Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

Light in Heavy (1929) by Wassily Kandinsky

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

Every person is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.

— from “The Half-Finished Heaven” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

Mercury is a friend to humanity, albeit a tricky guide who enjoys sleight of hand and cunning words that catch us off guard. In astrology, when Mercury pauses in motion to change direction it’s necessary to be mindful with focused curiosity that can intuit the emerging issues that need our attention. The airy terrain of Aquarius will provide contrasting wind currents for Mercury to ride, sometimes forcing us in certain directions out of necessity, at other times opening an expansive vision that simultaneously draws from our well of memory while seeing new pathways to follow into the future.

Mercury is the most changeable planet, and when stationing retrograde shifts from its fleet footed pace when direct into intensifying stillness that calls for introspection. As Mercury begins its slow, churning backward motion it pulls us into a quality of time aligned with dissolution, purification, and regeneration. Rather than insisting on controlling outcomes to push forward, we need to surrender to the changes in storylines and meaning delivered by Mercury when retrograde. Although we may at times become disoriented by destabilizing dynamics, if we listen closely we will hear the guidance we need from Hermes and discover a gleaming gem of realization left where only we may find it.

Following the stationing of Mercury on January 30 at 26°29’ Aquarius, the star of Hermes will spend twenty-two days backtracking through the sign of the Water Bearer until stationing direct at 11°01’ Aquarius on February 20. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from eleven to twenty-seven degrees of Aquarius, it will excavate material that we need to deepen our engagement with, returning our perception to issues we need to release, rework, or reintegrate. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification, we may gain a rejuvenated presence and felt sense of renewal on the other side. Mercury first crossed 11°01’ Aquarius on January 15 and will not move beyond 26°29’ Aquarius until March 12, creating two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

In addition to changing speed and direction while retrograde, Mercury also transitions from being visible as an evening star in twilight into an invisible phase during which it comes closest to us in orbit and amplifies its impact in our life. In between the descent of Mercury into darkness and its eventual re-emergence into light as a morning star heralding sunrise, Mercury’s underworld journey demarcates a threshold we must cross into our own liminal passage of descent and internal processing. While we always need to attune and adjust to changes emerging from internal and external sources during the three weeks Mercury is retrograde, the period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius in 2021 will be taking place during a collective time of immeasurably immense transition and liminality in global events.

During Mercury’s retrograde movement the Sun, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will all be gathered together with Mercury in Aquarius like a grouping of clouds whose shaping and reshaping brings new realizations of our past and new inspiration for our way forward. We are still coming to terms collectively with the systemic shifts emanating from the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, with disruption and volatility continuing to increase in correlation with the first exact square aspect formed between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus on February 17. Since Aquarius is a zodiacal sign that connects the known with the unknown, as Mercury moves back to reconnect with Jupiter and Saturn we will be given the opportunity to realign and recalibrate with the rapidly developing movements, accelerated growth, and sudden collapses within societal systems that have been taking place. 

Explorador Piloto (1960) by Remedios Varo

Through a backdoor in the landscape
the magpie arrives,
black and white, bird of the death-goddess.
A blackbird flies back and forth
until the whole scene becomes a charcoal drawing,
except for the white clothes on the line:
a Palestrina choir.

The whole universe is full!

— from “Morning Bird Songs” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

The significance of Mercury, Venus, the Sun, and Jupiter all joining Saturn in its home of Aquarius cannot be overstated. Since this great gathering of wandering stars in Aquarius will also be forming a sign-based square aspect with Mars and Uranus in Taurus, we can expect it to be an especially disruptive and unstable period of Mercury retrograde. Especially during the first two weeks when Mars and Mercury will be more intensely engaged in a square aspect, we will need to navigate the stereotypical breakdowns in technology and communication emphasized in popular astrology. Yet due to Saturn being rooted in its airy home of Aquarius the entire time,  we will be able to lean on the endurance, slowly pondering analysis, and special skills in deconstruction and reconstruction possessed by the ringed star of Cronus. 

It’s further notable that Mercury is the nocturnal ruler of air signs and shares an affinity with the air element in being mobile, flexible, versatile, and facile in communication. The slow, intensified nature of Mercury when retrograde can be excellent for in-depth research, and so it can be a fruitful time for poring over reading material or penetrating deeper into learning within fields of interest. The flexibility of consciousness that Mercury brings to the potent contemplation of Saturn in Aquarius will also be beneficial in critically examining media sources as well as separating true revelation from false conspiracy on social media and elsewhere. In particular, it will be a powerful time for shedding outdated mental frameworks and thought patterns that no longer align with the changing wind of the time.

The fixed nature of Aquarius means that the changes brought into our life through the deluge of planets in Aquarius may slowly take shape in some cases but will create long lasting impact. Since Aquarius is a human sign connected with the relationship between humans with one another in our vast network of intersecting societal constructions, humanitarian concerns will take precedence. The numerous crises impacting people around the world in relation to the global pandemic as well as the collapse of formerly reliable structures means that it’s simply going to take a long time to find the needed solutions and work through the difficulties involved in reform and repair. Bring patience and willingness to persist in problem solving into the passage of Mercury retrograde, and by the end of it you will likely find new insights to apply to issues and new pathways to follow forward. 

As we continue to orient with the new era of air initiated by the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, we can utilize the three weeks of Mercury retrograde to notice synchronicities and discover revelations in connection with all forms of air symbolism. One realm will be in the use of language itself, rethinking how we use language to communicate. With the tension from Mars and Uranus to the gathering of Aquarius planets there will continue to be cultural battles over the use of language and the ways we tell our collective stories of humanity, with escalating conflict swirling like whirlwinds. In verbal conflicts of any sort, the mediation offered by Mercury retrograde is to pause, slow down, and rethink your perspective, finding ways to de-escalate discord so that a bridge between view points can be made.

Within our personal relationships, we will also have opportunities for uncovering ways to more directly express the heart of the matter through our choice in words. As the living symbolism of Aquarius involves how humans draw from sources of spirit within earthly matters, one constant intersection is in how we express the flight of our thoughts through language. As Dr. Mervat Nasser wrote in Hermopolis, “the Egyptian alphabet took the shape of birds that were seen as capable of flying high into the sky to mediate between the knowledge of heaven and earth, between god and humanity.” 

We may also gain insight through the appearance of airy omens and signs, whether they appear through images soaring through our mind when asleep or through the flight patterns of birds within our waking time in nature. Just like Owen Barfield emphasized in Saving the Appearances, rather than forming an “I-it” relationship with nature in which we desire to observe the beautiful flight of birds separate from ourselves, we can instead seek to learn what we can understand about ourselves from the sudden appearance of a Blue Heron or Peregrine Falcon along our path. There is a depth of symbolic insight accessible when Mercury is retrograde that can be more nonlinear and intuitive than linearly logical.

