Full Moon in Cancer

Moon over Musashino (1909/10) by Kamisaka Sekka

Full Moon in Cancer

The Moon keeps close to us through eternal flux, constantly changing phases, waxing and waning in light. The Moon pours down the influences of the wandering and fixed stars, carrying and transmitting their messages and meaning. Reflection is the Moon’s method. Rather than generating light like the Sun, the Moon reflects the nourishment of divine light back to us. We learn of our affinities and feel our many associations through the swift movement of the Moon, gaining awareness of the relationship between our mind and body with the multitude of all life, including the multiplicity of ancestors who feed into our being. The peak light of the Cancer Full Moon takes place every year within the watery, nocturnal domicile of the Moon, zodiacal terrain where the Moon fully activates the realms of memory, imagination, dreams and the unconscious. The Cancer Full Moon on 6 January 2023 possesses a dynamic potency for descending into inner realms of intuition in order to reascend with revelatory insight. The silvery light of the Moon will illuminate the cracks and crevices of inner psyche, helping us shed and release old patterns so we may clear ground for the nourishment of new ideas and a renewal of vitality.

The Cancer Full Moon has an intense relationship with Mercury. Mercury and the Moon are the two key messengers within astrology. In combination they bridge the irrational with the rational, picking up messages from the unconscious to interpret and translate through our conscious awareness. During the exact timing of the Moon opposing the Sun on 6 January, Mercury will be simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with the Sun that will bring about a reanimation of Mercury on 7 January while the Moon remains full of light. It’s an electric atmosphere for reception of revelation, amplified by Uranus in Taurus possessing harmonious aspects with both the Moon and Mercury. Mental and emotional material will be highly activated. Depending upon circumstances, there may be a need to respond to major eruptions in storylines or mediate the turning of one’s own mind into rumination of memories, thoughts, and feelings that need to be worked out. It’s a fruitful time for both solitary contemplation as well as deep dialogue within intimate relationship. Finding ways to animate feelings such as through physical exertion, writing, or artistic expression can deliver important insights to integrate.

The Full Moon in Cancer is separating from a square with Chiron in Aries and a sextile with Uranus in Taurus while applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, a trine with Neptune in Pisces, and an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn. Black Moon Lilith, the lunar symbol revealing shadowy material in need of integration or release, is also in Cancer and forming an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn. Utilizing practices for mindfulness can help deepen awareness of subconscious material rather than becoming dissociated or projecting inner issues in destructive ways through external relationships. Creatively, the days following the lunation can be powerful for research and writing, especially when needing to brainstorm and generate new ideas or ways to renovate ideas already under development. With the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn amplified during the first week of 2023, make space to reflect upon your use of time, your health routines and habits, the interplay between rest and work, and the ambitions to prioritize in the year ahead that are aligned with your larger dreams as well as the nourishment of your most soulful needs.

Athenian tetradrachm representing the goddess Athena

The Full Moon in Cancer is also applying closely to a conjunction with Pallas Athena retrograde in Cancer and a flowing trine with Vesta in Pisces. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses described the daimonic, angelic influence of asteroids as mediating the personal and collective, guiding us through emotional crises that bring about a metamorphosis attuned with the whole of creation. George theorized that the asteroids possess a cyclical and nonlinear nature similar to the cycles of change that the Moon is constantly setting in motion, so that “the asteroid goddesses relate to the cycle of coming and going, ” the “new archetypal principles that are currently being activated and integrated into the psyche,” serving “as agents in the transformative process of individuals.” As we continue to traverse an extraordinary period of collective crisis, it’s worth considering the meaning held by Pallas Athena and Vesta and how they can assist with the regenerative changes needing to be made.

I have not conducted extensive research to develop a meaning for Pallas Athena retrograde in contrast to direct motion, but one idea that comes to mind is that perhaps her Athena Nike quality obsessed with victory in the moment could give way to her more prophetic side that is less focused upon engaging in battle and more open to biding her time while divining the full scope of circumstances and developing strategies for future success. In myth, Pallas Athena and her glimmering gray eyes possess an “in-betweeness” like Hermes that can utilize disguise, deception, subterfuge, and cunning dialogue in her quests and heroic mentoring, attributes that fit well with her forming an opposition to Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. Pallas Athena can scan the personal and collective environment for root causes of ills, devising practical solutions that lead to the building of forms that facilitate success within civilization. The combination of Pallas Athena with Vesta creates a laser focus that can penetrate into the heart of a multitude of issues, whether we are invested in matters of health, creativity, the arts, or political change and activism.

The watery trine between the Full Moon and Pallas Athena retrograde in Cancer with Vesta in Pisces emphasizes the importance of creating sacred space for contemplation within a boundary of protection. With Pallas Athena retrograde also in aspect with Chiron in Aries, any techniques that can enhance mind-body connections will be extremely helpful, including the use of guided visualization. If you’ve been dealing with excessive stress recently, create an immersive environment of imagination in which you can experience restoration and realignment with your deepest dreams and desires. Allow for solutions to emerge from imaginal realms and relationships with spirit, discerning how to make practical use of received messages. The aegis armor of Athena may need to be cast aside temporarily, as well as attachment to societal status and ambitions in order to gain the necessary understanding of issues involved in present challenges. Pallas Athena on the prowl is known for her invulnerability, but her retrograde configuration with the Cancer Full Moon and Mercury retrograde in Capricorn indicates that letting down her guard to access the profound inner wisdom of her mother Metis and grandmother Tethys will deliver the vision and insight needed for ultimate success.

Pallas Athena and Herakles (480 – 470 BC)

Less than a week after the Cancer Full Moon, Mars will station direct on 12 January at 8°08’ Gemini. There will be a burning intensification of all things Mars that will become progressively louder each day following the lunation. Fitting for stationing in the sign of the Twins, the glowing redness of Mars will be situated above the bright redness of the royal star Aldebaran in the night sky. The burning, sacred eye of the bull, Aldebaran’s alliance with Mars will amplify the potential for gathering resources and honing strategies. If possible to wait for implementing plans of action, let yourself recover from whatever fiery process of internal transfiguration you have experienced since Mars stationed retrograde in Gemini on October 30. With the cunning presences of Pallas Athena and Mercury illuminated by the Cancer Full Moon, focus on integration and allowing for inner insights to deepen. The end of January following the Aquarius New Moon on 21 January will be ripe for direct action and riding a tidal wave of forward momentum.

In contrast to Mars and Mercury, Venus will be moving in direct motion while increasing in brightness and visibility as an evening star. Venus in Aquarius will form a flowing trine aspect with Mars in Gemini on 9 January during the same time that Mars is stationing direct. During the Full Moon in Cancer, Venus in Aquarius will be separating from a creative sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries and applying toward the trine with Mars. Venus in Aquarius possesses intellectual and artistic brilliance that can enhance whatever grand plans for future adventure that Mars is presently incubating. Venus in Aquarius can detach and dissociate from overwhelming emotions to gain a cool comprehension of complex interpersonal dynamics, analyzing the most artful and productive path forward.

3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Cancer will illuminate the second decan of Cancer associated with the Three of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The merry image of dancing women evokes the three graces and signifies creative collaborations as well as reception of pleasure. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Walled Garden” to the second face of Cancer, adding an element not obvious from the image above: the need of protection to create a nurturing space that can bring forth joy, beauty, and abundance. Mercury and Mars are the rulers of the second decan of Cancer, as the cunning creativity of Mercury needs the fierceness of Mars to secure a container within which the magic of Mercury may manifest desires.

In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the fertile capacity of the second face of Cancer for bringing “wealth, cheerfulness, joy, and love of women” are shown through the images of “a man dressed in beautiful clothing” and “a man and woman sitting at a table playing.” The 13th century Picatrix gave the gifts of “games, wealth, joy and abundance” to the second face of Cancer, describing the image of a beautiful woman wearing a crown of green myrtle while delicately holding a water lily and singing songs of love and joy. Similarly, the 12th century philosopher and astrologer Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described the image of a beautiful women wearing a myrtle crown who has pleasant speech and desires music and wind.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces made the astute insight that “the great secret” of the second face of Cancer “is the power of right incubation.” In relation to present transits this is a perfect fit for the retrograde phases of Mars and Mercury happening during the Cancer Full Moon, the two rulers of this face. Coppock connected the co-rulership of Mars and Mercury as signifying “the protective, guiding power of the mother goddess” that can cultivate gardens where “rare pleasures bloom.” Similar to how the Moon has both a dark and light side, Coppock discerned that the connection between the Great Mother goddess with the second face of Cancer is that “while we may find pleasure in being coddled, the wise mother orchestrates challenges that her children might become heroes and heroines.” Coppock described how this is illustrated by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribing the ancient Greek hero Heracles to the second face of Cancer, as “though on the surface Heracles is a symbol of masculine potency, his entire story, from before birth until after death, was orchestrated by Hera, the mother.”

The Great Mother goddess making her home in the second face of Cancer is shown in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis, as it pictured the body of a vulture with the face of the great goddess Isis wearing a crown. Furthermore, Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, possibly around 50 CE) gave the image of “Woman, entire body winged as if flying, plaited wreath upon her head” to the second face of Cancer.

