In the early morning, on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019, Venus aligned with the heart of the Sun – its exterior conjunction and the midpoint of its 19-month cycle that began on October 26, 2018, and will end on June 3, 2020. Thursday’s full moon opposes this conjunction, therefore extending the reach of this personal pivot into a larger collective story as Mercury emerges from its post-retrograde shadow, immediately colliding with Uranus and sparking a sudden revelation, or a brazen and bold message.
Moses Siregar recently wrote: “Astrologers might assign either sweet love and joy to Venus approaching the Sun, or the slow, painful burn of Venus’s “combustion” as she disappears into the starry furnace, takes a breath, then comes out the other side to a full moon… Whether you’ll experience the peace and love of Venus in the heart of the Sun on the 13th and 14th, or the intensity of Venus’s transition from morning to evening star, there’s a real good chance you’ll experience some of both…”
I lean more toward the“slow, painful burn” interpretation, especially with the conjunction occurring in a tight quincunx to Pluto. It’s not that sweet Venus blessings and opportunities won’t show up at this time, but accessing them will likely involve crossing a difficult threshold and some growing pains. For example, friends of mine just signed the final documents on the sale of their house and were handed a sizable cheque in return (Venus’ domain includes finances and material possessions). And yet the sale also represents a bittersweet goodbye to a structure that journeyed a few decades with their family.
Venus’ “combustion burn” began weeks ago, perhaps around the end of June as Venus slipped beneath the Sun’s beams, and then it burned with increased intensity within the past week as Venus and the Sun traveled within 2 degrees of each other.
The exact exterior conjunction takes place at 21 degrees Leo on August 14th. If you have any important points or planets around that degree or in aspect to it, you will surely be experiencing Venus’ transmutation with vivid precision.
There may be an important shift in your circumstances, your identity, and your relationships… that prompt you to turn inward to reflect on what (or who) you really want; what your soul truly desires. There could be an important opportunity presented – yet accompanied by barriers or insecurities that need to be addressed in order to access it.
A situation or an internal state may have become so intolerable that you are forced to reckon with the distance between your deepest values and priorities… and where the present moment has pulled you ashore.
In contrast to Venus’ interior conjunction that (arguably) marks the beginning of her cycle and is akin to the new moon phase, the exterior conjunction is somewhat comparable to the full moon phase of the lunar cycle. It is a moment of culmination, that also carries with it a provocative invitation to rise to a challenge, to complete a test, to re-align, to reconcile, to reconnect.
Venus’ exterior conjunction is a halfway re-assessment, a pivot, a choice point; it is where we renew our vows – to ourselves, to each other, and to the world.
Inanna, the ancient Sumerian goddess, is one of the many divine manifestations of Venus in human history, inspired by her fascinating dance across the sky.
While some connect Venus’ retrograde period to the Descent of Inanna (an ancient Sumerian poem), and Inanna’s eventual moment of death and rebirth, to the interior conjunction, I find the poem fits better with the current exterior conjunction, when Venus is the farthest distance away from us on the other side of the Sun (although really, the Descent of Inanna is a suitable literary psychopomp to guide us on both occasions).
Now, and in the few weeks prior and in those that follow, the Sun seemingly separates us from the planet of love, affection, relationships, connection, attraction, beauty, art, joy, pleasure, money, personal values, acceptance and self-worth… does that sound like a good time?
Not quite! Especially as Venus perfects a quincunx to Pluto, ruler of Hades, at the same time as she transmutes in the Sun’s fire.
In fact, if we draw a correlation between the Descent of Inanna poem and Venus’ disappearance behind the Sun (as a cosmic symbol of Inanna)… it is at this point in the story that “Inanna was turned into a corpse, A piece of rotting meat, And was hung from a hook on the wall”… for three days and three nights, until she is rescued from her sister’s underworld kingdom and resurrected.
So… it may not be a “good time” or an “easy time”, but the days around August 14th mark an important time. It is a significant turning point in Inanna’s story, in Venus’ cycle, and in the Venusian narrative playing out in our lives.
We may be required to work a little harder to reach across the distance, through the fire, toward her.
Rather than taking her qualities for granted, we will need to respectfully court Venus, attend to her calls with dedication, and honour her divine spark in each of us, and in each other.
In other words, we will need to be proactive and intentional with cultivating traits of compassion, acceptance and love for ourselves and others. We will need to become more creative about how we can imbue the world with beauty, art, pleasure and meaning. We will need to be courageous and lion-hearted, acting with vulnerability, authenticity, and humility, as we reset our direction in alignment with our internal compass and our values, when we realize where we may have gone astray.
The exterior conjunction requires work and effort.
Back in October 2018, Venus’ current cycle took its first breath in Scorpio. At that time, stewing in Scorpio’s turbulent waters, we may have been more aware of endings then beginnings, but nevertheless… there was a prayer for the future whispered over a coffin, there was a seed planted in the decay, there were threads of possibility that spread like plant tendrils across rolling hills of grief.
It is now that we renew the vows we made and honour the space of potentiality that entered our lives back in October.
As the mythic poem describes, Inanna was initially on route to the underworld to pay her respects and witness the funeral rites for her brother-in-law, the Bull of Heaven, whose death she was partially responsible for. As Queen of the Heavens, she arrogantly believed she could visit her older sister Erishkigal, Queen of the underworld (now a widow), and be exempt from the underworld’s laws that decree the gates to its kingdom are a one-way door.
Many modern interpretations of this myth perceive Inanna and Erishkigal not as two distinct entities, but as symbolizing both the conscious light and the unconscious shadow within us all. Inanna descends into the underworld and is gradually stripped of her pride and her egoic identity structures as she is forced to removed all her royal attire at each of the seven gates until she meets her death when she stands in front of “her sister”, Erishkigal.
It is an initiation.
It is only when Erishkigal’s grief and her child-birthing pains are witnessed and empathized with, that Inanna is freed – though not without certain conditions and sacrifices, of course.
A return to the pre-initiated, unawakened state, is always impossible. We are changed people when we emerge from an underworld journey.
Resonant with this mythic story arch, the current choice point of Venus’ exterior conjunction also presents us with an opportunity to remove our masks and our protective blinders to expose what we have been hiding from ourselves or from others.
The task of mask-removing is particularly important with this Sun-Venus cazimi occurring in the sign of Leo, whose shadow side typically involves some manifestation of the archetypal identity mask – the mask that portrays what we believe other people want to see. The mask that risks suppressing authenticity, hiding our true nature, and yet can make us “likable” and desirable.View this post on Instagram
You may not guess it, but this is one of my favorite images in BEGIN AGAIN. It is meditative, haunting. It most closely represents how I feel, personally: 🌙 She crumples into a ball at the base of a tree; a seed ready for planting. Hanging from the tree are masks; they seem to taunt her from their position above her, spinning to look in all directions, watching. How do we choose our identity? Is it a conscious process or are we born with it? I seek to shift faces and identities, to naturally become a new person along my journey for each new phase of life. Those identities grow within; I am the seed, my masks sprouting as from my gut, internal, awakening. 🌙 “Identity: Unseeing” | self-portrait, 2019 | 36×36”, 1 of 2 at @joanneartmangallery 💛 🌙 #brookeshaden #identity #mask #surrealphotography #beginagain #unseen #fineart #fineartphotographyView this post on Instagram
The masks we have to choose from are infinite; the ways in which we hide ourselves extensive. Sometimes it isn’t easy to recognize when we are wearing a mask at all. We get used to the ill fit and the heaviness of it. We think that is the frame of view we are meant to have. We fit ourselves into masks that look more normal, more acceptable, that speak less and blend more. 🌙 Creating this image was a big undertaking, as were all of the images with replicated materials. To create a scene where the enormity of our identity surrounds us was important to the visual narrative of this series. I loved playing with scale in this series, especially with the masks. How big and heavy the faces we wear and let fall can feel. 🌙 "Identity: Identification", 16×16" ed. 1 of 3 hanging currently at @joanneartmangallery 🌙 #brookeshaden #identity #mask #surrealphotography #fineart #fineartphotography #limitededitionprints #selfportrait
Brooke Shaden writes:
“The masks we have to choose from are infinite; the ways in which we hide ourselves extensive. Sometimes it isn’t easy to recognize when we are wearing a mask at all. We get used to the ill fit and the heaviness of it. We think that is the frame of view we are meant to have. We fit ourselves into masks that look more normal, more acceptable, that speak less and blend more.” (~Brooke Shaden)
According to Adam Gainsburg’s interpretation of Venus’ cycle, it is when Venus is moving behind the Sun toward its exterior conjunction during the weeks of its Immersion Phase, that it is especially important that we keep nothing hidden from ourselves. We should immerse ourselves in all that we have previously suppressed.
Maintaining a clear connection with our inner truth is essential. It may feel like nothing is moving forward; we are stuck in inertia and everything is hopeless. And yet Gainsburg advises us to “stay the course until an opening appears”. This part of the cycle requires our fierce persistence and paradoxically, our soft surrender and un-masking.
The inward pull of Venus toward the center of the Sun, toward the core of our interior, is still taking place as I write. Gainsburg writes of the current Transmutation Phase (August 14 ~ October 1, 2019):
“Such intense light – as love – forces us to meet our dark self or opposite, everything we’re convinced that we aren’t [i.e., Erishkigal]. An invisible Venus forces us to see our Other inside ourselves… Venus will return, but at this point in her Journey, you’re meant to open and allow yourself to feel pulled apart, stretched or ‘ended’…
Working to transform your fear of losing what matters most to you may take you all the way to the other side of yourself, just as Venus is on the other side of the Sun. Your circuits can actually run more Love through them than you’ve probably allowed thus far…
It will feel like an insanely far reach to reconnect to parts of you, such as those parts that are afraid of expressing yourself creatively, being invisible or too visible, lapsing too easily into depression or rejecting genuine support. But just like Venus here at her fastest speed, you’re driven. It is up to you which road you’ll drive.” (~ Adam Gainsburg)
Throughout the Transmutation Phase, as we cross this week’s fiery threshold and are gradually pulled upward out of the underworld and back into connection with the living world, we are undergoing a process of self-reclamation.
“I seek to shift faces and identities, to naturally become a new person along my journey for each new phase of life. Those identities grow within; I am the seed, my masks sprouting as from my gut, internal, awakening.” ~ Brooke Shaden
The Full Moon in Aquarius on Thursday (Aug. 15), opposite this Venus-Sun cazimi, amplifies and illuminates this pivotal moment in this 19-month Venus story as we seek to reconnect with forgotten or suppressed parts of ourselves within the context of our Aquarian communities, and through the process of sharing our unique contributions with society and seeking to have their value recognized by others.
Some real life signs you may be encountering the initial symptoms of Venus’ immersion and transmutation (perhaps especially during the couple days/weeks prior to August 14th, 2019) include a heightened experience of…
- sadness, deep grieving
- thwarted desires, not getting what you really wanted
- unrequited love
- a sense of emptiness, like something is missing
- lack of passion; life feels grey, lacking spark and vitality
- creative blocks or a redirection of creative energies
- feeling like your unique gifts and talents are not being appreciated, or that they are undervalued in society/community
- questioning your personal values and priorities
- a realization that your actions are not aligned with your values, creating disillusionment or regret
- low self-worth and feeling unwanted, unattractive or undesirable
- self-doubt and insecurity about the ways in which you identify
- financial or resource-related stress, or $ shifts to adjust to
- missing or losing important possessions
- confusion between logic, reason… and gut instincts and intuition (between brain and heart)
- feelings of disconnection from oneself and others
- alienation, exclusion from self/others/world; loneliness, isolation
- literal distance via time or space from loved ones
- disagreement, resentment and conflict in relationship
- jealousy, envy, competition, possessiveness
- awareness of where there has been too much compromise, co-dependence & lack of reciprocity
- annoyance with superficiality in yourself and others
And yet still, there is an opportunity here.
Sometimes we don’t realize how much we love and desire something/someone… until we lose it/them. Sometimes we don’t realize what values are most important to us… until we are facing resistance and challenge. Sometimes we don’t see other creative and innovative potential and possibility… until a closed door forcefully redirects us.
Our current separation from Venus, our distance from her, is an opportunity, an invitation. A beckoning, to pursue her more intentionally.
The quincunx to Pluto in Capricorn provides some extra thorns along the path to be sure, as this aspect suggests we are reluctant to do the deconstruction, the pulling back of layers necessary to realign. There may be important truths we don’t want to expose or confront, or there could be structures and foundations we don’t want to dismantle or release.
Courageous Leo-like authenticity and honesty with ourselves and others – taking off our masks – may be required, in order to reclaim and address what is missing, congested, unresolved, or unintegrated. There is greater potential capacity in this cazimi moment to metabolize old Venusian pain, shadow and wounding, in order to transform.
This mid-week cosmic catalyst may decree that if you have been sitting on the fence of some issue, now is the time. The Sun’s light connecting with Venus brings illumination, clarity, energy and motivation to unite purposeful action with personal values and heart.
Love, desire, relationships, money, possessions, beauty, art, pleasure, self-worth, fairness and personal values are common Venus correlates, but check the topics of the houses ruled by Venus in your personal birth chart (the houses with Libra and Taurus on the cusp) for additional insight into what choice point or opportunity is being presented to you via Venus’ current identity-driven position in Leo’s house.
I’ve written about the Venus cycle previously, but to briefly summarize the larger picture here… when you play connect-the-dots in the zodiac wheel with Venus’ interior conjunctions (occurring every 19 months), you will find yourself drawing the shape of a 5-pointed star that completes itself every 8 years.
Venus then retraces this same star shape with another series of interior conjunctions with the Sun that predictably land only 2 degrees behind the last set of interior conjunctions.
The exterior conjunctions (such as this one) trace the same star shape within a couple degrees in the same sign every 8 years, but they offset the interior conjunctions by 4 years.
Therefore a Venus star point will get activated by either an interior or an exterior Venus conjunction every 4 years.
So, for example, exact on August 14, 2019, there was an exterior Venus conjunction at 21 degrees Leo. 4 years prior to that date on August 15th, 2015, there was an interior Venus conjunction at 22 degrees Leo. And 4 years prior, there was an exterior Venus conjunction at 23 degrees Leo on August 16th, 2011.
If you have some important points or planets around this region of the zodiac wheel, then you may be able to track significant life events that correlate with these days and the activation of the Leo star-point.
I sure can… this star point has been very potent and identity-redefining for me as someone with a late degree Leo rising.
August 2011: my dad was given a life-changing diagnosis that eventually took his life and profoundly changed my sense of identity and my relationship to him.
August 2015: I was trying to recover from my dad’s death a few weeks earlier, while frantically wrapping up a graduate thesis for its mid-August deadline – whose completion catapulted me into post-university-identity-crisis-land (and also filled me with incredible pride and joy for finishing something I never thought I could under those circumstances). It was the end (and the beginning) of a major life chapter in more ways than one.
August 2019: ??? We’ll see. It’s occurring just inside my 12th house and I find I am more aware of a 12th house event when one of the cosmic players crosses my ascendant and shares its secret and hidden conversation with me.
Looking ahead to the remainder of the current 19-month Venus cycle…. Venus will re-emerge from invisibility, from the beams of the Sun, as an evening star in early October 2019.
She will then will both complete and renew her cycle on June 3rd, 2020, with an interior conjunction at 13 degrees Gemini in the middle of her next retrograde period.
In astrology, Venus is sometimes overlooked and overshadowed by more dramatic, or seemingly more action-oriented or revealing placements. But Venus is not to be messed with or taken lightly! Her majesty’s magic will astound you with its precision, its patterns, and its 5-pointed beauty that has been marveled at for thousands of years.
As I was preparing this post a few days ago I pulled The Lovers Reversed, together with The Hermit Reversed. This pairing seemed so aptly descriptive of the midpoint of Venus’ cycle.
The Lovers, as the 6th card in the Major Arcana, follows The Hierophant – where we learn, where we are educated and where we are provided with keys of knowledge to open the doors that lie ahead. When we reach The Lovers we are standing – naked, vulnerable and innocent – at the threshold of adulthood and at the threshold of choices and decisions that will shape our life’s path.
The Garden of Eden symbology in the RWS deck, reminds us of the high stakes of the decisions we make, and the responsibility and burden of free will. With each choice we make along our path, doors open, and doors close. And we cannot go backwards in time. We must humbly walk out the consequences and outcomes of each decision we make, for better or worse, as we engage with the material world of time and space, motivated by the force of our desire.
When I see The Lovers Rx, standing naked in a Garden of Eden paradise, I first wonder, is ignorance bliss?