When possible it will be worthwhile to spend time with the muses of your creativity while Mercury is retrograde, as the gathering of planets in Aquarius making creative tension with Mars and Uranus can lead to breakthrough ideas and important brainstorms that dislodge you from a formerly stuck position. In myth the Muses were known as the daughters of Mnemosyne (memory) and Zeus (creative divine mind), and so with Jupiter and Venus both present in Aquarius with Mercury we may draw from streams of memories in the creation of new expressions and thought forms. According to Tim Addey, who drew upon the work of Plato in his book The Seven Myths of the Soul, engaging in arts and sciences requires both creative thought and “the memory of our pre-terrestial vision of the celestial realm.” To Addey, this creative process can put us in touch with a sense of morality drawn down from the spirit of stars above, a rather Aquarian process as ethics are an important ideal for Aquarius:

“The theory of reminiscence is Plato’s explanation of why we as human beings are able to recognize abstract, universal and spiritual truths, such as justice, beauty, and goodness: it is because the soul once possessed this knowledge..but forgotten when she descended into the world of matter; the soul’s activities in arts and sciences helps her remember it.”  – Tim Addey, The Seven Myths of the Soul

odilon redon pilgrim from a sublunar world

Pilgrim from a Sublunar World (1891) by Odilon Redon

. . . Oh, but just beyond that,
behind the last of the billboards, plastered with signs for “Deathless,”
that bitter beer which tastes sweet to those drinking it
as long as they have fresh distractions to chew . . . ,
just beyond those boards, just on the other side: things are real.
Children play, lovers hold each other, off in the shadows,
pensive, on the meager grass, while dogs obey nature.
The youth is drawn farther on; perhaps he’s fallen in love
with a young Lament . . . . . He pursues her, enters meadowland. She says:
“It’s a long way. We live out there . . .”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Venus and Mercury will both be entering the underworld together within the first few days of Mercury being retrograde, meaning that both the Mercury and Venus aspects of our life will begin to enter a phase of putrefaction and decomposition. However, while Mercury will be stationing retrograde to descend from visibility as an evening star in the west at sunset, Venus will be disappearing from view as a morning star in the east at sunrise; while Mercury will be moving slowly through the zodiac backwards in between our orbit with the Sun, Venus will be moving fast and direct on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit.

Soon after disappearing under the beams of the Sun, Venus will run straight into the unsettling square aspect being formed between Saturn and Uranus. On February 5 there will be a conjunction of Venus with Saturn in Aquarius followed by square between Venus and Uranus in Taurus on February 6. As a result, the increasingly purgative phase of Mercury being retrograde that leads up to its union with the Sun on February 8 will also involve a cathartic process of Venus setting off the friction building between Saturn and Uranus. Just as Mercury will be increasingly burning off material built up from its last union with the Sun on December 19, so will Mercury also help us shed and release aspects of the issues being volatilized by Venus engaging with Saturn and Uranus. 

To dig deeper into the meaning of the aspects we need to remember that Venus will be in the home of Saturn when they unite on February 5, followed by Venus having a catalyzing encounter with Uranus who will be in the earthy home of Venus. While potentially disruptive there is also more potential for integration due to astrological reception being involved in the aspect sequence. The union of Saturn with Venus can bring a sobering view of reality, coming into contact with the confines of our circumstantial context. Yet the airy nature of Aquarius can help move with the emancipatory impulse from Uranus that can push desires to break free from present restrictions.

Fundamentally, the sequence of Venus moving from Saturn into Uranus combined with Mercury undergoing its own regenerative process of purification will create opportunities to deepen into the ways in which our values are being reshaped and reforged during a period of great collective transition. If we have been unconsciously letting go of old ideals and desires, as Mercury approaches its union with the Sun on February 8 we can begin discovering ways to embody the ways in which our values are undergoing a process of renewal and rejuvenation. Yet before full embodiment will be possible, we will need to come into greater clarity and realization of the ways in which our known understanding is transfiguring into unknown, emerging potential.

Across time the myth of Prometheus has been increasingly connected to the meaning of Uranus in astrology, perhaps most notably by Rick Tarnas. Within the Uranian themes of emancipation, innovation, invention, and rebellious individuality in the story of Prometheus, there are also lessons centered around the hubris of humanity. When we are struck by Uranus in astrology, we may ask ourselves what we have been creating with the divine gift of fire, what we most wish to bring to civilization, and what we most wish to awaken in ourselves and others. Just as Prometheus knowingly sacrificed his boundless nature to be chained to an earthly rock as punishment for delivering the gift of fire to humanity, so do we need to find ways to ground the searing visions of Uranus into our material forms with awareness of its repercussions across our world.  As Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul wrote, “The mystic’s initiation into the mysteries of Prometheus is the voluntary acceptance of the limitations of matter, not its rejection.”

Whatever innovative ideas, clarifying insights, and new desires are gathered by Venus moving across Saturn and Uranus will be brought into the conjunction that will form between Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius on February 11, the same day as the New Moon in Aquarius. While this will be a period in which to come into deeper contact with the new visions gestating within, we will first experience the reanimation of Mercury with the Sun on February 8.

Vision by Odilon Redon

Vision (1895/97) by Odilon Redon

Task: to be where I am.
Even when I’m in this solemn and absurd
role: I am still the place
where creation works on itself.

Dawn comes, the sparse tree trunks
take on color now, the frostbitten
forest flowers form a silent search party
after something that has disappeared in the dark.

But to be where I am . . . and to wait.
I am full of anxiety, obstinate, confused.
Things not yet happened are already here!
I feel that. They’re just out there:

a murmuring mass outside the barrier.
They can only slip in one by one.
They want to slip in. Why? They do
one by one. I am the turnstile.

— from “Guard Duty” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

Chthonic Cazimi

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on February 8 at 20°01′ Aquarius. The reseeding of Mercury in solar light occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

Guarding the entrance of Mercury into the heart of the Sun will be Pallas Athene, whose asteroid will unite with Mercury on February 7 and will be at 20°51′ Aquarius when Mercury unites with the Sun at 20°01′ Aquarius on February 8. The union of Pallas Athene with Mercury is the second in a three part sequence: Mercury formed its first conjunction with Pallas Athene on January 16 at 13°05′ Aquarius, and will form its third and final conjunction with Pallas Athene on March 18 at 3°25′ Pisces. With her glaring gray-eyes that penetrate with far reaching vision, Pallas Athene will be present with her sharpened spear, slithering snake, and protective aegis to foster the courage of a burning heart that can pierce through previous blockages to enliven a fuller sense of our potential.

A goddess of arts and crafts, prophecy, and warfare, Walter Burkett noted in Greek Religion that what unites Pallas Athene’s “divergent spheres of competence is not an elemental force, but the force of civilization: the just division of roles” among the populace as well as “the organizational wisdom which achieves this.” Burkert further noted that “more than any other deity Athena is always near her protégés,” declaring that “wherever difficulties disappear and the impossible becomes possible, Athena is at hand.”  In astrology, Demetra George has described Pallas Athene in Aquarius as representing “futuristic perception ” that creates “forms that will benefit generations to come,” as well as artists and others “on the forefront of the future, translating the tone of what is coming  in for the masses.” While the issues in need of addressing across society seem impossibly large, the presence of Pallas Athene with the inferior conjunction of Mercury is a sign of significant progress being possible in terms of reorganizing structures, roles, and responsibilities within societal and personal systems of all sorts.

The union of Pallas Athene with Mercury will precede the movement of Mercury from the heart of the Sun into a discordant square aspect with Mars in Taurus. Mercury will form its exact square aspect with Mars on February 10 during a dark Moon in Aquarius that will be moving through a sequence of conjunctions with Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury as it draws its lunar cycle to a close, intensifying our feelings of transitioning in between what has been and what will be. The disruptive influence of Mars in Taurus upon the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be modulated by Pallas Athene, amplifying the penetrative visioning available as well as the inspiration for activism on behalf of social justice concerns from groups who have been marginalized in one way or another by the cultures in power.

If you experience any significant breakdowns, conflicts, or obstacles as Mars and Mercury clash, keep in mind that as soon as Mercury begins to separate from Mars it will begin applying toward a beneficial and restorative conjunction between Jupiter and Venus in Aquarius. There may be a need to come to stark terms with what isn’t working in the middle of February, but there will be celestial support available to diagnose solutions and ultimately begin moving forward again from a more solid foundation. 

The Buddha (1895) by Odilon Redon

The airy sky has taken its place leaning against the wall.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us
and whispers
“I am not empty, I am open.”

