Mercury Retrograde in Virgo & Leo

Iris

Iris

The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary – and toward this point our development will move, little by little – that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun’s motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

In times of destiny, when the threads of fate become loosened to be rewoven within momentous change, we can count on Mercury to slyly guide us in beguiling fashion.  Though Mercury when retrograde has become a scapegoat within popular culture, experience reveals that the Star of Hermes when retrograde enacts its namesake’s role of a psychopomp, or guide of souls.  Even the most frustrating or upsetting events that occur during times of Mercury retrograde ultimately tend to lead us onto a path that will take us into the experiences we need in order to reach our next level of growth.

Thus it is fitting that in between eclipses, periods of time that always signify vital turns of fortune and fate, Mercury will station retrograde and disappear into the invisible realm of the solar underworld at sunset.  While Mercury is retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse, both the Sun and Mars uniting with the North Node of the Moon, Saturn stationing direct, and Jupiter finally perfecting its long anticipated sextile with Saturn.  Factor in that Mercury begins its retrograde while opposite Neptune and ends its retrograde conjoining Mars at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse, while a Pisces Moon waxes full in union with Neptune, and we have an incredibly volatile and fertile mix of astrological transits that promise to bring dramatic changes and opportunities for profound growth.

Even though popular discourse labels periods of Mercury retrograde as disastrous aberrations that bring misfortunes and mishaps, the phase of Mercury retrograde is a regular cyclical phenomenon that happens at least three times every year, an essential aspect of Mercury’s orbit.  Unlike the astrological stereotypes, important actions can be initiated during Mercury retrograde as well as successful contracts signed.  However, during Mercury retrograde it is advisable to sustain mental alertness and be open to signs, symbols, and information in your environment that can help guide your intuition toward which actions to take or commitments to make.

Mercury retrograde is intrinsic to Mercury in astrology, a planetary archetype of contesting and contrasting.  While Mercury signifies insight in addition to communication, the lessons of Mercury do not always come from stability, as experience shows that chaos and disorientation can lead to illumination and realization.  Once Mercury moves retrograde it descends from being a visible Evening Star into an invisible, subterranean guide of soul catalyzing change and growth in situations that range widely from the maddening to the vivifying.  Flowing with Mercury retrograde involves letting go of strict control, opening to the wisdom coming from unexpected sources.   As the changeable nature of Mercury is found in its extremely variable speed, when Mercury slows down to station it is important to pay attention to its aspects in the natal chart as well as to other planets by transit.

This is the second year in a row that we are experiencing Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo during a time of eclipses, as last year in 2016 Mercury stationed retrograde in Virgo two days before an Annular Solar Eclipse.  This year’s version has a more mysterious opening act, however, due to it occurring in between eclipses rather than just before the beginning of eclipse season.  The days in between eclipses are always full of unexpected shifts and significant encounters, and so adding in the beginning of Mercury retrograde will amplify the strange fatefulness of the time.

Iris as Mercury and Vesta

Mercury stations retrograde while united with Vesta in Virgo and opposing Neptune in Pisces.  During the build-up to Mercury retrograde, which included the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, Mercury formed two exact conjunctions with Vesta (Mercury has been within three degrees of Vesta in Virgo since July 26).   A figure of myth who encapsulates the symbolism of Mercury united with Vesta in opposition to Neptune is Iris, handmaiden of Hera (Juno) and messenger to the gods.  Like Hermes, Iris also carries a caduceus, yet the other magical tool she carries, the water pitcher, helps show how her function as messenger differs from Hermes.  Golden-winged and radiant, Iris is a goddess of sea and sky who connects heaven and earth, watering the clouds with her water pitcher full of the enlivening waters she collects from the sea.  She therefore helps produce the rain that brings fertility and cleansing to our Earth, yet she is perhaps most known for her association with the rainbow she also creates.  Iris is as swift as stormy winds, able to descend into the depths of both the ocean as well as the underworld.  Similar to Hermes, Iris connects the world of gods with the world of humanity.

The union of Mercury with Vesta in opposition to Neptune signifies that through devotional focus we may perceive powerful messages and guidance, while at the same time suggesting a downfall could occur when engaged with deception.  One of the mediating roles that Iris plays between humanity and the gods is through facilitating the fulfillment of the prayers and wishes of humans by illuminating them to deities in position of assistance.  Indeed, the golden wings of Iris are capable of bringing light to the most dark of places.  Yet, for those who break oaths or knowingly express falsehoods, Iris will put them to sleep with the water she has collected from the River Styx in the underworld.   Similarly, with Neptune in Pisces playing a monumental role during the period of Mercury retrograde, it will be vital to maintain focus on being honest and authentic so as not to fall into the realm of Neptunian illusion that will be capable of wreaking havoc like a tidal wave.

The association between Iris with rainbows is a beautiful symbol to work with during the upcoming Mercury retrograde that will take us into the zone of an immensely powerful Total Solar Eclipse.   Rainbows not only link heaven and earth with their transcendent and otherworldly colors, they also help to inspire hope and the capacity to believe it is possible for us to lead a more fulfilling life than current circumstances indicate.  It is further fascinating that in some versions of myth that Iris is married to Zephyrus, the west wind, and that their union gave birth to Pothos, one of the winged gods of love (the erotes) whose name translates as “yearning” and is associated with strong desire and longing for a loved one who is oftentimes absent.  It will be important to stay grounded in our earthly realm (Virgo) with clear focus (Vesta) during this Mercury retrograde period, and yet at the same time to fully realize the available gifts we will need to allow our imaginations and desires to open us to potentials that go beyond the confines of our present reality (Neptune).

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The Apparition (1917) by Marc Chagall

Mercury opposes Neptune

The union of Mercury and Vesta in Virgo in opposition to Neptune dominates the beginning of this Mercury retrograde period, with Venus in Cancer playing a facilitating role.  As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is separating from harmonious aspects with both Neptune and Mercury (a trine with Neptune; a sextile with Mercury), as well as separating from a recent conjunction with Ceres in Cancer.  During the retrograde movement of Mercury, Venus will move on to catalytic aspects with Pluto in Capricorn, Jupiter in Libra,  and Uranus in Aries.  The influence of Uranus is further strengthened by the Moon applying to a conjunction with Uranus as Mercury stations retrograde, as well as the fact that Mercury will ultimately station direct in a helpful trine with Uranus.  However, since Mercury will also station direct less than a day before a Full Moon in Pisces that is united with Neptune, there is an unmistakeable looming influence of Neptune upon the course of events that will accompany this period of Mercury retrograde.

While the totality of the aspects listed above could coincide with many diverse forms of challenge, all of them are amazing catalysts in the realm of artistry and inspiration.  Mercury has incredible strength in Virgo, being both its home and exaltation, and so as Mercury slowly begins to peel itself backwards it can help facilitate deep focus on artistic and academic projects of all mediums and forms, especially those that involve a component of research and analysis followed by expression.  Nine days after Mercury stations retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mercury will function more as a subtle guiding influence than a dominant component of the  portal opened with the syzygy.  During powerful eclipse alignments like we will experience this month, new manifestations will appear in our lives coinciding with other elements fading away.  It is a blessing Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, as it is a mutable earth sign that can aid us in staying connected within our bodies and all of the mutating details of our daily lives.

With the strong transpersonal influences of Neptune, as well as Uranus and Pluto, upon the Mercury retrograde, the capacity of Mercury to bring nonlinear and unexpected messages from oracular sources is heightened.  Pay close attention to the messages received from synchronous alignments of your daily path with animals, plants, minerals, music, and all manner of symbolic signs.  Allow your intuition and bodily instincts to transmit impressions that you value at least as much as whatever your rational mind is constructing.  It may prove very difficult to keep events moving in accord with carefully made plans, however opening up plans and projects to the flow and all of the changes that will coincide with the month ahead can improve end results.  Oftentimes the frustrating experiences of Mercury retrograde illuminate the exact components of life that needed our attention in order to be reworked or strengthened.

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The Creation of Man (1958) by Marc Chagall

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

The rebirth moment for Mercury during its retrograde comes on August 26 when Mercury aligns with the Sun at the exact degree and minute.  This is known as Mercury’s cazimi moment in which it enters the heart of the Sun to be purified and regenerated.  In contrast to the Mercury cazimi that occurs when Mercury is moving direct on the other side of the Sun from our orbital position (known as its superior conjunction that last happened at the Cancer Solstice), the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun occurs during its retrograde when Mercury passes in between our orbit with the Sun.  Symbolically, the superior conjunction tends to bring more spiritual epiphanies or sudden insights weaving disparate strands together, whereas Mercury at the heart of the Sun during its retrograde tends to bring a deeper, penetrating insight into the current reality of our material lives and the pang of incarnation in our earthly flesh.  In the days surrounding August 26 we may feel like resting our Mercurial functions as a part of its regeneration, however, the period of time in which Mercury is within a degree of the Sun on August 26 will bring added strength and power to all Mercurial activities such as all forms of research and expression.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at 3º48′ of Virgo, an incredibly powerful placement of Mercury.  The fourth degree of Virgo is in both the home and exaltation of Mercury as well as within its own Egyptian bounds, signifying that this a section of the zodiac in which Mercury not only has important work to do but also has extraordinary strength.  The Sabian symbol for the fourth degree of Virgo, black and white children play together happily, was interpreted by Dane Rudhyar as signifying “the overcoming of socio-cultural prejudices.”  Though it may seem laughable during a time of such widespread vitriolic discourse in global politics full of prejudice that any sort of collective evolution could be occurring around oppression and prejudice, it is worth bearing in mind the play space of children in which the influence of cultural conditioning has not yet taken hold.  The Sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury cazimi suggests perceptions can awaken that go far beyond the constraints and limitations of how we have been conditioned by surrounding culture to perceive and judge the worth of others.   The idea of playing together happily also highlights the theme of imbibing daily life with as much playful creativity as possible during this time of tumultuous astrological transits.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun five days after the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo and one day after Saturn stations direct for the final time in Sagittarius.  At the same time Saturn is stationing, Jupiter will have entered the third decan of Libra it rules and will be applying closely to a last quarter sextile with Saturn.  As a result the period of Mercury entering the heart of the Sun on August 26 is a potent moment to re-center amidst all of the changes being brought forth from external and internal events.  Saturn stationing brings a seriousness to the moment that calls for us to walk and talk in absolute integrity with our inner values and principles, while the harmonious aspect between Jupiter and Saturn can bring opportunities to stabilize and strengthen both the vision as well as the foundation of whatever we are developing and crafting.

Iris_Carrying_the_Water_of_the_River_Styx_to_Olympus_for_the_Gods_to_Swear_By,_Guy_Head,_c._1793_-_Nelson-Atkins_Museum_of_Art_-_DSC08946

Iris Carrying the Water of the River Styx to Olympus for the Gods to Swear By (1793) by Guy Head

Mercury Stations Direct in Leo

Mercury stations direct on September 5 at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mars will have already entered Virgo by the time Mercury is exactly stationing, but during the course of its stationing Mercury and Mars will unite at the end of Leo.  Both the Sun as well as Mars will have united with the North Node of the Moon in Leo during Mercury’s retrograde, and Mercury will furthermore be stationing direct four degrees away from the North Node of the Moon.  At this point we can receive a important message that connects us directly with however the narratives of our lives has been transmuting during this period of eclipses, and with the new information will come opportunities to create movement within whatever openings came through with the eclipses.  Mercury uniting with Mars while it is stationing can coincide with some heated and difficult conflicts, so it will be important to be actively practicing mediating skills in conversations with others.  There is immense inspirational fire available in this period to push yourself forward dramatically in areas of growth you previously have not fully embraced.

The influence of Neptune looms over the stationing direct of Mercury, since the Moon will be applying to a conjunction with Neptune and within a day of its stationing we will experience a potent Full Moon in Pisces united with Neptune.   Amping up the energy even further is the fact that Jupiter in Libra will be getting closer to its final opposition with Uranus in Aries.   The opposition between Jupiter and Uranus is a breakthrough moment in which many diverse, ingenious insights and messages will enter the collective.  Some of the most powerful moments of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, however, often come in the private moments of significant conversations and relationship experiences, or the work of isolated artists creating outside the rays of mainstream spotlights.  There is amazing inspiration and imagination available within the surrounding transits of Mercury stationing direct to seize and work with.

Finally, its interesting to note that Mercury will be stationing direct while in conjunction with the Persephone asteroid #399.  The myth of Persephone emerging out of her time in the underworld is a fitting symbol for the fact that both Mercury and Mars will be emerging from out of their underworld experiences while united with the Persephone asteroid.  Demetra George wrote the following about the Persephone asteroid in her book Finding Our Way Through the Dark:

In the birth chart Persephone, as a daughter of the patriarchy, symbolizes the process of a child’s separation from its mother.  Persephone can indicate how and where, either physically or psychologically, we may be abducted and plunged into an underworld experience (sometimes at an early age) where we encounter terror, loss, and confusion, and feelings of abandonment. This descent can enable us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.  Some individuals who experience Persephone as a tragedy from which they have never recovered may react by developing patterns of distrust, withdrawal, fear of sexuality and intimacy, fantasy life, depression, chemical addictions, separation anxieties, victimizaiton, passivity and powerlessness, and being acted upon by the strong will of others.

–Demetra George

Persephone’s name means “she who is to be feared” (Guttman, p.176), and it is possible to view her abduction into the underworld as more about her destiny than a tragedy, for the unalterable shift she created in the cosmos through becoming a life partner of Hades who would descend and ascend back and forth between the upperworld and the underworld, was a calling that fit the unique gifts she held within her soul.  Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony wrote that Persephone stepping into her role as Queen of the underworld who can re-ascend to the world above implied that the “invisible would now reassert its rights over the body of the visible more strictly than before: their dealings with each other, long diluted and mingled together on earth, would find a new center of gravity.”   Persephone, Mercury, and Mars united at the end of this retrograde signify that the time has arrived to collect all of the wisdom and courage you can draw from the past period of underworld experiences in order to re-ascend into our wider communities with whatever gift or message you have cultivated to share.  Like Iris soaring with golden wings and bearing a pitcher full of underworld water, we can create rainbows out of the stormy atmosphere and commit ourselves to oaths of living and creating in accordance with our essence in good ways for all.

References

 

Calasso, R. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.  Knopf.

George, D. (1994). Finding Our Way Through the Dark:  an astrological companion to Mysteries of the Dark Moon. AFA.

Guttman, A. & Johnson, K. (1993). Mythic Astrology:  Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope.

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

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Virgo Solar Eclipse

Scott Young Virgo Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo

The Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo on 1 September 2016 has ties with the Total Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened earlier in the year on March 8, but is most deeply bound to release into the Pisces Lunar Eclipse which will arrive on September 16.  Whereas the Pisces Solar Eclipse was an initiation into the dramatic changes of the year, the Virgo Solar Eclipse mediates events of the past six months at the same time it launches us into a new cycle of growth that will intensely flow into the Lunar Eclipse in Pisces that follows.  The ruler of the eclipse is Mercury at home and in exaltation in Virgo, but this is not your typically swift Mercury.  The Mercury ruling the Solar Eclipse is barely moving, having stationed retrograde two days prior.  Motionless in contemplation and analysis, Mercury retrograde is closely receiving Jupiter in a conjunction while also conjoining Venus in Libra, fortunate aspects that counterbalance the Solar Eclipse being opposite Neptune and closely square to the conjunction of Mars and Saturn.  Though the path may be labyrinthine in twists and turns, the Virgo Solar Eclipse will bring about discernment into grounded steps to take forward into the coming season, while letting go of old dreams we now realize were more illusory than practical.

With the Solar Eclipse conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and its ruler Mercury also in Virgo, there is clear intent to attune to the natural enfoldment of cycles in our life, accepting and shedding what is passing away while being open to what is beginning to take form.  Liz Greene in The Astrology of Fate connected the winged goddess Astraea to the Winged Maiden of Virgo, a daughter of Zeus who walked the Earth during a Golden Age of prosperity in order to foster harmony amongst humanity with the natural world and its inherent order.  Astraea like Virgo honors the creation and destruction of the natural order, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay.  There is Mercurial pleasure Virgo takes in following the order of natural cycles, displeasure when creating disorder from forcing things to happen that go against the appropriate timing of the moment.  If we can let go of whatever attachments are getting in the way of opening to the naturally occurring change happening at the Virgo Solar Eclipse, with the willingness to trust the flow of life will come keen awareness of choices that will lead to essential development.

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Annular Solar Eclipse image by Hans Bernhard from 29 April 1976

Since the Solar Eclipse is Annular, it means the fertile void of its blackness will have a ring of light around it.  Annular eclipses occur as a result of the Moon being far enough away in orbit from the Earth that its shadow does not completely cover the Sun.  One of my favorite interpretations of solar eclipses is by Dane Rudhyar, who said the symbolism of the Moon’s shadow covering the face of the Sun suggests that forces from our past, as well as unconscious influences, veil the present with their fecund darkness.  Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for.  In combination with their unworldly visual element when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon.  Yet eclipses do not need to be feared.  Dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, similar to eclipses in that greater wholeness can be found through the dissolution they bring about.  When stepping into the streams of eclipse season its best to remember the old fragmentary wisdom of Heraclitus:  unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and pathless.

The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses. The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth: the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for incarnation and manifestation in our material realm.   Vitally, the Virgo Solar Eclipse is conjoining the North Node of the Moon.  As a result, the eclipse will awaken intimations of future growth and activate new methods.  The intersection of the past into the eclipse portal brings a Dragon’s Pearl that has been born from the darkness of the beast’s belly, a natural gem purified across time that now opens awareness to future potential and evolutionary growth.

sara taft merciful tear

Merciful Tear by Sara Taft

There are diverse interpretations of the lunar nodes in astrology, but one unifying concept is that meaning coming from the South Node of the Moon is released in a way that amplifies the meaning of the North Node of the Moon.  What we can all agree on is that Neptune is conjoining the South Node of the Moon, and the Solar Eclipse is conjoining the North Node.  This results in a release valve on Neptune feeding into the eclipse.   Neptune here dissolves old illusions that have been limiting your perspective, washing away fantasies and dreams that are not congruent with the bare bones of your circumstances and achievable in practical, concrete steps.   This does not mean to limit your thinking or keep yourself boxed into a restrictive place, only to fully accept your surrounding environment and what is actually happening, who or what are actually in reach as resources.

Adding incredible intensity to the eclipse is the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius that forms a square to the lunar nodes.  Positively, this alignment can point to what structures need to be torn down, rebuilt or further strengthened, as well as support creation of a blueprint for an entirely new structure that will bolster one’s essential meaning being developed.  For those grieving a loss,  within the hard feelings healing can come from retrieving irreplaceable elements of what has passed away that will continue to bring value going forward.  As awareness focuses on the true change occurring that contrasts with what had been expected or hoped for, the Mercurial element of the Virgo Solar Eclipse can facilitate attuning to the underlying fabric of what is really going on.

The Sabian symbol for the Solar Eclipse is “Two heads looking out and beyond the shadows,” which Dane Rudhyar described as unveiling “the growth of true understanding, born out of the transcendence of duality even while immersed in the world of duality.”  Essentially, Rudhyar meant the tenth degree of Virgo points to our mind operating within the conflicts and oppositions of duality, with potential realization revealing that the opposite sides of duality “are complementary aspects of the one Reality which sustains and encompasses all dualistic modes of existence.”  Rudhyar emphasized this broader awareness facilitates moving beyond the shadows generated by internal conflicts.  This sounds a lot like the transcendent function of Carl Jung,  in which holding the tension of oppositions within the psyche mediates between the ego and unconscious, leading to new awareness that unites the internal opposition creatively.

An ancient fragment of Heraclitus comments on this idea of two opposite things coinciding within one thing utilizing the Sagittarius imagery of the bow and arrow:  the name of the bow (βιός) is life (βιός), but it’s work is death (the word that means “life” and “bow” have the same letters but there is a stress on a different syllable when spoken).  Another fragment of Heraclitus also draws upon this same concept of harmony underlying the asymmetrical through the imagery of the strings of a bow being pulled backwards in two directions at the same time:  they do not understand that what differs agrees with itself; it is an attunement of opposite tension, like that of the bow and the lyre.  Since Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius being in hard aspect to the opposition between the Virgo Solar Eclipse and Neptune in Pisces signifies conflict, if we want to avoid becoming lost in the whirlwind we need to loosen the dogmatic side of Sagittarius and fortify the shifting quality of Sagittarius that synthesizes and coalesces understanding out of change and strife.

eclipse From Compendiolum de praeparatione auri potabilis veri, attributed to M[arcus] E[ugenius] Bonacina, ca. 1790

From Compendiolum de preparation auri potabilis veri, attributed to Marcus Eugenius Bonacina (1790)

Relationship issues will receive care and attention as a result of Venus being at home in Libra at the eclipse, increasing in light as an Evening Star.  As the Moon waxes toward its Lunar Eclipse on September 16, Venus will work on healing the fracturing of Mars and Saturn through forming a sextile to each, and then applying to an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  The building opposition between Venus and Uranus in between the eclipses stokes the intensity and electricity of the eclipse season, with startling insights that jolt us out of previously restrictive relational patterns striking unexpectedly.  Most importantly considering the waves of change occurring that will feel unsettling to many, Venus in Libra supports listening to the needs of others in relationship as well as not only listening to our own needs but expressing them to others in direct communication.

A few days after the solar eclipse, after the waning moon in Virgo passes over Jupiter and enters Libra to conjunct Venus, Jupiter will descend at sunset from being an Evening Star into its invisible chthonic phase in which it will be purified and regenerated under the beams of the Sun.  When Jupiter ingresses into Libra in the following week, it will enter its new sign only a couple of days before the last exact square between Saturn and Neptune.   Jupiter during the upcoming eclipse cycle will illuminate an old vision of who we are in relationship so we can release and let go of how we have been holding ourselves back in our interactions with others.  Additional support for embodying a new presence that may feel unfamiliar, yet allows us to ignore external judgment and express greater genuineness can be found in the conjunction between Juno and the mean node of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio that forms a sextile with the Virgo Solar Eclipse.

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8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

The first face of Virgo where the Annular Solar Eclipse occurs is associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see an artist and craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment. This image evokes the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts:

The first decan of an earth sign, this face provides initiation into the mysteries of incarnation. It teaches the difference between the touched and the untouched, and the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe. It makes for careful craftsman, thoughtful merchants and wise farmers, though many other transformers of the prima materia are here as well. Though the formulae of this face is one of humility, it results in works of surprising glory. Creation ripens for those who can hear and heed its voice.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 139-140

The Sun rules the first face of Virgo, giving the Sun enhanced ability to bring about its solar significations than it otherwise would by being in the home of Mercury.   Mercury retrograde receiving its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo highlights a visionary potential to be found in the smallest of tasks performed with integrity and absorbed focus.  To embody our solar potential available at the Virgo Solar Eclipse, however, we need to turn this magical focus within in order to fully embrace and accept everything about ourselves.  With the additional activation of Libra that comes through the eclipse, it is vital not to project inner issues into our relationships but instead listen clearly to what our relationships are communicating to us, not how we are interpreting their message in relation to our own issues.  With full embrace of our current reality within its streams of change, the Virgo Solar Eclipse becomes a powerful stepping stone on the path of creating deeper sustenance and fulfillment out of the shifting tides coming through this September.

VirgoSolarEclipseWRIGC4

References

BBC Radio 4, In Our Time. (7 December 2011). Heraclitus.

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

Greene, Liz. (1984). The Astrology of Fate. Weiser Books.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage Books.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books.

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

Splendor Solis Mercury flask

Mercury Flask from the Splendor Solis

We know where [ Hermes ] comes from and what type of consciousness he exemplifies.  He is most likely the same dark depth of being from which we all originate.  Perhaps for this reason Hermes can so convincingly hover before us, lead us on our ways, show us golden treasures in everyone through the split-second timing which is the spirit of finding and thieving- all of this because he creates his reality out of us, or more properly through us, just as one fetches water not so much out of a well as through the well from the much deeper regions of the earth . . .  Despite the thievery and deceit and shamelessness- and this is probably the most wonderful thing about it- a divine innocence is properly suited to and inherent in it.  Hermes has nothing to do with sins and atonement.  What he brings with him from the springs of creation is precisely the “innocence of becoming.”

— Karl Kerenyi, from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

It’s in twilight when it comes.  The shift of hue and space arrives, transmuting sunlight into variegated shadow, enveloping life in a polychromatic caress of sensuous mood and mysterious measure.  With a flash of light Mercury descends retrograde into the darkening brilliance of sunset, disappearing into its invisible, underworld phase with a message to receive.  The sign of Virgo where Mercury stations in stillness is the nocturnal home of Hermes, the quicksilver messenger and companion of black night whose serpentine staff enchants and lulls, whose fluttering wings break open any static sleepiness of mind.  As Mercury slows down, comes to a standstill, and then turns backward in retrograde motion through the zodiac, we cross a liminal threshold that invites alterations of mental fixations and openings to manifold perspectives.

In the realm of popular culture, periods of Mercury retrograde are known as disastrous aberrations in which Mercury becomes a scapegoat for all misfortunes and mishaps.  Yet the Mercury retrograde period is a regular cyclical phenomenon that happens at least three times every year, an essential aspect of Mercury’s orbit just like the consistent blackening of the Moon in its orbit.  Unlike the astrological stereotypes, important actions can be initiated during Mercury retrograde as well as successful contracts signed.  However, during Mercury retrograde it is advisable to sustain mental alertness and be open to signs, symbols, and information in your environment that can help guide your intuition toward which actions to take or commitments to make.

Mercury retrograde is intrinsic to Mercury in astrology, a planetary archetype of contesting and contrasting.  While Mercury signifies insight and smooth communication, the lessons of Mercury do not always come from stability, as experience shows that chaos and disorientation lead to illumination and realization.  Once Mercury moves retrograde it descends from being a visible Evening Star into an invisible, subterranean guide of soul catalyzing change and growth in situations that range widely from the frustrating to the enlivening.  Flowing with Mercury retrograde involves letting go of strict control and order, opening to the wisdom coming from unexpected sources.   As the changeable nature of Mercury is found in its extremely variable speed, when Mercury slows dow to station it is important to pay attention to its aspects in the natal chart as well as to other planets by transit.  The Mercury retrograde in Virgo begins with the strange brew of Mercury stationing in a beneficial conjunction with Jupiter and Venus, at the entrance into a dramatic portal of eclipses.

Mercury stations retrograde in Virgo on 30 August 2016 at a Dark Moon two days before an annular Solar Eclipse.  In the blackness of the Balsamic Moon, Mercury will be surrounded by Venus and Jupiter with all three planets visible during the changing colors of sunset.  Since Mercury is both at home and exalted in Virgo, and surrounded on both sides by the visionary Jupiter and the pleasing Venus, Fortuna smiles upon this alignment.  Furthering fortune, at the same time Mercury stations retrograde Venus enters her own sign of Libra where she will luxuriate for the entirety of the backward motion of Mercury, increasing in brightness as an Evening Star.  However, these signs of expansive harmony coexist with Mercury stationing at the time of a potent Solar Eclipse in hard aspect to Mars, Saturn, and Neptune.  Mercury retrograde in Virgo will be the psychopomp guiding us through an eclipse season that will call for the release of old attachments and beliefs, but in the letting go a space will open for nurturing innovation.

