Scorpio New Moon

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Scorpio

Just feeling human
the way a cloud’s a cloud
tinged with blue or
walking slow across the sky or
hastening,
but not a Thursday cloud
formed for the anxious glance of Thursday people,
simply a cloud, whose particles
may fall Tuesday, just as well,
on anyone’s spring hair, on any
taciturn winter buds it chooses
and no one say no. Human,
free for the day from roles assigned,
each with its emblem
cluttering the right hand,
scroll of words in the left.
Human, a kind of element, a fire,
an air, today.
Floating up to you I enter, or you
enter me. Or imagine
a house without doors,
open to sun or snowdrifts.

— Denise Levertov, “Today” from To Stay Alive 

Water flows inexorably and like our desires will dissolve blockages in the currents of its path.  Scorpio like all water signs in astrology is inwardly directed, magnetic, receptive, and capable of allowing life and events to take shape according to natural cycles instead of focusing upon speeding up the timing.  The watery nature of Scorpio symbolizes its capacity to tap deeply into the psychic and emotional content of its environment, as well as its ability to merge and transmute with external relationships and sources of power.  Scorpio is distinct among the water signs, however, in its fixated nature and its association with the heated, aggressive, divisive, and willful force of Mars.  The apparent paradox of a cold and wet sign such as Scorpio being home to Mars, a planet whose temperament in astrology is considered to be excessively hot and dry, becomes clear when contemplating concepts such as yin and yang.  There is a line in Zhāng Jièbīn’s Lèi Jīng which can be translated as the generation of qì inside water is precisely true fire.  This relates to what we can also find in the symbolism of the yin and yang image, in which yang is found within yin, just as yin is found within yang.  Scorpio as the nocturnal home of the nocturnal planet Mars in astrology signifies the deep essence of our fiery nature we can discover within.

Astrologers have written excessively about the symbolic resonance of Scorpio with the season of Fall, and while this association with the depth and fertile darkness of Scorpio fits, the issue remains that in the Southern hemisphere the season of Scorpio is at the fullness of Spring.  The important concept here is that Scorpio is a fixed sign, meaning that it supports stabilization, even if the stability of the Scorpion differs from mainstream conceptions of being stable.  The seasons of Spring and Fall are extremes of life and bloom, death and decay, that we experience in between the season of equinox and the season of solstice.  Although these seasons are associated with the “Fixed” signs, they are temporary and transitory like all of the changing nature of our material world and we must witness their loss and passing like everything else.  The persistent, persevering nature of Scorpio and its ability to penetrate into the emotional and psychic undercurrents of its circumstances is one of the sign’s greatest strengths.  However, its fixed nature is the source of the Scorpion’s shadow we are familiar with, in that fear of losing the source of one’s desire leads to controlling behavior that can ultimately drain the vitality out of their connection.  The lesson we experience in Scorpio is in letting go and having a healthy level of non-attachment with our desires. This does not mean being detached, but rather embodying the intimacy of Scorpio without the fixated obsession of manipulating the object of one’s desires.

The Scorpio New Moon on 30 October 2016 is conjoining Mercury while in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  It’s ruling planet Mars is exalted in Capricorn and separating from a square with Uranus.  Significantly, in the past lunation cycle Mars moved away from a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then formed a last quarter square to Uranus in Aries.  During this period Mars has been out of bounds by declination, and in fact has been out of bounds since August 2016.  Mars out of bounds is wilder and more rebellious, which dramatically exacerbated the catalytic square between Mars and Uranus that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding the New Moon.  At the time of the New Moon in Scorpio, however, Mars is finally at the threshold of leaving its out of bounds status.  The Scorpio New Moon supports accessing ambition from within that has been limited by past restrictive patterns of thought and emotion.  Any recent jarring, explosive experiences can be used to untether us from how we have held ourselves back.  The desires emerging with the Scorpio New Moon call for nurturing and cultivation, and allowing ourselves to be guided by unleashed instincts and impulses.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The trine between the Scorpio New Moon and Neptune in Pisces gives emphasis to the imaginal realm of Neptune that has been in harsh aspect to the hard reality of Saturn in Sagittarius over the past year.  The darkness of the Scorpio New Moon invites allowing dissolution to occur while opening to the feelings emerging from within.  Neptune in Pisces is conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, and will become increasingly close to the South Node of the Moon over the course of the next month.  In the collective unconscious there has been old conditioning beliefs and dreams exposed that the luminaries uniting in Scorpio can cleanse, and as we purify ourselves from the corruption of external conditioning misaligned with our authenticity, the resilient fecundity of Scorpio can aid in realigning with distilled essentiality.

The Scorpio New Moon supports nurturing belief that our cherished dreams and visions are possible to manifest, no matter how many wounds and barriers we have struggled through over the past year of the square between Saturn and Neptune.  With Mars in Capricorn finally emerging from its recent contacts with Pluto and Uranus, there is activated drive and will force available to inject into building the ideal life we wish to live step by step, action by action.  Unfortunately in our global collective, the wildness of Mars empowered in Capricorn and triggered by Pluto and Uranus has coincided with horrific destruction, violence and warfare in world events, leading many to experience a dark night of the soul.   Nonetheless, we can draw from the potency of Mars in the final decan of Capricorn to persist with determination on our own path, utilizing the mutable placement of Saturn in Sagittarius to shift and mutate structures as needed to accommodate the unavoidable change happening.

beau-v-tree-branch-stretch-river

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo forms a sextile with the Scorpio New Moon, signifying an ability to discern purified choices resonant with our arising vision of meaning.  The North Node of the Moon is further bound to the Scorpio New Moon through its ruler Mercury forming a sextile to the North Node and a conjunction with the New Moon.  Mercury in Scorpio is at beginning of its synodic cycle with the Sun at the New Moon, and further in trine to Neptune and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces. There is a deep presence to be found within the volatility of Mercury, and though it may feel difficult to articulate the full extent of our perceptions it will be worthwhile to make space to descend into internal streams of sensations that may only be able to be transmitted through nonverbal and extrasensory mediums.  As the Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Taurus that will arrive on 14 November, Mercury will remain invisible from the sky as it swiftly moves through the entirety of Scorpio, capable of soaking up and translating the emotional undercurrents surrounding us.

beau-v-fall-tree

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

And virtue? Virtue lies in the heroic response to the creative wonder, the utmost response.

— D.H. Lawrence

Although not in actual aspect to the lunation itself, one of the most powerful elements of the Scorpio New Moon is the new phase conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius (the last conjunction of Venus with Saturn was on 8 January 2016 at 12 degrees of Sagittarius).  Venus combined with Saturn pulls us into the bare bones of reality and demands we become serious and committed to developing the foundational supports for the vision of what will bring us pleasure and a sense of harmony.  Saturn and Venus together is also about allowing to decay and putrefy whatever needs to now become decomposed to allow for change and new birth.  In his essay on Saturn entitled On Senex Consciousness, James Hillman in his typically verbose style illuminated numerous connections between Kronos-Saturn and Aphrodite-Venus, such as Saturn’s link to fertility and agriculture, prosperity and materialism being a feminine mirror to the earthiness of goddesses.  Hillman also connected the Saturnine trials that result from Venusian affairs, and the difficult feelings that can come from a meeting between Saturn and Venus:

The hidden connection between falling-in-love with the dazzling seduction of foam-borne Aphrodite and the seed and scythe of old senex is not easy to discern.  But how else account for the terrible cruelties, the vicious eat-or-be-eaten fights that break out of the most translucently lovely love affairs?  And, when Venus departs, Saturn returns with brooding melancholy, devastating loneliness feelings of ugliness- even psychic crippling or suicide.

