrated my nest
in all its colorful swagger
it’s taken a walk down my veins
and even the hardest of chains
that destiny uses to bind us
is like the finest of diamonds
that lights up my calm soul

What feeling can bring about
knowledge never could,
nor the clearest course of action
nor the grandest of all our thoughts.
Everything is changed by the moment
like an affable magician,
it sweetly steers us away
from bitterness and from violence
only love with its science
turns us into such innocence.

Love is a swirling whirlwind
of primal purity
even the wildest of animals
will whisper and trill its sweetness,
it stops pilgrims in their travels,
it liberates those imprisoned,
love, with the gentlest of touches,
turns the old (wo)man into a child
and only the most loving care
will turn bad into pure and sincere.

Chorus:
Gathering moss so the stone rolls
like a thick ivy on the wall
sprouting and sprouting so it grows
like tender moss covering stone
like tender moss on a stone ay sí sí sí.

— Violeta Parra, Volver a los 17 (translated by Heidi Fischbach)

Venus Retrograde in Aries

Aphrodite arose in sea foam following a violent revolution, born with eyes cerulean as the waves and body fully formed with fertility. She enchanted the eyes of onlookers with rapture and with each new step onto the earth created bright colored growth. The planet Venus in astrology has many significations we associate with the mythic Aphrodite, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, union, art, aesthetics, perfumed scents, and the luxuries that bring us feelings of comfort and elegance. The glyph of Venus is the circle of Spirit atop the cross of Matter, symbolizing the living soul and spirit found in all elements of our surrounding material world, and the capacity of our Venusian natures to give us an experience of heaven on earth.  In The Picatrix the anonymous magical author wrote “Venus is the source of the power of flavor” (p. 134), and in modern astrology we link Venus with the inner values which describe our attractions and how we choose to fulfill them within our myriad relationships.

When Venus goes retrograde, she returns to her mythic origins connected with active rebellion. During the Venus retrograde phase, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional space in which social norms can be loosened to allow for a deep reevaluation of how we are seeking to fulfill our needs. On a societal level, a realignment of power dynamics can occur within hierarchical structure as well as between the general populace and the ruling class.  Venus is of course not actually moving backwards during its retrograde phase, merely appearing to move backward through zodiac degree from our Earth bound perspective.  What is occurring is that Venus is orbiting in between our Earth and our Sun, as close in its orbit to Earth as it ever gets.  Perhaps it is the close proximity of Venus to Earth during her retrograde phase that makes it possible to shed old skin and liberate ourselves from old Venusian patterns in relationship.

Venus began her 2017 retrograde on March 4 in the home of Mars and exaltation of the Sun at 13°08′ Aries, and will end her retrograde in the exaltation of Venus and the home of Jupiter on April 15 at 26°54′ Pisces.  During the eight year synodic cycle of Venus, Venus goes retrograde five times, spending forty days each time in retrograde motion.  From 1961 through 2001, Venus was retrograde entirely in the sign of Aries, and beginning in 2009 Venus began to move into Pisces from Aries.  Venus will be retrograde in both Aries and Pisces from 2009 through 2057 every eight years.  Astrologer Nick Dagan Best has taught that during the 19th Century Venus went retrograde in the Venus signs of Taurus and Libra, while in the 20th Century Venus went retrograde in the Mars signs of Aries and Scorpio.

While Venus ultimately will station direct in Pisces, the build up to her retrograde motion as well as its first movement that leads to Venus being regenerated in the heart of the Sun occur with Venus in Aries. Venus is estranged in Aries due to it being the home of Mars, the planet that in our astrological tradition has held a place of symbolic polarity to the significations of Venus. Venus is not weak in Aries, and in fact has the strength of decan dignity in the final decan of Aries (20 – 30 degrees of Aries). Yet Venus inhabiting a Mars ruled sign leads her to look for Mars for guidance, and Mars is less about maintaining pleasing harmony and more about the sort of fiery passion that can enliven our deepest nature yet also cause separation or a test of mettle. Venus in Aries possesses a burning desire that can destroy all forms and patterns that had previously become crystallized within its hot ardor. Beauty and love can volatilize and destroy what was previously stable when falling under the torrential sway of Eros, and similarly Venus retrograde in Aries can dramatically reshape the landscape of our relational dynamics.

marlene-seven-cross-of-venus

The Cross Rose in the Garden of Venus (2016) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Venus retrograde creates a magical atmosphere that is highly structured, holding resonance with the golden mean found in the five petaled form of the rose and numerous forms of life. The Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite described her as “Crafty, from whom necessity [Ananke] first came,” and also noted that “The triple Fates [Moirai] are rule’d by thy decree.” Similarly, the synodic cycle of Venus is so consistent and regular that the retrograde phase of it’s cycle brings an air of destiny, fate, and necessity to events and encounters in our daily life. Venus only goes retrograde once every year and a half or so, five times in it’s eight year synodic cycle with the Sun- eight divided by five is 1.625 and so very close to the sacred 1.618 proportion associated with the golden mean. If you trace the points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper. As a result every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time.  These are the most recent Venus retrograde phases in Aries:

  • March 6, 2009 SR at 15°27′ Aries and SD on April 17, 2009 at 29°11′ Pisces
  • March 9, 2001 SR at 17°43′ Aries and SD on April 20, 2001 at 1°27′ Aries
  • March 11, 1993 SR at 20°01′ Aries and SD on April 22, 1993 at 3°44′ Aries

The current Venus retrograde is especially catalytic as it is bound within the re-activation of the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn by Jupiter in Libra.  Jupiter was retrograde in Libra when Venus stationed retrograde on March 4, having recently formed an exact opposition with Uranus in Aries.  The exact opposition between Jupiter and Uranus is one of the dominant archetypal themes in our collective this year, and the cycle between Jupiter and Uranus is known for coinciding with revolutions in politics (such as the American and French revolutions), science (Kepler and Galileo supporting the Copernican revolution; the development of quantum physics), the arts and all other fields of cultural exploration.  Jupiter in the outwardly directed home of Venus is looking to her for assistance, and with Venus co-present with Uranus in Aries for most of her retrograde period  there can be an acceleration of experimentation and innovation as well as heated conflict, discord, and outright warfare within our collective.

Venus first reached the degree and minute she will ultimately station direct at in Pisces (26°55′) on 30 January 2017, with Mars close by at two degrees of Aries.  During the month of February there was an epic build up to the retrograde with Venus burning brightly in the night sky as an Evening Star, getting closer and closer each night to Mars, also visible with its reddish hue against the black of night.  The passions of Venus and Mars together in the sky were further volatized by a Lunar Eclipse in Leo and a Solar Eclipse in Pisces that coincided with twists of fate bringing momentous change.  A lot of inspiration and excitement could have been experienced within these transits, with significant new shifts in relationships and projects launched.  Due to Venus and Mars separating during the transition into the Venus retrograde of March, however, there will be important inner work, reflection, and restructuring needed to be experienced before the full potential of the new endeavors of February will be fully realized.