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Magritte-the-cultivation-of-ideas

The Cultivation of Ideas (1928) by Renee Magritte

In ‘nature’ there’s no choice-
flowers
swing their heads in the wind, sun & moon
are as they are. But we seem
almost to have it ( not just
available death )

It’s energy; a spider’s thread: not to
‘go on living’ but to quicken, to activate: extend:
Some have it, they force it-

with work or laughter or even
the act of buying, if that’s
all they can lay hands on-

the girls crowding the stores, where light,
colour, sold dreams are- what gay
desire! It’s their festival,
ring game, wassail, mystery.

It has no grace like that of
the grass, the humble rhythms, the
falling & rising of leaf and star;
it’s barely
a constant. Like salt:
take it or leave it

The ‘hewers of wood’ & so on; every damn
craftsman has it while he’s working
but it’s not
a question of work: some
shine with it, in repose. Maybe it is
response, the will to respond- (‘reason
can give nothing at all / like
the response to desire’) maybe
a gritting of the teeth, to go
just that much further, beyond the end
beyond whatever ends to begin, to be, to defy.

–Denise Levertov, Beyond the End

Virgo is a mutable earth sign in which Mercury is exalted and comfortably at home, with all of its resources and tools at its disposal.  As a result, the tricks and wayward paths Mercury guides us through during its retrograde promise to make essential aspects of our reality illuminated even when reinforcing the obscurity of our world and the impossibility of knowing everything clearly.  Virgo is an inwardly directed and receptive place for Mercury to burrow into fertile sources of research, devise practical solutions to current predicaments, discern dietary and physical routines to fortify the body, and purify the mind from whatever heavy issues have been accumulating and weighing one down.

The year of 2016 has had the theme of Mercury being retrograde in earth signs (Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn in January;  Mercury retrograde in Taurus in April and May),  a sequence of retrogrades that has called for us to reorient to the surrounding material world and the way we create meaning out of our senses.  Our relationship with finances and the flow of resources in our life has also been highlighted by Mercury being  retrograde in earth signs this year, and will again be significant with the God of Commerce being in its home of Virgo.  Since Mercury stations retrograde in sync with a Solar Eclipse in Virgo, and a Lunar Eclipse in Pisces follows, this retrograde in Virgo promises to be most pivotal in terms of adjusting our resources and livelihood in connection with the momentous changes of the current year.

Another theme of the three Mercury retrogrades so far this year is that each of them has had significant aspects with Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto, resulting in cathartic change in our vision of life and the manner in which we use our will-force to manifest fulfillment.  As a result of the surrounding astrological climate, Mercury’s retrograde in Virgo will bring increased emphasis to reorienting personal beliefs, opening awareness more acutely to how perception and knowledge are bound to one’s own sense of culture and existence.  Mercury retrograde in Virgo can be used to uncover how one’s beliefs have to do with whatever one is used to or not used to experiencing.  While Mercury is retrograde in Virgo situations will present themselves in a way that facilitates rearranging or releasing old conceptual thought patterns rooted in belief systems Mercury will be able to loosen.

The pull of Mercury retrograde within to know thyself on deeper levels is amplified by the inner focus of Virgo.  Since Mars and Saturn both signify separation, the beginning of the retrograde involves dealing with whatever difficult losses or challenges have come into our life in correspondence with Mars and Saturn aligning at the Heart of the Scorpion (the fixed star Antares).  Mercury stationing retrograde while surrounded by Jupiter and Venus points toward healing oneself from the vast well within, eventually coalescing what has been fragmented to return to a sense of wholeness.  The Virgo retrograde of Mercury can open newfound self knowledge from within that catalyzes defiant strength in overcoming adversity and going beyond previous limitations.

René-Magritte-The-Castle-of-the-Pyrenees-1959-The-Israel-Museum

Rene’ Magritte (1959) The Castle of the Pyrenees

Swing of the scythe
illuminated, displaced
into my book of hours, the falling
grass, gold leafed
on the uneven
left upper windowpane-

But way up on the hill
the drift of field-air around you,
the scythe singing,
and what birds you may hear.

— Denise Levertov, Down Here and up There

The final last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces  that has dominated the astrological atmosphere in the past year is a core aspect of Mercury being retrograde in Virgo.  Additionally, the overarching influence that Mars has possessed in 2016 is also mediated by Mercury, as its Virgo retrograde begins with Mars having finally moved beyond the shadow zone of the red planet’s retrograde, and finally having activated its new phase with Saturn and its last quarter square phase with Neptune.  Making these themes of Mars, Saturn, and Neptune even more extreme is that Mars and Saturn are in square to the transiting lunar nodes, Neptune is conjoining the transiting South Node of the Moon, and at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde there is a dramatic Solar Eclipse that is opposite Neptune, square to Saturn and Mars, and conjunct the transiting North Node of the Moon.  Since the Mercury retrograde begins with a Solar Eclipse, there is a deeply mysterious element to the underworld journey Hermes will guide us through that will defy full understanding until a later time of reflection.

In part the square between Saturn and Neptune is about the boundaries and structures in every dimension of life.  While Saturn and Neptune in square can reveal ironic insight and the underlying meaning in the bones of any matter, with Mercury retrograde in Virgo we will also sense how the very idea of being able to penetrate with analysis to core understanding and rationally solve all problems through ordering is a fantasy in itself.  Neptune signifies an immaterial dimension that goes beyond intellectual understanding, and so Mercury in its retrograde role will play the part of Socrates, revealing the ignorance of mental frameworks in order to initiate deeper searches for how to live a life of genuine happiness.  At the same time, the limitations and boundaries of Saturn are necessary to effectively integrate Neptune in a manner that keeps one grounded.  The Virgo retrograde of Mercury in tandem with Mars in Sagittarius can focus awareness on the details needed to keep ourselves healthy and operating at an optimal level of energy in our environment.

The sign of Virgo forms a superior square to Sagittarius, a concept that points to the purification of Virgo taking precedence during the retrograde over the hardened, heavy realities of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius.  The tension between Mars, Saturn, and Neptune at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde reveal us to be at the tentative beginning of a new cycle, with an old cycle that has already culminated being in its last remnants of disintegration. There has also been a Mars catalyst of activating serious determination to set targets for long range goals.  As a result, Mercury retrograde in Virgo can aid us in purifying the past through weaving elements of what has been lost together with the opening for the unknown future they have created.  Mercury in its underworld journey can guide us to places that will recover and repair wounds of the past cycle, refortifying our capacity to fully embody the present moment.

Chagall the-deer-looking-itself-in-the-water

The Deer Looking Itself in the Water by Marc Chagall

Under the harvest sun the heart
ripens on its wall;
under the heat of noon the mind
like a leaf is cool.
The angelus and the goat bell
sway across the grass;
butterflies in blue mid-air
touch and spin apart.
Any attempted dream must fall
to ruin in this light, must pass
before the mocking glance
of idle animals.
There is no need to escape
from the motionless mountain
there is no need to escape
when here the indifferent lake
accepts a nervous image,
demands no affirmation
of innocence or faith.

— Denise Levertov, Sarnen

Mercury in the Heart

When Mercury is retrograde it is passing in between the orbits of Earth and the Sun, which is what creates the illusion that it is moving backward through the zodiac from our perspective on Earth.  As a result, when Mercury retrograde conjoins the Sun during its retrograde it is in alignment with our planet as close at it ever gets.  This is the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury when Mercury is said to be cazimi, at the heart of the Sun.  This window of time in which Mercury passes within a degree of the Sun (some say it is really within 17 minutes of the Sun) is a magical moment in the synodic cycle of Mercury in which all of its significations are strengthened by the Solar Light.  It is a rebirth of the Mercury archetype in our life, as Mercury has been undergoing a purifying regeneration in the beams of the Sun while approaching the conjunction.   Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on September 12 while also being square to Mars in Sagittarius.  It comes two days after the final exact square between Saturn and Neptune and so has a lot to do with the aftermath of their upheaval.

Though the square between Mars in Sagittarius and the Mercury-Sun union is most exact, it is also significant considering the Saturn-Neptune influence that Chiron in Pisces is in range of a square to Mars and an opposition to Mercury cazimi.  Chiron functions as a bridge between the realm of Saturn and the realm of Neptune that stretches far beyond the rings of Saturn.  As a result of its retrograde movement, Mercury will also end up passing back and forth across an opposition with Chiron three different times.  Chiron’s influence fosters the purification of Virgo and the healing of wounds that can ultimately lead one to embody a higher frequency in which heavy accumulations of the psyche have been burned off.

However, with Mars forming an exact square to Mercury’s union with the Sun it means that there will be a lot of intensity, if not external conflict than internal conflict to face in any rebirth process.  Mercury at the heart of the Sun in this retrograde cycle is incredibly active and martial in force, capable of propelling oneself dramatically forward.  If instead the Mars influence on Mercury’s Inferior Conjunction leads to more of a wounding crash, than the remaining Mercury retrograde period can be utilized to begin readjusting and reorienting as needed.

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Vasily Kafanov mystery of fishtower

Vasily Kafanov (1998) Mystery of the Fishtower

When the white fog burns off,
the abyss of everlasting light
is revealed. The last cobwebs
of fog in the
black firtrees are flakes
of white ash in the world’s hearth.

Cold of the sea is counterpart
to this great fire. Plunging
out of the burning cold of ocean
we enter an ocean of intense
noon. Sacred salt
sparkles on our bodies.

After mist has wrapped us again
in fine wool, may the taste of salt
recall to us the great depths about us.

–Denise Levertov, The Depths

Four days after Mercury unites with the Sun, a Lunar Eclipse in Pisces will illuminate the heart of the Mercury retrograde cycle.  Once again Mars in Sagittarius holds extraordinary influence, as it forms a close square to the Lunar Eclipse.  Chiron is also highlighted once again as it will conjoin the Lunar Eclipse, echoing the extremely powerful Total Solar Eclipse in March 2016 that was also conjoining Chiron.  Mercury retrograde at this point will be moving toward a trine to Pluto and away from its square to Mars.  The Pisces Lunar Eclipse lights up the full polarity of the sign of Virgo with martial ferociousness.  In collective events, it is an ominous configuration in terms of increased violence coming from crusaders, martyrs, terrorists, and persecutors fixated on dogmatic belief systems.  The shadow side of Virgo that can involve responding to chaotic change through overexerting control or obsessing over perfectionistic ideals could come out if we are not careful.  If we can enter the flow of this eclipse, we can instead let go of control and enter the pure space of whatever the moment is asking from us.

Sekhmet temple bw

Fascinatingly, the Sekhmet archetype will be involved in this section of Mercury’s underworld journey as the Sekhmet asteroid #5381 will be conjunct both the Virgo Sun at the time of the Lunar Eclipse (at 24º Virgo) as well as conjunct Mercury’s Inferior Conjunction (at 23º Virgo).  Though some may scoff at the significance of an obscure asteroid placement in this overall astrological arrangement, I had been feeling a strong intuition connected with Sekhmet which is what led me to notice its alignment with the Mercury retrograde.  Sekhmet is an ancient lion headed goddess, primordial and fierce, whose fiery rage brings purification.  Sekhmet, Great One of Magic, Lady of Transformations, At Whose Wish the Arts were Born, Self-Contained, Opener of Ways, Satisfier of Desires, Destroyer by Fire, Devouring One, The One Who Holds Back Darkness, Lady of the Waters of Life, Great One of Healing . . . her epithets are multitudinous, her nature impossible to fully encompass in language.

Sekhmet’s presence during Mercury retrograde makes the virginal maiden of Virgo a lion headed goddess on the prowl through the desert landscapes of our dreams and inner psychic life, destroying old, obsolete, and decaying attachments with her ferocious form.  Since Mars the red planet is so emphasized at this point of the Mercury retrograde, and in fact Mars forms a square to the Sekhmet asteroid at this time, it is further compelling that red is a sacred color to Sekhmet just as red is the shade the Moon turns during a Lunar Eclipse.  Sekhmet has a message that any anger that arises in association with Mars in Sagittarius during the Mercury retrograde can be utilized to purify and burn off whatever needs to be let go and released.

Frida Roots II

Frida Kahlo (1943) Roots

The gleam of thy drenched
floors of leaf-layers! Fragrance
of death and change!
If there is only
now to live, I’ll live
the hour till doom stroke
crouched with the russet toad,
my huge human size
no more account than a bough fallen:

not upward,
searching for branch-hidden sky:
I’ll look
down into paradise.

Thy moss gardens, the deep
constellations of green, the striate
rock furred with emerald,
inscribed with gold lichen,
with scarlet!
Thy smooth
acorns in roughsurfaced
precise cups!
Thy black
horns of plenty!

–Denise Levertov: Forest Altar, September

Equinox Stationing

Mercury will station direct at the time of the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.  Mercury also stations in range of some powerful aspects:  a trine to Pluto in Capricorn, a square to Saturn in Sagittarius, an opposition to Neptune in Pisces, and a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  However, the most exact and catalytic aspect formed by Mercury as it stations is a square with the Moon, as the Moon will be in Gemini creating a Mutable Grand Cross between the Moon, Mercury, Saturn, Neptune, and the lunar nodes.  Mercury will be receiving the Moon as a result, and so this moment of Mercury stationing direct portends a bigger shift in mental framework than is typically the case when Mercury stations direct.  The aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct in Virgo suggest it is a significant moment of mediation not only for the past Mercury retrograde cycle, but for the events of the entire year so far.

As Mercury stations direct, it shifts from being invisible to once again making an appearance during the fiery rise of the Sun as a Morning Star, a condition that to Hellenistic astrologers signified a transmission of an oracular message.  It is beautiful symbolism that Mercury stations direct at the time of the Equinox, a time of rebalancing between night and day, a season in the Northern Hemisphere in which cool dry winds begin to blow as green leaves shift to shades of auburn and gold.   My personal view of astrology is that all Mercury retrograde phases signify vital regeneration, however, this particular Mercury retrograde in Virgo appears to signify cathartic rebirth that goes beyond the norm for Mercury retrograde.  It may not feel easy at times, but as John Lennon sang “Living is easy with eyes closed / misunderstanding all you see.”  As the Sun enters the sign of the Scales as Mercury begins to move forward again as a Morning Star, our mind will recalibrate to focus with revivified heart on the desires that will bring us greater happiness and fulfillment in the season ahead.

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References

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring.

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

Full Moon in Taurus and the Dawn of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo

Full Moon in Taurus

Blind Minotaur Led by a Girl through the Night (1934) by Pablo Picasso

Taurus Full Moon

The Full Moon in Taurus on October 27 arrives like a temporary rainbow following a savage storm, fittingly at the Sabian symbol degree of “the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”  In the penetrating streams of the Scorpio season, a full lunation in the sign of the Moon’s exaltation is auspicious for centering within the immense field of depth and death that coincides with our solar light passing through the tropical sign of the sensitive, venomous Scorpion.  Yes, things are always changing, yet we can now add Mercury retrograde to the list of pattern breaking transits we have completed that also includes eclipses and Venus retrograde.  As a result, this Full Moon is an opportunity to find calm in the fateful transitions we can now sense, in order to discern the choices we can make in our highest good through probing deep into the needs and current state of our emotional and physical bodies.

In the Northern hemisphere, it is easy to associate the cold decay and decomposition of Fall that creates the compost of our future growth with the meaning of Scorpio, bearing in mind that in our Southern hemisphere it is the blossoming season of Spring.  The axis of Scorpio and Taurus lit up at this time involves signs of Water and Earth, signs that are nocturnal and yin, the homes of Mars and Venus where we can most acutely feel on internal levels the pang of our human desires.  Scorpio and Taurus are fixed signs that as a result are about stabilizing on internal levels, yet in the constant flux and loss of our material realm in bodies that are vulnerable to the wounds of time and disease, the desire to feel stability through our attachment to certain values and ideas makes us face the multitudinous crises of our human life.

Whereas Scorpio where our Sun currently resides has a martial, plutonic ability to focus with instinctual, psychic sensitivity into the atmosphere of any environment, Taurus where our Moon is waxing full has a fecund, fruitful inner awareness aligned with Venus.  Taurus wants to be surrounded by whatever is found to be beautiful, as Taurus is the inner home of Venus where we can get in touch with our inner values that bring a sense of beauty to our life.  Venus is the ruler of this Taurus Full Moon and making extraordinary aspects of separating from a conjunction with Jupiter and applying to a conjunction with Mars at the time of the Full Moon, as well as closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces.  Venus and Mars so close together and being the rulers of the two lights at this Full Moon means the messages we receive at this time are absolutely crucial to pay attention to.  There is huge potential at this time to feel our desires and realize whether our current actions are in alignment our out of alignment with a trajectory that will help us with their manifestation.

Jupiter, Venus, Mars in Virgo

The Tree of Life (first half 17th Century) British, canvas with silk thread

 Mutable Magnum Opus

While our two lights are in fixed signs at this Full Moon, the dominant astrological modality is the mutable as Jupiter, Venus, and Mars are in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron are in Pisces, and Saturn is in Sagittarius.  Mutable signs are about shifts, transitions, and being aligned with Jupiter and Mercury their fluid nature is often applied to our beliefs, vision, analysis, and communication. In the mutable meeting ground of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars, we are initiating a new vision of meaning from a place of inner desire and value.

The most exact aspect of the Full Moon is that the ruling Venus is closely applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, while Jupiter is also applying and Mars is separating from being opposite Chiron. Chiron is a celestial body that bridges the Saturn dimension of astrology with the dimensions of astrology beyond Uranus, as well as with the wounds and healing of wounds that coincide with transitions to farther reaching awareness. While the wounds associated with Chiron feel very personal when they are occurring, potentially our experience of facing these challenges and working through them transports us to another level of being.  The triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars being opposite Chiron while separating from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn can coincide with an opening to core needs and desires that source feelings of empowerment if we structure an outlet or practice to express them through.  In correlation we can be shown where we need to get out of our own way in order to access this newfound dimension of strength.

The mutable initiation of a new cycle between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars having a liberating transpersonal quality is augmented by the conjunctions occurring in the sign of Mercury, Mercury concurrently being in the sign of Venus, and Mercury separating from an opposition with Uranus at the time of the Venusian Full Moon. Mercury’s recent opposition to Uranus could have correlated with insight into relationship needs and discernment of opportunities for collaboration that could break us out of past restrictive patterns if enacted. In the mutual accord and shared feeling of partnership we can access a deeper sense of self and wholeness. As Mercury opposed Uranus this past week, we likely felt the magnetic pull of those relationships which can help us activate this opening. Since the Mercury and Uranus opposition is now separating, the illumination of this Taurus Full Moon reveals what has been unearthed on shore following a surge of tidal forces.

However, in our surrounding oceanic field there is a more imposing tidal wave building in the form of a mutable square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  This is the great celestial backdrop to the current scene of our drama, and while it will not become exact until November 26, 2015 it has now gotten within three degrees and is at it’s closest point yet in this cycle.  Back in March 2015 when Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde, Saturn was also about three degrees away from Neptune so it may be possible with reflection to notice a tie between events culminating now that are bound back to five or six months ago.

Saturn and Neptune have vastly different meanings, including that Saturn governs structures and constructs of consensus reality while Neptune as Dane Rudhyar wrote brings us messages from beyond, beyond here signifying concepts such as the boundless field sourcing our reality and the collective unconscious.  Contacting Saturn enlivens us to work hard and overcome crucial tests, whereas contacting Neptune enlivens us to dream and imagine beyond the constraints of present circumstances.  Both planets being in the home of Jupiter means this square can fundamentally alter our vision of life and how we create meaning for ourselves, with old outworn constructs dissolving in the waves of Neptune.

Venus conjunct Jupiter in Virgo

Sphinx (550 B.C.) Greek

Virgo Jupiter, Venus, Mars

The new cycles beginning now between Jupiter, Venus, and Mars deserve some extra thought and attention as they are the third to occur this year, and the final ones that will finally initiate a new cycle within each dyad.  The exception to this triple phenomenon is Jupiter and Mars, as Jupiter and Mars recently experienced their first and only conjunction of the year in Virgo at the time of the recent Crescent Moon in the currently waxing lunar cycle.  This is in fact the first new cycle to initiate between Jupiter and Mars since July 2013 when they were both in Cancer, and so we are now at the early, disorienting phase of getting in touch with the desires that will be animating a regenerated vision for our life.

The cycle between Venus and Jupiter is more about the relationship between our inner values and our vision for life, and we are now at the third and final initiation of their new cycle since the beginning of July 2015.  On July 1, 2015 Venus and Jupiter were first conjunct in the third decan of Leo (with Venus direct at the time of a Full Moon), and were again on August 4, 2015 (with Venus retrograde and also in square to Saturn in Scorpio) also in the third face of Leo.  The first of this series when Venus and Jupiter were uniting as beautiful illuminated lights in our night sky had a conquering feeling of setting out with passionate hope and ideals toward who or what we found deeply meaningful, whereas the second of the series was more of a trial by fire with the exact square to Saturn coinciding with pivotal challenges we had to solve.  Now, the final conjunction of the series occurring in the second face of Virgo will correlate with a process of refinement, focusing into the details of our circumstances in order to create the sense of quality in our life we find most authentic and desirable.

A week after the Full Moon during the waning Moon, Venus will unite with Mars for the third and final time this cycle on November 2, and we will begin to feel a resolution to relational patterns that not only stretch across the past year but all the way back to 2013.  The last time we had a completely new initiated cycle between Venus and Mars was in April 2013 when they were in Aries, and if you are like me you will notice there is a direct, palpable thread between the issues of our desires and values then and now.  During this previous year, we have had two other conjunctions of Venus and Mars, but neither was truly the beginning of a new cycle because we knew they still had more conjunctions to come.  On February 21, 2015 we had the first conjunction of Mars and Venus in the first decan of Aries, and then on August 31, 2015 we had the second conjunction of Mars and Venus in the second decan of Leo, with Venus retrograde. Similar to the pattern of the first two conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter, the first conjoining of Venus and Mars in February that we could also see in our night sky had a more soaring quality of hope like making a wish on a star.  In contrast, their second conjunction at the end of August with Venus retrograde had a more martial quality of needing to fight or persist in pursuit of our desire.

The Taurus Full Moon is therefore illuminating the final balsamic conjunction between Venus and Mars in this cycle, bringing to the forefront all past attitudes, beliefs, and values connected to present and past relationships that now need to be released.  At the same time, it is a powerful seeding and visioning moment in which the relationships most fertile for our future will become paramount.  Yet our inner relationship with our Self is perhaps most important to monitor since Mars and Venus are conjoined in Virgo.  If we are able to release the old issues that have been weighing us down that we are overdue to be free from, we will begin to feel a sense of Self that has greater integrity as the new cycle between Venus and Mars begins next week.

It is further interesting to ponder how Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are all now brilliant Morning Stars, whereas previous conjunctions between Venus and Mars and Venus and Jupiter occurred as Evening Stars.  It is further compelling to consider that all three planets are in the home of Mercury, the inner reflective, analytical sign of Virgo symbolized by the Winged Maiden who guides us to connect our sense of Self within the natural and celestial order we find ourselves within.  There is support in all of this to mentally focus on the ever changing details of our material realm and organize our myriad daily pursuits to most effectively support our bodily health and the manifestation of our creative endeavors.  Like the cry of the cock at the break of dawn, these morning lights will awaken us to our most pressing values and desires to address and act from.  There is less support for outwardly attempting to work on as much as possible and more support for inwardly discerning a few precious aspects of our life to devote our full attention to.

Taurus I Decan

5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus I Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls within the first face of Taurus ruled by Mercury and associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith from the Rider-Waite tarot deck.  The Five of Pentacles traditionally relates to worrisome thoughts over a lack of material resources or the ever threatening potential of material loss, guiding the querent to yoke their anxious mental energy to direct action that can help build or nurture resources that can be drawn from in a future time of need.

In the Rider-Waite tarot image shown above, we see two wanderers freezing in a snowy climate and wanting for appropriate material resources to keep themselves warm and secure.  Behind them like a beacon of light is the illuminated stained glass windows of a church, an institution built on proclaimed principles of helping those in need or poverty.  One of my favorite writers on the tarot Kelsey Lynore wrote a more unique interpretation of this image that focuses on the hypocrisy of the church and its oftentimes neglect of those in need, connecting this with a dire situation in which we feel a lack of support from others that leads to ostracized anger.  Lynore’s advised response is to “make certain that you uphold the very ethics that you expect from others, as there is a danger that you may take on the very qualities of those who have cast you out,” thereby refusing to be led “into a lifetime of narrow-minded, narcissistic greed.”  This idea connects well with Mercury’s governship of this face and the importance of maintaining inner mental integrity even in the most difficult of circumstances, so as to better open ourselves to the twists of fate that can coincide with a boon of new resources to draw from.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans suggested that it is this very fear of material want and poverty shown in the Rider-Waite image of the Five of Pentacles that propels us to cultivate the resources of our mind and surroundings in order to create a livelihood that will support our survival needs in the bleakest of times.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first decan of Taurus that follows the previously martial faces of Aries:

The implements of war seen in the Aries decan have been beaten into plowshares here. Thus this face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land.  The plow, which breaks open the soil, is one of it’s most enduring symbols, but not the sum thereof.  In this face we gaze upon the ways that we might make use of our world.  Understanding our resources wisely, we consider how we might multiply their value.

—  Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, page 69

The first face of Taurus where this Full Moon shines being ruled by Mercury is harmonious with the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars also occurring in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  The surrounding astrological aspects of this Taurus Full Moon therefore support us using any fears about a lack of material resources to fuel prudent focus on whatever resources we have on external and internal levels to develop.  There is support in this astrological climate to use the capacity of Mercury for commerce and connections to build bridges and cultivate the assets at hand, finding a solution to whatever predicament we find ourselves in.  The astrology element of Earth is amplified at this Full Moon and likewise we find ourselves with a symbolic fertile field to plow and plant for whatever it is we wish to grow.

References

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

Solar Eclipse in Virgo

Scott Young Virgo Solar Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Virgo Solar Eclipse

On September 12 – 13, 2015 we enter the dark procreative void of a Solar Eclipse held in the arms of the Winged Maiden, the first of a series of eclipses we will experience in the sign of Virgo.  Solar Eclipses are the most intense New Moons, when the alignment of the Moon between the Earth and Sun blackens our solar light.  Although this particular eclipse is partial and not total in its darkening effect, it is potent nonetheless as the ruler of the eclipse, Mercury in Libra, is separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn and in process of stationing retrograde five days afterward.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse furthermore digs up the roots of the past season of Venus retrograde intensity, as it comes less than a week after Venus has stationed direct and its Mercury in Libra ruler is being received by Venus in Leo through a sextile.

