Taurus New Moon: Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn

robin ironside the new moon being born inside the old

The New Moon Being Born Inside the Old by Robin Ironside

Within the darkness of the New Moon in Taurus arriving April 26, maintaining receptiveness to self examination through our senses and intuition will help guide intention toward the necessary shifts needing to be embraced within the cycle ahead.  This is a particularly fertile New Moon to plant seeds of future visions within, yet there is also a pulsating volatility under the surface requiring alertness and thorough grounding in the changes of the moment.  The New Moon is applying toward a harmonious sextile with Neptune while being ruled by Venus in her exaltation of Pisces, yet Mercury retrograde in Aries applying to a conjunction with Uranus suggests tumultuous tides of change needing to be navigated rather than calm waters.

Taurus as the fixed inner home of Venus brings support to set intention at the New Moon based upon one’s most resolute and steadfast inner values.  Being in integrity and building a solid foundation based upon essential desires and principles is always the ideal way to go about manifesting what you want to happen, yet the underlying unexpected quality of the New Moon means things most likely will not be able to go completely according to plan.  It will be necessary in the cycle ahead to be flexible and avoid stubbornly refusing to negotiate and mediate difficulties as needed.  A solid focus will be on refusing to compromise one’s integral inner values, yet being open to modify and alter the less essential aspects of plans so as to flow smoothly with currents.

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The Flowering Apple Tree (1912) Piet Mondrian

There is a great deal of essential dignity involved in the New Moon, as Taurus is the exaltation of the Moon and its ruler Venus in Pisces is also in a sign of exaltation.  As a result there is natural power available to inject into dreams and plans being developed.  Venus is at the final degree of Pisces, and will finally leave the sign of the Fish a couple of days after the New Moon.  For almost the entirety of April we have been experiencing Venus inhabiting the final degrees of Pisces while forming a square to Saturn in Sagittarius and a conjunction with Chiron.  Within the past month any difficulties experienced in relationship or work has helped clarify the true passions of our heart as well as who or what is deserving of our full commitment.  Saturn has also been bringing awareness to what needs to be released and let go as well as what needs to be strengthened and fortified more securely.

Vitally, however, Venus has finally separated from her square with Saturn and is gaining greater brightness and height each morning as a Morning Star.  Since the time of ancient astrology Venus has been known as the light bringer, brilliantly beautifying morning skies as a herald of our day to come.  The light Venus is now shining at dawn has been tested and strengthened by Saturn.  The New Moon signals a time period to get to work on the inspirations and desires that not only have passed the test of Saturn but have grown in depth and strength.  Venus as Morning Star is full of courage and willingness to face whatever challenges the day will bring in order to create and find fulfillment.  Venus at the final degree of Pisces makes the Taurus New Moon opportune for feeling deep within and allowing heartfelt yearnings to inform our intentions.

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The Memory Tower by Leonora Carrington

The wildcard element of the New Moon is the conjunction of Mercury retrograde with Uranus, a catalyzing and volatile aspect that will become exact a couple of days after the New Moon.  Just as we recently experienced an extended time period in which Venus was forming a square with Saturn, we now will be experiencing an extended time period in which Mercury is united with Uranus while forming a trine with Saturn.  The fact that the union of Mercury with Uranus is forming a trine to Saturn suggests that it will be possible to find ways to structure and materialize groundbreaking insights so that we can take our understanding to a deeper level as well as find forms to express realizations through.  The lunar cycle ahead will be ideal for going deeper into whatever research or work you have been working on but until now have not synthesized or comprehended fully.

Amazingly Mercury will still be united with Uranus and in trine with Saturn at the Full Moon in Scorpio that follows the New Moon on May 10, the vital difference being at the upcoming Full Moon we will be experiencing a visible Morning Star Mercury that is also direct.  With Mercury currently invisible and applying to its first conjunction with Uranus at the New Moon, it will feel like breakthrough insights are intensifying in our subconscious and on the precipice of erupting into conscious awareness.  By the time we reach the upcoming Scorpio Full Moon on May 10 we will have a much stronger grasp on the information and events entering our life in correspondence with Mercury and Uranus.  At the New Moon its important to realize you won’t have all the answers and you be gaining a more solid understanding of new developments in the weeks ahead.