These winged feminine images evoke the story of Isis searching for her dismembered lover and twin Osiris by transforming into a kite, a winged raptor that feeds on the dead like vultures. The relentless courage of Isis to locate and reanimate Osiris was necessary to give birth to their new storylines of Osiris becoming lord of the underworld and Isis becoming the mother of Horus. Under the light of the Cancer Full Moon, feel into how the trials by fire you have endured over recent months have proven essential in shaping your personal growth and the new skills, talents and opportunities emerging for you to develop in the new year.

References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

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

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

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

The Faun Musician by Pablo Picasso

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

  • Mercury enters shadow zone: 12 December 2022 at 8°08’ Capricorn
  • Mercury at maximum elongation as evening star (becoming slower than Sun): 21 December
  • Mercury stations retrograde: 29 December at 24°21’ Capricorn
  • Mercury inferior conjunction: 7 January 2023 at 16°57’ Capricorn
  • Mercury stations direct: 18 January at 8°08’ Capricorn
  • Mercury at maximum elongation as morning star (becoming faster than Sun): 30 January
  • Mercury leaves shadow zone: 6 February at 24°21’ Capricorn

Mercury delights in questioning categorization and fixed concepts. It’s the only planet that refuses to be limited to singular categories, as it can be benefic or malefic, nocturnal or diurnal, masculine or feminine depending upon the surrounding influences it mixes with. In popular astrology Mercury is often described as linear and logical, yet the ease with which Mercury can interface with the irrational and nonlinear, such as in the interpretation of dreams and omens, reveals how its affinity for deconstruction and destabilization is an essential element of its capacity to bring about primal reordering. When Mercury shifts into its retrograde phase, the star of Hermes makes its home in the liminal, in threshold experiences of leaving one state to enter another. Mercury retrograde delivers transitions and twists in storyline, teaching pivotal lessons from unexpected circumstances. With Mercury stationing retrograde in the final days of 2022, it’s fitting that Mercury will play a major role in ushering us across the threshold into a new year.

Mercury will station retrograde on 29 December 2022 and embark upon a twenty day journey of backtracking from 24°21’ to 8°08’ Capricorn when it stations direct on 18 January 2023. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from eight to twenty-five degrees of Capricorn, he will excavate material that we need to deepen our engagement with, returning our perception to issues we need to release, rework, or reintegrate. Yet the retrograde of Mercury is not limited to review and redo, as the star of Hermes will deepen development in areas of focus as well as reseed vital ideas and inspiration to enliven work in the season ahead. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification, we will experience renewal on the other side once Mercury has returned to visibility and direct motion in the morning sky. Mercury first crossed 8°08’ Capricorn on 12 December and will not move beyond 24°21’ Capricorn until 6 February, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart.

Of course, the reverse direction of Mercury is an illusion stemming from Mercury orbiting in between the Earth and Sun while retrograde. With Mercury’s presence intensified due to being as close to Earth as possible in orbit, the slowness of its backward motion produces a churning quality that can dredge up issues that had been hidden from awareness. With Mercury retrograde in an earth sign, issue carried by our body and bodily senses that we have been mentally neglecting will rise into awareness. Due to Venus forming a conjunction with Mercury on 29 December while Mercury is stationing, followed by Venus forming a conjunction with Pluto on 31 December, there will be a wealth of deep-rooted material held within the body and inner recesses of psyche to uncover and explore. The connection between Venus and Pluto will activate longstanding relational patterns, with the ghosts of past relationships emerging within the present relational circumstances we find ourselves within.

There is an important connection between the alignment of Mercury, Venus, and Pluto at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023 with the previous alignment of Mercury, Venus, and Pluto that took place at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. While the planetary combination is repeating, the solar phases of Mercury and Venus are opposite. Last year Venus was retrograde while Mercury was freshly visible in its evening star phase, whereas this year Mercury is retrograde while Venus has recently become visible as an evening star. While there may be specific relationships from last year that have mirroring issues emerge again to address, there is most likely a connection taking place between major relational patterns we needed to address at the end of last year that will be emerging again in new forms. We may realize ways in which we have experienced significant growth while also recognizing aspects of ourselves that will be requiring more inner work.

The Mercury retrograde passage in Capricorn that began in 2023 marks the first of three consecutive Mercury retrograde periods in 2023 that will take place wholly in earth signs. Last year we gained a taste of Mercury retrograde in earth signs due to the retrograde periods ending with Mercury stationing direct in each of the the three earth signs after spending most of its retrograde phase in each of the three air signs. Taking note of lessons learned from last year can help in orienting to the meaning of Mercury being retrograde in the areas of your natal chart occupied by the all three of the earth signs in 2023. A fascinating aspect of Mercury retrograde during 2023 is that the first three retrograde periods of the year in earth signs all feature Mercury in either a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus or being in close proximity to Uranus. The innovative and liberating influence of Uranus upon Mercury retrograde during 2023 will create opportunities for breaking free from past patterns and making the changes that can accelerate creative development.

In addition to paying attention to information found within your body and its connection with your mind and expression, the fact that Mercury will be retrograde in all three earth signs during 2023 will make it important to analyze and review practical structures and routines in your life as well as the infrastructure and organizational systems you utilize in your work. Capricorn is the cardinal earth sign ruled by Saturn that also exalts Mars, and so Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can help initiate the fundamental changes that need to be made within personal structures of all sorts, from exercise and nutritional considerations to the ways in which you manage time and space. Take stock of habits getting in the way of efficiency or that are needlessly wasting time that can be purged or reformulated during the retrograde motion of Mercury. Discipline is pleasing to Capricorn, and so it will be an opportune time for getting daily plans and routines adjusted and set in place that you can commit to following through within the year ahead.

Mercury retrograde in the nocturnal, cold, dry, and earthy sign of Capricorn has a strong skillset for sorting through and separating factors at play to diagnose the reforms needing to be made. The melancholic quality of Capricorn may influence Mercury to take on a downcast quality at times, brooding over anxieties and worries, but the imaginative nature of Capricorn combined with Mercury forming three sextile aspects with Neptune (on 24 December before stationing, 1 January while retrograde, and 6 February while direct) can also create opportunities for imaginative exploration that can help in re-dreaming your vision for what to produce in the new year. The cold and dry quality of Capricorn will also be tempered by Venus forming a conjunction with Mercury at the beginning of its retrograde passage, signaling that Mercury’s descent into the underworld while retrograde can facilitate a pivotal renewal of our creative potency and agency.

Mercury will not only be retrograde in the earthy domicile of Saturn, it will also be ruled by Saturn occupying its airy domicile of Aquarius. The powerful influence of Saturn combined with Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will emphasize our relationship with collective influences such as societal conditioning from systemic structures. Societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos, yet we can forget at times how our habitual conformity with certain societal norms can keep us stuck in limiting patterns we wish to break free from. Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will destabilize our perception of societal norms and rules, heightening awareness of ways we have been restricting our authentic expression, As we deepen into a process of revelation, the flowing trine aspect that Mercury retrograde will eventually form with Uranus in Taurus on 8 January will unveil a more vibrant presence and creative expression to take on through our work. The mature and responsible nature of Capricorn can facilitate Mercury retrograde guiding us through a process of taking greater accountability for the work we desire to manifest and embody through our contribution to our wider community.

Pan (1899) by Mikhail Vrubel

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

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

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

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

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus, #22

Like the ancient Saturnalia in which societal conventions are overturned, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will invert norms in ways that bring awareness to social conformity and taboos. A subconscious portal into exploring our constructs of time and space will open so we may renew our relationship with phenomenal reality. In Capricorn, the star of Hermes takes on the likeness of his goat-horned and hoofed progeny Pan who can shepherd us through a journey into our vast inner multiplicity that mirrors the multiplicity of stars above. As Mercury descends from visibility as an evening star at sunset at the end of 2022, the new year will begin with Mercury shepherding us through its invisible phase in which it serves as psychopomp to our own underworld journey.

The association of Pan with the scapegoat is relevant, as unrecognized inner material emerging into awareness can be projected onto an Other of one sort or another. Intersecting with societal oppression, the collective discharge can often be projected through the lens of collective constructs around ideas of race, gender, or other forms of identity, taking on the ugliness of racism or sexism. When facing inner conflicts around taboos or aspects of ourselves we have been denying, we can utilize Mercury retrograde in Capricorn for coming into greater acceptance of our diverse inner nature and multiplicity of identities rather than projecting what we don’t want to look at about ourselves. In addition, feelings of scarcity or not having enough can become heightened due to the combination of collective economic uncertainty and the emphasis on Capricorn, so there will be a need to take personal accountability and transfigure anxieties into creative production generated from inner strength rather than out of fear or control.

There will be a likelihood of harsh words and wounding projections due to the powerful interplay between Mercury retrograde in Capricorn with Mars retrograde in Gemini in the beginning of 2023. There is a mutual generosity of Mercury being in the exaltation of Mars while Mars is in the domicile of Mercury. Though you may think of Capricorn and Gemini as being averse to one another due to them sharing nothing in common (nocturnal-cold-dry versus diurnal-hot-moist), their aversion is mitigated due to Capricorn and Gemini being signs of equal ascension that share the same speed as well as being contra-antiscia to one another. Planets in exact contra-antiscia form a midpoint at zero degrees of Aries, bringing the diversity of their differences together into a potent marriage of manifestation in the world.