— from “Vermeer” by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly

A few days after the inferior conjunction of Mercury, there will be an extremely potent New Moon in Aquarius on February 11 at 23°17’ Aquarius that will involve a conjunction between Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius as well as all of the seven traditional planets and lights occupying Aquarius except for Mars. Following the New Moon in Aquarius, Mercury will form a conjunction with Venus in Aquarius on February 13 followed by a conjunction with Jupiter in Aquarius on February 14. These days following the Aquarius New Moon can be extremely fertile for creativity and coalescing greater clarity regarding the path we need to follow into the year ahead. The more we can strip away the inessential and what is ready to be shed from our life in the period leading up to these days, the more space we will have to welcome exciting new developments. 

As Mercury begins slowing down to station direct on February 20, it will become visible again in the darkness before dawn around February 16. There will be a burst of new movements and ideas for future plans at this time, as the reappearance of Mercury as a morning star to deliver a vital message will be combined with the fact that both Saturn and Jupiter will have also renewed their own visible cycles as morning stars in the days before Mercury. Yet we will have to navigate an extremely turbulent atmosphere while integrating new visions due to the first exact square aspect between Saturn and Uranus taking place on February 17. There will be rupturing in collective events creating division while sudden shifts and movements continue to reorder and rearrange systemic structures and alliances between societal structures and groups.

Some of the ways Mercury may assist in ferrying us across the volatile middle of February involves Mercury being within its own decan of ten to twenty degrees of Aquarius. Mercury will possess both decan as well as triplicity dignity as it slows down to station, giving it added potency in helping us forge links of support with relationships and resources that can help us handle being at a threshold in-between the way it’s been and the way of what’s to come. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to the second face of Aquarius, noting that the “principled but fierce wisdom” found in this face “stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth” while also allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown,” as well as “the ideal and the practical.” 

Further adding to the instability and creative tension of the days surrounding Mercury stationing direct, Venus in Aquarius will form a catalyzing square aspect with Mars in Taurus on February 19. The waning square between Venus with Mars will necessitate adjustment and reorientation within our relational dynamics in accordance with whatever larger collective changes are taking place as well as whatever kind of internal shifting in values and needs we have been experiencing. As Mercury will be stationing direct at the same time, make the time and space needed to gather a deeper sense of how your life and desires have been reshaped. After Venus forms its square with Mars it will form a conjunction with Pallas Athene in Aquarius on February 21, helping us formulate strategies to handle any difficulties that were set off by Mars as well as gain a stronger sense of  ways we need to alter plans and goals for the future in light of however our inner values have been shifting. 

As a result of numerous destabilizing astrological aspects occurring simultaneously, it will be important to be as mindful as possible in the days surrounding the stationing direct of Mercury on February 20 at 11°01’ Aquarius. Mercury will station close to the midpoint between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, giving us an opportunity to deepen in our understanding of how our life has been altered in correspondence with the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that arrived at the end of 2020. Mercury will next slowly begin moving forward again as it applies toward a conjunction with Jupiter that it will not complete until March 4. As a result, we will have a couple of weeks following the stationing direct of Mercury to benefit from the star of Hermes applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Aquarius. Utilize this period for pushing forward with goals and generating forward momentum toward whatever ways your purpose in life has undergone a metamorphosis.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a morning star and begin speeding up on March 6. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates the point in which Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its morning star phase. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

In all, the period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius promises to be full of ups and downs as we move through an unstable stretch of time. Although the collective changes that will be developing may feel unsettling, we could not ask for a better guide through the volatility than Hermes. Give praise to Mercury and welcome his wild wisdom into your life, as you need to allow for all of his tricks in order to receive all of his gifts. Be on the constant lookout for the windfalls of fruitful fortune that Mercury may deliver unexpectedly, while making the time to formulate long-term strategies to achieve the goals and larger visions that have been consolidating in your mind. By the time Mercury is heading direct again at the end of February, you may feel renewed with a rejuvenated excitement about what you can create and bring into form in the year ahead.

Mercury Riding Pegasus, Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

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References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

Barfield, Owen. (1988). Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry. Second Edition. Wesleyan University Press.

Burkert, Walter. (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press. 

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

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

Nasser, Mervat. (2019). The Path to the New Hermopolis: The History, Philosophy, & Future of the City of Hermes. Rubedo Press. 

Leo Lunar Eclipse: Scythe of Ceres

Sunflower clock

Sunflower Clock by Athanasius Kircher

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

The Moon will glow in rosy shadow as the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo culminates on January 31.  Eclipses reveal the wonder of our living world through the stunning optics of our Moon not only appearing to be the same size as our Sun, but also mutating in color during the exact alignment.  During a total lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our planet upon the face of the Moon, creating a reddish light as opposed to the total blackness that manifests in a solar eclipse.  Venus joins the Sun in Aquarius as it casts shadows on the Leo Lunar Eclipse, bringing an influence of searching for inner harmony amidst the numerous corresponding changes that will occur in between the lunar eclipse and the Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15.  We all know the Leo stereotype in astrology of the solar hero journeying for personal glory.  Yet the type of heroine illuminated by the Leo Lunar Eclipse willingly descends into shadowy inner depths in order to discover the essential value they may serve the needs of the collective with, helping to heal and strengthen bonds of community.

Lunar eclipses occur when a Full Moon aligns with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon, meaning that the polarity of Sun and Moon aligns with the intersection of the orbital arcs of Sun and Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon or serpent consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

The meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma, patterns, and attachments whose time has come.  These themes are amplified by the ruler of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, the Aquarius Sun, being conjoined the South Node of the Moon.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is “total” and particularly potent due to it being closely aligned with the lunar nodes, with both the Sun and Moon only three degrees away.  While the influence of the Moon residing in Leo brings an element of creative actualization, the weight of Aquarian leverage on the syzygy necessitates taking into account a wider perspective of humanitarian concerns.  Those who have been alienated or choose to inhabit the fringe will demand attention as our planet’s shadow slips across the face of our Moon.  Creative solutions are needed for the vast array of issues people are struggling with around the world; while those solutions will not be appearing magically in the eclipsed light of the Moon, personal and collective narratives will shift dramatically in its wake and force issues to surface awareness. Within the turning wheel of fortune we can gain clarity for what needs our full attention within intimate circles as well as within broader collective concerns.  The eclipse season we are entering swings toward an emphasis on Aquarius and the South Node, just as the eclipses in 2017 had more emphasis on the North Node side of Leo.

Ceres statue

Ceres by Augustin Pajou (1768-70)

The dwarf planet Ceres is closely conjoined the eclipse, only two minutes away from the eclipsed Leo Moon.  As an archetype, Ceres both produces the resources needed for vitality as well as bears the seeds of renewal. Yet the swing of her scythe that brings the harvest necessitates loss as much as it brings forth gain.  Just as the Leo Moon will be eclipsed by shadow, so was Ceres eclipsed by pain and rage over her own personal tragedy.  In an element of her myth that parallels the story of Isis and Osiris, Ceres was willing to incarnate into human form as part of fully embodying her grief.  Though she needed to take time away from producing growth in the world in order to process and release her trauma, Ceres ultimately mediated a compromise in which she returned to her service of providing fertile abundance for the greater collective.  Ceres reveals the importance of taking time and space away from production in order to grieve, while also illuminating the resolve necessary to return to the world of suffering in order to bolster strength in others.

As Ceres aligns with the Moon on the North Node side of Leo, Venus accompanies the Sun on the other side of the axis in Aquarius.  While Ceres and the Moon are in the Egyptian bounds of Saturn, the Aquarius Sun is in the Egyptian bounds of Venus.  We can find here the message Ceres received in her journey into the mysteries of darkness, that though life and love will return so will death and strife coexist.   The gravitas of Saturn that demands us to mature and be accountable for how we navigate cycles of change is amplified by Saturn in Capricorn ruling the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus in Aquarius.    The influence of Venus in Aquarius upon the lunar eclipse is not about hedonistic desire for everything we find pleasurable, but rather brings a purification to our pursuits of pleasure and what we value.  Saturn in Capricorn hones the raw into the fine-tuned and essential, and so its influence on the Sun and Venus at the eclipse takes us into a process of clarifying the values to prioritize in our choices and discovering who we want to become based more upon internal authenticity rather than external acclaim.