And yet it is poor stewardship of our capacities to remain unconscious of the impact of our choices – to deny that we have even have choice (such as Adam and Eve who pointed fingers and tried to scapegoat the blame for eating fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden).
Lilith (Adam’s “first wife” who lent her name to this blog), chose knowledge, empowerment, authenticity and freedom in the Garden of Eden myth – and simultaneously also chose the costs and sacrifices that came with acting on this heightened awareness and capacity.
As Venus is pulled away from us, as well as inward into the purifying, fiery heart of the Sun, we may want to ask how we can make better decisions in order to enter into right relationship with ourselves, with each other, and with this world?
How can we allow our desires to propel us toward a deeper, more fulfilling, and open-hearted vulnerable connection with life? Where have we unconsciously chosen “ignorance is bliss” and found ourselves making too many compromises along our path; disconnecting from the authentic truth within ourselves and others? Have we been too influenced by the opinions of others, or tried to offload responsibility and accountability for the choices we’ve made, on to others?
How can we re-balance and re-calibrate our relationship to the world by re-centering on our deepest values and truest core desires?
The solo wisdom path of The Hermit echos some of these themes in the provocation of its reversal. Are we learning and applying the wisdom we have gained from experience as we walk our path? Are we following our own unique life calling, or are we trying to imitate someone else’s journey? Are we avoiding connection with others, not taking responsibility for our autonomous contributions in relationship, or running away?
Is our tendency toward isolation and disconnection from ourselves/others reflective of escapism and rigid protectionism? Or are we indeed seeking deeper spiritual truth and understanding through bearing fully, the weight of our free will and by acknowledging the persistent beat of our desires that weave us unavoidably into the web of life through our engagement with it?
Can we honour the paradoxical mystery of freewill and autonomy within an interconnected, interdependent and ultimately nondualistic reality?
Perhaps The Hermit Rx and The Lovers Rx speak to the inner growth and maturation process involved in this Venus midpoint as we are challenged to accept responsibility for the unique life path that calls to us, while releasing a preoccupation with what others may think of us and navigating our relationship to all of life with authentic integrity.
Under the auspices of both The Lovers and The Hermit, as desire unites with spirit-led purpose in the cosmos, it may be time to renew our vows, whatever that may mean to you…
Eclipse season is wrapping up. We had a solar eclipse in Cancer on July 2nd and a lunar eclipse in Capricorn on July 16th. We are also in the midst of a 3-week Mercury retrograde period that launched VERY LOUDLY conjunct Mars on July 7th/8th. Remember that? I do.
I typically use the ‘when-the-sun-is-18-degrees-from-the-nodes’ rule for determining the eclipse season window, which would bring us to about July 28th. However, another reasonable ending for eclipse season would be the upcoming new moon in Leo on August 1st (or July 31st, depending on your time zone), which completes the lunation cycle that began with the solar eclipse on July 2nd – and occurs within the same hour that Mercury stations direct at 23 degrees Cancer opposite Pluto!
There will be some jolts, shocks, and hiccups around this time, but the upcoming Leo new moon will be packed with a lot of power and forward momentum.
So is that it? Is this the end of eclipse season chaos and change?
It will be the end of this particular eclipse season, but this is only one small chapter in a much larger story…
Eclipses, involving the Sun and Moon, only occur around where the nodal axis is (within 18 degrees of the North or South lunar node on either side). When the nodal axis moves into a new set of opposing signs for 18 months, it turns on the heat in those areas of our chart, catalyzing unavoidable growth and calling on us to bring further integration and balance to the polarity.
Then when eclipse season highlights the nodal axis process every six months, that growth gets accelerated. The thermostat is turned waaay up. There’s increased energetic charge for this 36-day period.
And yet it is really just an action-packed chapter within a longer story. And if your chart isn’t directly contacted in impactful ways by the eclipses, then it may not even be all that action-packed.
Regardless though, individually and globally, in some way we are living out unique versions of the nodal axis story arc. Don’t let a focus on eclipse season distract you too much from this larger narrative unfolding throughout this 18-month period (or 24 months if we include the overlapping eclipses).
The story isn’t over yet.
With the nodes at 17 degrees Cancer-Capricorn, we are only just approaching the half-way point.
Here’s what it looks like when I apply a fiction writer’s 5-part narrative arc to the Cancer-Capricorn nodal axis/eclipse progression…
The nodal axis entered Cancer and Capricorn on November 6th, 2018, but we can trace the initial beginning of the story arc exposition all the way back to the first Cancer solar eclipse that occurred on July 12th, 2018 – a year ago, while the nodes were still in Leo and Aquarius.
Here is when we were getting introduced to the setting, the characters, the main ingredients, the energy and vibe of the narrative arc.
The eclipse season of January 2019, on the Cancer-Capricorn axis, thrust us fully into the thick of the story. It propelled us forward with compelling plot twists, conflicts, challenges, and a sense of building momentum.
This eclipse season too, June/July 2019, amplifies part 2 of the narrative arc – what is called the “rising action“. It is at this point in reading the novel, that you are fully hooked and engaged. Suspense and tension are building. The protagonist has their work cut out for them as they navigate multi-faceted dilemmas and scenarios.
Up ahead, December 2019-January 2020, is the plot climax. The tipping point of the story. Here we will be over halfway through with time left to finish unraveling the story’s plot lines and tie up loose ends (part 4 – falling action) and deliver a satisfying conclusion (part 5 – the resolution) by the final set of Cancer and Capricorn eclipses occurring June/July 2020.
How does that land for you? Can you sense a narrative arc unfolding?
When you look at the houses with Cancer and Capricorn on the cusp and consider their themes (along with the placement of their rulers, the Moon and Saturn), can you identify what relevant life content is calling for your attention?
I suspect it is quite obvious by now, as we near the halfway point.
The house placements will bring more precision to the interpretation on an individual level, but for all of us and for the world in general as an organism, the themes of Cancer and Capricorn are front and center.
There’s lots of content online and in previous posts about Cancer and Capricorn themes, so I won’t try to cover all of them, but I wanted to share how I find it is helpful to understand the dynamic of their polarity as a plant (Cancer) and a pot, or a container (Capricorn).
My mom recently repotted a plant that had been in its original pot for 38 years! I’m not a gardening expert by any means, but I’m aware that it is really important to repot your plants before they become root-bound.
When a plant is root-bound, it can be very difficult to extract it from its original container. The roots have become a hard, compact and dense web, clawing at the inside of the pot. Sometimes you actually need to BREAK the pot to free the plant, and sometimes the force of the plant’s roots as they try to push outward, seeking the freedom to grow, may actually crack the pot on their own.
In order to grow, plants need space for their roots to extend so they can collect more nutrients to fuel their flourishing above ground as well.
The container (symbolized by Capricorn) is necessary because if we were to just lay the plant on the ground, with its roots exposed and vulnerable to the external environment, it would wither, dry up, and die.
The plant (symbolized by Cancer) needs the protection of the container to grow… and yet the container essentially needs to “grow with the plant” in order to support the plant without inhibiting and hindering its efforts.
Thus why repotting is important… especially during these Cancer-Capricorn Eclipse Seasons.
The north node is transiting Cancer, indicating an area of growth, and the south node is transiting Capricorn, indicating an area of release. It is ultimately about integration, but since we typically begin the transit with an imbalance in favour of the Capricorn side (& house), we may need to be intentional about leaning into Cancerian themes, in order to compensate, remediate, and come back into balance.
What is the “Capricorn container” that you may be outgrowing?
Is the container a relationship, or relational dynamic/pattern? A house? A job? A limited belief about yourself? A habit? A protective survival strategy? An identity role? A rigid self-narrative? A daily routine? A co-dependent dynamic?
What is the “Cancer plant” for you?
What tender new roots, branches and leaves want to grow? In what ways have they been feeling a bit suffocated by a long-standing Capricorn container in your life?
It took my mom 38 years to repot her plant during this eclipse season… which ironically was a clipping of a plant from a long ago ex’s mother, in a pot given to her by the ex boyfriend, so many years ago.
Sometimes old containers get really comfortable, familiar, and we don’t want to discard them – or at least we don’t feel the need to prioritize the dirty, messy task of repotting when the plant is still “surviving“, right?
As we are in the “rising action” portion of this narrative arc, building toward the tipping point, we may find our traditional Capricorn containers stubbornly resisting replacement. We may feel root-bound.
Whenever I think of the Cancer-Capricorn axis, I think of safety and protection. Both signs are very much motivated to establish safety and protection – but as two cardinal signs, they are also oriented toward growth.
How do we grow… while also staying safe?
Growth requires some risk, some discomfort… and yet we are biologically wired to stay safe. Whenever I get confused by the seeming complexity of human behavior, I reduce everyone’s actions down to an effort to stay safe and to survive… and everything makes sense again. Staying safe is fundamentally a part of our animal nature (even if our psyches have developed and been conditioned in such a way that what “staying safe” is to one person, seems risky to another).
I’m not going to lie… it isn’t easy, working with this desire to grow and yet stay safe dilemma. It is something that I struggle with daily. Seeking growth while staying safe, requires a lot of trust – trust in ourselves, trust in each other, and trust in the universe. We need to trust that we can step out beyond the familiar, into uncertainty, toward growth, and still be, okay. We need to trust that we can find a new container to be repotted into.
Trust isn’t easy to come by, but it is the bedrock of hope. If we can trust that somehow, inside of this mess, that just maybe, despite the often painful process, the situations we face are “navigationable”…. and that we can learn and grow and offer moments of safe reprieve and support to each other throughout the journey… then hope is well within reach.
Astrology is one of the containers I turn to repeatedly. Being held within the dynamic zodiac wheel of my nativity chart has thus far, been a deeply spacious container for me, with seemingly endless growth possibilities!
Astrology restores my trust in the universe, and therefore, my hope as well.
P.S. Tarot is another container that I have been using frequently. I created a tarot spread for this Cancer-Capricorn axis to aid you with the repotting process 🙂
Some additional nodal axis and eclipse diagrams and explanations…
Today, May 21st, Gemini Season begins as the Sun leaves Taurus to enter the airy zodiac sign of the twins!
But that’s not what I’m here to write about today. Interestingly Gemini Season launches with Gemini’s ruler, Mercury, entering Gemini at the same time.
In other words, there is an exterior Sun-Mercury conjunction occurring at 0 degrees Gemini (sometimes called a cazimi) – and this is what I previously promised I would discuss when it arrived. I’m increasingly really fascinated by Mercury and Venus’ synodic cycles and have been researching them for a while. My hypotheses are still in development though!
My research question is something like this:
How do the shifting relationships in space between the Sun, Earth, and Mercury, and the uniquely different phases of Mercury’s synodic cycle, contribute to the standard astrological interpretation of a Sun-Mercury conjunction where the symbolism of the two bodies are merely combined?
During a cazimi transit (when Mercury and the Sun are conjunct within the same degree, or within 16 astro-minutes of each other) Mercury is said to “be in the heart of the Sun”, or to “have the ear of the king (aka, the Sun)”. It’s generally considered a very positive position for Mercury and everything that falls within Mercury’s domain, although, I’ve also heard people sometimes describe this transit of Mercury across the center of the Sun as being “in the eye of the storm”, and that strikes me as particularly apt for the exterior conjunction especially.
Straightforward Sun + Mercury interpretations still work (e.g. important encounters and conversations, good ideas, motivation for communication and travel related tasks or paperwork, taking action on the options presented….), and yet personally I don’t always experience these transits as light and as positively as they are often described (especially the exterior conjunction/cazimi).
These Sun-Mercury cazimis can definitely speak to a breakthrough moment – but oftentimes it’s a breakthrough that arrives after a test, challenge, or tension.
When interpreting the combination of the Sun and Mercury as is, simply merging the two archetypes and themes, the correlations are easy to see for sure.
But lately I’ve gotten curious about incorporating greater nuance and dynamism into these interpretations by reflecting on Mercury’s movement and cycle phase in the sky.
My apologies for repeating myself a bit, as I integrate past material and contextualize the transit (which actually in itself is very reflective of this transit!), but if you want to read the entire previous post about Mercury’s synodic cycle and interior conjunctions, you can check out my post from March.
Most astrologers agree that Mercury’s synodic cycle begins at moment of interior conjunction with the Sun during Mercury’s retrograde period (i.e. when Mercury is between the Sun and the Earth – see image above).
May 21st is the midpoint of the current Mercury synodic cycle that began on March 14th, 2019 with an interior Sun-Mercury conjunction at 24 degrees Pisces. Symbolically, the interior conjunction on March 14th was like Mercury’s equivalent of a new moon phase and its related themes of new beginnings. In contrast, symbolically, Mercury’s exterior conjunction on May 21st (i.e. with Mercury on the other side of the Sun) is similar to the full moon culminating point.
Do you see any connections between the two dates, March 14th and May 21st?
Is there something that was conceived around March 14th that is now being tested or refined in some way as we reach the exterior conjunction?
How do the conjunctions (in Pisces and Gemini respectively) make sense for you based on the themes of the natal houses they activated in your chart?
Each Mercury synodic cycle is about 4 months long (or ~116 days) with the interior and exterior conjunctions alternating every two months as Mercury orbits the Sun. The current Mercury cycle will conclude (and restart) on July 21st, 2019 at 28 degrees Cancer with an interior conjunction during the next Mercury retrograde period.
It’s easy to overlook the difference between the two conjunctions, because from the perspective of an astro chart, they look nearly the same – except that the interior conjunction only occurs during a retrograde so you’ll see the rx symbol beside the Sun-Mercury conjunction when this occurs.
But if you zoom out for a perspective from outer space, the two conjunctions are entirely different. During the interior conjunction on March 14th, Mercury was closest to the Earth, in front of the Sun, with no interference between us (see first image).
Mercury has a diameter of 4,879 km. The Sun has a diameter of 1,392 million km.
That is a ginormous difference in size.
So in contrast, during an exterior conjunction (like the one occurring TODAY, on May 21st) let’s imagine we’re here on Earth having a conversation with Mercury the messenger, and then the Sun gets in the way.
Like, the Sun REALLY gets in the way.
It’s like trying to have a conversation with a small child when the 1970’s Mr. Universe winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, walks in-between us, flexing. (Arnold, incidentally is a Sun-ruled Leo, of course)
In ancient times, the Sun was considered to be a cosmic reflection of the King.
At the time of the exterior conjunction, Mercury is truly quite far away on the other side of the Sun, whereas with the interior conjunction (occurring on March 14th and again on July 21st) Mercury is very close to us.
If Mercury symbolizes our thought processes, our communications, and the power of language and information, what does this mean to have Mercury so far away from us, behind the Sun?
The exterior conjunction could have about a 48 hour span of relevance; exact on May 21st, but applicable from ~May 20th – 22nd.
These are some of my observations and reflections, based on what I’ve noticed during other exterior Sun-Mercury conjunctions…
Personally, the exterior conjunctions have always been more outwardly eventful and noteworthy for me compared to the interior conjunctions, but I’m not sure that is generalizable. I will continue to reflect on the differences between the two types of Mercurial conjunctions.
The interior conjunction during Mercury’s retrograde period can also grab a megaphone… as it transitions us from one Mercury cycle to the next, marking an ending and a new beginning.
As I noted previously, on a global scale, during the last interior conjunction around March 14th, Mercury showed up vividly – Facebook, and Instagram were very glitchy with prolonged outages; the college admissions scandal in the United Sates was exposed; Boeing grounded their entire fleet of Max airplanes on March 13th, thereby creating major travel backlogs after a tragic plane accident in Ethiopia a few days prior; there was a highly publicized Brexit-related vote; and there was a horrific white supremacist terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Sun and Mercury cazimis can bring many good things forward into the light, but I think it may depend on the content that Mercury carries in a particular person or situation. IF Mercurial thoughts, intentions, beliefs, and programming, are really positive and good, then bringing them into the light will be cause for celebration.
Conversely, if they are contaminated, broken or problematic in some way, bringing Mercurial content out of hiding into the light of the Sun, which is charged with the energetic capacity and motivation for action, could be shocking or challenging. The Sun could illuminate some matter that needs to be addressed, fixed, resolved.
For example, I believe Boeing has now resolved the software issue with their airplanes, but it is awful that it was a crash that brought the technological issue to their attention and made them take action to fix it. The tech error (Mercury) certainly decimated their reputation in the industry (Sun), and they are now trying to redeem themselves in the public eye.
I have also observed that these cazimis (interior or exterior) sometimes align with acts of violence that result in public headlines discussing the impact of poisonous political, social, and religious rhetoric shaping people’s perception, thoughts, and beliefs (Mercury) and their consequent actions (Sun).