New Moons are known as times to set new intentions and begin new journeys while clearing what needs to be released from the past, yet at Solar Eclipses the changes that arise often feel out of our control similar to a tidal force erupting around us.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation ascribed this effect of Solar Eclipses to the fact that the Lunar Light obscures our view of Solar Light in blackness, meaning from Earth we momentarily experience the Moon alone without the Sun.  Since the Moon signifies the intersection of our past in the present moment, it means that forces from our past, including unconscious forces, can likewise veil our present experiences in their fertile darkness.  Again, though this particular eclipse is not total and therefore the Sun will not be completely obscured, the same general symbology applies.

Who is the Winged Maiden holding this Solar Eclipse?  To the Greeks she was Astraea, a daughter of Zeus who helped direct humanity to follow natural law during the Golden Age of peace and prosperity on Earth, coming down from the heavens to mingle with ordinary people on the Earth and foster harmony with the natural world of creation.  Over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted, it was said that Astraea became increasingly full of contempt for humanity, becoming so full of hatred eventually that she left Earth forever to become the constellation of Virgo.  Astraea has an association with Justice also found in the following sign of Libra, yet hers is more of a natural justice governed by the order found in the creation and destruction of the natural world, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay, and the orbit of our Earth around the Sun within the cycles of cosmos.

The Winged Maiden has also been associated with Erigone, the daughter of Icarus,  as well as with the ancient great goddesses Isis in Egypt, and Atargatis in modern day Syria.   Isis and Atargatis in particular bring to mind the double-bodied nature of Virgo as a Mutable zodiac sign, as Isis was able to take flight on wings and Atargatis was sometimes depicted as a mermaid.  Atargatis symbolically integrates the polarity of Pisces to Virgo, as she is a fertility goddess to whom fish are sacred, and is associated with the bodily reception and transmission of spirit through sexuality and ritual.  Furthermore, Isis connects with Virgo through her clear command of logos and Mercurial magical abilities that brings spirit through matter to heal fragmentation of soul.  Liz Greene has previously explored how the purification of Virgo further connects to the sacred sexuality of Isis and Atargatis that bridges blissful pleasures of spirit with base material desire:

Virgo seems to embody a deep paradox, a combination of upright and almost schoolmarmish Astraea set side by side with the orgiastic lunar goddesses of Asia Minor.   This paradox poses an enormous conflict for Virgo, and it is out of the conflict that Virgo’s pattern of development arises. Whether this is enacted as a collision between personal and professional life, between marriage and independence (a common theme), between spirituality and materialism, between morality and abandonment, Virgo struggles with these opposites throughout life, trying to encompass them both. Often the Virgoan individual will try to embody one while sacrificing the other, and this generally provokes difficulties, for the fate of the sign does not seem to permit such splitting . . .

The harlotry of the virgin goddesses does not mean merely sexual availability to all callers any more than ‘virgin’ means merely sexual intactness.  I would understand it more as an openness to the flow of life, a willingness to trust the natural order, an acceptance of penetration and change.  Contrary to the popular descriptions of Virgo, I feel this paradoxical daimon to form the true core of the sign.  But it is difficult to achieve . . . It is far easier, and more common, for Virgo to flee into ritualised or obsessional behaviour, where the sterner aspects of Astraea submerge the fecundity and joy of Atargatis. This is often the prelude to the arrival of psychosomatic symptoms, for Atargatis is a deity who demands entry through that most basic manifestation of life- the body.

— Liz Greene from The Astrology of Fate

The Virgin in the symbolism of Virgo as we know is not about chastity or saving one’s sexuality for marriage, but rather is about the aspect of oneself which is independent and whole upon itself outside the constraints of marriage or the morality of societal conventions.  Virgo is a sign connected to independently acting from a place of inner morality and Mercurial discernment, and so this Virgo Solar Eclipse arriving in the aftermath of Venus having stationed direct in Leo means whatever now lacks alignment with our inner truth will become eclipsed and released.  Instead of using obsessive, ritualised behavior to shield ourselves from the coming changes, we can instead embrace the change in the moment through ritually purifying and tending to our body in order to receive the full message found within the shifting and shedding.

Virgo Solar Eclipse

by Arrington de Dionyso

For thousands of years eclipses have brought fear, being seen in ancient times as events in which our two Lights (Sun and Moon) were consumed by a great dragon of chaos and creation, with the North Node of the Moon representing the head of the dragon, and the South Node of the Moon representing the tail of the dragon.  The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses.  The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth:  the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for manifestation in our life.  To many, the North Node of the Moon is furthermore associated with one’s evolutionary path in life, though this path is oftentimes fraught with struggles over our desire nature.  When our Lights align with the nodes we have an eclipse, with the Sun and Moon on one side of the nodal axis at a Solar Eclipse and the Sun and Moon on both sides of the nodal axis at a Lunar Eclipse.

This Solar Eclipse is the first of a series that will occur in Virgo, and our first one since the Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened on March 20, 2015 in range of a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aries.   In contrast, this Virgo Solar Eclipse is in range of a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, creating an amplified push toward manifestation of our desires and bringing things into being.  With reflection we can note what changes flowing out of that previous Pisces eclipse are coming to a head at today’s Virgo eclipse, with the crucial difference being that this Virgo Solar Eclipse aligned with the North Node of the Moon in Libra brings a heavy emphasis on our needs within our relationships.  For those who embrace the concept of karma, I have found through my work in astrology that the lunar nodes reveal the karma of our growth and development, a viewpoint that was popularized in astrology by Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation:

In the case of the Moon’s nodes, we are dealing with what might be called the karmic way in which the Moon’s function operates in a human being. But the word karma should not be used only in the sense of “bad” karma. Karma simply refers to the fact that any new cycle of existence is always in some manner related to or is a sequence of a previous cycle. The new cycle inherits from the old some unfinished business which needs to be dealt with, but it also inherits the results of some achievements. More specifically, the Moon’s north node symbolizes new possibilities of growth on the basis of what has been accomplished “in the past” — let us say, in “past incarnations”, although the concept of reincarnation is most ambiguous, or at least far more complex than popularly interpreted . . . We should not forget that a person is first of all operating in a biosphere with a long evolutionary past and in a society and culture conditioned equally by ancient, collective failures as well as great achievements. Thus karma is never to be considered solely a personal matter; for it is also produced by a collective situation inherited from a long series of past generations.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Astrology of Transformation

The ruler of this Solar Eclipse is Mercury in Libra that gives even greater emphasis to the fact that the eclipse is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result our minds will be focused more on relationships and expressing what we need and desire, and we will likewise be on the receiving end of needing to listen to the needs of those we are in relationship with.  This relational focus through Libra will involve romantic relationships, friendships, business relations, and all forms our interactions with others take, but there will also be added emphasis in the collective on issues around social justice and oppression, with numerous karmic collective strands coming together in a messy knot of conflict.   Thus while the Venus retrograde in Leo has already stirred up the intensity of these collective conflicts, this Virgo Solar Eclipse will further crescendo passions around issues such as the legalization of gay marriage and institutional racism in law enforcement in the United States, the refugee crisis in Europe, and countless other global crises involving conflicts in society that create oppression.

Our draw into the dynamics of our relationships is catalyzed even further by Mercury in Libra separating from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the eclipse.  As Mercury will also be on the brink of stationing retrograde, there will be key insights into our relationships to be found at this time including awareness for how the conditioning of our culture and early authority figures have helped shape our relational patterns.  We are dealing at this eclipse not only with our own personal karma but also our ancestral and cultural karma, and so part of the Virgoan task will be analyzing what issues are part of our core patterns we need to personally work on, and what issues are more about how our authentic nature has been molded by familial and cultural influences.  Those born with Pluto in Virgo in range of a conjunction with this Solar Eclipse (20-21°) and those born with Pluto in Libra in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Libra (14-15°) have a tremendous opportunity in this eclipse time to feel into the bottom line of their relational patterns.  At times this may feel heavy and in need of grieving, but a metamorphosis into a purified relational dynamic free of past restrictive influences is possible to eventually realize.

Pisces Full Moon

by Scott Young

The recent Pisces Full Moon initiated us into the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and the tension of their polarity has been building in intensity every single day during the waning half of the recent lunar cycle.  At the time of the Solar Eclipse, their opposition is not yet exact but close and applying strongly.  Pisces and Virgo, ruled by Jupiter and Mercury since ancient times, are an essential polarity in astrology through which we develop our sense of meaning, belief, vision, and spirituality.   We need both for healthy vitality of belief and perception:  we need the holistic awareness of Pisces that transcends the labeling and categorization of reductionist thinking, while we likewise need the Virgo ability to penetrate into detailed analysis of the parts that make up the whole so to avoid living our lives lost in illusion of belief.  Neptune has become associated firmly with Pisces because it is the symbol of ultimate reality, the oceanic source that remains beyond the ability of scientists to catalogue and rationally explain.  Jupiter in Virgo coming face to face with Neptune in Pisces therefore means we must come into reckoning with the invisible aspects of reality beyond the ability of language to explain.

As a result this Solar Eclipse marks a pivotal moment of transformation in our beliefs and vision, and you can use astrology as a guide in part by simply looking at the houses in your birth chart occupied by the signs of Pisces and Virgo, and aspects made to the opposition of Neptune and Jupiter at 8-9 degrees of these mutable signs.  Since Mercury in Libra is also the ruler of Jupiter in Virgo, it means the added emphasis on relationships marked by this eclipse also applies to the opposition between Neptune and Jupiter, and so it is in our outer interactions and conversations with others that we will become impelled to reshape our vision and beliefs.

Another astrological force found in the harvesting of this Virgo Solar Eclipse is Ceres, stationing direct at 26 Capricorn a few days after the eclipse in range of a trine.  Ceres has been associated with Virgo in astrology at least as far back as Marcus Manilius in the 1st Century CE, who wrote that “the Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres” (Manilius, Astronomica, 2.433-452, Goold trans., 1977, p. 117-119).  While Manilius was of course referring to the mythic Ceres and not the dwarf planet Ceres, the connection between Ceres and Virgo was further bound by Demetra George in her book Asteroid Goddesses, in which she described Ceres as an agent in transforming our sense of personal awareness into collective awareness through the sign of Virgo and around issues of productivity and acceptance that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.  Ceres stationing direct in Capricorn, in range of a trine to the Solar Eclipse in Virgo, could bring up issues of balance around our ambition and if the goals we have been working toward are about gaining external validation to boost our inner worth, or if our work is instead focused upon goals that will bring us intrinsic rewards without the need for outer acclaim.  In the end, by finding the work that will bring us a true sense of joy to perform we will most likely gain recognition from others who share similar interests and passions.

Ceres is the Queen of the asteroid belt and now considered to be more of a planet than an asteroid, but there is one asteroid goddess in particular who is also highlighted at this eclipse:  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, who forms a t-square with the Solar Eclipse in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces, being square to both.

Pallas Athena in Sagittarius

Pallas and the Centaur (1482) by Botticelli

The most impactful aspect this Virgo Solar Eclipse makes is perhaps its opposition to Chiron in Pisces, the most prominently celebrated of all of the wandering centaurs in astrology.  Chiron bridges Saturn and Uranus, as at its closest orbit to the earth it can at times become closer to the Earth than Saturn, and at its farthest orbit to the earth it can at times become farther from the Earth than Uranus.  This means that the half horse, half human figure associated with Chiron connects the material world governed by Saturn with the boundless realm of the transpersonal associated with Uranus.  As a result Chiron connects to the deep memories and knowledge we hold in our body that can erupt into our consciousness in bodywork and practices aiding our integration of body, mind, and spirit.  Indeed, Chiron’s eruptive impact can be seen in its connection to the Uranian realm of sudden liberation that can feel shocking in its lightning bolt effect, eventually bringing realizations of Self-healing.

Chiron

Liz Greene’s Mythic Tarot

Chiron in Pisces is holding the place of polarity to this Virgo Solar Eclipse, meaning that he has a vital lesson to teach us. Chiron is the master teacher who demands excellence from his students, the mentor of the healing arts including music, plant medicine, and astrology, and the martial arts as tools for self defense and the protection of others in need of help.  There is also the aspect of the mythic Chiron involving his suffering from toxic poisoning and willingness to give himself over to the pain in sacrifice, the “wounded healing” characteristic you have no doubt heard ad nauseam from astrologers.  Although the “wounded healer” analysis may be overused, there is an aspect that I have found tends to be very accurate in terms of Chiron’s impact on us- this is the phenomenon in which the issues we have struggled with and have caused us suffering turn out to be the vehicles that transport us to our greatest strengths and to the gifts of soul we possess to transmit to the collective.

For example, the timing of Chiron’s discovery in 1977 corresponded in popular culture with the development of hip hop and punk rock, two forms of musical expression that countless youths since have seized to express their feelings of pain and suffering in the material realm through, gaining a sense of Uranian liberation, individuation, and higher power in the process.  Chiron wants you to have a vehicle, a tool, a technique, or a practice to express your talents into the collective, and through the interweaving of your inner gift with the outer world, powerful growth and healing can be activated.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse in in range of a sextile with Saturn at the end of Scorpio, while Chiron is also in range of a wide trine with Saturn, so the polarity between Chiron and the eclipse contains a lesson for us that can promote our stability in the material world.

A more challenging aspect is the quincunx between Uranus in Aries and the Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  While this quincunx can bring up fears that our most inspired, boundless visions do not have a realistic chance of manifesting, instead work to find an access point to begin the process and set things in motion.  If you keep putting things off until you feel completely ready or circumstances seem perfect you can continue to put it off indefinitely.   Find a method, practice or form to transmit at least part of your vision through, and work on letting go of criticizing your initial effort through comparison with others or your own idealized standards.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being both square to the Chiron polarity with the eclipse, as well as in trine to Uranus in Aries, means that we can use creative visualization to change our lives, both inspiring us to initiate new steps and aiding us in reformulating to address issues once underway.

scott young rose

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Venus is now direct in Leo and established as divine Morning Star heralding our dawn.  Venus is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, and separating from a conjunction with Mars in Leo, giving her a fiery Morning Star presence that wants to go after whatever she finds inspiring and beguiling.  Venus is strongly tied to this Virgo Solar Eclipse since Mercury is the ruler of the eclipse and occupying Libra, the home of Venus, meaning that Venus is receiving Mercury through a sextile.  This sextile between Mercury in Libra and Venus in Leo brings an opportunity to begin stabilizing within all of the transformation we experienced during the Venus retrograde.  Since we are talking about eclipse season I do not mean stabilizing to imply a quiet and peaceful experience, but rather that through the storms of this time we can begin solidifying our reborn Venusian values through our actions in response to life.

At the time of this Virgo Solar Eclipse, we are within a brief period of time in which we do not have a personal planet retrograde, as Venus finally ended her retrograde six days before the eclipse, and Mercury will station retrograde five days after the eclipse.  If you feel raw and vulnerable in the aftermath of this recent Venus retrograde you are not alone, and it is worth remembering that Venus will remain in her retrograde shadow zone through the rest of September and into the first week of October.   Whatever has been reborn in you during the Venus retrograde is vital to tend and keep sustained, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.

Venus is also the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Libra, bringing Leo passion and a clear push toward fulfilling our desires within relationships.  It also means we will have a difficult balancing process if we want to meet both our own needs and the needs of others in our relationships.  The sabian symbol for this Virgo Solar Eclipse provides a solution in the image of “a girl’s basketball team,” suggesting that through collaboration with others, through being accountable to a role within a team pursuing a common goal, we can find the point of balance between meeting both our own needs and the needs of others we are in relationship with.  The vital point is that if you find yourself in a process of negotiating with a partner over relational dynamics, that you do not suppress and ignore the inner transformation you felt taking form during the Venus retrograde.  While it is important to listen to others and to be supportive, it is also necessary for you to live your own authentic life.

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo III Decan

This Virgo Solar Eclipse falls in the third face of Virgo that is associated with the 10 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot this image of a family enjoying the fruits of their labor and legacy is associated with wealth, both the accumulation of wealth as well as being able to sustain wealth through familial lineages or other legacies.  The image also corresponds with the achievement of a stable, secure lifestyle affording one the possibility of enjoying material luxuries as well as the luxury of a contemplative lifestyle.  In connection to the Solar Eclipse in the third decan of Virgo, we likewise have our own lineages and legacies to draw from in the pursuit and gaining of wealth, though here wealth is more about its root meaning of happiness, health, and well-being than material riches.  This could connect with your blood relatives and ancestors or perhaps more likely with your soul tribe, those beings who are your kindred spirits and have provided you with inspiration and visionary meaning.

The third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury, giving Mercury added emphasis at this Solar Eclipse that also occurs in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces took a Mercurial angle to this card by interpreting that “the pensive nature of the elder pictured on this card suggest that wealth is here posed as a question, to be riddled out.  What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?” (p. 151).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo, as being the third decan it is about the separation of spirit and matter from previous balance, revealing the ultimate value of the work as the final face of the three Earth signs of the zodiac:

In this face we ponder the ultimate result of material things.  The limits of all created works are here considered.  This decan thus has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end . . . One gains the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions. The ability to see unto the 7th generation is gained …

Escorted by wealth on one side and death on the other, the residents of this face cross the threshold into the tomb.  Alone in the burial chamber with silent centuries, they dialogue with the corpse all will become about the value of all things.  The importance of legacies becomes clear, for though all works face eventual decay, some endure for aeons.  For just as no thing continues forever, all leave something behind.  There is no life which does not bestow upon the world an inheritance, even if it is no more than a feast for scavengers . . .

In comprehending the ongoing cycle of generation and corruption, one is freed from fear, for most terrors are petty, and disappear when the shadow of inevitability falls across them.  This discussion reveals the importance of things as they are- arising and receding- and deserving of love and attention.

–Austin Coppock from 36 Faces

Though not mentioned by Coppock in his deft portrayal of this decan, in the tables of the appendix he lists that the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo.  Hestia is a sublime spirit guide to turn towards at this Solar Eclipse, for she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the quality of value essential to our vitality that we wish to invest into the work we perform in the world.  Hestia is the devoted one with a far reaching legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath and action for the living force found throughout all of the natural world of creation.  Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service to all of creation.  Within waves of shattering change, within the decomposition and death of the old and the hatching of the new, Hestia opens herself to the change of the moment through her heart-centered focus on the eternal power of love and devotion.

References

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

Greene, Liz. (1984). The Astrology of Fate.  Weiser Books.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage Books.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books.

Seven Stars Astrology (2015).  Manilius, Neptune, and the Fishes. http://www.sevenstarsastrology.com/?p=1980

Pisces Full Moon

Pisces Full Moon

Illustration by Kay Nielson from East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1914)

Pisces Full Moon

The Full Moon in Pisces on August 29, 2015 is full of passion and heralds the coming eclipse season, for  the New Moon to follow is a Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  It is also a Super Moon, and the first Full Moon classified as a Super Moon this year.  Super Moon is a term coined by astrologer Richard Nolle for either New or Full Moons occurring at the Moon’s perigee, when the Moon comes closest to Earth in orbit (Nolle defined a Super Moon as occurring within 90% of the Moon’s closest orbit to Earth).  Super Moons have been measured to have a greater impact on tides, and likewise our emotional tides will overflow as we will be at the culmination of the current lunar cycle that began with the New Moon conjunct Venus retrograde, at the time of a new cycle between Venus and the Sun. This Pisces Super Moon is straight up loaded, with Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, Neptune in Pisces conjunct the Moon, Mercury in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Mars conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo.   We are at the dawn of a new sense of Venus in our lives, as she has arisen from the underworld and settled into a new phase of her retrograde as a Morning Star signaling sunrise.  As a result, this Pisces Full Moon will reveal to us whether or not our life path and structures currently align with our Venusian rebirth of values and desires.

So often we try to convince ourselves we are living a full, contented life.   But there is always something pulling at our heart; ambition, restlessness, are just its shadows.  And it will go on tearing at our hearts until we start to acknowledge what is missing.

— Peter Kingsley from Reality

Jupiter is at home in Pisces, but instead finds itself in the sign of Virgo opposite the Full Moon in Pisces.  Jupiter as the ruler of this Full Moon is activating a polarity of consciousness more extreme than the typical Full Moon, as the Sun will be united with Jupiter in opposition to the Moon in union with Neptune.  Just like Venus being in a new cycle with the Sun, Jupiter is also now in a new cycle with the Sun, the difference being that Jupiter has been initiated into it’s new solar cycle in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  As a result, Jupiter has passed through a purifying initiation administered in Virgo, giving the new Jupiter cycle an emphasis on productivity, refinement of technique, research, analysis, deepened awareness of language, and discerning vision.  While many have been struggling with difficult emotions surfacing during the recent underworld period of the Venus retrograde, Jupiter’s conjunction with the Sun in Virgo can aid us in seeing through facades and the superficial, helping us envision where to focus going forward to bring us a greater sense of fulfillment aligned with our changing state of Venus.

neptune gdansk

Neptune in Gdansk, Poland

As the polarity between Virgo and Pisces has a lot to do with the reception of spirit in one form or another, in service to one’s ideal, the focus on the here and now of the Sun’s conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo is at odds with the otherworldly quality aroused by the Full Moon united with Neptune in Pisces.  Neptune connects to the infinite, oceanic field and in the sign of Pisces has added imaginal emphasis on the potency of the images surrounding us and emanating from within our imagination.  Neptune in Pisces can be like a siren’s call that leads some to crash under waves of illusion, while for others it can dissolve awareness to flow beyond the rigid confines of consensus culture.  Neptune in Pisces can create storms that flood the structures we have grown accustomed to, forcing our identities to mutate and shift in creation of a new livelihood out of the dissolution of the old and outgrown.  There is a balanced reception to strike between Virgo and Pisces that requires self-realization regarding the illusions of belief we have been drifting through in surrounding culture.  For example, we could be under the sway of social programming from religion such as the pervasive influence of the biblical Garden of Eden leading to feelings of shame or judgmental projections.  Or, perhaps we are caught up in the illusory stock market and a financial system of fabrications fabricating fabrications.

Jupiter in Virgo’s reception of this Pisces Full Moon could lead to a penetrating awareness of deeper meaning in our environment, similar to our first realizations in youth of the false pretenses of authority figures, or the blatant evidence of colonial oppression in our surrounding social structures we had previously been ignorant of.  While the Virgo Sun and Jupiter attunes us to the fluctuations of matter made of soul surrounding us, Neptune in Pisces being lit up with a conjoined Full Moon could tap us into another realm of soul seemingly invisible in our surrounding material world.   It feels important to put the emphasis on grounding the insights that arise in the here and now at this Full Moon, and opening ourselves to an unveiling of what aspects of our recent attachments are illusory and which hold a solid foundation for us.

Scott Young

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

There are real fireworks to this Pisces Full Moon, as Mars is applying to a conjunction with Venus Retrograde and creating a heated underlying energy.  We are a week away from Venus stationing direct, and so the arrival of Mars in Leo to unite with Venus amplifies all of the issues we have been experiencing during this Venus retrograde.  Relationships could become a battleground if we are unable to give space for the transformation of each partner engaged in the dance.  As transiting Venus retrograde is ruling the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, there is an overall emphasis on re-calibrating and re-aligning our relationship dynamics in order for each partner to feel empowered to act and speak authentically.  We need to speak our mind and have our needs met, yet we also will need to be open to the changes our various partners in our various relationships are going through, and avoid attempting to manipulate or control things in order to stave off the necessary mutation.

The Mars conjunction with Venus retrograde in Leo also brings a call to take courage in taking bold steps in asserting yourself in line with the Venus retrograde shiftings experienced in the past month.  We will be receiving a visionary lift at this Full Moon from asteroid goddesses, as Pallas Athena in Sagittarius and Vesta retrograde in Aries will be forming a Grand Fire Trine with the conjunction of Mars and Venus retrograde in Leo.  There is devotion found here to an essential aspect of self uncovered by the Venus retrograde, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius can creatively visualize the next steps to take and wants to lead us into direct action forward.  As there are numerous protest movements building around numerous social justice issues, this Grand Fire Trine also feels auspicious for pinpointing and following through with strategies that inspire others to join the movement.

Full Moon in Pisces

Pier and Ocean (Sea in Starlight) by Piet Mondrian

Since Jupiter and the Sun aligned in Virgo are plugged into Mercury, it is further vital to realize that Mercury is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of this Full Moon in Pisces.  These aspects pull our perception and discernment strongly into the realm of our relationships, both our interpersonal relationships and dynamics within the collective.  Our needs in our most intimate relationships will become obvious and demand attention and expression, and we will need to balance this desire with the same desire arising in our partner.  As Libra also relates to justice, issues related to oppression such as sexism and racism will become even further amplified in the collective with tensions rising between those with opposing viewpoints.

It is wise to bring full attention to issues arising within relationships at this Full Moon with Mercury conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, for at this time Mercury has also entered its retrograde shadow zone in the sign of the scales.  Mercury will be in its retrograde shadow zone for approximately a month, first stationing retrograde on September 17 around 16 degrees of Libra, entering the heart of the Sun on September 30 around 8 degrees Libra, stationing direct on October 9 around 1 degree of Libra, and finally exiting the retrograde shadow zone around October 24, 2015.  This Libran retrograde of Mercury could deepen our relational dynamics and solidify the changes we are beginning to embody from the rebirth of Venus we are now experiencing, but this is a potential outcome that will require cultivation of self-reflection, communication, and listening skills.  If our relationships are badly out of balance at this time, the Mercury retrograde could highlight greater degrees of miscommunication instead of penetrating insight.  As a result the issues arising at this Full Moon are vital to reflect upon going forward into September and October.

Making the alignment of Mercury with the North Node even more potent is the fact that Black Moon Lilith has also recently entered Libra through its mean calculation, and so is conjunct both.  The true node of Black Moon Lilith has previously entered Libra so this is not a completely new phenomenon, but the true node calculation of the actual location of Black Moon Lilith oscillates widely from day to day, and so many astrologers prefer to use the steady, ever progressing forward average calculation of the movement of Black Moon Lilith.  From this perspective, this Pisces Full Moon brings an important ingress of this mean node of Black Moon Lilith into Libra at the same time that Mercury and the North Node of the Moon are also residing there.  Black Moon Lilith brings an added value of what aspects of our Self have previously felt judged, shamed, and even persecuted to such an extent that we have ostracized them in exile away from the personality we take into our daily interactions.  This Full Moon can also therefore shine light on the aspects of our Self we have formerly embodied only at times of complete trust and intimacy, helping us realize it is not only possible but necessary for us to begin to embody these qualities in our mundane, moment to moment interactions in daily life.

First Face of Pisces 8 of Cups

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces I Decan

The Pisces Full Moon is in the first face of Pisces associated with the 8 of Cups in tarot, illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here in this image a hermetic recluse walks away from a watery environment into a mountainous landscape, utilizing a walking stick not unlike a magical staff grounding cosmic awareness into the earth plane.  Above the hermit is an image typically described as a Moon, but I can’t help thinking it also looks like the image of a Sun and Moon in union not unlike an eclipse, not unlike the Solar Eclipse the waning cycle coming after this Full Moon is leading us toward.  The eight cups are stacked in the foreground like a wall or a structural container giving space for penetrating inner awareness, with the base foundation of the stack wider and most solid.  Writing about the 8 of Cups, Kelsey Lynore analyzed that it “marks a significant turning away from tradition and that which has previously given you comfort. Your journey into the future will be long and arduous, leading directly into, and through, the darkness of night. The moon, symbol of the Unconscious, is your sole light and guide. Trust your body, trust your hunches, and trust your intuition. You shan’t be looking back. The 8 of Cups represents that moment when you must say ‘no’ to what is, so that you might create or discover that which will be.”

