Venus & Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Venus receives Mercury Retrograde

Venus conjoins Mercury Retrograde in her own home of Taurus this Friday, May 13.  Venus unifies, harmonizes, brings us pleasure, and in the earthy, body-centered lair of Taurus, she wants to delight our bodily forms and the deepest recesses of our sensory, sensual natures.  Mercury in astrology can destabilize, contest, and create volatility in contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, yet Mercury is also the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our bodily, material realm.  With Mercury retrograde in Taurus, with Mercury recently having passed through a purifying conjunction with the Sun while conjoining its own heliocentric South Node, Mercury is pulling us deeply within our senses to the inner source of our thoughts and discernment.  If you are lucky enough to be in love in this moment, it is an ideal transit of pure pleasure.  If you are alone or dissatisfied in relationship, this is an ideal time for Self nurturance and getting in touch with your deepest feelings and needs in relationship.  By embracing being alone and out of relationship at this time, the inner process that is supported by this transit will help magnetize a deeply resonant relationship that aligns with the uncovered inner values and needs when the time is right.

This lovely transit of Mercury retrograde uniting with Venus in Taurus is embellished by it being in an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and also in range of a trine to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury during its retrograde plays the role of the Herald to Hades, and so aligned with Venus will help release resistance to whatever cathartic changes Pluto in Capricorn has been calling for in our life that we have not yet answered with full presence.  In the next few days there is a lovely opportunity to accept the underlying changes in our life that in the past has created stress, worry, and grief, and instead allow ourselves to be present and open to what has been created for us in this moment out of the destruction.

remedios varo and husband

Remedios Varo

These lovely aspects surrounding Mercury uniting with Venus in her home are happening as the Moon waxes in light, en route to an electrifyingly dynamic Full Moon next week that is aligned with the heart of the current Mars Retrograde.  Furthermore, all of this is happening within the tightening of the tension involving Saturn in Sagittarius in square to the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  With Mercury moving slowly backward in its retrograde, it will be lingering longer than normal in its embrace of Venus, and lucky Hermes is getting to enjoy the experience in the home of Venus.  Although many elements of our lives may feel scary with the degree of changes signified by the surrounding astrological transits, the commingling of Venus and Mercury now can facilitate inner access to the authentic change and growth occurring for you, rather than the collective fears of change circulating in the atmosphere now.

The ideal situation, as far as we can see, is when the ego, with a certain plasticity, obeys the central regulation of the psyche. But when it hardens and becomes autonomous, acting according to its own reasons, then there is often a neurotic constellation.  This happens not only to individuals, but also collectively, which is why we speak of collective neuroses and psychoses.  Whole groups of mankind can drift into that split situation and deviate from their basic instinctual patterns, and then disaster is close.  That is why in hero stories there is nearly always an exposition of a terrible situation . . . Whatever this terrible story is, the hero has the task of putting it right . . .

The hero, therefore, is the restorer of a healthy, conscious situation. He is the one ego that restores us to healthy, normal functioning in a situation in which all the egos of that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive, basic totality pattern.  It can therefore be said that the hero is an archetypal figure which presents a model of an ego functioning in accord with the Self.

—  Marie-Louise von Franz

References

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1996). The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised edition. Shambhala.

film clip from the film Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

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New Moon in Taurus

 

plantscape-Langsdorffia_hypogaea_vMH367

from Pflanzenleben (1887) by Anton Kerner von Marilaun

We drive and are driven.
But time’s stride—
think of it lost
in the ever-remaining.

All that’s hurrying
will quickly be past;
only what lingers
grants us credence.

Boys, don’t fling your courage
into the thrill of speed
or attempts at flight.

All that is at rest—
darkness and morning light,
flower and book.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, translated by Edward Snow

The New Moon in Taurus on May 6, 2016 is bountiful in blissful aspects, a sweet darkening of the Moon to savor and soak within the desires and intentions to manifest in the coming weeks.  The Full Moon in Sagittarius that follows this New Moon is extraordinary in dynamism, as it conjoins Mars Retrograde in Sagittarius at the time that Mars opposes the Sun and Mercury stations direct.  The Taurus New Moon is an awakening in the solace of pleasure, all the while an uproarious flood of events that will demand focused action awaits on the horizon.  The many harmonious aspects surrounding the Taurus New Moon can also bring keen realization into what does not feel right in life, and since the coming climate could create cacophony, it will be vital to utilize the waxing Crescent light of the Moon in the week ahead to make mindful choices aligned with the deepest intentions felt at this New Moon.

The New Moon in Taurus forms a trine to Pluto in Capricorn as well as a trine with Jupiter in Virgo.  Imagining lines connecting these three sections creates a triangular container in the sky, a configuration known as a Grand Earth Trine in astrology.  This passing transit will impact your chart in ways that require unique reflection, but in general signifies stabilizing, harmonious pathways linking the powers of Pluto, Jupiter, and the blackening union of Sun and Moon.  Furthermore, the New Moon is separating from a sextile to Neptune in Pisces, while Venus, the ruler of the New Moon, is applying to a sextile with Neptune.  The black elixir found in the Taurus New Moon induces magnetism with what comforts and soothes, brings security and safety.  Kindling feelings for what balms the Soul now will be valuable medicine to take into the unknown future that holds many climatic astrological aspects to traverse.

The lunar cycle commencing now will take us through the final of three last quarter square aspects between Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo that have been brewing since August 2015.  Squares between Saturn and Jupiter always signify monumental shifts in the collective, yet this particular one packs more power as Neptune in Pisces is in opposition to Jupiter and also in a last quarter square with Saturn- creating what is known commonly in astrology as a “T-square.”  Neptune’s invisible realm seeps through and erodes the walls constructed by Saturn to contain a sense of controlled reality, allowing Jupiter to expand vision beyond previous conditioned constraints.  With all of the earthy trines and sextiles mentioned involving Neptune and Jupiter with the Taurus New Moon, there will be tension between wanting to bask in the comfort of what gives a sense of security versus facing feelings that the underlying fabric of how one finds security is shifting and dissolving.  The melting of past forms and constructs that have brought meaning is further amplified by Mars Retrograde in Sagittarius, with Mercury Retrograde in Taurus pulling us inward to the roots of our senses and instincts.

Hathor Cedar

Hathor Column (380–200 BC Egyptian, Cedar)

Venus in Taurus

The pleasure principles of the Taurus New Moon are bolstered by Venus luxuriating in her home of Taurus, surrounded by her cherished, beautiful possessions.  The New Moon ruler being in her home sign signifies greater ease in manifesting Venusian forms, and since Venus also rules the transiting Mercury Retrograde some of the associated mercurial destabilization can achieve a sense of harmony.  Venus is also not forming any especially challenging or difficult aspects, and through her melodious aspects with visionary Neptune and Jupiter is in position to facilitate deep bodily awareness of what we need to feel fulfilled and satisfied in life.

As the Moon waxes through its First Quarter phase in the week ahead, Venus will also form a trine with Pluto while conjoining Mercury Retrograde.  These unifying aspects between Venus with chthonic, subterranean archetypes are fascinating from the perspective that Venus is additionally under the beams of the Sun and engaged in a process of solar purification that can unearth essential Venusian qualities from within.  The astrology surrounding the blackening of the Moon in Taurus clearly supports attuning as deep into internal realms as can be managed to uncover buried feelings and awareness of an authentic presence you have been resisting fully embodying for whatever reason.

Venus holding space for regeneration that leads to animated ardor is embellished by the asteroid Hathor conjoining Venus in Taurus, and the asteroid Juno in Scorpio separating from an opposition with Venus.  While Venus in Taurus brings images of the fertile soil through which green shoots and wildflowers emerge from the underworld, Hathor is the fertile sky that sources the water that brings life and the starstuff from which we are created.  Hathor is a Guide of Souls and a Solar Goddess whose alignment with Venus at the Taurus New Moon befits the Queen of Heaven being under the beams and on her way to a union with the Sun a month from now.  Combined with Juno in Scorpio in opposition, Venus with Hathor unveils the values needed to nourish joy from within so ecstatic union with a lover can be felt in our depths without fears of being betrayed, abandoned, or losing our sense of individualism in the merging.