— James Hillman, On Senex Consciousness

The new phase between Saturn and Venus beginning at the time of the Scorpio New Moon is not about debilitating cycles of feelings and thoughts, but rather is about taking complete accountability for one’s presence within one’s myriad relationships in the world.    Saturn together with Venus points to the karmic effects of feeling drawn toward and deciding to commit to a desired person or outside source.  By choosing one to focus upon, there is a resulting detachment or rejection of others necessitated by our decision to commit exclusively.  The Scorpio New Moon asks us to choose wisely, to align and merge with those most capable of receiving and understanding us, deciding to collaborate with those most able to support us with interdependent and balanced equality.  Saturn and Venus want us to seize life and create opportunities for peak experiences whose impact will continue to reverberate within.  Saturn is containing a volatile Venus, as Venus will have recently crossed the threshold into being out of bounds by declination at the New Moon.  The wild side of Venus will be further amplified by it forming a trine to Uranus as the Moon waxes in light, remaining as a rebellious out of bounds planet all the way through the upcoming lunation cycle.

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5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The first face of Scorpio holding the New Moon is associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first glance, with a figure full of despair staring with fixation upon three spilled, empty chalices on the ground. However, upon closer look we notice that there are still two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope.  In fact, the two remaining cups could be deeply fulfilling despite the grief over losing the other three cups. We can also notice a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, bringing in the ancient flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. As a result, this card is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with death and the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces synthesized the images found in ancient text associated with this face around the repeating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, the satiation of desire, the loss of what one desires, and the competition and violence that surrounds pursuing the desired. Coppock concluded:

In this decan we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being. The object of desire always skirts the edges of this face while its inhabitants give chase. Some gain the object of their desire, some fail. All come to know hunger again. Though this may seem a particularly tortured decan, it is merely one which exposes a hard truth. Confronting the cycle, we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 176

Mars rules the first face of Scorpio, and since Mars is in the third decan of Capricorn ruled by the Sun, while the Sun is in the first decan of Scorpio ruled by Mars, there is mutual reception through decan between the Sun and Mars at the Scorpio New Moon.  This brings more of a connection between the Scorpio New Moon with the square formed by Mars in Capricorn with Uranus in Aries.  While a square between Mars and Uranus can bring unexpected, shocking loss, it can also spark incredible individuating growth through the toil of adversity.   Mars in hard aspect to Uranus can also bring revelation into the cycle of desires we have been circulating.  Through facing our desires fully without denial, we develop awareness for which desires to continue pursuing and which desires are not in our best interest to regenerate.  The Scorpio New Moon beckons the release of attachment to whatever desires are not manifesting in our life in the moment, while embracing all elements of our actual reality with full presence and passion.

References

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Hillman, James. (1970). On Senex Consciousness. Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.

Wilms, Sabine. (2016). Randomn Thoughts on “Water is Yin, Fire is Yang.”  Happy Goat Productions.

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New Moon in Capricorn

MK Ciurlionis Capricorn

Capricorn (1907) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis

New Moon in Capricorn

The New Moon in Capricorn on January 9, 2016 is fecund with the dark matter of Saturn.  Capricorn is an inwardly directed sign of initiating in the multitudinous manifestations of the earth element, the home of Saturn and its significations of structure, boundaries, determination, and transcendence.  This particular Capricorn New Moon draws us into internal depths with greater magnetism than normal, as the New Moon is conjunct Pluto in Capricorn at the same time Mercury retrograde is conjunct Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  We have the opportunity to sift through the desires behind our ambitions at this time, discerning where our motivations are coming from.  Are we attempting to control a situation or manipulate a circumstance in order to avoid taking responsibility for our own internal issues?  Or are we securely being accountable for our genuine feelings and past behavior that has led to our current moment- if so we can seize the darkness of this New Moon in order to clear out what is no longer serving us and envision empowering goals that lead toward a natural sense of power.

Saturn in Sagittarius, lord of this New Moon, is watching Venus separate by a degree at the time of the lunation.  As Venus is separating from Saturn, she is simultaneously applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries.  Uranus is further hooked into the New Moon by being in range of a square to both the New Moon and Pluto in Capricorn.  The past week of the waning Moon held numerous intense, confrontational astrological aspects that could have led to harsh judgment from others as well as self criticism.  By owning our part in the drama, and detaching from projected diatribes we are not responsible for, there is a fiery force found here that can liberate us out of past patterns of victimization.  In the shifting commerce of our collective, as old economic paradigms are falling apart, this New Moon activates awareness of how to find our place within the new business, political, and other societal models arising.

Though Saturn has begun to separate from its last quarter square to Neptune in Pisces (to return again months from now), this is our first New Moon since their square in which one of them is running the show. Since Saturn at center stage has been in the middle of great intensity, the Saturnine side of the square associated with boundaries, limits, structures, separation, and release is emphasized over the boundlessness of Neptune.  In combination with the fact that this New Moon is also activating the first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, we could feel overwhelmed with conceptions around change, from worry that we will not be able to manifest the unknown future of our desires, to fear that circumstances are changing in undesirable ways that feel out of control.   As Saturn in Sagittarius is visionary, it is imperative to focus on what we want and formulate plans with awareness that determined effort is now required.  With Venus and Saturn in the domicile of Jupiter, and Jupiter closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon and in trine to the New Moon, despite difficulties there is underlying support for working hard with trust in the twists of fate to come.

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Ascesa by Gustave Dore, from The Divine Comedy

In the Face of Mountains

In spite of warnings from many astrologers not to initiate things during Mercury retrograde, this Capricorn New Moon contains an opening to an expansive new direction fraught with challenges requiring focused resilience.  Again, since the New Moon is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries and applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, the signs point toward breakthrough events, encounters, and corresponding insights that open us to new possibilities.  In addition, there is a stabilizing sextile present between the New Moon and Chiron in Pisces.  There is no doubt a looming mountain on our horizon to climb, yet the force we must generate to surmount forthcoming barriers will elevate our entire being to heightened ability to accomplish the tasks at hand.

Stirring things up further is Eris, as the dwarf planet named for the goddess of discord stations direct on January 10, 2016 at 22º18′ Aries, in range of a square to the Capricorn New Moon.   Eris is new to astrology and her meaning has not yet been fully established, so as she stations in square to this New Moon we can notice any correlations in our lives that seem connected. Up until now, most astrologers are applying the meaning of Eris in myth to her significance in astrology, with some such as Henry Seltzer adding in meaning of shattering paradigms and standing up for oneself with radical, harsh assertiveness.  Eris has been retrograde since July 20, 2015 when she stationed retrograde at 23º24′ Aries.  This is significant because the astrological atmosphere at the end of July was full of strife, with both Venus and Uranus also stationing retrograde then.  Eris stationing now will push us to stand up for ourselves and express our needs free of the past restrictions we have been discarding over the past five months.