Venus in Aquarius is also in the bounds of Jupiter at the lunar eclipse, while Jupiter in Scorpio is engaged in an impactful relationship with both the Leo Lunar Eclipse on January 31 and the Aquarius Solar Eclipse on February 15.   Moreover, Jupiter is in its own bounds, ruled by Mars in the home and bounds of Jupiter (4º of Sagittarius).  As I’ve previously written, Jupiter in Scorpio facilitates delving deeper into our own subconscious as well as gaining insight into the sea of collective unconscious swirling around us.   Combined with Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.  Yet its challenging square aspect to the eclipses in Leo and Aquarius necessitates courageously facing difficult, disillusioning questions and allowing the answers we discover to help us shed beliefs that have been keeping us contained within illusion rather than being alertly aware in the present moment.

trident with naga

Trident with Naga, Bronze (11th – 12th Century)

Nodes of Neptune

The eclipse falls across the nodes of Neptune, with the Leo Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.  This also means that the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus are also conjoining the South Node of Neptune in Aquarius.  The nodes of Neptune being in Leo and Aquarius is something I have spent time contemplating yet still have difficulty putting into words. Like all archetypes, the best we can do in the end is observe how events and images emerge into form in correspondence. One element I feel involves the archetypal arc of Neptune being related to spirituality as an access point into the interconnected field of our reality, and how this connection with Spirit can both connect us to the needs of living diversity across our world, as well as often necessitates time in exile, as a hermit or recluse in order to connect with divinity from within.  It also makes sense that the North Node of Neptune in Leo goes along with the phenomenon of spiritual glamor, and how there has been many examples of people taking on spiritual guru roles revealed to be narcissistic abusers of power.  Ultimately, it seems the North Node of Neptune in Leo is about centering consciousness in our heart so that we can engage the interconnected field of our reality from a heart-centered place of love and compassion.

For another perspective, the evolutionary astrologer Mark Jones has theorized that the North Node of Neptune in Leo correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  Part of this interpretation relates to the Uranus rulership of Aquarius developed by Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology, wherein Uranus is linked to both traumatic memories from past lives held by the soul, as well as our capacity to liberate ourselves from being incapacitated by them.  Two areas this interpretation could play out are found in art and activism, both art integrating activism and activism incorporating art.  There are powerful aspects found within the Leo Lunar Eclipse to facilitate dynamic creative breakthroughs, and its alignment with the nodes of Neptune brings the potential to release elements of tragedy and trauma fettering within our collective through artistic expression.  There is a lot of innovation within the aspects of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to wield in the process of making the change you wish to see in the world.

 

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Six of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

 

Leo 2 Decan

The Leo eclipses falls in the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   We find here an image of triumphant victory, a strident champion riding a white horse and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  The pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, a complex that deserves attention since the Leo Moon will become engulfed in blood red shadow.

Jupiter rules the second decan of Leo, and so with Jupiter in Scorpio as well as Saturn in Capricorn in the background of the eclipse, its more likely than normal that those who seek glory and fame without inner integrity will fall or be cut down from heights.  Its worth contemplating the question of what does victory truly mean for you, and what degree of external validation is actually needed.  Allow the redness of the Moon to take you within the purity of heart, and let the authentic presence you discover there take the helm of navigating through the sweeping tides of the coming eclipse season.

References

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

 

 

Full Moon in Gemini

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Remedios Varo (1956) Roulotte

Gemini Full Moon

The Full Moon in Gemini on December 13 illuminates not only experiences since the Sagittarius New Moon on November 29, but catalyzes insight into events across 2016 due to being square to the eclipses that occurred in Pisces this past year.  The Gemini Full Moon is in square to both the degrees of the Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces that happened on 8 March 2016 and the Annular Lunar Eclipse in Pisces that occurred on 16 September 2016, suggesting a deeper layer of meaning can now be received regarding related personal and collective experiences.  Gemini compels us to loosen dogmatic viewpoints, release our attachment to the philosophies and beliefs we derive our sense of security from, and explore how we can reconnect and weave meaning from the multiplicity of life occurring in the moment.  Gemini facilitates not only witnessing and communicating about life, but distilling underlying meaning that unifies elements that appear disparate on the surface.  Gemini is not only about expansive curiosity in our outer environment, but also involves deep exploration of our psyche and inner life.  The Full Moon in Gemini holds powerful aspects for going within our emotional bodies and exploring the way our subconscious is projecting into our outer relationships and viewpoints, taking responsibility to be aware of how the shadow elements we tend to deny about ourselves are at play.

The Gemini Full Moon is in square to Chiron in Pisces, with Saturn in Sagittarius conjoining the Sun.  Saturn in Sagittarius is close to forming a last quarter square to Chiron, a cycle that goes back to the mid 1960s when Chiron and Saturn last came together in Pisces.  The square forming between Saturn and Chiron is occurring at the same time that the opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries is tightening, with Saturn in Sagittarius forming a trine with Uranus and a sextile with Jupiter.  Identity is vital to consider within these aspects, and Chiron is a figure from myth who had to overcome abandonment issues over his identity as a centaur.  To reach the transpersonal realm of Uranus beyond Jupiter and Saturn that Chiron bridges, we must face our identity issues and open our presence beyond the ego conditioning of how our identity fits within society and the myriad projections others are constantly making from their own unconscious they do not claim any responsibility for.  Focusing within on what we truly value and want to create will help guide us in the choices to make and actions to take at this Full Moon, as there are extremely supportive aspects for liberating breakthroughs that are simultaneously grounded and capable of being manifested in the material realm.

Mercury in Capricorn rules the Gemini Full Moon and is approaching a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  Mercury is an Evening Star that has now reached its maximum elongation and is preparing to station retrograde, and in fact will station retrograde before it forms a conjunction with Pluto.  On the threshold of beginning its descent into the underworld, Mercury in Capricorn with Pluto can open perception beyond the consensus definitions of linear time and space and the type of logic fixated on causation.  Synchronicity is always at play, yet this Full Moon ruled by Mercury holds aspects suggesting the importance of paying attention to the full scope of messages in your surroundings.  Mercury in Capricorn supports being accountable and responsible for your perceptions and the manner in which you convey the meaning generated to others, honoring your own boundaries while being respectful of the boundaries of others.

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Deborah Turbeville November 24, 1980

The Sun in Sagittarius is conjoining Saturn and at the beginning of a new cycle with Saturn the week of the Full Moon.  You can look to the aspects made in your chart by twenty degrees of Sagittarius to analyze how the new cycle between Saturn and the Sun is impacting you, but in general it brings a more serious and determined quality of Saturn into the normally lighthearted and flowing energy of a lunation involving the polarity of Gemini and Sagittarius.  Saturn is bringing solidity and grounding to the visionary quality of Sagittarius, a willingness to put in the work, discipline, and commitment necessary to manifest goals.    There can also be a heaviness and depressive sense of limitation surrounding anything that is currently not working effectively, but with Saturn also in sextile to Jupiter and trine to Uranus there is support for making dramatic changes and modifications focused on improvement and problem solving.   The Sun separating from Saturn in Sagittarius calls us to claim our inner authority to act from our core values with the integrity to patiently work in accord with our highest standards rather than try to cut corners, take shortcuts, or manipulate information to make things look better than they actually are.