The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight.  As Austin Coppick wrote in his book on the decans 36 Faces, the “relationship with what lies beyond the boundaries characterizes all of Pisces’ decans,” and in the first face of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions” (p. 244):

Beneath the waves, deep within the labyrinth of images and constructs, lies a revelatory truth- we have always existed in this structure, but we are now only discovering it. When pursued consciously, this phase involves a quest to map invisible walls of reality, to find the subtle structures which guide human life . . .

The discovery of the labyrinth also brings with it the question of its maker, initiating a confrontation with the Demiurgos of the reality structure in question. On a personal level, it is the discovery of our unconscious, and the Maker we find is none other than ourselves . . .

The successful confrontation with the demonized demiurgos leads to an internalization of its power.  In discovering that it was none other than a portion of ourselves which erected this reality, we gain the power to build as we see fit, with what materials we have assembled.  The maze is ours to re-create, our soul the architect.  Yet sometimes the tortuous labyrinth holds within its secret heart a wisdom we did not expect. Its being is no abomination, but exactly as it should be. The realization transforms the structure itself from a prison to a palace. Liberation is achieved here through insight alone.

–Austin Coppock (p. 245) 36 Faces

The Full Moon in Pisces conjunct Neptune, opposite Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, is a culminating point of realization that leads us into a waning lunar cycle tapped into the vortex of the coming Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  We find ourselves in the atmosphere of Venus retrograde reborn as a Morning Star, united with Mars in full morning glory.  We are at a time in which the old and familiar is being eclipsed with finality by guiding lights arising out of darkness on the horizon, as from within prescient, visionary urges are instinctually helping us find our path on the earth at our feet.  Open yourself to the immense beauty of this large, glowing, radiant Moon in Pisces, and the one cherished life you are living.

And who has seen the moon, who has not seen
Her rise from out the chamber of the deep,
Flushed and grand and naked, as from the chamber
Of finished bridegroom, seen her rise and throw
Confession of delight upon the wave,
Littering the waves with her own superscription
Of bliss, till all her lambent beauty shakes toward us
Spread out and known at last, and we are sure
That beauty is a thing beyond the grave,
That perfect, bright experience never falls
To nothingness, and time will dim the moon
Sooner than our full consummation here
In this odd life will tarnish or pass away.

Moonrise by D.H. Lawrence

Pisces Full Moon August 29, 2015

References

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Venus Retrograde in Leo & Virgo

Venus Retrograde in Leo and Virgo

From the Clavis Artis manuscript at the Biblioteca Civica Hortis in Trieste courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Venus Retrograde

  • Venus stations retrograde at 0°46′ Virgo on July 25 and stations direct at 14°24′ Leo on September 6, 2015.
  • Inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, or “New Venus,” will be at 22°39′ Leo on August 15, 2015.
  • The shadow zone of Venus retrograde covering the stretch of time Venus is contained within the zodiac range of her retrograde is from June 21 through October 9, 2015.

Aphrodite arose in sea foam following a violent revolution, born in ocean waves with eyes cerulean as the sea and body fully formed with fertile hips and breasts. It is said she enchanted the eyes of onlookers with rapture and with each new step onto the earth created the bright colored growth of grass and flowers.  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.  Perhaps above all we link Venus with the inner values we hold most dear and which describe who and what we are attracted to and magnetize into our life, as well as how we project these inner needs into our outer relationships for better or for worse.  In The Picatrix the anonymous magical author wrote “Venus is the source of the power of flavor” (p. 134), and as we all know our tastes can change it is during Venus retrograde that we can experience essential transformation.

When Venus goes retrograde, she returns to her mythic origins connected with active rebellion and revolution.  During the Venus retrograde phase, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional, in-between space in which all established social norms are loosened to such an extent that we can experience a deep reevaluation of our inner values and how we are seeking to fulfill them in external relationships and structures. On a societal level, a realignment can occur within the power structure as well as between elements of the general populace and elements of the ruling class.  As this current Venus retrograde begins simultaneously with an exact square between Mars in Cancer and Uranus in Aries, it creates a charged atmosphere of rebellious confrontations and stormy emotions befitting the mythic origins of Aphrodite.  Amplifying the electricity further, a day after Venus stations retrograde, the shattering and liberating Uranus also stations retrograde on July 26 making the initiation of this Venus journey into the underworld intensely Uranian.  As a result we can find ourselves in great drama at the beginning of this Venus retrograde, and some of the initial experiences could be triggering in surprising ways.  While we could respond by investing passion into our roles in life like the Venus who adores stepping into the spotlight, it will be most important to take time to nurture and regenerate ourselves continually, whenever needed.

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.  The magical result of this is that every eight years, we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time (this all slowly shifts across time), so that there is a resonance from this time back to July through September of 2007, and then also to July through September of 1999 before that.

  • Previously on July 27, 2007 Venus stationed retrograde at 2°57′ Virgo and stationed direct at 16°36′ Leo on September 8, 2007. New Venus on August 18, 2007 at 24°51′ Leo.  Shadow zone of June 24 – October 12, 2007.
  • Previously on July 30, 1999 Venus stationed retrograde at 5°8′ Virgo and stationed direct at 18°47′ Leo on September 11, 1999. New Venus around August 20, 1999 at 27 Leo.  Shadow zone of June 26 – October 15, 1999.

This will be the last Venus retrograde that involves both Virgo and Leo, as the cycle will shift in 2022 to occurring entirely in Leo.  In the first half of the 20th Century the Venus retrograde cycle in this zone of the zodiac occurred entirely in Virgo until 1959, when it began to slide into the end of Leo.  With each successive eight year Venus retrograde (1967, 1975, 1983, 1991, 1999, 2007, 2015) it has moved deeper and deeper into Leo. In our current retrograde cycle, Venus entered Virgo during it’s “shadow zone” period on July 18, 2015 and will return to Leo retrograde on July 31, 2015- as a result we really only have about two weeks this time around with Venus in Virgo.  There is a thirty day “shadow” period on either side of the Venus retrograde cycle in which Venus is traversing the same zodiac degrees that are part of its retrograde motion.  Since the actual Venus retrograde lasts forty days, in all this gives us one hundred days to do the deep work of Venus.  As Venus is at it’s closest obit to the Earth during it’s retrograde phase, moving in between the Earth and the Sun, it means all things Venusian become intensified during this time.

Venus stations retrograde in Virgo

The Unicorne by Gustave Moreau

Venus conjunct Regulus in Virgo

There is a grandiose cosmic message revealed by Venus stationing conjunct the fixed star Regulus at the beginning of Virgo, as Regulus is the closest bright star to our ecliptic, only 0.46 degrees away.  Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is at the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195).   This Venus retrograde cycle beginning on this legendary fixed star means Venus stands still from our perspective aligned with Regulus for weeks, portending that the Venus retrograde will call us to reassess our values and ethics connected with ambition, power, courage, leadership, generosity, and the qualities we feel are “noble.”  If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been expressing ourselves and impacting others.  If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, circumstances or a burning sense from inside may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.

Regulus is also one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, the Watcher of the North associated with Raphael, the Archangel of Healing.  The angelic healer connection of Raphael to Regulus symbolically connects with the purifying quality of the Winged Virgin, the discerning nature of Virgo that can formulate the necessary medicine and healing practices that will cure whatever ails. Virgo is ruled by Mercury who heightens the Virgo ability to diagnose the appropriate use of medical arts to heal any fragmentation between the mind, body, and spirit.  Likewise, at the beginning of this Venus retrograde while Venus remains in Virgo, it is an excellent time to attune within and deduce whatever emotions, feelings, values, and patterns of relationship we will need to address, nurture, and heal.  Venus in the mutable Earth sign of the Winged Maiden can sense what issues the wisdom of our body is directing us toward, so making the time and space to regularly attend to your body now will help you prepare for the forty nights and days ahead in the retrograde.  As Virgo is crafty and Venus loves the arts, if you are someone who is artistic in some way then it can also be a powerful time to transmute the issues needing to be healed through the process of creating within an artistic medium.

Venus in this initial time of the retrograde in Virgo is a bright Evening Star, and while taking on the rebellious characteristics of her retrograde phase, she has more tendencies toward creating harmony than she will later in her retrograde after entering her Morning Star phase.  Venus stays in Virgo through the powerful Aquarius Full Moon on July 31, shifting into Leo about five hours after the exact timing of the lunation.  Thus, on July 31 we receive an illuminated Aquarian message linked to Venus retrograde in Virgo at this beginning phase of the journey ahead.  As Venus leaves Virgo to enter Leo, her significations shift into issues of creative calling and actualization, leadership, solar flair, validation, and procreative force. Venus stays in her Evening Star phase through the first week of August, and then by mid-August disappears from view into the underworld.

Venus Retrograde in Leo

by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Venus Cycles with Jupiter and Saturn

Venus re-enters the sign of Leo on July 31, 2015 and into aspects with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Scorpio that will promote great change in our personal lives as well as in our collective.  In many ways it is Saturn in Scorpio that takes center stage at this time, as a day after Venus enters Leo, Saturn stations direct on August 1, 2015 after having been retrograde since March 14, 2015.  Yet in truth this time is about the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn and the long history of their use in astrology to interpret collective stages within our world.  On August 3, 2015 the current Jupiter and Saturn cycle finally initiates the last quarter square phase between them.  Our current Jupiter and Saturn cycle began May 28, 2000 at 23 degrees of Taurus in the tropical zodiac, and so we are now at the pivotal last quarter square aspect that turns back for a review of everything that has occurred during this past cycle in order to release what no longer serves us in preparation for the new cycle between Saturn and Jupiter that arrives on December 21, 2020 at the first degree of Aquarius.  The last quarter square was famously described as a “crisis in consciousness” by astrologer Dane Rudhyar, and so on a personal level while we sense a visionary, expansive, solar quality of Jupiter pulling us forward like a courageous Lion, we simultaneously feel the constrictive force of Saturn in the penetrating sign of the Scorpion demanding that we utilize it’s scythe to clear and re-structure our belief system at a fundamental level in order to create fertile soil for our new vision to ultimately take root in the years ahead.

The quality Venus embodies in her retrograde phase of rebelling against the status quo and re-centering within on the raw values taking shape in our psyche is like a magical elixir that makes this last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter even more powerful.  The day after Jupiter and Saturn form their exact square, Venus becomes conjunct Jupiter on August 4 and then a day later Venus also forms an exact last quarter square with Saturn on August 5.  This means that we once again experience a conjunction of Venus with Jupiter with the crucial difference of Venus being retrograde, also meaning that after Venus has her underworld journey and emerges again as a Morning Star, that she will eventually return to conjunct Jupiter a third time in Virgo on October 25, 2015.  Astrologer Gary Caton has written that having three conjunctions between Jupiter and Venus in the same year only happened recently in 1967 and 1991, both years of radical creativity in the artistic and musical realm in our collective.  With Venus retrograde conjunct Jupiter and in square to Saturn at this point, it means we have deep inner clearing to do regarding our beliefs around feelings of inner self worth and our external patterns of relationship.  It seems that if we haven’t realized the message we need to work on at this point, events will force us into necessary awareness.

If that were not enough, there is an even deeper magical planetary element to add to this witches brew of transformation:  Mercury.  The day after the exact last quarter square between Venus and Saturn, Mercury swings through on August 6 and becomes conjunct Venus first and then later in the day becomes exactly square to Saturn.  The following day on August 7, Mercury becomes conjunct Jupiter in Leo.  In alchemy, Mercury is the soul energy utilized to anchor Spirit into the Body or Matter, and similarly Mercury is serving here as a cosmic binding to help us integrate the transformational changes of this week in our mind, body, and soul.  Since Mercury unites with Jupiter after squaring Saturn, the result is a heightened ability to look at our life and our past in an entirely new way, rooted in self-reflection of our past experiences.  Mercury could present us at this time with stimulating new information or a vital new message to receive that helps shift our perspective.

Venus inferior Conjunction

by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Venus Inferior Conjunction

By August 11, Venus will have set as an Evening Star and we will no longer be able to see Venus at night, as she will have symbolically entered the Underworld stage of her journey.  While we may attempt to direct the rays of the Sun with our Venusian mirrors to help us look better or feel better about ourselves, the more we can step into the full flames of the Solar Rays the more we can experience a fiery purification of our past Venusian values in preparation for the new cycle between the Sun and Venus.  On August 15, 2015 we experience the Inferior Conjunction of Venus with the Sun, when Venus goes cazimi into the heart of the Sun and forms an exact conjunction.  The Inferior Conjunction of Venus happens when Venus is exactly orbiting between our Earth and our Sun, and so it symbolizes the meaning of a NEW VENUS much like a New Moon in our life.

This is a powerful day to go within and set intentions for what you want to magnetize and attract into your life in the new cycle ahead.  Astrologer Anne Massey in her book Venus wrote that since the rose is a symbol of Venus, we can imagine ourselves at the New Venus as being a rose bud wet with morning dew, delicately beginning to unfold into a blooming rose at Full Venus.  The Full Venus is the Superior Conjunction that occurs when Venus moves direct into the heart of the Sun, orbiting on the other side of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Within the five pointed star formed by the Venus retrograde cycle, we experience a Full Venus four years after a New Venus close to the same day and zodiac degree.  In this case, we will end up having a Full Venus occur on August 14, 2019 at 21°11′ of Leo.  Integrating the other points of the five pointed star, the last Superior Conjunction of Venus occurred on October 25, 2014 at 2 degrees of Scorpio, and the next one occurs on June 6, 2016 at 17 degrees of Gemini.

VenusInferiorConjunctWRIGC3

Bringing in the other astrological aspects of this Inferior Conjunction, it is notable that Jupiter will have recently ingressed into Virgo and is conjunct the Moon in Virgo, and Mercury the ruler of Virgo is in it’s own sign of Virgo and applying to a conjunction with Juno in Virgo, separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces.  There is potential to gain a new sense of the deepest levels of our being at this time, yet in order to receive the insight of this healing perspective it is necessary to strip away illusions of control and to utilize the capacity of Mercury in its Sage phase of Evening Star to open yourself to fully experience the process of your unconscious at work.  As Carl Jung wrote in his Alchemical Studies:

We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this is an art of which most people know nothing. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, never leaving the psychic processes to grow in peace.

Venus in Leo Strength

Strength arcanum illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus conjunct Mars

Following the New Venus of August 15, Venus begins to shift into a Morning Star, re-emerging from her Underworld journey around August 23.  As Venus as an Evening Star is more about seeking harmony and attuning with the needs of others in relationship, Venus as a Morning Star is more about going after what we feel we are worth and desire.  It is also important to realize that while on individual levels there is great healing and self-renewal potentially available at the time of the Inferior Conjunction of Venus, on a collective level the vast majority of people are not tuned into this perspective and so events surrounding us could become incredibly dramatic and rife with conflict.  The Morning Star Venus can be more aggressive and linked to the blood-thirsty aspect of the Goddess seen in figures such as the lion-headed Sekhmet who can become intoxicated by the spilling of blood.  Along these lines, Inanna as the planetary Venus in its Morning Star phase was described by the ancient Sumerians in the translated text “The Lady of the Morning” from the Seven Hymns to Inanna:

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 . . .

When 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.

Further amplifying feelings of desire and drama in relationships is the fact that with each day of the second half of August, Mars in Leo gets closer and closer to becoming conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo.  On September 1, 2015 the second conjunction between Mars and Leo is initiated at 14°55 of Leo.  Following this conjunction, as Venus stations direct Mars begins to separate but never gets too far away from Venus, who begins chasing after Mars until they eventually become conjunct a third time on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  This time of transition from the end of August through the beginning of September, with Venus beginning to station, unites the fiery desire of Mars in Leo to pursue new creative endeavors with a Venus bearing her soul in Leo at the depths of her Underworld journey.  This is not yet a time to have gained clarity, and more so a time to instinctually sense what we are in a process of outgrowing as well as what we are beginning to initiate in a process of becoming.

Wilderness Lion

by Walter Crane

Venus stations Direct

Venus finally stations direct on September 6, 2015 at 14°23′ of Leo, with Mars about four degrees away at a little over 18 degrees of Leo.  Flipping through the vast catalogue of images associated with the Leo II decan from numerous ancient texts in Austin Coppock’s book on the decans 36 Faces, in order to get a sense of the variety of images associated with this section of the zodiac, I was struck by how many of them described a man carrying a bow and arrow or sword, fierce with anger like a lion and sometimes even dressed like a lion.  A good example is by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which the image is described as “A man with his hands raised, with a crown on his head, and the form of a man angry and threatening. In his right hand he has a drawn sword and in the left a round shield.”  The power given to this image by Agrippa is that “It has the significations over hidden quarrels, unknown victories, over vile men, and occasions of lawsuits and battles.”  Fascinatingly to me, despite the wide use of images associated with conflict and fierceness across a wide variety of texts, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs of the Zodiac gave the Leo II decan to Isis, the great Goddess of Love, Devotion, Healing, and Magic.

In case you wonder why I am including here references to images associated with the Leo II decan found in ancient magical texts, it is because I feel there is a resonance between them and the current events we will experience when Venus stations direct in the Leo II decan at the beginning of September.  Following Venus stationing direct, we will feel a stronger push from inside to go after what we value and feel we are worth, as we settle into the energy of Venus direct as a Morning Star in Leo.  As Leo is known for creating drama and assertively standing up for itself and others when brought into conflict, the fierce figures found in the old images of this decan make sense from the standpoint that we will have regenerated an impassioned sense of authenticity from the retrograde journey of Venus that we will want to have the freedom to begin to express into our environment and relationships.  The divine figure of Isis being also associated with this decan brings the added meaning that this new authentic self-worth we develop from this Venus retrograde will involve the healing of past soul fragmentation so that we feel more whole and better able to act in accordance with genuine inner values through our personality.  As Austin Coppock summarized about the Leo II decan in 36 Faces:

This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.  The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees. Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born.  (p. 129)

Indeed, no matter what circles of drama or conflict we become drawn into during this Venus retrograde, in totality the tension and strife will demand that we transform the impetus of our personality to fit in with the values of others around us into a burning purpose from within that will give us the ability to more directly express our true nature and values into the world around us.

Anahita on Lion

Image of Anahita on Lion

References

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1973). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Greer, John Michael and Warnock, Chris. (2010 – 2011).  Translation of The Picatrix: Liber Atratus Edition. Adocentyn Press.

Massey, Anne. (2006). Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols, & Myths. Llewellyn.

Robson, Vivian. (1969). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. The Aquarian Press.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel N. (1983).  Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Harper & Row.

Tending the Fire of the Virgo Full Moon

Michael_Maier_Atalanta_Fugiens_Emblem_22

Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens

The Full Moon on March 5 glows radiant in the sign of the winged Virgin, and her presence can help us tend the fiery trine between Jupiter retrograde in Leo and the new conjunction between Venus and Uranus in Aries.  What’s more, the flames of the exact trine between Jupiter, Venus and Uranus are further ignited by Saturn in Sagittarius and an exact conjunction between Mars and the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Virgo is an internally contemplative sign, and so this Full Moon appearing with Jupiter in the depths of its retrograde journey will reveal the self-absorbed delusions of grandeur we have been harboring that need mitigating.  As a result the inspiration of the grand fire trine of transits can spark realization of how to shed ego obsession and re-align to serve the larger whole of our reality, a helpful course of action considering the multitude of people angrily operating without self-awareness currently.  Yet we do not want to hold ourselves back with self-criticism to the extent that we rationalize away the possibility of pursuing our dearest desires, or avoid examining pressing issues out of fear of wounding ourselves.  Instead, like the woman in the alchemical image above minding the fire cooking her cauldrons, it will be best to take action aligned with our vision and withstand the heat to remain actively mindful of the ever-changing point we are enacting in our process.

Mercury in Aquarius rules the Full Moon and is our guide to how to infuse spirit into our work and inspired vision into daily grounding.  Crucially, Mercury at the time of the Full Moon is closely conjunct Vesta in Aquarius and so integrates the focused, sacred fire sustaining priestess into a greater clarification of Aquarian perception.  In the classic Hermes: Guide of Souls, Karl Kerenyi described the connection between Hermes (Mercury) and Hestia (Vesta):

Hermes’ connection to the center of the house, to the goddess of the hearth, is attested by a Homeric hymn to Hestia . . . He guides souls out of his realm- the world of paths and roads- back into the warm life of the household, which in Greek signifies the “family.” In his official capacity as mediator between the worlds of night and day, spirits and men, and (standing before the temple) between the worlds of gods and mankind, he is . . . closely related to door hinges and therefore to the entrance but also to a middle point, to the socket, about which revolves the most decisive issue, namely the alternation life-death-life . . . Through Hermes, every house became an opening and a point of departure to the paths that come from far off and lead away into the distance.  Standing at the doorway, he indicates that here is a source of life and death, a place where souls can break in, as through he were pointing out a spring of fresh water.  — Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls, pages 102-103

Being centered at “home” will accentuate our ability to receive the light of this Virgo Full Moon, and the revelation could guide us into how best to house the vivifying spirit or soulful desires we feel deeply and wish to experience manifested.  We do not need to be living in our ideal home or even necessarily have a home, but rather we need to claim a personal space to feel secure within and create an outlet through which to express ourselves.  Since Mercury was recently exactly opposite Jupiter in Leo, our Hermetic guide brings an objective analysis of our developing truth to its conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius.  Vesta unveils the importance of focused, determined action and concentration we can wield with discipline to cut through any fogginess or cacophonous clutter in our environment.  With the illumination of this Virgo Full Moon, Mercury has finally exited its retrograde shadow zone and so the mental processing we have been engaged in since the recent Mercury retrograde cycle began on January 21, 2015 can now more fully elucidate the relevant issues.  Since Mercury and Vesta in Aquarius are also now sextile to the Uranus and Venus conjunction in Aries, the full reflected light of this coming full moon can bring breakthrough insight to help solve our recent dilemmas.

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Sardonyx cameo of a nymph riding a centaur (Hellenistic, 1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D.)

Our two great lights of this Full Moon are each conjunct symbols of wounding, rejection, and heroic salvation, with the Sun in Pisces conjunct Chiron, and the Moon in Virgo conjunct Black Moon Lilith.  Since Mars is also conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, we could experience amplified feelings of anger and frustration if we become overwhelmed by shadow side connections to Virgo such as guilt, lack, emptiness, and perfectionism that leads to self-criticism for falling short on our ideals.  However, Mars affixed to the South Node in Aries can also coincide with an impulsive or instinctual release of an essential element of our nature that will be vital for us to reflect upon.  In this atmosphere the full light of the Virgo Moon will spiral deep within our core, and the reflected awareness will sharpen our discernment on which practical strategies will be best to focus on to modify our behavior and goals to flow more harmoniously with the chaotic changes erupting in our surroundings.  The key is to tune into the spirituality we can find in the ever changing moment of our mundane livelihood, and to listen to the messages found in the soul material of our environment.  A Virgo Full Moon is perfect for shining light on a prudent path to follow that will help us utilize our essential gifts if we keep our consciousness focused on self-acceptance rather than harsh self-judgment.

In this way it is important to realize this Virgo Full Moon is in a harmonious aspect to Pluto in Capricorn and is connected to the seventh and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that will occur in a couple weeks in the waning phase of the current Moon cycle.   The Virgo Moon will be in trine to Pluto and the Pisces Sun will be in sextile to Pluto, meaning that instead of resisting or being in denial of the deep pull of our Plutonic soul desires, the Full Moon can help us realize the changes of necessity we will need to surrender to that we can no longer avoid experiencing.  With the Sun conjunct Chiron and the Moon conjunct Black Moon Lilith, we can then not only uncover and embody more of our deepest nature, we can also foster the courage to assert our beliefs and passions in the face of surrounding criticism, knowing that by pursuing our deeply felt passion we will in turn manifest a creation that will be meaningful for others of like-mind.

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The Passing of Venus (1898) Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Indeed, the burning fires of passion that can coincide with Venus being conjunct Uranus in Aries and in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Leo is the great gift of this Full Moon to open.  In the sequence of zodiac signs that begin with Aries and end in Leo, there is a journey of our personal development from a sense of essential individuality in Aries to it’s ultimate creative actualization in Leo.  The brilliant light of Jupiter illuminating our night these days is like the traditional wishing star that pulls forward our unique gifts and talents (Venus conjunct Uranus in Aries) into such a strong desire to make them real that we discover a way for us to make our sense of destiny actually happen.

Virgo is the sign that follows Leo and tempers the Lion’s delusions of grandeur so that we can interact harmoniously in our intimate partnerships and effectively in our collaborative relationships.  Virgo also makes the tense and awkward 150° inconjunct aspect to Aries, and this Virgo Full Moon will be closely inconjunct the conjunction of Venus and Uranus in Aries.  In evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, this waxing inconjunct aspect is associated with the Virgo archetype and correlates to a feeling of special destiny or vision that we feel deeply called to pursue, and yet simultaneously brings a sense that we are not ready to achieve our ambition.  A potential negative consequence is that instead of taking action toward our desire we instead make excuses through rationalization why we should not bother asserting ourselves toward our dream, all the while observing with tremendous envy other individuals successfully actualizing the same desired path, ambition, or vocation.  The conjunction between Venus and Uranus that is also in trine to Jupiter in Leo is so full of great promise that it would be a huge missed opportunity to follow this line of thought and talk ourselves out of making liberating choices forward.  A solution is to focus on understanding why we do not feel ready to successfully manifest our dream, and then actively engage in strategies and actions to improve and work on the areas of our Self we realize we need to enhance in order to be effective.

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The Mirror of Venus (1875) by Edward Burne-Jones

We are filled with a sense of magic and lightness when we stare into a luminous Full Moon, and this lustrous dazzlement is a moment to seize in remembrance of what we hold dear to our hearts, in contrast to the heartache caused by the disappointments felt in our day-to-day existence.  For those tuned into the news cycle of current events, there is no end to the horror show of savage murders, betrayals, and mass killings berating our perception.  In our personal lives, the huge influx of Mars, Venus, Uranus, and the South Node of the Moon combined in Aries has likely made us need to confront anger from others or feelings of anger wanting to erupt from within ourselves.  The South Node of the Moon is often connected to either our past lives or habitual complexes in astrology, but remembering that all of the planets have nodes and not just the Moon, we can also think of it as signifying the entire past arc of the Moon archetype in our lives.  Mars and Venus having initiated a new cycle of relationship and desire for us around the time of the past New Moon, at this Full Moon we can feel a burning sense of all our past desires we have not yet experienced, or confront issues from our past that did not turn out the way we had originally hoped.

