Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

Chagall TheSouloftheCity.jpg

Marc Chagall (1945) The Soul of the City

Capricorn Lunar Eclipse

“History is inside us, as Henry Corbin always insisted, not we inside history. History is a psychological material where the eternities of soul leave their traces in time. As the soul moves in circles, so does history display the soul’s ricorsi as records . . . Soul can always be lost, for that is its nature; lost even as it is found in the noblest of intentions . . . Soul is necessarily shadowed, its enlightenment never accomplished.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology (p. 314)

The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 signals a peak moment of 2019, a gateway releasing the pent up pressure and karmic debris that has been gathered by the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn during the past six months. The nodes mark eclipses and were envisioned by the ancients as a monstrous dragon consuming our luminaries, with the North Node the Head, the South Node the Tail of the dragon. Because the Full Moon in Capricorn is roughly seven degrees away from the nodes, it will become partially covered in blood red shadow cast by the Sun. The eclipse is not only ruled by Saturn, Saturn will be in the same vicinity of the sky as the Moon, while also forming a close conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. Since the Lunar Eclipse is also closely conjoining Pluto, there will be an intensified underworld quality to the time involving the necessity of digging up and facing certain issues that have been buried. The influence of the South Node on Saturn and the eclipse invites a shedding and release of wherever in life you have been neglecting authentic desires and feelings in order to conform to societal expectations.

2019 began with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn and henceforth the close conjunction of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn have emphasized the gravity as well as the ambition of the earthy sign of the Sea Goat. While the North Node has been in Cancer the entire year, it was not until mid June when Mercury and Mars ascended over it, followed by the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2, that the Cancer side of the nodal axis became amplified. The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn, between Moon and Saturn, midwives and morticians, tender searching and patient austerity, has been the dominant astrological theme of the year. The prodigal Moon which waxes and wanes ever forward in its shifting phases of generation and corruption, translating the life-giving light of the sun between all of the planets just as it also signifies our changing feelings and capacity to empathize with others, is in stark contrast to the sluggish taskmaster Saturn who stands guard at the gateway between visible and invisible planets, imagining the boundaries that reorder forms, demanding we persevere and endure its tests that necessarily temper our extremes and shape our path forward. Within the potent polarity betwixt Cancer and Capricorn, the fluidity of feelings flow into the cold gravity of stone.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness and then becomes eclipsed in shadow, Venus in Cancer will be applying toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and an opposition with Saturn. Vitally, Venus is no longer visible and has entered her regenerative underworld phase of combustion in the fiery rays of the Sun.  Yet the meaning found within the purification of Venus is also drawing us toward new growth in our relationships, aesthetics, and our underlying values since she is crossing over the degree of the North Node of the Moon. At this point within her synodic cycle Venus is moving fast as she chases after the Sun to become reseeded and reborn in the heart of the Sun on August 14. The pull of Venus is inward, inviting descent into inner realms where we can discover our hidden power as well as vulnerability. Feelings will be intensified, even irrational at times, due to Venus being ruled by the Moon as it becomes partially eclipsed.

Indeed, while Venus is magnetizing us to reflect upon and explore whatever is truly most worthwhile to pursue and create through desires as well as embody within relationships, the opposition with Saturn can trigger issues of rejection, fear, and insecurity we will need to endure in order to gather the wisdom available through the experience. Moreover, since Venus is also applying toward a conjunction with Pluto that will complete on July 21, there can be an intensification of relational dynamics that reveal issues or patterns that have been hidden or that we have been in denial of. It is one of those transits that can dredge up difficult feelings while also inciting opportunities for significant growth on the other side of the process. Venus in the sensitive sign of Cancer will be asking us to feel it all deeply.