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Roberto Matta (1951) La Mela

The Full Moon in Gemini is a gateway into the first exact opposition between Jupiter and Uranus in their current cycle, as in the dark Moon of the forthcoming waning lunar cycle Jupiter will form an exact opposition with Uranus on 26 December 2016.  The opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries, with Saturn in Sagittarius forming a trine to Uranus and a sextile with Jupiter, is one of the dominant aspects of astrology in the year ahead.  We are only at the beginning of getting a sense of what these transits will mean for us in our lives, and although there are already signs of potential meaning there is  such an unexpected, shocking quality to Uranus that becomes strikingly catalyzed through an opposition with Jupiter, that its impossible to know fully what to expect given that experience can rapidly shift and change with sudden developments that come seemingly out of nowhere.  In the tension between the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus, it will be fruitful to make space away from relationships in order to attune within to everything being activated from external sources.  There is dynamic inventiveness found within these aspects to express into all manner of creativity that needs channels of release that will support its flow, rather than projecting it at walls of resistance that will only block and repress it.

As Jupiter begins to form its exact opposition with Uranus, the dwarf planet Ceres is also present with Uranus.  In tandem with the supportive aspects with Saturn, the path to accessing the full creative potential of the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus involves nurturing and taking care of our own needs so that we do not need to become overly attached in codependent relations in which we expect others to fulfill us.  The more we can resist projecting expectations and instead be present in the moment with all that we feel within, the more we can access the liberating dynamic of Jupiter and Uranus that is capable of taking us beyond previous limitations and barriers we had imposed upon ourselves.  It is possible to maintain commitment in relationship while also giving oneself the freedom and space to make breakthroughs from within a secure sense of self stabilized from nurturing one’s own needs.

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Mariage d’Amour…Mariage de Raison (1927) Erte

Venus in Aquarius has the dignity of decan at the Full Moon, for she rules the first face of Aquarius. This gives Venus greater strength and an ability to decondition from external circumstances in order to enjoy one’s unique sources of pleasure and harmony.  Venus in Aquarius has now entered supportive sign-based aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus,  and as the aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus become exact later in December, Venus in Aquarius will also form harmonious degree-based aspects with all three.  Venus in Aquarius holds a mirror that clarifies and objectifies our relationship dynamics, shedding light on our shadow and the way we project unconscious dynamics into our relationships.  Whether you view Saturn or Uranus as the ruler of Venus in Aquarius, Venus will be making a sextile to both in December.  Venus being in the home of Saturn is compelling in terms of making a commitment to embody one’s authentic inner values, being responsible to maintain personal integrity in all relationships.

Venus and Mars are both in the sign of Aquarius at the time of the Full Moon, in their balsamic phase.  As a result, the Gemini Full Moon that forms a trine to Mars in Aquarius illuminates a distillation of the past Venus and Mars cycle that goes back to 2015 in which there were three conjunctions of Mars and Venus in February, September, and November.  Inner reflection can reveal insight into the most significant relationships that have come in and out of our life since the beginning of 2015, as well as how the new relationships being developed now integrate our newly arising needs and values.  In the upcoming time period,  Venus will station retrograde in Aries in March 2017 before she reachers her conjunction with Mars (though Venus will get very close to Mars in Aries in February 2017), and then Mars and Venus will begin to separate and leave the balsamic phase (meaning moving more that 45 degrees apart) over the course of the Venus retrograde.  Eventually, Mars and Venus will unite and begin a new cycle in Virgo in October 2017, around the same time we will experience the final exact opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries.  While the Jupiter and Uranus opposition will correlate with extraordinary changes and inventions in collective events, in our personal lives theses same transits will also support breaking free from old relationship patterns we have outgrown.

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10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Gemini, associated with the Ten of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Her illustration of the Ten of Swords took on new meaning for me when I read Austin Coppock’s book on the decans, 36 Faces, and realized that since ancient Egyptian culture is the source of the decans in astrology, it is significant that Egyptian as well as the Hellenistic astrological tradition viewed Cancer as the first sign of the zodiac in astrological arrangements. For example in the Thema Mundi, the chart said to represent the birth of the universe, it is Cancer that occupies the first house and Gemini that occupies the twelfth house. Therefore, if we conceive the zodiac as beginning with the Cancer Solstice, or the first decan of Cancer, it means that the third decan of Gemini would be the end of the cycle, the final of the 36 faces of the zodiac.

Thus the image of a dead man with ten swords plunged into his back resonates with surrendering to the end or death of a cycle. While the card’s image contains dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky revealing the new beginning of a cycle to come.  Austin Coppock linked the death found in this image with the necessary death or sacrifice of one of the twins of Gemini:

It is important to understand the precise nature of the death which occurs here properly, for it is not the self-sacrifice of Jesus, nor the cognate immolation and rebirth of the Phoenix. The third decan of Gemini sees Castor fall, Cain slay Abel and Set slay Horus. It is the climax of a story of polarity. The death which occurs here reduces a warring pair back to a stable unity . . .

For by the third decan of Gemini, dualities have permutated far beyond the shades of grey previously explored. The ultimate extremities are present here, taken to the point that they cannot truly coexist. Day and night must split time- they cannot take place simultaneously. Good and evil must do the same. In the end, the conflicting wills of the body and spirit cannot be wholly equilibrated. While the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices- judgments that must be made. To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed. Though such burnt offerings are a necessary inevitability, it does not spare those who walk this face difficult decisions (p. 98-99).

As the Sun rules the third decan of Gemini, it is fitting that the Sun in Sagittarius at the time of the Gemini Full Moon has passed from ending an old cycle with Saturn into beginning a new cycle.  In the brilliant light of the Full Moon in the sign of the Twins, we may let go of old self constructs, releasing old identities in order to open to the truth we discover in the moment.   The Sun with Saturn in Sagittarius supports facing current adversity with determined consistency, honesty, and principled resolve to lead by example.   Leading by example also includes supporting the work of others and helping to protect and shelter whatever we find valuable yet vulnerable in an early stage of development.  As Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote in a letter:

We have to be committed not to miss or neglect any opportunity to suffer, to have an experience, or to be happy; our soul arises refreshed from all of that.  It has a resting place at those heights that are difficult to reach, and it is at home where one can advance no further:  up there we have to carry it.  But as soon as we put it down for dead at those extreme spots it awakens and takes flight into skies and celestial depths that from now on belong to us.

I confess that I consider life to be a thing of the most untouchable deliciousness, and that even the confluence of so many disasters and deprivations, the exposure of countless fates, everything that insurmountable increased for us over the past few years to become a still rising terror cannot distract me from the fullness and goodness of existence that is inclined toward us.  There would be little sense in approaching you with good wishes if each wish were not preceded by this conviction that the goods of life arise pure, undamaged, and, at their very bottom, desirable out of upheaval and ruin.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Ulrich Baer

References

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

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The Pond – Moonrise (1904) by Edward J. Steichen

Mercury retrograde is an inner alteration that comes to us three times a year, and our first of 2015 that begins on January 21, 2015 in Aquarius initiates a year of Mercury retrograde phases in each of the three Air signs of reflection, thoughts, and ideas.  Being afraid of Mercury retrograde is like being afraid of making a mistake, being afraid to go into the darkness of our inner realm and shadow work.  Mercury in myth is the psychopomp of Soul, the messenger who can bridge the underworld with the upper world, and guide us into our inner depths in order to help us shift our external presence and perspective.  Some of us have astrology charts that naturally resonate with Mercury retrograde times more than others, but the key is to open perception to the world of symbols, signs, omens, dreams, and what we can sense from our unconscious.  If things become disorienting or confusing, perceiving through intuition can help guide us more so than reaching for rational clarity.