The harmful and destructive potential of our thoughts and words is important to illuminate, publicly highlight, and address – but it is not okay that it is often the shock of violence that forces these conversations into the mainstream.
It is worth pointing out that as we arrive at today’s exterior conjunction, the culmination of the Mercurial synodic cycle that began on March 14th, it is being reported that the perpetrator of the Christchurch tragedy who is facing 51 counts of murder, has just been charged for engaging in a terrorist act (this is the first time someone has been charged under this act in New Zealand’s history).
With the exterior conjunctions in particular, the Sun, a symbol of power often associated with ancient kings, authority figures and government, is in charge here. The New Zealand shooter is being held accountable by the country’s legislation.
In response to my Instagram story question I posted many months ago regarding events of the last exterior conjunction on January 29th (@ 9 degrees Aquarius), some of the responses I received included:
someone’s boss (Sun) forcing employees to travel to work (Mercury) despite cold weather shutting the state down; fights with siblings and several strange manipulative encounters with exes (symbolized by Mercury); emergency construction on the street (Mercury governs everything related to daily travel) in front of someone’s apartment with jackhammers for 24 hours straight (aggressively making street issues public – Sun); energetic singing outbursts (Sun) from roommate (Mercury); tech and stock market issues (an inhibited Mercury); having a (really good) therapy session in the dark because the electricity was out (still pondering the symbolism of this, but it’s an interesting example of working with the hidden parts of the psyche buried behind the Sun/ego!)
As I mentioned before, at the previous culminating point of Mercury’s synodic cycle on January 29th with the exterior conjunction, I had a really bizarre 36 hours where I received six different requests from a wide variety of people (some of whom I hadn’t heard from in over a year), asking for my immediate help and assistance with a variety of creative projects in ways in which I felt rather taken for granted. I love these people, but it was an odd culminating moment where they all asked at once, each one with an urgent deadline.
At the beginning of that synodic cycle with the interior conjunction a couple months prior, I had begun working on my own personal creative projects in new ways. Now at this culmination point I had to reach deep (reaching past the Sun) to access the power of my voice (Mercury) and assert some boundaries so I could invest in my own projects!
It did feel a bit like a test – how strong was my desire to develop my own creative projects?
It was through this challenge and struggle (really, because of it), that I gained a lot of clarity and successfully reclaimed my voice, grounded myself in my worth, and prioritized my direction via setting boundaries and becoming more comfortable with saying no to external pressure. That’s one of the potential gifts that can emerge from the exterior conjunction – precisely because there is an element of testing, tension and struggle creating a catalyst for growth.
Additionally, within 24 hours of the exterior conjunction in group-oriented Aquarius on January 29th, I had someone write me to request that I remove their contact information from a post where they were listed as the volunteer coordinator for a group on a website I manage, because they had recently accepted a job where this position would complicate their employment in the same field.
At the same time, I also was notified by an umbrella association, under which I co-chair a volunteer network, that I needed to change the handle on the network’s email so that it would not be confused with being the email of a paid staff member of the association.
This was interesting to me since both requests speak to a dynamic where clarifying Sun themes were highlighted – where outward presentation, appropriate role designation, and proper formality took precedence over convenience in the realm of communication (i.e. Sun positioned in-between the Earth and Mercury with the exterior conjunction).
The Sun rules Leo, and similar to this zodiac sign, the Sun (an authority symbol) can be very conscious and concerned with how it is perceived, regardless of the sign it is in.
Those are my some of my reflections on the recent Mercury interior and exterior conjunctions. I’m still digesting the quality of this moment in time as we navigate the current culminating conjunction point at 0 degrees Gemini, but I have some thoughts already.
A couple small examples:
Yesterday I was finishing up an instructional drawing book I’ve been working through (titled “Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain”). The last exercise is to draw a self-portrait to compare to the self-portrait I drew two years ago when I first started working through the book. I see the relevance to the Sun-Mercury exterior conjunction in that I was wrapping up my work with the book (an exterior conjunction culminating point), I was drawing and copying (Mercury) my physical reflection (Sun), assessing how accurate it was in imitating the original template (my face – Sun in front of Mercury), and comparing it to a previous drawing (reflective of the twinned nature of Gemini).
I’m an incessantly restless Gemini-Moon person and I often use fidgets to help me stay focused when I need to do sustained desk work. I have high standards for fidgets (a Gemini/Mercury phenomenon for surrre), and I recently emailed the toy supplier to find out where to get more of a particular wire fidget I’m obsessed with (ironically called “the celestial orb” 🙂 ) – they told me today that they no longer sell them! My favourite Mercurial fidget has been replaced by fancier, flashier toys (Sun overwhelming Mercury).
Here’s some other Mercurial-Sun stories I’ve observed so far in the past 36 hours in my life and around me…
- being offered an apartment and submitting official acceptance
- in another situation, trying to decide how to tell a roommate one is moving out, without causing conflict
- communicating a difficult diagnosis to family members
- in another case, suspecting a cancer diagnosis when called in to the doctor’s to review test results – only to find out that the test results showed everything was fine
- sibling confrontation after building tension
- supporting a roommate through a life crisis
- reconnecting and clearing the air with a friend after an extended, confusing time of distance
- finding an ideal job opportunity in education, yet needing to monitor the energetic capacity for commitments
- under a deadline to confirm which 100 applicants will be chosen for an event, by the end of the day
- officially transferring the ownership of a vehicle from parent to son via legal paperwork as part of a “gifting” process
- in another situation, realizing a recent vehicle purchase had overstretched the budget
- an inner struggle related to adherence to long-standing religious beliefs and their outward expression
(*Mercury’s realm includes communication, paperwork, education, siblings, roommates, friends, cars and modes of travel)
What have you noticed?
If Mercury’s exterior conjunction is bringing up some external or internal tension in your life, here are some reflective questions you could try…
- Whose voices are not being heard? What voices need to be amplified? In what ways do we need to be more assertive with our communication? In what ways do we need to deepen our listening?
- What voices are defensively ego-driven and making so much noise there is no room for anyone else?
- In what ways are we afraid to make our thoughts and ideas heard and visible? In what ways do we doubt the value of what we have to share? How can we courageously come out of hiding and encourage others to do so?
- What deep-seated beliefs and worldviews need to be re-evaluated?
- Are our thoughts and beliefs harmoniously aligned with our actions, or is there an uncomfortable dissonance between the two? How can this be directly remedied or addressed?
- What is our relationship to authority/parental figures and symbols in our lives? When do they deserve our respect and obedience, and when should we retrieve our freedom, power and control?
- Is there a conflict of interest situation emerging, and if so, how do we ethically navigate it?
- When is protocol, formality, and matters of reputation and representation appropriate, and when is it cumbersome and inhibiting?
- What needs to be said, what information needs to be brought into the light, so that clarification or reconciliation can occur?
- What arrangements can be mutually agreed upon in a complex situation where there is disagreement or competing needs and desires? Where is reasonable compromise beneficial?
- How can we carefully mend, what the Sun has revealed to be in need of repair?
I hope you all survived that emotionally exhausting Scorpio full moon last weekend… and that you find fresh courage to steadily climb that Capricorn long-game mountain of gritty, Pluto-Saturn transformation… and I pray today’s Sun-Mercury cazimi showed up in your life with iridescent, brilliant, break-through clarity!
On Thursday, March 28th, Mercury finally stationed direct after quite a messy and memorable Piscean rx trip… but its forward lurch also delivered us right into the open arms of Neptunian slush and Pluto conjoining with the South Node in Capricorn by degree.
Mercury’s direct station thus brought some forward momentum, but its prolonged conjunction with Neptune could have created a “one step forward, one step backward” type of experience for the few days following.
For example, on Friday, March 29th, the day after the direct station, here are some very Mercurial things that happened:
- Someone I know thought they lost their wallet. They took action immediately and cancelled all their cards. And then… found their wallet. They also had a successful long-planned business meeting.
- Someone else I know received notification that they had been awarded grant money they applied for months earlier. And then… their car broke down and they had to get it towed away, shelling out money for its repair. They also moved forward on a new residence opportunity that weekend.
- For me, I finally confirmed a big decision that Friday evening and I made it official via filling out forms. The next day I started hyperventilating in a panic state while sharing the news with a colleague, as I internally questioned if it was the right decision (Mercury + Neptune in Pisces can increase anxiety). I continued to navigate confusion about my next steps. Mercury’s three week rx was in my 8th house where my Sun and natal Mercury live, so I found it to be particularly significant and challenging.
The perfecting conjunction of Pluto and the South node, brought a heavier gravitas, greater depth and seriousness to Mercury’s station throughout the weekend into this week.
This is a massive shout-out to everyone battling adversity and to all those climbing gigantic Capricorn mountains where perhaps you feel you are too high to turn back, but still so far from the top.
Keep climbing, keep going – even if you need to adjust your direction! Rest often. Pack light. Receive and allow in nourishment of all forms at every possible resting ledge you reach.
Saturn, an energy of constriction and limits, can act as a nutrition and nourishment blocker or barrier, so you may need to be proactive in absorption.
If this week has been a delightful breeze and an exciting break-through thus far, then this post may not be for you. You may be working with different cosmic clay. And that’s wonderful! Ride that wave.
If this week has been difficult, if this long-term Capricorn climb is directly relevant for your chart, then perhaps you will find solace and validation here.
I wasn’t sure if it was a good time to write a post or not, because I’m not in a great place and this Capricorn mountain we’re all facing (to a greater or lesser extent) is pretty overwhelming right now. I am really feeling the weight of this mission. I didn’t want to be overly negative and dreary. But… then again, maybe others are also overwhelmed and may appreciate the solidarity. So! Here’s a scattered (Mars in Gemini type) collection of words to boost morale (hopefully).
My last post a few weeks ago was a general overview covering some of the themes of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of January 12th, 2020… which is an ongoing dynamic of 2019, even though the aspect only perfects in 2020.
The Saturn-Pluto dynamic is strong all year, but there are specific months/weeks in 2019 when you will feel this energy more intensely. I would say this dynamic is particularly activated throughout this month of April.
Consider each time that the Capricorn trio gets center stage in the sky, that it is an opportunity to work through the challenges this area of life is presenting, step by step (as per Capricorn’s thematic position in your birth chart). The more proactive we can be with strategically climbing this mountain, perhaps the less overwhelmed we will be the next time this area is in the spotlight and we’re feeling the pressure even more (e.g. mid-June to July, December-January 2020, etc.).
This blog post focuses on April’s astrology, Pluto and the South Node, and general Capricorn-type inspiration.
As Pluto conjoins the South Node in Capricorn (exact on Thursday, April 4th, but sharing the same degree since last Saturday), LET’S TALK ABOUT MOUNTAIN GOATS.
Tenacious. Resilient. Daring. Determined.
These impressive bad-ass creatures scale sheer cliff edges that make me dizzy just looking at them.
I’ve been recommending to everyone with personal planets or points in direct contact with this Capricorn Saturn-Pluto-South Node transit (and those with a challenging relationship to Saturn in their birth charts) to watch videos of mountain goats, to look at photos of mountain goats, to meditate on imagery of mountain goats, to invite mountain goats into your dreams.
Embody the strength of this animal. Mountain goat medicine every damn day.
P.S. It’s also a good time to start rock-climbing and mountain hiking.
Capricorn is symbolized by the mountain goat. Now with Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn, back in its home sign making world-changing contact with Pluto over the next two years, we need to summon all the Capricorn mountain goat power available to us.
On that note, below, here’s some footage of goats climbing a near-vertical dam. WTF.
Impossible, I would have probably said when looking up at this sheer wall of rock prior to the goats’ ascent.
But apparently the impossible is possible for these courageous creatures.
The Moon’s South Node (opposite the North Node) is a place of spiritual surrender, cleansing, release, decrease, detachment, purging, purification, and “emptying out” life content from the past. It’s a place where we can collect a reservoir of giftings and capacity, but where we can get too comfortable. Perhaps a point of karmic reckoning. Perhaps past life baggage to let go of. There’s a few different takes on the South Node, but generally the central themes remain the same. The nodal axis takes about 18 years to complete a zodiacal cycle, spending about 18 months in each sign.
While at times we can speak of the South Node location (natally or by transit) as a place where we may want to take a little jaunt out of that cosy comfort zone and get off the metaphorical couch to zoom up to North Node heights to embrace personal growth and development… in reality, often when we have direct and intense encounters with the South Node, it *feels* a lot like encountering painful futility (e.g., “what’s the point?”)... which can quickly slide toward defeat, helplessness, then hopelessness and despair.
Or at least, that’s what I’ve noticed. The South Node is the shape of a cup. When we are moving through South Node life content, we can feel trapped, or perhaps like there is “no way out”.
Feelings, while very real and valid, are not necessarily an accurate reflection of what is ‘true‘ in the situation.
In contrast, the glyph of the North Node is in the shape of a horse-shoe magnet, pulling you forward. And yet sometimes the South Node activation is so strong we can barely feel the North Node’s magnetic pull, offering its assistance.
[content warning for the next couple paragraphs]
For example, when Mars (our vitality, life force, and willpower) met with the transiting South Node in Aquarius on June 8th, 2018, news headlines were full of suicide stories following the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade (along with a number of other public figures). As a collective, we were all experiencing this grief and confusion, this existential pain and despair, as these deaths catalyzed a widespread conversation on this topic in many public forums.
With Pluto meeting with the South Node this week (and really, throughout the first half of 2019), some similar emotions could arise as when Mars met with the South Node. And that’s partially why I feel prompted to write this post.
Remember that this transit (this particular time of life, this chapter, this phase) won’t last forever. It will change, shift, and become something new and different.
As stuck as you may feel right now, you are in constant motion with every spin of the earth on its axis.
Astrology has been a lifeline for me in the past – because of the validation, direction, and hope astrology offers, and through learning the timing and meaning of these lifechanging cosmic cycles. I hope there are many resources around to serve you in your journey, to sustain and nurture your resilience.
Perhaps astrology can be one of these resources for you too. As well as mountain goats.
The other day I told someone that I felt like a round piece of shit with little stick arms and legs, trying to endlessly climb out of slimy, slippery toilet bowl to no avail.
And then I realized a few days later – wow, I just described a Pluto and South Node experience pretty accurately (what it might *feel* like; not the outcome or opportunity that is available for us).
(note: I don’t advise visualizing yourself as a piece of shit – focus on the mountain goat imagery! I do aim for positive self-regard, self-compassion and self-acceptance, but honestly sometimes those embodied perspectives are just unavailable to me!)
Archetypally Pluto is the filth, the dark, the dirt, the heavy baggage, the shadow material – everything we try to hide under the carpet. Pluto activations can involve cleaning grime from places the light doesn’t touch. It can involve toilets, sewer systems, poop, vomit(ing), compost, rot, decay, and cathartic explosions of pent up substances (or emotions).
Emotionally and psychologically, Pluto symbolizes secrets, hidden desires and repressed material lurking underground in our subconscious – the raw naked truth that seeks emergence through a pressurized chamber. It’s what is beneath the surface and shows up in our nightmares. It’s what triggers our survival reactions and fight/flight/freeze nervous system responses. It’s imprisoned life force energy. It is what we are clinging to out of desperation. Pluto is a reflection of our chains, and the tools that can cut us free. It’s how we access our super power… or find ourselves traumatically dis-empowered.
Pluto is deep deep FEAR, intense grief, regret, pain, guilt, and shame. It is everything we do to avoid being vulnerable to perceived loss and threats – silencing, manipulation, paranoid hyper-vigilance, always testing and never trusting, jealousy, obsession, control, projections, abuse and violent defence. It’s compulsive, addictive behaviour and habits that confuse and frustrate you with their persistance. It’s re-enactments of pain, and cycles of inherited trauma and wounding repeating throughout generations. It’s the legacies and ghosts of our ancestors; the well dead, and the unwell dead.
Pluto is the monster potentiality in every human being. And Pluto is also the potential for profound liberation when we let go, trust, and transform through shadow work, healing, and awakening to our true nature.
So when we combine the symbology of the South Node with that of Pluto as they hang out in their close conjunction while conversing with Saturn… it sounds like a significant, ground-shaking, excavating purge perhaps of some rather dark stuff coming up to meet the light… yes? A major death/rebirth transformation moment?
Can we collectively free up energy from the clutches of Capricorn’s controlling, exploitative, hierarchical, socially-conditioned, reputation-consumed, petrified-of-failure/humiliation-&-punishment-from-authority-figures, caught-in-historical-loops shadow side… in order to apply our beautiful Cappy capacity for integrity, determined hard-work and commitment… to creating heart-centered nourishing Cancerian communities that serve and take care of us all?