When Venus stationed retrograde as a bright Evening Star on March 4, Mercury was conjoining Neptune in Pisces and Mars was separating from a conjunction with Uranus.  A couple days later, Mercury was purified and regenerated in the heart of the Sun in Pisces.  Altogether the transits surrounding the stationing retrograde of Venus in Aries brought extraordinary support for conception and envisioning groundbreaking and divinely inspired ideas, projects, and partnerships.  The empowering astrological climate also led to conflict among competing interests, for just as those in power attempted to consolidate holdings so did various protest moments find support to initiate bold and direct action to contest dominant powers.  Once Mars entered Taurus on March 9, the amplified martial energies became toned down somewhat with Mars inhabiting a sign with a more plodding and grounded rhythm.  Yet with Jupiter simultaneously moving retrograde away from an exact opposition with Uranus and toward an exact square with Pluto, the uproar of collective and personal conflicts and catharsis will continue.  On personal levels the best remedies will be to nurture oneself and loved ones and commit to inner work that clears out what is no longer serving one’s authentic path.

Vitally, it is during Venus retrograde that Venus shifts from being an Evening Star into becoming a Morning Star. Around March 18 or 19, Venus disappeared from the evening sky, becoming invisible in her underworld journey of falling into the heart of the Sun.  At the same time that Venus was making a disappearance in our night sky, Mercury was making an appearance and emerging again with a message as an Evening Star.  As Mercury united with Venus retrograde on March 18 and we then experienced the Aries Equinox on March 20 in which our Sun ascends across our celestial equator, we received a message of what to hold close to our hearts as we descended into a period of darkness in which Venus will not be visible to us until she emerges again as a Morning Star at the end of March.

okeeffe-red-flower-norton1

Red Flower (1919) Georgia O’Keeffe

Venus in the Heart of the Sun’s Exaltation

On March 25 we experience the moment in which Venus is exactly conjunct our Sun, orbiting in between our planet and our solar light.  Venus in the heart of the Sun is regenerated and in a place of power, seated on her fiery throne.  Aries is not only the home of Mars, it is also the exaltation of the Sun, and so the purification Venus will undergo while conjoining the Sun can burn away whatever needs to be shed from our past.  The Moon will be dark in Pisces and applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon as Venus conjoins the Sun, bringing an additional layer of purification especially in terms of old emotional complexes and patterns.  This inner union of Venus with the Sun is especially visionary in nature and most resonant for those able to have solitary time to reflect in silence.  The nonessential will be burned off while the essential will be illuminated by spirit fire, revealing what makes our heart beat most brightly.

The square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn is especially activated at the time of Venus entering the heart of the Sun, as Mercury will be separating from an opposition with Jupiter and applying to a conjunction with Uranus, while Jupiter will be retrograde and applying closely to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Meanwhile Mars in Taurus will be in a supportive relationship with Neptune in Pisces.  These aspects signify immense change erupting in the world around us, and opportunities to find our resonant place amongst the shifting.  This is a moment to enter into the mystery, being open to what is revealed about our inner nature and feelings and how they have been manifesting externally in our relationships.  It does not mean that partnerships and other commitments need to be ended, but it does mean we may gain insight into ways in which we need to modify the way we have been engaging within relationships.  With Venus alchemized by our Sun, we can gain awareness for our purest passions and who or what deserves us to prioritize as storylines morph in coming months.

Venus will emerge again in the shifting hues of the predawn sky at the end of March, solidifying her phase as a Morning Star in April.  Venus will be retrograde as a Morning Star in Pisces until April 15, and though Pisces is known as a sign of compassion, as a retrograde Morning Star the emotional flow and psychic sensitivity of Pisces can be directed by Venus to expose relational dynamics with others we need to adjust and reveal however we have been feeling out of balance with our deep nature.  The following is a translation by Samuel Noah Kramer and Diane Wolkstein of ancient Sumerian text regarding Innana as “The Lady of the Morning,” in other words Venus as a Morning Star:

Honored Counselor, Ornament of Heaven, Joy of An!
When sweet sleep has ended in the bedchamber,
You appear like bright daylight.

When all the lands and the people of Sumer assemble,
Those sleeping on the roofs and those sleeping by the walls,
Whey they sing your praises, bringing their concerns to you,
You study their words.

You render a cruel judgment against the evildoer;
You destroy the wicked.
You look with kindly eyes on the straightforward;
You give that one your blessing.

My Lady looks in sweet wonder from heaven.
The people of Sumer parade before the holy Inanna.
Inanna, the Lady of the Morning, is radiant.
I sing your praises, holy Inanna.
The Lady of the Morning is radiant on the horizon.

— “The Lady of the Morning” from Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gates of Paradise (2015) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Venus Station Direct in Pisces

Venus stations direct in Pisces on April 15 while conjoining Chiron and in square to Saturn.   Venus stationing direct at the 27th degree of Pisces is notable, for 27 degrees of Pisces is the exact exaltation degree of Venus.  Though this a potent degree for Venus to be at a standstill on, her ability to fully experience the abundance of her exaltation degree is altered significantly by her being conjunct Chiron and in square with Saturn.  Venus contained by Chiron and Saturn is not an easy experience, but rather one that will require work and discipline while overcoming a challenge, separation, or solitude in one form or another.  Yet by facing reality honestly without denial the stationing of Venus in aspect to Chiron and Saturn can connect us directly to our inner authority and bring awareness to the values, relationships, and work we are willing to give everything for against all odds or obstacles.  Going deep within we can find healing of wounds in need of resolution, as what we need to let go of from the past can become dissolved and washed away by the waters of Pisces.

While Pisces is the exaltation of Venus, it is also the inner home of Jupiter which brings added importance to the transit of Jupiter in Libra during the final phase of the Venus retrograde.  Venus in Pisces and Jupiter in Libra are in mutual generosity, and though they do not form a major sign based aspect they will nonetheless be looking to each other for support.  This period will be a pivotal turning point in the transit of Jupiter in Libra, and we will be able to gain valuable insight into the issues in need of tending in order to maximize what we can develop and expand through our creativity and relationships.  Venus in a challenging and catalyzing aspect with Saturn will force awareness to where we need to strengthen boundaries and further develop structures that will ultimately bolster our ability to manifest what we have been gestating through inner visions and active imagination.

There are a number of transits surrounding the stationing direct of Venus in Pisces that further shape symbolic meaning.  Venus in Pisces will be forming a harmonious sextile with Mars and Ceres in Taurus, while the Sun will be in union with Uranus in Aries.  The Moon will be in Sagittarius aligned with the true node of Black Moon Lilith, while Pluto will be beginning to station retrograde in range of a conjunction with Juno in Capricorn.  Talents that have been dormant can become reactivated and released, bringing opportunities to take risks in expressing more of our wholeness and authenticity.  Where we have felt judged and persecuted in the past may now reveal hidden gifts ready to be unearthed and expressed with confident assertiveness.  Though difficult feelings may coincide with the stationing of Venus direct, they ultimately will help guide us toward realizations of what we truly need and desire in relationship with others.

