Libra Lunar Eclipse 2016

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Painting by Carl Jung from his Red Book

Lunar Eclipse in Libra

Riding the dragon of the Libra Lunar Eclipse is Lady Justice, wielding her sword that cuts through inequities, imbalances, deceptions, and disempowerment.  The Full Moon Eclipse on 23 March 2016 illuminates the release and initiation of the Total Solar Eclipse that began this lunar cycle, and in the peeling away of the old dragon skin we find the regenerated richness of a purified path and vision to follow forward. In the ashes of what has been burned off there now arises refined reflection capable of irrevocably altering past patterns of limitation and inauthenticity.  The lunar light of this Eclipse illuminates a visceral sense of the deep Self within and how to best bolster the growth wanting to burst forth from it. Like a lightning strike of destiny there is sudden recognition of the old that is now gone with finality, with an arising yearning for the fresh scent of replenishing pleasure appearing on the path in front of us.

Libra is a sign of finding balance, the process of balancing rather than existing in a balanced state.  There is a great deal of instability in the surrounding astrological aspects to this Libra Lunar Eclipse, so the task at hand is finding a center of balance to move forward with.  There may be feelings of oscillation, yet within the vacillation there can be centering through claiming an authentic place of integrity.  Being true to inner values and ethics, responsibility may be taken to pursue the desires that make us feel alive rather than conform to stagnant expectations of others.  As a result we may act from a centered place of mature assertiveness and compassion, rather than from anger, passive aggression, vindictiveness,  arrogance, or narcissism.

The Lunar Eclipse in Libra occurs simultaneously with an exact last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo, with the Libra Moon in sextile to Mars in Sagittarius, and the Sun and Mercury in Aries in trine to Mars.  The last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn has its source in the end of May in the year 2000, when the current cycle between Jupiter and Saturn began (interestingly, the previous cycle between Saturn and Jupiter began in 1980 in the sign of Libra close to the degree of this Eclipse).  This is the second of three exact last quarter square aspects formed between Saturn and Jupiter, with the first occurring at the beginning of August 2015 during a Venus retrograde.  At the time of this Lunar Eclipse, Saturn in Sagittarius is stationing retrograde, and so the scythe of Saturn is firmly planted with stark resoluteness. What must be released now must be released with clarity, acceptance, and responsibility if you wish to please Saturn. Jupiter is still close to the North Node of the Moon, and so at the same time with grounded presence will come awareness of a vision to follow forward bringing greater embodiment in all of the complexity of nature.  The influence of Mars can light a burning passion from within, and with it a need to find a center of balance through which to mediate the fiery force.

eclipse lunar diagram library

Lunar Eclipse Diagram, from The New York Public Library

In contrast to the Solar Eclipse that began this cycle on March 8 and covered the Sun in Total blackness, this Lunar Eclipse is not Total and is instead classified as Penumbral. This is because though the Eclipse is fairly close to the North Node of the Moon, the Eclipse is actually happening at the beginning of Libra while the North Node of the Moon is at the beginning of the second decan of Virgo.  The result is that the shadow cast by the Earth onto the Moon by our Sun is not going to cover the Moon in a total red glow, but instead means that only the diffuse outer shadow of Earth will cover the Moon and so the red shading will be barely noticeable.   Nonetheless, this is still a potent Lunar Eclipse especially because it occurs simultaneously with a last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn and a superior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun which imbibes a strong Mercurial influence into the proceedings.

Symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon.  Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released or opened up to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment.  This current Libra Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning most closely in alignment with Mercury on the side of the South Node of the Moon.  The Sun with the South Node means that growth comes now from the resolution and release of old karma, and with Chiron and Ceres closely conjoining the South Node of the Moon we can further link the archetypes of Chiron and Ceres strongly into the complexity of this past karmic pattern.  Among other themes linked with Chiron and Ceres is a unifying thread of self-healing, regeneration, and resilient persistence in productivity in times of loss, release, pain, and suffering.

Significantly, this is the final Lunar Eclipse to occur in the signs of Aries and Libra in the series that began in 2013 (Lunar Eclipse on 10/18/13 at 26 Aries; Lunar Eclipse on  4/15/14 at 26 Libra; Lunar Eclipse on  10/08/14 at 16 Aries; Lunar Eclipse on 4/04/15 at 15 Libra; Lunar Eclipse on 9/28/15 at 5 Aries).  Since this Lunar Eclipse is in close polarity to the Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 28 September 2015,  there is a direct link to issues arising at the end of September last year with whatever is being currently resolved and released at this time.  In the polarity between Aries and Libra, we explore the tension between the instinctual, independent needs of the self and the needs that are met through relationship with another.  The series of Lunar Eclipses in Aries and Libra that stretch back to October 2013 have triggered pivotal experiences that have brought awareness to the dynamics we create in relationship and our capacity to have our needs met.  Ideally, we can now gain insight into what we need to feel fulfilled in relationships, and clarity can be gained for how we can create a relationship based on equality and balanced giving and receiving.