Yesssss! It is possible.
Sometimes we may be tempted to romanticize the “death & rebirth Plutonic transformation process” (I’ve definitely done this!), especially when we read personal stories about these processes after the person has come through the worst of it. Like stories of people who hit “rock-bottom” in every major area of life, and then become wildly successful in their field. The death/rebirth analogy of the caterpillar transforming into the butterfly for example, can make it all sound so dramatic, theatrical, poetic and beautiful!
Maybe ignorance can be bliss… initially, but the eventual processes of disillusionment are harsh. I’m not sure this romanticization ultimately does us any favours!
I mean, at least for me, I appreciate others unwaveringly holding on to hope for me when I cannot, while also validating how deep and dark and painful the trenches of life can be without reverting to a fairy tale Plutonic story about phoenixes rising from the ashes or something, etc. etc. (though I admit I’ve done this – maybe a balanced perspective is best… there’s a place for inspirational heroic stories and imagery of tremendous overcoming).
In reality, these major transformative processes we undergo in life can be so excruciating when we pass through the “dying” phase, when we are struggling to trust and have faith that we will come to life and rise again. When everything solid and firm is taken from beneath us and we feel like we are free falling – without knowing what shape we will be in once we land. It really can be a gruelling, gritty, and also loooooong drawn-out process. Sometimes a MUCH longer process than we anticipated, or that our friends and journey companions seem to have the patience for.
Sure the butterfly is beautiful, but the caterpillar (the butterfly in its earlier manifestation) had to be completely sacrificed on route. It turned into pure GOO while in the chrysalis! As it was dissolving into soup, did the caterpillar know it would take a new form and re-emerge after being captive in the butterfly womb?
Perhaps not. It was the butterfly who has the broader perspective that only the passage of time allows.
The sacrifices on a Plutonic death/rebirth transformative journey to greater freedom and personal growth can be, immense. The path of transformation can be a very risky high stakes journey. This is often the reality of these types of life chapters and I don’t want to underestimate or blithely overlook and dismiss what’s involved, having travelled (/am currently traveling) a couple of these major life changing journeys myself already.
With Pluto involved with the South Node, previously hidden truths, internal realizations or information coming to light, could be an important part of this current cosmic story.
“The Truth will set you free,” they say, but simultaneously the Truth can also cause a measure of destruction and demand an extremely high cost in exchange for its release – for all those implicated. That’s… the difficult truth about big Plutonic Truths surfacing. And it’s why Saturn and Capricorn’s mastery of the strategic art of timing and preparation is so valuable here.
What is freedom worth to you? What cost are you willing to pay? What would the mountain goat say? Or the butterfly?
On the best days, in the best of circumstances, perhaps the South Node is like a dead-end sign telling you to turn around, or to go another route, because you won’t get any further going that direction. Cool. You turn around and you starting traveling another way in a direction that may be more unfamiliar, but you’re up for the North Node challenge.
Or maybe on a good day, perhaps the South Node is a glass of your favourite, familiar go-to drink. And then you have to get on an airplane and you don’t have time to drink it and no liquids can pass through customs… so you have to chuck the entire bottle in order to move on with your exciting North Node trip into the unknown.
And yet on bad days, perhaps the south node feels like a slimy slippery toilet bowl where it feels impossible to get traction or to get a grip… and you’re kinda worried that while you work on trying to get out, someone might poop on you and flush the toilet.
It’s an experience that will shape-shift overtime… from toilet bowl to liberating ocean swims 🙂
Rebirth doesn’t always look like we think it will (during a major life metamorphosis most of the time it looks nothing like we think it will), but the butterfly emerges nevertheless.
Scientists have discovered that a certain grouping of cells in the caterpillar, called “imaginal discs”, survive the disintegration in the chrysalis because they contain the genetic instructions and codes to create the key structures of the butterfly. The imaginal discs remain dormant during the larvae stage. The imaginal discs are programmed to not activate until the caterpillar has begun to digest itself.
Can we dare to ‘imagine’ that we as individuals, since the first moment of our embodied existence, contain similar latent imaginal discs that activate during the transformative process of metamorphosis? That we were born with the innate capacity to rebloom, re-emerge, rebirth, again and again into something that we can not even consciously conceive of, or consider as a possibility before our new self becomes manifest?
On an individual level, working with the Nodal Axis with the goal of continued personal growth, isn’t as simple as “let go” of the South Node house/sign (Capricorn in this case), and “do” the North Node’s house/sign (currently it is in Cancer). It is likely more about balance and integration.
The South Node issue that needs your attention (the one that is currently calling for a Plutonian rebirth process), could be about addressing the overt shadow expression of that sign/house, or addressing the blocks and inhibitions you have in that area of life (as represented by the house and sign the south node is in), rather than necessarily a straight-forward “letting go” of that entire field of life in order to make a flying leap to the North Node location.
A straightforward leap might mean that with a Capricorn 10th house, Cancer 4th house, you leave your career and surrender your work-related position and reputation to become a full-time care-giver within your home/family. Or with a Capricorn ascendant and Cancer descendant, a straightforward leap might mean releasing personal independence and an identity as a single person to become partnered in a caring relationship where you need to trust deeply and be more interdependent.
But is life ever really that simple? Both ends of the Nodal spectrum will require redefinition and re-integration.
Working with the South Node life content, will look different for each person. You can also look at your natal Saturn placement to interpret how your South Node story is playing out (Saturn is the ruler and landlord of Capricorn).
Kelly concludes her article with the following:
“If April brings a bit of mucky madness and chaos, know that it is very much an integral part of your personal purge and purify process, and that a few months from now, you may be out of the fire, cleansed, clear and lighter. Bearing witness to the steps in a process of transformation can help you make sense of the process as you go through it.“
Rebirth and transformation is universal law – energy cannot be created or destroyed; only transmuted to another form. The world is constantly singing the hymn of rebirth and renewal. Even when the night and the chrysalis seem to last forever, the light will eventually arrive and the butterfly will emerge to test its new wings.
I think we and the butterfly would both agree that the gooey sacrifice was worth it, even if the caterpillar would have disagreed 🙂
I pulled the following excerpt from a 2017 post on the rebirth cycle that I recently re-visited for inspiration:
The death-rebirth cycle repeats continuously throughout our every-day lives and in the environments that surround us. May these examples remind you of your infinite rebirth potential:
Every day, the sun dies… and is born again the next morning as it rises.
Mirroring the sun’s cycle, we too, die each day. Our bodies tell us it’s time to rest and rejuvenate our life force through sleep. The next morning we awaken, our conscious minds alert and our bodies refreshed and alive.
Flourishing green trees and plants collapse under winter’s cold weight … only to be magically brought back to life the following spring.
Once a month, the moon disappears into darkness. The moon dies with the end of a lunation cycle… and then is reborn. A few days later we will catch sight of the baby crescent moon winking at us from the sky.
A healthy tree releases many seeds. When it eventually rots, fertilizing the earth… it is surrounded by its baby saplings.
When a caterpillar has grown into its full size, it retreats into a chrysalis. It undergoes a profound transformation and… emerges with beautiful wings – as a butterfly.
Ice loses its form as it evaporates, and yet… it returns to us as life-giving rain and water. This too is a death, and a transformative rebirth.
As we attempt to align with nature’s cycles, many of our human-made products are now recycled and re-purposed. This brings new life to expired and discarded dead matter.
Snakes grow within their skin until they can grow no more. They shed their tired, restrictive sheath and then… leaving their dead cells behind them, they slither onward with a brand new skin.
Human cells die as well… and regenerate continuously, throughout a human life span.
In fact, every exhale is a death. And every inhale is transformative rebirth, bringing oxygenated life to our cells.
The end of every significant chapter in our lives holds a death seed… from which new life awakens.
The end of childhood. The end of highschool. A major break up. Our first divorce. Fired from our dream job. Retirement. All these endings hold the seeds of a new beginning; your next chapter, your next transformation.
Archetypal death and rebirth narratives weave their way through every major spiritual and religious tradition. From reincarnation to resurrection.
Some believers speak of dying to themselves and being “born again”. And yet we all are. Every day, regardless of faith. Over and over again.
I’m rather low energy, and since this writing these blog posts is currently in the zone of being a hobby or a leisure pastime (or something?) it gets relegated to the back-burner these days when I have other priorities to attend to, now that I’ve released a commitment to weekly posts. But writing astro updates also gives me life, so… it’s an occupational balance thing I’m figuring out. I likely will continue only posting infrequently, but I appreciate you all! Thanks for reading and following along.
Until next time, here are more mountain goat imagery, factoids, and videos for inspiration….
When I was talking about Uranus moving into Taurus the other day with my brother, he commented wryly that it seemed like there was always some “big transit” or “major cosmic shift” occurring.
I cringed a bit, because I recognize that from an outsider perspective astro weather updates can appear rather sensationalist and over-the-top in a repetitive way. Like omg eclipse season, omg mercury retrograde, omg this scorpio full moon, omg uranus into taurus. Epic transformation. Always, and forever, every week.
Of course there are ALWAYS cosmic shifts happening. The astro theatre stage of life involves circular orbits and repeated intersections from many different angles formed by planetary bodies moving at various speeds.
Many of the the smaller cosmic stories play into other larger, ongoing, overarching stories though, so it’s not like each transit represents an entirely new thing blasting into your life. There can be “activations” of a larger narrative, via a faster moving transit.
There really is an issue of “scale” here… The varying types of transits are comparable to the words that create the sentence, that create the paragraph, that create the chapter, that create the book…
I find it really challenging, when writing about astro weather, to convey the appropriate magnitude of the scale of a transit, through words. I’m zooming in and out, from micro astro to the macro, all the time, but it isn’t always easy to put everything in context for others.
Assessing the Magnitude & Relative Importance of Cosmic Events
When talking about astro weather with family, or those with less astro literacy, I’ve decided to use a 1-10 scale as a quick reference. Super simple and reductionist, but it is an easy way to describe the relative importance of current transits.
Then of course, there’s the fact that there are both global transits taking place at the present moment, affecting all of us, as well as personal transits, affecting us individually because of the way they are interacting with our birth charts. Some major global transits will be more consequential to certain people because of their birth chart configurations.
I can’t fully take into account personal transits when writing public forecasts, so on this platform, I’m primarily working on conveying with greater clarity, the scale and relationships between different cosmic events and cycles.
…which brings us to this present moment… Actually it brings us to March 16th, when I had hoped to post this.
On March 16th, for the first time since entering Capricorn, Pluto hit the exact degree and arc-minute where the big Saturn-Pluto conjunction will occur on January 12th, 2020 at 22 degrees, 46 arc-minutes of Capricorn.
My use of the adjective “big” here, in reference to the conjunction itself, is assigned my rating of 10/10.
Pluto touching down on the zodiacal degree where the conjunction will eventually take place, is preparing the ground for what is coming. Pluto will transit this exact point again on June 4th, 2019 before it completes its union with Saturn there in early 2020.
But honestly, since we are working with slow, outer-planet heavyweights here, the implications of this conjunction are active RIGHT NOW, with Saturn and Pluto (and the South Node) only a few degrees apart throughout the Spring of 2019.
As you probably know, Uranus entered Taurus a few weeks ago, in early March. I would consider that to be another really major transit since Uranus is an outer planet and it will be in Taurus for 7 years, signifying an important global theme or chapter encompassed by that time period. It will take 84+ years for Uranus to make it back to Taurus after it exits the sign in 2026, so it’s a once in a lifetime occurrence for many of us.
In contrast to the rating of 10/10 that I gave the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, I’ll give Uranus’ ingress into Taurus like… an 8/10 rating… in terms of its magnitude and importance for the world 🙂 Too low? Maybe 9/10. I’ll have to think more about this global astro ranking scale!
I think two outer planets coming together in a conjunction is as potent as it gets, but an outer planet changing signs still delineates an important new chapter in the world’s history.
Uranus’ entrance into Taurus speaks with speed. It’s unpredictable, unconventional, rebellious and fast-moving energy showing up in our lives with rapid, sudden changes, continued uncertainty and risk-taking leaps.
The Saturn-Pluto dynamic in Capricorn is quite different. It is slower, grittier, deeper.
There’s sure to be both external and internal dimensions and manifestations, but this is likely a more gradual process that asks for a thorough and careful, strategic restructuring of our lives, our work in the world, and the way that we express and manage our power. It necessitates a dive into our inner caverns and a courageous confrontation with all that we hide.
Endurance, resilience, perseverance, authenticity, honesty, integrity, responsibility and accountability are big themes in this Capricorn area of your chart – at all times, but especially during this 3ish+ year window 2018~2020.
The Capricorn action happening over the next couple years, is really quite remarkable. Jupiter joins the Cappy party on December 2nd, 2019 for its 1-year commute through the sign, amping up the whole process with its powers of expansion. I highly recommend Maurice Fernandez’s exploration of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in this article.
By identifying where Uranus is transiting in your chart, and where 22 degrees of Capricorn lands (according to the house and any personal planets/points impacted), can you recognize the two different qualities of movement and change occurring in different areas of your life?
Of course, an individual’s life is rarely compartmentalized into nice and tidy sections. If one area of life is experiencing major change, this will ripple out to affect everything else.
And yet, you may still be able to pinpoint these two unique energies at play.
A Reflection on Past & Present Saturn-Pluto Conjunctions
(content warning: I write about Michael Jackson in the following section)
The last Saturn-Pluto conjunction we experienced happened on November 7th, 1982 at 27° Libra, and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction prior to that, occurred on August 11, 1947 at 13° Leo.
If you were born within a year or so of these dates, it’s possible your natal chart itself, holds the energy of this dynamic.
For example, for the last few months I’ve been studying the life of Marina Abramovic in great detail, through an astro lens. She was born November 30th, 1946, with Saturn and Pluto within 5 degrees of each other in Leo, trining her Sun fairly tightly. There’s lots of other variables going on in her chart of course, but the influence of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction appears to me, quite vivid in her life’s journey.
Side-note, but I think it is important to remember as we approach a major conjunction or cosmic shift, that many of us have already lived through and experienced many significant cosmic events – and presumably we survived! (e.g. Pluto entering Capricorn, Neptune entering Pisces, the Saturn-Uranus-Neptune triple conjunction). And, for as long as the Earth orbits in this solar system, there will be many more “major transformative 10/10 cosmic events” to follow in the future… including the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in April/June 2020, and the potent Saturn-Jupiter conjunction on December 21st, 2020… Such is the nature of this cyclical system of life.
One of the noteworthy public events that occurred around the time of the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction in November 1982, was the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.
True to Saturn-Pluto’s death/rebirth theme, Rob Hoerburger writes for The New York Times:
“…who would want to remember the pre-“Thriller” days anyway, at least the stretch of months right before it was released, which were nasty ones for the music business? To paraphrase Don McLean’s “American Pie,” the year that “Thriller” came out, 1982, was the year the music almost died.”
And then of course, Thriller went on to become one of the all time top world-wide best-selling albums. More importantly though, it was ground-breaking and transformative in that it broke through longstanding racial barriers in the music industry (creating a Libran bridge in the arts scene), skyrocketing Jackson into the limelight.
The Thriller album was actually released on November 30th, 1982 (several weeks after the Saturn-Pluto conjunction), on the day that Saturn left Libra and entered Scorpio, but at this point Saturn and Pluto were still in a tight conjunction with each other with only a 2 degree orb.
Obviously Saturn in Scorpio makes perfect sense as well, but I really see Thriller as a Saturn-Pluto story since the conjunction was occurring conjunct Jackson’s Jupiter, his chart ruler, as he was preparing to send the album out into the world.
The November 1982 Saturn-Pluto conjunction speaks to the origin moment, the catalyst, foretelling the themes of the next ~36 year Saturn-Pluto cycle that was just beginning.
On December 2nd, 1983, less than a month after Pluto joined Saturn in Scorpio, Jackson’s Scorpio/ Pluto themed Thriller music video was released… which now looks to me like an eerie internal struggle with his shadow side. (it’s posted below, but it may not be advisable to watch if the recent Michael Jackson developments are triggering for you)
The 14-minute Thriller music video is a horror spoof featuring Michael Jackson who transforms into a werewolf (and later a zombie) while on a date. The video and lyrics are extremely resonant with the symbolism of a Pluto-Saturn conjunction (conjoining in charming, relational, artistic Libra in 1982, and now in earthy Capricorn).
