Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius

georgia-okeeffe-grey-tree-lake-george

Grey Tree, Lake George (1925) by Georgia O’Keeffe

At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are flowers;
in their vase of mud
they are nourished by silt…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are the hearts
that greatly suffered for living life…
And then the rocks
and the grey beasts…
The pipes of the sewers,
blowing out poison…
The rings thrown away
by misunderstood lovers,
feet that a propeller cut off from their trunk…
And the cursed fruits of sterile wombs,
the innocent abortions that no one loved…
The vomit of the big city…
At the bottom of the Seine,
it is there…
Oh, lenient Seine where the cadavers go,
oh, bed with the sheets made from silt,
river of losses without beacon,
nor haven,
singing a lullaby to the morgue and the bridges,
welcoming the poor one,
welcoming the woman,
welcoming the drunkard,
welcoming the crazy one,
mixing theirs sobs to the sound of your blades,
and carrying their hearts among the rocks…
At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…

— Kurt Weil, “Complainte de la Seine,” translated from French by Sean Mabey

Mercury Stations Retrograde in Capricorn

In the quickening of shadows at sunset, Mercury disappears in a flash, shifting from an evening star into the invisible realm of the underworld where Hermes guides souls.  After Mercury stations retrograde and transitions from being a visible evening star into an invisible planet moving slowly in retrograde, the variable nature of Mercury transmutes into an alternate realm of perception requiring an alert intuition and a patient mind open to changes of plan and revelation of previously concealed insight.  Though Mercury retrograde carries the projection of a scapegoat in popular culture in which all mishaps and mayhem are attributed to the whims of Hermes, there is vital meaning to be found in the experience of Mercury moving retrograde through our zodiac.  Mercury retrograde periods can destabilize and force issues to the surface we may rather not deal with, but truth reveals that whatever arises for us to face during times of Mercury retrograde are necessary for us to gain awareness of and respond in a way that nurtures self-development and growth.

Mercury stations retrograde on 19 December 2016 while forming a close (but not exact) conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  Mercury stationing, standing still only one degree behind Pluto in the days leading up to and following its transition into retrograde motions dramatically amplifies the charge of issues that emerge to surface awareness through daily  conversations and commerce.  It is further significant that Mercury does not complete an exact conjunction with Pluto, but rather pulls back at the last moment in a tight balsamic conjunction.  Mercury pulls away from Pluto and will re-enter Sagittarius at the beginning of January 2017 where it will station direct conjoining the zodiac degrees associated with our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately complete a conjunction with Pluto and begin a new cycle with Pluto on 29 January 2017, a time period in which we will be able to coalesce deeper understanding into all the various affairs that transpire in the next few weeks of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury moving back and forth in balsamic relationship with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of our foundational beliefs, like a miner dredging through earth in search of buried gold.  Events associated with Pluto also involve compulsive attraction in addition to subconscious triggers that repel us, and yet with reflection we can discover that both what we are drawn to as well as repulsed by holds key insight into our underlying development of meaning.  Mercury retrograde delights in fields of gray in-betweeness, and combined with Pluto any rigid black and white mental constructs one has been fixated upon may dissolve in the confrontations of thought that will come.  Though we may initially resist and defensively argue against perspectives threatening beliefs we have wound our sense of emotional security around, through reflection and an open mind the Mercury retrograde can facilitate integration of a new perspective regarding ourselves or our world that will rejuvenate our inner feelings of soulfulness and purpose, helping us discover a path forward that is more fulfilling than the one we had been previously been set to follow.

deborahturbeville

Deborah Turbeville Montova, Italy, 1978

The beginning of Mercury retrograde is intensified through its conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, opening a subconscious portal into exploration of the constructs of time and space we apply to phenomenal reality.  Capricorn involves the maturity and responsibility cultivated through facing and dealing with natural cycles of change,  and so there is compelling synchronicity that the beginning of Mercury retrograde occurs at the time of the Capricorn Solstice, the peak period of darkness in the Northern Hemisphere and of light in the Southern Hemisphere.  Regarding Pluto in Capricorn’s relationship with natural laws of change, Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology taught that structural change comes from crystallized and outdated levels of reality that require a breakdown of collective forms to bring about growth.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will thereby bring opportunities to claim one’s inner authority and ability to express one’s individuality within the seismic societal shifts erupting around our planet.