However, although Venus is facing the intensity of confronting the Head of the Dragon during a Lunar Eclipse while also opposing Saturn and Pluto, she is also forming a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on July 18. Neptune is also mediating the polarity of the eclipse, as it is forming a trine with the North Node of the Moon and a sextile with the eclipsed Moon, Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and Pluto. As a result, when emotions become overwhelming we can cope through imaginative creative expression fueled by the feelings, relaxing in or nearby water, or fantasizing through art, storytelling, music, or other combinations of Venus and Neptune. One song that evokes the dynamic tension between Cancer and Capricorn, Venus and Saturn is “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. In the music video she deftly directed herself, the imagery accentuates her lyrical portrayal of fearfully being pursued by love like chthonic hounds, while also discovering if love is actually not something to fear after all:

I thought of sharing “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush not only because I consider it to be a masterful song and video evocative of Venus conjoining the North Node while opposing Saturn conjoining the South Node, but also due to a newsletter from the astrologer Nina Gryphon I read in which she remarked how the two hounds of the fixed stars, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are connected with the eclipse. The Lunar Eclipse is opposite Procyon, the alpha star of Canis Minor, while Venus is close to a degree-based conjunction with Sirius, the alpha star of Canis Major which is also the brightest star in the sky. Notably, however, both Sirius and Procyon are currently in their hidden phases, invisible just like Venus. Just as Kate Bush utilized the symbolism of hounds to write about confronting the fear of falling in love, hounds are also associated with psychopomps into the underworld and being the companions of goddesses such as Hekate who exist in the crossroads between worlds. As we process and integrate the emotional experiences of the eclipse, as Venus continues to engage in her underworld journey the rest of the month, turning within toward the fertile realm of inner senses will help cultivate a regenerated, more authentic presence.

Further deepening an underworld process, Ceres stations direct in the first degree of Sagittarius a day after the Lunar Eclipse on July 17, having been retreating in backward motion since April 8 when it stationed retrograde at 14º16′ Sagittarius. Ceres signifies not only our issues around mothering and nurturance but also our capacity for undergoing cathartic experiences of grief in order to return to a place of creative productivity. Just as Ceres in her myth had to withdraw away from the world in order to mourn and nurse her wounds from losing her beloved, so may we need to focus more on allowing ourselves to do the same rather than trying to force something to happen through ambitious, external striving. The stillness of Ceres is an additional invitation to tend to one’s inner wounds at this time so we can then become strengthened to provide nurturance to others as Ceres begins shifting forward again. Ceres is preparing to embark upon a pilgrimage toward an eventual conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will not become exact until the end of October.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)  Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)

The Lunar Eclipse marks a dramatic moment within the present cycle between Saturn and Pluto, as not only will the Moon become eclipsed, but the Moon itself will also be occulting both Saturn and Pluto. This is due to not only the Full Moon being conjoined with the South Node of the Moon, but also Saturn being conjoined with the South Node of Saturn and Pluto being conjoined with the South Node of Pluto. We are at the end of a Saturn and Pluto cycle that began in 1982 and 1983 (a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto will begin in January 2020), a cycle that has been strongly connected to the nodes of Saturn and Pluto due to the 1982 and 1983 conjunction taking place at the northern bending of Saturn and Pluto, with Saturn and Pluto both forming catalyzing square aspects with their own nodes. Since this time Pluto has been steadily descending in latitude toward its current place of being on the ecliptic.

This means that not only is the Capricorn Moon becoming eclipsed as it descends downward across the ecliptic in union with its own South Node, Saturn and Pluto are also being occulted as they also are on the ecliptic in union with their own South Nodes. Altogether in archetypal terms, this is an incredibly intense dynamic involving the entire orbital arcs of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto intersecting with our own orbit during the time of the Lunar Eclipse. This profound dynamic relates to the necessity of facing not only our own individual karma, but also an intensified encounter with numerous intersecting waves of karma regarding civilization and its wounding impact upon our ancestors across time. There are crucial issues to face not only regarding the living of our own personal lives but also how we are being shaped by the forces of civilization and what is being created and enforced through societal structures, heads of state, governing bodies, and courts of so called justice.

An eclipse in Capricorn signifies sudden endings and changes impacting corporations, governments, heads of state, and hierarchical power structures. As we witness the corresponding volatility in current events, each of us is also being asked to dislodge ourselves from the conditioning of dominant power structures in order to realize whatever we truly wish to create and cultivate. While we may need to continue working somewhere in order to survive and provide for loved ones, we can embrace our performance in a way that can uplift others rather than negatively resigning ourselves to it. We can imagine ways to create time and space to engage in more activities we feel passionate about and enlivened by. We can refuse to conform with dictates from societal power structures that ask us to passively enable oppressive acts of social injustice.