Here’s some quotes from the music video’s Wikipedia entry, that speak to the ground-breaking, far-reaching, transformative Saturn-Pluto impact it has had:
The Library of Congress described it as “the most famous music video of all time“. In 2009, it became the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry as “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant… Michael Jackson’s Thriller video sealed MTV’s position as a major cultural force, helped dissemble racial barriers for black artists, revolutionised music video production, popularised the making-of documentaries, and drove rentals and sales of VHS tapes. Music video director Brian Grant credited “Thriller” as the turning point when music videos became a “proper industry“. Gil Kaufman of MTV described the video as “iconic” and felt that it was one of Jackson’s “most enduring legacies”.
Something evil’s lurking from the dark
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
The lyrics and the video have an ominous prophetic quality to them, masked beneath a pop culture Libran mask – especially when we consider that they were brought forth at the beginning of the Saturn-Pluto cycle that we are currently completing.
Thriller also heralded the Pluto in Scorpio era, which we were embarking on as the music video was released. I see the rippling echoes of these lyrics – both in terms of Michael Jackson’s life and legacy, and also in current world events in general.
After the awful white supremacist terrorist attack on March 15th, 2019, in Christchurch New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is quoted as saying – “this is clearly one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
I wrote my last post on Mercury cycles before the attack began. I believe Mercury was within an hour of finishing its last synodic cycle, beginning to center itself in front of the Sun when the attack occurred. It was a little unnerving to reread my last post in retrospect.
Studying or writing about the astrology of tragedies and crimes is always a tricky thing. It can be insensitive, distracting from what is being asked of us in the present moment, and it can create an escape hatch to the left-brain’s preferred method of distancing itself through intellectualizing, analyzing, containing, labelling, packaging.
I think that, when astrology is used appropriately in these situations, it can reflect back to us, important warnings, reminders, lessons, and guidance.
On March 15th, with Mercury (thoughts, perception, words, language) illuminated by the Sun (purpose) and in the control seat… as Mercury sextiled Pluto at the future Saturn-Pluto conjunction degree… the configurations in the cosmos spoke to the importance of paying attention to our language and our thoughts, and addressing the racism, the islamophobia (no matter how subtle, subconscious and hidden) that may surface in our casual conversations, our internal dialogues and perceptive filters. The Sun’s purification process during the Mercury cazimi, demands that nothing be shoved under the rug.
Words matter. Both toxic political rhetoric on the world stage, and office chitchat behind closed doors, shape our realities, our worldviews, and ultimately our actions.
Honestly facing our shadows is acutely uncomfortable, but so necessary for the possibility of future peace built on strong and stable foundations. The ongoing Saturn/Pluto-themed “falling from pedestals” that many celebrities and esteemed public leaders are experiencing as their crimes come to light and their Capricornian reputations and status take a mighty hit (e.g. last week’s exposure of the college admissions bribery scandal), should not distract us from our own inner shadow work.
It is convenient for the ego to have public scapegoats to project on to, while seeking exemption and attempting to reify “the good people vs the bad people” binary (e.g. the #notall… hashtag), but we are all complicit in cycles of pain and oppression in some way or another – and for averting our eyes from difficult truths.
We can hold each other directly accountable for the specific pain and harm we have caused, while simultaneously acknowledging (and addressing) the ways in which intergenerational trauma, childhood trauma, far-reaching histories of violence, and systems of oppression… have contributed to creating who we are today and the conditioned patterns that are playing out in our lives.
It is really challenging work to navigate these complexities when our (social) survival instincts propel us to direct blame as quickly as possible in ways that distance the public wrongdoer as far away from us as possible, organizing ourselves into cleancut victim-perpetrator, innocent-guilty binary roles and identities.
Pain begets pain, and the larger oppressive systems that we are largely dependent on, feed and maintain these ongoing intergenerational and hierarchical cycles of exploitation and destruction in a myriad of ways. This powerful conjunction in Capricorn demands that we dismantle these systems and break their hegemonic spell.
It’s a high stakes red pill vs blue pill moment in history.
I brainstormed this post months ago, before the ‘Leaving Neverland’ documentary was released early March.
Afterwards, I considered not mentioning Jackson’s chart and the 1982 release of Thriller, but in many ways, the timing itself is significant as we return to the conjunction that aligned with the launch of his pivotal break-through success, 36 years ago… now at a time when the horrifying, abusive, and deeply wounded part of Michael Jackson’s life is publicly exposed.
A full circle moment reflected in a cosmic cycle.
This powerful Saturn-Pluto conjunction calls us to face our worst fears and shadow material, individually and collectively – exposing what’s stagnant and rotting so that we can enact justice, heal, transform, and rebuild with integrity.
We all have blood and dirt on our hands.
Along with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, we also have the Moon’s south node closely intersecting with these two, all throughout 2019 into mid-2020 (wildly, also intersecting with the south nodes of both Saturn and Pluto transiting Cap at the same time).
The South Node empties us out, it cleanses, purifies, and exposes where we have become too comfortable and complacent. As it comes in contact with Pluto and Saturn, we’ll be seeing the shadow sides of these two planetary archetypes surface, in order to be addressed.
On March 15th, 2019 (Friday) there was the School Strike for Climate Change, where more than 1 million students around the world skipped school to protest government inaction on climate change. I see resonance between this collective movement and global event, and the Sun-Mercury cazimi (square Jupiter) that I discussed in my previous post.
There is also resonance between this youthful protest against the powers that be, with Pluto hitting the future Saturn-Pluto conjunction degree point in earthy Cap, while receiving an activating sextile from Mercury rx in Pisces.
Furthermore, the actual Saturn-Pluto conjunction on January 12th, 2020 will occur right on top of Ceres – the asteroid embodiment of a vengeful mother earth, angry and grieving for how she has been betrayed and exploited.
The School Strike for Climate Change movement was inspired by the determined actions of 16-year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, in 2018. In a recent Ted talk her words echo the transformative and pragmatic urgency of Saturn-Pluto in Capricorn, the sign that is so associated with “rules”, earth-based resources, and playing the long-game:
“Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come. Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.
So we can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.”
~ Greta Thunberg
The images and quotes below, also highlight the Saturn-Pluto Capricorn dynamic…
(~Please visit Maurice’s website for his full article on Saturn-Pluto)
Venus and Mercury are unique in that their orbits are inside the Earth’s orbit, closer to the Sun. Aside from the Earth’s Moon, they are the only planets that can come between the Earth and the Sun in an interior conjunction.
These interior conjunctions with the Sun occur fairly regularly. We see it happen about 12 times a year with the Moon (conjunctions which we refer to as “New Moons”). It occurs approximately 3 times a year for Mercury, and once every 1.5 years for Venus.
The Sun and Venus are never more than 48 degrees apart (never more than 2 signs away from each other), and the Sun and Mercury are never more than 28 degrees from each other (Mercury will only ever be in the same sign as the Sun, or in the sign before or after). (*some differing opinions on this out there – fact check me if you have alternative degree parameters from solid sources!)
It is impossible to have a Sun-Mercury square, or a Sun-Venus opposition in an astrological chart. And Mercury and Venus, unlike other planets, experience both an interior and exterior conjunction with the Sun (other planets, excluding the Moon, only experience exterior conjunctions with the Sun).
Therefore, Mercury and Venus are intimately associated with the Sun. They travel together with our core essence and life-giving purposeful urges (the Sun), holding sway over personal human realms of experience such as perception, learning, thinking, communicating, relating, connecting, attraction, love, pleasure and money.
On March 14th, Mercury will be halfway through its retrograde period, which is demarcated by the interior conjunction with the Sun. Many astrologers consider this to be the beginning of Mercury’s next ~116 day synodic cycle (roughly 4 months).
Symbolically, what does it mean that Mercury experiences both an interior and exterior conjunction with the Sun? How are the two conjunctions different from each other, archetypally? How might we experience them differently here on Earth?
I’ve been reflecting on these questions so much over the last 6 months – especially since I live with an exact Mercury-Sun interior conjunction in Pisces in my natal chart, within two degrees of today’s interior conjunction.
I used to think of the interior and exterior conjunctions in the same way. It’s easy to dismiss the difference between them, because from the perspective of an astro chart, they look nearly the same – except that the interior conjunction only occurs during a retrograde so you’ll see the rx symbol beside the Sun-Mercury conjunction when this occurs.
But if you zoom out for a perspective from outer space, the two conjunctions are entirely different. During the interior conjunction on March 14th, Mercury is closest to the Earth, in front of the Sun, with no interference between us.
Mercury has a diameter of 4,879 km. The Sun has a diameter of 1,392 million km.
That is a ginormous difference in size.
So in contrast, during an exterior conjunction let’s imagine we’re here on Earth having a conversation with Mercury the messenger, and then the Sun gets in the way.
Like, the Sun REALLY gets in the way.
It’s like trying to have a conversation with a small child when the 1970’s Mr. Universe winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, walks in-between us, flexing. (Arnold, incidentally is a Sun-ruled Leo, of course)
At the time of both the interior and exterior conjunction, Mercury is invisible in the sky to the naked eye, but with the exterior conjunction, Mercury is truly quite far away on the other side of the Sun, whereas with the interior conjunction (occurring on March 14th) Mercury is very close to us.
If Mercury symbolizes our thought processes, our communications, and the power of language and information, what does this mean to have Mercury so near?
One thing is clear, Mercury’s typical tricks have certainly intensified in a big way over the last few days as we neared the March 14th conjunction.
For example, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram (arguably the most dominant social media tools) were erratically, frustratingly glitchy and experiencing off and on outages throughout Wednesday, March 13th (and continuing today from what I can tell). Everyday communicative social media is Mercury’s domain.
In the last 48 hours, acquaintances realized that they would have to cancel $5000 worth of tickets for a family vacation to Florida because at the last minute they realized the father’s passport had expired (Mercury is ruler of travel details and modes of travel).
Luckily they were able to get credit for the tickets, but when they went to make other flight plans during this very busy travel time (students’ march break)… they ran into the backed-up mess that has erupted since Boeing suddenly grounded their entire fleet of 737 Max airplanes on March 13th in Canada and the U.S., out of concern that there may be something faulty in the design following two crashes earlier this year.
Thousands of people and their travel plans are potentially affected by this disruption and delays due to reduced airline capacity during a very busy season – but safety is important!
Randomly, in Ontario on Tuesday, March 12th, a small plane overshot the runway [Mercury/Jupiter] and crashed onto the highway, nearly skewering a vehicle on the road (everyone survived thankfully!).
In Britain on Wednesday, March 13th, “after a day of high drama, lawmakers [Mercury/Jupiter] defied the government [the Sun] by voting 321 to 278 in favour of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstances.” (CBC News)
Securing deals and contracts are Mercury’s cup of tea.
And then, also on Wednesday, it came to the public’s attention that rich celebrities and other highly privileged folks, had been bribing University coaches and staff to get their kids into top schools in the U.S. (Mercury rules learning, as well as cheating, and the Sun-Mercury conjunction is square to Jupiter in Sagittarius, which is associated with universities as well as abundant wealth and fame).
This involved the exchange of money, as well as manipulating test scores, and photo-shopping the heads of the young applicants on to the bodies of top athletes (some Mars-Neptune absurdity?!).
Interestingly it seemed in many cases, the kids and future students themselves didn’t realize that their rich parents were pulling strings behind the scenes. Arguably the Sun (and Jupiter) could signify the rich, famous parents as well as institutional authority figures, while Mercury could signify the students and the admissions process.
In the case of the university bribing scandal, the grounded planes, and the expired passport, some very important information came to light and decisions were made, based on this new information.
What does this mean in regards to Mercury’s interior conjunction on March 14th? I feel I need to experience and observe a few more Mercury cycles at least, to begin tracking patterns unique to either the interior or the exterior conjunction.
However, the beginning of any life cycle, any cosmic cycle, commences on the deathbed of the previous one. Beginnings follow endings. New growth follows decay and disintegration.
What is wrapping up in your life, and what is beginning? In what ways have you acquired new insight and inspiration that you can now apply to Mercury’s next trip around the Sun?
Perhaps this heightened Mercury retrograde craziness around the end of a synodic cycle is highlighting what needs to be fixed, what can no longer be hidden… so that we may go forward into the next cycle with greater clarity and direction.
The dross of Mercury’s prior cycle, the contamination and pollution it acquired while traveling, are being burned away by the Sun’s fire in an alchemical purifying act.
Pay attention to the 48 hours surrounding this auspicious interior Sun-Mercury conjunction! What time is it occurring for you? You can find out the exact time for your region using planetwatcher.com.
Be receptive to the guidance and messages the Universe wants to deliver to you, but also, be active in your co-creation and intention-setting. What type of Mercurial journey do you hope to embark on over the next 4 months?
In about a week or so, Mercury will join Venus, visible in the morning sky, calling in the Sunrise (i.e. “the helical rise”). Here we will see Mercury’s new cycle released from the birthing process as the synodic seeds grow and manifest above the soil.
I’ll speak more to the exterior conjunction when we next arrive there on May 21st, 2019, but on a personal level, what I noticed from the last synodic cycle was that at the interior conjunction on November 27, 2018, I began really investing into new creative projects and artistic endeavors in the wake of releasing my regular posting on Lilith Rebellion.
And then, at the culminating point of the previous synodic cycle (the exterior conjunction), on January 29th, 2019, I had a really bizarre 36 hours where I received six different requests from a wide variety of people (some of whom I hadn’t heard from in over a year), asking for my immediate help and assistance with their creative projects. It was uncanny.
I had to reach deep (reaching past the Sun) to access the power of my voice (Mercury)! It was a frustrating couple of days where I felt taken for granted as a resource machine (I love and appreciate the people involved, but it was very strange timing).
It was through this challenge and struggle (really, because of it), that I gained a lot of clarity and successfully reclaimed my voice, grounded myself in my worth, and prioritized my direction via setting boundaries and becoming more comfortable with saying no to external pressure.
So that’s what the synodic story arc looked like for me! There are other variables involved though- the conjunction was in my 6th house in an exact degree aspect to my tight Chiron-Saturn-Venus configuration and globally, there was a Mars-Pluto square building I believe (with its associated power struggles) – so I need to do more real life research!
Now, with this interior conjunction occurring right next to my natal interior Mercury-Sun conjunction… I’m wondering what’s next!
I believe the interior conjunctions are often quieter than the exterior conjunctions (much like a New Moon), and we may only recognize their correlations in retrospect… but stay open to what is being burned away and seeded in your life as we pass through this holy chamber, as Demetra George calls it.
Tuesday morning (March 12th) I was up at 4 am to take this cutie to the airport to send her across the country to live with her real (human) mom, while Mercury was closing in on its interior conjunction with the Sun in my 8th house of shared resources and energy.
This sweet dog has been living with us for a year now and I have become so accustomed to her curious and warm presence in the house. I will miss her so – I already do! But I’m relieved that she arrived safely and that she is providing some much needed companionship.
I generally associate Taurus with farm animals (especially cows), Sagittarius with wild animals (especially horses), and Mercury with house pets and domesticated animals, although its not often discussed.
I see this association as relevant both through Mercury’s sign Gemini, as well as Virgo.
With Gemini, the sign of the twins and siblings, we have the image of a pet as a friend and a constant playful companion.
If I remember correctly it was Steven Forrest, who referred to Mercury as the Sun’s buddy and sidekick because of their close proximity.
Through the sign of Virgo, I can see the dedication to caring for a dependent animal, and the need to maintain a consistent daily routine of care-giving that involves both food and perhaps regular walks (for a dog).
Furthermore, Virgo is the sign of health and wellness, and animals can have a profound healing impact on their fellow humans.
I was phobic of dogs as a child (well, I was phobic of just about everything), but now I couldn’t imagine my life without a dog! They’ve been there as vital support when I’m in the throes of a panic attack, or in the depths of depression.
I know I’m not the only one.
Where would we be without dogs, cats, birds, etc.? For many people, the beloved animal in their life offers more potent medicine than any therapist or treatment could provide. They are often safer companions than humans because of their acceptance and non-judgement.
So much gratitude for these Mercurial friends!
Have you noticed natal placements or transits involving Mercury, aligning with animal-related tendencies or events?
On March 6th, 2019, Uranus left Aries and entered Taurus.
Uranus will be in Taurus until it ingresses into Gemini on July 7th, 2025… retrograding back into Taurus on November 7th, 2025… and finally leaving Taurus and committing to Gemini on April 25th, 2026. It works out to Uranus spending about 7 years in each sign.