Mercury will become exactly contra antiscia with Mars on 3 January when Mercury is at 21°21’ Capricorn and Mars is at 8°39’ Gemini. Moreover, since Jupiter is close to zero degrees of Aries, Mars and Mercury will form an exact midpoint with Jupiter on 1 January 2023. As a result, the first few days of 2023 possess a potent planetary picture of Mercury-Jupiter- Mars. The effects of this combination will be multivalent, ranging from extremes of destruction in current events to incredible creative production in our own personal sphere. Due to both Mercury and Mars being in retrograde phases, it will be an especially fruitful time for gathering resources and doing renovation that builds a stronger foundation for our visible work to emerge later in the year.

The powerful interplay between Mercury-Jupiter-Mars will occur at the same time that Mercury will be entering combustion to burn off excess under the beams of the Sun. The image of Temperance from tarot can be helpful during this time, as we will need to undergo a process of purging that acknowledges excess in order to bring about a restoration of balance. With Jupiter at the midpoint of the contra-antiscia dynamic between Mercury retrograde and Mars retrograde, we can experience a powerful initiation into a new stage of growth and development. Yet to realize the potential available we will need to take note of our areas of excess so we can become focused more clearly upon what needs to be purged and consumed by the flames of the Sun as Mercury approaches its solar conjunction on 7 January.

Orpheus, early 16th Century

O come and go. You, still almost a child, / with your spell transform for an instant / the dance figure make it one of those pure / constellations in which we fleetingly

transcend dull ordering Nature. For she was roused / to full hearing only when Orpheus sang. / You were still swayed by those ancient chords / and a bit annoyed if a tree took stock / before it followed where your hearing led. / You still knew the place where the lyre / rose resounding–; the undreamt-of center.

For it you practiced those beautiful steps / and hoped one day to turn toward / total happiness your friend’s face and stride.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus #28

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on 7 January 2023 at 16°57’ Capricorn, a day after the Cancer Full Moon that will take place on 6 January. As a result, the light of the silvery Moon in her watery domicile of Cancer will fully illuminate the reseeding of Mercury in solar light. The regeneration of Mercury occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible morning star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.”

Although the inferior conjunction of Mercury is typically felt in hidden, interior spaces, the regenerative conjunction between Mercury with the Sun on 7 January will pack a louder punch than normal due to it being illuminated by the Full Moon in Cancer while also forming a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will take place on 8 January. The more we can let go of excess and outdated patterns in the lead up to Mercury’s inferior conjunction, the better we will be able to receive the emancipatory messages of Uranus in Taurus. This can be a powerful time for research and writing, especially when needing to brainstorm and generate new ideas or ways to reorganize and reconceptualize ideas already under development. It can also be a potent time for creating sacred space to nurture our imaginal, tender connections with the interconnectedness of all.

Mercury’s inferior conjunction will be just over one degree away from the fixed star Vega, a fixed star currently projected onto the ecliptic at 15°37’ Capricorn. Mercury will be within a degree of Vega’s ecliptic degree when forming its flowing trine with Uranus on 8 January. Vega is one of the brightest stars in the entire sky and has ancient significance in skylore. As the brightest star in the Lyra constellation it possesses a direct connection to the birth story of Hermes told in the Homeric hymn, an amazing synchronicity as the star of Hermes becomes reborn at this time. After Hermes was born in a cave, his immense curiosity soon led him to journey outside where he encountered the cattle of Apollo, stealing them and marching them backwards to conceal his theft in a manner mirroring the retrograde motion of the planet names after him. But stealing cattle was not all that Hermes was up to on his first journey into the world, as he also encountered a tortoise whose shell he transformed into a lyre. Once Hermes was confronted by Apollo for stealing his cattle, he sang a song with the lyre and gifted it to Apollo, enchanting the Sun god in the process.

Enchantment is central to Vega. Ptolemy linked Venus and Mercury to Vega, a further sync with the conjunction of Venus and Mercury in Capricorn initiating us into the stationing of Mercury retrograde. Bernadette Brady described Vega as bringing “creative, mysterious skill which can be used for artistic, spiritual expression or in a negative reading as a tool of deception,” with a presence that gives “charisma and the suggestion that one has been touched by the other world.” Vega is one of the fifteen Behenian stars long associated with astrological magic, possessing magical properties that amplify creativity as well as bringing protection against demons and nightmares. It’s deceptive, creative, and protective capacities are an exact match for the hidden powers of Mercury that become alive when it passes through its regenerative conjunction with the Sun, especially when also forming a flowing trine aspect with Uranus.

The otherworldliness of Vega can also be found in its mythic associations with Orpheus who played the lyre so beautifully that the music was said to enchant all of life, everything from animals to stones. Orpheus was even able to enchant the guardians of the underworld, permitting him to journey into the underworld in order to retrieve his beloved Eurydice. In addition to the ability of Orpheus to travel to the underworld and back again mirroring the psychopomp capacities of Hermes as well as the symbolic underworld journey that Mercury retrograde guides us through, there is additional chthonic associations with Vega through the image of the vulture. Agrippa in Three Books of Occult Philosophy listed the vulture as a magical image for Vega, and Vega has also been viewed culturally as the brightest star in a constellation featuring the form of a vulture rather than a stringed instrument. Vultures play a vital role in the life cycle through feeding upon the dead, and in another ancient myth it was the form of a kite (a bird of prey that also feeds on carrion) that the goddess Isis took when resurrecting her beloved Osiris from death.

Altogether, Mercury forming a conjunction with Vega as it passes through its conjunction with the Sun and trine with Uranus signifies the immense creativity that can become regenerated and activated during this time. Listen for the song to sing or play your creation into being in the world.

Pan, 1st Century BCE

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer? / When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress? / And this heart, always the gods’ possession, / when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle / as Fate would have us believe? / Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise, / in the roots– later on– stilled?

Ah, the spectrre of transience, / through the guilelessly receptive / it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving, — / the abiding Strengths assume / that the gods have some need for us.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus, #27

After Mercury becomes regenerated by the Sun, the middle of January will be dominated by the intensification of Mars stationing direct on 12 January at nine degrees of Gemini. With Mars barely moving in the airy domicile of Mercury, it will gather and focalize energy to solidify new movement. If you have been unable to gain traction on all of the new creative directions you have been inspired to pursue since Mars stationed retrograde on 30 October 2022, the week surrounding the stationing of Mars can be a potent time for committing to making it happen. Amazingly, around the same time that Mars stations direct, Mercury will also become intensified through its heliacal rising, becoming visible again as a morning star heralding sunrise. The divine presence of Hermes will be strongly alive and mediated by Chiron – for Chiron in Aries will form an exact square aspect with Mercury on 11 January, while Mars stations in range of a received sextile with Chiron. There may be an old wound to work through in mid-January that will ultimately prove to be an essential aspect of your work to come.

Moreover, Mercury will station direct less than a week after Mars on 18 January at 8°08’ Capricorn in an exact quincunx aspect to the degree and minute where Mars stationed direct. It will be extremely important to practice mindfulness during this time, paying close attention to any signs or omens in dreaming or waking life that reveal important lessons or insight into the choices you need to make. It will also be important to pay attention to triggers of conflict and restrain from creating additional conflict needlessly through words or behavior. At the same time, this can be a profoundly rich time for creativity and embarking upon new directions. Those involved in research or writing projects can discover deep wells of focus to apply to their work.

Less than a week after Mercury stations direct on 18 January, Uranus in Taurus will station direct on 22 January. Combined with the New Moon in Aquarius on 21 January that demarcates the Chinese New Year of the Yin Water Rabbit, the week following the stationing of Mercury will bring an extraordinary turning of the tide and a massive shift into generative forward motion. After Uranus stations direct on 22 January, all of the planets will be moving direct until the end of April when Mercury will station retrograde once again in Taurus. In the week following the Aquarius New Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will complete its final square aspect with Chiron in Aries on 27 January with Mars three degrees away from an exact sextile with Chiron. Pay attention to how the tests and trials of the past month have led to newfound strength and courage to face adversity and push forward with your goals and growth.

Matching the forward momentum of this time, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a morning star on 30 January. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates another threshold to cross, as it initiates us into the phase of Mercury speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being. With Mars in Gemini also beginning to generate more forward momentum, this will be a key period to take direct action on whatever you have been developing.

Interestingly, Mercury will complete its final sextile with Neptune in Pisces on February 6, the same day that it moves beyond the place where it originally stationed retrograde. A few days later Mercury will finally complete an exact conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on 10 February before leaving Capricorn to enter Aquarius on 11 February. These final major aspects for Mercury in Capricorn will take place around the same time as an extremely potent Full Moon in Leo on 5 February that will be forming a square aspect with Uranus while applying toward an opposition with Saturn in Aquarius. The Leo Full Moon will be the final major activation of the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that has dominated astrology during 2021 and 2022.