John Everett Millais (1856) The Blind Girl

Just as Venus in Cancer is in her dark phase of invisibility during the eclipse, so is Mercury. Mercury has ancient associations with alchemical water due to its capacity for blending and dissolution, a remedy we will need to utilize to navigate the changing currents to come. Alchemists such as Paracelsus identified Mercury as part of the primal trio along with sulfur (animating soul) and salt (matter, body), with Mercury fluidly mediating the below with the above, the above with the below. In astrology Mercury also has ancient associations with mediating polarities such as the above and below, the spiritual and mundane, the solar and lunar. As a result, it is notable that the Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is separating from a conjunction with Pluto and applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Leo. Though Mercury retrograde has a notorious reputation for bringing delays in external striving, it can be utilized for powerful inner work of purging, processing, clearing, and clarifying.

As I previously wrote in my article on Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer, after Mercury shifts from Leo into Cancer a few days after the eclipse on July 19, it will submit to rulership from the cool, receptive light of the Moon within the waters of Cancer. Mercury slowly moving retrograde under rulership of the Moon brings it under the influence of the constantly changing lunar phases, meaning our perception will be pulled even more so than normal into a realm of changing feelings and thoughts, emotional needs and desires. It will be necessary to make an effort to gain objective clarity, yet the sway of our subjective senses will be able to make meaning from an inner turn toward intuition, impressions, empathy, and imagination as the Moon wanes toward its dark phase at the end of July. With Mercury at the very end of its cycle within the lunar waters of Cancer, our thoughts will be sensitized to the unconscious depths of memories, dreams, and nonlinear sensations.

Furthermore, after Mercury is reseeded in the heart of the Sun through its inferior conjunction on July 21, it will head backwards toward a mutually applying conjunction with Venus in Cancer on July 24. Both Venus and Mercury will be in the middle of a regenerative process of purification when they meet, with Venus moving away from an opposition with Pluto and Mercury heading toward an opposition with Pluto. While deep issues and emotions will continue to be stirred up, the encounter between Mercury retrograde and Venus can bring a shift into greater healing and nurturance toward whatever needs tending. Though the Lunar Eclipse is a temporary moment of shadowing, the feelings stirred up by it linger, with experiences manifesting at a later date that have their roots in the blood red shading. Let yourself contemplate and explore whatever images emerge into awareness in the coming weeks through dreams of night and travel by day, for they will hold key insights to ponder. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology, “Anima comes to its knowledge by an imaginative proces: by the study of its own images.”

References

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moon in Scorpio

Night Creatures (1965) by Lee Krasner

Scorpio New Moon

The New Moon in Scorpio on November 11, 2015 envelopes the setting of intention within the deep waters of Scorpio.  Scorpio is the home of Mars, also associated by modern astrologers with Pluto and the soulful source of our desires.  A Scorpio New Moon compels us to dive into desire and feel the whettening of appetite for that which enflames our passion from within.  Scorpio is a fixed sign, and though Scorpio holds potential for transformation at a core level, Scorpio also involves fixation and refusal to let go of an object of desire.  For example in relationships, Scorpio can erupt in emotional manipulation that attempts to control and keep the desired partner at all costs.  While one can give advice to release attachment to desires that honest reflection reveals are no longer fruitful, when under the sway of Scorpio resistance can be futile.  Even though we know from experience that the realization of certain desires do not bring us genuine fulfillment, we flow with the desire nonetheless wedded to memories of fulfilled desires that brought essential satisfaction.  Wherever our current desires are leading us, in the darkness of a Scorpio New Moon we can tap into a visceral feel for our inner passions.  With the New Moon conjoining Mercury and in sextile to both Jupiter and Pluto, we will have amplified ability to probe deeply into the foundational undercurrents of our desires.

This New Moon is pivotal for numerous reasons, in part because it follows shortly after the cross-quarter marker of the Sun passing fifteen degrees of Scorpio, marking the mid-point of Fall in the northern hemisphere and Spring in the southern hemisphere.  This New Moon also comes with Venus having entered her home sign of Libra and separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, as Mars the ruler of the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  Soon after the moment of the New Moon the true calculation of the lunar nodes will shift from Aries and Libra to the South Node of the Moon being in Pisces and the North Node of the Moon being in Virgo, ending the twenty-one month journey that began when the lunar nodes entered Aries and Libra in mid-February 2014.  Furthermore, the lunar cycle beginning with this New Moon will bring us the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune in their current cycle, as at the time of the following Full Moon they will enter an exact square.