When Uranus originally entered Taurus for its preview trek mid-May 2018, I was inspired by Linus and crew from the Charlie Brown comic. I still love this analogy, so I’ve upgraded and added to the post for today.
Taurus is widely known for it’s chilled out, peaceful nature and its deep appreciation for simple physical pleasures. As fixed earth, Taurus tends to be a risk-aversive, change-avoidant sign that upholds safety and security. It takes its sweet ol’ time carefully tending to long-standing relationships and cultivating its stable resources and assets.
Uranus is none of these things.
When Uranus is activated or transits my personal planets, I have learned that I need to surrender my desire for guaranteed outcomes; to know exactly where I’m headed in that area of life. I do better during these times when I can embrace constant uncertainty and trust myself to follow my intuition on a moment to moment basis. Plans fall to the wayside as unexpected events roll out in completely unanticipated ways.
Uranus is the panacea for times of ‘stuckness’. It seeks to liberate with fast-moving, unconventional, exciting change. It nourishes sparks of individuality, originality, innovation, human weirdness and human brilliance, with sudden breaks in the fabric of normal life.
On the more challenging side, Uranus can be disruptive, stressful, anxiety-producing, and in the process of individuating each one of us, it can also correlate with conflict and tension as our freedom-seeking, independence-craving selves, clash with the status quo, or with other people in our lives. Relational harmony is not Uranus’ forte. Uranus as an archetype is uncompromising, always.
On a Global Scale, What Can We Expect to See with Uranus in Taurus?
Over the next 7 years, we will likely see major changes and fast-moving developments (along with the tension, conflict and disruption that often accompanies times of acceleration) within the realms of…
…currency (e.g. bitcoin); the value and prices we assign to every aspect of life; employment wages; debt, saving accounts, and financial security nets; the stock market; resource distribution; innovation around the concept of gift-giving and how we practice it (e.g. cards, wrapped presents, gift certificates); art using natural materials (such as impermanent earth art); debates about ownership (with associated rights, control and responsibilities) over land and possessions as well as copyright issues; branding, logos, and trademarks; beauty topics (the modelling world, make-up, fashion, etc.); physical, sensual pleasure; housing/ shelter (meeting survival needs) and property; farming and animals; community gardens; plant medicines and herbalism; the food industry and food security (cows in particular – the beef and dairy industry); the acceptance of an animistic worldview; the environmental movement; how technology interacts with our human bodies and nature.
Of course, we’ve already been seeing major changes in these areas as we’ve inched closer to Aries handing off the Uranus-baton to Taurus, but I’ve still observed some noteworthy acceleration in these areas in the past year.
For example, in Canada, the recreational use of cannabis was legalized by the House of Commons on November 27th, 2017. It passed a second reading in the Senate on March 2018, and then on June 18th, 2018 (shortly after Uranus’ first ingress into earthy Taurus), the House passed the bill a final time with the amendments, which were accepted by the Senate the next day.
Herbalism and the use of various plant medicines is already exploding in popularity right now (e.g. Ayahuasca), but I think this flourishing area of knowledge and practice will continue to take massive leaps over the next few years – and, most importantly in light of Uranus’ liberating people-power symbolism, it will become increasingly widespread and more ACCESSIBLE to many more people (for better or worse).
Taurus, the earthiest of the earth signs, is calling us back to rediscover the earth’s magic.
There’s always courses, initiatives, and books being offered and published on money matters and welcoming abundance (a central Taurus concern), but I’ve noticed a huge increase of these within circles that you don’t commonly hear money issues being discussed. There are SO many courses being offered right now related to liberating and freeing oneself (Uranus) from well-traveled detrimental money habits, patterns and “stuckness” – often via some innovative methods and through appreciating the interconnectivity, the relationships between you and money, between you and the earth’s resources.
Granted, many of these courses/publications are being offered by mystics who probably know about Uranus moving into Taurus and are intentionally aligning with this transit, but I suspect many others are unaware.
Here’s an example. Carolyn Elliot writes (the co-host and co-creator of a recent online, animistic money course):
“Money… is a medium for the exchange of desire, because economic value is a purely social function and only what is desired by people has “value” in the economic sense. So money sits at this mysterious, highly charged intersection of DESIRE and POWER… Money is basically public sex. In the same way that erotic love is a uniquely potent manifestation of desire’s intersection with the private… money is a similarly potent manifestation of desire’s intersection with the public... monetary value is derived fundamentally from desirability, and money requires at least three people to exist (i.e. since money is transferable debt, it has no purpose without the capacity to be transferred to a third person)…”
“…An increase in wealth makes you more permeable to connection, relationship, community, and sense of indebtedness to the world around you. The trouble is, this increased feeling of permeability and connectedness that comes with increased money in your bank account is highly sensational and tricky to navigate, so rather often people react to it by shutting down and becoming aloof or elitist, building gated communities and fortress-like strongholds.” ~ Carolyn Elliot (via her email newsletter)
So much Taurus-Scorpio axis in this quote.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the (beautiful) concept of DESIRE as liberated life force energy that is seeking to fully engage with the world (as oppose to the disengagement from life, the lack of desire and withdrawal that is present in depressed states). While I can recognize greedy, graspy, clingy, ego attachments to the material world of time and space, as problematic, I’m not planning to force a complete renouncement of my desires (in its many forms) as some spiritual paths would advise.
Margaret Deland states: “One must desire something to be alive” (Thanks to Rebecca Farrar for highlighting this quote which she included in her beautiful writing on desire recently)
When I connect this idea of desire as healthy life force energy seeking to engage with the world… with the concept of money… and also with the idea of spiritual surrender I continue to personally explore… I have a lot to think about!
I think it is helpful to remember that Taurus is opposite Scorpio, and this polarity is important for understanding the multi-layered complexities of our relationships (and inherent power dynamics and messy entanglements within these relationships) to the Taurean physical, material, sensual world. I’ll be writing about this more as I continue to digest these topics… and as Uranus continues to revolutionize our relationships to the material world.
A Recap of Uranus in Taurus, May ~ November 2018 & the Broader Context:
I want to acknowledge and validate how messy and confusing Uranus in Taurus was last year as it introduced itself to the first couple degrees of fixed earth. I mean, right from the beginning when Uranus entered Taurus mid-May while in an aggressive square to Mars which was in its pre-retro shadow at that point, it was clear this was not going to be a straight-forward Uranian adventure. Uranus became tangled and enmeshed throughout the successive Mars and Venus retrogrades in the summer and fall of 2018 as they interacted with Uranus repeatedly.
There was a lot of revving the engine… and then stalling, perhaps repeatedly.
What this meant was that in the Spring of 2018 (as early as March or so) you may have initially had this huge burst of energy, enthusiasm, and motivation… or maybe you were responding to something external that happened in ways that necessitated immediate and incisive action.
And then…. the retrogrades. You are not alone if, throughout 2018, you came up against some waves of self-doubt and second guessing, some annoying barriers and delays to your bold new Uranian plans, and perhaps feeling a bit disillusioned or discouraged with how your initial innovative steps had panned out.
By the time you reached the summer you may have wondered where all your certainty, enthusiasm and excitement had gone in relation to this new emerging thing in your life. You could have found yourself in some sort of waiting game, feeling completely stalled or unsure of what you signed up for.
Especially during the Venus rx in Scorpio in the fall of 2018, you may have wondered: is this really what I want??
The good news is that Uranus is in Taurus for the long-term now. Once we are clear of Mercury’s current Piscean retrograde by the end of March, I think we’ll start seeing people leaping forward on their Uranus in Taurus journeys in a big way.
I experimented by making an audio forecast! I’ve tried to include the most pertinent info in writing, but I expand on other related topics within the 9-minute recording which you can listen to below… (if you are receiving this post via email and the recording did not manage to embed in the email, you can listen to it directly by visiting the blog article).
Some Interpretative Tips & a Few Examples
Interpretative Tip #1:
I think it is quite possible that all astro house systems have their uses, depending on what questions you are asking (in the same way we use different types of maps to respond to different inquiries – e.g. a globe, Google maps, a road map, a topographic map, a climatic map, etc.).
For example, I generally use a quadrant house system (Koch) because I appreciate its nuances, but I’ll switch to the whole sign system for certain techniques that are designed to work with that house system. With the whole sign house system the sign on the ascendant becomes the entire first house with all the other houses and signs matched up in successive order.
I’ve been paying very close attention to how I, and people around me, experience outer planets entering into new signs. I will say that what I’ve noticed is that if you want to get a fast grasp on the most obvious correlations, look to the themes of the house that has Taurus on the cusp, regardless of where Uranus is, at the current moment (though personally I take this into consideration as well).
You can switch to whole sign to do this, or you can just imagine the cusp lines of the houses as highly sensitive antennas – e.g. when an outer planet enters the sign that the cusp-antenna is embedded in, the shock waves ripple out and are instantly picked up by the antenna.
And what I’ve noticed is that’s where we may see the most immediate, obvious, tangible change.
Interpretative Tip #2:
Venus rules Taurus. Take note of where your natal Venus is in your chart by sign and house, in order to add another layer of interpretation to this transit.
Your natal Venus placement is linked to the Taurus-ruled house of your chart. Your Venus placement will indicate where the catalyst for change occurs, and/or where the final outcome is most keenly felt.
I have Taurus on the cusp of my 10th house for example (career, public reputation, long-term goals, social roles).
I was once told by an astrologer, who didn’t incorporate the ruling planets, that an entrepreneurship path wasn’t the most aligned route for me because Taurus (in connection with my career path) really needs stability, safety, consistency and low-risk, sustained security.
This may be so, but I have Venus in Aries in the 8th house, which is a very contradictory dynamic since Aries thrives on risks and initiating projects in uncharted territory.
I have wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was a child and I have a long history of attempting to do so. People who know me would say that is a pretty ongoing theme in my life and would appear to be a “natural” component of who I am. Yes the risk involved in entrepreneurship greatly disturbs and terrifies the Taurus energy in my career house, but working with both energies and trying to integrate them while facing my fears of visibility (8th house), is part of my career-destiny.
Someone else I know with Taurus on the 10th house cusp (the MC) has Venus in Capricorn in the 5th house. So how does Uranus’ ingress look different for her?
After a period of indecision and uncertainty last year she decided to stay with a new creative performing arts business (Taurus MC, Venus in the 5th house) she had been previously working for part-time as one of the key managers and organizers – because she was offered a significant opportunity for greater advancement and leadership, while also accepting much more responsibility for the running of the business (Capricorn).
Interpretative Tip #3:
Jupiter and Saturn were both transiting Taurus from July – October 1999, and between February – August 2000 (with a peak moment around the end of May 2000 when Jupiter and Saturn had their once-every-twenty-years conjunction).
That’s twenty years ago, so it might be hard to remember what was happening at that time (or difficult to place in the context of your adult life if you are a young person), but during those periods there was a very strong activation of the Taurus portion of your chart.
I’m not saying you’ll get a repeat of this period since we are working with a very different planet moving through, but reflecting back to this last major Taurus activation is a good way to become familiar with how you experience that area of your chart.
I made some major discoveries and had some important insights when reflecting back on this time in my life when I was age 13/14, so maybe you will as well!
When I’m doing this type of investigation into the past, and through studying my chart, I’m asking: how does this area of my life, this component of who I am, want to express itself? What keeps trying to grow here and how can I nourish it further to bring it into its potential?
A Couple More Examples (names changed):
Lindsay has Taurus on her 7th house cusp (relationships, partnerships) ruled by Venus in Virgo in the 10th house (career, public & social roles, reputation, long-term goals).
As Uranus entered Taurus for the first time last year, she moved out of the home she shared with her partner (who was both her romantic partner and her business partner). Their relationship status remained uncertain for most of 2018.
And then, as her 29th degree Jupiter (travel, expansion) in the 8th house (transformation, shared resources) was activated by both Mercury stationing rx and Uranus reaching the very edge of Aries… on the evening of March 5th, 2019 she left on a plane with a one-way ticket, moving across the country, handing over the local management of her business to a friend while she opened up to new career possibilities.
Note: If you have Taurus on your 7th house cusp (relevant for Scorpio risings) a break-up isn’t the guaranteed formula here with Uranus moving in. Your relationship may simply be invited to make some unconventional changes in order for both of you to have the freedom to reach your potential and explore new horizons, for example.
Jessica has Taurus on her ascendant (the body, one’s identity) ruled by Venus in Cancer (home, family, mothering, nurturing) on the IC (4th house cusp – home, family, roots).
In May 2018 she was surprised to find out she was pregnant (a change to her body). Hovering on the verge of becoming a mother for the first time, she spent the rest of 2018 waiting, preparing, and reflecting on how her identity was about to transform – and the implications of this. The age gap in her partnership speaks to the unconventional, non-mainstream Uranian elements of her beautiful new family.
Plus, her baby is also an Aquarian born on the same day as his Aquarian father! And as I’ve written about earlier, Aquarius is a sign that carries Uranian vibes with it.
This week with Uranus’ re-ingress, her and her family had to unexpectedly and spontaneously move into her parents’ place (Cancer, 4th house) for a few days after the noxious chemical smell of the neighbours’ floor-staining process seeped into their house. Her partner (with Taurus on the 4th house cusp) has been talking about selling their home in the not-so-distant future.
I would consider these fairly major life changes. It won’t be this dramatic or obvious for everyone, but I’m positive that you will see strong indicators and signs of what this transit means for you if you reflect on the events of the past year through the lens of your chart… and if you take note of how the Universe may be speaking to you this month (especially the two weeks around March 6th).
Another day to take note of specific Uranus in Taurus themes, would be April 22nd, 2019 (and the day before and after) when the Sun conjoins with Uranus during Taurus Season.
Linus and his security blanket, from the Peanuts comic strip, is my inspiration for the week, along with some quintessential Uranian quotes I’ll never tire of reposting…
Here’s the video clip if you want the sound version of Linus’ speech…
We are hovering on the brink of a major astrological shift… and we have been for a while now… can you feel its edge?
March 5th/6th (Tuesday-Wednesday) Pisces’ oceans rumble as stable Taurus begrudgingly opens its doors to the disruptive rebel and catalyst that is, Uranus.
Uranus’ ingress into Taurus (March 6th) coincides with Mercury stationing retrograde at the last 29th degree of Pisces (March 5th), as well as a New Moon in Pisces in a very tight conjunction with Neptune (god of the sea) and Vesta (the priestess) on March 6th. These cosmic events will be imprinted into Uranus’ ingress chart, imbuing Uranus’ 7-year transit through Taurus with a potent Piscean quality. Uranus will leave Taurus on April 26th, 2026.
March 5th/6th, and the days surrounding it on both ends, are sure to bring some bold, independent (possibly unexpected) shifts, as well as perhaps some mysterious, convoluted messages and thought processes with profound implications as they begin to unwrap themselves throughout the month up until ~March 28th when Mercury stations direct right on top of Neptune.
Really, it’s rather a bizarre combination of transits occurring simultaneously in Taurus and Pisces… somewhat comparable to an obnoxious John Deer excavator machine breaking ground and tearing up your front yard (which it mistook for the neighbor’s yard for which it was intended)… while indoors on the couch, the roar of a waterfall interrupts the mindfulness meditation soundtrack you thought was going to be the tinkle tinkle sound of a stream.
A small example: Monday morning my brother’s university was shut down at 11:00 am because of a snow storm that started early that morning as anticipated via the weather forecast. When did they provide notification the university was shutting down? 10:55 am, after numerous students and faculty members had already arrived at the university for classes and exams. This was an unexpected (Uranus) last minute reversal (Mercury stationing rx at the last degree of Pisces).
As a result of this poor leadership and management there were then hundreds of university students swarming to public transit at the same time and packing themselves into buses, which then slipped and swerved (Pisces) all over the roads with their precious cargo.
Technology, communication, and travel are three key areas where we often see some crossed wires and messiness during a 3-week Mercury rx period (longer if you include the pre-rx shadow which started around February 19th).
A couple other examples from the last few days: This guy was hired to take photos at a music festival (Pisces) and then a couple days ago realized he cannot access the photos from the SD card. Another person I know got on a plane Tuesday to fly across the country. She had hoped to take her dog with her (Mercury rules pets). After many delays and confused communication with plenty of uncertainty in the air (Mercury rx), she realized the safest plan would be to wait to be reunited and in the meantime, put plans in place to get the dog on a plane with better pet supervision. Taking wise and prudent precautions is a good idea!
Another, more serious Mercury Rx example (content warning for the next few paragraphs): As Mercury was slowing down and stationing in the last few days, the 4-hour ‘Leaving Neverland‘ documentary dropped, uncovering (yet again) in searing detail, the repeated sexual abuse singer Michael Jackson inflicted on the young boys he surrounded himself with at his home.