We know that our societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos designed to create a stable whole, yet we sometimes forget to reflect upon how our conformity to societal norms can limit our experience of essential growth in the moment.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will destabilize elements of societal norms and rules, breaking open and purging numerous taboos. Like the ancient Saturnalia in which societal conventions are overturned, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn compels us to realign our conformity to societal conventions that have been blocking our authenticity. While we are able to co-create reality, if we want to make a direct impact on society we also need to discern a method of successful integration so that an audience may receive our shared values and meaning.  Within the tumult of tempestuous collective events and mutating norms, Mercury retrograde may guide us into inner awareness of modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.

victor-brauner-the-surrealist

Victor Brauner (1947) The Surrealist

I slide my face along to the mirror
sideways, to see
that side-smile,
a pale look, tired
and sly. Hey,

who is glancing there?
Shadow-me, not with
malice but mercurially
shot with foreknowledge of
dread and sweat.

— Denise Levertov, Looking-glass

Since Mercury stations retrograde in the home of Saturn and will station direct in the home of Jupiter, its retrograde phase has intense resonance with the harmonious aspects formed between Saturn in Sagittarius with the full phase opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will complete its first exact alignment during the Mercury retrograde.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus involves the nature of beliefs we are conditioned to project upon reality, as well as the process of liberating from past influences in order to find a meaningful vision of life to live from.  For ages, human beings have been developing belief systems around trying to control and regulate, in a Capricorn manner, the interactions of humans within societies and the natural world.  Yet we also hold subconscious (Uranus) memories that extend into the nomadic time period of humanity that predated the development of agricultural civilizations. This necessitates at times for our experience of the Uranus archetype to come into conflict with the myriad consensus belief systems in place focused upon the way human beings should interact with one another in society. When our vision of life fueled by the knowledge we are gaining from our personal experience (Jupiter) comes into conflict with the norms dictated by consensus belief systems (Saturn and Capricorn) we arrive at a crux in which we can feel judged and ashamed or instead individuate with self assertion in the direction of the vision being felt within.

At the same time that Mercury stations retrograde in Capricorn, Mars enters Pisces and begins its movement toward the transiting South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   On a collective level the movement of Mars across Pisces in this section will correspond with numerous eruptions of violence and trauma connected with religion, politics, and other belief systems that have been in conflict with one another for centuries.   On a personal level, this same transit brings the opportunity to go within and reflect upon our own shadow and those aspects of ourself we like to pretend are not really there, aspects often conditioned by the belief systems of our culture.  As Fyodor Dostoyevsky (born with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius in square to his lunar nodes) wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, “what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself.”  The Mercury retrograde will bring numerous opportunities for powerful self awareness that will lead us into opportunities to make choices within a presence rooted more firmly within our wholeness.  Facilitating this process will be Venus in Aquarius, as Venus will move into a harmonious sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries, as well as a stabilizing trine with Jupiter in Libra.

If you have been reading my writing on the Mercury retrograde transits this past year, you may remember with the Taurus retrograde in May 2016 I wrote about its link with the Hathor asteroid, and that in the Virgo retrograde in September 2016 I wrote about its link with the Sekhmet asteroid.  The current Mercury retrograde in Capricorn has a link with the Isis asteroid #42, as Mercury is conjoining Isis in addition to Pluto when it stations retrograde, with Mercury at 15º03′ and Isis at 14º47′. Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology, and so has connection to the transiting lunar nodes of Virgo (North Node) and Pisces (South Node). Mercury’s rulership of Virgo further connects with Isis, as both Mercury and Isis can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web unifying seemingly disparate points of focus. Isis further links to Virgo’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.   Isis is Love, the quality of our consciousness that proves we are all connected, just like the stars above us, the minerals of our Earth below us, and our neurons and other cells inside us.  Isis weaves the web of love through times of trauma and dismemberment of our parts, our physical body parts and our etheric soul fragments, in order to bring about a healing and retrieval of our wholeness.