Saules_sonata.Andante

Andante from Sonata of the Sun (1907) by M.K. Ciurlionis

Mercury Transit of Sun

As the New Moon perfects, Mercury Retrograde in Taurus is combust the Sun, less than five degrees away and becoming purified in the solar rays.  The last time Mercury was united with the Sun was at its Superior Conjunction that occurred at the time of the Libra Lunar Eclipse on 23 March 2016.  While Mercury is moving fast at its Superior Conjunction into the Sun and emerges on the other side as an Evening Star increasing in light, during Mercury Retrograde when Mercury unites with the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction it is moving backwards slowly en route to eventually emerging as a Morning Star.  This happened last on 14 January 2016 when Mercury was retrograde in Capricorn while trine to Jupiter in Virgo after Jupiter had recently stationed retrograde.  At the retrograde union between Mercury and the Sun that will occur on 9 May 2016, Jupiter in Virgo is stationing direct and once again in trine to Mercury being at the heart of the Sun.  All the changes in being, the ways in which we interpret and convey meaning from our experiences, that have come to pass since last January are becoming refined and regenerated through Mercury’s position at the Taurus New Moon.

A few days after the New Moon on May 9 when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun, it will not be a normal Inferior Conjunction but instead a Transit of Mercury that occurs about thirteen times every century.  There has not been once since November 2006 and will not be another until November 2019- with technological help you will be able to watch Mercury traverse across the face of the Sun, not unlike an eclipse though Mercury will only look like a tiny black dot rather than blackening the Sun’s light. Just as the Moon has nodes, and the nodes are the zodiac degrees that mark where eclipses occur, so do all of the planets possess nodes. Mercury’s solar union will occur at 19°25′ Taurus, which is within a degree of the heliocentric South Node of Mercury.

As a result, there is an element of the Taurus New Moon that is also connecting us with the descending arc of the full Mercury archetype. In part, the heliocentric South Node of Mercury being Taurus reveals inner senses, bodily instincts, sensory impressions, and memories as being the source of the Mercury archetype.  With Jupiter simultaneously stationing direct in Virgo, the home of Mercury, while in trine to Mercury and the Taurus New Moon, there is a deep reorientation occurring of how we discover and express meaning, as well as the sense of vision we will utilize to guide our choices and actions.

pents06

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Second face of Taurus that holds the New Moon is associated with the Six of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money.  The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch.  The unifying theme is that there is receiving found in the giving, and giving found in the receiving, and the image of the scales could further be interpreted as signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity in the process.  Through inner harmony transmitted through collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm.

The Moon rules the second decan of Taurus, and since the Moon is also exalted in Taurus, there is tremendous potency found in the Taurus New Moon to set intentions for bringing greater abundance into one’s life.   As there is furthermore a Grand Earth Trine formed between the Taurus New Moon, Jupiter in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn, being mindful to take focused action aligned with the greater prosperity desired can be fruitful in the weeks ahead.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action:

The fecund but unquickened earth, the alchemical salt, is visited by the bright and active beams of the Sun, the sulphur . . . Yet the matter is not brought to fruition solely by means of a single conjunction, no matter how vigorous.  Once planted, the matter must be attended to carefully and consistently.  One cannot decide to water a plant when one chooses, nor can one make up for neglect by a double application of effort the next day.  Consistency and dedication must join fecundity and passion to complete the picture this face provides.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 75

While there are many harmonious aspects surrounding the Taurus New Moon, the larger astrological atmosphere also includes Mars Retrograde, Mercury Retrograde, and the t-square between Saturn in Sagittarius, Neptune in Pisces, and Jupiter in Virgo.  As a result the ease of undulating energy surrounding the Taurus New Moon is catalyzed by an actively shifting astrological environment.  Taking time for rest and regeneration if needed is always advisable, but to achieve the success and prosperity heralded by the Taurus New Moon will require disciplined acts of integrity followed through to completion.  We have an exciting month ahead, beginning with a New Moon supporting deep visions of abundance, followed by an electrifying Full Moon that will instigate dynamic movement.

References

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Hathor cow woman

Hathor Menat (1390–1352 B.C. Egypt)

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Mercury will retrograde in Taurus, the home of Venus, from April 28 through May 22.  Mercury when moving direct through the zodiac is known as a swiftly moving planet of mental connections, discernment, and expression.  Yet the protean nature of Mercury is revealed in its variable speed, as it slows down considerably during its thrice yearly retrograde phase and correspondingly shifts our perceptual perspicacity.  Despite misconceptions in popular culture, Mercury Retrograde is not a time to fear but is instead an essential aspect of Mercury and how we interpret and convey meaning from our experience in life.  During Mercury Retrograde we experience a purifying regeneration of Mercury, and as this particular retrograde occurs in Taurus, we will be immersing ourselves within our bodily realm, discovering how our senses and instincts create our reality. A wealth of supportive aspects to Mercury arise during this retrograde by Venus, Jupiter, Pluto, Chiron, and the lunar nodes, suggesting a soulful windfall can be excavated when exploring the darkness of inner recesses.

Our perception that Mercury is retrograde is rooted in the phenomenon of Mercury’s orbit around our Sun, as Mercury Retrograde always occurs when Mercury passes between our Earth and our Sun in its orbit.  This particular retrograde is very special, as the pièce de résistance is a Mercury transit of the Sun in which Mercury can be seen crossing the fiery face of our Solar Light, as close as Mercury can get to eclipsing the Sun.  As this special inferior conjunction of Mercury conjoins the heliocentric South Node of Mercury, is trine to the transiting North Node of the Moon, and occurs while Jupiter is simultaneously stationing direct in a trine to Mercury and the Sun, the heart of this Mercury Retrograde is fecund with primal potency. One theme will be an uncovering of the inner values that bring us the most alive in our sensual world and to which we can devote ourselves in order to not merely survive but thrive.

While recalibration of inner values will be a theme on a personal level, in the collective with Mercury retrograde in Taurus and forming trines with both Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo, Mercury’s lordship of commerce and mercantile systems will result in significant economic contracts and mergers between various key economic players enacted.  Moreover, significant revelations will come to the forefront regarding economic deals and relationships that had previously been hidden. The impact of collective economic forces on one’s personal life will depend on where one finds themselves within the rising and falling of collective fortune, but this Mercury retrograde nonetheless opens a space to reappraise your flow and organization of finances and the returns you have been receiving on your investment of energy.

On a personal level, the slow steady pace of Mercury through Taurus is opportune for patiently grounding awareness in your surrounding material manifestations and their connection with the values you have been prioritizing your life around.  It will be most fruitful to ask yourself the tough questions and be brutally honest with yourself about the values you have actually been focused upon rather than the values you enjoy talking about or pretending you live from.  Taurus is about survival, and through this retrograde Mercury can guide us into revealing what we have thought we needed for survival versus what is truly nourishing for ourselves on a soul level and requires a commitment to living from with integrity.

Hermes_Ingenui_Pio-Clementino

Hermes Ingenui (Roman copy of 5th Century B.C. Greek)

Men have made me variously keeper of the dawn, of twilight and the wind, have called me Argeiphantes, he who makes clear the sky, and Logios, the sweet-tongued one, have dubbed me trickster, the patron of gamblers and all manner of mountebanks, have appointed me the guardian of crossroads, protector of travelers, have conferred on me the grave title Psychopomps, usher of the freed souls of men to Pluto’s netherworld. For I am Hermes, son of old Zeus and Maia the cavewoman.