Instead of feeling guilty or mired in lack, wanting to distract ourselves with meaningless busyness, gaze into the mirror reflection of this Full Moon with the awareness of how beautiful it is also to be simply alive and incarnate in your body.  In the space between our current self and societal position and the sense of where our higher nature wants us to be, open your mind with discrimination toward practical, simple steps you can begin to take today to bridge the distance.  There is a Mercurial discernment of Venusian refinement into our essential nature available now that will lead to discovery of key ingredients in our process of creating our desired work of beauty.

pixie imagination

by Pamela Colman Smith

Opening our mind to new visions found along our daily path can bring true inspiration now.  Instead of searching far and wide for an imagined ideal Muse, sometimes we need to remember that we already have Muses surrounding us and we simply need to invite them to lay down with us in our field of awareness.  When the Moon is full in Virgo in opposition to the Sun in Pisces, we receive signs of how we can align our personal will with a higher will, how we can align our thoughts and behavior with the soul of our surroundings.  This current Virgo Full Moon is in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and so brings in productive, fertile earth energy into an otherwise stormy mix of planets in fire, air, and water signs.  A personal sojourn into the green world, removed from as much of the modern excess of electronics as possible, will be a fantastic activity for this Full Moon time if you can manage it.  Connecting with trees and birdsong on wild paths of untended decomposition and burgeoning growth is a perfect setting to contemplate the concerns coinciding with a full lunation in the mutable Earth sign of Virgo.

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9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

This Virgo Full Moon by zodiac degree falls within the Virgo II decan which is ruled by Venus.  The associated tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith displays a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure lifting her trained falcon within a grapevine estate.  This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces astutely analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it is a bird of prey that feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes.  In this way, Coppock stated that when we delight in the end product of a glass of wine, “The beauty of the finished product of the process conceals the pain and toil utterly necessary for its creation . . . It is only through heat, force and sweat that the most delicate and elegant works are created” (p. 145).  Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:

Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus.  On an emotional level, the visions that stain this face teach one not to be repulsed by process, nor to be glamoured by the apparent perfection of a finished thing.  On a practical level, this face brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof.  The residents of this decan oversee the ever-transforming world, guiding and shaping the Great Work on a microcosmic level.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 146

There is nothing easy about this time we inhabit, but the hard work we exhibit today, the monstrous emotions we feel temporarily overwhelmed by, the radiant glow of bliss we contact in a perfect moment, it all feeds the form we are breathing within in this moment.  Discard feelings of anxiety over not being in the exact job or relationship you want right now, or having not enacted your envisioned plan yet.  This is an important Full Moon to listen to, as it prepares us for the upcoming eclipse season that stretches from the March Equinox into the month of April, pointing us in the direction of necessary modifications needed in our current process.  In the end we will all benefit from the final product you create out of your present dilemmas and circumstances.

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References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Super Pisces Full Moon

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Morris Graves, The Moon and the Sea (1941)

The Full Moon on September 8 is another Super Moon, meaning that the Moon will be as close to Earth as it gets in orbit, appearing larger in our sky, having a more extreme impact on the tides of our water, and looming larger in our consciousness as well (the term Super Moon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle and can refer to either a New Moon or Full Moon).  This Pisces Full Moon is also the traditional Harvest Moon in the northern hemisphere, meaning it is the Full Moon closest to the Autumn Equinox.  This is the fifth and final Super Moon of 2014, and the third “Super” Full Moon in a row (July 12 and August 10, 2014 were also Full Super Moons): a time to reap insights from this past year of experiences before we head into the eclipse season of October 2014.

This Full Moon will be stirring up the lunar waters of our emotions and perceptions in the second decan of Pisces (there are three decans, ten degrees each, in the thirty degrees of each sign in the zodiac).  In the recently published 36 Faces, Austin Coppock discerned a core concept of Pisces II: integrating into our material realm the spiritual insights and ideals found in the seeker’s plunge into the deep:

Here the central concept is how to reconcile one’s understandings of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is. It is thus a face of finding harmony with apparent reality of things while living and embodying one’s ideals . . . This is the phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are. The result of this successful reconciliation is “Happiness,” which the associated Nine of Cups takes as its name in The Book of Thoth. The result of an inability to reconcile one with the other, will, however, yield the inverse- misery, the state of one for whom there is no harmony between their inner and outer (p. 251-52).

During 2014 we have had many transits correlating to a greater capacity to go within and explore the subterranean world of our unconscious, our deep-set patterns, and all the gems and ghosts within our psyche.  If we have done the hard work of connecting to our true ideals we may feel shocked when re-entering the world at large and not sensing an outlet or receiver for the cherished beliefs we unearthed, the vision resonate with our more fully realized self.  A Super Moon illuminating the polarity of the Pisces and Virgo axis in the Pisces II decan is like wading out of the ocean under a starry sky ablaze with the glow of a luminous white Moon, feeling aglow with an inexpressible sense of pure being as we take our first steps onto moist sand that turns drier with each step back toward land and away from water.

As the insights into the divine or the eternal we received in our oceanic sojourn are essentially inexpressible or impossible to be captured in a true form, the importance at this time is what we do exactly with the presence we have felt within and how we integrate what we have sensed of the profound into our mundane daily reality.  If we deny ourselves our blissful yearning, if we choose to focus on the realistic, secure, and safe direction instead of risking faith in the unknown beckoning us from our depths, we run the risk of living an unfulfilled life that no level of material security may remedy.  And yet this is the crux of this potent lunation, as the Virgo to the Pisces going on wants us to integrate what we have managed to perceive beyond the boundaries of our consensus societal reality into this same society whose folly we can see through.

Jupiter is a key at this time to help us intuit how to function in our world, as Jupiter is a ruler of the second decan of Pisces in addition to ruling the sign of Pisces traditionally.  Jupiter is in Leo at the time of the Harvest Full Moon, and this fiery Jupiter that wants us to creatively actualize our destiny is holding intense aspects to two mythic figures rooted in harvest equinox time:  Pluto and Ceres.  As a result, we likely have attachments that we will have to release, crippling inner fears that must be made aware to be overcome.  There could be a sacrificial element in all of this in which we must willingly or unwillingly release what is no longer useful to the future that is calling us forward, to which we feel we must surrender.

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Amphitrite and Neptune, 16th Century French, Lead

Many modern astrologers believe that Neptune in Pisces, and not Jupiter in Leo, is ruling this Full Moon. No matter what your astrological belief, however, Neptune in Pisces looms large at this time, as Venus in Virgo is opposite it.  In fact, Neptune in Pisces has been integral to the entire waxing Moon we have been experiencing, as the last New Moon in Virgo was opposite Neptune.  While Neptune enjoys itself in Pisces, Venus has not been known to have such a rollicking time in Virgo and in fact has been given the label of being in its “fall” in Virgo.  This is because Virgo is seen as a mental sign of critical discrimination that may not be open to all of the pleasure that Venus has to offer.  But while Virgo may be seen by some as too judgmental and too much of a perfectionist for the good of Venus, we also find here in the fertile Virgin the ultimate spiritual receptacle capable of receiving the full expanse of the illumination available at this time.

Venus in Virgo opposite Neptune in Pisces at a time of the Sun in Virgo being opposite a Pisces Moon of great gravity brings with it the issue of reality versus illusion, and spiritual discernment versus spiritual delusion.   Everything depends upon the quality of one’s consciousness at this time and one’s capacities of perception:  some could experience an epiphany whereas others could find themselves lost in a fog of illusion.   Going within, getting away from the associations overwhelming your everyday reality, re-connecting with your source inside of yourself, all of these are ways to help you figure out what is really brewing in between your gut, heart, and mind.  Venus in Virgo can help us with discernment, but we also do not want to discriminate to such a degree that we cut ourselves off from desires connected to us getting more in touch with our authentic self because of a judgmental sense that these desires are not realistic, practical, or capable of manifesting for us in our reality at this time.  This is tricky terrain with no easy answers, so do not take the easy way out.  Connecting with your authentic nature, actualizing more of your core calling, is not only good for you, it is good for all of us.

Along these lines this intensity between Virgo and Pisces is amplified to the highest extremes by Chiron in Pisces being conjunct the Full Moon and opposite the Virgo Sun. In combination with Venus in Virgo opposing Neptune in Pisces, there is an electrical charge to the atmosphere at this time instigating flashes of insight into the entire collective story swirling around all of us, including not only the full arch of this epic storyline across time but also how exactly we are fitting into it in this moment of now.  Yes, Chiron is associated with wounds and we may have a gaping wound of our psyche exposed at this time. Yes, Chiron is associated with unflinching heroism, and we may seize the opportunity to take a courageous stand against the sickening oppression saturating our collective.  Yes, Chiron is associated with healing, and we may suddenly notice something in our environment at this time that is the exact remedy capable of nurturing our needs or injuries.  It may be an overplayed storyline that we are all connected but it is nonetheless true, and we can now more easily feel the inter-connectivity of all and the resulting significance of every daily choice we make contributing at least a small ripple to the wider tides.

amaranth by leo kenney

Amaranth by Leo Kenny

If one opens perception to the asteroid goddesses, there is a Grand Water Trine occurring at this Full Moon between Juno in Cancer, Saturn conjunct Vesta in Scorpio, and the Full Moon conjunct Chiron in Pisces.  This triangular circuit is a mainline into the undercurrents and emotional atmosphere of our surroundings and beyond into the greater collective consciousness of this time.  As there has been a lot of darkness and despair in current events, it would be wise to focus on self-care to purify and nourish our sense of self so that negativity around us does not lead us to turn it on ourselves.  It will please Juno to withdraw for a time in order to develop a greater capacity to return to relationships with a renewed ability to nurture, and Vesta collaborating with Saturn in Scorpio is not going to want us to be in denial of where our focus truly needs to be directed at this time.  All together these aspects align well with the earlier stated intent of this Full Moon in Pisces being about integrating our ideals in some way into our environment.  If we cut ourselves off from our ideal, from that cherished person, desire, or belief that makes us feel alive, these same aspects could make us spin out in despair. We need to use the supreme sustaining power of Vesta and Saturn in Scorpio to find a way to bring our dreams into our reality in whatever way we can right now.

A fortuitous ally in this pursuit will be Pallas Athena, who is joining her supreme creative intelligence with Mercury in the sign of Libra.  This Pallas Athena-Mercury conjunction has a lot of aspects at this Full Moon:  opposite Uranus in Aries, square Pluto in Capricorn, sextile Jupiter in Leo, opposite the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  Mercury and Venus are having somewhat of an affair at this time, as they are in the mutual receptivity of Venus being in the sign ruled by Mercury and Mercury being in the sign ruled by Venus.  Add in the crafty Pallas Athena to the equation and we have a mix that can help us strategize a creative use of our spiritual perceptions, as both Mercury and Pallas Athena can perceive in between worlds.  Since the material world may seem to be operating on a more distasteful wavelength than the vibe of our desired vision, we may need to be assertively evoke Pallas Athena to preside over the manifestation of our ideal:

Female and male, the arts of war are thine,
Fanatic, much-formed dragoness, divine:
Over the Phlegrean giants, roused to ire,
Thy coursers driving, with destruction dire.
Sprung from the head of Jove, of splendid mien,
Purger of evils, all-victorious queen.
Hear me, O Goddess, when to thee I pray,
With supplicating voice both night and day,
And in my latest hour, give peace and health,
Propitious times, and necessary wealth,
And, ever present, be thy votaries aid,
O, much implored, art’s parent, blue-eyed maid.

–from the Orphic Hymn to the Goddess Athena

http://www.goddess-athena.org/Encyclopedia/Rituals/Hymns/Orphic.htm

We will need Pallas Athena to lend all of her dynamic power to a Mercury in Libra that can move between worlds to unite us with our beloved in the form of a Venus in Virgo receiving emanations from Neptune, because we must face the crisis and catharsis associated with Pluto in Capricorn.  For many of us this is the power structure surrounding us and the constraints and impositions of hierarchical societal systems that do not seem to be open to us pursuing our yearnings and instead seem to want to enslave us through needs to pay off debts, rents, bills, and so on.  Coming in for additional support, however, are a couple of heavyweights who know how to handle Pluto:  Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries.  At the time of the Full Moon, Jupiter and Uranus are beginning to enter a trine of Fire, and though Mercury, Pallas Athena, and Uranus are all square to Pluto, the Sun and Full Moon hold harmonious aspects to the Lord of the Underworld.  All together these are yet another sign that we can have the ability at this time to ignite ourselves from within and configure a way to integrate more of our ideals into our reality.

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Offering by Morris Graves, 1957

All of the Scorpio energy in recent times seems to be heavy on the hearts of many: Ceres, Vesta, Saturn, and Mars all in Scorpio, with Ceres tightly in a square to Jupiter in Leo at the moment.  Jupiter is also inconjunct Pluto in Capricorn, and so our desire to integrate our ideals or insights into our society at this time will be difficult, it will mean we have to release attachments and suffer losses, but it is entirely possible.  There has been a piercing quality to this energy making it difficult if not impossible to be in denial of our core feelings or hide from the truth being revealed about the identity for ourselves we have been fixated upon.  However, Mars is now entering the end of the final decan of Scorpio, giving us a final period of time to root ourselves further into our deepest soul desires.  The more we can connect with our authentic desires with the aid of this luminous Full Moon, the better, for Mars next enters Sagittarius and by the end of September we will have a Grand Fire Trine of Mars in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, and Jupiter in Leo to propel us forward with passion toward our ideal.

So much Scorpio energy could have been coinciding with fears of betrayal or being betrayed, grasping and clinging to attachments we are afraid we could lose.  And yet, in Scorpio we also find our capacity to release and regenerate, to enter a death of our old ego identity in order to rebirth a more fully realized self. For now, remember that dark times are necessary in order to fully savor the light, we must become aware of our fears to overcome our inner inhibitions, and we have to realize what we do not want in order to know what we do want.  And if you allow me to insert yet another cliche here, we are at a reaping time: so don’t fear the reaper.

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References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces. Three Hands Press.

New Moon in Virgo

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Astarte

This New Moon in Virgo is a potent seeding time that will wax into the fifth and final Super Moon of the year, this time in Pisces.  Mercury, angelic messenger and guide of souls, is the ruler of this New Moon and gracefully moving as an evening star through his exaltation of Virgo.  Mercury is beyond fifteen degrees in front of the Sun, an excellent stage in Mercury’s cycle to assimilate and integrate past reflection with focused pragmatism in the present, especially considering that Mercury is home in Virgo.  Giving Mercury additional electricity is an opposition from Chiron in Pisces which can give us the courage to face whatever is arising in our environment and discern far reaching insight that can turn the tide and light a path in front of us.  The key is to be present with an active and alert Mercury and find practical outlets to move the energy we receive at this time through an intentional mode of expression of our choosing.  Profound insight into the meaning of our circumstances is available and with this New Moon we can focus on planting a solution to our dilemmas that we can tend with the presence of the Virgin.

Last Quarter Square between Venus and Mars

At the time of the New Moon, Mars in Scorpio will be entering into a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio which is probably the most attention grabbing aspect of this time.  However, throughout this past year I have been tracking the current cycle between Venus and Mars that began in April 2013, and as the exact last quarter square between them will occur soon after the New Moon while the Moon is still in Virgo, I want to delve into its meaning first.  As I previously wrote about in my Mars retrograde in Libra post, we experienced a very drawn out first quarter square and then experienced the opposition of their cycle around May 11, 2014.  Today at the last quarter square, Venus and Mars are not facing off by themselves, instead having each made allegiances with a powerful other.  For Mars in Scorpio, it is a balsamic conjunction with Saturn occurring at the lunation, while for Venus in Leo, it is a balsamic conjunction with Black Moon Lilith.  Make sure to look in your chart for where 17 degrees of Leo is for how Venus is impacting you, and for 18 degrees of Scorpio to see how Mars and Saturn are stirring things up for you.

As I have been doing so far in my writing about the current Venus and Mars cycle, I am drawing upon the work of Jeffrey Wolf Green because I have found his method of exploring their cyclical archetypes to feel resonate with my own experiences as well as with people whose chart I’ve been working with.  Green took the meaning behind Dane Rudhyar’s lunation cycle and applied it to the cycle between Venus and Mars through the lens of his evolutionary astrology.  To start with, reflect back for a moment to the time of April 6, 2013 and what relationships and desires arose or you felt called toward.  The conjunction at that time was at 20 degrees of Aries, so this cycle connects with the Mars archetype and a yearning that came out of that time for a sense of a personal destiny we wanted the freedom to pursue, despite personal circumstances that may not have been adequately aligned to manifest.  

Now Venus is no longer in Aries but is rather in Leo, and this means that our previously primal urge for self exploration has now developed into a fully conscious sense of our creative potential. This is because  Venus in Leo possesses an inner focus that demands creative self-actualization.  Venus in Leo hears the call and sees the vision, and she has the inner radiance bright enough to take a stand to actualize herself however she desires.  This inner shining is an even brighter light at the moment because Venus has recently passed through a conjunction with Jupiter in Leo, and now she is joining up with the defiantly authentic and independent Black Moon Lilith, an archetype that doesn’t give a damn what you think of it.  Black Moon Lilith is not afraid of being an outcast if necessary to stay true to her values, yet as Demetra George has written she is also a resolution point wherein we are not a rebel without a cause, but rather a purposeful rebel whose path takes us deeper into our core self.

This vibrant Leo energy is powerful stuff for the last quarter square between Mars and Venus, because at this stage in their cycle our soul desires to expand into a more universal awareness and we desire to journey beyond our surrounding culture and society, with a willingness to let go of the limitations of our socially defined role and the culture of wherever we are currently living.  At this time we may feel a desire to learn about and merge with ideas from other cultures that give us a different perspective on the meaning of our life.  A crisis emerges because while we desire to live and interact within our current culture, we want to be able to do this while questioning everything about it and the meaning of everything at the same time.  As a result, we may feel alienated and think about withdrawing from society.  Hopefully, the presence of Black Moon Lilith with Venus in Leo will coincide with us overcoming the challenge of maintaining our integration in society while allowing for an inner expansion concurrently.

This lustful Leo energy will also desire an intimate partner who shares an affinity with our soul, someone who is on a similar path with us and shares our values and passions in life.  While this may seem like a typical romantic dream, at this stage in the Venus and Mars cycle it is more like an essential urge that demands satisfaction.  If we are in a relationship, but our current partner is not aligned with us on a soul level, great conflicts around our values could erupt at this time.  We could then experience a sense of increasing alienation in our relationship, a feeling that we have no basis of being able to relate in a meaningful way.  We fortunately do have a strong Virgo Mercury right now ruling the Virgo New Moon to help us discern if it is time to set intention to leave a present relationship behind, or stay rooted and attempt to see if a mediation of differences is possible or not.

In any case, conflict and criticism in our relationships will be difficult to handle with Venus in Leo, as Leo Venus wants positive feedback, and with Venus being in square to both Mars and Saturn, we may get exactly the opposite and have to face confrontations with others in relationship attempting to manipulate us or misuse their power with us in an emotional dynamic.  At a pure level, Venus in Leo can have no sense of limitations and boundless desire that can become deeply frustrated when having to face the limitations of Saturn, such as societal limitations, limitations of authority over us, or limitations of time and space.  With Black Moon Lilith also involved things could really become heated, yet Black Moon Lilith will be able to lend us the power to burn off the false in the fire, and emerge from conflict with a more fully realized authenticity.

Remembering that we are also at the last quarter square between Venus and Saturn in their cycle, this New Moon square between them connects back to the last conjunction of Venus and Saturn on September 18, 2013 at 9 degrees Scorpio.  What was shifting and beginning to come into form last September and October? This current Scorpio cycle between Venus and Saturn has been a deep one that has brought great loss and change into the lives of many.  The changes can allow for a deep re-structuring of our consciousness or awareness, and today’s New Moon is a perfect time to set intention to shift into a new pattern more deeply rooted with our true desires.

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Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio

 Mars and Saturn started their last cycle around August 15, 2012 at 25 degrees of Libra (If you would like to track this cycle farther back for increased insight, previously on July 31, 2010 there was a Mars and Saturn conjunction at 1 degree of Libra, and on July 10, 2008 there was a Mars and Saturn conjunction at 6 degrees of Virgo). We are now at the final release of this past cycle: to think of how it impacted you, look to where 25 degrees of Libra is in your chart and track the movement of Saturn deep into Scorpio where it is now, reflecting upon the events that have transpired.  This past cycle initiated in Libra, ruled by Venus, has a more outward Venusian theme to it, whereas the cycle we are starting now in Scorpio will be a more inwardly deep cycle.  Relationships can still be part of this cycle but they will be relationships that take us deeper into our core and soul desires.  

Current events are intense right now, but starting a project during a Mars and Saturn new phase can be a powerful choice for one’s self development.  As a personal example, I started this blog you are reading at the previous conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Libra and it has turned out to be a great realm for me to work on my writing and research skills in connection with astrology.  I did not have anyone reading it initially, but I have seen some slow and steady growth in readership, not unlike the methodical focused energy of Mars and Saturn united.  When I think back to that time period in my life, I had some turbulent emotions and personal issues that fit with the intensity of Mars and Saturn coming together, and so creating this blog gave me somewhere to direct energy in a productive manner for myself.  One of the reasons the intensity has been revving up so much may have to do not only with Mars and Saturn coming together in Scorpio, but also simply that we are closing out their past cycle.  I am sure things will continue to be intense, but look for where things begin to shift and where openings emerge for personal pursuits as the new phase sets in during the next few weeks.  It isn’t necessary to start a project at this time, but it is important to direct energy into something, be it an exercise routine, yoga routine, cooking routine, or space for creative expression of any sort that calls.

Mars being in Scorpio now for the last quarter square deepens the energy of this Aries cycle between Venus and Mars that is under the rulership of the red planet.  Mars is home in Scorpio just like as in Aries, but Mars in Scorpio is more of an esoteric archetype that helps put us in contact with our deepest nature.  Mars in Scorpio has an intense energy that inwardly focuses us on our desires and through exploration, helps us understand our mind frame created from our intentions, motivations, and desires.  Jeffrey Wolf Green has written that Mars in Scorpio gives us an opportunity to cultivate profound understanding in many areas of our life:

  • understanding our emotional dynamics
  • understanding the nature of our anger and rage
  • understanding personal power and both the proper use and improper use of power
  • understanding right use of will
  • understanding how misuse of will leads to manipulating others to meet our own desires
  • understanding the nature of limitations and what is and is not possible
  • understanding the reasons behind our confrontations, both inner and outer

If events do take us into the darker side of the possible meaning found in the Mars and Saturn conjunction in Scorpio, a good recourse will be to use it as an opportunity to learn more about our nature.  In connection to the last quarter square aspect with Venus, if we are drawn into another culture, a new philosophical awareness, or a love interest we desire to become intimate with, in all cases these will be attractions and callings that are resonant with our soul desires.  Pursuing a passion at this time will be a great way to work through the energy and utilize the transcendent potential of the many hard aspects involved in the New Moon.

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Virgo by Johfra Bosschart

Virgo New Moon opposite Pisces Neptune

Virgo Mercury opposite Pisces Chiron

The Virgo and Pisces axis is demanding our attention this lunar cycle, as we begin with the New Moon opposite Neptune in Pisces, ruled by a Mercury opposite Chiron in Pisces. The climax will be a Super Moon in Pisces on September 8, 2014 that will be conjunct Chiron in Pisces, with Venus in Virgo in opposition to Neptune in Pisces.  Some of us are able to tune into Neptune and Chiron more so than others it seems without becoming baffled, but whatever your prior orientation is to the far out Chiron and Neptune, start paying attention.  We have a full plate ahead of us involving Neptune and Chiron in Pisces to digest (fortunately Virgo is associated with digestion, ha ha).

Demetra George has labeled Mercury in its current evening star phase more than fifteen degrees in front of the Sun as being similar to his exaltation in Virgo and what do you know, Mercury is actually in Virgo right now to boot.  To Demetra, Hermes in this phase is an older, wiser Mercury who is the sage and educator of youth, an inventor of letters, interpreter of words, and giver of medicine.  This is a Mercury in Virgo at a stage well suited to oppose Chiron in Pisces and evaluate our current predicament to receive a significant message, insight, or solution.  Remember that Mercury is magical and that he knows how to create remedies and find solutions, and that Chiron is the mentor of heroes who can help charge us forward toward achieving a harvest from what we plant as intention on this New Moon. Mercury in Virgo opposing Chiron in Pisces is harmoniously supporting the Mars and Saturn conjunction, with Mercury sextile and Chiron in trine.  Since both Chiron and Mercury in myth prescribe medicine, as a result they are in position to help us find a remedy for anything weakening our system.

Finally, Ceres in Scorpio is harmonious with this New Moon, in sextile to the lunation and in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  If we are facing issues involving attachment and letting go, we can have no better soul worker on our behalf than Ceres, as she was forced to face ultimate lessons involving letting go of attachments through losing her daughter Persephone to the underworld.  With the New Moon opposite Neptune, Ceres being involved harmoniously can help us mother ourselves, as a Moon and Neptune opposition can relate to desiring an illusory attachment in order to compensate for attachments that we feel were taken away too soon.  As a result we can experience great disillusionment when the new attachment we thought would take care of everything wrong in our life doesn’t live up to our projected ideal.  I do not think it is necessarily bad to want to attach to someone or something at this time, but I do think it is good advice to avoid losing your sense of self in the process.  Invoking some Taurus self-reliance as an antidote to all of the Scorpio energy can help us successfully merge with another without losing ourselves in the process.  As I previously mentioned, there can be a genuine desire for a soul mate in connection with the last quarter square between Venus and Mars that is not an illusion.  Just practice discernment as best as you can.

The story of Ceres is also a lesson that if we are feeling anger, pain, or sorrow, it is better to express the emotions through an outlet rather than try to numb it through the use of drugs or other forms of escapism.  There is strong association between Ceres and the sign of Virgo for obvious reasons, but an additional connection is her extreme productivity and ability to cultivate and nurture growth on all levels of being.  The type of growth we will experience at this time will not be light and airy but instead dense and deep.  Use the New Moon to focus on your true heart’s desire and then use the conjunction between Vesta and Ceres in Scorpio to dedicate yourself to maintaining your focus on making it happen.  Every small choice and step along the way will add up to the grand life we are desiring to live.  The last quarter square between Venus in Leo and Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio is a temporary passage along the way there.

References

Green, Jeff. (2009). Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. Wessex.