Memory and how we work with memory, including the stories we create and tell about our lives, is always important during Mercury retrograde but even more so considering the long union of Mercury and Uranus we will experience in the weeks ahead.  Uranus transits can coincide with unexpected change that can feel shockingly difficult, yet the shattering impact of Uranus also brings liberation from past dynamics.  The union of Mercury retrograde with Uranus brings an invitation to release attachment to old memories and stories we have been telling ourselves that have been limiting us.  Mercury will be able to support meditation, ritual, ceremony or other means to alter our relationship to the memories we now realize have been getting in the way of receiving joy and love and embodying authentic presence.

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Doors for the Guggenheim’s music room (1925-6) designed by Seraphin Soudbinine

A few days before the New Moon on April 23 we experienced a balsamic crescent Moon in Pisces able to be seen before sunrise close to Venus rising as a Morning Star.  This was the first visible union between a waning crescent Moon and Venus in the predawn sky in the current synodic cycle, a hallmark of the Morning Star phase of Venus in which she aligns with a waning Moon each lunar month.  From our experiences of April with Venus slowly moving back and forth through Pisces we can distill what we have learned into the seed we plant to nurture in the soil of the Taurus New Moon.  There is an openness and vulnerability able to be accessed that renounces over attachment to control while embracing the sensual centeredness of Taurus.

Venus in Pisces ruling the New Moon is also in a harmonious sextile with Ceres at the end of Taurus, providing another symbol of drawing from within to manifest greater abundance and sensuousness in the world.  In the days following the New Moon both Venus and Ceres will ingress into new signs while remaining in sextile, with Venus entering Aries and Ceres entering Gemini.  Venus in Aries will incite a quicker tempo in the lunar cycle ahead, especially once Mercury stations and begins moving direct again in Aries.   Venus will no longer be in a sign based square with Saturn, but while she may feel less encumbered by the scythe of Saturn there will be a strong karmic feel to her moving back across the degrees of Aries that she previously moved retrograde across.  The lunar cycle ahead will be the third time that Venus has moved across the first face of Aries, and so we will gain greater greater realization during the next few weeks regarding the changes brought about by the Venus retrograde of 2017.

In addition, Mars in Gemini is separating from a square with the lunar nodes at the New Moon, calling attention to this being the final lunation we will experience with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  At the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio the North Node of the Moon will have entered Leo and the South Node of the Moon will have entered Aquarius.  Mars moves fast in Gemini and can take on multiple tasks simultaneously, yet its square to the lunar nodes suggests the necessity of taking a moment to center within and listen to inner guidance before impulsively launching into reactionary action.   The shift of the lunar nodes into Leo and Aquarius is one of the major events of 2017, and so with the nodes still in Pisces and Virgo at the New Moon we have the opportunity to integrate all of the lessons we have been learning with their transit since November 2015.  The many changes that have coincided with the transitory nature of the nodes being in mutable signs are now coming to a close, and we will be embarking on a new journey with the North Node in Leo that will help feed greater creative actualization and centered presence.

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5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Taurus associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Many interpret this card in association with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources, or experiencing bodily or material hardship.  Yet the poverty stricken figures in front of the stained glass window of a cathedral suggest that resources can be found in even the most dire of circumstances, as churches and other spiritual communities tend to be the place that those in need have available to turn to for charitable giving of sustenance.  Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile earth nature of the sign of the Bull.  Mercury makes the connections we need for our livelihood, and in the first decan of Taurus we discover our capacity not only to gain enough resources for our own survival and greater prosperity, but to also contribute to communities that can offer assistance to those in greater need.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first face of Taurus, noting the “face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land,” adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated” (p. 69). Coppock noted that though the first decan of Taurus “reveals the ways one may work with whatever one has to gain more,” that the images and interpretations associated with the Five of Pentacles card bring up the shadow of fear that we will not have enough money, food, or material resources and that bleak times may arise if we disengage from our constant planning around cultivating resources.   Coppock concluded that the threat of not having enough in the future inspires us to work hard and plan for how to gain enough resources not only to get by in the moment but to be able to save for later times we may be in need.

Coppock also added that the ancient and fragmentary Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Charis to the first decan of Taurus, linking the Charites of mythology to the charity we can find in the image of the Five of Pentacles card as well as the meaning of the first face of Taurus.   The Charites are the same as the three Graces you are most likely familiar with, commonly known as Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, though various traditions have additional names as well as numbers for these charming and fertile goddesses.  Coppock used the Charites in 36 Faces to give warning that overly focusing on the pleasures of mirth associated with these creatively fecund deities may cause us to become distracted from the work and planning we need to engage in to secure needed resources, suggesting we must strike a balance between the toil of the plow and the pleasures of the Graces.