Furthermore, with Mars at home in Scorpio there is amplified encouragement for expressing the full force of our desires, leading to potential conflict.  Mars is coming into a trine with Neptune in Pisces at the time of the New Moon, bringing an idealistic crusader element to the mix.  As Mars is also applying to a conjunction with Juno, this could enflame passions for better or worse in relationship.  The astrological aspects at this New Moon do not have much in the way of conflict mediation, so it will be vital to actively bear in mind the likelihood of discord breaking out.  The positive side of all of this can lead to an activation of our will force to be tenacious in pursuit of what we and our greater community need not only for survival but for enhancement of life.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc (1879) by Jules Basiten-Lepage

Visioning by the Dark of the Moon

This Capricorn New Moon plays up the visioning side of Capricorn through Mercury being retrograde in Capricorn, in conjunction with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  This upcoming lunar cycle takes us through the Mercury retrograde, as the forthcoming Full Moon in Leo will occur shortly before Mercury stations direct.  When we apply the old imagery of a sea goat to standard significations of Capricorn being associated with cardinal initiation, matters of earth, and Saturn, the image of a goat that has a mermaid tail dipped in the water goes well with the internal, divining quality also found in Capricorn.  The New Moon supports getting down at the root level of our surrounding structures, discerning the patterns at work in the various systems operating in our life.  Since Mercury is retrograde there may be omens found in unexpected places, and so an open mind willing to take creative leaps of thought can better receive messages associated with where to focus, what to modify, and which path to take forward.

There is also a connection between Mercury retrograde, this Capricorn New Moon, and Black Moon Lilith.  Astrologers enamored with Black Moon Lilith have been consumed by the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith being in the middle of a square to Pluto in Capricorn and an opposition to Uranus in Aries.  However, this New Moon also carries a significant location of the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith to mind-  the true Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and in trine to Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. Simultaneously, the aspects made by these two locations of Black Moon Lilith suggest parts of ourselves with a history of feeling judged and ostracized have an opportunity to come out of exile and into the full scope of our personality.  This may feel awkward and even painful, and these exiled parts could be so deeply embedded within our soul that it feels as if they haven’t come out for lifetimes.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can help us peel off the layers of conditioning that have made us feel judged, with self acceptance being the balm.

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3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn II Decan

The second face of Capricorn where the New Moon emerges is ruled by Mars and associated with the 3 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of the 3 of Pentacles we see a highly skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in a monastery.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  This is a fitting image for the Capricorn II decan as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which the magnum opus is completed, sublime works of material manifestation whose perfect form almost appears inconceivable to create in hindsight.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work in collaboration with numerous resources:

For this phase of creation to proceed according to plan, laws must be carved and discipline enforced. The project, the vision, thus creates laws of action necessary for its proper realization. It is thus a face of discipline, for cathedrals, like the one pictured in the Three of Pentacles, are works whose construction spans entire decades …

This face is both a spur to action and a binding. While many bindings take the form of a forbiddance, the one which takes place here is instead a compulsion to act in accordance with the blueprint. This decan binds one, or many, to the accomplishment of a daunting task. Yet one must be careful tying oneself to great works, for such decisions have enduring consequences …

Yet ambition and hubris are not easily separated. The two often appear together, and without ambition there is no grand blueprint nor energy to execute it. Ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose.  (p. 217)

Not only is Mars the ruler of this face, but the New Moon in Capricorn is also occurring in the exaltation of Mars.  Mars at the time of the New Moon is further strengthened by being at home in Scorpio and so in possession of its full arsenal.  As previously mentioned, now that Mars has separated from its square with Mercury stationing retrograde earlier this past week, Mars is now applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces and a conjunction with Juno.  With the forthcoming waxing lunar cycle occurring with Mercury retrograde, this New Moon period is opportune for embarking on long term projects that will require sustaining effort and overcoming obstacles over an extended period of time, rather than work that needs to be rushed to completion.  The trine between the New Moon in Capricorn with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo suggests a door is opening to reveal a work objective worthy of our sustained effort and commitment.

References

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

 

 

Mercury Retrograde in Saturn’s Home

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Illustration for The Raven by Gustave Dore

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell

O Bacchic Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius, parent of the vine,
And of celestial Aphrodite Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand’rest thro’ the sacred feats
where hell’s dread empress, Persephone, retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone’s thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow’r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.

— Hermes Chthonian from The Orphic Hymns

Mercury Retrograde

When Mercury shifts retrograde our angelic trickster slips into his role as psychopomp, the guide of souls who can journey into the underworld and back again. On a personal level this coincides with a turn within toward awareness not as readily available when Mercury is moving direct, a process that can birth new presence and shed old habits as Mercury reemerges on the other side (Mercury will station direct on January 25 and leave the retrograde shadow zone on February 17).  Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear but rather an opening to symbolic perception that can divine messages within the darkness of our dreams as well as in the signs that appear during our sunlit daily journeying.  The Mercury retrograde that begins on January 5, 2016 initiates at the first degree of Aquarius, but spends the majority of the time in the second half of Capricorn.  Aquarius and Capricorn are both the homes of Saturn, and so this Mercury retrograde will be deeply linked with the significations we associate with that old devil, Saturn.  The link to Saturn is further intensified by Mercury crossing the South Node of Saturn while retrograde,and then returning to conjoin the South Node of Saturn again once moving direct.

Modern astrology gives the rulership of Aquarius to Uranus, and one result of this is to associate Aquarius with future-oriented, liberated forms of thought.  Yet this same meaning can be found through Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn, a place where Saturn detaches from the conditioned thought forms of consensus culture to develop systems of thought that break free from the constraints of the status quo.  Mercury free from other influences stationing retrograde in Aquarius would support reception of a message beyond self-centered subjectivity, in an objective and clarified mind frame detached from passions and able to rationalize feelings.  Yet instead the stationing of Mercury is painted in bold, impassioned colors by Mars in Scorpio forming an exact square at the time Mercury stations retrograde.  As Mars in Scorpio heats the emotional climate of Mercury stationing retrograde, our feelings could override our ability to be objective or communicate with restraint.  The eruption of cathartic feelings at the dawn of this retrograde will be borne by Mercury into our underworld for deep processing and purification.

The movement of Mercury from Aquarius back into Capricorn is united by both signs being the home of Saturn.  Mercury in the territory of Saturn can readily focus on systems and structures in our life, including rumination upon time and space.  Mercury stationing retrograde while bearing the water of Aquarius holds the promise of illumination that transcends our everyday conception of time, saturating our direct perception of the moment with lucidity.  As Mercury moves backward into Capricorn, goat horns protrude through the messenger’s head as the role of water bearer is released in order to invest fully into the surrounding material realm with its lusty nature.  In Capricorn, where Mercury spends the majority of its time this retrograde, Mercury shifts our focus toward achievement and ambition as well as the degree of determination and discipline that will be needed for manifestation.