 

Asteria Alchemy of Asteroid Goddesses

T15.1Asteria

Emotional transformative crises are changing our psychospiritual vibrations so that we may attune our individual frequency to the spiritual core which resonates with the whole of creation. The positions of Ceres, Pallas Athene, Juno, and Vesta in our charts describe a personal way whereby we can effect this change.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5

Asteria or the “starry one” is a Titan Goddess of oracles found in the night such as the interpretation of dreams or the reading of the wandering celestial spheres in the stars above. From the same “Greek” traditions come Ceres, Vesta, Juno, and Pallas Athene, Goddesses represented in astrology through being the first four asteroids discovered, their archetypal meaning described in the classic text Asteroid Goddesses written by Demetra George with Douglas Bloch.  Astrology is “read” by many through a concept defined by humans to represent Mystery- archetypally– and it is important to remember that the term archetype was created to reflect the ever changing nature of the primordial themes astrological terminology attempts to describe.  Embedded in the concept of archetypes is the paradoxical significance that the power symbolized by our astrological concepts can never adequately be defined into crystallization by human language, that although there are repetitive patterns we can recognize through time that seem similar in operation to the concept of fractals in chaos theory, they are at the same time always changing in a process of creation.  Demetra George intended for her work on the many Goddesses we can find among the asteroids to deepen our understanding of archetypal themes operating within our own chart and in the greater world around us, including how archetypal understanding in astrology is currently changing and has changed across time (for example at the time Asteroid Goddesses was published in 1986 it reflected a previous wave of feminism, and today we have movements around gender that are not limited into binary definitions such as masculine and feminine).  Some feel that integrating asteroids can muddle or murk up the clarity of focusing solely on the traditional seven wanderers or the modern ten that integrates Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto-  however, in my opinion while bringing in too many asteroids into astrological analysis can indeed become overwhelming for clear comprehension, at the same time ignoring the Goddesses of the asteroids means missing out on cosmic magic.  Today is no different, as amazing as the current complex brew of traditional astrological planets is at the moment, it is even more extraordinary once realizing where the fabulous four of Vesta, Juno, Ceres and Pallas Athene are at the moment.

heres-a-jaw-dropping-satellite-image-of-typhoon-haiyan-as-it-approached-the-philippines

The sattelite image of typhoon Haiyan above gives a small sense of the immense magnitude of this cataclysmic storm that has devastated a global region, an event that occurred in the same time period of nuclear radiation fears connected to repairs at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan.  Apocalyptical themes have been rampant in popular cultures for years, and continue today such as the Radiolab Live tour from NPR simply called “Apocalyptical” that just passed through the Pacific Northwest of the USA this past week.  I recently realized that the term apocalypse is also connected to ancient Greek culture, but that instead of it meaning an “End of Time” scenario it actually means an “uncovering” or a “revelation.”  I first came across this definition in an article by Kate Petty which included a number of astrology charts examining the nuclear radiation situation in Japan, and have since come across many other writers focused upon archetypal themes connected to an apocalypse such as this chapter from an academic thesis entitled “Modern Apocalypse: Expanding the Nuclear Metaphor.”

With the heavy concentration of Scorpio energy through a Solar Eclipse conjunct Saturn in Scorpio as well as the recent Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle that criss-crossed over the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, we have been experiencing an uncovering of many frightening concerns on our planet that can be difficult to fully acknowledge and face, and yet recent events have made it much more difficult to remain in denial of the need for us to re-structure in order to re-align with the changes occurring on our planet.  For example, we may continue to argue in our culture whether global warming is caused by humans or not, but we can no longer argue against the unavoidable fact that ocean temperatures are rising and so is the magnitude of storms that are making complete devastation of human communities more likely.  We likewise can no longer honestly argue that nuclear energy is safe and clean and poses no great risk to our environment, as the cataclysmic danger of another great storm striking Japan or a different nuclear reactor somewhere else on the planet makes obvious.  Planet Earth will survive with or without us, there is no end game with regards to Earth except for whether or not as a human species we will be able to re-align ourselves and our societies in order to survive here.

The planets above reflect an opportunity for us to make deep modifications to how our personal path impacts our collective path, as there are a number of significant current transits bridging the personal issues of the inner planets with the collective issues of the outer planets, such as the current movement of Mercury in Scorpio becoming exactly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio again, as Mercury afterwards will begin to move out of its retrograde shadow zone in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer.  If you are reading this article you are likely to already know we are in the middle of a series of seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, and part of this greater collective meaning is the birth of new archetypes and understanding through Uranus in Aries to confront the break-down and re-generation of systematic structure through Pluto in Capricorn.  At the recent “Plants and Planets” talk by my astrology teacher  Rosie Finn, she illuminated me to the fact that as we shift into the calendar year 2014 there will be significant higher octave activation of personal planets, that potentially can help us on an inner level align with the huge outer shifts occurring:  Venus in Capricorn will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013 and will work with Pluto as a higher octave on our desires, in February the messenger planet Mercury will station retrograde in Pisces and work with Neptune as a higher octave on our perceptions, and then in March the willful planet Mars will station retrograde in Libra and work with Uranus as a higher octave on our ability to take leadership of our lives, an opportunity to step into our authentic power amid unexpected drama and shifting.

In synchronicity, at this time we have the aid of the Goddesses in our personal transformation work:  Ceres and Vesta in Libra working directly with Pluto and Uranus, Pallas Athene in Virgo working directly with Neptune and Chiron, and Juno in Aquarius working directly with Saturn in Scorpio (and Mercury too this next week in Scorpio).  In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George explained how the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio because they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  If you do not like the binary gender labeling of the Goddesses being linked to a feminine archetype then it may be more helpful to think of these Goddesses as being yin archetypes that reflect themes of receiving, gestating, and giving birth.  Like yin energy, the asteroid Goddesses in our charts and by transit reveal how we can receive impressions from our environment to activate our self-transformation from personal to collective awareness:

The essence of the feminine principle is symbolized by the moon.  As the motion of the physical moon is cyclical in nature, phases of waxing and waning affecting the ebbs and flows of the tides, so essential teachings of the asteroid goddesses relate to the cycle of coming and going.  This is also known as the cycle of transformation.  Not only do the asteroids relate to new archetypal principles that are currently being activated and integrated into the psyche, but also they serve as agents in the transformative process of individuals.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5 -6

CHT163393Ceres in Libra

Ceres has now been elevated from asteroid to dwarf planet status, and is correspondingly beginning to take on a more significant role in astrological interpretation.  At the moment she is holding her ground with two of the heavyweights of astrology:  in the sign of Libra, she is opposite Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, she is conjunct her sister Vesta in Libra.  At the moment, Ceres is pretty much exactly in opposition to Uranus, and so will become a tighter square with Pluto next week on November 28.  All through the first week of December 2013, however, Ceres will remain in a fairly close t-square with Uranus and Pluto.

Ceres during this time in Libra is ruled by a Venus in Capricorn that was recently conjunct Pluto, will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013, and then around Candlemas of 2014 (January 31) station direct conjunct Pluto again in Capricorn.  In myth, Pluto is the nemesis of Ceres who takes her daughter Persephone away from her and the upperworld she rules in order to rule with him from the underworld during part of the year.  Similar to how there are myths associated with Venus and the underworld such as Inanna’s descent and trials, or the test given by Aphrodite to Psyche to face Persephone, we will all be entering an upcoming time of deep descent of our Venusian nature into our personal and collective underworld.  Ceres in myth is the Great Goddess of Abundant Life on Earth who reacts to the underworld descent of her daughter with such powerful emotions that she loses her sense of productivity, refusing to create new life on earth, and attempts to cope with strategies similar to what many continue to do today: the use of opiates to numb her pain, the ebb and flow between denial and depression.  Ultimately, Ceres had to face the ultimate questions of life and death, and accept that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.

Ceres in Libra will bring greater focus on relationships, and the necessity of interacting with others triggering whatever relationship issues we are currently facing.  Harmoniously, Ceres in Libra can connect with nurturing others, cooperating with others, and learning to initiate and respond in relational dynamics in a manner to create greater equity or an egalitarian quality.  Ceres in Libra can also connect with social justice issues such as oppression and how our various social identities play into us becoming targets or agents of oppression: again, in a more harmonious intent, we can work through our own personal issues to discern how to be an ally for others or ourselves to overcome oppression.  None of the above will be exactly easy at this time, however, as the opposition to Uranus and square to Pluto can coincide with extreme grief over the loss of loved ones or other cherished personal objects of desire; or, with difficulty forming deep intimate bonds with others due to a lack of emotional nurturing from one’s early or recent home environment; or, with a feeling of hopelessness with the state of environmental destruction and human oppression that begins to constrain our ability to be effectively productive.  There could be a temptation to reach for coping strategies such as drugs or other escapism from the pain of emotional attachment and connection, or difficulty breaking a cycle of depression or social anxiety that keeps one within limiting confines of relation.

I’m sensing one of the great potential transformations that can come from these intense aspects to Ceres could take us from an initial reaction that is imbalanced into a process of re-aligning ourselves with the structural and systematic destruction going on in society and the environment.  Moving through this tension will strengthen our capacity to birth a new presence in the world in which we are vibrating our being in greater connection with how to respond to what we are receiving for the highest good of all beings in all dimensions.  Ceres can create profound beauty everywhere she goes, artistically directing energy at all times into everything, sustaining an energy of abundance.  We may ebb away at times from this feeling into clearing times of depression that feel stagnated, but cyclically we will flow back into resiliently re-aligning our ability to feel productive, abundant, or grateful. At the same time, we do not want to lose ourselves in an imbalanced Libra use of the Ceres archetype by overly focusing on the needs of others to such an extent that we stop living in accordance with our own values or well-being, either.  Sister Vesta being nearby in Libra should help with this, as Vesta adds an archetypal energy that is aware of how to take time alone to re-center, from a spiritual practice to a walk in the green world.  However, since Vesta is also in Libra it still warns of a potential danger of losing ourselves in our interactions with others.

hestia-2Vesta in Libra

Vesta is currently in Libra conjunct her sister Ceres, and is moving toward her own t-square with Uranus and Pluto like Ceres is currently experiencing.  Vesta will more strongly enter the t-square in the first couple of weeks in December, but she is still in range of being conjunct Ceres in Libra and not very far from an opposition to Uranus in Aries at the moment- her opposition to Uranus will be gaining in strength the next few weeks and so the Vesta archetype may become visible to a greater extent in the collective culture as we move into December.

Vesta is the sacred Hestia, the keeper of the sacred flame, a priestess of sacred sexuality, a visionary mystic.  She will be lending a more focused and determined energy to Ceres through their conjunction in Libra this next month, impacting relationships through more of a tendency to move away from partnership at times to be alone.  However, Vesta in Libra desires to be in relationship and to focus energy through collaboration with others.  Vesta coming into range of an opposition to Uranus with a square to Pluto could create a more competitive energy in our work environment with an over-emphasis on wanting others to like us or admire us, all of which takes us out of alignment with our true way of being in the world.  Yet if we can successfully re-balance our focus on personal priorities versus the needs of others, a triggered Vesta in Libra archetype can harness extraordinary energy into dynamic collaboration with others that draws on the strengths of all members.  Vesta in Libra can help activate our perceptions of who we can team up with, collaborate with, or partner with at this time in order to achieve mutually beneficial goals.  Vesta and Ceres together in Libra gives desire to devote time to the needs of one’s family, nurture others through service in our work, or nurture ourselves through spiritual practices or visioning time in nature.

However, we may be challenged in our ability to do this at this time by the intense context of collective destruction and transformation occurring around us.  In particular with the strengthening opposition between Vesta and Uranus, we may need to stop ourselves from angrily over-reacting with a waste of rebellious energy that is more destructive than regenerative.  We will have strong energy available to us through Vesta facing Uranus, and so we can be most productive with it by focusing it at targets in the system that will create the greatest effect with our energy.  We will want to center and aim before taking action, but Vesta in Libra promises ample focus and determination to get the job done.  We may be able to make innovations into the old structure of things, or instead build a new order or structure that will bring healing or constructive changes.

In relationships, the deep issues of sexuality connected to the Vesta archetype could also correspond to sexual obsessions or compulsions with the square to Pluto and opposition to Uranus.   We could go to the depths of sexual desire or instead experience repression, isolation, or self-absorption with a stressed Vesta in Libra. Yet if we can use the deep Scorpio energy of this time to not just uncover a deeper layer of our sexuality but to uncover a deeper layer of reality and understanding, we can use Vesta focus to penetrate to the core of current issues in order to problem solve a solution to work toward.  Having a broader social cause, a social ideal of justice to work toward, finding a community of like-minded collaborators to work with toward a humanitarian social change and transformation will help us with Vesta being in Libra, and these same social change agents will also be helpful for us with Pallas Athene being in Virgo.

athena by klimtPallas Athene in Virgo

It pleases Pallas Athene to be in Virgo, a zodiac sign with strong associations to her archetype.  However, she must now face the Ocean God as Pallas Athene in Virgo is opposite Neptune in Pisces.  In myth, Pallas Athene has already proven herself worthy of defeating Poseidon as they each competed to be the ruler of Athens and Pallas Athene won through her gift of the olive tree that was selected for its beauty and functionality, its practical use in healing, shelter, and other expressions that benefit society.  Similarly, Pallas Athene being in Virgo at this time also lends us a powerful archetypal tool-set to utilize in our personal and collective projects.  Just as Jupiter along with Pallas Athene were held in highest regard in classical Greece, so today can we not only utilize Jupiter being in Cancer to assist us in our endeavors, but also draw from Pallas Athene in Virgo to help us, in her case through a sharpened focus and discernment to penetrate to the core of any issue with her analysis.  In opposition to Neptune in Pisces, however, she must be careful of delusion and illusion, falling under the influence of blind faith or an inability to distinguish between what is real and unreal in our environment.  Yet, these potential pitfalls of Neptune being in opposition to Pallas Athene are the exact sort of obstacles that Pallas Athene being in Virgo is equipped to combat:  in Virgo, according to Demetra George, Pallas Athene has an “analytical perception” that can sense “the essence of things in their simplest forms apart from the surrounding superfluous complications,” like “separating the wheat from the chaff” or “the wisdom of discrimination” (page 103).

Therefore, we can have no greater ally in our personal transformation at this time than Pallas Athene in the development of our ability to scan our collective environment for the root causes of societal ills and to begin devising practical solutions to help us on both personal and collective levels.  Whether we are focused on food and nutrition, creativity and the arts, protest, activism, or political change- in all areas of life Pallas Athene can give us a laser focus of penetrating to the heart of the matter, as long as we are also aware of the need for us to question our own beliefs and possible illusions since she is in opposition to Neptune in Pisces.  If we can examine our perceptions enough to discriminate whether or not we are being delusional, we can use the opposition of Neptune in Pisces to make our Pallas Athene perception divinely inspired and even more powerfully attuned to the needs of the moment in all dimensions.

In myth, according to Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses after Poseidon lost to Pallas Athene in their contest to win the hearts of the people of Athens, Poseidon created a great flood to demand attention, and in the process of appeasing him the male rulers of Athens deprived Athenian women of their citizenship, voting rights, and the right to pass their family name down generations through their children.  In addition, in the classic Greek version of myth, Pallas Athene is given birth through the head of her father, Zeus, instead of through the womb of her mother.  This symbolic aspect of her myth parallels the use of her wisdom by the Greek patriarchy in their military strategies and conquests, as Pallas Athene originally is more of a Libyan Warrior Queen who was then integrated into the Greek pantheon of deities.  Today, we tend to view the Pallas Athene archetype as a result with the sort of gender issues that female consciousness faces in a male dominated society.  Pallas Athene is with the woman who feels like she is taking on more of a professional “masculine” or “yang” identity in the work environment in order to compete or collaborate with male rivals or co-workers, and she is also with any of us who face conflicts pursuing our vocational goals in the outer world in a culture that tends to reward logical and rational thinking and behavior we have been conditioned to associate with “masculine” behavior.  Pallas Athene reminds us that whether we identify as male, female, queer, or another gender label, we all have within us the intelligence and creativity necessary to be successful, and that more “intuitive” or “receptive” skills we have been conditioned to associate wtih being “feminine” are of equal benefit to those we have been conditioned to view as being “masculine.”

As Pallas Athene over the next month will begin to move away from an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and into an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, issues around our gender identity could become part of the collective Chironic wound that gains more attention.  No matter what personal or collective issue we will be facing however, Pallas Athene is the type of mystic warrior, visionary activist, and artistic worker who will be able to hold her own with an opposition to Chiron and utilize whatever sort of wounds or triggers arise inside us to make our work in the world even more powerful and deep.  Her opposition with Chiron also points to the importance of paying attention to the impact of our mind-body connection on our health more so than normal- techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation, mind-based practices such as guided visualization, or therapeutic practices focusing on holistic approaches to our psyche, can all assist us at this time to help re-balance ourselves in order to re-align with changing events.  The deep creative wisdom embodied by Pallas Athene is highly attuned to the worlds of the arts, healing, and political activism- all areas that Chiron also enjoys working with, all areas of supreme importance to focus on in the world at this time of cataclysmic change.

junoJuno in Aquarius

Juno is on her throne in Aquarius at this time, and the Great Goddess has her hands full with an intense square to Saturn in Scorpio that at the moment also involves Mercury conjunct Saturn in Scorpio.  The added intensity of Mercury in Scorpio finishing off the end of its retrograde shadow movement in conjunction with Saturn today is giving our Queen Juno all she can handle from her humanitarian seat in Aquarius-  this added intensity will dissipate over the next week, but Juno will remain in a square to Saturn through our last month of 2013. This intense square between Juno with Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio to me represents the alchemist image of the King and Queen melting together- we may feel extreme weight and heaviness at this time from Saturn and Mercury teaming up in Scorpio in their square to Juno in Aquarius, but remember Juno is also the Great Goddess who can melt the hearts of even the Scorpio duo of Mercury and Saturn together.  The sacred heart of Juno may give one the impression of being coldly objective or detached in the sign of Aquarius, but our lady Juno always has a burning heart and she will help us move through any floods of watery depression or emotions at this time to re-focus our energy on a greater social cause that will benefit us on both a personal and collective level.  Her seat in Aquarius at this time will let us use a more detached and objective perspective to help us re-align with our deepest passions.

Jealous Juno is an image of this Goddess we have been collectively conditioned to think of, and indeed a square between Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to her can certainly correlate to tremendous feelings of jealousy if we have not been working on personal issues relating to our insecurity or possessiveness in general.  Juno being in the sign of Aquarius can also connect with a feeling of being too frozen to melt into a deep commitment of intimacy with a potential partner at this time, a fear of attachment rooted in the fear of loss, like when the death of a loved ones makes us afraid of creating another bond we will ultimately lose again in heartbreak.  However, any limiting beliefs we carry within us connected to our relationships can be exposed at this time, with a square from Scorpio to Aquarius this can further mean in an intense manner that rocks us to our core.  As a result, we may realize how much we are limiting our ability to form a new relationship in connection to fears of abandonment, intimacy, loss, or dependency, or it may dawn on us that we have been staying in a relationship that has not been meeting our true needs out of a sense of societal expectation, an obedient sense that we are expected to remain in this partnership even if it is making us incredibly upset.  If we wish to sustain a relationship that has been creating oppression or frustration in our lives, we may be forced by events to break down the belief systems of each partner about the relationship in order to discover if the relational dynamic can be re-built in a manner that will benefit each partner.  If we wish to enter into a new relationship, we may be forced to confront the limiting beliefs about relationships we have accumulated from our past in order to clear the space for a new partnership to be born in 2014 that can fulfill us to a greater extent than past relationships.  In all relationships, we will want to listen without judgment to the concerns of the person we are interacting with and avoid attempting to manipulate the situation purely for our own benefit- the square from Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to Juno in Aquarius otherwise could place us into some intense confrontations at this time.

Juno in Aquarius will also focus our relationship needs on finding a community of like-minded people who are commited workers, serious partners of deep work and dedication who will assist us in boldly confronting reality and devising creative solutions to address our collective concerns.  If we have been focusing a lot of our energy into an intimate partnership or into a limited number of relationships, the energy of Juno in Aquarius will bring a desire for greater freedom in our relationships to us.  This could for some creating the sense of wanting a more “open” relationship, but for others this will simply mean expanding the scope of our relationships, expanding our community of people we network and collaborate with.  We may be called upon at this time to experiment with the form our relationships take, or experiment with joining a new community of collaborators to test if we can discover greater inspiration for ourselves.

References

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

Queen of Heaven in the Harvest Moon

arrington the star water bearer The Queen of Heaven who walked in Chaos

  • Venus as evening star in Scorpio conjunct Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of the Full Moon on September 19, 2013.

  • This Pisces Full Moon is not only the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s Sabian symbol at 27 Pisces is “The Harvest Moon illumines a clear Autumnal sky.”

  • Mars in Leo square Venus, Saturn, and North Node of Moon in Scorpio.

  • Mercury in Libra square Jupiter in Cancer at the exact same time as the Full Moon.

  • Pluto stations direct on September 20 at 9 Capricorn, with the Sabian symbol: “An Angel carrying a harp: the revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the center of any life situation.”

The Pisces full moon to the sun being in Virgo is one of the most magical full moons to me, in part because it can occur around the time of the Equinox.  Yet there is more to it than that- the Moon in its most magnetic splendor connects well with the passionate and devotional nature of the sign of Pisces, a sign that always calls on us to follow our dreams into the distant beyond, full moon or not.  And this visionary Pisces Moon is a perfect balance point to the more focused nature of the sun being in Virgo, a sign that can be incredibly productive in a detail-oriented manner, but can stand to benefit from the larger emotional view received from a lunar Pisces.  In his book on Sabian Symbols, Dane Rudhyar describes the 27th degree of Pisces where this full lunation is occurring as being “The Harvest Moon illumines a clear Autumnal sky,” a perfect symbol for the fact that in the Northern Hemisphere of planet Earth, we actually are experiencing the Harvest Moon of the Autumn Equinox at this time.  However, no matter what hemisphere we are living in, we are experiencing a full moon a few days before an equinox that is brightly illuminating a significant archetypal scene.

In his article Chaos in Myth and Science, Ralph Abraham quoted the following passage describing the ancient Babylonian deity Ishtar, worshipped since 5,000 BC, taken from the Merlin Stone:

Queen of Heaven, Goddess of the Universe,

the One who walked in terrible chaos

and brought life by the way of love

and out of chaos brought us harmony

and from chaos She has led us by the hand.

Ishtar is the Queen of Heaven who calls us forth on our path through the way of Love, a deity who connects with other prominent Goddesses of myth such as Inanna, Isis, Aphrodite, and Venus.  With the planet Venus in Scorpio conjunct both Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of today’s Pisces Harvest Full Moon, a Venus that is also in her most radiant glory as a bright evening star one can watch set every night, the Queen of Heaven is calling for us to follow the love of our hearts forward at this time through whatever difficulties or cacophonous fury we may have had to recently navigate.  If we have been damaged by life, we have the advantage of knowing we can survive no matter what, and this is a time to take steps forward courageously on the path we can feel our hearts guiding us toward.

Today’s full moon is clearly involved in a time period of great intensity that all of us will need to pay attention to as we move forward on our path.  As already mentioned, just Venus being in Scorpio and conjunct Saturn and the North Node of the Moon at the time of the Harvest Moon would be significant (and if you are living in the Southern Hemisphere, since this Full Moon is happening close to your Spring Equinox it is just as important!).  However, at the same time, Mars in Leo (the traditional ruler of Scorpio) is in a square aspect with Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.  Plus, Mercury in Libra is in a tight square with Jupiter in Cancer. And not only that, there is a wide cardinal grand cross occurring with the mean node of Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, Mercury in Libra, and Pluto in Capricorn.  And to make everything all the more intense, Pluto in Capricorn is stationing direct at the time of the Full Moon, stationing direct exactly in between this Full Moon and the upcoming Equinox.  And yet, there is most likely a hidden gift to this intensity, as Pluto in Capricorn, the modern ruler of Scorpio, is in a sextile aspect to Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.  To better explain how all of this could impact you, especially in connection to mythic patterns of your birth chart, enter Ishtar:

ishtar-owl

Ishtar, Queen of Heaven

The association between Venus and Ishtar is illuminating to consider at this time, as the various aspects Venus in Scorpio is experiencing in transit at the moment seems fitting for the mythic story of Ishtar’s descent to the underworld to face the wrath of Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld.  The planet modern astrologers identify with Venus was originally linked to the Goddesses Inanna and Ishtar by the Mesopotamian people who were one of the original inventors of astrology, with the civilization of Uruk being especially vital to the worship of Ishtar.  Michael Baigent, in his amazing book From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia, researched that it is hard to find a consistent portrayal of Ishtar because of how over time she seemed to integrate the meanings of different Goddess figures.  The planet Venus was originally connected to Inanna by the Sumerian people, and with contact from Semitic and other people, eventually the figure of Ishtar emerged “to be the daughter (and first born) of Sin, the Moon, twin sister to Shamash, the Sun, and sister too of both Erishkigal, the much feared queen of the underworld, and Tammuz, the dying and resurrecting god…” with Ishtar assuming the role of “the queen of heaven, the beautiful goddess of love, sexuality, and childbirth” (Baigent, p. 118).

Baigent also found that tablets dating from the reign of Ashurbanipal, who lived from 668-627 BC, reveal that Ishtar as the planet Venus embodied both male and female characteristics at least at one point in time, with the Ishtar of the morning star being a male, and the Ishtar of the evening star being a female.  Baigent also has found evidence in his research that Venus as the evening star was associated with having a “good harvest” (p. 122), which is a good thing because Venus in Scorpio was also associated with a harvest being destroyed!  Venus being an evening star at this time, and so beautiful to behold in the night sky, to me opens her archetype to embodying more of the harmonizing energy of Ishtar at this time.  Indeed, even in ancient Assyria the planet Venus was seen as being capable of harmonizing difficult energies, as many of the dangers associated with eclipses were seen as being averted with Venus occupying a significant aspect, such as a conjunction with Jupiter or Saturn.  In addition, the interpretation of Venus as an evening star being more of a harmonizing influence continues today in the modern astrological perspective.

Ishtar was also connected to the harvest in addition to the fertility of sexuality, and the planet Venus in various aspects at various times could indicate a bountiful harvest.  However, in addition to her association with abundant fertility and the harvest, Ishtar also had ancient connections with war, although Baigent in his book is careful to note that the planet Venus was only one of many omens taken into consideration surrounding military actions.  This “warring” side of Ishtar, however, is also important to take into consideration at this time, as there are versions of myth that indicate the reason she descended to the underworld and was met by furious hostility by the queen of the underworld, Ereshkigal, was because of manipulative and warring action taken by Ishtar that caused the death of Ereshkigal’s husband, the Bull of Heaven.  Thus, from this interpretation’s perspective, when Ishtar descends to the underworld, having to remove an important garment at each of the seven gates to the underworld, only in the end to be hung on a meat hook by the queen of the underworld, there is more of vengeful anger to Ereshkigal’s actions meant to punish Ishtar than just irrational madness meant to humiliate her (Mark, 2011).  Events in which the more warring side of the Venus and Ishtar archetype is appearing at this time, could in part be corresponding with the current square from Mars in Leo to Venus, Saturn, and the North Node in Scorpio.