Most significantly, Mercury will station retrograde at 4°50′ of Taurus less than a week before Venus stations direct, meaning that Mercury and Venus will essentially be motionless from April 10 through April 15.  As the Venus retrograde began with Mercury moving direct into the heart of the Sun, there is an obvious connection and message to be found in the intersection of Venus and Mercury synodic cycles during March, April, and May.  This means that as we are reevaluating how we find pleasure and form relationship we are also reorienting the manner in which we translate and communicate meaning and make sense of our perceptions.  It also means that there will be a lot more changes, twists, and turns coming our way following the stationing direct of Venus.  Venus will leave its retrograde shadow zone on May 18, 2017 when it crosses back over 13’08 Aries.   At this time Mercury will likewise be close to leaving its own retrograde shadow zone.  By the time  Venus and Mercury have had their way with us at the end of May, we will have experienced vital purification and regeneration that will have prepared us to receive and create greater fulfillment within our relationships.

References

Fishbach, Heidi. (2014). Volver a los 17. A translation.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah. (1983).  Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her stories and hymns from Sumer. Harper & Row.

Advertisements

Aquarius New Moon

Crow Screen, Asian Art Museum

Japanese crow screen on display at Seattle Asian Art Museum

New Moon in Aquarius

It feels natural for children to build tree houses of secluded protection, build contained castles out of bedding, or discover a place of protected privacy away from external influences.  In between boundaries and borders of form a self contained light stirs and seeds illumination, guiding from within rather than from the expectations of others.  For many people time alone or with few intimates can feel so fruitful with freedom and insight it leads to an embrace of alienation from the collective consensus.  Yet an isolated hermit is capable of bearing waters of key messages and resources for those in need to receive, and so the dance of duality calls for a return to publicly share the meaning found on divergent paths.  The Aquarius New Moon this week supports finding balance between nurturing seclusion and braving the discord of disseminating meaning within consensus power structures to effect change and aid those struggling to find support.

The New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017 launches us into a catalytic month of eclipses, for the Full Moon that follows is a Lunar Eclipse in Leo which then releases into a Solar Eclipse in Pisces at the end of February.  All planets are direct and absorbed in costume and character, ready for the curtain to open on the unprecedented drama that will defy preconceived notions.  Fear may arise with recognition that anything can happen for good or ill, yet a grace of constant perseverance may be embraced that is wide awake to possibilities with careful attention to the small and necessary tasks of the present.  There is an activating gale in the blackness of the Aquarius Moon to harness into determined work and innovative collaboration.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn, a nesting for the New Moon which provides nourishing protection to guard against the toxicity of collective conditioning in order to center vision on radical intention.  From roots that tap into streams of past philosophies and arts, the outward branching of being in Aquarius discovers the future in synthesizing old strands of story and science with current influences and evidence.  Aquarius possesses the fortitude to be alone if necessary to be authentic, as well as the facility with networking to weave strong connections between reciprocal resonance across gulfs of time and space.  To make the most of Aquarius we need to embody our values and principles that do not align with the expectations of cultural conditioning, opening our heart to radiate full presence rather than detaching with disassociation. The Aquarius New Moon is opportune for prioritizing goals based upon intrinsic value rather than accord with societal norms.

de-chirico-the-anxious-journey

Giorgio de Chirico (1913) The Anxious Journey

Saturn in Sagittarius rules the Aquarius New Moon with its closest aspect being a separating square with Venus in Pisces and Chiron, linking now with 15 April 2017 when Venus will station direct following its retrograde in square to Saturn and in conjunction with Chiron.  Venus with Chiron in hard aspect to Saturn can open old wounds for catharsis as well as bring acute awareness to whether or not heartfelt desires are supported by structural foundations in our life.   The tension between Venus, Chiron, and Saturn can be transmuted into empowering exchanges with others or from one’s inner creative matrix.  This is not a temporary transit of passing influence, however, as its link to the upcoming Venus retrograde means that current events and issues will have a storyline that arcs into vital developments in mid April.   Because of the link between the New Moon, the upcoming eclipses, and the subsequent Venus retrograde, our current trajectory has events of immense magnitude on the horizon we have no way to currently account for. However, whatever we are receiving from current experiences can be used to reformulate and modify plans and strategies for the future, with the hard stress between Sagittarius and Pisces meaning that clarifying whatever is being stirred up within our emotional body can be used to realign intentions and goals to make more of an effective impact.

As the Moon waxes through its new moon phase in Aquarius, it will form harmonious aspects with Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn, providing support for objectifying thoughts and feelings rooted in practicality and a stark assessment of bare bones reality.  We can discern a path forward with a vision bound to immersion in the details of the present moment, keeping awareness attuned with both subtle and seismic shifts in our surroundings.  There is also extraordinary power within these aspects for collaboration with others of shared passion, and a rapid expansion of development within collective movements united by a shared cause can ensue. Those engaged in creative arts and sciences initiating or developing a project have support for experimenting with expansive and inventive work that can become more solidified in April when Venus stations direct in alignment with Chiron and Saturn.  The current astrological movement can facilitate ingenious breakthroughs that will only come once we are actively engaged in the process of work.

The sextile between Saturn and Jupiter in Libra as well as the trine between Saturn and Uranus in Aries signifies greater support for groundbreaking risks than normal for both individuals as well as consolidated power structures.  Those seeking to control civilization (Jupiter in Libra) always want the liberty (Uranus in Aries) to take what they want for their own benefit through conditioning the public with belief systems that justify (Saturn in Sagittarius) acts of oppression and coercion.  The recent eruptions of large scale social protests can become further enflamed and expanded within these astrological aspects, leading into inevitable clashes and confrontations with opposing forces equally intent on achieving objectives.  Within the clamoring of conflict, the Aquarius New Moon contains support for purifying thoughts and feelings from how collective influences have attempted to manipulate minds with fake news and alternative facts.  There is potent yang, outwardly directed force within the Aquarius New Moon for direct action, and so it is well worth the time to become as clear as possible about intentions and where to prioritize investment of energy.

alexei-savrasov-landscape-with-rainbow

Landscape with a Rainbow (1881) by Alexei Savrasov

Mercury in Capricorn has returned to unite with Pluto at the Aquarius New Moon, reaching the same degree of Capricorn it previously stationed retrograde on 19 December 2016.  As a result the storylines stemming from the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and mid December 2016 are now able to be more clearly understood, with events during the week leading into the New Moon sparking distillation of meaning. As the Moon waxes into the crescent bow of Artemis, Mercury will separate from Pluto and apply to a square with Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra.  Mercury will be sparking surprising change and revelation, unveiling what was previously hidden, and catalyzing effort from sharpened perception.  There will be massive conflicts and confrontations erupting in correspondence with these aspects and so careful awareness will be needed to discern how to most effectively participate and move with the flow of current.

rainbow-emblem-x

Emblem for Cum severitate lenites (Even in harshness there is mercy) by Henry Peacham (ca. 1610)

A cathartic drench is gathering in the air to finally release at the end of February in a Pisces Solar Eclipse united with the South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   The atmosphere of the Aquarius New Moon is saturated by premonition of the eclipses forthcoming in the month ahead, yet it is the celebrated calm before the storm offering a time to become grounded about goals and a plan for manifestation.  Mars is at the final degree of Pisces at the time of the Aquarius New Moon, empowered by the fact that both the final decan of Pisces as well as the first decan of Aries it is at the cusp of entering are both ruled by Mars.  Both Mars and Venus are Evening Stars, and their balsamic conjunction can be seen brightening the night void of any moonlight.  With Mars and Venus remaining within a hard aspect to the scythe of Saturn at the New Moon, we can gain sense for old relationship patterns we have been living from that no longer are working for us.  Adjustments to how we have been giving and receiving in relationship can be made, new attractions followed and initiated, but due to the upcoming Venus retrograde there is much more to be worked out in the close of the current cycle between Mars and Venus that will not be fully realized until October 2017 when Mars and Venus finally conjoin together in Virgo.