In addition to entering the heart of the Sun while retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury will also form conjunctions with Pallas Athene and Pluto, and in fact will station direct conjoining Pluto.  Around the recent solstice Mercury was first conjunct Pallas Athene, and in the first week of its retrograde movement Mercury will again become conjunct with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  Here the creative visioning of Pallas Athene combines with the symbolic perception of Mercury retrograde for penetrating perception into the structural and systematic foundations surrounding us.  In her classic Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George wrote:

Aesthetically, Pallas Athene is very strong in Capricorn representing the ability to formulate precise structures (molds) into which raw creative energy can coalesce.  Instant manifestation is often possible and can be seen as a magical process. Here, Pallas excels in the arts of architecture, drafting, and sculpture.  Capricorn’s association with time connects Pallas Athene with the art of timing- being in the right place at the right time.  Politically, this is a defender of law and order. There is a strong power drive for authority over others in political and social institutions.  The wisdom of Pallas in Capricorn is the wisdom of order- putting things in their proper sequence (p. 105).

The Sun in Capricorn is applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries when Mercury stations retrograde, and then in the weeks ahead after Mercury passes back across the face of the Sun, Mercury will eventually come into a square with Uranus in Aries and then will station direct in conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  As a result, this Mercury retrograde activates and re-triggers the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that has been dominating our astrological landscape for the past seven years, most exactly in the past four years.  As predicted the Pluto-Uranus square has correlated with seismic shifts around our planet, and so this Mercury retrograde is profound for reflecting upon the immensity of change that has passed through our lives.  Furthermore, it’s a potent period for reorienting our plans and structures in greater harmony with the insights we receive for how our world has been altered and continues to change.

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Illustration for Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer?
When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress?
And this heart, always the gods’ possession,
when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle
as Fate would have us believe?
Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise,
in the roots- later on- stilled?

Ah, the spectre of transience,
through the guilelessly receptive
it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving,-
the abiding Strengths assume
that the gods have some need for us.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Retrograde

Hermes is a god of boundaries, with a tradition of demarcating divisions between profane and sacred territory, between rural and urban landscapes, between the graveyards of the dead and the playgrounds of the living.  When Mercury stations retrograde, this normally swift planet gives off the appearance of putting down roots into solid stillness, and as it disappears with a flash of light at sunset there is a cosmic message transmitted.  As Mercury moves retrograde under the beams of the Sun it is not visible, and being in between our planet Earth and our fiery Sun it is symbolically considered to be journeying through our underworld.  Demetra George has connected Mercury retrograde with the work by Jungian Murray Stein on the borderline spaces we inhabit during transitions and gaps between conscious realities.  As Hermes is a god of thresholds and passages between realms, Demetra George has taught that the stationing of Mercury retrograde marks a liminal time in which we are separated from a clear sense of where we are, as Hermes guides us through a transition of an old identity dying and the emergence of a new sense of Self.

This Mercury retrograde primarily occurring in Capricorn introduces the Mercurial theme of the earth element in 2016, as the following two Mercury retrograde periods this year will also occur in the earth signs of Taurus and Virgo.  This brings to mind the unconscious symbolism of the forest as well as other oracular associations with soulful matter such as rocks, plants, and other elements of our natural world.  Capricorn is distinguished in part from the other earth signs through it being the home of Saturn, and the transiting Saturn in Sagittarius is fittingly forming some of the most significant astrological aspects during this Mercury retrograde.  Transiting Saturn being in Sagittarius colors Mercury’s time in Capricorn with a more strident, visionary vibration.  The last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that has been an intense astrological factor over the past couple of months continues to be so during this Mercury retrograde, and in fact becomes all the more dramatic with the passage of Venus triggering their dynamic.

As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is applying tightly to a square with Neptune, within minutes.  Venus is also four degrees away from Saturn in Sagittarius as Mercury stations, and as Mercury moves retrograde over the following week Venus will conjoin Saturn on January 8 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  The square between Venus and Neptune portends a crisis in our relationships, and as Venus is overcoming Neptune in the square while also approaching Saturn, the dreamy unconditional side of our feelings can be overcome by the conditions of circumstance in front of our face, what we feel are the cold hard facts of reality.  However, the square of Neptune in Pisces to Venus and Saturn combining in Sagittarius also reveals that there is a deeper and more far reaching truth to discern, such as the fact that what we are perceiving to be our reality is based more upon our current beliefs than actual reality.  While Saturn can bring up feelings of wanting to cut something off and separate, it is also true that Venus can soften up the old ringed devil for reconciliation.  At a higher potential, we can utilize these aspects during the Mercury retrograde to penetrate into our subjective feelings and perceptions and unveil a vaster conception of personal truth.

At the outset of Mercury stationing retrograde, with Mars in Scorpio in square to Mercury in Aquarius, we will want to keep in mind that disillusionment and feelings of disorientation are likely to come up in our relationships and that this amplified aspect between Mars and Mercury can erupt easily into bitter conflict.  While Mercury is in Aquarius, there is a risk that the detached side of Aquarius could combine with the fury of Mars at full force in Scorpio, resulting in explosive fights.  Yet the anger coming out in conflicts at this time has a source within, and it will be the task of this Mercury retrograde to journey within and explore the full ramifications of where these feelings are coming from.  It is important to realize that the feelings and thoughts dislodged at the beginning of this Mercury retrograde by Mars square Mercury, Venus and Saturn square Neptune among other things, is not the end of the story but merely the beginning.  Mercury will be journeying in the retrograde all the way back to unite with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there will be a vital message for us to receive about ourselves connected to the impassioned feelings provoked at the outset of this Mercury retrograde.

There is also the potential that we can rekindle passion from the Mars square in order to then harness corresponding desire to determined effort going forward.  Mercury retrograde in the home of Saturn will reward hard work and effort, and so the square from Mars to Mercury can jolt us into awareness of where we need to concentrate and work with full force.  This square between Mercury and Mars is even more intense as it is the second one to occur within the same week.  The first square in this cycle was on December 29, 2015 with Mercury at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 28° of Capricorn, and Mars at the same degree of Libra.  There is something hugely significant to find within this square between Mercury and Mars that will fuel our work in the year ahead.  Mars and Mercury will form their third square in the beginning of March 2016 with Mercury at the very end of Aquarius and Mars and the very end of Scorpio.  It may take until this later time a few months from now to fully come to terms with the work that will be involving this intense aspect between Mercury and Mars, and in the meantime we will need to persevere in the face of any daunting obstacles.

The other major astrological aspect occurring as Mercury stations retrograde is that a couple of days after Mercury stations retrograde, Jupiter in Virgo will also station retrograde closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  There is a powerful connection here with Mercury as the conjunction between Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon is occurring in Virgo. In fact, as Mercury moves retrograde into Capricorn this connection will intensify as Mercury will be receiving Jupiter through a trine.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury during this retrograde, despite some of the otherwise challenging aspects there also appears to be a confluence of forces supporting us finding a vision for our life that will bring us a fulfilling sense of purpose.  Jupiter moving retrograde also brings an inner visioning in terms of reorienting toward a more authentic personal truth.  Jupiter was previously retrograde in Leo between early December 2014 and early April 2015 if you want to contemplate events associated with the prior Jupiter retrograde.  Jupiter will remain retrograde until the beginning of May 2016, at which time it will station direct in range of an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.

mercury passing in front of the sun

Mercury Passing in Front of the Sun by Giacomo Balla (1914)

Only he who has also raised
his lyre among shadows
may find his way back
to infinite praise.

Only he who has eaten with the dead
from their stores of poppy
will never again lose
the softest chord.

And though the pool’s reflection
often blurs before us:
Know the image.

Only in the double realm
do the voices become
eternal and mild.