Yet striking a balance between work and pleasure does not require going back and forth between a polarity of opposites, and the fact that the exaltation degree of the Moon also occurs in the first face of Taurus close to the degree of the Taurus New Moon suggests there is a way to find good cheer and pleasure in the effort we put into not only acquiring our own needed resources but also enabling us to offer assistance to those in need of help.  The Charites also have association with the underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries, bringing further connection to the psychopomp Mercury being the ruler of this fertile face.  Since the current Mercury retrograde began in the first face of Taurus, as well as Mercury’s regenerating conjunction with our Sun, there will be wisdom found in embracing pleasures, allowing ourselves to receive joy, and engaging with the spirits of abundance who lay at the root of creative action that brings both happiness as well as material stability.  The wisdom found within our bodies flows more freely with the quicksilver of Mercury when feeling the pleasures and good cheer of the Charites.

References

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

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Venus Retrograde in Aries & Pisces

The steps I make all go backwards
while yours continue advancing
the arch of our alliances
has penetrated my nest
in all its colorful swagger
it’s taken a walk down my veins
and even the hardest of chains
that destiny uses to bind us
is like the finest of diamonds
that lights up my calm soul

What feeling can bring about
knowledge never could,
nor the clearest course of action
nor the grandest of all our thoughts.
Everything is changed by the moment
like an affable magician,
it sweetly steers us away
from bitterness and from violence
only love with its science
turns us into such innocence.

Love is a swirling whirlwind
of primal purity
even the wildest of animals
will whisper and trill its sweetness,
it stops pilgrims in their travels,
it liberates those imprisoned,
love, with the gentlest of touches,
turns the old (wo)man into a child
and only the most loving care
will turn bad into pure and sincere.

Chorus:
Gathering moss so the stone rolls
like a thick ivy on the wall
sprouting and sprouting so it grows
like tender moss covering stone
like tender moss on a stone ay sí sí sí.

— Violeta Parra, Volver a los 17 (translated by Heidi Fischbach)

Venus Retrograde in Aries

Aphrodite arose in sea foam following a violent revolution, born with eyes cerulean as the waves and body fully formed with fertility. She enchanted the eyes of onlookers with rapture and with each new step onto the earth created bright colored growth. The planet Venus in astrology has many significations we associate with the mythic Aphrodite, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, union, art, aesthetics, perfumed scents, and the luxuries that bring us feelings of comfort and elegance. The glyph of Venus is the circle of Spirit atop the cross of Matter, symbolizing the living soul and spirit found in all elements of our surrounding material world, and the capacity of our Venusian natures to give us an experience of heaven on earth.  In The Picatrix the anonymous magical author wrote “Venus is the source of the power of flavor” (p. 134), and in modern astrology we link Venus with the inner values which describe our attractions and how we choose to fulfill them within our myriad relationships.

When Venus goes retrograde, she returns to her mythic origins connected with active rebellion. During the Venus retrograde phase, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional space in which social norms can be loosened to allow for a deep reevaluation of how we are seeking to fulfill our needs. On a societal level, a realignment of power dynamics can occur within hierarchical structure as well as between the general populace and the ruling class.  Venus is of course not actually moving backwards during its retrograde phase, merely appearing to move backward through zodiac degree from our Earth bound perspective.  What is occurring is that Venus is orbiting in between our Earth and our Sun, as close in its orbit to Earth as it ever gets.  Perhaps it is the close proximity of Venus to Earth during her retrograde phase that makes it possible to shed old skin and liberate ourselves from old Venusian patterns in relationship.

Venus began her 2017 retrograde on March 4 in the home of Mars and exaltation of the Sun at 13°08′ Aries, and will end her retrograde in the exaltation of Venus and the home of Jupiter on April 15 at 26°54′ Pisces.  During the eight year synodic cycle of Venus, Venus goes retrograde five times, spending forty days each time in retrograde motion.  From 1961 through 2001, Venus was retrograde entirely in the sign of Aries, and beginning in 2009 Venus began to move into Pisces from Aries.  Venus will be retrograde in both Aries and Pisces from 2009 through 2057 every eight years.  Astrologer Nick Dagan Best has taught that during the 19th Century Venus went retrograde in the Venus signs of Taurus and Libra, while in the 20th Century Venus went retrograde in the Mars signs of Aries and Scorpio.