As a result, two of the longstanding transits that will be ending in 2023 – the transit of Pluto through Capricorn and the square between Saturn and Uranus – will both be stirred up as Mercury finally finishes its passage through Capricorn. Of course, the new year will not bring the final end of Pluto in Capricorn, as Pluto will only be in Aquarius from 23 March until 11 June, and we will continue experiencing Pluto moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius until entering Aquarius for good on 19 November 2024. Though you have already experienced immense regeneration in the Capricorn section of your natal chart since 2008 in relation to Pluto’s transit, the months ahead will bring opportunities for receiving deeper lessons of insight into the ways that Pluto in Capricorn has reshaped your life and perception. May Mercury help us receive and integrate the lessons and meaning we need to learn.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

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

New Moon in Capricorn

Aurora Borealis (1882) from The Trouvelot Astronomical Drawings

New Moon in Capricorn

Capricorn is zodiacal terrain that holds the duality of civilization and the wilderness. The wildness of Capricorn demands survival skills and sharp strategy, while its affinity for societal systems emphasizes cultural conditioning influences we must interface with. It’s the only zodiacal sign where Saturn and Mars are both glorified and fortified, a place of courageous initiative as well as cutting contraction. The New Moon in Capricorn on 23 December is fertile with creative visioning and pragmatic grounding, possessing the serendipity of cloaking the turning of the seasons in black, moonless night. The fertile darkness of the lunation will be aligned with the solstice when the Sun stations at the extreme of its declination, a time of extreme darkness giving way to the return of light in the northern hemisphere. It’s the darkest time of the year with the longest nights in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun reaches the nadir of its lowest declination while it rises and sets in the same place for several days; in the southern hemisphere the Sun pauses while at its greatest height in declination during the longest days of the year. In the spirit of transitional Janus, we may simultaneously reflect upon the growth of the past year while turning toward the bright beginnings of new goals and resolutions for the year ahead.

The Capricorn New Moon occurring during solstice means it is on the World Axis, the axis mundi centered upon zero degrees of the cardinal signs in the tropical zodiac. Moreover, Jupiter is further activating the Aries Point by occupying zero degrees of Aries, while Ceres is at 1°09′ Libra and Uranus is at the cross-quarter of fifteen degrees of Taurus. The first degrees of Aries and Libra are the nodes of Earth, the intersection of the celestial equator with the ecliptic that defines the zodiac. Activations of the Aries Point focalize manifestation of archetypal forces through the World Soul into worldly events, and so the planetary combination of Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Ceres will combine their influences so that issues around justice, wealth, food supplies, labor movements, freedom, faith, grief, and purification will come into prominence within current events. In our personal lives, we will have amplified support for opening to reception of abundance in the year ahead and enlarging the scope of vision to engender plans and strategies for burgeoning creative directions.

In addition to Jupiter boosting the beneficence of the Capricorn New Moon, Venus and Mercury will also be present within Capricorn and glowing brightly in the night following sunset. In fact, all of the visible planets will be visible in the darkening sky following sunset in the days surrounding the lunation. The star of Aphrodite will be especially emboldened with resilient hope and creative ripeness, as she has recently emerged into visibility as an Evening Star and will be continuing to increase with brighter and brighter light in the months ahead. Venus is receiving the liberating and innovative force of Uranus in Taurus through a flowing trine aspect, accentuating our capacity for breaking free into new storylines freed from restrictive patterns of the past. Venus and Mercury will both be separating from trine aspects with Uranus while applying toward creative sextile aspects with Neptune in Pisces, with Mercury forming an exact sextile with Neptune on 24 December and Venus on 28 December. With Venus and Mercury carrying a Promethean torch to light the way forward, their combined presence in Capricorn will kindle new ideas for creative development while also enhancing capacity for devising plans of action that can adjust to changing conditions.

The Capricorn New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Aquarius. Saturn is in a solitary place of forming no major aspects with other planets besides separating from its longstanding square aspect with Uranus in Taurus that has been the dominant astrological influence during the past couple of years. Saturn is six degrees away from Uranus on the day of the New Moon and will be almost ten degrees past Uranus by the end of the forthcoming lunar cycle. The tension between Saturn and Uranus during the past couple of years has been the driving force behind systemic collapses, movements for change, and the overturning of old and familiar storylines and structures in our personal life. Within their friction is the consolidated contraction of Saturn that slowly builds enduring structures, set against the accelerated vision of Uranus that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. Although their disruptive influence is ultimately on the way out during 2023, there will be a final activation of Saturn and Uranus during January and February. Utilize the stillness of the solstice and the darkness of the New Moon for reflection upon the ways in which your life has been reordered and reshaped by Saturn and Uranus since the end of 2020, and how you can utilize the final months of Saturn occupying its airy domicile of Aquarius to solidify the foundations and structures of whatever changes have taken shape.

During the forthcoming lunar cycle Saturn in Aquarius will be nearby the fixed star Deneb Algedi in the tail of the celestial Sea Goat (the Capricorn constellation). Saturn’s proximity to Deneb Algedi will bring additional emphasis to envisioning ways of generating greater wealth and material manifestation, as well as how to protect and preserve resources that have already been acquired. Deneb Algedi is a fixed star often associated with the ancient creator deity Enki aka Ea who dwells in subterranean water. A trickster and wise magician, Enki reorders the conventions of civilization from the depths, transfiguring the landscape so that the resources needed to fuel civilization can grow and take root. As Deneb Algedi also connects with the law and order of conventional society as well as the metaphysical principles of natural law, Saturn’s presence with the Sea Goat’s starry tail will call attention to where we need to free ourselves from conventional conditioning in order to claim the authority for steering our lives forward from a place of authentic desires and presence.

Pan and Fortune (1793) by William Blake

The month following the Capricorn New Moon will place extra focus on Capricorn, with Venus forming conjunctions with Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn and Mercury undergoing a retrograde passage that will keep the star of Hermes within the confines of Capricorn until 11 February. There is a mercurial quality to the lunation as the Capricorn New Moon is in the bounds of Mercury while Mercury is at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star, the point of its solar cycle in which it begins to slow down in preparation for stationing retrograde. Mercury will ultimately station retrograde in Capricorn on 29 December while forming a conjunction with Venus only three degrees away from Pluto. Venus will then form an exact conjunction with Pluto on 31 December. The union between Venus and Mercury will be particularly powerful due to Mercury stationing retrograde on the same day, facilitating penetrating insight into the underbelly of your relational dynamics and creative processes. There will be a deep well of unconscious forces to investigate that can uncover meaning that had been buried in subconscious recesses as well as insight into your relationships with power and societal conditioning.

Since Pluto will exit Capricorn to enter Aquarius next year on 23 March 2023, the potent activation of Pluto by Mercury and Venus will make the month ahead an opportune time for contemplating the many ways in which your life has changed since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008. During 2023 and 2024 we will experience Pluto moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius until finally entering Aquarius for good on 19 November 2024. Pluto’s archetypal meaning includes death and rebirth experiences as well as the wealth and treasure that can be retrieved during underworld journeys. Pluto signifies our inner subterranean realm, the deep soul patterns circulating in our unconscious that often drive our instinctive reactions without our awareness. Pluto is also connected to desire for power, dynamics of power and control, and power struggles. When we resist the transformative change of Pluto for security reasons we can experience upheaval and breakdown, but as we surrender to its process of decay and regeneration we may experience a purification in which we burn away old restrictions and evolve into a more potent vitality. Though you have likely already experienced immense regeneration in the Capricorn section of your natal chart since 2008, the months ahead will bring opportunities for receiving deeper lessons of insight into the ways that Pluto in Capricorn has brought about pivotal confrontations that have reshaped your life and perception.

Fortunately a powerful ally and mentor for exploring the shadowy realms of Pluto will be stepping forward: Chiron. Chiron will have a more amplified presence than normal due to stationing direct at 11°56′ Aries on 23 December, the same day as the Capricorn New Moon. Moreover, Chiron is occupying the fiery domicile of Mars while engaging in a receptive sextile aspect with Mars retrograde in Gemini. As Chiron slowly begins to generate forward momentum in the weeks following the Capricorn New Moon, Mars will finally end its retrograde passage and station direct in stillness on 12 January 2023. Chiron in myth and astrology mediates the division between wilderness and civilization, helping us gather the guidance of our ancestors and the resilient resources found within the recesses of inner psyche. Residing in his shadowy cave on the outskirts of society within a wild landscape of medicinal plants and mountainous terrain, Chiron is the wise hermit who trains the alienated in cultivation of the unique qualities they can share as part of finding a role in community. Whatever difficult issues, tests, and wounds have been stirred up by the retrograde passage of Mars, the stationing of Chiron can help in attuning to the deeper lessons and wisdom to retrieve from the turmoil and challenges.

With Jupiter also co-present in Aries along with Chiron, the Capricorn New Moon also serves as an initiation into the buildup of Jupiter slowly approaching a conjunction with Chiron that will take place on 12 March 2023. There is an excellent article written by Brian Clark about the Jupiter-Chiron cycle and their conjunction in Aries in 2023 you can read here. Amongst many other themes, Brian Clark deduced that the start of a new cycle between Jupiter and Chiron in 2023 will highlight mundane issues centered around educational changes, medicinal wisdom, indigenous reconciliation, refuge for the displaced, and natural and psychic wilderness.