–Rainer Maria Rile from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury into the Sun

Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs when Mercury retrograde reaches the same zodiac degree as the Sun, and as Mercury during its retrograde is passing between our Earth and Sun, I am part of the astrological community who interprets this as being similar to a New Mercury.  This is a moment of cazimi, in which Mercury is reborn in the radiance of our solar light, regenerated and purified within the golden rays of the fiery Sun.  On a personal level, this is a moment of new conception regarding the significations of Mercury within our life, and a powerful moment within to attune to an oracular message we may receive.  In Pacific standard time, this magical Mercury moment occurs at 6:05 am on January 14, 2016, while in the Central European time zone this will occur at 3:05 pm on January 14.

Mercury and the Sun will be at 23º50′ tightly in trine with Jupiter in Virgo at 23º10′ and the true North Node of the Moon in Virgo at 23º30′.  Amazingly, the waxing crescent Moon at the moment of Mercury cazimi is at 22º30′ of Pisces, closely applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, a sextile with the Mercury and Sun conjunction, and an opposition to Jupiter in Virgo.   These aspects are remarkably suggestive of the interpretation that Dane Rudhyar gave to the Crescent Moon as fighting off the ghosts of the past, as there is an activation of past patterns of awareness at the same time we sense new choices and opportunities linked to a reborn vision of meaning.  While we may feel a pull back toward the normalcy of old patterns, we can consciously with determination propel ourselves into the unknown with faith despite the fears arising that we will not have what we need to be successful in the new direction.  The close trine between Mercury conjoining the Sun and Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon indicates that we will in fact be able to access the resources we need to successfully transition in the new, unfamiliar direction.

In addition, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be almost exactly conjunct the geocentric South Node of Saturn, and a few degrees away from a conjunction with the geocentric South Node of Pluto.  This intensifies the connection of this Mercury retrograde cycle with the full archetypal arcs of both Saturn and Pluto.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green teaches that the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto being in Capricorn symbolizes the vast shadow cast by the patriarchal paradigm that seized power from a matriarchal collective ages ago.  Mercury retrograde united with the Sun at the South Node of Saturn suggests penetrating insight into the foundation of the structural systems surrounding us will be available.  It also portends we can discern how our behavior in the moment has been conditioned by the vast history of hierarchical power structures vying for power, control, and dominance.

Finally, there are additional indications that Venus is demanding attention from us during this Mercury retrograde, and that the retrograde commencing with a tight square between Venus and Neptune is a sign that we have a deep message regarding our Venusian nature to uncover.  At the time of Mercury’s inferior conjunction, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, as well as a square with the Moon in Pisces and the South Node of the Moon.  Well, we’re always focused on Venus and looking for messages about her, right?  Nonetheless, Venus is holding aspects suggestive of being at a crossroads at the time of this Mercury inferior conjunction, and as she will be received by Jupiter it is yet another sign of the Jupiter conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo being a beacon of light leading us out of the Mercurial underworld.

Dore Gustave Inferno_Canto_1_spirit_guide

Virgil leads Dante by Gustave Dore, from the Divine Comedy

We puzzle over flower, vine-leaf, fruit.
They speak not just the language of the year.
A thing of succor rises from the dark
and its hues may gleam with the jealousy

of the dead, those who strengthen the earth.
What do we know of their share in it?
It has long been their practice to enrich
the loam with their own free marrow.

The question is: do they do it willingly? . . .
Does this fruit, a work of sullen slaves,
push through clenched to us, to their masters?

Or are they the masters, sleeping among
the roots and granting us from their profusion
this hybrid of mute strength and kisses?

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct

Mercury ultimately will station direct on January 25, 2016 at 14º55′ of Capricorn, closely conjoining Pluto at 15º54′ of Capricorn.  As Mercury appears to stand still when stationing, this means we will have an extended period of Mercury and Pluto being a degree apart (roughly January 21 – February 1, 2016).  On January 20 when the Sun ingresses into Aquarius, Mercury retrograde will also form an exact square with Uranus in Aries, and Mercury will still be in range of a square to Uranus when it finally stations direct.  There is deep reckoning to be found in this stationing direct of Mercury, much more so than normal as it is intimately bound to the influence of the Pluto-Uranus square.  This may or may not be a pleasant time depending upon your circumstances, but there is no doubt that an aspect of your ineffable soul will be available to perceive.  Whether you are able to schedule some downtime for yourself or whether you will be forced to be engaged in numerous intense activities, there is immense catharsis found in these aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct.  There is also a harmonious sextile formed between Mars in Scorpio with the stationing Mercury in Capricorn, suggesting that a level of resolution could be reached concerning whatever was stirred up by Mars being square to Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde.

Adding to the vast depth of this time is that Mercury will be stationing direct closely conjoining the geocentric South Node of Jupiter, and also a couple of degrees away from a conjunction with its own geocentric South Node of Mercury.  This is yet another potent activation of the Jupiter archetype during this Mercury retrograde, and points toward Jupiter taking on the role of a guiding shepherd.  As Mercury begins to move direct again as an explorative Morning Star, it will once again begin applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Those who have been working hard with due diligence and determination during the Mercury retrograde will be rewarded during this final period of Jupiter in Virgo receiving Mercury in Capricorn through a trine.  By willingly descending into underworld darkness during the Mercury retrograde, we will reascend nourished by a regenerated vision of life focused upon our essential fulfillment.

References

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

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

Neptune stations in Pisces

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The image above from Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds centers around a moment of epiphany, an opening of consciousness resonant with the dissolving of personal structures that can occur when Neptune stations direct as it has now at five degrees of Pisces.  People love to write about the Age of Aquarius, but Neptune stationing direct is a reminder that we remain in the Age of Pisces, an age dominated by harrowing experiences of war rooted in conflict between idealistic ideologies.  Ashes and Diamonds is set in Poland on the last day of World War II, a war in which Poland passed through unspeakable terror during its time of Nazi occupation and concentration camps that haunt collective memories with agonies incapable of description.  On the day of events in Ashes and Diamonds, modest celebrations over the end to the war occur in air saturated with the heavy fog of lingering trauma and the encroachment of the Soviet state on Polish independence.  Immediately prior to the image above inside a bombed church, the Lovers shown here discover an engraved fragment of a poem by the legendary Polish poet Cyprian Norwid: 

From you, as from burning chips of resin,
Fiery fragments circle far and near:
Ablaze, you don’t know if you are to be free,
Or if all that is yours will disappear.

Will only ashes and confusion remain,
Leading like storm into the abyss? Or will there be
In the depths of the ash a star-like diamond,
The dawning of eternal victory!

The phoenix of transformation found within these words fits our current astrological climate.  When pondering the nature of an archetypal force such as Neptune stationing, it is important to consider the surrounding astrological context: new cycle of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, Mars triggering the approaching square between Pluto and Uranus in Aries, new cycle between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio, a Leo Jupiter in square to the Sun, Saturn, and Venus in Scorpio, and Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Moreover, making the exact timing of this Neptune stationing more palpable on a personal level was that the Moon was in Virgo opposite Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces as the planetary symbol of oceanic consciousness stood still from our Earth-bound perspective.  Easing our ability to integrate meaning from all of this, Mercury has regained full strength as a Morning Star, re-emerging from it’s retrograde shadow zone to form a harmonious trine with both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.