Aquarius in astrology is a Fixed Air sign, and so the fluid Mercury in retrograde can help us shift some deep rooted and fixated patterns of habitual thought.  Modern astrologers look to Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius while classicists look to Saturn as the lord of the Water Bearer:  both Saturn and Uranus are at center stage now, with Uranus square Pluto and conjunct the South Node of the Moon, and Saturn freshly in Sagittarius and in square to Neptune and Mars in Pisces, as well as passing through a square with Venus during the upcoming Mercury retrograde. The sextile between Sagittarius holding Saturn and Aquarius holding Mercury retrograde unveils the potential of this Mercury retrograde to take us into the mystery of fundamental change and re-structuring of our thought process and its interplay with our expression.  Aquarius symbolizes the paradox of both conformity to an established tradition as well as complete rebellion against an established tradition, through the common purpose of breaking free from consensus conditioning.  Yet there is also the collective phenomenon that following ground breaking revolution a heavy hand of Saturn control is often re-asserted by a new power structure.  This Mercury retrograde will call us to re-examine our inter-personal relationships as well as systematic relationships, including the relationship between global, national, and local structural systems.

In the global collective, the World Economic Forum annual meeting (in ski resort Davos, Switzerland this year) commences on the day Mercury stations retrograde in Aquarius.  One issue that Aquarian activists hope will be addressed is global economic inequality, as a recent study by the charity Oxfam predicted based upon current trends that in 2016, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.  While this is a prediction that the richest 1% of the world will own more than 50% of global wealth in 2016, the Oxfam study published on January 19, 2015 revealed “that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%.”  The inequity of wealth distribution will not be changing anytime soon, but during the retrograde cycle we can work on shifting patterns within that are connected to our relationship with wealth and how we define what it means to have wealth.  Is it simply a matter of having more money, or is it more about the quality of our life- in this way, what sort of quality do we want?

The day before Mercury stations retrograde is a New Moon at the very beginning of Aquarius, and two days before Mercury stations retrograde there is an opposition between Venus in Aquarius and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, and a conjunction and new cycle between Mars and Neptune in Pisces.  These are extremely fertile astrology aspects in which to root a Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius, and suggest that our past values and visions will be challenged on a foundational level in order to test how much they truly align with what we can create and draw upon in our surrounding reality, as well as to what degree they nourish and catalyze us to consequently impact or inspire our community.  When Mercury stations retrograde, the Moon will be passing over Mercury in conjunction while the stationing Mercury opposes Jupiter retrograde in Leo:

MercuryRetroStationWRIGC7

Mercury and Venus have recently been glorious evening stars beautifying our twilight.  On January 14 when Mercury was at its maximum elongation, I savored a sojourn of staring at a bright Venus and Mercury aligned symmetrically in the shifting blue hues of sunset turning indigo toward the dark of night.  The recent companionship of Mercury and Venus in Aquarius has brought something into the awareness of each of us, and as Venus moves forward in the direction of Pisces while Mercury turns back to retrace Aquarian steps, there is something significant for each of us to realize.  Take the time to explore the Aquarius house of your birth chart, and any important planets or aspects you have with the first eighteen or so degrees of Aquarius to help you deepen your self-reflection.  With its stationing, Mercury will now descend from view at twilight as an evening star into our underworld, not to return again for us to view until it has stationed direct and moved forward again to become a morning star heralding our dawn.

Though Mercury and Venus were delightful to view in twilight together recently, their time together in Aquarius has most likely coincided with events that opened your emotions to sadness or pain in one way or another.  The point where Aquarian detachment can go awry is when we choose to be in denial of our sadness, distracting ourselves away from our pain to pretend like visualizing positive fantasies will take our troubles away.  It is necessary to deal with our sadness and grief by fully feeling our emotions, without denial and the distraction of coping strategies to construct an artifice of control.  Paramount at this Mercury stationing is Pluto in Capricorn exactly in square to the lunar nodes of the Moon, with Uranus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon.  There is no escaping the dark night of the soul that can arise with this aspect:  if we attempt to escape from it or resist it, incoming events will reinforce the issue even more strongly than before. Yet this is the blessing of experiencing a Mercury retrograde, as Mercury is the messenger who can mediate with Pluto in our depths. While we may feel adrift, lost in a space of past attachments dissolving, remember Mercury is the trickster who facilitates our crossing of the borderline space in between significant transitions of our life.

Indeed, this Mercury retrograde is not something to complain about but instead seize for its potential to take us into the deep.  Aquarius brings a capacity to objectively analyze, and so this Mercury retrograde can be like our own inner Jungian analyst who can help us find the cause of our current issues through interpreting the symbolism of our daily experiences with dreams and other signs in our environment.  Insights will arise in the coming weeks especially if we refuse to numb or shelter ourselves from the issues and feelings demanding our attention.  This is a time period in which to take responsibility for our emotions and the way our behavior is impacting the emotions of those we are in relationship with.  With Pluto in Capricorn, this involves us having to face the countless examples of systematic oppression we encounter in our daily environment, as well as how on a personal level we can attempt to deal with our emotional vulnerabilities though seeking control of others in one way or another, or by giving our power away to others in order to have someone else take care of us.  Furthermore, with Mercury stationing opposite Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, we may become triggered by interactions bringing up issues of past rejection, or fear that we will not be accepted or chosen for relationship due to a feeling of alienation.  Yet within the drama of our subjective inner world we can sense our personal truth struggling to find its voice, and by courageously expanding further into our essential nature we will initiate a retrograde phase that will lead us to become more authentically alive.

Relationships, our old patterns of relationship, and the new way of being we can now embody in our relationships is an overarching theme of this Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, in part because Mercury is stationing in trine to the North Node of the Moon in Libra and in sextile to the South Node of the Moon and Uranus in Aries.  Moreover, this Mercury retrograde cycle is taking us through the balsamic phase of Mars and Venus toward a new cycle of Mars and Venus that will begin on February 21, 2015 at two degrees of Aries.  This is the closing of a cycle between Mars and Venus that began on April 6, 2013 at 19°57′ of Aries.  Think back to this time period of April in 2013 and what relationships entered your life, or what was shifting in relation to external connections with others in your life.  Everything that has transpired in our relationships in these past two years, that has happened in connection with our passions, desires, and inner values, is now at a time of clearing in order to let go and release with finality what is no longer serving us and to re-seed what is in accord with our new vision for the relationships of our present and future.

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Black in Deep Red (1957) by Mark Rothko

On April 6, 2013 we entered a new cycle between Mars and Venus, and since then we have gone through a Venus retrograde in Capricorn as well as a Mars retrograde in Libra while experiencing the sequence of squares between Pluto and Uranus.  In 2015 three times will be the charm with the new cycle between Mars and Venus, as we will experience three conjunctions between them before they finally settle into their new cycle. After Venus and Mars conjunct at two degrees of Aries on February 21, Venus will move forward and get beyond a semi-sextile aspect with Mars before stationing retrograde at the beginning of Virgo to move back into Leo and reunite with Mars again on August 31, 2015 at fifteen degrees of Leo.  After Venus stations direct in Leo, it will move forward again and catch up with Mars for a final conjunction and initiation of the new Mars and Venus cycle on November 2, 2015 at twenty-five degrees of Virgo.  As a result, while we will experience a new initiation and rebirth in our relationships following this Mercury retrograde, we still have a lot more to work out between Mars and Venus during this year before we finally settle into our new relationship dynamic.  With the final conjunction occurring in Virgo, there seems to be a Mercurial aspect to the incoming Mars and Venus cycle, as the three conjunctions this year will also be preceded by the three Mercury retrograde phases in each of the Air signs.