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The New Moon in Capricorn will rise in the first decan of Capricorn associated with the Two of Pentacles image illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a juggling magician set against a backdrop of sea change embodies the capacity of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Fittingly for a decan focused upon shaping material fortune, the first face of Capricorn is ruled by both Jupiter and Saturn. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that Jupiter’s rulership of this face is shown through the metaphysical lesson of the Two of Pentacles: “the only constant is change.” Chang wrote that while the Two of Pentacles portends that nothing will be remaining the same, its connection with the first decan of Capricorn also signifies that there will be opportunities opening up to take advantage of for new growth and experiences. As we bring the volatile year of 2022 to a close, the New Moon in the first face of Capricorn is a boon for gleaning the new goals for growth we can gather from the many changes we experienced during the past year.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn, stating it “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.”  Coppock analyzed the attribution by the 12th century philosopher and astrologer Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new sources of work and sustenance. Coppock further illuminated that since “the figures which roam this decan can root deeply into what soil they find themselves in,” using discernment in choosing which location to lay down roots within is critical. If we wish to utilize the capacity of Capricorn for building a sturdy foundation that will support the development of enduring structures, we need to be mindful where we choose to begin construction.

While Coppock cited the image of a headless man holding a sword found in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis as the inspiration for his image of “A Headless Body,” it’s further interesting that it also directly connects to the image for this decan found in Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE): “Body of a man without a head, dressed in a scarab skin wrapped around his chest, small water urn in right hand, left hand stretched out upon thigh.” While the image of scarab skin in The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius fits well with the scarab-faced deity Khepri in Egyptian religion who represents the rising sun, creation, and the renewal of life, the fact that the figure is also carrying a water urn reveals the purification and spiritual regeneration that can be experienced during the solstice when the Sun enters the first face of Capricorn. Like the headless Ketu associated with the South Node of the Moon, the headlessness of figures associated with the first decan of Capricorn also reveals the extraordinary power of this face for attuning with the spirits of material forms.

Moreover, the “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributing the ancestor of earth and body-based healers, Asklepios, to the first face of Capricorn. Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, embodies a centered focus which integrates all surrounding realms, both material and immaterial.  Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity,  and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures. Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious.  With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through disciplined spiritual practice.

The capacity of Asclepius to monitor synchronicities in waking and dreaming life for deeper meaning will be especially helpful to cultivate with Mercury stationing retrograde in Capricorn within a week of the New Moon. We can expect another great wave of change to take place during 2023 due to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all entering new signs, and so the New Moon occurring in the first decan of Capricorn is ideal for envisioning how to be co-creative with the changes underway. May the stationing of the solstice Sun during the darkness of the New Moon in Capricorn aid you in dreaming the creative life you wish to embody in the year ahead.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.

References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Full Moon in Gemini

Moonlit Night on the Dnieper (1880) by Arkhip Kuindzhi

Full Moon in Gemini

Gemini possesses extraordinary mental deftness. It’s the sign of the Twins and the back and forth. Gemini is paradoxically a place of the binary and duality as well as the perspicacious perception that discovers non-dualities within the conflicts of duality we suffer. Gemini is prone to fragmentation yet also discovers unity within the multiplicity of fragments its questioning breaks open. Just like the Twins symbolize symbiosis in the womb that becomes differentiated into separate paths emanating from a shared source, Mercury’s rulership of Gemini reveals its capacity for mediating polarities and considering the nuances in between opposing perspectives. Gemini delights in languages and sounds of the sacred, finding pleasure in transmitting their complex meaning through handiwork such as writing, weaving, and sculpting material forms. While Full Moons in Gemini tend to be an especially active time for mental pursuits and social engagement, the mental wattage of the Gemini Full Moon on December 7 will be excessively amplified due to the Moon closely applying to Mars retrograde in Gemini.

The darkness of the night will be set against the glowing orb of the Moon and the brilliant redness of Mars, as Mars will be in its brightest phase and as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mars to be. As the Sun sets in the west, the Moon and Mars will rise together in the east. Yet just as we will be able to witness Mars in its peak redness within the blackness of night, there will be a lunar occultation of Mars (in some locations) that will temporarily consume our visual sight of the red planet. The Moon’s disappearing act with Mars is a potent sky omen that speaks to the deeper meaning of Mars reaching its solar opposition phase. I find resonance with the perspective of astrologer Adam Gainsburg who has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as initiating us into a radical commitment to our authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs. The Full Moon in Gemini will spotlight how to direct the fiery impulses of Mars into forms and expressions that can serve the needs of your community or audience.

Gemini like its ruler Mercury has affinity for the crossroads where one path separates into a choice of options. As we come to the end of 2022 and the season of increasing darkness in the northern hemisphere, the illumination of the Full Moon in Gemini will provide penetrating insight into the changing nature of storylines from the past year and the choices which need to be made on the direction to follow in the year ahead. Though Gemini is known for becoming scattered and becoming burdened by too many interests and potential paths to pursue, the close application between the Full Moon with Mars will provide a burning intensity that can cut to the heart of the matter and the core values and desires that need to be honored in any decision. There may be a need for meditative and other calming practices to mediate an increase in mental anxieties provoked by Moon and Mars adhering to one another, yet when channeled into work, art, and creativity the amalgamation of Moon and Mars can bring an immense activation of drive and resilient tenacity in making forward strides and significant development despite whatever obstacles we may be facing.

Though the Gemini Full Moon is an incredible alignment of both the Moon and Mars cycles coming together at the same time, it’s not unusual – for comparison, you can reflect upon past times this has occurred such as the Full Moon in Sagittarius conjoining Mars retrograde in Sagittarius on 21 May 2016, and the Lunar Eclipse conjoining Mars retrograde in Aquarius on 27 July 2018. Some of what sets the present alignment apart is it occurring in Gemini with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces in the tenth place from Mars, giving Jupiter a superior influence over Mars. Furthermore, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from Neptune and applying closely toward a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter that involves mutual reception, due to Venus occupying the fiery home of Jupiter and Jupiter occupying the exaltation of Venus. James Hillman in The Myth of Analysis captured some of this meaning when he wrote that “Those twins, compulsion and inhibition, are familiar enough in all creative efforts where one is both driven and blocked, enthusiastic and critical, on fire and fearful . . . Demon and daimon are one; if we suppress the compulsion, we lose touch with the guiding voice of the daimon . . . At the deepest level of fear an eros appears . . .” The synergy between the Moon and Mars may not be pleasant, and could bring distressing fears to the surface. Uncovering the daimonic eros emerging out of your recent trials and tribulations will provide the lodestar needed for navigating out of the storm.

Saturn in Aquarius is in position to provide stabilizing support, as the Gemini Full Moon is applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn that can help with centering upon one’s core purpose and walling off the distracting noise of the nonessential. Moreover, Mercury in Capricorn as the ruler of the Gemini Full Moon is also in a place of pragmatism due to occupying the nocturnal and earthy home of Saturn. Mercury excels in holding the tension of paradox, probing the meaning that weaves together differences, and questioning the certainty of righteousness in order to tease out the insight necessary for a deeper engagement. In Capricorn, Mercury is particularly adept at devising plans of action that can adjust to changing conditions, making decisions in a grounded manner that recognizes the reality of what will work while staying aligned with the required integrity. As the Full Moon peaks in light, Mercury in Capricorn will be on its own without any immediately applying aspects, giving the star of Hermes space to contemplate the recent messages it received from its fiery conversation with Jupiter in Pisces on 5 December. In contrast to Venus becoming enflamed by the Moon, Mars, Neptune, and Jupiter, Mercury in Capricorn is in a cool, solitary place of contemplation that will facilitate separating the wheat from the chaff.

dating c. 520 – c. 510 BCE, depicting Herakles wrestling Triton

Mars has spent the first half of its retrograde phase locked into a battle with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces that has ranged between chaotic confusion and creative inspiration. As Mars reaches the alchemizing midpoint of its retrograde movement during the Gemini Full Moon, Mars is beginning to gain significant separation from its last square aspect it completed with Neptune on 19 November. With Neptune stationing direct on 3 December in the week before the lunation, Mars and Neptune will now be moving in different directions away from one another until they much later come back into one final square aspect on 14 March 2023. Though the combined presence of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces is still holding an influence over Mars during the Gemini Full Moon, the flowing trine aspect between the Gemini Full Moon with Saturn in Aquarius can facilitate discernment regarding whatever deep wells of imaginal material have been stirred up by Mars clashing with Jupiter and Neptune. The cutting intellectual blade of Mars retrograde in Gemini can be utilized to slice through beliefs, ideologies and illusions you have been adhering to without question. Whether you have disillusionment or inspired idealism to sort through, allow the presence of Jupiter and Neptune together to bring the underlying truth of your experience to the surface.