Images are a realm of Neptune, and cinema in particular resonates with the myriad meanings of Neptune’s archetype.  Looking at the image from Ashes and Diamonds above, those who grew up immersed within the United State’s Hollywood will recognize the archetypal rebel stance drawing perplexed interest from a lover (and indeed, the actor Zbigniew Cybulski playing the lead was known as the “James Dean of Polish Cinema” and experienced an early traumatic death).  This scene unveils a Neptunian dissolution of interior structures and complexes, as each character had previously experienced an unlocking of inner vaults in the union of their embrace. The heart-centered words of a poet are another entry point into Neptune, and after hearing this poem recited from the lips of his desired lover, the lead character opens to the awareness that he could be leading a different life from a different form of consciousness. In the same scene, surrounded by ruins of wars and relics of dominant religion, he expresses that as he had never before realized he could fall in love he also had never thought that his life could be arranged around something different than his own pure survival.

Ewa reading poem in Ashes and Diamonds

Ewa Krzyżewska reading Norwid’s poem in Ashes and Diamonds

Neptune’s symbolic association with water relates to the dissolution of former structures of our self and reality we experience under a Neptunian wave. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

The tragedy of Ashes and Diamonds and the tragedy of many lives is that we label the epiphany the illusion, call the realization a magical fantasy as if magic can not truly happen.  Yet while attempting to re-adapt to our former perspective that was not so discontinuous with the surrounding consensus reality, the yearning of Neptune can take root instead in escapist pursuits like drug use or absorption into fictional or non-fictional stories about other people instead of living our own dream.  Addictive relationships can fall into this category as well, the type of attachment we form for a relationship that does not nourish our deep self but instead brings us a sense of security within our consensus surroundings no matter how unfulfilling.  Ironically from this space we are likely to view a truly fulfilling opportunity for relationship as a romantic fantasy we are imagining from our childhood fairy tales.

The remedy is to swim with the current and be a creative agent, an active magician in your daily life manifesting your internal world into your external environment.  Think of the great magician of recent fiction, Harry Potter, consulting his magical mentor Albus Dumbledore in a Neptunian King’s Cross Station:

Harry Potter:  Professor, is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?

Albus Dumbledore: Of course its happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that its not real?

Whatever signs and symbols you have been drawn to, whatever movies you have felt compelled to watch, books you suddenly knew you had to start reading recently, take note for most likely there is a significant message for you here. Neptune works through mysterious ways that are more musical, imaginal, and intuitive than anything logical.  There are many intense astrological signs pointing to a new cycle, new life, and new reality coming into form and while we may be in mid-process and there may be many tumultuous surrounding events, be courageous enough to follow the vision emerging from your depths in your waking life.

Beatrice_Addressing_Dante_(by_William_Blake)

Beatrice Addressing Dante by William Blake

Following Neptune stationing direct in Pisces, Venus has now entered Sagittarius and will soon send sparks through a square to Neptune.  The image above by Sagittarian artist William Blake unveils the Muse in the form of Beatrice, the inspiring force behind the work of Dante Alighieri.  We can find the shifting archetype of Neptune in this work of passion, in the spinning vortex of chariot wheels carrying the beaming and erotic Beatrice.  Dante serves as an example of an artist able to channel the imaginal visions lit by love for a woman he was never able to be with physically, into works of art that centuries later continue to leave a mark in modern minds.  I was curious to see how this image was interpreted in Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth by Leopold Damrosch, and was surprised to find the language describing Beatrice and the other women as dominating a “meek” Dante.  To me this connects with Venus emerging from its new cycles with the Sun and Saturn while in Scorpio, into Sagittarius and a square with Neptune: are we being overpowered and confused by our vision or being uplifted into creative inspiration.  If we are able to look underneath at the substantive structures sourcing our perception and instinctual reactions we can gain greater awareness of how to ride a wave of Neptune into greater abundance instead of being pulled into an undertow of disintegration.  For example, if we come from a sense that creation comes out of conflict we may find ourselves forever stirring up drama around us, sometimes needlessly so-  with reflection we may find opportunities to be harmoniously collaborative with others while also being creative.

Venus entering a square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces is a gateway into a couple of months of Neptune experiencing squares from planets in Sagittarius.  Within a week on November 22, there will be a New Moon at zero degrees of Sagittarius that will herald our Sun’s entrance into the sign of the centaur. At the end of November, Mercury will enter Sagittarius, and then at the end of December on December 24, 2014 Saturn will also enter Sagittarius.  With this time of Saturn at the end of the depth of Scorpio, with Venus, then the Moon, Sun, and Mercury coming into Sagittarius to square Neptune, it is time to make our dreams and visions real.  What is illusory will be revealed, and what is authentic and genuine will be deeply felt.  If there is unrequited love or romantic projection, it can be channeled into works of creativity and art.  If we can enter into a new nourishing relationship, or go into greater depth and intimacy within a continuing one, we will be called to do so.  If we are studying a subject or exploring the meaning behind a philosophy we have become drawn to, our experiences will reveal to us what about the teaching and knowledge brings us deeper into ultimate understanding of our reality, and what elements ring false from our experience.  The end of November in particular will feature a Grand Fire Trine between Venus in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries that can coincide with liberation, expansion, deepening, and the birth of something vibrant and passionate in our life.

As a final thought in connection with Neptune stationing, many in the spiritual collective community have been concerned over the health of Thích Nhất Hạnh who experienced a brain hemorrhage on November 11, 2014.  His words have been shared to a greater extent as a result, including this beautiful writing resonant with Neptune:

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear

Mercury retrograde: a forest dark in liminal twilight

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Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

“I go along dreaming roads of the twilight”

Antonio Machado

Between thought and expression, between the colors of the sunset and the eye of the beholder, in the liminal light of twilight we feel the atmosphere of Mercury retrograde.  Mercury retrograde is a three week period in which we can surrender to opening our awareness beyond our usual habitual reactions, interfacing with our environment in different ways that surprise us.  Mercury retrograde is the magical air we feel on our skin when we watch the sun disappear on the horizon with shifting hues, the shifting frame of perspective that invites epiphanies.  In astrology, the setting sun is also a symbol for a death of self-absorption through the meeting of another in relationship or partnership.  On October 4, 2014 Mercury will station retrograde at 3° of Scorpio (a sign of soul relationship), and move all the way back to 17° of Libra (a sign of social relations and social justice) on October 25, 2014.  If we include the “shadow zone” before the retrograde station and following the stationing direct, between September 15 and November 10, 2014 Hermes is guiding us to a deepening of self-knowledge through our interactions with our environment and every relationship formed.

Mercury stationing retrograde in Scorpio draws us into a spiral of Desire.  Whether you have or have not already felt yourself pulled into an intense gravity of focus, an object or other drawing forth a surge of yearning from within, it will happen, and it will continue to be felt with expanding intensity in the weeks ahead.  All the consequences of desire, all the lessons learned from wanting something out of reach, the questions dawning once we finally reach, acquire, or merge with our craving, will be part of our experience traversing through not only a Mercury retrograde, but a particularly shattering Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse.  Unless we have somehow done the miraculous work of lining our life up so that we are completely available to the focus of our desire, we will also come across all the limitations and habitual reactions of our past mind-frame restricting our ability to respond fully to the present passion.  If you want to use astrology to help discern the nature of your desire, look in your chart to what house holds the first few degrees of Scorpio, and what aspects these degrees make in your chart.  You can also then move clockwise in your chart to the middle of Libra and see what additional house or aspects in your chart will be further impacted as the Mercury retrograde continues.