mercury-philosophical-italy-15th-century

A form upon the quilted
overcast, gleam, Sacre
Coeur, saltlick
to the mind’s
desire-

how shall the pulse
beat out
that measure,
under devious
moon
wander swerving

to wonder-

hands turn
what stone to uncover
feather of broken
oracle-

— Denise Levertov Threshold from O Taste and See

Mercury in Heart of the Sun

The Inferior conjunction of Mercury occurs when it forms an exact alignment in between the orbit of our Earth with our Sun, bringing Mercury retrograde and the Sun into an exact conjunction.  Called cazimi or being in the heart of the Sun, this rebirth of Mercury will occur on 28 December 2016 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  In fact, later on the same day that Mercury retrograde unites with our Sun, we will experience a New Moon in Capricorn. When Mercury retrograde enters the heart of our Sun, we experience a purification of Mercury and how we interpret and convey meaning in our life.  In the time leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun, we may sense a release and death of outmoded constructs, perceptions, and habits.  As Mercury retrograde begins to slowly separate from the Sun as we next experience a New Moon in Capricorn, we will find ourselves in an opportune moment to form intentions and resolutions for the calendar year of 2017 and what we want to share and integrate into the world and our daily lives.

There are numerous powerful astrological transits occurring at the same time, such as Jupiter and Uranus in an exact opposition, with Saturn in sextile to Jupiter and in trine to Uranus.  In addition, Venus in Aquarius will be in range of harmonious aspects to Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, and Mars in Pisces will be in between the South Node of the Moon and Neptune, conjoining both.  This is a beautiful moment for complete and utter honesty with oneself and reawakening from whatever dreams and illusions we have had about our life we now realize do not align with our current reality.  There is tremendous energy involved in all of these aspects that can be utilized to bring visionary ideals into manifestation in the material world, but to do so requires a full presence attuned to what is actually occurring rather than what we wish was occurring.  It also involves taking the responsibility intrinsic to Capricorn in every moment in how we respond to what we are receiving from life.

matta-space-travel-star-travel-1938

Roberta Matta (1938) Space Travel

Silent friend of the many distances,
feel how your every breath enlarges space.
Amid the rafters of dark belfries
let yourself peal. Whatever feeds on you

is taking strength from such fare.
Know every path through transformation.
that one experience at the core of your sorrow?
If drinking is bitter, become wine.

Now in this night of fire and excess
be magic power at your senses’ crossroads,
the meaning of their strange encounter.

And if the earthly should forget you,
say to the silent loam: I flow.
To the rushing water speak: I am.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct in Sagittarius

Mercury moves backward into Sagittarius on 4 January 2017, stationing direct on 8 January 2017 at 28º51′ of Sagittarius in range of a conjunction with the zodiac degrees linked to our Galactic Center.  Philip Sedgwick has written that astrological connections with the Galactic Center facilitate the release of old memories that have been inhibiting growth and development, creating an emptiness of inner space that can welcome new, invigorating emotional experiences that will spur progress in life and the reception of new insight.  Mercury will remain in Sagittarius until 12 January 2017 when it re-enters Capricorn.  Mercury stationing and then slowly moving direct in the home of Jupiter amplifies the potential of the Mercury retrograde phase to uncover a more fulfilling vision of life to embody and share.  Fascinatingly, Pluto in Capricorn is also highlighted at the time of Mercury stationing direct, as the Sun will be conjoining Pluto.  To reach the full potential of these aspects it will be necessary to take the responsibility of claiming one’s inner authority to make the choices available that support and resonate with one’s inner values.

At the time Mercury stations direct, Venus will have entered Pisces and will be conjoining the South Node of the Moon and Neptune. Venus exalted in Pisces will nurture the capacity of our sensual nature to enter the flow of life and not only envision a reality in which we may behold our soulful desires, but also alter reality to bring about manifestation of our deeply felt values.  It is also a period in which the stationing direct of Mercury may jolt us with a shock of awareness regarding illusions we had been carrying about relationships, or unveil an epiphany into an underlying relational pattern we have been unconsciously perpetuating that now needs to be let go in order to cultivate healthier, growth-oriented relationships.

Mercury will return to the zodiac degree it stationed retrograde in Capricorn around the time of a New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017.   Interestingly, with regards to the previous mention of Mercury stationing in conjunction with the Isis asteroid, there will be a union of the Isis and Osiris asteroids that brings an added level of healing our wholeness on the same day.  Two days after the New Moon, Mercury will finally complete its exact conjunction with Pluto on 29 January 2017.  As Mercury begins a new cycle with Pluto as we  enter the month of February, we will be able to receive a more complete understanding of the full ramifications of events associated with the Mercury retrograde.  Through utilizing Mercury retrograde to both nurture our inner security and take the responsibility to act from our inner authority, we will be guided into understanding of how to integrate our essential vision of meaning and individuality within our greater society in a way that will make a tangible impact.