While the Gemini Full Moon is applying toward a trine aspect with Saturn, Mars is gaining further separation from the exact trine aspect it formed with Saturn on 28 November while applying toward a resonant sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries. Mars separating from a trine with Saturn and applying toward a sextile with Chiron while in the heart of its retrograde phase signifies initiation. Mars will form an exact sextile aspect with Chiron on 19 December 2022 at the same time that Chiron will be stationing direct on 23 December. The sextile between Mars and Chiron that will be slowly building from now until the Capricorn solstice is potent due to the activation of Chiron’s presence through stationing while Chiron is also being received by Mars into its fiery home of Aries. The reception between Mars with Chiron brings a critical test and training that has the ultimate expression of Mars for the greater good in mind. The interplay between Saturn, Mars, and Chiron may bring up painful wounds and difficult patterns to awareness, yet the harmonious reception between Chiron and Mars indicates there is something important about your relationship with Mars that is being sharpened, honed, and developed.

Reflecting upon the previous sextile aspect between Mars in Gemini with Chiron on 17 September 2022 may give insight into the process underway for you with Mars and Chiron, as well as issues that came up around the Full Moon in Aries that was conjoining Chiron on 9 October. For example, you may have gained increased awareness of patterns stemming from past wounding and alienation that have been creating important matters to work through in relational dynamics. Or issues involving the intersection between societal systems of oppression with one’s identity and core purpose, and whether you feel you have the agency to pursue what you want to create in life. Do you feel disempowered due to a sense of futility in the face of obstacles, or are you acting as an agent of societal institutions rather than following your genuine desires? Let Chiron coax a more empowered expression of Mars in your life.

Chiron ultimately functions as a mentor archetype, shown through both his mythology and astronomy. In myth, Chiron was a wise centaur who fostered and trained heroes. In astrology, Chiron’s eccentric orbit that weaves in between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus symbolizes how it facilitates a deeper connection with our nonconformist side that does not fit easily into conventional society. Chiron in Aries combined with Mars retrograde in Gemini will bring opportunities to recover whatever you have felt you needed to abandon about your essential purpose to fit in with cultural expectations. What have you been sacrificing about yourself in order to meet the material demands of society? Who are you serving with your power?

The application of the sextile between Mars and Chiron will extend through the rest of the time period that Jupiter will be occupying its watery, nocturnal home of Pisces. Jupiter will exit Pisces to enter Aries on 20 December, a day before the Capricorn solstice. Jupiter will not be in another one of its domiciles until entering Sagittarius in 2030 and will not be in its exalted sign of Cancer until 9 June 2025. Utilize the final days of Jupiter directly expressing its procreative life force through Pisces to envision the life you most dearly wish to create, allowing your imagination to run wild. The activation of the Aries point by Jupiter at the same time as the Capricorn solstice will make it a powerful time for dreaming on the darkest day of the year, conceiving the plans and projects you can take direct action on in the year ahead.

During the waning half of the lunar cycle, in the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere, Venus and Mercury will be adorning the evening twilight with their light. The return of Venus to visibility as an Evening Star is especially powerful, as it marks the end of her long underworld journey of invisibility that lasted from September through November. The renewal of Venus into visible light will ignite a revived embodiment of desires that can guide decision making. Whatever was emptied and purified during the past three months of Venus traversing the celestial underworld can now be transmuted into dynamic creativity and renewed values. By December 10, both Mercury and Venus will be traveling together in Capricorn for the rest of December, creating a supportive astrological atmosphere for generating creative possibilities as well as refining options into focused goals you can develop strategies to achieve.

The waning Moon during the solstice on 21 December will add to the potency of the fertile darkness that will contain all five visible planets in the sky following sunset. Mercury will be at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star during the solstice while separating from a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus it will complete on 17 December. Meanwhile, Venus will be applying closely to a liberating trine aspect with Uranus that will become exact on 22 December. With both Mercury and Venus carrying a torch of Promethean fire, we can experience an emboldened pursuit of innovative creative directions. Combined with Jupiter occupying the first degree of Aries, it will be a powerful time for reflecting upon the changes and growth you have experienced during the past year while turning toward the new year to envision what you wish to create.

9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The Gemini Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Gemini associated with the Nine of Swords arcanum illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Nine of Swords involves an image of nightmarish worry and anguish under a cover of astrological symbols. The image for the Nine of Swords takes on new meaning when considering that Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hermaphrodite” to this face. Coppock described the second face of Gemini as being a place of mediating “continuing duality” in which “we must learn to reconcile angels and demons within a single soul.” The obsessive, negative thought cycles shown in the Nine of Swords through this lens reveals an “inability to reconcile dualities within oneself, within the world,” to Coppock, “the moments of despair” which can occur within the “irreconcilable places” found within this decan. Yet to Coppock there is a great gift to cultivate in the second face of Gemini in terms of recognizing how each side of dualities like love and war perpetually turn back into one another through the “arts of union and separation.” Coppock concluded that whoever “accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction- they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.”

Fittingly for a hermaphroditic decan, the second face of Gemini is ruled by both Mars and Venus with numerous ancient texts ascribing images of dualistic forms. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs attributed the ancient goddess Cybele to this face, whose creation story involves an original hermaphroditic form. The Liber Hermetis described a double faced man holding a bow and arrows, treading on rabbits with both feet. Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described another man holding a bow and arrow, but one whose head is bound in lead with an iron helmet featuring a silk crown, who is enjoying “ridicule and mockery” while walking around a garden playing music and picking flowers. While the Picatrix described an eagle-faced man also with bow and arrows, iron helmet, and silk crown, the Yavanajataka described a graceful black woman in bright garments who delights in the arts, singing and storytelling and who is pleased to be holding a lyre.

The storytelling and songs contained in the image from the Yavanajataka are mediums through which the complexity of the second face of Gemini can be expressed, as the artistic artifice of storytelling can create space for the tension between dualities to reveal insight and revelations. In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the capacity of the second face of Gemini for mediating dualities is shown through the form of a trickster figure: “In the second face [of Gemini] rises a man who holds in one hand a [shepherd’s] pipe and has the other curved and digging into the earth. [This image] signifies infamous and dishonest actives, such as jesters and tricksters, and signifies labors and laborious searches.”

The Gemini Full Moon conjoining Mars in its own face of Gemini will amplify the symbolism of the second face of Gemini. While this can be an extremely cunning, strategic, and cruel placement for Mars, Agrippa’s image of a trickster digging one hand into the earth reveals a higher calling for Mars that can also be found here. In the Orphic hymn to Ares, Ares is petitioned to turn his fury and weapons into the procreative production of Demeter that discovers abundant riches within the earth. With the star of Ares in his peak light aligning with the peak light of the Moon, consider how you can transmute the tenacious frenzy and passion of Mars into useful creativity and brilliant insight that is grounded in practical application.

 References

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

Hillman, James. (1978). The Myth of Analysis. Harper Colophon.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

Red Sunset on the Dnieper (Dnipro) by Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi

Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

The Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 8 has carried a big reputation long before its manifestation. For starters, it’s a Total Lunar Eclipse in which the face of the Moon will become completely veiled by red shadows. Secondly, it is igniting the friction between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius that has dominated the astrological landscape since the beginning of 2021. The clash between Saturn and Uranus has correlated with systemic disruptions and collapses across global societies, while within the personal sphere many have experienced drastic and immense changes in life direction. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse will loudly open the final chapter of the Saturn-Uranus story with a bang. The eclipse at 16º00’ Taurus will be applying closely to a conjunction with Uranus retrograde at 16º56’ Taurus, with the North Node of the Moon nearby at 13º24’ Taurus and Saturn occupying the ninety degree angle of 18º48’ Aquarius. Adding to the volatility of these aspects is the tricky presence of Mercury, who will be adding a large dosage of regenerating spice into the mixture due to forming a reanimating conjunction with the Sun at the same time as the eclipse.

One of the reasons astrologers predicted 2022 would be an extremely volatile year was due to not only one, but two total lunar eclipses occurring in hard aspects with Saturn and Uranus. Total lunar eclipses do not happen every year, and in fact after the Taurus Lunar Eclipse there will not be another total lunar eclipse until 14 March 2025. While new moons and full moons set the rhythm of events on a monthly basis, eclipses carry a larger charge of impact that can last at least six months long, with total eclipses tending to have the most jarring influence. One way astrologers forecast the length of an eclipse’s impact is by how long the light is consumed by shadow, and so it’s also significant that the Taurus Lunar Eclipse has an unusually long duration of totality of around 85 minutes. Moreover, the eclipse occurring in a fixed zodiac sign further magnifies the interpretation that the eclipse will mark turning points in storylines that will have long term ramifications.

Saturn facing off with Uranus demands change. However your life has changed in the past couple of years, the eclipse setting off Saturn and Uranus will demand coming to terms with the larger implications of your choices at the same time new developments and information will require digestion and integration. As we have witnessed over the course of the past couple of years the process of Saturn and Uranus at times can involve a slow buildup of tension that eventually erupts with a propulsive release, at other times striking unexpectedly with the force of lightning while instantly changing everything. Saturn involves consolidated contraction that can build enduring structures at a slow and steady pace, whereas Uranus operates with accelerated vision and movement that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. If there remain places within life where you have been resistant to letting go of past dynamics that have kept you from fully stepping into a more vibrant and exciting path forward, the Taurus Lunar Eclipse can serve as the catalytic astrological influence needed to jettison you forward into the new direction.