Research on habits has supported that the easiest time to break a habit is on vacation.  This theory revolves around the concept that on holiday in a new environment, all the familiar surroundings we partially fixate our identity around are gone, the triggers of our habit have been removed, and we are more vulnerable to initiating a new pattern of behavior.  This same concept goes well with Mercury retrograde:  even though all of our usual triggers will still be in place, the atmosphere invites a different response to them. Additionally, as this retrograde cycle is initiated in Scorpio, there is potential for a death of old reactive patterns.  Scorpio has the courage to enter the darkness where the past can be felt to our deepest core, without our usual defense mechanisms operating in the light of day.  In this darkness our inability to possess or be present with the desire we yearn for burns from within with such magnitude that a release of past attachments can occur that ultimately opens us up to the real possibility of having or merging with our desire in the future. In Scorpio, the phoenix pulls us through the fear of abandonment, the terror of the focus of our past sense of security being destroyed, and Mercury stationing here facilitates the integration of the dualities within us like the light and the dark, the conscious and unconscious, in order to synthesize the birth of a new identity or presence in the world.

Virginia Woolf contemplated this same concept when she wrote, “The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think,” in a journal entry on January 18, 1915.  This journal entry of Woolf’s was analyzed in a lovely essay by Rebecca Solnit entitled Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicableas well as the following:

The evening hour, too, gives us the irresponsibility which darkness and lamplight bestow. We are no longer quite ourselves. As we step out of the house on a fine evening between four and six, we shed the self our friends know us by and become part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers, whose society is so agreeable after the solitude of one’s own room. For there we sit surrounded by objects which enforce the memories of our own experience. But when the door shuts on us, all that vanishes. The shell-like covering which our souls have excreted to house themselves, to make for themselves a shape distinct from others, is broken, and there is left of all these wrinkles and roughnesses a central pearl of perceptiveness, an enormous eye.   —Virginia Woolf

This idea Virginia Woolf journaled about, that to close the door on the attachment of our possessions, to walk the streets in twilight among strangers, is an opening of our personality to the limitless depth of soul.  Mercury retrograde is likewise an opportunity to go for an evening walk under a canopy of dark trees, above a network of deep roots, into an awakening of who we are and where we desire to go.

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Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

With those we share our most intimate essence with, there will be a more ardent interchange than usual, leading to an intensification in interaction that could be chaotic yet essentially revealing if we can avoid becoming so wrapped up in melodrama that we block our capacity to discern meaning.  We do not want to be afraid of the dark, because there will be no avoiding the shadow or the dark night of the soul necessary to birth the insight we desperately need to actualize our purest passions.  If there is anything we have been consciously avoiding from past relationships, the time of denial will be over as there will be no escape from suppressed thoughts and feelings emerging that will demand our attention.

“Love goes toward love” William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, and when we fall enflamed in our heart’s rapture, we can feel like Romeo musing about Juliet, that the Other we desire is a “Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!”  It seems that as much as we project and idealize an illusion in romantic folly, we negate a true desire of our soul for a love that terrifies us as much as it enchants our wildest passions.  This is because great love dissolves and destroys our former sense of self, and we change and shift in the embrace of true love.  Or, if we risk taking on the transformation of love, the work needed to sustain a relationship lovingly further challenges our sense of self, as it involves making compromises and listening to the needs of the Other.  We get used to focusing on our old needs like a bad habit, instead of opening to how these needs can shift in every moment, guided by the wholeheartedness of desire.  Since Mercury retrograde can facilitate shifting habits out of a changing place of perspective, we can realize which relationships we truly desire to focus on going forward, and cultivate the faculty needed for our mind to respond to the arising needs associated with our yearning.

Since Mercury will move from the beginning of Scorpio back into the heart of Libra, and then forward again back into Scorpio, we will feel a surging ebb and flow of subconscious shadow in all of our relationships.  In the eye of the present partner we may catch a glimpse of a childhood emotion, in a conversation with a passing passerby we may hear the echo of an issue that feels like it has been with us for an eternity.  If we open to this process, there is something deep within to unearth through dialogue and attention to the needs of our relationships.  In this way while our desires may be pulling us into a space of new perception, another major meaning of this Mercury retrograde will be Power.  Where, when, and with whom do we feel powerful, where, when, and to whom do we give our power away, and how can we find the balance of feeling secure in our own power yet interacting with others so that we are not overpowering them or projecting our issues of power on to them.

In addition, Mercury stationing at the beginning of Scorpio means that there are three generations of people on our planet right now who may be especially impacted subconsciously:  those with Neptune at the beginning of Scorpio (1956-58), those with Uranus at the beginning of Scorpio (1974-76), and those with Pluto at the beginning of Scorpio (1983-85).  As there will additionally be a potent Solar Eclipse occurring at the end of October in these same degrees, right now with Mercury stationing retrograde at the beginning of Scorpio is a tremendous opportunity to sense what some of the coming changes may center around.

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Yaroslav Gerzehedovich

In the space of retrograde Mercury we can be more sensitive to signs, symbols, and omens in our environment.  While our relationships with other humans will come into play, it will also be about our relationship with the world. The more we take the  “I-Thou” relationship of honoring the soulful nature of everything in our environment, and less the “I-It” relationship of viewing our surroundings as resources to meet our own needs, the more we will be able to recognize and realize the significant meaning this Mercury retrograde is bringing into our life.  There is a good chance we will feel upside down, with our emotions in total disarray as our old identity and attachments dissolve within a liminal state.  In this in-between we can find our way through reading the symbols and signs around us and balance within the flow of the life streaming in front of us.

In the next month there will be obvious events and conversations that we know are pivotal; there will also be less obvious symbols surrounding us with a message to integrate if we keep our awareness open to them.  Let the Mercury retrograde allow information to come in that you would normally rationalize away, and see where it takes you.  Here below is a chart for Mercury stationing retrograde: MercuryRetrogradeWRIGC1 Uranus in Aries being involved in both a grand fire trine with Jupiter in Leo and Mars in Sagittarius, and a t-square with the Sun and Pluto, means that there is something especially Uranian about Mercury stationing retrograde.  This is also a plutonic Mercury full of explosive energy that can blow up our previous perception of our world and what is occurring within it.  Meanwhile, there is also a huge uplifting, dynamic energy that can synthesize meaning from both our impulses and our experience and weave them together into a tapestry that can seemingly transport us into a deeper dimension of perception, not unlike the magic carpets of fairy tales.  The ticket for entry into this process involves a willingness to go into the dark and persist through fears or feelings of dissolution.