Neverland Valley Ranch in California was Michael Jackson’s personal amusement park / home combo, named after “the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up” (wikipedia). Fantasy, imaginal realms, and escaping the dreary, practical demands of the adult world, are Pisces’ themes.
Michael Jackson (Pisces rising, Pisces Moon) evaded justice his entire life because of his celebrity cult status. Pisces is a sign associated with genuine spirituality, as well as illusions, delusions, and the risk of being manipulated by harmful spiritual leaders – or even becoming one. Pisces covers both ends of the spectrum – from the guru and the glamorous celebrity, to the religious follower, devotee and groupie.
Jackson wasn’t a spiritual leader, but the accusers in the film are quoted as saying: “The abuse didn’t feel strange because he was like a god” (the Guardian).
Resonating with Mercury stationing retrograde in Pisces and in accordance with the discerning scrutiny it asks us to apply to our ideals, idols and fantasies, accuser Robson is quoted as saying, with a note of understanding and empathy:
“What I’m interested in is continuing the conversation of who are we worshiping and why, and making people look at the whole story…. Even though it happened to me, I still couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that what Michael did was a bad thing up until six years ago. So I understand [the refusal of fans to accept Jackson’s crimes]. We can only accept and understand something when we’re ready, and maybe we’ll never be ready. Maybe we will. So that’s their journey.” (Freeman for Guardian, Lee for Guardian)
As we all dive deep into the waters of dreams, fantasy and the subconscious, chasing illusive, glittering fish tails through ocean-woven streams of sunlight… may we all know when to come up to the surface to breathe.
Uranus heading into Taurus on March 6th is by far considered the more impactful cosmic story (Mercury is retro three times a year, whereas Uranus changes signs only every 7 years). And yet Mercury’s Rx on March 5th at Pisces’ final degree, combined with the New Moon conjunct Neptune tomorrow, bring really important additional ingredients into the mix, influencing how Uranus’ ingress into Taurus will be experienced.
Although Uranus often shows up in strange ways with a bizarre unanticipated turn of events (often occurring at the last minute), there’s a good chance you have some inkling as to its themes, which have been increasingly calling for your attention – in the last month especially (with a confusing, disorienting, tentative, thematic introduction in 2018, from May – November, all tangled in retrogrades).
When a slow-moving outer planet like Uranus, transits into a new sign, the stories of our lives have typically begun making space for this leap in advance, dropping hints all over the place and sowing seeds of restlessness in the area of your birth chart that will be affected (in particular, note the themes of the house with Taurus on the cusp even if Uranus will take a while to get there when using a quadrant house system).
The order of the relevant signs in the zodiac (each one containing 30 degrees) goes like this: Pisces -> Aries -> Taurus.
Since early/mid February we’ve had Uranus activated at the last crisis degree of Aries, wrapping up a 7-year chapter and preparing to commit to Taurus… while Chiron leaped into Aries’ warrior fire from Pisces, to clean up the mess that Uranus may have left behind. Interestingly (because Chiron’s orbit is erratic), Chiron and Uranus both committed to their respective Pisces’ and Aries’ journeys at the same time, back in early 2011.
Now, after a brief preview of the following signs in 2018, Chiron and Uranus officially cross the thresholds into Aries and Taurus within a month of each other.
Personally, I wouldn’t credit Uranus with the qualities that are instrumental to facilitating deep psychological work and inner healing. Uranus can liberate us. It wakes us up to what is keeping our true selves in chains, and it frees us up from stagnancy and hesitation so we can continue to grow… but in my experience, Uranus transits correlate with life moving and shifting at such an intense speed, I typically don’t have the time or opportunity to really attend to the inner parts of my psyche, stirred up by the changes, that are asking for devoted care and attention.
You are not typically doing deep psychological work mid-roller coaster ride, you know?
Chiron, however, symbolized by a glyph that looks like a key, can open that door for us, allowing deep insight into prior experiences and old conditioning that need some TLC and some careful healing, integrating and de-tangling. Therefore, Chiron following in Uranus’ footsteps is a good thing, I would say!
Chiron entered Aries on February 18th, 2019. Several weeks ago now. But since it will be hanging out there until 2027, we’ve got plenty of time to write about it! The upcoming full moon at the equinox for example, will land right on top of Chiron – a loud activation of what Chiron in Aries means for you, and for us.
To read my personal reflections on Chiron’s recent journey throughout Pisces, click here.
Chiron entered Aries on February 18th, 2019. Several weeks ago now. But since it will be hanging out there until 2027, we’ve got plenty of time to write about it! The upcoming full moon at the equinox for example, will land right on top of Chiron – a loud activation of what Chiron in Aries means for you, and for us.
I have lots of thoughts regarding both Chiron in Pisces and Chiron in Aries. I’ll start with Chiron in Pisces because I want to publicly offer some gratitude for this transit that was so important for me. Plus, its Pisces Season, so these reflections are still relevant generally and especially pertinent for March’s Mercury retrograde in Pisces, which may highlight some of the same material for you that Chiron did.
For me personally, writing up this meandering Piscean Re-flection feels like stepping into appropriate alignment with Mercury currently stationing retrograde a few degrees from my Pisces Sun-Mercury rx conjunction… while also conjunct Chiron, newly in Aries.
Some of this I’ve shared before, but it has been on my mind recently as we close this chapter.
Gratitude for Chiron’s Transit (& this Mercury rx) through Pisces; awakening us to necessary truths while inviting us back into relationship with Source
I am an 8th house Pisces Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter. Pisces is on my 8th house cusp, the house of the Shadow and all that we repress. Therefore, I’m acutely aware of Pisces’ shadow side, both with myself, and in the broader society.
Not always, but frequently, people have trouble reconciling themselves to the sign on their 8th house cusp, regardless of whether they have planets there or not. They may talk about how much they don’t like that sign in other people, or they have some sort of resistance to embodying that energy. Even if they have their Sun in the 8th, they may have spent their first 2-3 decades trying to suppress or reject that part of themselves. They may be one of those people who say “I don’t really identify with my sun sign.” They likely are not fully owning that part of themselves or expressing it. Maybe they fear that energy in their life – both the positives and negatives of that sign.
Numerous times when I first meet an 8th house Sun person (especially when under the age of 30), I’m completely baffled that they are born under the zodiac sign they claim to be (similarly, I sometimes have the same reaction when people’s Suns are in the 12th house, or even 4th house).
Often times (again, especially when they are under 30) I feel like they are expressing the EXACT OPPOSITE of everything that sign represents. Then, over time, as they work through 8th house shadow material, they grow in their sign and it becomes more obvious in their life’s expression. We are all growing into our Sun signs really, but it can take longer for 8th house Suns to externalize this growth process.
The 8th house is the chart’s power house. There’s a loooooot of energy stored up in there just waiting to find an outlet – whether consciously or unconsciously!
Back to Chiron: Whether Pisces is on the 8th house cusp for you or not, one of Chiron’s tasks through Pisces has been to highlight its shadow side so that we might enter into a more balanced relationship with these deep Piscean waters.
As Mercury stations retrograde in Pisces, we may again be alerted to Pisces’ shadow side so that we can address deception, confusion, and misalignment. In areas where we are struggling for clarity and discernment, the veil may finally drop from our eyes – even if it requires some initial fumbling around, or struggling through experiences of cognitive dissonance.
I grew up immersed in a very religious environment. And not the type that is regimented by patterns of ritual and habit necessarily – it was a religious environment that was more of the “spirit-led” variety. I witnessed and experienced many strange supernatural occurrences in my younger years that cannot be reasoned away and stay with me today.
There was lots of good that came out of that environment, and certainly it instilled in me a belief in the unseen world that would not be shaken, even when I left the faith community.
And yet I also witnessed the shadow side of spirituality growing up. Channeling and interpreting Spirit (or Source, whatever name you give it), and integrating its messages into words and action… through these animal bodies with sensitive nervous systems, layers of conditioning, trauma histories, various chemical interactions, and stubborn ego structures…. can be quite tricky to navigate.
To be a pure conduit is difficult. We so often project our familiar frames, biases and worldviews onto supernatural experiences (arguably, how can we not?), and we may manipulate auspicious synchronicities, symbols and signs into what we want them to mean. Our egos can develop ravenous hunger for spiritual gifts, power and prestige, and people can really go quite wild in ungrounded, unhealthy ways, in response to the huge intoxicating rush of otherworldly energy experienced at a place of worship or during a ritual.
Pisces, the sign of spiritual surrender, the dissolving of the separate ego, speaks to experiences where we are completely consumed by some form of blissful spiritual high and access peak states of oneness with the universe.
Without balancing this out with some grounded Virgo discernment and insight (Pisces’ opposite sign), we may be vulnerable to being controlled by charismatic spiritual leaders who claim to have all answers… we may overlook and opt out of uncomfortable – but necessary – healing and justice work, by choosing the more scenic, always-positive spiritual bypass… and we may interpret and welcome all encounters with energy, with the supernatural, with the numinous, as inherently good and beneficial, because we’re so in entranced with having an experience that taps us into something beyond the structures of everyday human reality.
As I’ve written about before, in my early twenties I stepped away from my childhood faith quite abruptly when I suddenly reached a decision-point precipice where I realized the interpretive framework in operation within this religion, had become too constraining for me. I didn’t feel I could trust any human, or human-crafted system or tool, as a reliable gateway to deeper spiritual understanding.
It was an enormous loss for me at the time. I lost my all my spiritual tools and practices, which I depended on daily. I lost my worldview. I lost my community and friends. And I lost my familiar relationship to Source, which I grieved deeply.
Yet, I could not deny the validity of the many mystical experiences I had had. I decided to just “shelve” them for the time being. They are valued memories for me, but without a framework or tools to interpret and work with them, I didn’t really know what to do with these experiences.
I then spent the next decade or so in intense left-brain mode, trying to work with the beast that is academia.
However, you take mysticism and magic out of a Pisces’ life, and they begin to wither and dry up like a forgotten plant! I believe we are all spiritual beings, but holy, a Pisces-type without magic, mysticism, wondrous beauty and regular experiences with the spiritual realm, is really in a tight, dreary corner. They can get by for a while by using their imagination, or perhaps some not-so-healthy escapist habits, but Pisces is the sign of the mystic, the dream-worker, and the channeling artist. And we must feed the signs what they need to thrive.
Chiron’s transit through Pisces, on one hand, may have illuminated the shadow sides of spirituality and fantasy so that they could be addressed with clear vision and discernment (as this Mercury rx may also do).
But on the other hand, Chiron’s Piscean transit could have also correlated with a deep soul call to visit the infinite well of Source energy and drink deeply from its healing waters. This is what it was for me.
Walking out the illness and death of a parent was the first point of return in many ways, as I struggled with questions about meaning, purpose, and the afterlife during the initial chapter of Chiron in Pisces (in my 8th house).
However, Chiron’s work will always be more noticeable and powerful when it makes a strong contact to a personal planet. From 2016 to the end of 2018, Chiron was within a few degrees of my Sun and Mercury in Pisces (making 4 exact conjunctions).
I had something one might call a breakdown (or a painful dismantlement of all my core egoic identity structures) beginning in April 2016. By June 2016 I was still hoping that maybe all I needed was a bit of rest and recovery, and then I’d be back to my “old self”.
I was doing terribly though.
I accepted an invitation to go to a friend’s cottage by the ocean for a few days to clear my head and see if I could speed up my “rejuvenation”.
Chiron, the wounded healer of the zodiac, was moving through 25° Pisces at this time, only arc-minutes away from my Sun and Mercury in the 8th House (the first of the four conjunctions).
I do not often remember my dreams, and when I do they typically slide easily from my consciousness with little reflection or integration. However, in the early morning of June 18th I had a dream that left a powerful imprint on my psyche.
I dreamt that I awoke to find a long, shiny black feather beside me in the bed – the same bed at the cottage that I was sleeping in, overlooking the ocean. The feather was about three feet long.
One’s emotional state and reactions to the dream content is key to its interpretation. In this case, I remember being surprised, but in a pleasant way. I was curious, intrigued, and a little in awe at this beautiful feather that I immediately felt was a gift of some sort. The dream felt incredibly real, especially with it mirroring my exact location. I woke up, marvelling at the experience and the imprint it had made on me.
When I looked into the symbolism of black feathers I read that they are associated with protection and that they may appear in meaningful ways when you are undergoing times of great transition. The color black signifies, as Scorpio does, the theme of death and rebirth. The closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. They may mark a spiritual initiation and time of significant inner growth.
I treasured this dream and held it close to me. Its sweet, magical, psychic aftertaste lingered for a long time. I returned to this memory often during difficult moments.
I do not live in an area that is swathed in bird feathers, but following this dream I began finding feathers in the strangest synchronistic ways.
Chiron moves slowly through your chart highlighting areas of wounding, but its transits also direct you to the resources you need to heal– particularly at its retrograde pivot points. Chiron turned retrograde nine days after my feather dream.
Within a couple days of Chiron’s rx station, I happened upon an astrology article that showed up on my news feed, indicating the dates of the 2016 Mars retrograde. I was startled by some extremely pertinent correlations to my life, and immediately dove head first into intense astrological study.
I associate Chiron’s transit over my Pisces Sun and Mercury (identity and mind/communication), with my feather dream, my renewed interest in astrology, falling in love with creative writing again… and some intensive therapeutic work.
I had been introduced to astrological natal chart work during a Uranus transit to my Sun/Mercury around 2009/2010 (astrology entering one’s life with a Uranus transit is so cliche!), but my schedule didn’t leave me much room to really explore it and it quickly went on the backburner despite my fascination with it.
Now, in 2016, astrology quickly became a powerful tool of healing for me. It is not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life and gave me a new sense of meaning and purpose.
The few weeks after (re)discovering astrology were blissful. I was giddy with excitement. I was on an astro high; buried in charts, and webinars, and podcasts, and books. Through learning the language of astrology, I felt like I had found a missing part of myself – or had found the key (Chiron symbolizes a key) to opening up parts of myself that had been stagnant and neglected.
I don’t think any healing modality could have given me the amount of insight that my chart immediately provided me. Astrology can speed up the process of self-discovery in a major way!
I had found a treasured blueprint for understanding my personality, a map for effectively journeying the terrain of my life, and a prescription for healing and freeing up areas of wounding. Where I had come from and where I was going, my greatest strengths, my most troubling challenges, and the life directions that would most fulfill me — they were all there, in my chart.
Furthermore, astrology connected me in a very concrete and tangible way with something that was bigger than me. How wild is it that planets millions of miles away could be correlated with certain personality traits and life events for each individual living on the planet?!
Astrology became a type of spiritual discipline for me, as I began to track my transits and design little rituals for planetary activity and moon phases. Astrology re-enchanted my life world with a glimmer of mysterious magic.
In other words, I felt like a Pisces again, basically.
I felt like I had found a place of solid and meaningful belonging within this vast universe; in a world, which on the surface, seems to be spewing constant meaningless chaos. Learning astrology helped me to see a hidden universal order and coherence through synchronicity and correlation that defied explanation. I finally had a spiritual framework and worldview to work with again. Astrology enabled me to make sense of my experiences by framing them within a series of symbolic and archetypal cosmic stories.
The remaining three Chiron conjunctions to my Sun (my chart ruler) and Mercury were really important moments in my journey where my identity and voice were challenged (Chiron transits always involve airing out a wound), but in ways that prompted me to dive deeper into what was true and vital within me.
I launched Lilith Rebellion as a blogging platform within a few days of the second conjunction (reawakening my love of creative writing). The third conjunction occurred alongside some panic attacks I had as I entered into a conference setting where I had to show up as my other professional identity (which I feel quite uncertain about), highlighting my internal cognitive dissonance in this area and challenging whether or not this path reflected my Piscean soul yearnings. I also established peace with my sister (mercurial symbolism) with whom I had a major conflict with many months prior.
The fourth conjunction occurred at the time of a job interview I was extremely conflicted about – again my identity and my voice (Sun and Mercury) being challenged… Who am I? What am I here to say in the world? How should I use my voice and skill-sets?
Clarity arrived with an amplified message immediately post-job interview. It was clear this job would not be a good fit for me, and at the current time, it was right for me to devote my energies toward building an income sources around my emerging passions.
Taurus rules my 10th house of career, so this is where I can expect to see major shake-ups and disruptive, liberating change, with Uranus’ ingress. And I did see changes here as I broke away from the safer more mainstream path that I had spent years and many dollars of investment on, in order to offer astrology consultations for a few months.