While Venus ultimately will station direct in Pisces, the build up to her retrograde motion as well as its first movement that leads to Venus being regenerated in the heart of the Sun occur with Venus in Aries. Venus is estranged in Aries due to it being the home of Mars, the planet that in our astrological tradition has held a place of symbolic polarity to the significations of Venus. Venus is not weak in Aries, and in fact has the strength of decan dignity in the final decan of Aries (20 – 30 degrees of Aries). Yet Venus inhabiting a Mars ruled sign leads her to look for Mars for guidance, and Mars is less about maintaining pleasing harmony and more about the sort of fiery passion that can enliven our deepest nature yet also cause separation or a test of mettle. Venus in Aries possesses a burning desire that can destroy all forms and patterns that had previously become crystallized within its hot ardor. Beauty and love can volatilize and destroy what was previously stable when falling under the torrential sway of Eros, and similarly Venus retrograde in Aries can dramatically reshape the landscape of our relational dynamics.

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The Cross Rose in the Garden of Venus (2016) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Venus retrograde creates a magical atmosphere that is highly structured, holding resonance with the golden mean found in the five petaled form of the rose and numerous forms of life. The Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite described her as “Crafty, from whom necessity [Ananke] first came,” and also noted that “The triple Fates [Moirai] are rule’d by thy decree.” Similarly, the synodic cycle of Venus is so consistent and regular that the retrograde phase of it’s cycle brings an air of destiny, fate, and necessity to events and encounters in our daily life. Venus only goes retrograde once every year and a half or so, five times in it’s eight year synodic cycle with the Sun- eight divided by five is 1.625 and so very close to the sacred 1.618 proportion associated with the golden mean. If you trace the points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper. As a result every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time.  These are the most recent Venus retrograde phases in Aries:

  • March 6, 2009 SR at 15°27′ Aries and SD on April 17, 2009 at 29°11′ Pisces
  • March 9, 2001 SR at 17°43′ Aries and SD on April 20, 2001 at 1°27′ Aries
  • March 11, 1993 SR at 20°01′ Aries and SD on April 22, 1993 at 3°44′ Aries

The current Venus retrograde is especially catalytic as it is bound within the re-activation of the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn by Jupiter in Libra.  Jupiter was retrograde in Libra when Venus stationed retrograde on March 4, having recently formed an exact opposition with Uranus in Aries.  The exact opposition between Jupiter and Uranus is one of the dominant archetypal themes in our collective this year, and the cycle between Jupiter and Uranus is known for coinciding with revolutions in politics (such as the American and French revolutions), science (Kepler and Galileo supporting the Copernican revolution; the development of quantum physics), the arts and all other fields of cultural exploration.  Jupiter in the outwardly directed home of Venus is looking to her for assistance, and with Venus co-present with Uranus in Aries for most of her retrograde period  there can be an acceleration of experimentation and innovation as well as heated conflict, discord, and outright warfare within our collective.

Venus first reached the degree and minute she will ultimately station direct at in Pisces (26°55′) on 30 January 2017, with Mars close by at two degrees of Aries.  During the month of February there was an epic build up to the retrograde with Venus burning brightly in the night sky as an Evening Star, getting closer and closer each night to Mars, also visible with its reddish hue against the black of night.  The passions of Venus and Mars together in the sky were further volatized by a Lunar Eclipse in Leo and a Solar Eclipse in Pisces that coincided with twists of fate bringing momentous change.  A lot of inspiration and excitement could have been experienced within these transits, with significant new shifts in relationships and projects launched.  Due to Venus and Mars separating during the transition into the Venus retrograde of March, however, there will be important inner work, reflection, and restructuring needed to be experienced before the full potential of the new endeavors of February will be fully realized.

When Venus stationed retrograde as a bright Evening Star on March 4, Mercury was conjoining Neptune in Pisces and Mars was separating from a conjunction with Uranus.  A couple days later, Mercury was purified and regenerated in the heart of the Sun in Pisces.  Altogether the transits surrounding the stationing retrograde of Venus in Aries brought extraordinary support for conception and envisioning groundbreaking and divinely inspired ideas, projects, and partnerships.  The empowering astrological climate also led to conflict among competing interests, for just as those in power attempted to consolidate holdings so did various protest moments find support to initiate bold and direct action to contest dominant powers.  Once Mars entered Taurus on March 9, the amplified martial energies became toned down somewhat with Mars inhabiting a sign with a more plodding and grounded rhythm.  Yet with Jupiter simultaneously moving retrograde away from an exact opposition with Uranus and toward an exact square with Pluto, the uproar of collective and personal conflicts and catharsis will continue.  On personal levels the best remedies will be to nurture oneself and loved ones and commit to inner work that clears out what is no longer serving one’s authentic path.