With the Sun and Mercury combined together in Scorpio near the South Node of the Moon, and Venus not too far away in Scorpio, it will be important to make space for reflection and contemplation of the past patterns and dynamics that have led to present circumstances. The chaotically creative combination of the eclipsed Moon with its North Node and Uranus can be exciting yet can also lead us into becoming overwhelmingly swept up inside the collective storms that will be sweeping through current events. The inward nature of Scorpio being catalyzed by the contraction of Saturn calls for a turn within and focus upon the depth of the in-breath rather than rushing toward the release of the exhale. With Mercury rushing at full speed into the heart of the Sun in Scorpio, the star of Hermes is calling for a descent into embodiment of one’s essential character in order to act and speak from one’s core values rather than being rashly reactive to the unsettling winds of change that will be blowing through collective and personal events.

Mercury is the ultimate mediator of polarities within astrology. While Mercury has a disruptive side that will show up in events aligned with the eclipse, its capacity for mediating polarities can also facilitate important internal growth and development. Within external events we can expect that significations of Mercury such as communication, technology, commerce, and the media will be major themes within the big eclipse stories that will be emerging, an obvious example being the longterm implications of the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk. Yet with Mercury experiencing the purifying, reanimating, regenerative renewal of its solar conjunction at the same time as the eclipse, turning our attention within can help us attune to the seeds of new ideas that will play pivotal roles in our future development. We can also shed the influence of past conditioning on our thoughts and perception more readily. Consider what thought-forms and opinions you hold due to being told you have to think that way, or due to wanting to conform with or be accepted by others. Mercury in Scorpio is in position to help you cut through to the heart of your present state of being.

Whether or not your external life has dramatically changed during the past couple years of Saturn facing off with Uranus, the internal changes you have experienced will be essential to reflect upon. In what ways have you been releasing yourself from past conditioning and attachment to past sources of security? The emancipatory presence of Uranus will be extreme within the eclipse, and while this will correlate with unsettling news and changes in many cases, it can also shake us free from where we have been stuck. Due to the Sun forming an opposition with Uranus at the same time as the eclipse, Uranus will be as close to us as possible within its orbit. Listen to what messages Uranus is sharing amidst all of the tumult for how to become more engaged with your authentic presence and follow a more creatively fulfilling direction forward. Before being able to follow the path illuminated by Uranus, however, the eclipse will also bring up the old issues and emotional material in need of resolution.

Bison in red ochre in the Cave of Altamira, Spain, from upper Paleolithic era (36,000 BC)

Eclipses come in families connected with the Saros cycle. The origin of their ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse is part of the Lunar Saros 136 family that have all occurred at the north node of the Moon, with the most recent eclipses in the family happening on 28 October 2004, 17 October 1986, 6 October 1968, and 26 September 1950. The origin eclipse in this family occurred on 13 April 1680 and involved a conjunction between Mars and Uranus in Aries that was in a square aspect with Pluto, as well as a square aspect between Jupiter in Taurus with Neptune in Aquarius. The combination of Mars, Uranus, and Pluto seeding the origin eclipse gives this family a theme of disruptive, volcanic force that fits well with the turbulent aspects within the Taurus Lunar Eclipse. The contact between Jupiter and Neptune in the origin eclipse also adds further weight to another significant aspect within the present eclipse: Jupiter and Neptune together in Pisces forming a square aspect with Mars retrograde in Gemini.

After the Taurus Moon passes through a conjunction with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn, it will move into a sextile aspect with Neptune retrograde in Pisces followed by a trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn and then another sextile aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Pisces. More impactful than the sextile between the Taurus Moon with Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces, however, is the square aspect between Mars retrograde in Gemini with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. Within a week of the recent Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, Mars stationed retrograde in Gemini on October 30 and so Mars has barely been moving during the strange vortex of time that occurs in between eclipses. Mars stationing at a standstill is always incredibly dramatic, as Mars stations retrograde less frequently than the other planets and the stationary status of non-movement is at odds with the action oriented nature of Mars. Mars wants freedom of movement and expression, and when it is moving direct it enjoys the hunt of going after goals and competing for whatever we view as the treasured prize. Yet when Mars stations to shift retrograde it isn’t moving, and so there is increased potential to feel frustrated or blocked. The simultaneous friction between Mars with Jupiter and Neptune can be disorienting and amplify frustrations due to difficulty in focusing.

Mars stationing retrograde requires adjustment and although it can coincide with difficult feelings and experiences, it is an extraordinary agent of change in our lives. Mars may not be moving much by zodiacal degree during the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, but we will nonetheless be experiencing an intensification of its heat in ways that can shatter our complacency and unleash new desires that pierce our defenses and call us to shift directions. Moreover, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and the South Node of the Moon are all transiting through the nocturnal, watery domicile of Mars and so the red planet will be claiming a powerful role of influence in the week ahead until Venus leaves Scorpio for Sagittarius on November 15, Mercury does the same on November 17, and the Sun follows them into Sagittarius on November 22. With all of the Scorpio placements activated during the eclipse, deepening into whatever processes of putrefaction, purging, and shedding you are experiencing will provide the compost needed to nurture whatever new fiery desires of Mars emerge.

The more we can become clear about our goals and what we wish to create in the month ahead, the better we will be able to make use of the abundant creative potential available through Mars activating the combination of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces is an immensely imaginative combination. However, we can be in danger of merely daydreaming with Jupiter and Neptune or becoming drawn into internal processes to such an extent that we have difficulty expressing their imaginal insight through material forms. The positive side of an intensified Mars volatilizing Neptune and Jupiter is that we can become activated to bring creative visions into form. Setting goals and making space to focus on the steps required to achieve aspirations will help us be focused and productive rather than distracted and dispersed. A helpful aid in focusing on work will be the flowing trine aspect between Mars retrograde in Gemini with Saturn in Aquarius that will continue to build with intensity until becoming exact on November 28. The harmonious aspect between Mars with Saturn will be helpful for making significant strides in our most meaningful work.

Though there is a positive side to the tension between Mars retrograde with Jupiter and Neptune, we need to be wary of becoming blinded by our beliefs under their influence or acting like a self-righteous crusader against perceived evildoers. All of us live in an illusion in one way or another, the difficulty being that we typically have no idea that we are living in an illusion and instead become critical of those acting in ways that go against our own illusions and beliefs about reality. Jupiter and Neptune combined in Pisces can become overly inflated about beliefs, with the intense heat of Mars leading us to persecute and attack others who appear to go against our beliefs. Rather than being dogmatic or fixated in your beliefs, be curious about asking questions and make it a point to practice active listening skills so you can relate to where others are coming from instead of projecting on them where you believe they are coming from. Though many portray Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces as fostering delusion, their combination can actually reveal deeper truths about reality when we are willing to experience disillusionment and pierce through our self illusions.

Roses in a Vase (1881/83) by Georges Seurat

Venus in Scorpio rules the Taurus Lunar Eclipse while under the beams of the Sun and separating from a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. Venus is still traversing her underworld journey due to being in her invisible phase with the Sun, and so with both Venus and Mercury being too close to the Sun to be visible, there will be ample support available for internal processing and descending into hidden depths and places of psyche to attune with the ways in which our internal landscape has been shifting. Venus formed her superior conjunction with the Sun on October 22, and since that time we have been in a process of incubating the new sense of values and desires that will be emerging. Venus will not become visible as an Evening Star for another month, and so the changes brought by the eclipse will help facilitate greater awareness for the ways in which we have been internally shifting. Venus is in the third decan of Scorpio that she rules during the eclipse, and her dignity within the third decan of Scorpio is ideal for deepening into the depths of desires to bring about regeneration. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces wrote that the essence of the third face of Scorpio involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire. Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires. Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

Mercury and Venus will remain in Scorpio in the week following the eclipse while in their invisible phases and forming flowing trine aspects with Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces. Venus will trine Neptune on November 10, Mercury will trine Neptune on November 12, Venus will trine Jupiter on November 15, and Mercury will trine Jupiter on November 16. As you lay to rest whatever old desires need to be fully let go, listen deeply to whatever new creative desires and ideas flow into your awareness as Venus and Mercury pass through their harmonious aspects with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. If you are experiencing difficulties in connection with events that erupt with the timing of the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, do your best to make some time and space for creative brainstorming. With Jupiter and Neptune in the exaltation of Venus, Venus in particular will be able to receive the imaginative revelations of Jupiter and Neptune in ways that can open up exciting new avenues of creative development.

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Moon will become eclipsed in the second decan of Taurus associated with the Six of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money. The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane. Like in the prayer of Saint Francis, there is receiving found in the giving and giving found in the receiving, with the image of the scales further signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity found in the process. Through inner harmony transmitted within collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm. Despite whatever difficulties we face with the Moon becoming eclipsed in the second face of Taurus, focusing on the mutual support available within our relationships will be a key to navigating any unexpected challenges that arise.