— John Banville, The Infinities, p. 14

Star of Hermes

Mercury was known as the Star of Hermes to the ancients who developed what we now call Hellenistic Astrology, and the innumerable significations of the mythic Hermes illuminate our understanding of the astrological Mercury:  Winged messenger of the Gods, God of crossroads, boundaries and thresholds, Guide of Souls, Shepherd of flocks, God of commerce and merchants, Prince of thieves, and the friendly trickster who reveals truths through concealing truth at times, offering unexpected fortune and loss.  When Mercury disappears at sunset with a flash of light after stationing retrograde, transitioning from being an Evening Star to becoming invisible under the purifying beams of the Sun, Mercury guides us into a subterranean realm of perception in which he plays the part of a Soul Guide.

Mercury slowly shifting retrograde, symbolically descending into the invisible underworld, marks a threshold into a liminal space of past identities and perceptual patterns altering to open awareness to vital change and a presence in sync with authentically arising inner life.  Though popular culture tells us to avoid buying anything or signing any contracts when Mercury is retrograde, it is in fact possible to initiate significant action that will not only be beneficial but deeply resonate with one’s Soul.  As Mercury retrograde redirects the functions of Mercury from outward projection to becoming inwardly receptive with our body and unconscious, it is vital to be mindful of how your intuition and inner voice is guiding you.  If the sound of a new venture is bringing inner doubt, this is the type of new endeavor to avoid.  If a new venture instead brings a harmonizing vibration that feels naturally fulfilling, if signs of synchronicity point to the new endeavor being a soulful calling, then this is exactly the type of new project or relationship whose initiation will bring a bountiful boon.

26.8.98

Hathor Mirror (1479–1425 B.C. Egypt)

Mirrors: no one who’s tried to solve you
has yet unlocked your true being.
You, openings in time, its course filled
as if with endless sieve holes.

You, perpetual spendthrifts of the empty hall-,
when dusk approaches, deep as woods . . .
And there the chandelier, like a sixteen-pointer,
leaps your unbreathable divide.

Sometimes you are full of painting.
A few seem to have passed straight into you-,
others you shyly sent away.

But the one loveliest woman will remain
before you, -till across into her untouched cheeks
the clear released Narcissus penetrates.

–Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus translated by Edward Snow

Mercury in the home of Venus

With Mercury retrograde in the home of Venus, the mirror of Aphrodite shall reflect our current state of being as well as open a portal to the potential of our Self.  Mercury retrograde periods often bring up the past for resolution, yet can also facilitate a crossing of the threshold that demarcates a new dimension of experience.  Mirroring will illuminate our inner issues most in need of reflection and resolution through the mirror of outer relationships and events, and insight into the illusion we call reality will be revealed.    Going within the etheric field of bodily senses, this Mercury Retrograde in Taurus will metamorphose and reconstruct our inner magnetism that attracts relationships to us, supporting us aligning with more soulfully supportive partners through inner work rather than outer striving.

A day after Mercury stations retrograde, Venus enters her home of Taurus where she stays for the rest of the retrograde and will give strong Venusian support to Mercury.  Hermes in myth is bound to the fertility of nature and sexuality, and similarly as Mercury retrograde pulls us inward into our corporeal senses in the domicile of Venus, desire for sensual pleasures and hedonistic delights of the flesh will arise.  Self-love and making nourishment of optimal well-being in the body through diet, exercise, and luxuriating in the scent of flowery enrapture will be a beneficial balm for whatever worrisome events occur during the Mercury Retrograde.   This Mercury retrograde in the receptive and earthy sign of Venus will viscerally reveal the myriad ways in which we find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties.

When Venus enters Taurus she immediately enters a conjunction with the asteroid Hathor (asteroid #2340), the asteroid that is named for the Lady of Heaven, Lady of Horns, Lady of All.  Hathor is the womb found in the stars, the living, fertile sky that is the source of All. Hathor embodies the triple goddess aspect of mother, lover, and daughter, but is not a goddess fixated on the needs of a partner or sustaining a relationship with an Other.  Venus uniting with Hathor in Taurus as Mercury descends into the underworld at the beginning of its retrograde amplifies the focus on the inner side of Venus that is not outwardly obsessed with relationship, revitalizing our sense of inner needs for joy.  Further fitting for Mercury retrograde, Hathor is a fructifying goddess of rebirth and regeneration, who like Hermes took part in guiding the transition of Souls into the afterlife and here points toward the needs of the Soul gaining greater prominence over the needs of the conscious personality.

Fascinatingly, Mercury stations retrograde while conjoining the asteroid Vesta in Taurus, another significator of devotedly turning focus within rather than being consumed with the needs and expectations of relationship.  Vesta is not virginal in a sexual sense, however, and heralds an opening to sacred sexuality and the reception of spirit in the senses through its union with stationing Mercury.  Nonetheless, since independence and self-reliance outside of partnership is paramount to  Vesta, the conjunction between Vesta with stationing Mercury suggests the inward pull of Hermes will destabilize any co-dependent tendencies occurring in order to help anchor perception into one’s true inner needs and desires.

Mercury also stations while conjoining the blinking, fixed star Algol.  Algol is known as the Head of Medusa and the Head of the Demon, a fixed star associated with the extremities of emotion, whether that be through a voracious sexual union, the velocity of passion poured into a creative outlet, or the intensity of outraged anger.  Again, while this aspect can go along with strong sensual immersion in sexuality, a link with Algol does not signify precedence given to the maintenance of a relationship.  Once again this is a sign of the primal needs of the Self taking precedence, and that the initial focus of this Mercury retrograde is to realign with inner needs outside the expectations of current relationship.

Paint a perfect picture
Bring to life a vision in one’s mind
The beautiful ones
Always smash the picture
Always every time

— Prince, “The Beautiful Ones” from Purple Rain

Though the demonizing of Mercury Retrograde in popular culture can go overboard with projections of negativity, there can be vexing and extremely frustrating experiences with communication and becoming overwhelmed with challenges and setbacks during the backward, trickster movement of Mercury.  With Mercury retrograde in the Fixed sign of Taurus, it is more than likely that we can become quite Bull-headed in our perspective, solidly sustaining a stubborn stance in resistance of changes that threaten our sense of inner security.  Though this Mercury Retrograde never forms a major aspect with the Mars Retrograde concurrently happening, Mercury Retrograde does station retrograde in exact polarity to the degree of Scorpio that Mars will station direct at in the end of June.  Furthermore, when Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus, its ruler Venus is at the end of Aries in the sign of Mars.  The inner fire of Mars Retrograde that burns off the inessential, combined with the Mercury Retrograde absorption into our perceptual core senses, will open stored memories in need of processing that underlie the desires we are consciously working out in the Mars Retrograde.

yaroslav forest

by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me

—e.e. cummings

Memory moves Mercury.  Indeed, Hermes in the myth of his origin enchanted Apollo with a song eulogizing Mnemosyne, Titanesss of Memory and Mother of Muses, played on the lyre he invented from a tortoise shell.  Memories held in the body, the memory of an ideal consummation sustained in the sensual folds of our mind, will rise to awareness in the retrograde rumination of Mercury. Memories allow us to revisit faded fields of passion and sorrow, and though the tactile faculties of our mind can allow the glow of a memory to override full presence in the moment, significant memories in need of processing will make themselves known during the sluggish retrograde of Mercury.  We will not be able to resist certain memories in need of replaying in our minds during this retrograde, but we can do the inner work necessary to transform the possessive side of Taurus that can become overly attached to nostalgia rather than opening to the changes underway.