As the Moon waxes toward the Lunar Eclipse in Leo on February 10, Mars will enter its home sign of Aries  soon after the New Moon followed by Venus on February 3.  The shift of Mars and Venus from Pisces to Aries in the coming lunar cycle signifies a speeding up of experiences as well as an injection of amplified assertion to act from instinctual responses.  The influence of the impending eclipses activating the South Node of the Moon in Pisces bring release and purification as well as potential for profound disillusionment that can be quickly turned into angry reaction due to the movement of Mars and Venus into Aries.  The fire of Aries can be harnessed to fuel empowered responses to wherever we feel injustice and oppression are occurring, yet the Aquarius influence of the New Moon suggests discerning the choices for action that can best sustain impactful effort over the longterm rather than into eruptive outbursts that lead only to burn out.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Aquarius associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.   It is a strong individualistic image of resolute pride.  In the Thoth deck the Five of Swords card is called “Defeat” and features swords arranged in a downward pointing pentagram within frenetic, jagged lines.  Here the meaning of the Five of Swords links with negative thought patterns that keep us bound to old wounds or trapped in a self-defeating cycle.

In his book on the decans in astrology 36 Faces,  Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first face of Aquarius, describing it as a decan of purposefully living as an outsider in exile to conventional society.  Coppock linked the meaning of this face to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the traditions of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society.  Yet at the same time, leaving consensus culture opens the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self, as well as enables creative actualization aligned with spirituality more so than material rewards.

The first face of Aquarius is ruled by Venus, bringing further significance to the separating square between Venus and Saturn at the time of the New Moon.  While Venus in her exaltation of Pisces has been lauded for her desire for union and harmony, in truth Venusian decisions to choose one over another can create strife and brings a weight of necessity to the eccentric yearnings of Venus.  The New Moon in Aquarius invites us to discover the wisdom of unorthodox perspectives, values, and relationships yet requires awareness for how our actions and choices can cause separation with others.  The gift of Aquarius is its capacity not only to foster knowledge of essential truth that goes against the dictates of dominant culture, but to transmit meaning with heartfelt creative expression that can warm and empower others.  As Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Moon, Saturn, and Mars in Aquarius, once wrote:

The practice of artistic seeing first had to overcome itself to the point where even in the midst of what is terrible and apparently repulsive, it beholds only being that is valid along with everything else that is.  Just as the artist may not choose what he wants to behold, he may not turn his gaze away from any form of existence.  A single instance of refusal exiles him from the state of grace, and he becomes utterly sinful.

This act of lying-down-with-the-leper and sharing all-of-one’s-warmth, including the heat of one’s own heart during a night of love:  all of this must have been part of the artist’s life as an act of overcoming to reach his [her] new state of beatitude.  Behind this kind of devotion holiness begins with small things first:  the simple life of a love that has persisted and that has joined itself to everything alone, inconspicuously, and wordlessly without taking any pride in it.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Ulrich Baer

References

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2005). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer.

Venus in Pisces

Exaltation of Venus

Venus ingresses into Pisces on 12 March 2016, the sign of her exaltation.  The origins of the exaltation system are cloaked in mystery, with some believing they predate the rulership schemes of Hellenistic Astrology from the period of ancient Babylonian Astrology.  A planet in its exaltation is able to purely express its essential quality, as exaltations for planets are in signs in which the domicile ruler is supportive of its significations.  In the case of Venus, her exaltation is in Pisces, the inner home of Jupiter and its stabilizing presence which is in accord with the unifying nature of Venus.  Venus signifies harmony, aesthetics, music, art, pleasure, and relationship, and is able to reconcile that which has been previously separated.  In the inner, watery place of Pisces, Venus is able to express the full range of her boundless sensuality.  As this current ingress occurs in between eclipses, the transit of Venus in Pisces can help harmonize what has been stirred up by the recent Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces.

The exaltations occur at the turning points of the seasons, with the exaltation of Jupiter being in the solstice sign of Cancer, the exaltation of Mars being in the solstice sign of Capricorn, the exaltation of Saturn being in the equinox sign of Libra, and the exaltation of the Sun being in the equinox sign of Aries.  Venus has her exaltation in Pisces, the sign that transitions Winter into Spring in the northern hemisphere, Summer into Fall in the southern hemisphere.  In the northern hemisphere, this is the time of bright petals and flowery pastels beginning to emerge again from the earth.  As Robert Hand has taught, a planet being in its exaltation is not necessarily more beneficial, only that it has the support it needs to have its natural presence.  It follows that this current transit of Venus will be potent for syncretizing meaning through the creation of art, and can foster healing in relationships.

There is a serendipitous connection between the myths of Venus and her exaltation being in Pisces, as one version of the Pisces story is that the two fish of the constellation are the transmuted forms of Venus and her divine son Cupid.  Along the currents of the Euphrates River in ancient Mesopotamia, Venus and Cupid were fleeing in panic from the Typhon, the monstrous monster of all monsters and chaos unleashed by the Titans to destroy the usurping Olympians.  As the ravenous jaws of the Typhon descended to devour Venus and Cupid, they leapt into the river currents, becoming slippery fish able to evade the brutish beast.  This myth has been analyzed in connection to Pisces by many astrologers, including suggesting it reveals the escapist side of Pisces that chooses to blur reality in crisis. Essentially to me, it instead signifies the capacity of Pisces to turn inward into the depths of the unconscious, embrace the changing soulful nature of the material world, and regenerate and heal what has been fractured from within.

Pisces sextile Taurus

Another feature of the exaltations is that they form whole sign aspects to the domicile placement of the planet, sextiles for nocturnal planets and trines for diurnal planets.  For example, the exaltation of Jupiter in Cancer is in trine to its home in Pisces.  The exaltation of the Moon in Taurus is in sextile to its home in Cancer.  The exaltation of Saturn in Libra is in trine to its home in Aquarius.  The exaltation of Mars in Capricorn is in sextile to its home in Scorpio.  The exaltation of the Sun in Aries is in trine to its home in Leo.  With Venus, we find that her exaltation in Pisces is in sextile to her home in Taurus.  Venus signifies our full range of bodily senses and allows us to receive pleasure in nature and our material surroundings. The sextile between Pisces and Taurus brings up a vital essence of Pisces that is misunderstood by many.  It is common to hear people suggest that those with strong Pisces signatures prefer to live in a world of fantasy disconnected from the body, but this could  not be more wrong.  It is in fact essential for Pisces to feel the full sensual beauty of its inner visions in the body, on the skin and in the mundane movement through reality.