Vitally, it is during Venus retrograde that Venus shifts from being an Evening Star into becoming a Morning Star. Around March 18 or 19, Venus disappeared from the evening sky, becoming invisible in her underworld journey of falling into the heart of the Sun.  At the same time that Venus was making a disappearance in our night sky, Mercury was making an appearance and emerging again with a message as an Evening Star.  As Mercury united with Venus retrograde on March 18 and we then experienced the Aries Equinox on March 20 in which our Sun ascends across our celestial equator, we received a message of what to hold close to our hearts as we descended into a period of darkness in which Venus will not be visible to us until she emerges again as a Morning Star at the end of March.

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Red Flower (1919) Georgia O’Keeffe

Venus in the Heart of the Sun’s Exaltation

On March 25 we experience the moment in which Venus is exactly conjunct our Sun, orbiting in between our planet and our solar light.  Venus in the heart of the Sun is regenerated and in a place of power, seated on her fiery throne.  Aries is not only the home of Mars, it is also the exaltation of the Sun, and so the purification Venus will undergo while conjoining the Sun can burn away whatever needs to be shed from our past.  The Moon will be dark in Pisces and applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon as Venus conjoins the Sun, bringing an additional layer of purification especially in terms of old emotional complexes and patterns.  This inner union of Venus with the Sun is especially visionary in nature and most resonant for those able to have solitary time to reflect in silence.  The nonessential will be burned off while the essential will be illuminated by spirit fire, revealing what makes our heart beat most brightly.

The square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn is especially activated at the time of Venus entering the heart of the Sun, as Mercury will be separating from an opposition with Jupiter and applying to a conjunction with Uranus, while Jupiter will be retrograde and applying closely to a square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Meanwhile Mars in Taurus will be in a supportive relationship with Neptune in Pisces.  These aspects signify immense change erupting in the world around us, and opportunities to find our resonant place amongst the shifting.  This is a moment to enter into the mystery, being open to what is revealed about our inner nature and feelings and how they have been manifesting externally in our relationships.  It does not mean that partnerships and other commitments need to be ended, but it does mean we may gain insight into ways in which we need to modify the way we have been engaging within relationships.  With Venus alchemized by our Sun, we can gain awareness for our purest passions and who or what deserves us to prioritize as storylines morph in coming months.

Venus will emerge again in the shifting hues of the predawn sky at the end of March, solidifying her phase as a Morning Star in April.  Venus will be retrograde as a Morning Star in Pisces until April 15, and though Pisces is known as a sign of compassion, as a retrograde Morning Star the emotional flow and psychic sensitivity of Pisces can be directed by Venus to expose relational dynamics with others we need to adjust and reveal however we have been feeling out of balance with our deep nature.  The following is a translation by Samuel Noah Kramer and Diane Wolkstein of ancient Sumerian text regarding Innana as “The Lady of the Morning,” in other words Venus as a Morning Star:

Honored Counselor, Ornament of Heaven, Joy of An!
When sweet sleep has ended in the bedchamber,
You appear like bright daylight.

When all the lands and the people of Sumer assemble,
Those sleeping on the roofs and those sleeping by the walls,
Whey they sing your praises, bringing their concerns to you,
You study their words.

You render a cruel judgment against the evildoer;
You destroy the wicked.
You look with kindly eyes on the straightforward;
You give that one your blessing.

My Lady looks in sweet wonder from heaven.
The people of Sumer parade before the holy Inanna.
Inanna, the Lady of the Morning, is radiant.
I sing your praises, holy Inanna.
The Lady of the Morning is radiant on the horizon.