The Mercurial function turned inward in the instinctual sign of Taurus will facilitate our diverse senses taking predominance in the making of meaning over our rational mind, including those sensitivities labeled psychic for want of a clearer term. Just as Mercury in alchemy conjoins the animating spirit with the earthly body, the prima materia of our full bodily presence will bring nonverbal insight into the world-creating spirit concealed in material forms.  Just as Hermes was born in a cave, just as subterranean caves were the temples of our ancestors where Spirit was received in the flesh, so will we descend to the subconscious place where tomb meets womb and where the death of the past gives rise to a reborn consciousness.

Since Mercury retrograde in Taurus is ruled by the transiting Venus, it is vital to reflect upon the significance that Venus in Taurus will be under the beams of the Sun during the retrograde, getting closer each day to her eventual union with our Solar Light.  Adam Gainsburg in his book The Light of Venus called the phase Venus is in with the Sun during the Mercury Retrograde “Immersion,” stating it is the period in the Heroine’s Journey in which “The Queen of Heaven is pulled away from the world by an inward force, and prepares to rediscover Her divine essence from within.”  As we unearth deeply held memories in the body of our essentiality, we can stop hiding our feelings and shift to a space of directly going after what we want and living from our authentic feelings.  In these ways the Mercury retrograde in the survival-focused sign of Taurus can help build greater self-reliance and resiliency.

Remedios Varo solar music

Musica Solar by Remedies Varo

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

The REBIRTH of Mercury that occurs during its retrograde through Taurus is not your everyday Inferior Conjunction of Mercury, but rather is the legendary Transit of Mercury that only occurs about thirteen times every century.  The Transit of Mercury is similar to Mercury eclipsing our Sun, except Mercury from our perspective is far too small to come anywhere close to the blackening effect the Moon makes upon the Sun during an eclipse.  Just as the Moon has nodes, and the nodes are the zodiac degrees that mark where eclipses occur, so do all of the planets possess nodes.  The Inferior Conjunction of Mercury occurs on 9 May 2016 at 19°25′ Taurus, which is within a degree of the Heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  The last time the Transit of Mercury happened was in November 2006 when it occurred in Scorpio conjoining the North Node of Mercury, and the next time it will occur will be in November 2019 when it will also be conjoining the North Node of Mercury.

There is an interesting aspect to the Heliocentric planetary nodes in which the North Node of Mars and South Node of Mercury are both in Taurus around nineteen degrees.  With Mars retrograde occurring simultaneously, the heart of this particular Mercury Retrograde activates the full arc of the Mercury and Mars archetypes. The North Node ascent for Mars in Taurus points toward self-reliance and centering within one’s essential values, having the patience and fortitude to live from a core place of integrity rather than losing touch with one’s authenticity through external entanglements and desires.  In contrast, the South Node of Mercury being Taurus reveals inner senses, bodily instincts, sensory impressions, and memories as being the source of the Mercury archetype.  There are very supportive aspects surrounding Mercury when it enters the heart of the Sun, as it is in trine to Pluto in Capricorn, in sextile to the South Node of the Moon and Chiron in Pisces, and in trine to the North Node of the Moon and Jupiter in Virgo: open without resistance to what is arising from within and discover what Hermes has left for you.

MercuryCazimiWRIGC1

When Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun it is directly in between the orbit of Earth with the Sun, signifying a magical moment of new conception for Mercurial functions.  Once Mercury gets to be a degree away from the Sun on either side, we arrive at the potent time of cazimi in which the significations of Mercury are fortified in the purifying solar rays.  This is a beautiful time to initiate new growth or simply meditate or attune within, so plan accordingly if possible for May 9.  This particular union of Mercury with the Sun is even more auspicious because Venus in Taurus is applying toward a conjunction with Mercury when it enters the heart of the Sun, and Jupiter is also stationing direct simultaneously in the home of Mercury in range of a trine to Mercury.

Jupiter stationing direct at this time holds a thread with the previous Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn that occurred in January 2016, as Jupiter stationed retrograde at that time.  The Jupiter retrograde from January 8 – May 9, 2016 has brought opportunities to realign with inner, personal truth, and so this magical moment of Mercury will also illuminate our present sense of Jupiter vision and meaning.  In the collective, one omen of this period has been the death of two Mercurial Geniuses of Music and the Muses:  David Bowie and Prince.

man ray plume

Plume (1942) by Man Ray

Mercury Stations Direct

After Mercury begins to slowly retrograde away from its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun, it begins to transition into its Morning Star phase which will commence around the time that Mercury stations direct on 22 May 2016.  In between Mercury’s union with the Sun on May 9 and its stationing direct on May 22, there is a distinctly powerful timeframe around May 12 and May 13 when Venus unites with Mercury retrograde in Taurus while simultaneously forming an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn (with Jupiter and the North Node in Virgo not too far away in Virgo to create a Grand Earth Trine).  This period will be full of important messages to decipher concerning the culminating meaning found within Mercury’s retrograde in the domicile of Venus.

When Mercury arises from the underworld with a flash of light at Dawn, the sibyls of Hermes transmit a message to receive as Mercury switches roles into that of a day-focused herald intent on clarifying goals in the light of the Sun.  With unbelievable synchronicity, Mercury stations direct on the same day that Mars enters the heart of its retrograde cycle, being exactly opposite the Sun.  Furthermore, the day before this eventful stationing day, there will be a Full Moon at the 1-2 degree of Sagittarius that hits immediately after the Sun enters Gemini, the solar home of Mercury.  All together, this means that both the Moon and Mercury are bringing indescribable levels of intensity to the meaning found in the heart of this Mars Retrograde cycle: the lesson to be learned, the message to receive, will be impossible to miss.

The period following Mercury stationing direct, when Mercury gains traction in its rousing rooster role of Morning Star, is full of the type of epic astrological aspects that demarcate defining shifts in the collective narrative.  Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius form an exact last quarter square on May 26, four days after the Winged Messenger stations direct, and this last quarter square also involves Neptune in Pisces forming an opposition to Jupiter as well as a last quarter square with Saturn.  This t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune signifies an extraordinary change in collective consciousness that will be deeply felt on a personal level, and could very well provoke a sense of crisis. However, the larger message found within these aspects is a reorientation to the authentic trajectory your life can take in the next five years and beyond.  As a result, the Mercury Retrograde in Taurus serves as a vital inner recalibration to the massive change happening.

Finally, the Hathor asteroid again surfaces in prominence in the week leading up to Mercury stationing direct, conjoining the retrograde Mercury around May 16 -17, 2016.  Remembering that Hathor entered Taurus just as Mercury stationed retrograde and initially was moving along closely with Venus, it is compelling that Hathor and Mercury get closer together throughout the retrograde and finally make their exchange in the period leading up to the stationing direct.  The synchronicity of the Hathor asteroid weaving herself significantly within this potent Mercury Retrograde delights me more than words can express in this article.  No matter the grief and suffering you may be enduring at the moment in reflection of everything that has not gone the way you have desired, the presence of Hathor with this Mercury retrograde augurs that joy and exuberance can once again be embodied if you align with the movements opened up by the thrice great trickster and Psychopomp, Mercury.

He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul. If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world. He becomes a fool through his endless desire, and forgets the way of his soul, never to find her again. He will run after all things, and will seize hold of them, but he will not find his soul, since he would find her only in himself. Truly his soul lies in things and men, but the blind one seizes things and men, yet not his soul in things and men. He has no knowledge of his soul. How could he tell her apart from things and men? He could find his soul in desire itself, but not in the objects of desire. If he possessed his desire, and his desire did not possess him, he would lay a hand on his soul, since his desire is the image and expression of his soul.

–Carl Jung, from The Red Book: Liber Novus

References

Banville, John. (2009). The Infinities. Alfred A. Knopf.

cummings, e.e. (1994). Selected Poems. Liveright.

Gainsburg, Adam. (2012). The Light of Venus.  Soulsign.

Jung, Carl. (2009). The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Norton.