Venus is a magnetic force in astrology that brings elements together, attracts and binds us to what we feel in the depths of our Soul.  The chemistry between Pisces and Taurus is potent and has been known since the time of the ancients:  Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens, in Book One of his Anthologies, wrote that the sextile between Pisces and Taurus signifies that they are beholding signs, as Pisces beholds Taurus.  Whereas Taurus is fixed and can be stubborn, however, Pisces is mutable and adaptable to change. While it is vital for Pisces to feel its soulful connections in the body, if not in ideal circumstances Pisces also holds the capacity to not only envision a reality in which it may behold its soulful desires, but also alter reality to bring about manifestation of its deeply felt values and connections.  This is part of the magic between Taurus and Pisces and their ability to build forms together that satiate their deepest desires.

As Taurus is the inner home of Venus, the supportive sextile with Pisces supports an inner journey into our deepest recesses to discover our most authentic values and desires while Venus transits through Pisces.  As Pisces is mutable and capable of losing a sense of boundaries in relationship, to access the richest potential of Venus in Pisces means activating a deep internal exploration of the Self, rather than losing touch with one’s own values through the dynamics of external relationships with others.  This does not mean to avoid relationships with Venus in Pisces, but rather to open oneself to those relationships most aligned with our deeply felt sense of value, aesthetics, sensuality, and passion.  Venus in Pisces in this way holds the capacity to foster relationships most resonant with the Soul.

Venus + Jupiter

Since Pisces being the exaltation of Venus means that her significations are supported by the ruler of Pisces, it follows that Jupiter as the ruler of Pisces buttresses the manifestations of Venus with great aplomb, accord, and pure pleasure.  Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, and in this watery place we gain access to inner knowing, wisdom, and vision.  Pisces holds the resources Venus needs to take a dive into the unconscious and the inner world of dreams and visions, in order to reemerge with a regenerated sense of what we need to feel viscerally alive.

Crucially, the inner knowing of Jupiter that supports the exalted potential of Venus in Pisces relies upon the inner vision being sourced by the deep Self rather than from external conditioning influences.  Without attuning to one’s authentic inner values, Venus in Pisces can live out the desires received through reading a favorite book, watching a moving film, listening to an inspirational teacher, or being attracted to the presence of a lover.  By creating the space and time to go within and listen to one’s inner voice and calling, which sounds much easier than it actually is, Venus in Pisces can facilitate the formation of action, structures, alliances, friendships, and romances based upon the inner values and aesthetics of the Soul.

In the current transit of Venus through Pisces, we find Jupiter in Virgo, the sign of her Fall.  Venus in Virgo being in Fall does not portend disaster for all things Venus, only that Virgo is a place of significations which are not as supportive to the natural essentiality of Venus as Pisces. This goes with the idea that the rational, intellectual, analytical side of Virgo is not as supportive of Venusian expression of sensuality as is the watery, emotional, and heart-centered realm of Pisces.  Yet the Virgo ability to bridge body and mind in the moment holds resonance with the essence of Venus.  This capacity of Virgo for discernment in the moment is the place of focus to find how to utilize Jupiter’s journey in Virgo to support the passage of Venus through Pisces.  Grounding the inner knowing of Jupiter in the body, in the now, can help direct the pleasure principles of Venus toward what is most resonant for our Soul.

Current Transits

Venus will be in Pisces this time around from March 12 until April 5, 2016.  The transits Venus will make in this current pass are not easy or lighthearted, however, and instead portend challenging tests and trials to overcome.  At the same time, within these challenging aspects that Venus will form is also extraordinary potential for change and lifting oneself out of one’s previous circumstances into a regenerated reality.  This is not a time for the escapist shadow of Pisces but rather the heart of the sign which is incredibly strong, resilient, and able to persist through the darkest of times.

Venus ingresses into Pisces on March 12 and immediately enters into a first quarter square with Mars in Sagittarius.  As developed by Dane Rudhyar, first quarter squares signify a crisis in action and the need to build forms and structures to support the burgeoning new vision.  In the case of Mars and Venus, in 2015 we experienced three conjunctions before this current cycle officially commenced:  in February, in the end of August with Venus retrograde, and in the beginning of November.  Now at the first quarter square between Mars and Venus, we can reflect upon the shifting of our desires signified by Mars and Venus in this three part movement.

Currently Mars in Sagittarius could be causing a separation, and if so then Venus in Pisces is in position to heal and harmonize the resultant fracturing. Mars in the first decan of Sagittarius is overzealous and heedless, desiring to speed off in a new direction.  However, Mars is also now in range of its eventual retrograde station in April, and so the desires of Mars emerging now are also likely to shift.  By attuning within, Venus in Pisces can help guide us in making the choices that align with our most authentic Soul desires.

After Venus in Pisces completes her square with Mars on March 14, she begins to apply to a conjunction with Neptune that will culminate on March 20.  Neptune as the modern ruler of Pisces is interesting from the standpoint that Neptune is considered to be a higher octave of Venus in modern astrology, among other things signifying unconditional love.  Though this is a different concept than exaltation, it is an interesting further connection between Venus and Pisces.  The union of Venus with Neptune in Pisces is part of the build-up to the Lunar Eclipse in Libra on March 23, and this potent period in between eclipses we are passing through.  Mark Jones beautifully captured the higher octave relationship between Venus and Neptune in his book The Soul Speaks:

Our true nature, exposed by the brilliance of real love, is found to comprise numerous core elements, of which joy, dedication to truth, wisdom, infinite love and gratitude are key.  We realize then as these essential Soul states begin to unfold within us that the apparent loss that the ego projects onto the reality of the deep self is no real loss at all.  In fact, what arises in place of what we believed was our self is an all-embracing inclusive presence; we feel cared for so completely that all previous notions of what constituted contentment or satisfaction are found to be mere shadows in comparison.

— Mark Jones, The Soul Speaks, (p. 130)

Occurring simultaneously with the Libra Lunar Eclipse and the union of Venus and Neptune in Pisces is the exact last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo.  This is the crisis in consciousness developed by Dane Rudhyar that signifies a crucial release of old attachments and beliefs in order to reorient toward the not fully formed developing vision.  Venus in Pisces will oppose Jupiter in Virgo and form a square to Saturn in Sagittarius on March 25, two days after the Lunar Eclipse.  There could be great pain and loss associated with the changes brought about by these simultaneous transits, a cherished inner dream that needs to be let go of.  However, we can also draw upon the healing potential of Venus in Pisces to reconcile and harmonize what has been torn apart and fractured in the associated changes.