— “The Lady of the Morning” from Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer

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Gates of Paradise (2015) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Venus Station Direct in Pisces

Venus stations direct in Pisces on April 15 while conjoining Chiron and in square to Saturn.   Venus stationing direct at the 27th degree of Pisces is notable, for 27 degrees of Pisces is the exact exaltation degree of Venus.  Though this a potent degree for Venus to be at a standstill on, her ability to fully experience the abundance of her exaltation degree is altered significantly by her being conjunct Chiron and in square with Saturn.  Venus contained by Chiron and Saturn is not an easy experience, but rather one that will require work and discipline while overcoming a challenge, separation, or solitude in one form or another.  Yet by facing reality honestly without denial the stationing of Venus in aspect to Chiron and Saturn can connect us directly to our inner authority and bring awareness to the values, relationships, and work we are willing to give everything for against all odds or obstacles.  Going deep within we can find healing of wounds in need of resolution, as what we need to let go of from the past can become dissolved and washed away by the waters of Pisces.

While Pisces is the exaltation of Venus, it is also the inner home of Jupiter which brings added importance to the transit of Jupiter in Libra during the final phase of the Venus retrograde.  Venus in Pisces and Jupiter in Libra are in mutual generosity, and though they do not form a major sign based aspect they will nonetheless be looking to each other for support.  This period will be a pivotal turning point in the transit of Jupiter in Libra, and we will be able to gain valuable insight into the issues in need of tending in order to maximize what we can develop and expand through our creativity and relationships.  Venus in a challenging and catalyzing aspect with Saturn will force awareness to where we need to strengthen boundaries and further develop structures that will ultimately bolster our ability to manifest what we have been gestating through inner visions and active imagination.

There are a number of transits surrounding the stationing direct of Venus in Pisces that further shape symbolic meaning.  Venus in Pisces will be forming a harmonious sextile with Mars and Ceres in Taurus, while the Sun will be in union with Uranus in Aries.  The Moon will be in Sagittarius aligned with the true node of Black Moon Lilith, while Pluto will be beginning to station retrograde in range of a conjunction with Juno in Capricorn.  Talents that have been dormant can become reactivated and released, bringing opportunities to take risks in expressing more of our wholeness and authenticity.  Where we have felt judged and persecuted in the past may now reveal hidden gifts ready to be unearthed and expressed with confident assertiveness.  Though difficult feelings may coincide with the stationing of Venus direct, they ultimately will help guide us toward realizations of what we truly need and desire in relationship with others.

Most significantly, Mercury will station retrograde at 4°50′ of Taurus less than a week before Venus stations direct, meaning that Mercury and Venus will essentially be motionless from April 10 through April 15.  As the Venus retrograde began with Mercury moving direct into the heart of the Sun, there is an obvious connection and message to be found in the intersection of Venus and Mercury synodic cycles during March, April, and May.  This means that as we are reevaluating how we find pleasure and form relationship we are also reorienting the manner in which we translate and communicate meaning and make sense of our perceptions.  It also means that there will be a lot more changes, twists, and turns coming our way following the stationing direct of Venus.  Venus will leave its retrograde shadow zone on May 18, 2017 when it crosses back over 13’08 Aries.   At this time Mercury will likewise be close to leaving its own retrograde shadow zone.  By the time  Venus and Mercury have had their way with us at the end of May, we will have experienced vital purification and regeneration that will have prepared us to receive and create greater fulfillment within our relationships.

References

Fishbach, Heidi. (2014). Volver a los 17. A translation.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah. (1983).  Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her stories and hymns from Sumer. Harper & Row.

Aquarius New Moon

Crow Screen, Asian Art Museum

Japanese crow screen on display at Seattle Asian Art Museum

New Moon in Aquarius

It feels natural for children to build tree houses of secluded protection, build contained castles out of bedding, or discover a place of protected privacy away from external influences.  In between boundaries and borders of form a self contained light stirs and seeds illumination, guiding from within rather than from the expectations of others.  For many people time alone or with few intimates can feel so fruitful with freedom and insight it leads to an embrace of alienation from the collective consensus.  Yet an isolated hermit is capable of bearing waters of key messages and resources for those in need to receive, and so the dance of duality calls for a return to publicly share the meaning found on divergent paths.  The Aquarius New Moon this week supports finding balance between nurturing seclusion and braving the discord of disseminating meaning within consensus power structures to effect change and aid those struggling to find support.