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

Lunar Eclipse in Libra

August_2007_Lunar_Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse of August 28, 2007 courtesy of wikipedia

A Moon the red of roses will appear on April 4, 2015 for those living in view of the Lunar Eclipse in Libra (regions of East Asia, Western North America, Australia, New Zealand).  The Full Moon will be conjunct it’s own North Node in the Venusian sign of Libra, causing the Sun’s light to cast a shadow of our Earth across the Moon’s face, changing it’s normally milky white color into a blood red hue.  The Sun will be conjunct the South Node of the Moon, Mercury, as well as Uranus in Aries, and so this Lunar Eclipse is the final activator of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have been occurring since June of 2012.  Potential meaning of this Lunar Eclipse connects with the dramatic red color of it’s visual appearance, as the Rubedo (aka Red) stage in the alchemical process signifies the Great Work:  in the synthesis of Carl Jung, this translates as the union of the ego and the Self, the discovery of wholeness and our true nature.

Yet, similar to the Phoenix being a symbol of the Rubedo stage, the merging of our personality with our Soul is not an easy experience, but rather the result of a foray through intense heat that brings us renewal only after we have confronted our shadow. In the extreme polarity of our experience we gain the capacity for Self-actualization that can be guided from within, as we discover that the false has been burned off and our essential remains.  We have now entered the first quarter square phase between Pluto and Uranus that will last for years to come, and this Lunar Eclipse marks a Rubedo phase passage in relation to the seven previous squares that initiated us into this active phase between Pluto and Uranus that calls for us to take meaningful, purposive action. Since the Moon is covered in shadow during a lunar eclipse, it can have a similar symbolic meaning to the renewal of the Rubedo stage because it portends an opportunity to respond to our life from a new sense of presence that is free of our past patterns and conditioning.

Full Moons are extreme in quality and can be both a high of illumination as well as a low of a breakdown, yet the vibrational magnitude of our experience is more heightened at a lunar eclipse than at a full moon.  In The Lunation Cycle, Dane Rudhyar wrote that if one has been focused on growth and liberation from past patterns in the waxing Moon time period leading up to a Full Moon, one will experience the “fulfillment, illumination, or revelation” of receiving a new message in “clear, objective consciousness,” and that as “some new factor is given a high valuation,” consequently “an old value is either altogether repudiated or placed under a new light in contrast to the new realization” (p. 29).  From this change one can re-orient one’s life in accordance with the true purpose one is finding in life.  However, Rudhyar also warned that if one has been mired in tentative and negative behavior leading up to the Full Moon, resisting growth and refusing to break free from past patterns needing release, the polarity between the Sun and Moon can be too much to hold for the personality and both “destructive organic conflict” as well as “a mental dilemma of which no integrating solution appears possible” will occur (p. 30).  The fact that this Lunar Eclipse sets off the Pluto and Uranus square amplifies the meaning behind these points made by Rudhyar.

With the Sun, Uranus, and Mercury all conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries and set off by the polarity of the Lunar Eclipse, growth comes in connection with our past karmic and unconscious issues related to Aries.  For astrological guidance, analyze the house placement and aspects made by eight to seventeen degrees of Aries in your chart, as these nine degrees hold the transiting Mercury, Sun, Uranus, and the South Node of the Moon.  There are old personal patterns and identities related to these unconscious,karmic issues that are now ready to be purged and released.  Resisting the release of this outdated and heavy personal baggage could bring on the tipping point of a catastrophic loss or crisis that will force a letting go in the aftermath of this Libra Lunar Eclipse.  With all of these planets in Aries, a sign of instinctive initiation, we can feel the fire of wanting the changes we sense to manifest for us immediately, or impulsively desire to step into our new vision we have for our life as quickly as possible.  Yet there are still many steps to come in the process of integrating all of the new changes that have happened during the past three or four years of the Uranus and Pluto squares, and even the form we ultimately create will be fluid and continuing to change.  It is also vital to realize that Venus in Taurus is the ruler of this Libra Lunar Eclipse, and so sustaining patient, unrelenting, and grounded focus on going step-by-step toward our envisioned new life will be the most effective course of action to take.

Although this is a particularly potent lunar eclipse, it is worth remembering that we experience a lunar eclipse every six months, and so twice a year.  Our last lunar eclipse on October 8, 2014 (Moon at 16° Aries) was exactly opposite the April 4 eclipse (the Moon of the 10/08/14 eclipse was conjunct the Sun of the 04/04/15 eclipse), and the lunar eclipse that occurred a year ago in Libra on April 15, 2014 (Moon at 26° Libra) was an incredibly powerful one that created a Cardinal Grand Cross involving the Pluto and Uranus square as well as Jupiter in Cancer and Mars in Libra.  Going even further back, the first Aries-Libra lunar eclipse in this series occurred on October 18, 2013 with the Moon at 26° of Aries.  This series of lunar eclipses have been extraordinary in the change and liberation they have coincided with in our lives:  think back to where you were on 10/18/2013,  04/15/2014, and 10/08/2014 and compare it with where you stand today.  The impact of each eclipse is far-reaching, the manifestation of change not always immediately felt.  On a personal level for me, the pivotal change and ideal vision I felt within reach at the lunar eclipse of April 2014 has still today not completely materialized, yet it is also still clearly in process of materializing and it’s impact on my life has only deepened.

Félix_Vallotton_-_Sonnenuntergang,_orangefarbener_Himmel

Sunset, Orange Sky (1910) by Felix Vallotton

Venus rules this Lunar Eclipse in her home, the sign of Taurus.  As the Moon is in the relational sign of Libra, the entry point into the mystery found in this potent lunation is through discovering the interplay between our inner relationship and it’s manifestation in our outer relationships.  Instead of allowing external opinions to dictate how you feel on an inner level, connect with your personal essence as free as possible from outside conditioning and radiate this nature outwardly.  Venus continues to be a resplendent Evening Star dazzling us with her light every evening at Sunset, so taking time to honor her with our purest intentions of heart will be auspicious.  When we absorb ourselves in the moment, such as in blissfully savoring the light of Venus in a darkened sky, we are in a space free of our past limitations of thought.  It’s not like all of your past troubles are going to go away at the stroke of the Libra Full Moon turning ecliptic red, yet the type of extraordinary shifts and unexpected change that can follow the wake of a lunar eclipse stem from the concept that our ties to our past conditioning can be severed in the ecliptic light of the lunation.

The potential of liberation in this particular Libra Lunar Eclipse is magnified by the fact that the Moon is opposite Uranus, and that the Sun, Mercury, and the South Node of the Moon are also all conjunct Uranus, the transpersonal  planet of breakthroughs in deconditioning. Indeed, there is a Grand Fire Trine around the time of the lunar eclipse between Mercury in Aries, Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, and a Jupiter in Leo that is beginning to station direct.  Jupiter in Leo is also in trine to Uranus, the Sun, and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and is in sextile to the North Node of the Moon and the Full Moon eclipse in Libra.  With a Lunar Eclipse opposite Uranus, in square to Pluto, with Mercury moving fast in Aries within the rays of the Sun, we could experience accelerated thought difficult to logically organize and communicate.  The more we can creatively respond in the flow of the events we experience, without getting caught up in the need to be rational, the better we can work with the blazing Mercurial potential of the moment.  Saturn now settled into it’s retrograde movement in Sagittarius is further drawing us into removing layer after layer of past conditioning of societal belief, and with Mercury in Aries in trine to Saturn, and Jupiter in Leo stationing direct in trine to Uranus,  a liberated image of our future Self can appear to guide us forward.