The very next day after these exact aspects between Venus with Jupiter and Saturn, Venus in Pisces will form an exact sextile with Pluto in Capricorn on March 26.  If we can draw upon the inner discernment of Jupiter in Virgo and the capacity to structure vision of Saturn in Sagittarius, we can benefit from the sextile between Venus in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn by restructuring the myriad elements of our life to harmonize with the changes occurring with our deeply felt inner desires.

At the end of March 2016, Venus in Pisces will also conjoin Chiron, as well as pass across the South Node of the Moon around the same time.  The higher potential of these transits can bring about a great healing to all of the wounding relationship patterns we have been living out from our past, going all the way back to childhood.  By going into our depths, exploring how our shadow has manifested in our process of becoming whole, we can gain golden insight into the underlying fabric of our Venusian patterns.  From now through the rest of March 2016, including within the current liminal portal between eclipses, Venus in Pisces brings an opportunity to become more aware of how our unconscious communicates with our conscious awareness.  As in the work of Carl Jung, we can explore and develop the relationship between unconscious contents and our consciousness, and the manner in which we project this inner relationship outward into our external relationships with the surrounding world.

References

Brennan, Chris. (2008).  The Questionable Origins of the Exaltations in Astrology.

Jones, Mark. (2015). The Soul Speaks. Raven Dreams Press.

Cardinal Eclipse and Cross

rare-astronomy-science-book-1

Giovanni Battista Riccioli, S.J., Almagestum novum, first edition, Bologna, 1651

The astrology world has been abuzz and aflutter with forewarning and warning, teetering from doom and gloom predictions to calls for a collective transformation to occur, as we approach an exact Cardinal Grand Square (April 20-23) in between a Total Lunar Eclipse (April 15) and an Annular Solar Eclipse (April 28-29).  In many ways these are not new ideas, as our ability to “transform” our sense of self and perception in the world through moments of self-realization is not limited to this time, and the “doom and gloom” predictions sit within the fact there have been mass genocides, environmental degradation, and oppression happening on a regular basis not only in recent years, but also in past decades, centuries, and ages.   Collectively, however, there are numerous signs visible everywhere around us in the world that we are at risk of entering a level of mass environmental destruction and oppression of living beings that it will be difficult if not impossible for us to recover from unless striking, disciplined action is planned and enacted on both the personal and collective level immediately.  It also is true that these upcoming astrological energies are very intense, and so it will be especially important to be alert and awake to our environment and mindful to take full responsibility for our responses and actions.

One correlation of current events entering the news cycle recently is that a lot more information has been revealed concerning the plutocratic power structure’s work to not only continue gaining profit from taking planetary resources for itself, but to try to control greater levels of freedom for itself to operate in a Uranian way, especially through the very technology it advertises as offering greater freedom for the masses.  Now we know that the accusations Edward Snowden has made about the NSA in the United States hoarding private data of people is nothing compared to the massive data that search engines and computer companies are saving about all of us in order to make money through selling all of our search data to advertisers.  In this “information age,” our personal data is the power of currency, and the power structure hopes to distract the collective into a sleep of distraction in gadgets and the latest app update.  As this Cardinal Cross has tightened I have personally become more acutely aware of the gargantuan mind trap the power structure has attempted to weave around all of us with this technology.  This is only one example of current events occurring, but just like every other example there is another side to this equation:  the current technology is also in place to facilitate a collective wake-up call to take back ownership of our individual lives and destinies away from the small percentage of people on this planet who currently own the vast majority of resources on this planet.  The impending Total Lunar Eclipse is a gate into a vortex of astrological intensity that if we can harness and integrate with disciplined focus on the path ahead, offers an opportunity for liberation of our perceptions and being.  It is also a time to maintain balance in response to others in our environment as much as we can summon, for many around us may be acting more off-kilter in extremity than normal during these disorienting transits.

In many ways there is nothing new about the upcoming eclipses and Cardinal Cross, just that we have not experienced all of these things together at the same time.  This will be the fifth of the exact squares between Pluto and Uranus (April 21), and the last two also occurred during times of eclipses  (May 20, 2013 and November 1, 2013).  We have truly been in a “slow cook” of all of these energies since last July and August, when around July 22, 2013 the current cycle of Mars and Jupiter began with a conjunction in Cancer that formed a Grand Water Trine with Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio.  Pluto and Uranus were basically square at this time, and then as we entered August, Jupiter and Pluto exactly reached opposition on August 8, 2013 creating a t-square with Uranus and Pluto, and later in August Venus also moved into Libra creating a Cardinal Grand Square with Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto:  it just wasn’t as exact as it is now, with Mars about the fill the Libran space.  The point, however, is that a huge amount of shifting occurred at this time, and the energy we are attempting to integrate now in our daily life was much more disorienting eight months ago.

After we emerged from the powerful shifting of last August, we entered another period of intense eclipses surrounding an exact square between Pluto and Uranus in October and November.  Then, this cosmic pattern gave us a series of retrograde cycles of personal planets that further activated all of these dynamics:  first Venus, then Mercury, and now Mars.  In particular, when Venus was initially retrograde during the time of December 25-30, 2013, Mars moved direct in Libra to form a Cardinal Grand Square with Jupiter, Pluto, and Uranus for the first time in this cycle.  In all we have had a long period to be working on whatever personal issues are correlating  with these intense dynamics, so reflecting back over this entire period will be helpful if you can manage the time to do it.  Personally, I have noticed many people becoming aware of the fact that they can indeed liberate themselves from what has been holding themselves back in their past, that a cherished vision or dream is finally appearing to manifest in front of them, or at least the belief that such a manifestation can occur is germinating.  At the same time, a great amount of fear and concern is also erupting, just as any dramatic change can seem unsettling and scary to our routine of being creatures of habit.  There have also been many disturbing stories of calamities and crises in current events, again offering the opportunity to fall into fear.

For a grand square to now occur is fitting because at heart it is about two oppositions forming a square to one another, creating a personal sense of overwhelm from such extreme polarity of energy coming in from every direction.  “At heart,” however is the phrase to keep in mind:  one reason that the soul-centered, esoteric astrology taught by Alan Oken actually makes practical sense to me is the emphasis that the “cross” meets in the center, the heart.  This does not mean things will be easy, and in fact means the exact opposite:  being incarnated in our human bodies at this time is difficult, and we experience events and emotions that seem to break our hearts.  Yet, in the end it is this heart-breaking that allows our hearts to finally open fully to the reality of our world.  For a grand square to occur in the cardinal signs only adds to the intensity- it can be a feeling of having so many projects or relationships to attend to that a dizzying mental space occurs in which we do not know what to focus on, a sharp sense of the limitations of our time and space.  With Mars being retrograde, this can add in a factor of feeling like we need more rest and that we may not have the energy to take all of it on, and yet the excitement of all of the other aspects is generating a lot of energy in our environment nonetheless.  One issue with cardinal signs is a sense of wanting to initiate projects or actions, but lacking the sustaining power to see them through to completion:  with this cardinal grand square we will need to have discipline and staying power to see the course through all of the dramatic change to come.  Even if the relationships around us seem fraught with discord at times, we will also need to remember that we will need the support of relationships to help us navigate to where we want to go.  I have a sense that these upcoming aspects will help us tune into the relationships we want to keep and focus on to a greater extent to help us move forward on our path, and which relationship are more of a hindrance than a help and need to be released.  In any event, we will want to flow:  find our unique flow at this time and the ability to move from project to project, relationship to responsibility, to the best of our ability and integrity.  We will want to stay alert and moving forward, attending to whatever needs attending to in the moment.  Mars being retrograde in Libra also gives an opportunity for some reflective planning and strategy, if we can get a moment or two to ourselves to ponder how to make our actions more effective.