Just as Mercury is plutonic now, so is Mars, as the red planet of desire is in a balsamic phase with Pluto. Mars is a centaur bounding forward from a source of strong desire that will help us expand beyond previous confinements created from our conditioned personality.  Yet the expansive energy of Mars in a grand fire trine with Jupiter and Uranus will also be catalyzing us within the fluctuating back and forth of old desires arising to be released or re-integrated as new desires emerge from our inner fire.   With Saturn and Ceres closely conjunct in Scorpio, and Mercury stationing retrograde in Scorpio, our structural source will generate a Mercurial mediation into our depths and the death of an old identification.  This is a time of becoming unbound amid disintegration, as Mars will take us deeper into our desires stirred by a Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse, each of which is further ruled by Mars.  A chart for the Lunar Eclipse in Aries is below, a polarizing lunation in which Uranus is also prominently conjunct the brilliant Moon:

LunarEclipseWRIGC2

Mercury will be descending into the underworld in Scorpio at the Lunar Eclipse, as the eclipse occurs around the time of Mercury’s heliacal set at sunset in which it disappears below the earth, becoming invisible.  This is truly an extraordinary leap of a Lunar Eclipse managed by the structure of Ceres and Saturn united in the fertile darkness of Scorpio.  Fittingly, the timing of this eclipse goes well with this being the initiation of the most magical of all the Mercury phases, the time in which Mercury becomes more of a mystical guide into our inner realm.  This is the phase in which we can be more receptive to signs, omens, and symbols, and we can receive information intuitively more easily than rationally explain anything.  In this time of Mercury as the Magician, Hermes guides us through accumulating and then releasing our old patterns of thought in preparation for a new vision.  I don’t mean to suggest this will be smooth sailing for our Hermetic navigator, however, as Venus in Libra is in a harsh last quarter square to Pluto at this eclipse, adding additional climatic intensity of outer events forcing profound inner reflection.

There is an imaginal link between this Lunar Eclipse and a High Priestess using her Dark Moon envisioning skills within the brilliance of a Full Moon Eclipse.  Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, has a rarely discussed link to the Aries II decan where the Lunar Eclipse is occurring.  In the “Tables of Correspondence” in 36 Faces by Austin Coppock, it is listed that Persephone is the God/Spirit connected to the Aries II decan in the Hellenistic text translated as The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.  Although Persephone is not mentioned in Austin Coppick’s analysis of Aries II, Coppock did give the following description of this decan that is befitting the Queen of Spirit:

Applied magically, this decan has tremendous power. It is the power to generate the world of your choosing, and to be its sovereign.  It is the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist. — Austin Coppock

Eclipses are known to throw everything into disarray, and are not known to be times best for laying carefully designed plans.  Yet this eclipse is so full of break-through aspects and force that it seems an air of liberation will be part of the chaotic atmosphere.  It will be a time of sensing the power within a polarity of feelings, integrating the subconscious with the conscious, and owning our authority to heal the previous fracturing of our soul like Persephone.  This will be a time to believe in our capacity to create a life aligned with our deepest soulful passions more so than the expectations of the consensus reality dominating our environment.

MercuryInferiorConjunctWRIGC1

The inferior conjunction of Mercury is a magical moment in which Mercury aligns with the Sun, in between our orbit and the fiery center of our solar system.  This is a moment in which Hermes transmits a message from Spirit to us, and with Mercury in Libra we will have information to integrate about the Other our Self is in relationship with.  However, Libra is not only about social relations but also social justice.  As usual, there have been many stories involving oppression in the news and many traumatic events occurring around us whose story is untold by anyone other than the participants.  What is frightening about our world is all of the abuse not covered by the media, that people suffer in isolation without anyone to reach out to for help.  I do not mean to suggest that this Mercury inferior conjunction in Libra will be some sort of magic pill to heal all the societal ills in the world, but I do suggest that a window of insight will open giving us a very deep look into the source of our collective trauma and oppression.

Nonetheless, this inferior conjunction will also be about our personal relationships and intimate partnerships, as the Leo Moon will be conjunct Juno and Venus, Mercury, and the Sun will all be conjunct in Libra.  The insight we can gain will have something to do with all of the underworld mythology involving the pursuit of love and desire.  Most of the stories involving a mythic figure being capable of descending to the underworld and back involve the character having such a powerful desire of love that they manage to somehow survive:  Persephone, Psyche, Dionysus, Orpheus, Inanna, Ishtar, and Isis.  We may be rocked and rolled over from where want and lust lead us, or from the desire and passion we attempt to repress or suppress, but in the end there is a more wholehearted sense of self in relationship to gain.

SolarEclipseWRIGC3

This solar eclipse conjunct Venus at the beginning of Scopio is happening close to the same time as the Superior Conjunction of Venus with the Sun.  This is Venus as Inanna following her descent into the underworld, and these Scorpio aspects bring to mind the Dark Goddess who will be with us during an especially intense balsamic moon phase leading up to this solar eclipse.  In contrast to Mercury who is close to rising again at dawn as a morning star, Venus is on her way to becoming an evening star.  The future promise of Venus rising again in our night skies with her brilliant white light is an apt symbol for inspiration that will eventually arise out of our current darkness, no matter the difficulties and disorientation we experience at this time.

Traditionally Mars is also ruling this eclipse, and in modern rulership Pluto in Capricorn is ruling it.  Either way, with Mercury stationing direct in the underworld at this time in Libra, and so ruled by Venus at the heart of her descent, this is a Solar Eclipse taking us into our core inner world.  Change will come from within this core, sourced by our deepest desire, as we begin re-integrating the messages and information received from this Mercury retrograde cycle.  It is an excellent time to set an intention for who and what we want to magnetize and attract into our life going forward from the inner vibration we are cultivating. However, this time will not just be about ourselves and our inner world, as this eclipse has clear aspects indicating a huge impact from the relationships in our life.  Out of the challenging and uplifting experiences of this time, there appears to be a sharper sense of our essential nature to realize and embody.

MercuryDirectWRIGC4

As Mercury finally stations direct, he turns to re-ascend to the upper world as a morning star harbinger of dawn.  Hermes welcomes a new reality for us now, symbolized by Venus in Scorpio entering a new phase with the Sun, symbol of our Spirit. In addition, Pallas Athena in Scorpio remains conjunct Venus as Mercury stations, a sign that we could have greater access than normal to the ingenious insight available from Mercury stationing direct.  The important quality to access the wisdom available here is honesty, and a willingness to take responsibility to both nurture our own needs linked to our desire, as well as listen to and respect the needs of others we are in relationship with.

Amazingly in epic proportion, there will be a lunar occultation of Saturn in Scorpio occurring as Mercury stations direct, and following Mercury stationing direct the Moon will move on to a conjunction with Ceres. The myth of Persephone and Ceres seems strong in these symbols, and the compromise that Ceres managed to create enabling her to have her desire fulfilled of spending time with her daughter for half a year.  This desire did not come easy, and followed inner disorientation, outer torment, and soul searching from the goddess.  Yet as this myth served as a vehicle for rituals of epiphany in ancient times, there was also an inner revelation revealed, and so will there will be for us.

Mercury will leave the shadow zone on November 10, 2014 at a time that Venus will be conjunct Saturn in Scorpio and Mars will be conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.  As Mercury moves forward through Libra, focus on re-integrating all of the messages gained regarding our desires, relationships, and sense of self within relationships.  The astrology of this time suggest there is something profound to build and cultivate from the rumination of our inner mind.

Inanna_Dumuzi

Inanna and Dumuzi

References

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

Muchado, Antonio. (1902). Soledades. Translated by Eugenio Florit.

Solnit, Rebecca. (2014).  Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicable. The New Yorker. 24 April 2014.