These incredibly activated Aries aspects defiantly stare into the Libra mirror of the Lunar Eclipse, driving us to boldly assert our desire toward personal growth instead of repressing our evolution in order to fit in with the expectations of relationships.  I recently read an interview of Robert Hand in The Mountain Astrologer (Oct/Nov 2014 issue) in which he explained spiritual evolution as manifesting our authenticity, and in which he also referenced an idea from the Renaissance astrologer Marsilio Ficino that Saturn can become beneficial for us when we divorce ourselves from “ordinary reality.”  Aligning ourselves with an alternative reality from the status quo social conditioning surrounding us that allows us to manifest our authenticity is a message of this lunar eclipse, but does not mean we should neglect the needs of our relationships in favor of our own personal needs.  Ideally, we can strike a better balance toward focusing on mutual growth in our relationships and constructing scenarios in which we give ourselves the freedom to pursue our authentic growth while also honoring the unique need for growth of others with whom we are in relation.

When we open our perception to aspects beyond the traditional planets, we will notice that Ceres will have freshly entered Aquarius at the time of the lunar eclipse and will be in opposition to Juno in Leo.  Ceres in Aquarius can help turn the face of our relationships toward collective needs of our wider community, instead of becoming wrapped up in overdramatic interpersonal dynamics with others.  If we can hold the polarity of Ceres in Aquarius to Juno in Leo, we can bring a liberating energy into our relationships allowing ourselves to both express ourselves more freely while also connecting with the wider humanitarian needs of our local and global community.  An Aquarian Ceres facing a Leo Juno can also bring opportunities to transmute interpersonal dynamics with others into creative expression that can not only impact our wider community but also help foster alliances with others of like mind and ideals.  Through the portal of this eclipse we will feel an augmented emphasis to engage relationships that connect with our future growth and shed the relationships that align with our past patterns we are in process of releasing.

moonlight-1895

Moonlight (1895) by Felix Vallotton

Libra signifies balance, but we only know and recognize balance through the experience of imbalance. Thus the lessons of Libra involve extremities of emotions and feeling a lack of harmony in order for us to gain the capacity to bring things into balance and ultimately create greater harmony around us.  The moment of the Libra Lunar Eclipse will shift our self-absorption toward recognizing the needs of others in our environment and what aspects of our perception and behavior could be adjusted accordingly.  With the Sun applying to a conjunction with Uranus in Aries, and a square to Pluto in Capricorn, a large aspect of self-realization could revolve around issues of control in our relationships.  The Cancer polarity point to Pluto in Capricorn that does not hold a transiting planet, yet is also in square to the Libra Lunar Eclipse, signifies the emotional security issues that are the deep well from which our grasping for control in relationships arise.  In accordance with these emotional security issues, it is important that the ruler of the lunar eclipse is a Venus in Taurus that is separating from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn, while at the same time Mars is at the beginning of Taurus and beginning to move into range of a trine with Pluto.  All together these aspects call us within to love ourselves with compassion and to attend to the needs of our bodies and our most cherished inner values.  Through attending to our own inner needs, we lose the desperate co-dependent desire for someone else to “fix” us.

In relationships, there can be the tendency for our projections of romantic ideals to lead us into relationships that ultimately bring shattering disillusionment.  It isn’t even always that the image of our ideal is incorrect, but rather that we want it so badly that we blur our perception to the extremity that we see it where it does not actually exist for us.  In other cases, we realize in the end that the romantic ideal we allowed to guide us was more of a socially conditioned concept from our culture than a genuinely intrinsic desire.  Sometimes it takes repeating experiences of projection and disillusionment over and over again, along similar lines of projection, before we finally learn our lesson and develop the discernment to focus on a romantic partner or intimate friend who will be able to listen to and accept us as we essentially are in the evolving moment.  When we let go of the need to control others, or manipulate ourselves in a way that we think will please others, we allow for the relationships that will naturally support us to emerge more freely.  Venus and Mars in Taurus want to feel pleasure and want us to sustain the partnerships and friendships that will bring us internal fulfillment.

vallotton la mer

La Mer by Felix Vallotton

In The Lunation Cycle Dane Rudhyar defined the waning period of the Moon as the phase in which we receive the “creative meaning” of the cycle (p. 31).  In the week following the lunar eclipse that leads to the last quarter square phase, there are two extraordinary astrological moments to pay attention to that will influence our reception of the creative meaning of the lunar eclipse:  Jupiter stationing direct in Leo on April 8, and the superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Aries on April 9, 2015.

Jupiter has been retrograde in Leo since December 8, 2014 when it stationed retrograde at 23° of Leo.  Look in your birth chart for the aspects contained within twenty-three to twelve degrees of Leo to discern how this retrograde journey of Jupiter has impacted you.  When Jupiter goes retrograde we are pulled toward discovery of our personal truth in contrast to the “truth” propagated by the dominant cultural beliefs surrounding us.  What have you realized about yourself since the beginning of December?  What essential lesson about your personal nature have you learned? Crucially, there is an extraordinary aspect about the zodiac degree where Jupiter is stationing direct to integrate, as Jupiter will be stationing conjunct the North Node of Neptune.  As the North Node of Neptune remains stable at the beginning of the second decan of Leo, the times that Jupiter moves through Leo and becomes conjunct this point along our ecliptic are moments to seize for profound creative actualization.  In the context of receiving the creative meaning of the Libra Lunar Eclipse, Jupiter stationing on the North Node of Neptune gives us an opportunity to integrate all of the deep unconscious energy we are releasing into creative expression and self-actualization.  This is yet another astrological reason to center within and ask yourself what you would want your life to be like if you could remove all of the barriers and obstacles that social conditioning has placed around you.  Whatever image or feeling emerges from this process of contemplation, look around yourself and find whatever resources and opportunities are available to move in this direction in whatever way that you can.  In September 2014 Jupiter was last conjunct the North Node of Neptune in Leo, and it will not be here again for roughly another twelve years so this is truly a time to take advantage of for liberated thought and action.

The very next day following Jupiter stationing direct in Leo, Mercury will merge into the heart of the Sun at it’s Superior Conjunction, this time occurring in Aries at twenty degrees.  In Pacific Standard Time, the exact moment of Mercury’s superior conjunction will be at 9:00 pm on April 9, 2015.  Fitting for a waning Moon in Sagittarius that can facilitate comprehension of the creative meaning of a super charged Libra Lunar Eclipse, the superior conjunction of Mercury in Aries is like a blazing meteor of thought and a moment to tap into cosmic mind.  As Demetra George has taught, at the superior conjunction of Mercury we can feel overloaded with a lot of information to digest and assimilate, yet if we can avoid feeling overwhelmed there is great potential for insights of genius.  Be open at this time to receive new thoughts and ideas and a transformed perspective on your life.  There is a stunning synchronicity in Mercury stepping into this role of magical facilitator, as last April 2014 when we experienced a powerful Libra Lunar Eclipse as well as a Cardinal Grand Square, Mercury also passed through a superior conjunction in the waning Moon phase following the lunar eclipse (April 25, 2014 at 6° Taurus).  In Aries, Mercury will be able to help us receive a liberated message of inspiration from this pivotal Lunar Eclipse in Libra.

LibraLunarEclipseWRIGC1

References

Rudhyar, Dane. (1982). The Lunation Cycle. Aurora Press.

Solar Eclipse Equinox

pegasus and bellerophon

Pegasus and Bellerophon (1888 charcoal) by Odilon Redon

  • Saturn stations retrograde in Sagittarius on March 14, 2015 at 4°56′
  • 7th and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus on March 17, 2015
  • Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces on March 18, 2015 at 8°1′
  • Solar Eclipse in Pisces at 29°27′ on March 20, 2015
  • Aries Equinox on March 20 happens thirteen hours after the Solar Eclipse

Feared by our ancient ancestors for corresponding with increased chaos, Solar Eclipses occur when there is a New Moon close to zodiac degree with the South or North Node of the Moon.  On March 20, 2015 we will experience the synchronicity of a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces happening roughly thirteen hours before the Sun enters Aries and we celebrate the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the Fall Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is about ten degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Aries, a point on our ecliptic we associate with our past karma, our unconscious, and release as it marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, whereas the North Node of the Moon symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution as it marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic.  In a solar eclipse, the Moon crosses between us and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens solar light for the length of its transit.