Mercury in Scorpio is also in an important transition phase as this new lunar cycle commences, closely conjoining the New Moon while combust the Sun.  As the New Moon waxes toward it’s first quarter phase in the following week, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at its superior conjunction on November 17.  The superior conjunction has a different symbolic meaning than the psychopomp underworld association of Mercury uniting with the Sun while retrograde at the inferior conjunction.  In our current phase of Mercury, the angelic messenger is soaring into celestial realms on the far side of the Sun from us, creating openings for an onrush of epiphanies and insights.  As our minds can feel overwhelmed with a lot of information to process, slowing down enough to take in our full perception will help access the penetrating inquiry available with a superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio. Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio can delve to the bottom line dynamic of any circumstance with brutal honesty, and it is likely secrets and hypocrisies will be revealed.

Mercury in Scorpio is further magnified by the Scorpio New Moon conjoining both the geocentric North Node and South Node of Mercury, as well as the heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  Considering that Mercury in astrology directs the discerning functions of our consciousness, this nodal activation of Mercury by the New Moon in Scorpio can unveil the roots of our perception and its connection to our current patterns of communication.  We can gain increased understanding of our underlying desires leading us to perceive and communicate in our current state. As the heliocentric South Node of Mercury is also activated, there is deep inquiry also available on a collective level into the shadow side of society and the underbelly driving current mass movements of feeling.

Carl Jung from his Red Book

from The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung

Mars in Virgo rules the New Moon in the sign of Mercury, while the New Moon is conjoining not only Mercury but also the South Node of Mars.  Mars is further electrified by applying closely to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the time of the New Moon.  The North Node of the Moon is Rahu, the desirous head of the dragon hungry to devour our Lights at the times of eclipses, and associated in evolutionary astrology with the leading edge of our desire nature that propels us forward in our development.  As a result this New Moon is ideal for harnessing burning desires to focused intentions formed with Mercurial attention to detail and planning for martial action.  As the South Node of Mars is also activated, it is yet another indication that we can come to a more holistic understanding of our current desires, including our dark side so to speak, the unconscious influences on our conscious will force.  It will be a potent New Moon from which to launch a new initiative of pure intent.

The potency of the Scorpio New Moon to fuel expansive new vision is further seen in it being sextile to both Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, and by it facilitating the polarity of Chiron in Pisces opposing Jupiter in Virgo through the New Moon being trine to Chiron and being sextile to Jupiter.  In particular, if our hearts have been set upon a desire, goal, or vision for a length of time while withstanding numerous setbacks, our patience and determination could be rewarded with an associated breakthrough with the inception of this New Moon.  We may notice a lot of restructuring and realigning of organizations in our environment in correlation, and we likewise have the opportunity to restructure our home environment, work environment, and even our inner psychology.  If you have a tendency to intellectualize and rationally detach from circumstances, make more of an effort to emotionally center and be present in your body so as to attune to the ever changing moment of the material realm.  This New Moon holding stabilizing, fertile aspects between Jupiter, Chiron, and Pluto in water and earth signs suggests we can reorient toward being better able to manifest a more expansive vision for our life.

An additional ingredient to the generative capacity of this Scorpio New Moon is that Venus has returned to her home of Libra, and is separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and applying to a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Venus in Libra is outwardly focused and her beauteous gaze will be focused upon relationships that will support and help to stabilize the endeavors fueled by our desires.  The sextile from Venus to Saturn corresponds with opportunities to structure our environment and build a foundational form that will be able to buttress our desires for Venusian pleasure in the face of any inclement weather on the horizon.  As a result, this New Moon supports taking direct action to protect what is dear to our hearts and to create the necessary related structural reinforcements in our life, and could prove difficult for those procrastinating or spending idle hours in escapist pastimes.