[P.S. I gotta say though, Uranus’ preview of Taurus last year (May-November 2018) really got tangled up in those intense Mars and Venus retrogrades (it made strong contact with both of them numerous times throughout). It felt like this car revving and going forward in short defiant bursts, only to stall again and again.]
I’m hopeful for Uranus committing to its Taurus journey this week! Chaos is always part of the package, but I need some liberating leaps of disruption. Perhaps we all do in various ways.
One of the things I am most thankful to Chiron’s transit for, is the regaining trust in my intuition.
My childhood was full of seeing and knowing things that reached beyond consensus reality.
And yet Pisces is an incredibly sensitive sign, absorbing high volumes of information and stimuli from their environments, oftentimes without an appropriate filter or boundary. Therefore, receiving otherworldly premonitions, visions and divine messages in a human body can be awfully confusing…
What’s real and what is fantasy and imaginal projection? What’s true here? What is “truth” anyway? What happened in my dreams and what happened in real life? I’m experiencing deja vu… did this actual happen before, or did I have a precognition about it? What’s the other person’s emotion and symptom, and what’s mine? Where do they end and I begin? When is my intuition speaking to me and when is my anxiety speaking to me?
These are questions that Pisces, sign of the boundless ocean, may struggle with. Pisces-types arguably may have a higher risk of experiencing moments of paranoia/anxiety, confused, delusional thinking, and a tendency toward spacey dissociation, as a result. The urge to surrender all sense of separate self and identity, can be rather dangerous for the human brain (at least without the proper training, supports, context, etc.).
Having witnessed a lack of spiritual clarity and discernment accompanying the use of spiritual and energetic gifts, and after being exposed to how easy it is for the human body, brain and language-power to provide a poor translation of downloads or divine messages in ways that caused harm, I was really wary of listening to “intuition” and very suspicious of many spiritual practices. I fought my natural tendency to make meaning out of synchronicities, signs and symbols because confirmation bias felt unavoidable with the risk of manipulating “reality” to conform to the projection of my worldview and the narrative I was invested in developing.
One of the reasons I think I gravitated easily to astrology as a metaphysical tool, was because it is so technical and academic-seeming. Its historical roots are impressive and the education required to gain astro-literacy is fairly rigorous. Furthermore, it had close ties to astronomy (the two only went separate ways in the 17th century). It utilized information from NASA about the speed of planetary movement, for example. It seemed so tangible, rational, objective, scientific, trust-worthy, contained. It seemed… safe.
A friend asked me recently whether astrologers relied on their intuition or not during their consultations, after hearing me explain some of the technical parts. My answer was essentially that I think many astrologers do rely on intuition as they synthesize the chart’s puzzle pieces, but you don’t actually have to. You can really do it all by-the-book through applying a series of technical tools and steps.
I continued to avoid other tools such as Tarot, which seemed so more subjective to me and relied much more heavily on intuition – therefore seemingly more liable to untrustworthy human interference… until the Venus rx in Scorpio last fall as I mentioned (Chiron was again within a few degrees of my Sun/Mercury at that point).
I had a traumatic experience with Tarot 5 years ago (a terrible reading), which really turned me off it. Unexpectedly beginning to study the Tarot last October, was another step toward freeing and trusting my intuition. I’m actually really appreciating that Tarot has far less rules and technicalities compared to astrology, because I’m invited to open up more to my intuition.
I’m really grateful for Chiron’s work in my Pisces’ 8th house, and the re-awakenings and transitional initiations it has catalyzed.
And yet the idea of Pisces energy as symbolizing complete surrender to Spirit, as an open conduit and channel for otherworldly communication, somewhat still scares me!
Edgar Cayce, for example, had an 8th house Pisces Sun, Pisces Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and North Node (5 major Pisces placements). He was a famous American psychic referred to as The Sleeping Prophet who communicated messages and diagnoses from the unseen world while “asleep” (this is so hilariously Pisces). His experiences included falling asleep on his textbook at age 13, and then realizing he had a photographic memory of every single page and so he didn’t really have to study!
Edgar had to be informed of the messages he had communicated after he awoke because he had no memory of them (his conscious ego was therefore removed from the process). Even Edgar sometimes had trouble believing the things he had channeled while “asleep” (basically in a trance state).
I really have no desire to have any sort of extreme Pisces experience like that at this current time! That sounds very destabilizing, tbh.
And yet I’m beginning to trust my Pisces gifts again, thanks to Chiron’s transit.
Alongside regaining trust in my intuition, I’m also restoring trust in my skills of discernment, which I’ve had since childhood. I was known for challenging esteemed spiritual leaders on their lack of alignment or abuse of stage power, and continuously investigating the validity of my own beliefs.
I’m learning to trust in my growing ability to recognize what is ego projection and a runaway imagination energized by fear and anxiety, and what is a clear intuitive message coming through.
Despite my reservations about the human body’s capacity to channel anything without interference, I’m learning that my brain, my body, my communication capacities, can continue to develop as strong, reliable vessels, drawing from the deep Source well of divine guidance.
My ongoing prayer, however, is that the (re)emerging and development of my intuitive and psychic abilities would not out-pace the somatic, psychological and grounding healing work I continue to do. Ideally they would complement each other. I have very little earth in my chart so staying grounded is essential, especially with a North Node in Taurus. The other realms I’m capable of drifting into can be extremely unnerving.
Pisces is a sign that can suffer from a lack of center and sense of unique selfhood. Innately aware they are connected to everything in the universe, Pisces’ ability to function in the world, attending to practical necessities as a individual autonomous human who is paradoxically, simultaneously, a separate self… is something most Pisces-types need to intentionally work on. Grounding tools are important!
What other things have I learned or returned to throughout Chiron’s transit through Pisces? Here’s just a few other points…
- Spiritual “surrender” is a (sometimes controversial) Pisces concept that brings to mind passivity, waving a white flag in conflict, and giving up. Surrender feels vulnerable and the word made me uncomfortable for a long time as it inherently involves some loss of autonomy, control and protective capacity. I’ve learned to conceptualize spiritual surrender as surrendering to an active, conscious and benefic universal force (rather than a passive stream of fate or an overpowering nebulous energy mass) that invites us into acts of co-creation and collaboration. Interestingly during this Pisces Season, I’m currently reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (tight Neptune-Sun trine and Pisces North Node), It’s not Your Money: Living Fully from Divine Abundance, by (former astrologer) Tosha Silver, and Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, by Toko-Pa Turner (Pisces Moon). All three speak beautifully to the power of spiritual surrender in the various realms of art, money, and creative belonging – in ways that open the door to beautiful co-creation and collaboration with Source. In just the past year, surrender is a word that has acquired deep sweetness for me.
Here’s Ted Talk of Elizabeth Gilbert’s perspective on surrendering to a magic divine force that offers creative inspiration:
- Pisces often gets a bad rap for remaining in helpless victim identities and giving up their power, endlessly repeating circuitous “woe is me” self-pitying tales (I’m referring to instances where this state of being is used as an ongoing defensive, protective strategy rather than referring to the process of grieving and honouring losses, and sitting with depths of human pain and discomfort as it calls for us to do so). Clinging to victim stories and roles can also function as an escape hatch from being accountable for one’s actions, taking responsibility and making constructive repairs for the harm one may have caused. It’s a human shadow, but zodiacal teachings suggest that Pisces-types may be more vulnerable to it. Pisces-types can also be quite vulnerable to getting overly, empathically tangled with the energy of others who are caught in victim stories.
As I have moved through the shell of this shallow stereotype to what lies below, I have come to understand how this state of being develops as a very powerful coping strategy (speaking from experience here). And to truly release coping strategies that no longer serve us, we often need to acknowledge how they are seeking to protect us. We can thank them for their efforts, and gently let these parts of ourselves know that we have other tools to move forward now (providing we’ve had opportunity to develop these replacement tools).
Learned helplessness is a real thing where, after repeated attempts to escape suffering with no success, the human being learns it is safer not to try and risk the emotional pain of disappointment and the reminder of failure, powerlessness or entrapment. It’s neuroscience.
“Learned helplessness is behavior that occurs when the subject endures repeatedly painful or otherwise aversive stimuli which it is unable to escape from or avoid. After such experiences, the organism often fails to learn or accept “escape” or “avoidance” in new situations where such behavior is likely to be effective. In other words, the organism learned that it is helpless. In situations where there is a presence of aversive stimuli, it has accepted that it has lost control and thus gives up trying, even as changing circumstances offer a method of relief from said stimuli. Such an organism is said to have acquired learned helplessness. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from such real or perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.” (~Wikipedia)
Getting “stuck” in a despairing victim identity (or a victim story/ victim mentality) is learned behavior (even if Pisces-types are more vulnerable to it). It is a set of neural pathways that developed for a reason, and in order to move beyond this state, we may need to compassionately empathize with the root cause (for ourselves and for others), as well as address the dis-empowering context that may have contributed to our state of learned helplessness. It takes time (and often some acts of truth and justice) to develop a sense of self-efficacy, an internal locus of control, and step into your power, when perhaps at some point, you learned that it was not safe to do so.Serving yourself dopamine hits by setting and achieving small bite-sized goals, really helps!
(again, I’m not advocating a positivity-only bypass – I’m referring to the sustained reliance on a victim worldview and life story as a defensive coping strategy that shows up as self-disempowerment, self-betrayal, self-sabotage, self-undoing, etc.)
- I’ve always been so sensitive to other people and my environments, and so easily overwhelmed by incoming stimuli and information (typical Pisces probs). In the last couple years I’ve been absorbing the stories and tools of others who have walked the life path of an empath. I’ve been learning that there are ways to get better at working with this sensitivity. I can protect myself without shutting down this part of myself. With study and practice over time these skills can be learned. In particular, it has been so helpful for me to learn how to recognize when the distressing emotion or energy I’m experiencing actually belongs to someone else I’ve encountered and did not originate within me. I’ve also been learning to patiently accept when my body is reacting to an implicit nonverbal memory and going into a heightened state of hypervigilence, contraction, or dissociation, even when my rational brain is completely bewildered because it doesn’t see the need for this response (Pisces is associated with the subconscious and implicit memory). I can then move toward applying the most effective tools with more self-compassion, without forcing myself to rationally, consciously pinpoint why I’m reacting so intensely.
Chiron’s transit through Pisces has brought me so much goodness. I hope for you too, despite the pain that Chironic vulnerability and healing can expose, that it has awaken you to many Piscean gifts.
As Mercury stations retrograde at the 29th degree of Pisces, we’re all going to get another reminder of the amazing potential of this sign we are invited to partake in – the bliss of surrender and moving with flow, the sustaining grace of spiritual faith, the creative inspiration and vast imagination, the deep compassion and empathy, and intuitive, psychic sensitivities.
But also too, may we have the courage to remove the rose-colored glasses from our eyes, and clean our life’s windows and mirrors, in order to see more clearly what needs to be brought to light (even when it hurts).
Did you catch that whiff of FRESH AIR?
Are you feeling more free and liberated?
Have you cut off some life shackles from your limbs?
Do you feel cleansed with a resolution or an ending, and full of vision and brimming possibilities for the future?
Are your friendships, relationships, group memberships, and collaborative endeavors shape-shifting into new, unexpected, refreshing expressions of life potential?
Well, it could be a mixed bag as there is still tension in the astro – and this past week/weekend with the Mars-Pluto square was a little intense for many to say the least – but I hope you’ve caught some of the goodness Monday’s Aquarian New Moon had to offer! And may the good stuff grow and increase as we progress through this lunation cycle.
This new moon marked the end of January’s Eclipse Season, and it also, arguably, officially ended the Leo-Aquarius nodal journey we’ve all been on since the Spring of 2017 (the nodes changed signs on May 9th 2017, with a preview eclipse in February 2017).
Perhaps you experienced some of these ongoing Leo-Aquarius themes of the past, peaking and becoming more prominent for a final wrap-up as the cosmos checked in to make sure we’ve all learned how to keep the polarity in a healthy balance (e.g. joyful life-giving passion vs. detached objective intellectual utilitarianism; being appreciated and validated by others vs. standing alone on the fringe; creative heart-led pursuits vs. sacrificing our individual goals for a higher cause or a collective aim, etc.)
The South Node was traveling through Aquarius throughout 2017-2018, asking us to release, relinquish, decrease, and address… the stuck attachments, issues, stories, and shadows in that area of our chart.
And finally, we’ve let go, we’ve learned, and now perhaps we are rebuilding anew in that area of life, applying the insights we’ve gained and achieving better balance and integration of the Leo-Aquarius polarity – because in my opinion, that’s really what the nodal axis is here to teach us.
February is sure to be eventful with Uranus hovering at the 29th anaretic degree of Aries, finishing up this 7-year journey with curve balls that only an exciting, erratic, and wild Uranus in Aries knows how to throw – watch this area of your chart for sure to identify key topics.
Uranus will enter earthy Taurus on March 6th, 2019 (echoing and reinforcing the themes of its initial entrance into Taurus – May 15, 2018 through November 16, 2018).
Uranus, the fast-moving, change-making, rebel and liberator, first moved into Aries on May 27, 2010 for a few months, and then committed to Aries fire on March 11th, 2011. Do you have life events marking these periods?
Look for full-circle types of experiences that your chart (e.g. relevant house topics) can shed light on as this chapter wraps up. In the meantime, it will be rather “edgy” and somewhat volatile, especially as we build to Mars’ collision with Uranus around February 12th/13th at that crisis-oriented anaretic degree.
During this New Moon, I was reflecting on the symbolic meaning and archetype of Aquarius.
I have adopted the Saturn as the ruler of Aquarius for functional interpretative purposes (Saturn is Aquarius’ traditional/original ruler), but I find that incorporating the symbolism of Uranus helps to differentiate Aquarius from Capricorn (the other Saturn-ruled sign) on a descriptive level – although I do agree with traditional astrologers that Aquarius is also inherently Saturnian.
Aquarius has a contradictory nature in many ways, and for me, its associations with both Saturn and Uranus help to explain this.
As you may be aware, many “modern” astrologers tend to use Uranus as the sole ruler of Aquarius, while many others apply Saturn and Uranus as co-rulers of Aquarius. I’m not sure if I personally consider Uranus an official “ruler”, but I do associate Uranus with Aquarius, which I’ll explain further later on.
Here are some combinations I came up with integrating the “influences” of both planets, which for me, begin to flesh out the gestalt of Aquarius…
Like many astrologers, I have been working through this traditional-modern divide (which brings up differences beyond planetary rulership) to find my own position in the areas in which the traditional and modern, conflict and disagree.
Thus far, I do prefer the visible, traditional planets as sign rulers when I’m using rulership in a functional way – like when I’m incorporating dispositors and rulers into my interpretation of how zodiac signs, planet placements, and houses in a chart will express.
So for example, if you have Aquarius on the 10th house cusp with Saturn in Libra, I might say your 10th house career matters are Aquarian (innovative, techy, visionary, unusual), but in ways that may also be quite refined, elegant, beautiful, and charming.
If you have a Pisces ascendant with Jupiter in Aries in the second house of money and resources, I might say that your destiny, or your most important and pivotal personal milestones, may unfold through your involvement in bold, daring, expansive, entrepreneurial, income-generating efforts that are catalyzed by expressing your Piscean spiritual and creative nature in the world.
I think the organization of the traditional planetary rulerships is a really beautiful system and it makes sense to me that the planets we can see with the naked eye, which are closer to us, are more appropriate to use in this practical, functional way.
Using traditional rulerships, every planet (except the Sun and Moon as the luminaries) rule two signs each.
And yet… I believe the similarities and resonance between Aquarius and Uranus archetypes, Pisces and Neptune archetypes, and Scorpio and Pluto archetypes, are undeniable!
As I mentioned earlier, for me, the addition of the outer planets in zodiacal symbolism is what helps me differentiate between the Saturn-ruled signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, the Jupiter-ruled signs of Sagittarius and Pisces, and the Mars-ruled signs of Aries and Scorpio. I believe the outer planets add a lot of depth and richness when we incorporate them into zodiacal symbolism and descriptions as I demonstrated with using Saturn and Uranus archetypes to describe Aquarius.
In my experience, I find my accuracy is much sharper when I use only the visible planets as rulers and dispositors during interpretations where I’m working on linking various puzzle pieces of the chart together.
However, I will continue using the outer planet associations with Aquarius, Pisces, and Scorpio in the archetypal realm to more fully understand and describe the nature of these signs on their own.
Hopefully that makes sense! It is something I continue to reflect on (and test).