As a result, Dane Rudhyar and other astrologers have associated solar eclipses as a moment in which our karmic past cloaks the solar light of our present, and our unconscious aspects normally hidden can become more viscerally felt in our conscious awareness.  Since this solar eclipse is occurring at the end of Pisces, conjunct the transiting South Node of the Moon, it accentuates our capacity to gain greater awareness for what has been brewing in our unconscious, and to release or resolve old karmic issues.  Taking the time to reflect upon the house of your birth chart where the solar eclipse will occur at the end of Pisces, as well as the aspects it makes with planets and other components of your birth chart will help prepare you for how your life could be impacted.  Solar Eclipses often mark a pivotal shift that can feel chaotic, but in the unsettling loss of past attachments and security we can find an opportunity to create new growth for ourselves in the areas of our life signified by the aspects made by the eclipse in our birth chart.

Further forcing us to confront ourselves at our deepest core is the seventh and final square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that hits a few days before the solar eclipse.  Since June of 2012 we have experienced a sequence of seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto, and with the final one occurring earlier in the week the Equinox Eclipse initiates a settling into the first quarter aspect between Uranus and Pluto for good.  By now you should know what necessity has demanded you release, end, confront, and initiate (especially connected to how 7 – 15° of Aries and Capricorn impacts your chart), so the less you can resist and the more you can open to the flow of change occurring will help you find your place in the dismantling of systems that has coincided in our collective during these transits.  On a personal level, the Uranus and Pluto square has been eliminating all of our attachments that have been blocking our ultimate growth, and so the upcoming solar eclipse (as well as the lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015) is bringing us awareness of what past attachments we have still been clinging to in one way or another in our subconscious that now need to be released as the final lesson associated with these seven squares.

The seventh square between Uranus and Pluto has associations with the seventh (crown) chakra and the seventh planet, Saturn.  Indeed, Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde on March 14 and so has our undivided attention as Pluto and Uranus square and the solar eclipse ushers in the Equinox.  A connection between Saturn stationing retrograde in Sagittarius and the seventh chakra is that an activity of the crown chakra is to derive meaning through our underlying belief system.  Saturn stationing and then continuing retrograde in Sagittarius will draw us into analyzing our belief systems, calling everything into question as part of a re-structuring of our consciousness.  With a solar eclipse occurring at the same time in the final degree of Pisces, we will want to be open to listening to messages expressing eternal meaning, and guides that connect us with the archetypal field that constantly seeds, activates, and regenerates new patterns.  As the solar eclipse may make us aware of our karmic past, we thereby gain an opportunity to break away from our past restrictive patterns and liberate ourselves from old unconscious complexes that no longer serve our direction.

white-pegasus

White Pegasus (1908) by Odilon Redon

Marc Edmund Jones wrote that the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces where the solar eclipse occurs is The Great Stone Face, and highlighted the importance of using discernment to embody self-integrity when manifesting ideals and aligning with eternal reality, as the “individual selects the image within himself to which he would shape himself outwardly, and this he comes to resemble” (p. 329).  Dane Rudhyar updated and elucidated this Pisces 30 symbol by calling it A majestic rock  formation resembling a face is idealized by a boy who takes it as his ideal of greatness, and as he grows up, begins to look like it.  Rudhyar said this symbol brings “realization of the power of archetypes as factors conditioning life processes,” and that this self-transformational “power can be developed through visualization, when the emotions and the will are poured into the visualized mental image” (p. 288).  Rudhyar emphasized that this zodiac degree represents the latent power of the seed, and so through focusing on “clearly visualized ideals” we gain the capacity to shape and mold our future growth and life (p. 288).

Marc Edmund Jones also warned that the negative side to the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces is “wholly inarticulate and ineffectual self-realization” (p. 329).  To me, this caution links to the importance of becoming aware of as much of our shadow and hidden unconscious forces as possible during this time of the final square between Uranus and Pluto and the solar eclipse at the Equinox.  If we are going to visualize an ideal for ourselves we wish to become more alike, to be most effective we will need to embrace our shadow and rejected parts of ourselves in our process.  When we repress our shadow, it ultimately gains enough strength to completely overwhelm us.  Yet through the willingness to acknowledge and accept our shadow, we can mitigate it’s capacity to overshadow our conscious efforts toward our ideal.  For example, if the Pisces solar eclipse is occurring in the 10th house of our birth chart and we realize that we have been projecting criticism at others for egotistically self-promoting themselves, we can see how there is in actuality an ambition shadow impacting us.  As a way to work with this shadow of ambition, we could open ourselves to our need to more assertively self-promote ourselves within our ideal career path.  This will not only make ourselves more successful, but in the end will also enable us to work more harmoniously with other peers in our career path.

The fixed star Scheat is located around 29°22′ Pisces and is closely aligned with the solar eclipse on March 20.  Scheat is a deep yellow star in the leg of the Pegasus constellation, and like the winged horse was associated by ancient astrologers like Ptolemy with Mars and Mercury, and with swiftness by Manilius.  In the more modern tradition of fixed star interpretation by the likes of Vivian Robson and Reinhold Ebertin that can often veer toward extremely negative labeling of star signification, Scheat was given a malefic label of being associated with catastrophes and misfortune.  Yet Reinhold Ebertin in his Fixed Stars and their Interpretation also gave a positive potential to Scheat signifying “mental creativity,” with the cautionary note that this positive effect is only for “some people,” meaning those who “are ready to receive such an inflow,” giving examples of Goethe having Jupiter conjunct Scheat and Rudolf Steiner and Victor Hugo having Mercury conjunct Scheat (p. 82).

pegasus-and-the-hydra

Pegasus and the Hydra (1907) by Odilon Redon

This double edged combination of ambitious striving for insightful breakthroughs, with potential for a fall from the lofty heights momentarily reached, also connects to meaning associated with both the Pegasus of the star constellation and the Pegasus of myth, and could serve as a symbolic guide to the solar eclipse at the final degree of Pisces.  There is an indivisible duality of light and shadow with Pegasus:  on the one hand Pegasus is felt as a fount of inspiration and the seat of heroes, while on the other hand Pegasus was born from violence and betrayal and tied not only to the slaying of monsters but the monstrous egotistical hubris that could overcome those who rode Pegasus.  Pegasus sprung from the blood spilled by Perseus severing the head of Medusa, and Pegasus further has the complicated lineage of being born from Poseidon and Medusa, when in some versions Medusa was the victim of being raped by Poseidon in a temple of Athena, and in others Athena turned Medusa into a hideous monster after she fell for the seductive advances of Poseidon.  In addition, figures of myth such as Bellerophon who experienced the adoration of being acclaimed as a great heroic slayer of monsters by riding Pegasus to victory in battle later became so overcome by hubris that they were forced into catastrophic falls of misfortune.  In the case of Bellerophon, after believing his glory meant he deserved to be one of the Gods and fly to Mount Olympus, he was struck back down to Earth violently by Zeus.  There is a binding in which there is no good without evil, no heroes without monsters, and as Carl Jung and others have written, within our same Source of Creation from which emanates the “Good,” so also emanates the “Evil.”