The New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017 launches us into a catalytic month of eclipses, for the Full Moon that follows is a Lunar Eclipse in Leo which then releases into a Solar Eclipse in Pisces at the end of February.  All planets are direct and absorbed in costume and character, ready for the curtain to open on the unprecedented drama that will defy preconceived notions.  Fear may arise with recognition that anything can happen for good or ill, yet a grace of constant perseverance may be embraced that is wide awake to possibilities with careful attention to the small and necessary tasks of the present.  There is an activating gale in the blackness of the Aquarius Moon to harness into determined work and innovative collaboration.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn, a nesting for the New Moon which provides nourishing protection to guard against the toxicity of collective conditioning in order to center vision on radical intention.  From roots that tap into streams of past philosophies and arts, the outward branching of being in Aquarius discovers the future in synthesizing old strands of story and science with current influences and evidence.  Aquarius possesses the fortitude to be alone if necessary to be authentic, as well as the facility with networking to weave strong connections between reciprocal resonance across gulfs of time and space.  To make the most of Aquarius we need to embody our values and principles that do not align with the expectations of cultural conditioning, opening our heart to radiate full presence rather than detaching with disassociation. The Aquarius New Moon is opportune for prioritizing goals based upon intrinsic value rather than accord with societal norms.

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Giorgio de Chirico (1913) The Anxious Journey

Saturn in Sagittarius rules the Aquarius New Moon with its closest aspect being a separating square with Venus in Pisces and Chiron, linking now with 15 April 2017 when Venus will station direct following its retrograde in square to Saturn and in conjunction with Chiron.  Venus with Chiron in hard aspect to Saturn can open old wounds for catharsis as well as bring acute awareness to whether or not heartfelt desires are supported by structural foundations in our life.   The tension between Venus, Chiron, and Saturn can be transmuted into empowering exchanges with others or from one’s inner creative matrix.  This is not a temporary transit of passing influence, however, as its link to the upcoming Venus retrograde means that current events and issues will have a storyline that arcs into vital developments in mid April.   Because of the link between the New Moon, the upcoming eclipses, and the subsequent Venus retrograde, our current trajectory has events of immense magnitude on the horizon we have no way to currently account for. However, whatever we are receiving from current experiences can be used to reformulate and modify plans and strategies for the future, with the hard stress between Sagittarius and Pisces meaning that clarifying whatever is being stirred up within our emotional body can be used to realign intentions and goals to make more of an effective impact.

As the Moon waxes through its new moon phase in Aquarius, it will form harmonious aspects with Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn, providing support for objectifying thoughts and feelings rooted in practicality and a stark assessment of bare bones reality.  We can discern a path forward with a vision bound to immersion in the details of the present moment, keeping awareness attuned with both subtle and seismic shifts in our surroundings.  There is also extraordinary power within these aspects for collaboration with others of shared passion, and a rapid expansion of development within collective movements united by a shared cause can ensue. Those engaged in creative arts and sciences initiating or developing a project have support for experimenting with expansive and inventive work that can become more solidified in April when Venus stations direct in alignment with Chiron and Saturn.  The current astrological movement can facilitate ingenious breakthroughs that will only come once we are actively engaged in the process of work.

The sextile between Saturn and Jupiter in Libra as well as the trine between Saturn and Uranus in Aries signifies greater support for groundbreaking risks than normal for both individuals as well as consolidated power structures.  Those seeking to control civilization (Jupiter in Libra) always want the liberty (Uranus in Aries) to take what they want for their own benefit through conditioning the public with belief systems that justify (Saturn in Sagittarius) acts of oppression and coercion.  The recent eruptions of large scale social protests can become further enflamed and expanded within these astrological aspects, leading into inevitable clashes and confrontations with opposing forces equally intent on achieving objectives.  Within the clamoring of conflict, the Aquarius New Moon contains support for purifying thoughts and feelings from how collective influences have attempted to manipulate minds with fake news and alternative facts.  There is potent yang, outwardly directed force within the Aquarius New Moon for direct action, and so it is well worth the time to become as clear as possible about intentions and where to prioritize investment of energy.

alexei-savrasov-landscape-with-rainbow

Landscape with a Rainbow (1881) by Alexei Savrasov

Mercury in Capricorn has returned to unite with Pluto at the Aquarius New Moon, reaching the same degree of Capricorn it previously stationed retrograde on 19 December 2016.  As a result the storylines stemming from the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and mid December 2016 are now able to be more clearly understood, with events during the week leading into the New Moon sparking distillation of meaning. As the Moon waxes into the crescent bow of Artemis, Mercury will separate from Pluto and apply to a square with Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra.  Mercury will be sparking surprising change and revelation, unveiling what was previously hidden, and catalyzing effort from sharpened perception.  There will be massive conflicts and confrontations erupting in correspondence with these aspects and so careful awareness will be needed to discern how to most effectively participate and move with the flow of current.