LunarEclipseApril2014WRIGC1

Above is the chart for the upcoming Lunar Eclipse set for Olympia, Washington where I live and am writing this post.  Adding to the intensity of this eclipse is that about eight hours before it occurs, Mercury will exactly unite with Uranus in Aries, and Pluto will station retrograde in Capricorn.  As a result, in many ways one could say that Pluto turning toward an underworld journey is dominating this eclipse, but believe me when I say that Ceres has something to say about this.  Ceres is exactly conjunct the Moon at the time of this eclipse, and she has created a network of goddesses to harmoniously facilitate the intense energy of change occurring at this time on behalf of the divine feminine.  The Sabian Symbol for this eclipse has been getting a lot of attention:  “An eagle and a large white dove change into each other,” which Dane Rudhyar emphasizes is about “interaction of the spiritual Will and of the Love principle when critical needs arise” (An Astrological Mandala, p. 188).  Indeed, the goddesses at work through aspects in this eclipse are doing just that.

Pallas Athena, for example, is exactly sextile the Moon, North Node, Ceres, and Vesta, and in trine to the Sun, Juno, South Node, and Eris.  She is also in square to Saturn, and if you think that Athena cannot handle herself with Kronus, you should read myth more closely.  Also, Venus has Athena’s back and is coming in to trine Saturn so that Athena can pull the rug out from under his feet.  Athena in the heroic sign of Leo is giving us an opportunity to devise a strategy of wisdom at this time to navigate forward on our path.  It will please Athena to assess all of the dangers and obstacles surrounding us, formulate a plan, and then strike forward with all of our heart to seize the moment toward making our vision for our future a reality.  Athena is making herself available at this time to make it so.

Vesta in Libra is also exactly opposite Juno in Aries at this eclipse and is a fascinating embodiment of the interplay of polarities at work.  Juno the goddess of relationship being in the independent sign of Aries, and Vesta the goddess of independent focus being in the relational sign of Libra, is an absolutely perfect symbol of our need to focus on and develop the relationships in our lives that our offering us support and nourishment in finding our authentic self and presence in the world.  The warning found in this dynamic is for Vesta to lose her focus through her desire to be in relationship, and for Juno to become lost in passionate jealousy or possessiveness of her selfish desires, and yet with Pallas Athena in Leo mediating whatever conflict could occur between these goddesses, we will have the wisdom available to us to know the difference between negative selfishness and the positive, necessary selfishness we will need to claim for ourselves for not only our own highest good, but for the highest good of all beings.

Ceres aka Demeter is all over this eclipse, however, as not only is Ceres conjunct the lunar eclipse but the eclipse will be near the fixed star Spica, the star of the wheat held by the goddess Ceres in the constellation of Virgo.  Each night we are also getting a beautiful visual of the burning red planet Mars arising in the sky with Spica, making the Ceres of our night sky more illuminated at this time.  Ceres is also holding space on the North Node of the Moon at this time, adding more emphasis on our need to cultivate relationships and our ability to productively express our own needs in relationship as well as listen to the needs of others.  The Sun, Juno, and Eris all with the South Node of the Moon in Aries is a symbol of our personal and collective relationship habits that are more about or own self-absorption and impatience to get our own needs met, or to act from an angry wounded place of aggression in our relationship dynamics.  Ceres holds the greatest lessons of life and death within her celestial space, calling on us to accept ourselves and our current situation in life:  it is only through this awareness and acceptance of where we are, and of what has happened to us, that we will be able to create the life and relationships that will be the most nourishing for our soul.  Fittingly, the Ceres in Libra all over this eclipse is currently being ruled by Venus in Pisces, a Venus that is conjunct both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, the sign of her exaltation.

Amphitrite_Devaulx_cour_Carree_Louvre

Amphitrite (1866), by François Théodore Devaulx

Venus in Pisces rules the Total Lunar Eclipse that occurs before the exact Cardinal Grand Square, and she rules the Annular Solar Eclipse that occurs after the exact Cardinal Grand Cross.  And that’s not all she is ruling:  she rules Mars retrograde in Libra, the North Node of the Moon in Libra, Vesta in Libra, and Ceres.  Sure, Mars is ruling the Sun during this time, the South Node of the Moon, Juno, and Eris:  but remember that Venus is ruling his ass.  We can additionally factor in that Venus is forming harmonious alliances of her own with some of the most powerful players:  Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Neptune, and Pluto.  Venus only days ago had an exact conjunction with Neptune, and she will be at the mid-point of Neptune and Chiron at the time of the Total Lunar Eclipse, forming a trine to Jupiter in Cancer and a sextile to Pluto in Capricorn.  As she advances through the chaos of the Cardinal Cross she will form a Grand Water Trine with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron in Pisces.  By the end of the month when the Solar Eclipse in Taurus occurs that she rules, she will still be in exaltation in Pisces in the powerful final decan of the entire zodiac.

So, while she may not be getting as much attention it seems from astrologers, Venus is very strong right now and she wants to help you liberate whatever has been getting in the way of you experiencing pleasure and love in your daily existence on this crazy planet.  This is not a “mushy” sentiment, but indeed is said with full awareness of how difficult life can be for people today.  However, even in the most oppressive personal and collective crisis imaginable, we still have the choice to integrate the energy through our heart and to respond with our true integrity.  Amazingly, the Sabian Symbol for Venus at the time of the eclipse is about “traveling a narrow path, seeking illumination,” revealing the potential and ability of each and every person to embark upon a “Path of Discipleship” (Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 274).  It is even more remarkable for Venus to be conjunct both Neptune and Chiron at the time of holding this space of discipleship at this eclipse, and an amazing correlation in current events that it was recently announced that an ancient papyrus stating that Jesus of Nazareth had a wife has been validated as authentic by experts.  To me, the goddess Mary is with us at this time, the wild Mary, the divine Mary, the disciple Mary, the true Mary Magdalene of divine strength and perseverance who has been on the receiving end of extraordinary judgment and oppression across the ages of history, and yet still today stands strong in herself in all of her resplendent divinity.

Venus in Pisces conjunct Neptune and Chiron at this time is not about being a victim: it is about being Love, it is about having the courage to love and perceive the medicine of everything in our environment, no matter how cruel and malicious others around us may appear.  Jupiter being opposite Pluto, in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn, has correlated with many intense experiences and crises in belief for many on our planet, but Venus has already had an entire retrograde cycle occur in Capricorn, in league with Pluto, and she has now stepped forward to mediate their conflict.