References

Arts Summary blog post about Deborah Turbeville’s photographs. (2016)

Complainte de la Seine translation.

Green, Jeff. (1985). Pluto: the evolutionary journey of the soul. Llewellyn.

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

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

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Venus in Pisces

Exaltation of Venus

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

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

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

Pisces sextile Taurus

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

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

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

Venus + Jupiter

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

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

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

Current Transits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

Bound in Pisces: Psyche and Eros, Venus and Mars

rodin - eros and psyche

Cupid and Psyche (1893) by Auguste Rodin

  • In February 2015 the asteroids Psyche (#16) and Eros (#433) will be conjunct Venus and Mars.
  • From February 6 through February 20, 2015, Psyche and Eros will be conjunct Venus and Mars in Pisces.
  • February 17, 2015:  Psyche and Eros are conjunct at 23 degrees of Pisces.  Venus will be at 26° Pisces and Mars will be at 28° Pisces at this time.
  • February 18, 2015:  in between the beginning of new cycles between first Psyche and Eros and then Venus and Mars, there will be a New Moon at the final degree of Aquarius with Mercury in Aquarius sextile Saturn in Sagittarius.
  • On February 20, 2015 by the light of a sliver moon, Venus and Mars will be together in the Sunset sky near the crescent light
  • February 21, 2015:  Venus and Mars will be conjunct and beginning a new cycle at 1° Aries.  Psyche will be at 25° Pisces and Eros will be at 26° Pisces.

When in love, when under waves of desire whether erotic or otherwise, when struck with the pang of separation and unfulfilled desire, experience intensifies and we can feel the full fabric of soul within and surrounding us.  It can be easy to cynically dismiss the true love of fairy tales or scoff at the romantic excess of Valentine’s Day, yet there truly is nothing like Love and the full spectrum of associated emotions that can make us feel alive, one with the stars above and earth below, and Whole.  Currently there is an intense Dark Moon in Capricorn and Aquarius that leads to a New Moon at the final degree of Aquarius on February 18.  This lunar clearing to prepare for a new cycle mirrors current balsamic cycles between Venus and Mars and the asteroids Psyche and Eros that are occurring at the same time in the final decan of Pisces.  Psyche and Eros being conjunct simultaneously in the same section of the zodiac as Venus and Mars amplifies a time of re-seeding our relational desires and the vision we each hold for the relationships we wish to exist within.

In the story of Eros and Psyche we explore their sacred union and the path to becoming whole through love, as well as the journey of Psyche from mortality to divinity.  Just as we associate Eros with desire and Psyche with soul in modern language, the tale of Psyche’s merging with Eros reveals how pursuit of our desires can ultimately bring us to a union with our soul.  According to Demetra George, a pioneer in the use of asteroids in astrology, Psyche is a higher octave of Venus and Eros is a higher octave of Mars.  As a result it is incredible synchronicity that as Venus and Mars are now closing their cycle that began in April of 2013, Psyche and Eros are also closing and beginning a new cycle in the same sign of Pisces.  The connection with Pisces is further augmented by the mythic connection between Venus and Cupid, also known as Eros, and the constellation of Pisces.  The Greeks and Romans saw the two fish of Pisces as representing the escape of Venus and her son Cupid from the monster Typhon by transforming themselves into fish that could swim safely away.  Both Greek and Roman tradition eventually saw Venus/Aphrodite as the mother of Eros/Cupid by way of her lover Mars.  Yet in older Greek tradition, Eros was seen as one of the primordial manifestations of form in the story of Creation who was beyond gender divisions.  In this way Eros has always been seen as an actively direct, progenitive force that is at the root of creation, and eventually as a result was connected with the masculine energy that seeds new birth in the receiving feminine.

eros and psyche statue

Cupid and Psyche (1794) by Antonio Canova

Within the ascending Psyche, rooted in human matter, merging with the descending Eros, connected to heavenly light, we find a true soul communion.  According to Demetra George, the Psyche asteroid illuminates our capacity to be sensitive on a psychic level to an Other and is about our desire for a soul mate, a union with a lover under the guidance of divine energy through the path of conscious relationship.  Yet Psyche is not only about a spiritual and sexual union with an Other, but also can be about a union within the Self.  Through Psyche, erotic energy is akin to the procreative life force when we are swept away in our body by bonding with a lover or other desire.  In this way Eros is the primal, procreative force of our passion that underlies our vision and desires, as well as indicates our sexual attractions and vitality.