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Emblem for Cum severitate lenites (Even in harshness there is mercy) by Henry Peacham (ca. 1610)

A cathartic drench is gathering in the air to finally release at the end of February in a Pisces Solar Eclipse united with the South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   The atmosphere of the Aquarius New Moon is saturated by premonition of the eclipses forthcoming in the month ahead, yet it is the celebrated calm before the storm offering a time to become grounded about goals and a plan for manifestation.  Mars is at the final degree of Pisces at the time of the Aquarius New Moon, empowered by the fact that both the final decan of Pisces as well as the first decan of Aries it is at the cusp of entering are both ruled by Mars.  Both Mars and Venus are Evening Stars, and their balsamic conjunction can be seen brightening the night void of any moonlight.  With Mars and Venus remaining within a hard aspect to the scythe of Saturn at the New Moon, we can gain sense for old relationship patterns we have been living from that no longer are working for us.  Adjustments to how we have been giving and receiving in relationship can be made, new attractions followed and initiated, but due to the upcoming Venus retrograde there is much more to be worked out in the close of the current cycle between Mars and Venus that will not be fully realized until October 2017 when Mars and Venus finally conjoin together in Virgo.

As the Moon waxes toward the Lunar Eclipse in Leo on February 10, Mars will enter its home sign of Aries  soon after the New Moon followed by Venus on February 3.  The shift of Mars and Venus from Pisces to Aries in the coming lunar cycle signifies a speeding up of experiences as well as an injection of amplified assertion to act from instinctual responses.  The influence of the impending eclipses activating the South Node of the Moon in Pisces bring release and purification as well as potential for profound disillusionment that can be quickly turned into angry reaction due to the movement of Mars and Venus into Aries.  The fire of Aries can be harnessed to fuel empowered responses to wherever we feel injustice and oppression are occurring, yet the Aquarius influence of the New Moon suggests discerning the choices for action that can best sustain impactful effort over the longterm rather than into eruptive outbursts that lead only to burn out.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Aquarius associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.   It is a strong individualistic image of resolute pride.  In the Thoth deck the Five of Swords card is called “Defeat” and features swords arranged in a downward pointing pentagram within frenetic, jagged lines.  Here the meaning of the Five of Swords links with negative thought patterns that keep us bound to old wounds or trapped in a self-defeating cycle.

In his book on the decans in astrology 36 Faces,  Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first face of Aquarius, describing it as a decan of purposefully living as an outsider in exile to conventional society.  Coppock linked the meaning of this face to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the traditions of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society.  Yet at the same time, leaving consensus culture opens the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self, as well as enables creative actualization aligned with spirituality more so than material rewards.

The first face of Aquarius is ruled by Venus, bringing further significance to the separating square between Venus and Saturn at the time of the New Moon.  While Venus in her exaltation of Pisces has been lauded for her desire for union and harmony, in truth Venusian decisions to choose one over another can create strife and brings a weight of necessity to the eccentric yearnings of Venus.  The New Moon in Aquarius invites us to discover the wisdom of unorthodox perspectives, values, and relationships yet requires awareness for how our actions and choices can cause separation with others.  The gift of Aquarius is its capacity not only to foster knowledge of essential truth that goes against the dictates of dominant culture, but to transmit meaning with heartfelt creative expression that can warm and empower others.  As Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Moon, Saturn, and Mars in Aquarius, once wrote:

The practice of artistic seeing first had to overcome itself to the point where even in the midst of what is terrible and apparently repulsive, it beholds only being that is valid along with everything else that is.  Just as the artist may not choose what he wants to behold, he may not turn his gaze away from any form of existence.  A single instance of refusal exiles him from the state of grace, and he becomes utterly sinful.

This act of lying-down-with-the-leper and sharing all-of-one’s-warmth, including the heat of one’s own heart during a night of love:  all of this must have been part of the artist’s life as an act of overcoming to reach his [her] new state of beatitude.  Behind this kind of devotion holiness begins with small things first:  the simple life of a love that has persisted and that has joined itself to everything alone, inconspicuously, and wordlessly without taking any pride in it.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Ulrich Baer

References

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

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

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.

 

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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.

LibraLunarEclipse2016WRIGC1

References

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.