Venus begins this Mercury retrograde opposite Jupiter, then ingresses into Pisces and forward into a square with Saturn and conjunction with both Neptune and Chiron, while Mars is initiating a new cycle with Neptune at Mercury’s stationing to move forward in the direction of Chiron.  By the time Mercury stations direct, Venus and Mars will be in a balsamic conjunction in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac and a fitting place for Mars and Venus to release their previous cycle.  While Venus is in Aquarius during the first week of the Mercury retrograde, we may have a greater capacity for detached analysis of the inner values we have gained from conforming to an external source, whether that be from the consensus culture or from a subculture rebelling against consensus values we gravitated toward out of a sense of disenchantment or frustration with the status quo.  During this time of Venus moving through the final decan of Aquarius we can sense the values we have been living from that do not truly resonate with our unique individuality, and we may perceive intimations of how we can begin to actualize a more authentic value system.  With Mercury being retrograde, mixed into this process may be perceptions from a new perspective along with rumination into memories of previous relationships and the values we took on through old relationships.

Venus in Aquarius can detach to prevent us from becoming overcome by our emotions, while Venus in Pisces is more likely to merge into our inner feelings as well as with others. Leading up to the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun, Venus will ingress into Pisces and will have entered into a first quarter square with Saturn in Sagittarius and a balsamic conjunction with Neptune when the angelic messenger unites with our Sun:

Mercury-SunconjunctionWRIGC8

The inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun is ideal for intention setting if you can be alert to its timing.  This is a moment of conception that can signal a shift in our state of mind similar to a new moon.  Look to where 10°20′ of Aquarius is in your astrology chart by house and aspect to analyze how this impacts you specifically.  In connection with the theme of relationships, it is fascinating that the inferior conjunction of Mercury is opposite Juno retrograde in Leo.  Our passionate Juno side that can have the drive of a lioness in pursuit of creative desires has an opportunity here to integrate into our presence in community and bring a more heart-centered focus to the oftentimes cool and detached Aquarian mindset.  It could also signal a time to break from a current relationship drama in order to re-center, like Juno re-sourcing herself in her sacred bath.

The relationship theme is further emphasized by Venus being balsamic conjunct Neptune in Pisces, and in square to Saturn in Sagittarius, with Mars balsamic conjunct to Chiron in Pisces.  The Venus-Neptune and Mars-Chiron cycles ending now to begin again both go back to early 2013, when Mars and Chiron began the current cycle in Pisces in February and Venus and Neptune began their current cycle in Pisces at the beginning of March (Mercury was also retrograde in Pisces when Venus and Neptune were last conjunct).  The first quarter square from Pisces Venus to Sagittarius Saturn is coming off their conjunction in mid-November 2014 in Scorpio.  All of these aspects coinciding with Mercury’s inferior conjunction point toward illumination concerning the ideals we hold in our relationships versus the actual reality of our relationships.  The more we accept ourselves for who we actually are and not the ideal persona we want to create about ourselves, the less likely we are to project our ideals on a relationship that ultimately leads us to disillusionment because we are not taking care of our own work.  The more we live with integrity in line with our deeply felt values, the more likely we are to magnetize relationships that are aligned with our ideal path, and this inferior conjunction of Mercury is a moment to set such an intention.

There is also a paradoxical potential to these aspects that could align with great wounding as well as groundbreaking strides toward a cherished vision.  Mars aligning with Chiron could take us deeply into our wounds, and Saturn can have a very heavy hand with a Venus wanting to drift away in a Piscean illusion, all the more so with Uranus closely conjunct the South Node of the Moon and in square to Pluto at the inferior conjunction.  Uranus has to do with unexpected shattering which can be both liberating as well as traumatic, but in any event has to do with some sort of large energetic shift arriving unannounced.  Chiron is a mediator between Uranus and Saturn, and so these same aspects point to an opportunity for us to re-direct incoming energy into our work and relationships with our surrounding environment.  Chiron is a courageous and wise archetype for Mars to re-formulate our sense of will around at this time of the inferior conjunction, and we can work with him better if we bravely step into a mediating role between conflicts, be present for healing in our interactions, and if necessary make a sacrifice not out of a sense of masochism or victimization but out of authentic desire to purely serve.

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Moon Woman (1942) by Jackson Pollock

As we move away from the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun toward the period of Mercury stationing direct, Venus gets closer each day to Mars in Pisces making the clearing of previous relationship patterns deeper.  This is a great couple of weeks to claim as a severing of what no longer serves us in our previous patterns of relating to others as well as our self.  Yet clearing does not mean clean cut or simply cut off, but rather this letting go could become a messy affair, a spiral-like process that brings up deeply felt emotions from old relationships we had tucked away, or feelings about a current partnership we had been ignoring or distracting ourselves from.  Pisces is a compassionate place for this release to take place, and drawing on the Piscean ideals of compassion and acceptance with ourselves and in our interactions will help us let go of old wounds and patterns we will soon realize we had been sorely needing to release.  We will also get another opportunity for relationship clearing later this year since Mars and Venus conjunct two more times before settling in for good into their new cycle, but Mars and Venus will not be in Pisces at that time.

Between Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun and Mercury stationing direct, Ceres in Capricorn also enters a balsamic clearing with Pluto in Capricorn, evoking a strong Dark Moon aspect between these rivals of myth.  In addition to it’s themes of nurturance and attachment, Ceres can show us where crisis has led us to attempt to cope through vengeful anger or the taking of control, and how through surrendering to acceptance as well as through taking assertive mediation we can reclaim our personal authority and ability to be productive.  This conjunction in Capricorn brings up both the oppressive nature of the power structure as well as our capacity to claim the authority to take action within the system to bring perpetrators of wrongdoing to justice.  In the myth, Ceres ultimately stands up for herself and forces Jupiter to make a deal with her, thereby sending Mercury into the underworld to retrieve her beloved daughter Proserpina, or Persephone.  In synchronicity with the Northern Hemisphere experience of this Mercury retrograde occurring in deep Winter, with an upcoming Solar Eclipse occurring at the Spring Equinox, this Mercury retrograde descent to the underworld has resonance with the reclaiming of a beloved to reappear in the coming rebirth of Spring.  Ceres combining with Pluto in Capricorn now suggests that instead of attempting to tear down the entire power structure, instead look to where there are aspects of the system to connect with and use to promote your personal truth.

In the Homeric hymnal version of the Demeter and Persephone myth, the Moon Goddess Hekate directs Demeter to seek counsel with Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Demeter the knowledge that Hades took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Similarly we will be able to receive our own lunar divination around February 3, 2015 when there will be a Full Moon in Leo at the time of the cross-quarter holy day of Imbolc.  The Full Moon will be conjunct Juno and Jupiter in Leo, in between them, with both Juno and Jupiter retrograde, once again highlighting the theme of relationships.  In line with the balsamic relationship between Mars and Venus in Pisces co-occurring at the same time, this Full Moon will bring up a significant relational issue for us to integrate when Mercury stations direct at the beginning of Aquarius in the following week:

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Mercury stations direct near the same degree of the New Moon of January 20, 2015 bridging the intentions we set at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde with it’s completion.  Mercury will station in conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, bringing added focus, centeredness, and commitment to this stationing direct.  Vesta combined with Mercury in Aquarius could find us feeling somewhat alienated from others as we process and integrate the inner shifting that came during the retrograde phase of Mercury, and we may need to take some time for solace in solitude.  Ceres closely combined with Pluto in Capricorn in square to the lunar nodes and Uranus, with Venus conjunct Chiron in a balsamic conjunction with Mars may give us further cause for taking a break from busyness to re-center and re-intergrate.  Some of us may not be so lucky to get away from others and our daily work while Mercury is stationing, and so the focused energy of Vesta combined with Mercury will help us fulfill professional responsibilities and remain dedicated toward completing the responsibilities associated with the goals we are working toward.