There is also the popular Jungian interpretation of Ishtar’s descent, that her becoming stripped down to her barest essentials is a metaphor for becoming more whole, more fully one’s individuated Self.  To me, the important lesson to take from Ishtar’s descent to the underworld is that she experiences the humiliation of losing her most prized possessions, aspects of herself she had become attached to and had begun to derive great vanity from.  She is then practically put to death by the queen of the underworld, with her corpse hung on a meat hook.  So what is the lesson?  The lesson is that Ishtar returns from the underworld.  She is a survivor, she does not die, and she returns to the upperworld a stronger person more in touch with her essential nature.  In our psychological management of creating a sense of stability from what otherwise could appear to be a chaotic life, many of us find our security and sense of self from our jobs, our family, our relationships, or our community.  Ishtar now asks each one of us:  what is inside you?  What do you possess without a home, job, family, partner, or possessions?  If we have been undergoing difficult losses of an external nature, or been experiencing deep changes within our internal landscape, with the current conjunction between Venus, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn, no matter what is happening if we courageously face the present moment, we will get a step closer to the future of our full potential.

goddess-inanna-and-her-lions

When considering the conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio through the mythology of Ishtar, it is also helpful to consider her Assyrian counterpart of Ninurta, who was the God connected to the planet Saturn in ancient Mesopotamia.  Michael Baigent found in his research of Babylonian myths translated from tablets that the ancient Assyrians did not view Saturn as “a stern and cold patriarch but as a conquering hero” (p. 127-128).  In  modern astrology many authors tend to describe Saturn as a limiting or restricting influence, but it is important to remember in the end that necessity is the mother of invention, and so in a similar way can the difficulties of Saturn help father our heroic qualities to emerge in radiant brilliance at the most opportune times in our lives.

Baigent found that Ninurta was a hero in myth because he was able to retrieve the “tablets of fate” containing eternal laws that gave the possessor of the tablets the power over fate (p. 128).  These tablets of fate were stolen by Zu, a winged dragon of chaos who was in league with the great sea serpent of chaos, Tiamat (Baigent, p. 128).  Everyone was too afraid of the dragon to do anything, except for Ninurta, the brother of Nergal (Mars), who not only volunteered to fight the dragon, but also became victorious, was given custody of the tablets in gratitude by the other Gods, and ultimately took on the role of being the “overseer of destiny and fate” in Assyrian culture (p. 128-129).  Ninurta gaining a role in overseeing fate by defeating a dragon of chaos is interesting to me on a personal level, as I recently listened to a lecture given by astrologer Bernadette Brady linking chaos theory with astrology while integrating the Mesopotamian myth of the hero Marduk (Jupiter) defeating Tiamat, the great sea serpent of chaos.  In her lecture Brady described how astrology was created in Mesopotamia as a tool for navigating chaos, but that over time the chaos paradigm was defeated by reason and the mechanical/causal paradigm currently dominating modern worldviews in a manner similar to how Marduk defeated Tiamat.  Brady explained that astrology aligns with chaos theory because it posits that while one cannot predict with certainty what will exactly happen, one can get a sense of the timing of events as well as the level of quality of these events.  As chaos theory also integrates fractals which have re-occurring patterns around “strange attractors,” in a similar manner our astrological birth charts can indicate re-occurring patterns from our family as well as the collective unconscious contained in myths that we are experiencing and re-experiencing.  Using astrology as a tool, one can get a better grasp on these patterns as well as discern a more productive and fruitful path one can follow in greater alignment with the full potential of the birth chart.  Thus we can use astrology to help us predict upcoming time periods that may be especially intense, as well as to figure out what patterns we have been playing out and how to most effectively respond to move forward in a productive manner that will lead to us actualizing more of our full potential.

This idea of astrology being used to gain a greater ability to navigate our “fate,” has an interesting link back to the Ninurta of myth, because Baigent also found that the human representation of Ninurta often portrayed was as a man holding a “seven-headed weapon” which could possibly have been a symbol of the seven planets used in ancient astrology (p.129).  By mentioning this, however, I don’t mean to suggest here that the study of astrology is of particular importance at this time of the Full Moon with Venus and Saturn conjunct in Scorpio.  What I do mean to suggest is the importance of each one of us stepping bravely forward on our own unique heroic journey, with the courage to face whatever dragons or demons arise before us, utilizing the resources around us or that we carry inside us.  Saturn in astrology occurring in an intense aspect, such as currently being conjunct Venus and in square to Mars, does not need to pre-determine you to experiencing great loss, restriction, or sadness.  It very well may correlate, however, with some intense experiences that will require all of your being invested in moving you forward on the most productive path for your unique self, no matter what obstacles may be appearing before you.

The other image often associated with Ninurta is the eagle, which also happens to be one of the symbols of Scorpio, the sign presently holding the conjunction of Saturn and Venus, Ninurta and Ishtar.  The eagle is the higher evolved Scorpio, the Scorpio who has no need to manipulate or unload emotional diatribes on others in response to being overly sensitive to negative emotional environments.  Instead, Scorpio as the eagle is able to utilize its authenticity in order to inspire instead of manipulate others.  Scorpio is a sign that is capable of great loyalty and commitment, as well as an enhanced ability to get down to living the essential nature of one’s Self.  When we connect this Eagle/Ninurta aspect of Saturn into its conjunction with Venus, we find ourselves again with Ishtar, turning to look upward with resolution from the underworld.  Ishtar will survive, and she will continue to walk through the terrible chaos and create new life through the way of love.  Once we connect with the essential Self within each of us, come to more fully realize the full potential of our unique being, we become even more powerful and effective in collaboration and community with others on a similar journey of the soul as our own (Venus and Saturn conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio).

arrrington winged goddess riding lion

If we are undergoing great loss at this time, it may be hopeful to keep in mind that there is a sextile from Pluto in Capricorn to the Scorpio conjunction of Venus, Saturn, and the North Node of the Moon.  This sextile is absolutely profound, as Pluto is stationing direct at the moment, putting even more heavy weight on Pluto than normal.  The Sabian symbol for the degree in which Pluto is stationing direct described by Dane Rudhyar in his classic Astrological Mandala is once again a perfect image in the context of the multiple aspects and transits occurring at this time:

Capricorn 9:  An angel carrying a harp

Keynote:  The revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the core of any life situation.

This picture simply says that “heaven is within us.”  All we have to do is to be open and listen to the total harmony of life, a harmony in which we play a part that is necessary to the completeness and meaning of the whole.  In order to do this we have to surrender our separative ego-consciousness and flow with the universal current which, to the religiously minded person, is the Will of God.   (p. 235)

I would like to emphasize here that is not necessary to believe in God, or even Gods, for this symbol to be meaningful, and in case the mentioning of the “Will of God” is a trigger for you, I hope you do not neglect to listen to the actual wisdom of the above symbol.  The point, “to surrender our separative ego-consciousness,” is pretty much exactly what happened to Ishtar during her descent to the underworld, in her experience of her various trials and tribulations.  Similarly, whatever we have been experiencing recently, we must remember that life will be going on and that there is a part that each one of us is uniquely designed to play in the unfolding of future events.  The more we can get into the flow, the more easy this experience could be for us.

However, with many intense aspects going on in the moment, such as Mars in Leo in square to all the Scorpio (Venus, Saturn, North Node), and Mercury in Libra in square to Jupiter in Cancer (following a few days after Mercury in Libra was in direct opposition to Uranus in Aries), it may not exactly feel like we are entering a “flow.”  However, if it has been feeling like we have been in the flow of things, keep at it, because most likely you are then on track.  If in contrast events have felt destructive and depressive, hopefully through a process of deep reflection we can notice signs of what aspects of our loss may have been getting in the way of our full potential, no matter what sense of comfort our attachment to it may have brought us.  If we are in a dark place, it is absolutely necessary at this time to courageously step forward on our path with all of our resources ready at our disposal.  This is not a time to be sitting passively on the sidelines.  This is a time to step forward brilliantly, or at least as brilliantly as we can manage it, on our unique path and calling.

pyreaus_tarot_combo_queen_of_wandsQueen of Wands

  • Full Moon at 27 degrees of Pisces, the third decan of Pisces. The third decan of Pisces (20-30 degrees) is part of the rulership of the Queen of Wands in tarot.

Finally, on an optimistic note I always am excited when doing my own tarot readings when I pull the Queen of Wands in some manner in connection to myself, because I always see her as a sign I will be able to handle whatever is coming my way.  Since in some schools of tarot thought the Queen of Wands is connected with a rulership of the last decan of Pisces where the current Full Moon is occurring,  I wanted to include a description of the Queen of Wands given by tarotologist Pamela Norris, which was published in the August issue of Plants and Planets put out by Olympia astrologer Rosie Finn and Olympia herbalist Carol Trasatto:

Queen of Wands–

Elements and astrology:  The water aspect of fire. Sagitarius.  Rules the last decan of Pisces and the first two of Aries.

Personality traits:  Master of self-knowledge, change and transformation.  The mother of mature love and sexuality.  As a person, she is an older fire sign person who mirrors who you are and who you are not.  She is open minded, strong willed and enterprising, dignified and compassionate, confident, energetic, and charismatic.  She may be intolerant and jealous, temperamental and inconsiderate.

The cautionary note at the end of the above quote, about the potential to be “intolerant” or “temperamental,” is important in consideration of the many intense aspects occurring, such as Mars square Venus/Saturn, and Mercury square Jupiter.  However, if we are doing our hard work on a personal level, we will hopefully be able to rise above such negativity.  I love the image above of the Queen by Pamela Colman Smith from the Ride Waite Tarot deck (on the left) since the Queen of Wands is holding a sunflower, and in the northern hemisphere where I live there are currently sun flowers in full bloom.  The awe inspiring sacred geometry of sun flowers, their immanent power captured in art by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, is tantamount to the full potential that can bloom from our inner being.  If you are currently experiencing a bountiful harvest of your own being in this way, celebrate!  If you are not experiencing this harvest at the moment, remember that whatever you are experiencing is part of your process of self-discovery.  This concept connects with the image of the Queen above on the right, from the Thoth deck, in which she is wearing the glyph for Pisces on her chest.  This is a Queen who has been in touch with the dark places of her psyche that some of you may have been currently experiencing, and it is because of her contact and awareness of these dark places that she ultimately is able to actualize her full potential and come into the full realization of her self and soul nature.  At this Pisces Full Moon, this Harvest Moon of the Northern Hemisphere, fearlessly take stock of where you currently are on your life’s journey and courageously take action on the calling arising from your heart inside.

References

Abraham, Ralph.  Chaos in Myth and Science:

 http://www.ralph-abraham.org/articles/MS%2346.Myth/ms46.pdf

Baigent, Michael. (1994).  From the Omens of Babylon:  Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.

Mark, Joshua. (2011)  Inanna’s Descent…  http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/215/

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases: a reinterpreation of the Sabian symbols, presenting them as a contemporary American I Ching.  Vintage books.

J.K. Rowling and Virgo Mercury

Hermione

J.K. Rowling’s progressed Mercury retrograde

JK Rowling speaks at Harvard commencement

The link above is to a speech J.K. Rowling gave at a Harvard University commencement ceremony on June 5, 2008.  In this speech she elucidates the benefits one can gain from  failure, as well as the supreme importance of imagination and how it gives humans the power to not only imagine solutions and inventions that did not previously exist, but more importantly to create imaginal empathic connections with others living very different lives from our own.

It may not be surprising to you, given J.K. Rowling’s well-known distaste of media exposure, that there is not an accurate birth time known for her, making it more difficult to know her natal birth chart for certain.  Nonetheless, we do know that she was born on July 31, 1965 in Bristol, and since having a strong Leo Sun makes sense given her work, I have taken the presumption to make an example chart with her born in mid-day with her Leo Sun near her mid-heaven:

RowlingJKWRIGC1AAgain, since her birth time is unknown the house placements above are not accurate.  However, with the exception of the Moon (her Moon could be anywhere from 12 degrees of Virgo to 27 degrees of Virgo), we can feel confident that all of the other planets are at least at the correct degree and sign of the zodiac.  In particular we can know for certainty that the outer planets are in their exact degree, and one can see from above that J.K. Rowling was born at the time of the most recent conjunction between Pluto and Uranus, in the sign of Virgo.  Furthermore, we can be certain that her Mercury, Venus, Uranus, Pluto, and Moon are all in the sign of Virgo, with Saturn and Chiron opposite in Pisces.  For the select group of people who have consistently been reading my blog, you may have noticed that the last chart I examined belonged to Kurt Cobain, who was also born at the conjunction between Uranus and Pluto in Virgo.  We are currently experiencing intense aspects between outer planets with a Uranus-Pluto square, and so I am focusing attention on people born during the previous conjunction between Pluto and Uranus that have had a large cultural impact on our modern life today.

Being an acclaimed writer, one of the first planets you may have focused upon in J.K. Rowling’s chart is her Virgo Mercury that is at zero degrees.  This is a fitting placement for such a popular writer, as Mercury not only rules Virgo, but Mercury is in it’s exaltation in the sign of Virgo.  This means that in the mutable, internal, and receptive energy of the sign of Virgo, Mercury is in a position to access the resources and techniques necessary to effectively communicate in the greater world in a manner that can be widely understood and appreciated in society.  Now, some of you may be saying, wait, I thought Mercury is exalted in Aquarius?  I have recently discovered that the Aquarius exalted location of Mercury is a modern invention of astrologers, but that when one looks at more ancient text, which is where the concept of exaltation came from in the first place, Virgo is in reality the exalted location of Mercury.  I do not intend to argue here with anyone wanting to praise the benefits of having Mercury in Aquarius, but what I do intend to do is praise the benefits of anyone having a Mercury in Virgo.

Perhaps it is her own Virgo-nature, but J.K. Rowling provided a perfect example for the brilliance of a Virgo Mercury in her Harry Potter books in the character of Hermione Granger.  Hermione, who at first glance obviously has a Hermes-inspired name, also happens to be a Virgo Sun sign.  We can go a step forward and link a Virgo Mercury to Hermione because my daughter Vivika, a well-versed expert in Harry Potter lore, has told me that J.K. Rowling based the character of Hermione upon how she was as a youth.  In the books Hermione as a Virgo also displays the reasons why Virgo is an exalted sign for Mercury, as she is the “star” student who is able to read, study, and absorb more academic material than any other student.  In addition, she has a strong intuitively analytic ability to reflect upon situations and discern creative solutions to problems in the stories.  Like Virgo, a mutable Earth sign, she is both pragmatic and flexible enough to shift her perception to align with the present moment.  She is also able to be widely appreciated for her intellect and academic communication skills by other students and teachers;  this is in contrast to Ron, who is a Pisces.  In contrast to Virgo, Pisces is considered to be a detriment of Mercury, and in the books we can see how Ron’s academic studies are constantly challenged by his emotional and passionate Pisces nature.  This does not mean that a Pisces Mercury does not possess great gifts, only that in a society-sanctioned place such as academia, a Virgo Mercury would have an easier time receiving acclaim than a Pisces.  On a mythic level, my own feeling about Mercury being exalted in Virgo relates to Isis.  Isis is often associated with the sign of Virgo by many writers across time, and she was a figure who was able to move between the underworld and the upperworld.  I believe that like Isis, a Virgo Mercury is also able to embody this internal/external movement of perception and communication, deeply processing perceptions taken in, as well as being able to transmit a healing vibration through communication in a manner similar to Isis.  This ability also connects with the character of Hermione Granger, as she was exceptional at casting magical spells just like Isis.

Even more interesting, however, Rowling was born with this Virgo Mercury stationing retrograde.  When a planet is stationing retrograde, it puts added weight on it because the planet was barely moving and in fact was stationing still at the time of birth.  As a result, J.K. Rowling has a potent Mercury at the initiation degree of Virgo, and since her Mercury is stationing retrograde it means that Mercury would have been travelling retrograde in Rowling’s progressed chart for the first twenty-five years or so of her life.  Significantly for the themes of the Harry Potter novels, it also means that Mercury would have been moving retrograde in her progressed chart in the sign of Leo. What is a progressed chart, you may be asking?  Before I continue, I would like to comment that I hope you bear with me in this post no matter your current astrological understanding, as I will be attempting to explain an important astrological technique that defies rational logic, but is extremely effective and has been one of the core components of my personal astrological practice when working with clients.  I will be more astrologically technical in this post than in many previous ones, but hope I am able to explain this concept in a manner that will have it make sense for you and prove its value when considering your own chart.

A progressed chart is a way we can enter another dimension of astrological understanding that defies rational logic.  In progressed charts, we look at each day following the date of birth as representing an entire year of someone’s life.  So, since J.K. Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 it means we would look at the date of August 5, 1965 to figure out her progressed chart at the age of five, and that we would look at the date of August 30, 1965 in order to figure out her progressed chart for the age of thirty.  Whether the fact this works out so well in charts is due to the axial rotation of the Earth or some other scientific explanation, in the end does not really matter when you pay attention to the significance of progressed transits and aspects and how your life develops correspondingly.

As I mentioned, since Rowling was born with Mercury stationing retrograde at zero degrees of Virgo, it means that as she grew up Mercury began to move backwards in her progressed chart through the sign of Leo.  When a planet in a progressed chart is moving retrograde, it has a similar meaning to when an individual is born with a planet retrograde.  For instance, the individual may experience the archetypal energy of the planet in a counter-cultural manner that goes against expectations of the status quo for how such an archetype “should” behave in society.  In Rowling’s case, it means that her Mercury function, her style of perceiving reality and communicating her understanding to others, goes against the grain of cultural expectations.  As she references in her speech above, Rowling did in fact refuse to conform to the expectations of her parents to study (Mercury) subjects in college that could lead her to more easily make a lot of money, and instead chose to focus on her own passionate interests like Greek myths (Mercury retrograde) that did not increase the likelihood of her becoming employed somewhere that could provide her with an affluent or comfortable lifestyle.  Yet, because Mercury was moving retrograde in Leo it plays up the heroic quality of this early phase of Rowling’s life that has been well-documented in the “legend” of how the Harry Potter books came into existence.  More importantly, since Rowling has a Virgo Mercury in her natal chart, it also demonstrates how she would have the natural Mercurial resources to make use of her perceptions and learning to ultimately bring herself acclaim through her communication.  The chart below is for the day in which Rowling’s Mercury would have stationed direct in her progressed chart:

RowlingJKWRIGC7

As you can see from the chart above, when progressed Mercury stationed direct in J.K. Rowling’s chart, it was closely conjunct her progressed Moon.  And if you notice that her progressed Moon is only about sixteen degrees behind her progressed Sun, it also means that her progressed Mercury stationed direct in Leo conjunct a progressed Leo Moon that was in a balsamic or dark Moon phase with her progressed Virgo Sun.  Furthermore, her progressed Virgo Sun would have been conjunct her natal Mercury in Virgo!  These aspects would have been the case no matter what her birth time was on July 31, 1965, only the date of this progressed station of Mercury would change with a different birth time.

Since we do not know the birth time of J.K. Rowling, it does complicate matters.  For example, in her natal chart Rowling could have been born in a New Moon phase (which would be about her more instinctually embarking upon a new personal cycle) or if she was born very late at the end of July 31 it would give her a Crescent Moon phase (which would be more about her fighting the “ghosts of the past” according to Dane Rudhyar while going forward in her new cycle of identity).  Personally, as I previously mentioned, given the importance of a Leo Sun to the themes of the Harry Potter books, I strongly feel that it would make more sense that Rowling was born during daylight hours, including more of a mid-day birth. However, unfortunately in this case we can not know for certain besides the general natal Moon phase theme having something to do with a New Moon/Crescent Moon intention to embark upon a new cycle of development in her life.  As a result, the fact that her progressed Mercury stationed retrograde in Leo conjunct a Leo progressed Moon that was in a Balsamic Moon phase to her progressed Sun, is incredibly important.  This means that this potent stationing of progressed Mercury would have coincided with a time period in which she was meant to do some clearing of the past while opening to the seed of a new vision, according to the meaning of a Balsamic progressed Moon phase.  As I will demonstrate in a moment, the general time period this event would have happened no matter her time of birth on July 31 would have been in the year 1990.  The year of 1990 is the time period documented by biographers in which Rowling was on a train in England and experienced an inner vision of the character of Harry Potter.  As a result, she began devoting her life in stages to the manifestation of this character and story, battling many dark events in her personal life at the same time (poverty, death of her mother).  Below is how she described this vision on her website:

I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, and the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head. I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one… I did not have a functioning pen with me, but I do think that this was probably a good thing. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, while all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. Perhaps, if I had slowed down the ideas to capture them on paper, I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder, idly, how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen). I began to write ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ that very evening, although those first few pages bear no resemblance to anything in the finished book.

–J.K. Rowling

Checking various birth time possibilities, if Rowling had been born around 1:00 AM on July 31, her Mercury would have stationed direct in the progressed chart in April of 1991.  In contrast, if she was born around 11:00 pm on July 31, her Mercury would have stationed direct in May of 1990.  Finally, if she was born around 1:00 PM as shown in the chart above, her Mercury would have stationed direct in October of 1990.  In all cases, her progressed Leo Moon would have been conjunct her progressed Mercury at the time of the stationing, within a progressed Balsamic Moon phase with a progressed Virgo Sun conjunct her natal Mercury in Virgo.  In addition, she would have also had a progressed Scorpio Mars that would have been sextile to her natal Mercury in Virgo.  And, we can see that the average time period of these various birth time possibilities would have been the year 1990 in which her vision of Harry Potter took place.  She also would have been working at Amnesty International during this time period, which she spoke at great depth about in the linked speech at the beginning of this post.

If you are curious about your own progressed lunar phase, you can run a progressed chart on http://www.astro.com or another program and calculate the difference in degrees between the progressed Moon and progressed Sun.  Each phase has a different meaning:  the New (0-45 degrees ahead of the Sun), Crescent (45-90 degrees ahead of the Sun), First Quarter (90-135 degrees ahead of the Sun), Gibbous (135-180 degrees ahead of the Sun), Full (180-135 degrees behind the Sun), Disseminating (90-135 degrees behind the Sun), Last Quarter (45-90 degrees behind the Sun), and Balsamic (0-45 degrees behind the Sun).  It is always important to pay attention to whatever progressed moon phase you are experiencing, but especially to have the awareness when one is experiencing a Balsamic Moon phase (or to look back and examine what happened during a progressed Balsamic Moon phase).  Below is an excerpt written by Demetra George concerning the progressed Balsamic Moon phase in her book, Finding Our Way Through the Dark:

The progressed Balsamic phase is the dark moon phase of the lunation cycle.  It is the bridge between the ending of one cycle of activity and the beginning of the next one.  During this time you are summing up and completing all that you have been involved with for the previous twenty-seven years.  It is a time of letting go, purifying, healing, and preparing for renewal.

You may experience the loss of what has previously given you your sense of identiy and purpose . . . It is not unusual to feel lonely, depressed, suicidal, crazy, chaotic, alienated, and without direction. Tremendous grief may come up at this time as you mourn your losses.

The message is to release whatever has ended for you. It has served its purpose and has no further value in what is to come. Like the snake shedding its skin, an old part of you is truly dying.  Allow the old to be destroyed. This is a period of retreat, emptying out, and the final letting go.  You need to make room for the birth which is to follow at the next progressed New Moon . . .

As you prepare your seed capsule you may feel the urge to resolve the past by distiling the wisdom you have gained into some kind of form that will become the basis for what is to emerge.  Releasing the past, you begin to envision the future.  You yearn for something new, fresh, vital.  In your daydreams and night dreams you weave the images of what is waiting to be born, something which will satisfy your vague inner longings.  It will be in answer to this need that the new will come forth. As this phase draws to its conclusion, you may sense the future and dedicate and commit yourself to following the course that opens up to you, even though you may have no idea where it will eventually lead.

–Demetra George, p. 50-51, Finding Our Way Through the Dark

Of course this is exactly what J.K. Rowling ultimately did, and is a perfect example of how potent the stationing direct of a retrograde planet like Mercury can be in relation to other aspects, in this case the fact that her progressed Mercury was stationing conjunct her progressed Moon in Leo.  During the next seven years of Rowling’s life, as she began writing the Harry Potter stories, her mother died, she became married, gave birth, became divorced, and battled poverty while writing a story that was ultimately published in 1997, ultimately bringing her great fame and fortune.  In 1997, she most likely would have still been in a progressed Crescent Moon phase, so the idea of writing the book goes strongly with the progressed Crescent phase in which we must struggle to persist in bringing the new identity and vision into form.

When considering the retrograde movement of progressed planets in our birth charts, it is important to not only pay attention to when the planet stations direct, but also when it finally returns by progression to its natal placement if that is possible in our lifetime.  For J.K. Rowling, her progressed Mercury would have returned to zero degrees of Virgo sometime around 2004, again depending upon her birth time.  This is interesting because by this time, Rowling would have already re-married and would have already started a new family with her new partner, and also would have either been writing or finishing up the story of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, having already achieved world-wide acclaim for her stories.  With her progressed Virgo Mercury conjunct her natal Virgo Mercury, she would have been at the stage of making the final part of the story of Harry Potter a reality.  During this time she would have been in a progressed Gibbous Moon phase, meaning she was more at a place of fine tuning her skills in relation to her vision, with a progressed Sun around 15 degrees of Virgo, which actually happens to be the specific “exalted” location of Mercury in Virgo according to ancient text (she would have had a progressed Aquarius Moon at this time).

As I previously mentioned, exactly how and why the progressed chart can be so powerful defies rational logic and is somewhat of a mystery.  One of my favorite descriptions of its meaning comes from my astrology teacher, Rosie Finn:

The transits show us what we are learning about ourselves in “real” time.  They show us how we are able to alter our life as we know it with all of the experiences we have garnered in our life.  The progressions then show us what we are learning despite all of the experiences we have had in this life.  It shows us how we can alter our life without all the collection of “stuff” that has clung to us in this life.  With this understanding, the progressed chart becomes a tool for looking at what is possible for us to change, to learn, to be, regardless of the tapes we collected from childhood, regardless of that bad experience we had in the 8th grade that we continue to recreate, regardless of the titles we give ourselves, etc .  We can use the progressed chart to look at who we have become in the meantime.  And we can use the progressed chart to look at where in our life we can make significant change without this lifetimes collection of tapes.

–Rosie Finn, p. 94, Journey-work of the Stars

Exploring progressed charts is one of my favorite activities involving astrology, and I am always amazed at what can be found through taking the time to investigate various aspects within the progressed chart as well as in synastry to the natal birth chart.  The life of J.K. Rowling is a perfect example of how powerful these charts are to take into consideration.

References

Finn, Rosie. (2011).  Journey-work of the Stars:  how to use astrology on your path to wholeness.

George, Demetra. (1994).  Finding Our Way Through the Dark. AFA.

Chiron in the Flood of Pisces

centaur reading

Chiron in Pisces: Mediator of Water

  • Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees Pisces on June 17, 2013.
  • Chiron and Neptune have been widely conjunct during the first half of 2013 in Pisces, and will remain together within a wider orb of nine degrees for the next year.  Chiron and Neptune began their current cycle in 2009 when they were exactly conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius.
  • Neptune in Pisces is trine Saturn in Scorpio and both are retrograde.  Saturn will be the first to station direct on July 7, 2013.
  • Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 conjunct Venus in Cancer.  Mercury will station direct on July 19   at 14 degrees Cancer in trine to Chiron in Pisces.

Chiron is the teacher and the healer of our inner Hero, the guide to our Hero’s journey.  It is common to limit discussion of Chiron in astrological circles as “the wounded healer,” and while there is truth to that statement, there is also more to Chiron than a healer with a wound.  The Chiron archetype will be an important guide for us during the Summer of 2013 in between the Pluto-Uranus square of May 2013 and the upcoming square of November 2013.  There is a fascinating connection between Chiron and the current Pluto-Uranus cycle because in the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, Chiron was not only in Pisces, it was in the same vicinity of Pisces as it is now.