Giulio Bonasone Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto

Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto dividing the Universe by Giulio Bonasone

Pluto in Capricorn stations retrograde about eight hours before the Total Lunar Eclipse, and so there is an especially intense Plutonic vibration occurring now.   Whatever is erupting from inside of us at this time must be paid attention to with courageous awareness:  denial of what is occurring for us right now is possibly even a dangerous act with what could follow as consequence.  We do not want to judge ourselves with shaming, crippling indictment, but rather use an awareness of discernment to perceive what is happening with us on all levels.  We will want to take responsibility for everything at this time, and take the responsibility that we can discern new choices moving forward.

Jupiter has been in his exaltation in Cancer for a long time now, and holding space opposing Pluto for an unusual amount of time.  Last August was the first time these two heavyweights opposed, and then after Jupiter stationed to move back retrograde, they came into opposition again on January 31, 2014 at the same time that Venus stationed direct in Capricorn.  This is important to remember in connection to the fact that Venus is now in trine to Jupiter and in sextile to Pluto.  If we have been open to our perceptions of phenomenal reality, most likely during these past nine months of Jupiter and Pluto opposing one another we have come across information from events and relationships that have forced us to deeply question our most primal and cherished beliefs, both what we think is our conscious philosophy of life as well as the subconscious philosophy of life we act from at times without awareness.  No matter how difficult this process may have been at times, Jupiter is in the end working magic with Pluto to expand each one of us beyond limitations of judgment and conditioning in our past into a life and worldview that is more deeply aligned with our soul and authentic nature.  It will be important to remember that while it can be helpful and necessary to question our beliefs, it is also important to intuitively know what we know to be true for ourselves and to stand strong in the face of any entity attempting to manipulate our beliefs at this time.  All one needs to do is turn on the television or tune into the media to see the full face of the plutonic power structure’s attempt to manipulate all of us at this time.

Kepler_Mars_retrograde

Johannes Kepler’s depiction of the geocentric motions of Mars, from Astronomia Nova (1609)

Mars has now crossed the mid-point of its retrograde journey in Libra and is getting closer everyday to forming the Cardinal Grand Square with Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto. The recent opposition between Mars and the Sun (April 8, 2014) also marked the halfway point of their current cycle that began last April 17, 2013 at 29 Aries. Mars is also at its closest distance to Earth in its orbit at this time, appearing a brighter red than ever in our night sky- in fact in the days ahead Mars will be getting closer and closer to us every night, becoming closest in orbit at the same time of the total Lunar Eclipse that will occur on April 15, 2014. In all of these ways we are feeling an intense gravity of Mars at this time, bringing the questions:  what issues are coming up for you concerning your Will-force? What is coming up in your relationships, and being mirrored back to you?  It also may be helpful to reflect back upon the time period of December 25-30, 2013 when Venus was retrograde and Mars was moving direct in Libra and formed a Cardinal Grand Square for the first time with Jupiter, Pluto, and Uranus.

Since we are now past the halfway mark of this Mars retrograde, through our environment and all of our relationships we have been recently receiving a lot of information concerning our central issues involved in this Mars retrograde journey- have you been paying attention?  Again, this is not a time to be in denial but to open yourself to full awareness of everything presenting itself to you in your environment, literally the meaning of everything around you. Are you angry about anything? If so, why? Whatever the reason will contain important information to reflect upon. In addition, as Mars is moving toward a last quarter square to Pluto, a first quarter square to Jupiter, and an opposition to Uranus, we are also gaining greater sense of how we fit into the greater society- if we can gain a greater sense and presence in our authentic nature at this time of great calamity in world events, we will want to be able to integrate this sense of self into society so that we can help not only ourselves, but others in need.  It is important at this time to reclaim your sense of Will and the power of your Self not for yourself, not to brag about yourself on social media, but to powerfully make your presence felt so that you will be heard, to put yourself in position to not only listen to others, but to take action on the behalf of others or to serve the needs of others around you in dire straits. Whatever information you have been receiving lately through your relationships, including in moments of passionate desire and conflict, is of supreme importance to process and use to help you claim more of your authentic nature.

Perseus (1875-1888)

Perseus saves Andromeda by Edward Burne-Jones

Finally, the last angle of the Cardinal Grand Square may be the most important of all, and also is embodying added intensity at this time of the lunar eclipse.  Only a half an hour or so before Pluto stations retrograde, only about eight and half hours before the total lunar eclipse, Mercury will be exactly conjunct with Uranus in the sign of Aries.  Mercury is the esoteric ruler of Aries, a key into our human ability to exert mind over matter at times.  There are many modern astrologers who further believe that Uranus is a higher octave of Mercury, and that there is an important relationship between these two trickster archetypes to be aware of at all times.  With Mercury and Uranus uniting in Aries at a time of a total lunar eclipse, being opposite Mars retrograde in Libra and in square to an opposition between Jupiter and Pluto, focusing on this union of Mercury and Uranus at this time will be incredibly powerful for invoking and initiating a path of total liberation from negative patterns of your past.

There is a fascinating alignment with this Cardinal Grand Square and famous fixed stars, with Jupiter being near Sirius, Pluto being near Vega, and Mars moving across Arcturus and Spica and toward Algorab.  However, the alignment I want to focus on is that Mercury and Uranus are uniting by zodiac degree in the same area of the zodiac where the fixed star Alpheratz resides, in the Andromeda constellation. In Western culture we see Alpheratz, a double purple and white star, as being the head of Andromeda, a woman of renowned beauty in myth who was chained to a rock in order to be eaten by a sea monster to appease the jealousy of the Nereids, and the wrath of Poseidon. See, Andromeda’s mother Cassiopeia had been going on bragging that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids, sea nymphs who were tight with Poseidon. Before Andromeda could be devoured by the sea monster, however, the hero Perseus came to her rescue, in some versions wearing winged sandals, in others an invisibility cloak that was the helm of none other than Hades himself. According to Ptolemy, Alpheratz is like Venus, and this star representing the head of Andromeda has also been linked to both Venus and Jupiter by others.

What could this mean on a personal level? Andromeda to me is like our authentic self, our divine inner goddess, our inner Venus and Jupiter, the two most harmonious and beneficial traditional wanderers. In one way or another many of us have been chained to some sort of metaphorical rock, been a scapegoat on the receiving end of inner or outer judgment- today at this time is a chance to become more acutely aware of what oppressive past pattern or dynamic we want to focus on to liberate ourselves from. Just like the trine between Venus and Jupiter, the sextile between Venus and Pluto, the conjunction between Mercury and Uranus- all of these aspects point to this same idea.  Even the magical objects used by Perseus connect with this astrology- his winged sandals evoking Mercury, and the helm of Hades allowing him to be invisible in his fight against the sea monster evoking Pluto.  Furthermore, his heroic action evokes the planet Mars that is moving retrograde to enter the Cardinal Grand Square as it also enters its closest orbital distance to our planet. We do not need some outside hero to come rescue us at this time, however- our hero and heroine is inside of us.