Saturn square Neptune

from Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions (1865) by J.H. Brown

Saturn square Neptune

During this lunar cycle the Saturn and Neptune square will be building each day until it culminates at the time of the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini.  Hellenistic astrology techniques suggest that Saturn in Sagittarius is in the superior position of this square and will overcome Neptune in Pisces, but there is an important additional development in the coming lunar cycle:  Neptune will station direct in Pisces on November 18, a day after Mercury unites with the Sun.  Neptune stationing gives it added emphasis and potency at this time, and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Scorpio happening at the same time could tap us into other realms of perception that go beyond the limitations of Saturn.  While Saturn may be in the superior position in its square to Neptune, our Saturn constructs of reality will be vulnerable to becoming dissolved in the waves of Neptune.

If we are carrying a dream and vision of pure heart that we are capable of manifesting with determined effort, then the solution to the tension created by the square between Saturn and Neptune will be to make sure we are responsibly attending to all facets of what needs to be done to achieve our goal.   Saturn and Neptune are forming a last quarter square suggesting that the bigger the dream and vision the better, as the energy of this aspect calls for a reorientation of how we have been constructing our reality.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune does not automatically spell doom for big dreams, but it does spell doom for any illusions we have been under the influence of.  This includes illusions of being smaller and more limited than we actually are, which is why trying to play it safe at this time is not a real solution to the challenges brought forth by Saturn in square to Neptune.

There is likewise a strong possibility of becoming disillusioned with past belief systems, with society, with humanity, with others in our relationships, and even with ourselves as the Saturn and Neptune square builds in intensity each day.  In particular those who have been dishonest and cloaked in lies, secrets, and hypocrisy could be revealed.  Bearing in mind the meaning of the last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, famously called a “crisis in consciousness” by Dane Rudhyar, this disillusionment is a fundamental aspect to a reorientation process underway that in this case is opening us to the interplay between our Saturnine structures and the transpersonal realm of Neptune.  This is also only the first exact last quarter square between Saturn and Neptune, as we have two more coming in 2016.  When there is a such a powerful repeating aspect in astrology, oftentimes it is the first aspect that feels the most chaotic and unsettling.  The point is that we have a long road ahead of us involving this square and as the structure of our consciousness and belief systems begin to shift in correlation, we will begin to recenter and stabilize in our newfound perspective.

Scorpio II Decan

Six of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio II Decan

The Scorpio New Moon is in the second decan of Scorpio, a decan ruled by the Sun and associated with the 6 of Cups card in tarot.  It is an auspicious sign that the Sun governs this face since we are at a New Moon, meaning that our Lunar Light is regenerating in the rays of our Solar Light.  In the image of the 6 of Cups, we find the child-like innocence of purely giving for the pleasure of giving and receiving the joy of witnessing gratitude upon the face of the recipient.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the Scorpio II decan, as it is a face in which the desires of Scorpio interchange in commerce with another:

The parties here [in the 6 of Cups image] are children and their affection for one another is natural and unconditioned.  The pleasure signified is thus that which accompanies the expression of passion unencumbered by pretension or decorum.  It is a vision of ideal exchange between two parties, poignant and perfect.

The dynamic suggested by the children is identical to the alchemical process of mutual distillation, wherein the matter passes back and forth between on alembic and another, growing increasingly rarefied and potent. The laboratory technique of mutual distillation can be embodied, as well. A whole category of Taoist sexual energy practice, referred to as dual cultivation, involves exactly this exchange between partners. This process combines and distills the sexual energy both parties possess, resulting in a finer nectar than either could produce on their own. Though it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits (p. 180-1).

Coppock further discerned that in order to cultivate mutual satisfaction in relationships we must have trust, intimacy, and vulnerability present. Noting the image by Ibn Ezra for the Scorpio II decan, who described “A woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea,” Coppock suggested that we need to be careful whom we open ourselves bare to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass” (p 181).

As a result this is a New Moon in which to embrace honest communication and vulnerability with those you wish to deepen bonds of intimacy.  As the square between Saturn and Neptune is simultaneously building, we may need to navigate some toxic exchanges with others at times as glass windows of illusion are shattered.  At the same time, this New Moon holds some beautiful aspects to deepen our most important relationships with each partner opening to a fuller realization of the reality and desires of the other.  The Full Moon that follows at the end of November carries momentous, breakthrough astrological aspects, and so we are now at a key moment of inception to launch new work filled with deepening collaboration from.