I do not want to take up the space here going into the plot of Psyche and Eros in detail, but I did previously write about their story last year during the Venus retrograde in Capricorn.  If you want to know their story, I recommend reading the distilled summary and deep analysis of the Psyche and Eros myth found on the Symbol Reader blog, lovingly told in three parts:  beginning, middle, and end.  The essential information is that Psyche was born as a beautiful princess who received so much admiration that she aroused the jealousy of Aphrodite/Venus.  Determined to remove this threat to her status as the goddess of love and beauty, Venus ordered her son Eros/Cupid to prick Psyche with one of his arrows to make her fall in love with an abominable monster.  However, Eros instead fell in love with Psyche and intervened so that Psyche ultimately found her way into his secure, secretive, and sensually luxurious palace where he lustfully merged with her in dark abandon.  A plot detail that echoes the current balsamic conjunction of Venus and Mars in Pisces is that after Psyche’s father consulted an oracle and was told that she was destined to marry a monster who aroused fear in even Zeus himself, Psyche’s father coordinated a ritual sacrifice for her that was at the same time like a funerary rite and a giving away to marriage.  This intersection between death and burial, marriage and a new beginning, is resonant with the current close of the past two year cycle of Venus and Mars that will give way to a new cycle between these archetypes of love and desire.

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Psyche with the Lamp by Max Klinger

There are those who analyze a lack of perspicacity in Psyche through intellectual interpretation of the myth, yet who has not been under the throes of cloistered, secretive passions felt in the dark of night where clarity is not even a potential. Psyche in the end brings the full light of conscious awareness to her union with Eros after her sisters warn her that she could be sleeping with a serpentine monster. Once Psyche brings fire to light her vision of Eros, falling even further in love with him in the process, her story suddenly shifts in a radical direction not unlike a Uranus transit or the impact of the current square between Pluto and Uranus we are experiencing in astrology. This shift begins by the wound caused by burning lamp oil on Eros that provokes him to flee from his lover, in part because of his secret being unveiled.

As we have been experiencing the close of the cycle between Venus and Mars in Pisces, similar to Psyche in the palace of Eros we may have felt burning desire more so than clarified realization.  The balsamic phase is a time of re-visioning in which premonitions of our coming vision enter our field of awareness without full consciousness of how or when it will manifest.  Simultaneously the balsamic phase is a period of releasing past patterns and relationships, a letting go to make space for the new. Our attractions can be on a more primal and unconscious level, and as we had a Mercury retrograde ending less than a week ago, numerous images of past relationships we now wish to release could have been circulating within the same space as images of the new relationships we now want from our current presence.  The upcoming New Moon on February 18 features a Mercury moving direct that is in sextile to a Saturn that is still direct, and so we will have greater capacity to clarify with the light of consciousness the passions we have felt in the dark.

In the story of Psyche and Eros, once Psyche has lit her perception of the truth that she has fallen in love with the divine Eros, his ensuing separation from her pulls her into a Heroine’s Journey of numerous trials and tribulations that take her to the extremity of the Underworld and back.  Through her yearning for love’s embrace and the pain of separation in space from it, Psyche opens her psychic field to the soul of the world around her and the potential to unite her personality with her own soul.

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Pan comforting Psyche by Max Klinger

In the wake of her separation from Eros, Psyche leapt with desperation into a river, ready to surrender her suffering and release herself from control of her life.  Yet in a foreshadowing of natural intervention, the flowing water protects her from ending her life and delivers her to the shore and the goat hooves of the wild nature god Pan. Pan lends Psyche his full sympathy, inspiring her to follow her love toward Eros instead of giving up her life in defeat.  So begins the solitary quest of Psyche that has served as an allegory for the necessity of finding and uniting with our Self before we are able to fully enjoy and sustain a soulful union with our beloved.  Pan is a different mythic figure than Chiron, yet shares the similarity of integrating human and animal parts in his unified form.  As a result I feel this crossroad of the story resonates with the astrology we began February 2015 with, when there was a conjunction between Chiron in Pisces with Psyche, Eros, and Mars, and by the end of the first week of February, Venus had also entered into a conjunction with Chiron.