“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Mercury stationing direct heralds the fleet footed messenger’s return as a Morning Star welcoming our Sunrise.  While Mercury as an Evening Star is associated with the cool, reflective hindsight of Epimetheus, Mercury as a Morning Star is associated with Prometheus and a more fiery foresight that operates best consciously in daylight hours.  The Messenger at this stage is curious, inquisitive, and eager for a new adventure with a mind ready to race ahead toward the future horizon. The ability of Mercury at this time to help us re-focus on our goals in line with the changes unfolding in our life will be a great benefit, as there is plenty ahead to keep Mercury busy as in March we will experience Saturn in Sagittarius stationing retrograde, the seventh and final square between Pluto and Uranus, and a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces.

References

Demetra George:  Hermes Guardian of Thresholds

Cancer Full Moon

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Luna und ihre Kinder (Detail: Lunar mit Schimmel), Mittelalterliches Hausbuch von Schloss Wolfegg, circa 1480

To feel.  To feel deeply. To feel into the moment wholly, opening fully, being present through unclenching and unclasping without distraction, without our habits of dissociation and ingrained emotional reactions. To unlock our essence in defiance of the surrounding consensus values, beyond the inner conditioning we have clung to from childhood and pivotal peaks like the first breaking of our heart.  We enter 2015 with a full on lunation befitting the goddess Luna we associate with the lunar sign of Cancer,  whole in Her many faces of darkness and light.  Just like a Cancer adrift in remembrances of time past, this Full Moon beckons us to take a glance back at the ruptures from 2014 dissolving in our wake as we turn to face the mystery of our unknown future arriving in our present moment.

Indeed, the Cancer Moon of January 4/5, 2015  is a full polarity of light that triggers the dominant astrology themes of 2014, including the Cardinal Grand Cross and the Pluto and Uranus square.  Squarely impacting fifteen degrees of the Cardinal signs, this Cancer Full Moon falls in the same area of the zodiac lit up by the Cardinal Grand Square of April 2014.  Furthermore, Pluto and Uranus remain in square with Uranus close to the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and the Sun conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and in square to the South Node as well as the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  This means that this Full Moon not only sets off the Pluto and Uranus square, it also triggers the relational lunar node theme of 2014 in Libra and Aries.  Along these lines, this Full Moon is also an important stepping stone from the Lunar Eclipse in Aries that occurred on October 8, 2014 at sixteen degrees, as this Cancer Full Moon squares that past Lunar Eclipse.  Thus Luna is weaving a thread that connects fading hues from 2012 when the Pluto and Uranus series of squares commenced with what we felt bursting from within during the initiating transits of April and October 2014 that dislodged our primal material in need of liberation.

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If our feelings are messy, emotions overflowing in crisis, passions held at bay due to our desire out of reach, we can remember this is what it means to be human.  Since consensus culture is increasingly technological and linked via computerized networks, it can seem sometimes that humans have become instruments of a machine and often times more attached to their mobile screen than the people surrounding them. Of course, our emotional beings are not logical and no upgrade exists to make our feelings more efficiently operational, and this is precisely our great human gift.  The year 2014 had numerous astrological transits capable of liberating us from stuck patterns, and the degree to which we either took action or allowed ourselves to surrender to the changes calling us from within reveals how we will be impacted by this Full Moon in Cancer.  If we have been resisting change or realizing in the light of this lunation that we have been attempting to force something to happen that is not meant to be, this Full Moon can be a point to set a new intention going forward and change course.  If we enter this Full Moon already adjusting to how we have been dramatically altering our life structure, we are in a place to receive important insight into how we can deepen further into a more authentic life.

Similarly, our current state of consciousness will color how we experience the dramatic opposition between Mars in Aquarius and Jupiter retrograde in Leo that ushered in 2015.  To me, the great potential of this aspect is an intuitive grasp of not only our personal truth but a clearer sense of what action we need to take in line with our truth, a visionary light blazing a trail in front of us with the desire we need to complete the journey.  There is great global trauma, oppression, violence, and plutocratic control surrounding us, but while earlier watching a Harry Potter movie with my daughters I was reminded of how like the Expecto Patronum spell, we each have a unique brilliance to send out into the world, a pure light from the center of our heart that can dissolve the toxins of our environment attempting to dissipate our energy.  As Jupiter retrograde is also conjunct a Juno that is retrograde in Leo, our love will be a procreative force in this process and our relationships a vital vessel for growth.

Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius can already be witnessed in accordance to numerous current events, and this Full Moon holds a significant aspect between Saturn, Neptune in Pisces, and Black Moon Lilith in Virgo that is yet another sharp aspect demanding adaption.  The square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces is only at it’s beginning stages now, and we will be working with the issues emerging in correspondence during the entire year.  Black Moon Lilith in Virgo forming a t-square with Saturn and Neptune here means we will strongly feel how much our essential self and desires line up with our current reality.  If we feel imbalance, we may feel this so strongly it may feel more than we can bear, and yet this feeling is the fuel we need to draw on to make our life structures line up with our inner truth.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being conjunct Saturn at this time is a powerful ally to aid us in perceiving how we can creatively actualize in order to manifest the aspects of our vision that line up with natural law in the face of unjust human created law.  If we can sidestep the shadow side of falling victim to dogmatic ideology or ideals we talk about being utopian but in actuality are about our own self-interest, then with discipline, concentration, and focus we can take concrete steps to shift structures.

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3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

This Full Moon falls in the second face of Cancer, a decan ruled by Mercury and associated with the Three of Cups in tarot.  The Three of Cups is collaborative and about creating goals that have a common purpose, nurture our inner passion and creativity, and connect us to community for support when facing difficulty.  For those who want to work on activating constructive change in their community, this Full Moon is also a reminder that to be an effective activist requires that you are engaged in a process of working on your own personal issues before putting your energy into others.  The personal issues we need to address are now revealed by the Sun conjunct Pluto and in square to the lunar nodes:  look to the houses and aspects in your birth chart impacted by the Sun and Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, the North Node of the Moon in Libra, and the Full Moon in Cancer.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces described the second decan of Cancer as an alembic incubation, requiring an assertion of protective action to nurture soul development in the tumult of tribulation.  Coppock linked the images of abundant joy associated with the Three of Cups as in the picture above by Pamela Colman Smith with the importance of difficult challenges as they force us to protect what is dear to our hearts and cultivate strength in what brings us joy.  As Mercury is the ruler of this decan, it is fitting in this way that Mercury is conjunct Venus in Aquarius and in sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius at this Full Moon, as these aspects to Mercury in transit increase our capacity to de-condition from repressive influences and to re-structure inspired by liberating influences.

Mercury and Venus are both Evening Stars now visible together during twilight.  Mercury in its Evening Star phase lends us a more deliberate thought process able to reflect and integrate information coming our way, assimilating a message within the context of a long-range perspective.  With this Full Moon, Mercury also prepares to enter it’s retrograde shadow zone, foreshadowing the issues we will face during the Mercury retrograde that will occur from January 21 until February 11, 2015.  Following a New Moon in Aquarius on January 20, Mercury will station retrograde at 18° Aquarius on January 21 and move back to station direct on February 11 at 2° Aquarius. It also means that since Mercury begins to slow down as it approaches its stationing, that Mercury and Venus will remain conjunct over the entire course of the upcoming waning cycle of the Moon- when Mercury stations retrograde at eighteen degrees of Aquarius, Venus will be at twenty-two degrees of Aquarius.  In Aquarius, Mercury and Venus give us an enhanced ability to reach self-knowledge through a more objective and detached perspective that can uproot the causes underlying our current issues.  If there are sources of agitation arising in our life around this Full Moon period, we can celebrate the appearance of Mercury and Venus together in Aquarius as an opportunity for a distillation that can free a sense of individuality within our cultural context.  Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Aquarius now bring the opportunity to share the unique purpose we realize we possess with our wider community.

References

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