Just as the square between Pluto and Uranus connects the current time period with events of the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct, so does the transit of Chiron in Pisces.  There was even a grand water trine in 1966 when Pluto and Uranus were in range of being conjunct and Chiron was in Pisces, with Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Pisces, and Neptune in Scorpio.  Although this 1966 trine had seven degrees separating Scorpio Neptune from Pisces Saturn and Cancer Jupiter, and so not nearly as significant as the grand water trine happening this Summer with the Pluto-Uranus square happening, it is still a fascinating parallel of the same planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune) being in the three water signs, with Chiron strongly in Pisces amid an intense aspect between Pluto and Uranus.  In the Autumn of 1966 Chiron was conjunct Saturn in Pisces: it’s interesting to ponder how differences between the mid to late 1960s and our current time period could correspond to the differences between Saturn in Pisces with Neptune in Scorpio from Saturn in Scorpio with Neptune in Pisces.   Although there is more and more talk of the Age of Aquarius, we really are still in the Age of Pisces today.  The idea of an approaching Age of Aquarius first took hold of mass consciousness in a big way in the 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo, and during this time period in which they were in range of a conjunction in Virgo, Chiron at times was in range of an opposition to their alignment in the sign of Pisces.  Now that Chiron has returned to this same area of Pisces as the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus is occurring from that alignment, it makes me think of Chiron in Pisces being a very important archetype in the shift of the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.

Chiron in Pisces today is holding more harmonious aspects to the Pluto-Uranus intensity, forming a sextile to Pluto in Capricorn and a semi-sextile to Uranus in Aries.  This time period of collective upheaval can be viewed in large extent through the socially liberating energy of Uranus in Aries being in conflict with the energy of Pluto in Capricorn, which has a shadow side of control and manipulation from the dominating power structure.  With Neptune, the planet of illusion, being in the sign of Pisces that can also connect with illusion, it brings the potential for the dominating power structure to attempt to use Neptunian illusions in order to ward off the force of collective liberation that could come with the Uranus in Aries energy.  In the recent news cycle in the USA for example, we can see the veil of our national media removed and that our major news services are commiserate with the power structure as they attempt to spin the coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden away from an investigation into the actual issue into more of a criminality case against Snowden.  In general, all one has to do is turn on cable television or pick up a copy of a product of the national corporate “journalism” services to find a gluttony of superficial coverage of celebrity scandals, arguments between political “adversaries” that are not even offering solutions to argue about,  and other gossip more than investigative coverage of any of the actually important news events occurring.  It is further interesting that in the USA we have a Pisces Chiron in the White House, as President Obama has a Chiron in Pisces and experienced his Chiron return during his re-election to his second term in office.  It doesn’t take of course an astrology analysis of Chiron to realize President Obama is facing and incredibly complex, intense, wounding, and karmic situation at the moment as being the figurehead leader of the USA during current events, but it is a further interesting astrological layer of the current situation to observe.

On a personal level, the societal upheaval on an economic, political, and structural level has the potential to increase fear and anxiety within individuals, making each person more open to being manipulated on an unconscious level by power players in control of media and mass distribution of information.  This has been especially the case during the last year with Chiron and Neptune conjunct in Pisces, because these archetypes combined magnetise the issues of duality connected with the Pisces archetype that has been such a strong influence during the Age of Pisces.  This duality is connected to the symbolism of the two fish connected by a silvery cord, one fish standing for the “lower nature” of our ego personalities, the other fish standing for the “higher nature” of our Soul that incarnated into our current form.

One reason Pisces have the stereotype applied to them of being addicts and escapists is that it can be even harder for Pisceans than others to escape awareness of their Soul, no matter how much they try to hide from it through drugs and other various escapist activities.  Pisces is also often the target of the “victim” and “martyr” labels, and again this can come from a sense of their timeless Soul nature that can lead to an illusory perception of being trapped in their physical form on the planet, with so many difficult and destructive forces surrounding them in three dimensional consensus reality.  And so while Pisces energy can go along with feeling a sense of connection to Soul, it also has the duality of a sense of separation from Soul and Source, which further increases Piscean tendencies for illusionary pursuits that further contribute to a sense of separation from Source, Spirit, God, . . .  This is one area in which Chiron, a half human and half animal grounded in the physical earth plane, can help us shift our perspective toward seeing the magic around us in our physical form and environment, and that everything we are experiencing and seeing also is connected with the same divine Source.

The previous conjunction cycle between Chiron and Neptune in the 20th Century occurred during great world calamity, toward the end of World War II after the United States of America dropped atomic bombs on Japan to force a surrender (September of 1945 at 6 degrees of Libra).  Chiron and Neptune’s latest cycle began in 2009 when they were conjunct at 27 degrees of Aquarius, another period of global conflict that had some connections to the global power status the United States of America claimed during the previous conjunction between Chiron and Neptune.  Many astrologers connected the conjunction between Chiron and Neptune toward the end of Aquarius with the Age of Aquarius that could be felt approaching at a distance, but a further interesting connection with this section of the zodiac and Neptune is that Neptune was discovered in 1846 when it was at 25 degrees of Aquarius, and Saturn was also at 25 degrees of Aquarius at the same time.  Neptune being discovered when it was conjunct Saturn points to the importance of bridging the two archetypes in order to gain a stronger grasp of Neptunian energies, and Chiron is one of our strongest guides and mediators between the energy of our personal and collective Saturn and Neptune archetypes.

The connection between Chiron, Saturn, and Neptune has been handed down to us through myth, long before the technology of astronomers were able to locate the outer celestial bodies. Chiron is the son of Kronus in Greek myth, so he is literally the son of Saturn just like Neptune, Jupiter, and Pluto.  Chiron’s link to Neptune, however, goes much farther back than merely sharing the same father.  Chiron is literally a matriarchal descendant of an ocean deity even more primordial than Neptune:  Oceanus.  Chiron’s mother was a sea nymph named Philyra who was not only the daughter of Oceanus, according to some accounts she was the second oldest of all the sea nymphs that were borne from Oceanus.  Saturn/Kronus became consumed with desire for Philyra, and in some versions transformed himself into a stallion in order to chase her, and in other accounts after forcing himself upon her sexually, he transformed himself into a stallion in order to disguise himself when he was discovered ravaging her body by his wife, Rhea.

In all mythic versions, this coupling of Saturn as a stallion with the sea nymph Philyra is how the birth of Chiron, half man and half horse, occurred on Mount Pelion.  One of the first wounds of Chiron occurred by him being spurned by his parents for his unorthodox, animalistic form, and he stayed on Mt. Pelion as somewhat of a recluse, one of the original wise hermits in the cave.  Furthermore, there is an even deeper link between Chiron and the ocean realm, because Chiron eventually took another sea nymph as his lover and partner, Chariclo, who was the grand-daughter of Neptune.  Thus Chiron is both the son and the lover of water goddesses, and has as a result a stronger feel for Piscean energy than may be expected without exploring his myth.

The special sense Chiron embodies for the water element and in being a skilled mediator between the energies of Neptune and Saturn is of supreme importance in this moment, as Saturn in Scorpio is moving retrograde in trine to Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter is entering the sign of Cancer, and Mercury and Venus remain conjunct in Cancer.  We can draw upon the Chiron archetype to help us activate the harmonious potential of the developing water trine aspect, as trines in astrology do not guarantee harmonious events and can in fact coincide with lethargy if we do not consciously activate them.  There will be a lot of retrograde energy in water signs before Saturn stations direct in a couple of weeks on July 7, since Chiron and Neptune are retrograde in Pisces, Saturn is retrograde in Scorpio, and Mercury is stationing retrograde in Cancer.

With all of the watery energy and a powerful water trine to Neptune in its own sign of Pisces, we will have to be especially careful of escapist pursuits or illusions leading us to separate from our higher self or our connection to Source/Spirit.  Chiron in Pisces carries this wound of connection to Spirit within it’s archetypes, and so at this time Chiron can help guide us to finding ways to connect with Spirit through healing techniques that can help us consciously move our higher self down through our body.  With Saturn in Scorpio, we will have to be willing to face some deep aspects of ourselves, including shadow sides we may previously have been in denial of, if we want to authentically make our beings more whole in this way- but remember how Pisces Chiron is a perfect mediator between Scorpio Saturn, Pisces Neptune, and Cancer Jupiter.  If we can ground in this manner, we will have an opportunity to evolve ourselves and our growth forward by following our own unique path and our special gifts and talents that may not typically fit in with the dominant culture.  Chiron was the trainer of heroes and the guide in their hero’s journey, and so by developing and following through with practices at this time, such as creating time and a schedule for a daily journal practice, creative art practice, meditative practice, yoga practice, physical exercise practice of any sort . . . we can create structures to express the deep desires and emotions that could arise at this time.

The retrograde connection between Chiron and Mercury will remain of great significance in the next month, as Mercury will station retrograde on June 26 and then station on July 19 at 14 degrees of Cancer in trine to Chiron.  After the upcoming retrograde movement of Mercury finishes when it stations in trine to Chiron next month, we may gain a greater ability to manifest tangible results of visions we planted back in February of 2013 when Mercury was in Pisces and conjunct Mars, Neptune, and Chiron.  Aspects of the vision brewing inside us have been triggered in this recent time period, as Mars in Gemini has been in square to Chiron at the same time Chiron stationed retrograde.  The full dates are as follows:

  • Around February 8, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Mars at 5 degrees Pisces and also conjunct Chiron at 7 degrees and Neptune at 3 degrees of Pisces.  In the following days, first Mercury and then Mars became exactly conjunct Chiron in Pisces.
  • Around May 21, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Gemini and square to Chiron at 14 degrees of Pisces.  This square happened immediately following an exact square between Capricorn Pluto and Aries Uranus.
  • Around June 10, 2013 Mercury was conjunct Venus in Cancer and in trine to Chiron in Pisces.
  • Around June 19, 2013 Mars in Gemini formed a square with Chiron in Pisces as Chiron stationed retrograde at 14 degrees of Pisces.

These aspects between Mercury, Mars, and Chiron have been significant for everyone but especially anyone with planets or key chart aspects in mutable signs from zero to fifteen degrees or so (Gemini, Sagitarius, Virgo, Pisces).  We may have had trouble recently finding a way to rationally understand our perceptions or sense of phenomenon in our dreams or waking states that do not fit into the neat categories of linear and rational thought aspired to by the dominant culture.  We also may have been having difficulty communicating our experiences in a way that can be understood clearly by others, and with Mercury about to move retrograde we may need to let go of attachment to being understood and instead focus on understanding for ourselves what is happening inside of us.

The flood of emotions and extrasensory perception we could have been experiencing connected with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces could be better understood by withdrawing from external influences into the metaphorical cave of Chiron, but if we have been tapped into media sources of the dominant culture during this time or a participant in social media sites and sources, we instead would have been overwhelmed by a deluge of information thrown at us by authorities of all sorts, from genuine experts, to culturally appointed experts, to self-proclaimed experts utilizing the Internet to self-publish their thoughts.  There have also been revolutions breaking out on the global stage in places as diverse as Turkey and Brazil during this time period, and while in the larger context these events correlate more with the square between Uranus and Pluto than personal planet aspects to Chiron, it is still important to consider Chiron was being aspected at the same time.  In these  revolutionary events the liberating force of individuals using social media to cover the news has been helpful as these events have had relatively small amounts of coverage by major news services.  For example, I am fortunate to have a friend in Turkey through which I was able to gain access to a lot of images and news coverage of events there through his social media profile.

However we have been triggered by this flood of feelings and information recently, though, most likely is connected to important Soul work or issues for us to face.  A perfect example of how to use the heroic gift of Pisces Chiron at this time is Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who is going through a Chiron return at the moment with a natal Chiron at fourteen degrees of Pisces, and is engaging in an attempt to pull off an all-day filibuster in the Texas state Senate to single-handedly prevent a passage of a controversial abortion bill that the Governor had to call a special session to attempt to pull-off in the first place.  Her North Node of the Moon is also conjunct the current placement of Mercury in Cancer, and Mars in Gemini is square her natal Chiron, so her chart is being strongly aspected by the Chiron-Mars-Mercury cycle as she takes her heroic stand.  Chiron does provide the sort of gift we can pull up from deep within ourselves at a time of crisis, and achieve success and rewards against all odds.

Similarly, the grand water trine we will experience this Summer between Neptune in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter in Cancer has the potential for euphoric and magical experiences, as well as the potential to coincide with watery chaos and emotional crises- however, if we can access our source of Chiron strength we can make heroic strides forward no matter what happens.  Paying attention to the Chiron archetype and how his retrograde movement  through Pisces can correlate to opportunities for us to take charge of our own heroic journey will be helpful.

chiron with apollo and asclepius

Guru of Plants, Planets, and Spirit

Chiron in myth held the role of a guru of the heavens and the earth,  as he was a teacher, trainer, and healer who was skilled in hunting, martial arts, gymnastics, music, medicine, herbalism, astrology, and the arts of prophecy, to name but a few of his talents.  He was a master of channeling divine energy through these outlets, similar to a yogic or qi gong master, shaman, or a musician on the highest level of divine expression through their art.  Chiron is a guide to the connection of our mind, body, and spirit because he understood the divine source of everything on our planet.  He was an herbalist who was well-versed in medicinal uses and applications of plant beings, and he was also an astrologer who was well-versed in the medicine of the stars and their movements and interactions.  Chiron lived from a sense of everything being connected to Source and Spirit, so stands as a teacher for us that our conflicts with life are often connected to our struggles with the external forms of matter in our environment, but that if we open our perception to the awareness that all of these forms we may struggle with also have the same divine Source as we do, we can persist in merging with love through all of our difficulties and help others in their own struggles as well.

The celestial body of Chiron was discovered on November 1, 1977 and it has been theorized by many astrologers that since that time we have had a greater capacity to connect our mind, body, and spirit as a collective species. The Saturn connection to Chiron is interesting because Saturn was at the very end of Leo when Chiron was discovered, so brings an energy of the culmination of the Leo hero’s journey to the Chiron birth chart.  In Evolutionary Astrology, astrologer Rose Marcus has connected the significance of Chiron to “peak experiences” in our lifetime as well as the deep past life history of our Soul that are connected to our special destiny, legacy, and path.  I saw her lecture on Chiron at the 2012 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, in which she described how Chiron carries a dense magnetic frequency that correlates with our most significant and lucid memories, how the Chiron archetype will be involved in our own peak experiences, and how we can also be a catalyst for activating other people’s key issues when we step into our own Chiron archetype.  Rose explained that Chiron can connect with our wounding issues that have been repeating and devastating across lifetimes, but at the same time Chiron can also correlate with extraordinary resources we can find within ourselves to face the tests and challenges of our journey.  In this way, Rose connected Chiron to the Virgo and Sixth house archetypes in the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm because of Chiron guiding us to use our crises as vehicles for our own growth.

Barbara Hand Clow, who wrote the pioneering and definitive classic text on Chiron, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets, also connected Chiron with the Sixth House and the Virgo archetype.  There is also an interesting connection between Saturn and Chiron with the Virgo archetype in the time period that Chiron entered astrological awareness as a distinct celestial body, because although Chiron was discovered when Saturn was at the very end of Leo, after a couple of weeks following the discovery Saturn shifted into Virgo.  As a result, most people born in the period following the discovery of Chiron, meaning the first people born who have a higher potential ability to integrate the lessons of the Chiron archetype, were born with Saturn in Virgo.  Fittingly enough, this group of Souls went through their first Saturn return just in time for these cataclysmic times of the Pluto-Uranus square, again giving them a better chance to access the gifts of Chiron to help all of us on the planet at this time.

Virgo is the polarity to Pisces, and an important archetype to help understand how to access the gifts of the Chiron archetype at any time, but especially now with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces.  One way Chiron can help everyone better understand their own connection to the Pisces archetype through Virgo is by making the famous “silvery cord” connecting the two fish of Pisces more tangible and conscious.  One fish of Pisces of course represents the personality side of ourselves, while the other fish represents our Soul nature- they are connected in Pisces irrevocably through a silver cord, which is why Pisceans can never escape the challenges of our personality connection to our Souls and Source discussed earlier.  Alan Oken gave a concise description of the deep esoteric significance Virgo brings to this aspect of the Pisces archetype in his book Soul Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self:

The string is the symbol of the Antahkarana- the silvery cord linking the personality and the Soul, the darkness and the Light.  It is formulated out of the substance of the mental plane, thus requiring the discriminating focus of Virgo and Mercury in its construction.  Once the Antahkarana/Rainbow Bridge is forged, one can then traverse the various planes and fields of consciousness and not lose one’s way.  This is the Thread of the Warrior/Disciple, who goes forth in the act of self-sacrifice, in order to do battle for the unfolding purpose of the Plan.

–Alan Oken, Soul Centered Astrology (p. 243)

The Mercurial functions of discrimination and discernment can be developed into sharper focus for us at this time, even with Mercury stationing retrograde, through practice and daily ritual. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and other forms of spiritual practice are Virgo techniques similar to spiritual practices of the Chiron of myth, and can be helpful tools for us in this flooded time of Piscean emotional currents.  Since there have been a series of squares to Chiron in Pisces from the sign of Gemini, with Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all moving through Gemini in square to Chiron this past Spring, we may have been distracted with a busy and hectic schedule or a mass of information to process in some way.  However, even closing our eyes and meditating or just breathing with intention for ten or fifteen minutes, whatever we can manage, can be extremely helpful in this upcoming time period.

The vast expanse of knowledge held by Chiron is interesting considering how in this upcoming Summer, Jupiter will move into a trine apect through Cancer with Chiron (especially toward the end of July through August of 2013) giving us an opportunity to draw upon knowledge and resources found in recent challenges to propel us forward.  This aspect is in stark contrast to what had been happening this past year, as from July 0f 2012 through April of 2013, Jupiter was in Gemini and in a square aspect to Chiron in Pisces.  This square could have been felt in part by how our psychic sensitivities are impacted by the flood of information we can be bombarded with when connected to modern technology and social media platforms.  On the one hand the social media outlets are liberating because anyone can start writing and publishing their thoughts on a blog, but on the other hand this liberation can be overwhelming when trying to sift through the sheer volume of information for what to focus on with the time available.

With Mercury about to station into a retrograde motion, developing and practicing techniques that will help guide us toward greater discernment with our intuition will be helpful for us finding our unique path to follow at this time.  Most likely significant opportunities will present themselves, so it will be up to us to make choices aligned with our highest intention for the highest good for ourselves and other beings.  If we have experienced crises or wounding during this past year of Jupiter in Gemini squaring Chiron in Pisces, or simply confusion over which direction to follow, through our own self-care, healing, and giving and receiving of love with others we will be entering a time in which we can find a gift or special skill to take from past turmoil.

The conflict between Jupiter in Gemini and Chiron in Pisces that happened this past year has its own divine source in the ancient myths of Greece.  Jupiter and Chiron have had their issues before our day:

chiron invite achilles

Entering the Cave of Chiron

Thetis was a sea nymph of great importance in ancient times.  In some versions she is not given greater importance than her description of being a sea nymph, but other mythic researchers have found evidence that in ancient times she was much more important and an integral manifestation of the Great Goddess.  She is widely known as the mother of Achilles, who gave her son to Chiron to raise and draw out his special skills and capacities.  There was a prophecy regarding the greatness of the son of Thetis that made Zeus afraid that her offspring could dethrone him as he had dethroned his own father.  Zeus helped arrange a marriage between Thetis and a mortal, Peleus, and their wedding happened outside the cave of Chiron on Mt. Pelion and was attended by most of the deities.  However, one was not invited who goes by the name of Eris, and so this wedding outside the cave of Chiron is the scene upon which Eris threw her golden apple out of vengeance, an action that ultimately led to the decision of Paris and the Trojan War.

The cave of Chiron being the scene of the source of the vengeful desire of Eris is a core wound of our collective culture.  I remember being in an 8th Grade English class near Atlanta, Georgia in the USA in which we analyzed this mythic scene, and it seems to still be a widespread mythic scene in our collective educational backgrounds if you are from a “Western” influenced or culturally dominated background.  It’s also a wound we as astrology students and teachers need to figure out in a Chiron manner, as Eris is the a recent addition to our astrological paradigm and her full meaning is still being worked out by astrologers.

The cave of Chiron is an apt symbol for the training ground of our hero’s journey, as Chiron was famous for training the most praised heroes of ancient myth, having the ability to draw attention to their unique talents and help them develop their natural gifts into extraordinary strengths that would help them persist through unfathomable difficulties that became the stuff of legend.  Chiron was not only the trainer of warrior heroes, however, but also medicinal ones.  Asclepius, considered to be the mythic master of medicine, was his most famous pupil in the healing arts, and so Chiron in this way is also considered to be a father of medicine and surgical practices.  The mind-body-spirit connection of Chiron is evident in the holistic healing practices associated with Asclepius, which included patients going to sleep in special chambers in which the act of dreaming itself healed their wounds, or at other times the healing could be helped through dream interpretation made by healers trained in the methodology of Asclepius.

We enter the cave of Chiron whenever we enter a space in which we have the opportunity for self-transformation, healing, and gaining greater awareness and access to special skills and resources we have to offer the world.  If we have ever been in a classroom with a powerful teacher who struck us on a deep level to our core, we have been in the cave of Chiron.  Being a teacher is one of the most obvious outlets for Chiron energy, and this connection was illuminated in literature by John Updike in his novel The Centaur, in which he used myth in the way of James Joyce by re-telling the story of Chiron through a novel about a public school teacher in a mid-twentieth century small rural town in the USA.  In this novel Updike also integrates the mythic connection between Chiron and Prometheus, and as I haven’t mentioned this widely commented upon connection yet in this article, allow me to remind you that another time Chiron mediated a conflict involving Jupter was when he gave of his own immortality in order to release Prometheus from the bondage of being punished by Jupiter for giving fire to humanity.  As there are some versions of myth in which Prometheus is actually the creator of humanity, Chiron giving of himself to release a deity who in some myths is responsible for the creation of humanity and in others is the source of our knowledge of fire and all of the creativity that followed, is profound and is not unlike an action of a Christ figure.  The fact that Chiron was drawn to do this in part because of being tormented by the pain of being an immortal who was struck by a poisoned arrow of Hercules, is one of the main reasons why the Chiron archetype has become associated with being a wounded healer for our humanity.

As is often the case, when an archetype like Chiron is prominent, other archetypes that connect with similar themes will also become prominent, and that is certainly the case right now.  Lilith is another popular symbol of our wounding and in the larger context something Chiron could be holding space for us.  The triple goddess aspects of Lilith in astrology are all going through significant transits right now:

  • Original Lilith (asteroid #1181) is currently at 13 degrees Gemini and so is square to Chiron as well as recently conjunct Mars.
  • Dark Moon Lilith (hypothetical celestial body) is moving through Cancer in range of being conjunct Mercury, Venus, and Vesta at the moment.  At the time of the Summer Solstice it was opposite Pluto in Capricorn and in square to Uranus in Aries.
  • Black Moon Lilith, the Resolution Lilith (an energy vortex that is the “other” focal point of the Moon’s ellipitical orbit besides Earth) is at 6 degrees of Cancer and so is also in range of being in a T-Square with Pluto and Uranus, and was also strongly aspected by the Full Moon on June 23.

Demetra George in Finding Our Way Through the Dark gave a widely used description of these three phases of Lilith, in which the asteroid Lilith “describes the first stage of Lilith’s mythical journey where she is suppressed, humiliated, and flees in a fiery rage to the desolate wilderness,” the Dark Moon Lilith “depicts the pain of her exile where she plots and executes her revenge,” and the Black Moon Lilith “shows how she transmutes her distorted image back into its natural healthy expression” (p. 92).  The fact the original Lilith has been squaring Chiron and was recently conjunct Mars could correlate with a core wound being activated in our psyche, and yet the healer side of the Chiron archetype is also present with Lilith at this time as the resolution aspect, the Black Moon Lilith, is also being strongly activated now.

And as if these intense aspects involving Lilith isn’t enough, there are also some fascinating transits occurring now that involve asteroid Goddesses associated with the Soul, working with the Soul, healing and retrieval of our Soul:

In totality all of these transits involving such powerful feminine archetypes of the Soul mean that this is an incredibly deep time period of huge feelings and experiences.  To me, one of the greatest tools we can use at this time, again keeping the archetype of Chiron in mind as a guide, is to create a practice of Art to move the energy.

poète mort porté par un centaure

Chiron holds the Art of our wounds

One of the connections between the Chiron archetype and the archetype of the artist can be seen in the following quote from an art review I found in The Chicago Reader about the above watercolor by Gustave Moreau from 1890, Dead Poet Borne by a Centaur:

The centaur often symbolizes Dionysian violence and intoxication, and here he bears the dead poet in his arms. Some have interpreted this image not as the union of warring opposites, however, but as a pessimistic reflection on the artist’s lot in modern times. As turn-of-the-century writer Ary Renan said about this work: “How many have perished without funerals at the bottom of solitary streams? To be sure, sometimes a charitable centaur gathers up the victim.

from http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/french-revelations/Content?oid=898763

Chiron as a wounded healer archetype certainly connects him with all of the great artists throughout time who put all of their heart and soul into their art, posthumously inspiring a large audience drawn to the specific quality of their art,  and facilitating healing for many people who could draw strength and compassion for themselves through experiencing their creative work. And yet the wound for these artists was that in the actual time-frame of their existence they often lived through pain and torment, lacking an audience or material rewards for their work.  However, no matter what difficulty some of these artists could have experienced in their material life, through the act of creating their art they could reach a blissful state that would be it’s own reward.  Moreover, the gift of healing and inspiration such artists leave for those with similar sensibilities to find and gain strength to continue on their own unique path is incalculable and has deep resonance with the quality of wounded healing associated with Chiron.

During these intense karmic times, we can work with our Chiron wounding through expressing our feelings through art and releasing the energy in the process.  Unfortunately, for many of us the actual creation of art can be one of our Chironic wounds, and so we tend to hold ourselves back from creating.  A beautiful book to work with during this time if you have not already is Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way in which she provides activities and questions to help the reader break out of any restrictive writer’s or artist’s blocks limiting their ability to express themselves.  One of the basic techniques of the book is a daily journaling activity in which after waking up in the morning you write three pages of writing as quickly as possible, thinking about it as little as possible.  It is amazing what can start to open up for you as you engage in this practice.  I also like this book because Cameron connects the creation of Art with it being a spiritual practice:  “We are, ourselves, creations,” she writes, “And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.”  Her central theme in the book is that by opening ourselves up to our own creativity, we open ourselves to a greater connection with Spirit and the capacity to develop our unique gifts and live the full potential of our lives some of us merely dream of instead of actually actualizing.  This lesson that making the creation of art a daily practice, habit, and ritual in our lives will open up a greater spiritual dimension and holistic feeling of healing in our lives is a very Chironic lesson to me.  Any practice you can develop for yourself at this time that will provide an outlet for your sense of Spirit and expression of creativity will bring a smile to the face of Chiron and will be good medicine for your Soul.