After realizing that Psyche is determined to reunite with Eros, Aphrodite begins giving her a series of seemingly impossible tasks to complete.  However, in each one Psyche succeeds through her openness to nature and her ability to communicate and listen to the soul of her environment.  Ants, reeds, an eagle, and a man-made tower all communicate with Psyche and come to her aid at pivotal points in her tests.  Psyche’s psychic empathy is her heroic strength, and similarly we can utilize the recent transits of Venus and Mars with Chiron in Pisces to draw from our own unique gifts in pursuit of our desire, while listening intently to messages from our surrounding environment to help us find the the unique solution to each dilemma we face.  The recent transits to Chiron may have intensified our experience, yet this heightened magnification has demanded an enhancement in our ability to respond with the focus necessary to ultimately manifest our desired outcome.

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Psyche on the Cliff by Max Klinger

Although Psyche manages to succeed in her initial tests, Psyche feels the full force of a dark night of her soul while literally peering over a perilous cliff into the deathly water of the River Styx. The great strength of Psyche is that she bravely feels all of her emotions and does not shirk from her suffering or attempt to deny it, distract herself from it, or numb it.  She feels all of the torment of being separated from her Eros, and the magnetism of her emotive vibration time after time inspires the sympathy of elements in her environment that come to her aid and ensure her survival and success.

Indeed, each hardship and challenge faced by Psyche ennobles her character to such an extent that she is able to follow the pathless path into the Underworld in order to appease Aphrodite’s demand of a sampling of Persephone’s beauty ointment.  Psyche wins the favor of the Queen of the spirit world, as Persephone presents Psyche with a share of her restorative beauty balm.  Miraculously, Psyche manages to re-ascend to the upper world and it is at this point that she decides she will no longer surrender to the directive demands of Aphrodite.  Although Psyche had been warned that applying Persephone’s beauty ointment to herself will result in death, Psyche chooses to apply the magical medicine anyway.  Whether this was an act attempting to make herself more attractive to Eros, or a consequence of an emboldened sense of Self, the beauty ointment of Persephone leads to the resurrection of her union with Eros and transformation into divine presence.  This is because after the application of the ointment causes Psyche to fall into a death-like sleep, Eros becomes incapable of restraining himself any longer and soars to embrace Psyche in his arms, pressing his lips against her lips and in the mingling of his breath within her awakens her with his true love’s kiss.  Their marriage and ascension of Psyche from mortal to goddess follows,  and from their union a beautiful daughter is born from the womb of Psyche, in Greek known as Hedone and in Roman known as Voluptas, both words meaning “Pleasure.”

amor finds psyche by Max Klinger

Eros finds Psyche by Max Klinger

The sign of Pisces is an appropriate place to hold all of the archetypal drama of Psyche and Eros, Venus and Mars.  In Pisces we find a yearning for eternal, ultimate meaning and a surrendering to the ineffable bliss of love.  The deep waters of Pisces reflect images imbibed with symbolism connected to the world of myth and the source of the collective unconscious.  Notice and be present for what has been arising within your deepest recesses, and what aspects of your past patterns and relationships no longer link with your personal truth.  It is helpful to realize the current cycle of Venus and Mars closing now began on April 6, 2013 at twenty degrees of Aries, and so relationship issues since that time are especially poignant to reflect upon and release what feels pertinent to clear.  We are at a time to both let go of the past and to set intentions and invitations in place to welcome our new presence in relationship.  If it feels deeply connected to us on a soul level, it is time to focus on it moving forward with full presence.  If it seems more like a pattern we have picked up through collective conditioning in one way or another, whether it be from media exposure, family influence, or consensus societal beliefs, if it is not rooted to our deep nature then it is time to release it.  There is more than enough pain and suffering going around and around our planet these days for all of us:  like a determined Psyche, stay centered on the desires that will bring you joy, fulfillment, and affirmation.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

— W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939

Amor and Psyche by Max Klinger

Psyche and Eros by Max Klinger

References

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

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:

MercuryDirectStationWRIGC9

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

Cardinal Eclipse and Cross

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

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

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

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

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

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

LunarEclipseApril2014WRIGC1

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

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

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

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

Amphitrite_Devaulx_cour_Carree_Louvre

Amphitrite (1866), by François Théodore Devaulx

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

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

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

Giulio Bonasone Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto

Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto dividing the Universe by Giulio Bonasone

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

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

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

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

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

Perseus (1875-1888)

Perseus saves Andromeda by Edward Burne-Jones

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

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

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