The Moon is the ruler of the second face of Taurus, adding to the potency of the Moon in her exaltation becoming eclipsed. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets on tarot and the decans described the second face of Taurus as involving “Mysteries at the Threshold,” in part due to the major arcana of the High Priestess (Moon) and Hierophant (Taurus) having symbolic association with the second face of Taurus. Chang noted that the Six of Pentacles card involves both “an act of benevolence that visually echoes the Hierophant card,” while the High Priestess is also involved in the image of the Six of Pentacles as “the spirit that moves one to generosity.” Chang further wrote that the Six of Pentacles reveals the importance of taking the opportunity that arises within a window in time, “a moment in weaving when the warp threads have separated just enough for the shuttle to fly through.” Chang advised that drawing the Six of Pentacles can indicate finding “harmony between your inner and outer selves,” accepting and creating “material opportunities, for yourself and others,” as well as finding “the sweet, cross-quarter magic of the present moment.”

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action. Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus, advising that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides . . . Passion is necessary for continuing fructification, but those raw powers must be tempered by means of an ordered effort.” Coppock’s description of alchemical effort fits well with the transit of Mars retrograde in Gemini forming an activating square aspect with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces during the eclipse, with Mars also applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that will support the ordered effort needed to bring the fruits of Jupiter and Neptune into form.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horai to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time who are the daughters of Zeus and Themis, goddess of divine law and order. Diodorus of Sicily wrote in the 1st century BC that each of the “Horai was given a responsibility named after her for the ordering and arranging of life for the greatest benefit of mankind” and “furnishing a prosperous life” through “lawfulness {eunomia}, justice {dike}, and peace {eirene}.” In keeping with the Taurean metaphor of cultivating crops, the Horai were worshipped by those planting and tending their field of harvest in alignment with the rising and setting of stars. The presence of the Horai in the decan where the Moon will be eclipsed suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time for action performed in the right way. Rather than reacting rashly to challenges or trying to rush ahead too fast in pursuit of desires, keep in mind the long game as you listen to what your situation demands and respond from your core values of integrity.

References

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by S.M. trzaskoma, R.S. Smith, and S. Brunet. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

New Moon in Libra

Justice (1550/69) by Bernardino India

New Moon in Libra

Libra is a sign of weighing balances, associated with the fall equinox in the northern hemisphere and the spring equinox in the southern hemisphere when there is an equality of day and night around the world. The New Moon in Libra on September 25 is only a few days after the equinox, initiating us into a new season that will feature the most volatile astrology of the year. Libra excels at contemplation, intellectual pursuits and aesthetic arrangement, a sign that exalts the calculations of Saturn and consideration of consequences, a place where the centeredness of the Sun has its fall. The New Moon in Libra following the equinox so closely makes it ideal for reflection upon our path, ruminating upon the many strands of present development to lay plans for the meaning and purpose we wish to explore for the rest of the year.

The Libra New Moon is opposite Jupiter retrograde in Aries, amplifying themes of justice associated with the sign of the Scales and the necessity of taking the time needed to think through options and issues in order to distill the essence of what needs our focus. The Sun in Libra will oppose Jupiter a day after the lunation on September 26, an alignment that demarcates the heart of Jupiter’s retrograde passage when Jupiter is at its brightest peak in the night sky, as close to earth as it gets within its orbit. As a result, Jupiter is in a liminal passage during the Libra New Moon, transitioning from its morning star phase into its evening star phase that will bring increased opportunities for aligning our purpose with the needs of our surrounding community. The brightness of Jupiter can illuminate the deeper meaning within our circumstances, helping us to separate from what is no longer serving our purpose and distinguishing the decisions that need to be made in our next steps forward.

The tension of the opposition between Jupiter and the lunation invites the objectifying analysis of Libra that can reflect upon ways in which we may have been too full of hubris, too ungrounded with the visions we are developing, too idealistic or too righteous in our own personal sense of justice. Not only is the Sun in its fall of Libra, but Venus as the ruler of the Libra New Moon is also in her fall of Virgo. As a result, there’s a need to ground and step back from ambitions enough to analyze if the goals we are developing our truly aligned with our authenticity or focused too much on fitting into cultural standards and conditioning of success.

Fortunately, there is a productive trine aspect between Mars in Gemini with Saturn retrograde in Aquarius that will become exact on September 27 a couple of days after the lunation. The flowing trine between Mars in Gemini with Saturn in Aquarius can help in focusing the inventive qualities of Mars in Gemini that can become too scattered at times or indecisive regarding the numerous options available to pursue with its multifaceted talents and skills. Due to Mars stationing retrograde at the end of October, this will be the first in a long sequence of trine aspects that will be forming between Mars and Saturn over the next six months, with the next exact trine occurring on November 28 with Mars retrograde and Saturn direct in motion. The careful consideration of the Libra New Moon can be applied to contemplating one’s present relationship with Mars as the red planet begins to slow down over the course of the subsequent lunar cycle. Mars in Gemini will have an increasingly intensified presence, and while it may bring increased volatility it also holds the promise of dramatic change and exciting new desires and passions to pursue and cultivate.

Aphrodite by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Venus rules the New Moon while separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn and toward a conjunction with Mercury retrograde in Virgo. The flowing trine between Venus and Pluto is the closest aspect within the lunation, and combined with Mercury simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with Venus and a trine with Pluto brings penetrating depth of insight into hidden patterns and patterns that have been operating under the surface. Both Venus and Mercury are in the midst of underworld journeys while empowered by the forces of Pluto. Mercury recently was reborn by its union with the Sun on the Libra Equinox, but is still in its invisible phase due to being in close proximity with the Sun. In contrast, Venus more recently has descended into the underworld in her invisible phase and will eventually become reanimated through her solar conjunction on October 22. Mercury and Venus are considered to be the two rulers of the third decan of Virgo (Mercury in descending order; Venus in triplicity order), a face that facilitates incisive awareness regarding the consequences of actions.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces on the decans ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo as there are many associated images of decay in old texts. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” There is a strong contrast of essential dignities between Venus and Mercury, with Venus in her fall and Mercury exalted as well as fully resourced by being at home. There are themes of Nemesis and Necessity within the relationships between Venus, Mercury, and Pluto, with the potential to cut through places we have obscured our viewpoint by pride in order to open deeper awareness. Venus in her present phase mirrors the mythology of Inanna’s descent to the underworld during which she must remove her talismans and release her pride in order to prepare for the mystery of her rebirth.

At the same time, with both Venus and Mercury in range of an opposition with Neptune we can open perception beyond the ways in which we typically restrict our awareness, sifting through any recent experiences of disillusionment in order to realign with the deeper truth we are coming into relationship with. With Venus separating from Neptune and applying to both Mercury and Pluto, there will be opportunities for grounding and coming back into more pragmatic relationship with reality if we have more recently been overly idealistic or inflated. Mercury will not complete an opposition with Neptune due to stationing direct in Virgo on October 2, yet will remain in Virgo in range of an opposition with Neptune during the waxing phase of the forthcoming lunar cycle. As a result, as the Moon waxes toward fullness we will have opportunities for coming to terms with our larger dreams and inspirations, our idealistic hopes that can sustain our excitement about life despite difficulties we are facing. Neptune will be a key player in the volatile astrology that will developing in the season ahead, and so it will be worthwhile to utilize the Mercurial focus available within the Libra New Moon for cutting through illusions to come into relationship with the deeper truths and meaning that can be revealed by Neptune.

2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon in Libra is in the first decan of Libra associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a blindfolded woman sits in front of an oceanic expanse while crossing two swords in front of her.  The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, and indeed this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find equipoise, resolving conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.  T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets stated that the blindfolded woman reveals how the “Swords have do to do with what can and can’t be known,” and that the covered eyes in the image “represent minds that only partly grasp their situation” yet want to know more. Chang links the Two of Swords with setting aside preconceptions, giving opposing points of view “equal airing,” utilizing practices that help “clear your mind, and listen for silence.” It’s a fitting image for the New Moon involving an opposition between the lunation with Jupiter as well as an opposition between Venus and Mercury with Neptune.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces referenced Smith’s illustration by ascribing the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to the first face of Libra, describing it as a place which awakens awareness to injustice and disequilibrium within both societal and personal levels of interaction. Coppock wrote of the significance of the Two of Swords holding symbols that “allude to the arousal of an as yet unconscious force” such as the nocturnal and oceanic setting making it a landscape “beneath the threshold of waking consciousness.” Since the Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra and the Moon is being reanimated within its own face, the meaning of the first decan of Libra will be amplified. Coppock emphasized the essence of this face being about relationship and “the balance between two entities” in all forms within the social order, stating it “shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition.” Coppock declared that the first decan of Libra not only illuminates dynamics of “fairness and reciprocity” based upon “core principles of ethical interaction with other beings,” but also can incite assertive attempts to address injustice or imbalances.

It is further notable that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra. As the Erinyes are chthonic goddesses who serve natural law and punish transgressors, the first face of Libra is a place of becoming aware of previously hidden evidence that reveals inequities.  The fearless insight into hidden matters signified by the Furies fits well with both Venus and Mercury being in the middle of invisible, underworld phases while also forming flowing trine aspects with Pluto. If you have been feeling the festering of the Furies within, make space for purifying and releasing the associated toxic components while coming to terms with the deeper meaning found within your own shadowy inner realm. The image of blind Justice fits well with the darkness of the Moon opposing the full brightness of Jupiter retrograde in Aries. Making space to explore the inner patterns behind recent events in the days following the Libra New Moon will help in coming to terms with the adjustments to plans and goals that will be needed in the season ahead.

References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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