In part, this type of Pegasus shadow complex connects with the huge buildup of planets that have been aspecting the South Node of the Moon in Aries leading up to the final square between Pluto and Uranus and the Pisces Solar Eclipse.  We have had Venus conjunct the South Node then Uranus and then Eris in Aries, and more recently we have had Mars conjunct the South Node, Uranus, and now Eris at the time of the solar eclipse.  When we also integrate the other planetary nodes besides the Moon’s, we can see that the South Nodes of Jupiter and Pluto are now conjunct the transiting Ceres in Capricorn, all in square to the transiting conjunction of Mars and Eris in Aries.  The solar eclipse at thirty degrees of Pisces is also in square to both the North Node of Jupiter (at 30° of Gemini) and the South Node of Mars (at 30° of Sagittarius).  This extremely complicated mix of transits and aspects to planetary nodes can be synthesized through the concept that our current moment of world civilization sits within a past of extraordinary oppression, violence, and strife that impacts all of us on a traumatic level in our unconscious, in more of a consciously traumatic manner for those who have experienced horrific terrors firsthand.  We cannot imagine these difficult, sometimes hidden shadows of our psyche away by thinking we can focus only on the “good” such as “white light” that will make the dark go away.  Instead the path forward for our growth is acknowledging and working with these darker elements of our Self in a manner that helps us work toward our conscious goals instead of undermining, blocking, or limiting our endeavors.

the-young-poet

The Young Poet by Gustave Moreau

Yet poetic inspiration and creative inventiveness is also available in even the most difficult of times, and so through discernment in our daily choices we can strive towards our ideals without the pitfalls of hubris.  In classical astrology, the entire system is set up in part through the opposition of the Mutable sign domicile rulers being Mercury and Jupiter, as Jupiter rules Pisces and Sagittarius, and Mercury rules their opposite signs of Gemini and Sagittarius.  Fusing and synthesizing the archetypal polarity of Pisces and Virgo, for example, through the contrast between Mercury and Jupiter can be illuminating.  Sagittarius can have a shadow of a know-it-all, while Pisces can have a shadow of a godhead-  in both cases these classical signs of Jupiter can be overtaken by the archetypes when working with them with the negative consequence of becoming self-absorbed or overly egotistical in the process.  There is something in the ability of the Mercury-ruled signs of Gemini and Virgo to act as an evolutionary polarity to Sagittarius and Pisces and help ground us in the soulfulness of our immediate environment and relationships in the moment.

In modern astrology, Neptune is viewed as a ruler of Pisces, and there is amazing synchronicity that on March 18 during the Dark Moon in Pisces prior to the Solar Eclipse, Mercury will be exactly conjunct Neptune at eight degrees of Pisces.  Mercury can be our guide of soul once again during this week by activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine.  Mercury can help us logically and linearly organize mental concepts to help us navigate our world while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul.  Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces is the Poet who follows the flight of the winged horse Pegasus, a companion of the Muses and a source of inspiration in times of immense challenge.  When we open to the modern signification of Neptune connecting us to our collective unconscious, we realize that through Mercury at the clearing time of the Dark Moon before the Solar Eclipse, there is profound insight into how we have been impacted by the collective unconscious to unveil.

In the film Bright Star by Jane Campion about the life of the poet John Keats and his love for Fanny Brawne who became a Muse for his writing, there is a scene in which John Keats is speaking to Fanny about his philosophy of poetry in a way that crystallizes how the Mercury conjunction with Neptune in Pisces can help us now:

A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.

— from the film Bright Star (2009)

In addition to Mercury becoming conjunct Neptune on March 18, another helpful guide to prepare us for the Pisces solar eclipse and new Equinox is the ingress of Venus into Taurus on March 17.  Venus is at home in Taurus, and at this time of year the North Node of Venus is also at the beginning of Taurus.  As a result Venus will be activating her own evolutionary direction and in Taurus this means going within, following the wisdom in our bodily senses and centering within to discover how our inner values need a re-formulation to align to a greater extent with the inner and outer changes occurring in our life.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

The Pisces III decan where the solar eclipse occurs is ruled by Mars and associated with the 10 of Cups in tarot.  In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find a union of lovers enjoying the wealth of a mutually created home and family that emotionally fulfills them.  In 36 Faces, Austin Coppock analyzed this final decan of the zodiac as being about “the attainment of the heart’s desire, the reunion with the beloved,” and “the quest for true and perfect love” (p. 259).  Yet Coppock revealed the passionate depth and duality of this Mars-ruled decan by also noting it signifies a “mad quest for an ideal” that has an “unwillingness to accept anything but what is utterly right” and “a place of martyrdom, of being willing to sacrifice everything” (p. 258).  The lesson for those traversing the third decan of Pisces is thus to realize their propensity for dramatic sacrifice for their ideal love, and to learn to discern their true love from illusion:

This face thus contains heights of agony and ecstasy.  The pain of betrayal results from investing in the wrong ideal, mistaking the face of the beloved. The eagerness to enact the romantic quest can lead one to overlook whether the situation in fact warrants it. If those who roam this decan are to be spared repeated disappointments, they must learn to discriminate.  Yet even the most discriminating will see some dreams shatter, some sacrifices rendered vain . . . The third face of Pisces, the last of the decans, looks always to the end, the ultimate meaning of the entire cycle.  Moros [daimon of doom] whispers that it is pointless, and that the wheel of incarnation is merely a cruel carnival ride.  In argument, Elpis [daimon of hope] points to beauty, love and the real possibility of happy endings.  (p. 259-260)

At the end of Pisces, experiencing a solar eclipse at the final degree of the zodiac half a day before the initiation of the Equinox, we can simultaneously experience the hope of our most cherished ideal manifesting and the fear that we are doomed to be disappointed or disillusioned in the end.  The vital point to realize is that our hope is not misplaced when we have connected with ourselves on a soul level and have done the inner work necessary to realize our true desires.  Yes, Pisces can symbolize falling victim to an illusion, yet Pisces also symbolizes the reality that we can experience the complete bliss of our own personal happy ending.  This week it is as important as ever to follow the popularized mantra of Joseph Campbell to follow your bliss.

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Nigredo (1984) by Anselm Kiefer

From now on we will finally be settling into the First Quarter square phase between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, with no more dipping back into their waxing Crescent phase square.  The first quarter square phase in the tradition of Dane Rudhyar’s lunation cycle is a crisis of action in which we must establish a form to house the vision that came in at the new phase conjunction, in this case the Uranus and Pluto conjunction in Virgo that occurred in 1965 and 1966.   For example, in collective events there is an obvious connection in the United States between the Civil Rights movement that struggled to assert and initiate progress at the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, with the current struggle to rectify inequities in the criminal justice system in the United States based upon perceived differences in race or ethnicity.  This is a struggle to address aspects of the vision that came in at the conjunction that have not securely taken form, and we can also sense the unconscious shadow of past struggles and violence coloring the atmosphere with passionate emotions and drama.  Although the new Equinox is symbolically a time of balance and new beginnings, collectively we have clearly been undergoing a dark night of the soul.

On a personal level, this time of darkness has resonance with the concept of Nigredo worked into the resurrected alchemy of Carl Jung and other modern thinkers.  The Nigredo, blackening phase is an extreme sense of despair that is necessary for our ultimate personal development and individuation, for it brings our painful shadow aspects into greater realization.  In the system of evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, Uranus correlates with Jung’s concept of individuation and symbolizes our liberation from all external and internal conditioning that led to our past personal identity, so we can open to the evolutionary growth of our soul.  In this way the first quarter square from Pluto to Uranus has forced us to lose some of the attachments that previously brought us our most secure sense of identity, whether that be a particular relationship, job, or personal image.  The important thing is that we need take action now- we are only at the beginning of the first quarter phase between Pluto and Uranus, so instead of withdrawing or resisting out of fear over not being sure we know which direction to follow or identity to take on, take whatever steps are possible to establish a new form for yourself in whatever way that you can.  As Saturn moves retrograde over the next four months or so, eventually stationing direct in the beginning of August 2015 at the end of Scorpio, uses this Saturnine pull within to sharpen your sense of direction and aim while making concrete steps forward at the same time.  The new path will not be set in stone at this time, but it does require some tending and trail blazing.

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References

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1971). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Jones, Marc Edmund. (1969). The Sabian Symbols in Astrology. Sabian.

Judith, Anodea. (2004). Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Celestial Arts.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.