 

ernst gala

Gala Eduard (1924) by Max Ernst

Venus Neptune

Venus rules the eclipse while separating from a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces, and applying to a square with Saturn in Sagittarius. Pisces is the exaltation of Venus, and as Neptune in modern astrology is seen as a higher octave of Venus, this Libra Lunar Eclipse brings feelings of what most deeply fulfills us in love, whether that can be found in a current relationship or instead within the clarity of having old illusions regarding love washed away.  As Venus is applying to a square with a stationing Saturn, there is lucidity found by facing the actual reality of current relationships and their intrinsic patterns without denial.  This Libra Lunar Eclipse will highlight what has been out of balance in our relationships, where and why we have felt disillusioned, and what we need to do to create the relationships that will bring real love, truly nurturing and ecstatic love into our life.

As Venus bridges the square from Neptune in Pisces to Saturn in Sagittarius, Venus is simultaneously applying to an opposition with Jupiter in Virgo.  Regarding romantic relationships, the visionary feelings of what we want needs to be grounded in the body and the actual circumstances of the moment- whatever is out of alignment with our present reality will be keenly felt.  Regarding our myriad, complex relationships with the surrounding world in general, this Libra Eclipse will bring awareness to what old desires and attachments no longer serve us and are getting in the way of embodying our essential personal truth.  There is a great dissolving of inner values going on at this eclipse that we have been fixated upon for a sense for a sense of security and identity, and now realize have led us into disillusioning experiences.  By releasing the old, an open space is created through which regenerated inner values will emerge to source a purified vision for what will bring meaningful purpose into our life.

magritte the false mirror

The False Mirror (1928) by Rene Magritte

Mercury Cazimi

Crucially, Mercury is entering the heart of the Sun in Aries, the exaltation of the Sun, at the time of the Lunar Eclipse.  This is the superior conjunction of Mercury, when Mercury swiftly moves direct through a conjunction with the Sun, becoming purified and regenerated within the fiery rays of light.  The superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun stands in contrast to the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun that occurs when Mercury is retrograde.  Instead of the symbolic, oracular, chthonic perception enlivened at the inferior conjunction, the superior conjunction has a soaring epiphanic quality.  Demetra George has compared the superior conjunction of Mercury to the visionary quality of Mercury in Sagittarius- at the superior conjunction there is a quicksilver rush of insight and information that can feel overwhelming and difficult to encapsulate in communication, yet can ignite ingenious, penetrating perception.

With Mercury uniting with the Sun in Aries while applying to a trine with Mars in Sagittarius, Mercury is cazimi or “in the heart” of not only the Sun, but the central meaning of this Lunar Eclipse.  This is a moment of past patterns of perception being burned off, with brilliant discernment arising regarding the current nature of our desires and sense of personal will.  The piercing perception into our deep Self can also open awareness into unconscious forces that have been sourcing our choices and actions, and we can gain sudden clarity into how the shadow side of our personality manifested within the old Mercurial patterns being purified within the rays of the Sun.  As Mars will be stationing retrograde in less than a month, this is a Mercurial moment to seize in order to discover the essence of currently arising desires and the associated intrinsic purpose that will bring meaningful fulfillment into our life as we begin to enter the upcoming Mars retrograde.

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2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra I Decan

The first face of Libra is associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see a blindfolded woman crossing two swords in front of her, while sitting before an oceanic expanse.  The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, similar to how a Lunar Eclipse will catalyze the fertile void within.  Commonly, this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find peace of mind and courageous equipoise, resolving previous conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.  As Venus in Pisces as the ruler of the Libra Eclipse is separating from a conjunction with Neptune and applying to a square with Saturn and opposition with Jupiter, the capacity suggested by this card to turn within to find a balanced center with which to then respond through into the external world is fitting.

The Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra, adding additional potency to the Libra Moon being covered by the Earth’s shadow at the time of the Lunar Eclipse.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to this face, suggesting it awakens us to surrounding injustice and disequilibrium on a societal level as well as in our daily personal interactions. While Coppock noted the aspect of the decan that can bring inner peace through the recognition of inequities, he also found that there is a legal element to this face that brings evidence and “hidden testimonies to awareness” (p. 157).  Coppock linked this Libran legal aspect to the fact that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra, the underworld goddesses serving natural law and justice who punished those who violated divine law.  Coppock captured the essence of this face in the following passage:

While fair trade and social justice are prime concerns in this face, its true object is relationships. Legal proceedings and commerce are essentially about the balance between two entities.  Indeed peace or strife between individuals is what determines social order, and consensus is the very root of the law. Fairness and reciprocity must underlie all friendships and romances if they are to last. This face shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition. The core principles of ethical interaction with other beings are thus revealed in this face.  — Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 158

As the Libra Lunar Eclipse arrives and passes, as the Moon proceeds to wane once again into the dissemination and release of its monthly cycle, may we each reawaken our sense of personal truth and integrity from within, living through these inner values and carrying their ethical implications into our relationships with the surrounding world.

References

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

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References

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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.